Saga is a free-to-play medieval fantasy MMORTS that features a unique mix of city-building, real-time strategy, and trading card games.
|Publisher: Silverlode Interactive
Release Date: February 26, 2008
PvP: RTS Battles/ Raids / Tournaments
Pros: +Unique and interesting gameplay. +Strategic battles. +Persistent world. +Cooperative play. +Lots of quests.
Cons: -Cash-shop heavy. -Grindy gameplay. -Steep learning curve. -Outdated graphics. -Lengthy tutorial.
Create your own nation and turn it into a massive empire in Saga, a free-to-play MMORTS that combines elements of city-building, trading card games, and real-time strategy battles in one unique game. Choose to fight for the alliance of the Light or the forces of the Dark each with three playable factions. Build your nation from scratch, plunder, pillage, keep your subjects happy, and acquire new territories, in real-time as you work your way to the top. Train and equip your armies to help you take on rebellious militia, vicious orcs, rival nations, and ultimately conquer all of the Known World.
Saga Key Features:
- Strategic Battles – change unit formations in real-time to counter specific enemy types.
- Persistent Game World – resources collection and buildings construction continue even when you’re offline.
- Tons of Quests – complete quests to receive rewards like resources, units, and special units. Replay quests at higher difficulties to get better rewards.
- Cooperative Play – tired of taking on quests alone? Call a buddy to help you out.
- Customizable Units – fit out your units with a variety of weapons and equipment that you loot from fallen enemies.
Saga Featured Video
Order – an alliance that hopes to end the constant wars that plague the Known World.
- Light – an alliance of humans and giants who are champions of justice and order,who use their military might when necessary.
- Nature – a wise race of elves who can harness the power of nature to devastate their foes. They have the best defense in the game.
- Machines – a race of dwarves gifted with technical genius. Their siege engines are capable of reducing cities to piles of rubble.
Brotherhood – an alliance established to oppose the Order.
- Magic – dark elves who are masters of dark magic. They are intelligent, ruthless, and seek to dominate all of the Known World.
- War – a race of orcs who love nothing but war. They are a fearless and bloodthirsty race who live for nothing else but fighting. They are more effective when taking an aggressive stance in battle.
- Undead – masters of death who prey upon the living and have sworn allegiance to the shadow. They possess both magical and physical strength.
By, Marc Marasigan
Saga is a free-to-play 3D MMORTS set in a mythical medieval world where the forces of light and dark are waging a war for control of the Known World. The game has a unique concept that combines city-building, real-time strategy, and trading card games. Think Starcraft, Total War, and Magic: The Gathering all rolled into one game. The game was recently re-released on Steam but was initially launched in 2008, and as expected of a game that came out during that time, the graphics, animations, environment, and effects are a bit outdated. The music, sound effects, and ambient sounds, however, are still spot on.
Founding a Nation
Upon logging into the game players are asked to create their nation. Players can choose from one of six factions, three for the Order—who fight for the Light—and three for the Brotherhood—who fight for the Dark (no surprise there). Aside from choosing a faction and naming their fledgling nations (this will be your in-game name), players also get to create their own banners, which I think is the coolest feature of the game. Players can choose from a virtually unlimited number of color combinations and a large variety of symbols to create a unique banner worthy of Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings or whatever fantasy novel or TV series you’re currently into.
Read or Die
Saga is a complex game and one of the few games where you’ll regret not reading through the tutorial. Players who’ve played hardcore RTS games like Total War can probably scan through the pop-up boxes without too much problem but if you’re only experience with RTS is Starcraft or Red Alert, then you probably want to grab a sandwich and soda, and brace yourself for the longest hour and a half of your gaming life. From the very first moment players enter the game they’ll be bombarded with information every time they click on something new, information that they’ll probably forget as soon as they click on something else. And that’s just the city-building part of the tutorial. Players also have to go through a lengthy three-part tutorial quest that explains how combat and battles work in the game, including how to move, change formations, use spells, capture buildings, and plunder resources. Saga also features a handy help system if you’ve missed anything important or want to learn more. The help system features 5 short-novel length PDF books that players can read through at their leisure. Five books! Can’t think of any other game that has that.
Playing Your Cards
Quests are an important part of a player’s life in Saga since they're the quickest way to earn resources and gain experience early in the game and can be replayed at higher difficulties to get better rewards. Questing, however, requires the player to have an army. Creating an army in Saga is quite different from your standard RTS or city-building games and is where the game’s trading card aspect of the game comes into play. Unlike other games in the genre, where players can recruit from any available unit, Saga requires players to have a troop’s card before they can be recruited. The same goes for spells which they can use anytime in battle similar to instant cards in Magic: The Gathering. Players are given a few basic troops and spell cards at the start of the game which they’ll probably be using for an extended period of time, unless they’re willing to spend real-world cash to buy booster packs. Buying booster packs doesn’t necessarily mean that players will get their money’s worth. Like most trading cards, purchasing a booster pack gives the player 10 random cards with rarity ranging from common to rare. Considering that booster packs are quite expensive this can be a bit frustrating, especially for very unlucky individuals. Players can also buy or trade cards from other players via the in-game auction house. Unfortunately, acquiring cards this way takes a while and entails a whole lot of grinding.
Command and Conquer
Aside from having troop and spell cards players also need to have the required Command Points, or CP, to train troops and summon or field—as it’s called in-game—them in battle. Spells also require CP points to acquire but use up God Points instead of CP when used. The amount of CP points players have depends on their level. Different troop types also have varying CP requirements. Troops of the same type can be grouped together to form a unit up to a maximum of 30 CP points. A level 1 nation can recruit units up to 200 CP points, roughly six units, but can only field a maximum of 50 CP at any given time. The remaining units are kept as reserves and can only be fielded when the player has enough CP points. CP are freed up when a unit flees the battlefield or is completely wiped out. Alternatively, players can also capture and plunder enemy structures to gain additional CP, which also reduces the enemy’s available CP—a good thing to have in mind when engaging in PVP matches.
Fielded units can be controlled like any regular RTS. Players also have the ability to change a unit’s formation at will to counter certain enemy types. Range Defense or Loose formation, for example, is a good choice when facing ranged units like archers or crossbowmen and also gives a bonus to movement speed, which is especially useful when charging watchtowers. Players can also flank enemy units to gain the upper hand. This makes for in-depth battles where strategy plays a key role in achieving victory. Units gain experience in battle and level up the same way a player does. Defeated units also drop treasure chests which contain gold and may also contain weapons and armor that players can equip onto their units for added bonuses.
The Rise of a Nation
Saga is first and foremost an MMORTS game and its core gameplay revolves around decimating every enemy, rival, or competitor around. However, nation management—or the city-building aspect—plays a big part of the game and shouldn’t be taken for granted. For one thing, those coveted troop cards cost a ton of gold to buy and questing can only do so much. Also, mana shards, which are required to raid other player’s territories and enchant items, are only produced in more advanced buildings that can only be built when certain requirements are met. A player must control a territory, acquired by completing territory quests, and have a Keep built in the territory in order to build mana shard mines. Players also need to carefully plan their nation’s layout and fortify them with defensive structures like walls and watchtowers. This is absolutely essential when participating in PVP. Construction of buildings takes place in real-time and continues even when the player is offline which is good since the simplest structures usually take hours to complete. Aside from building up their cities players also need to effectively manage their population of peasants since they do all the grunt work, from building and repairing structures to gathering resources. Players can keep their subjects happy by ensuring that they have adequate housing and food, as well as by lowering taxes. Remember: Happy peasants are productive peasants.
Saga offers player a choice of three PVP modes: War, Raids, and Tournaments. Up to 4 players can participate in a war with 2 nations per side. The participating players’ nations are spliced together to become their battleground. Each nation has four shrines that need to be captured to achieve victory. This is where good layout and investing in your nation’s defenses pays off. In raids, players plunder other players’ territories to loot mana shards. Raids cost mana shards and the duration of the raid is dependent on the amount of mana shards a player has and how much he’s willing to invest. The raid ends when the player runs out of mana shards, excluding the one’s he’s looted, or when he decides to quit. Lastly, during tournaments, both players are given a “deck” of cards and a set number of CP points to do with as they please. They also get to choose which faction to play as for the duration of the tournament. The first player to run out of troops or surrender loses the match. Winners move on to the semi-finals and then on to the final match if they win.
Saga is one of those games where almost everything can be purchased from the cash shop including cards, weapons, armor, and boosters among others. This doesn’t necessarily make the game pay to win since skill and strategy still play a big role in battles, but it comes very close. It’s also entirely possible to go through the game without spending a dime. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, it requires plenty of patience and a whole lot of grinding.
The Final Verdict – Good
Except for the Total War series, I’m not really a fan of RTS games, probably because I’m really bad at them. Saga, however, is one of the few RTS games that I liked. It’s a great game that requires skill and strategy, not to mention countless hours of grinding. It’s a complex game that would definitely appeal to hardcore players willing to spend time and effort on the game. That being said, the game would definitely benefit from a much-needed graphics overhaul. The trading card aspect of the game would also have worked better if it wasn’t too cash-shop heavy. If you can get past the outdated graphics and don’t mind the grinding then this game is definitely worth a try.
Saga System Requirements
Operating System: Windows 2000 SP3
CPU: Dual Core 2.0 GHz
RAM: 1 GB RAM
Video Card: GeForce 7600GT / Radeon 1650XT
Direct X: DirectX 9.0c version or higher
Hard Disk Space: 12 GB available space
Operating System: Windows XP SP3 / 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10 (64 bit)
CPU: Quad Core 2.5 GHz
RAM: 2 GB RAM or more
Video Card: GeForce GTS 250 / Radeon HD 4850
Direct X: DirectX 10 version or higher
Hard Disk Space: 12 GB or more available space
Saga Music & Soundtrack
Saga Additional Information
Developer: Silverlode Interactive
Publisher: Silverlode Interactive
Game Engine: Wraith
Lead Programmer: Dallan Christensen
Open Beta: February 26, 2008
Official Launch Date: March 04, 2008
Development History / Background:
Saga is a free-to-play 3D MMORTS developed and published by Silverlode Interactive. The game went into open-beta on February 26, 2008 and was officially launched on March 4 of the same year. The game is available on Steam and through the game's official website. The game's lead programmer was Dallan Christensen, Lead Programmer for Starcraft: Brood War