When it comes to free to play browser based MMO’s there are plenty. Few break the mold, Pit of War is one of those few! Prepare yourself to enter into a brutal dark fantasy land know as the Great Realm. Drunk on slaughter, its armies clash in monstrous battles, its darkened temples reek with the blood of sacrifices, and the slave markets heave with flesh for sale. The beating heart of the Great Realm is the The Pit, where baying crowds hunger for ever more violent spectacles to sate their appetite for mayhem. This FTPMMO has you as ‘Master’ of your own school you will manage, discipline and train brutal Gladiators, pushing them to become the deadliest fighters imaginable in the arts of death. The blood of the dead stains the sands red every day in the most brutal, merciless and unforgiving Arena the world has ever known…Prepare to enter the Pit of War!
MMO Newbie? Not Really.
Developed and published by Outcast Games, Pit of War was released in early December 2010. Pit of War is a Fantasy MMORPG that requires brains and strategy but no downloads as it is browser based. As it stands, Pit of War is new to the scene, however, already has over a thousand gladiators competing in the arena with more signing up everyday. Outcast Games developed a similar game under the name Pathocrom back in the early 90s as a PBeM game and for those familiar with it will immediately see that Pit of War is the spiritual successor to the franchise with massive amounts of updates catapulting it into the mix of modern gaming, and it looks gorgeous!
The Great Realm
I give kudos to the developers for creating such a deep and rich backstory, which gives you the feel as though you are right there in the pits training your gladiators. Though Pit of War takes a fantasy twist, the heart and soul of this game really draws from the harsh reality and brutal nature of the Roman Coliseum’s gladiatorial battles. This game really draws from the darkness surrounding those murderous gladiators and their thirst for blood and glory on the arena sands.
As the story goes, Pit of War takes place in the Great Realm, a violent place where a man’s life can be bought as easily as an amphora of wine. Captives, lawbreakers and any others wretched enough to fall afoul of the Great Realm are cast into slavery and fettered in the cells beneath the city before being dragged out onto the block. Amid bellowing shouts and abuse, the slaves are paraded like cattle before a mass of frenzied bidders. The strongest slaves fetch great sums as the Masters of the gladiator academies vie to outbid one another for those they can train as warriors. Should their fortunes wane, some Masters come to the slave markets to sell their gladiators, and many a prize warrior has been chained and hauled onto the block for his master’s gloating rivals to purchase.
One is not limited to one gladiator either, as a Master of your own school you are looking to build your school up and increase its power by bringing more gladiators under your roof and you’ll want to do this as it means more fortune and fame for you and your school. Upgrading ones barracks allows you to own multiple gladiators with different fighting styles and skill sets and employ hundreds of different weapons and armor.
Slaves For Sale
At the Slave Market, players purchase slaves who will then be trained as gladiators and used in the arena. This is where character creation begins. Those found at the Slave Market are lawless men who were deemed unacceptable in society or prisoners of war from the many battles that take place in the Great Realm. As a Master, you will be given the opportunity to bid on these slaves and with a little luck get filthy rich from their victories in the arena. If your purchase turns out to be a bad investment, turning little profit, you can return to the Slave Market where you may sell him and find another.
Upon your first sign in, you are introduced to one of your servants who serves as a means to help you throughout the game and guide you through the tutorial which is much appreciated. Your servant has already been at the Slave Market and has picked out a strong slave for you to being with. You are then presented with a few choices and colorful descriptions of each gladiator specialty (specialties are liken to classes in many games) and then all that is left is to give your future champion a name and a name for your gladiatorial school. Upon completion, you are taken directly to your school where you have easy access to all of your new gladiator’s stats.
Weapons and Skill Will Pay the Bills
Next you will outfit your gladiator with armor and weapons then determine a fight strategy or game plan for him to use in the arena against other gladiators. The fight strategy is central to a gladiator and is where much of your gladiator’s success or failure will stem from. A good strategy will yield numerous victories, a bad one will see his rankings fall along with your fortunes. Next you’ll need to start choosing skills to train in. Each specialty has their own set of skills to choose from, however, you are allowed to pull from other skill trees as well with the exception of some skills being restricted to only gladiators of that specialty. Those of you familiar with World of Warcraft will immediately be at home with the UI. There are many skills to choose from and as a result numerous combinations of builds possible. Your starting gladiator has 10 points to spend and only the first few tiers of skills are available to you thus beginning the enjoyable character building journey experienced in many a RPG game.
As a manager, your character is also the master of your own school. This school’s purpose is to train your slaves and push them to their breaking point with the objective being to make them the most fearsome and deadly monsters on the face of the earth. This is where your slaves either become gladiators or go back to the Slave Market. Unfortunately the extent of “training” your gladiator is a point and click of your mouse. There is no actual training, no real-time combat.
There are several schools from which players may choose from for their gladiator. These include: Rage, War, and Theatrics.
- Rage – Blood and mutilation is all that matters to one trained in the arts of Rage. Driven to heights of frenzy beyond comprehension, they know no fear, care nothing for their own survival and live only to destroy their opponents in the bloodiest manner possible.
- War – The armies of the Great Realm send the very best of their soldiers to be trained by the Warmasters of this specialty. Disciplined, professional and utterly ruthless, those inducted into the arts of War are without mercy on the battlefield. Their heavy armor and defensive abilities make them a great choice for a tank.
- Theatrics – The adulation of the crowd is addictive, and warriors who crave the screaming yells of bloodlust know it is not enough simply to kill an opponent. An enemy must be defeated with horrible invention and theatrical flourish. Sublimely talented, these warriors combine incredible skill with an eye to slaying their opponent in a manner that pleases the crowd’s insatiable appetite for inventive death. Skilled in both offense and defense they make a great hybrid class.
Next you’ll enter the arena and see if your new recruit and your careful choices will pay off. After being matched up with an opponent the fight strategy that you designed earlier is put to the test. Pit of War is not a twitch game ala a FPS or a traditional MMO like World of Warcraft, at its heart it is a strategy game and management sim where all your choices matter and skill is rewarded. Fights take the form of narrative stories full of colorful expressions and gruesome graphics of gladiators being smashed, slashed and torn asunder. For those who enjoy the mental battle that takes place in a chess match or even in many strategic MMOs, you will not be disappointed at all by the depth you will find here and for those of you who like something a bit lighter you may still find yourself get sucked into this world of blood, sand and thunderous applause.
The Great Bank
Like most other MMOs, Pit of War comes complete with a cash shop, but the cash shop works a bit differently in PoW. One first must exchange real world money for trophies, or use trialpay options to earn trophies, trophies being the games virtual currency. Trophies can also be gotten once per day by exchanging gold at the bank. This was a pleasant surprise and very generous as it is almost unheard of in many Free-to-play games to have the ability to convert regular currency into the games premium currency. Through this mechanism alone the free player is able to save up and get items and upgrades that would have otherwise been unavailable to them.
Once a manager has his hands on some Trophies he can use these for a variety of upgrades for his gladiatorial school, like improving the armory thus unlocking more weapons and armor to use or hiring a doctor to help prevent serious injuries that take multiple days to heal on their own. Trophies also allow you to visit the Blacksmith and buy his wares and even enter into the Blacksmith’s back room, called the Chamber of Power where weapons and armor of great power are kept. While the items found in the Chamber of Power are magical and unique, they by no means give the buyer an unfair advantage that can’t be mitigated by skill.
A Place for Wine and Wenches!
Visiting the Tavern is not just an opportunity for a fresh cold one, but here is a chance to earn some cold hard gold, and also tune your strategies for the days more important battles in the arena. Shady characters gather here looking for hired help. Once you head to the tavern you have the ability to loan out your gladiators to run missions for gold and experience. Each mission has danger associated with it and can even lead to death. As your gladiator progresses the missions will gain in reward. Each mission also has the chance to provide your gladiator with item drops and rewards. Choose wisely and use these quests as an opportunity to fine tune your strategies against the weaker foes, so your men are prepared for the brutes of the arena.
The Final Word
To say that Pit of War is a game for everyone would be a lie. Pit of War is meant for those who are looking for a strategy and cerebral challenge that isn’t present in many of the mindless button mashing MMOs on the market today. Upon initial sign-up, gameplay only took a few minutes and then I was longing for more things to do. Fights in the arena take place twice a day, but there are still other things you can do and word is an expansion is already on the way which will greatly expand the number of things one can do at any given time. Pit of War is something you’ll look forward to logging into in the morning to see how your gladiator did during the previous night’s battles and than again later in the day to see how they fought in that day’s battles. Soon, you’ll start checking your rankings, looking at scouting reports on potential matchups and discussing strategy over lunch with your friends. As an added bonus you are able to play the game using the browser in your smart phone which is great when you realized you forgot something when you were at your computer and now when you are out and about you can pop into the game via your phone do a few things and then log out.
Graphically the game looks amazing and the attention to artworks detail is something to be commended, including a phenomenal home page, your expectations are set high. Reading through all of the game descriptions, you are given a sense of depth. I believe the games developers planned to limit the amount of actual activity. Giving you a great looking game, with tons of depth, but acting as a filler to your gaming day, not a staple. If you are looking for a game that truly has amazing depth, right down to each individual line of each fight, and will not create such a time sink that your friends will wonder where you disappeared to, give Pit of War a try, your brain may just thank you.