Savage 2 is a free to play MMO launched by S2 Games on January 16, 2008. The game is a sequel to Savage: The Battle for Newerth and offers elements of FPS, RTS, and of course, RPG style gameplay. The premise is centered around the battle between the game’s two main factions, which are the Legion of Man and the Beast Horde. Teams meet on a large playing field, where they will do battle, and when the enemy command center is destroyed, the game is over.
Savage 2 is different than many MMO games in that it is not a persistent and fluid environment. There is no questing and grinding for levels, but instead a battle system. There are also paid options for those who are looking to really get the most options, as they offer expanded choices such as more powerful weapons. With that said, however, the game is fully playable and winnable in the freeware version.
There are a total of eighteen classes on offer in Savage 2, and they are pretty cut and dry. While many games with such a wide variety of classes end up giving players the ability to essentially own anyone they face with the right player lineup, Savage 2 does a good job of keeping the playing field fairly even. Each class has its own special ability, yet no single option is so overpowered that it renders another useless.
Each team will have a commander. It is this payer’s job to view the game in real-time and to build towers, expand technology, and cast spells to help team members. Everyone else in the group will assume the role of one of the soldiers, whether as magic, melee, or ranged DPS. These players defend the base, get rid of mines, and work to destroy the base of the enemy.
Fighting in the game is fairly easy, and to make it easier, the game begins with a fairly well designed tutorial. There are really three options when it comes to melee attacking, which is to use the main attack button to swing the sword, use the middle mouse button to block, or use the charge meter to dodge or sprint. The latter two options use meters that fill and drain according to whether you are landing successful blows and if you are being hit by the enemy.
In addition to healing and even resurrection abilities by certain players (the rez ability goes to the Shammy), the game also offers the ability to carry around a small inventory of items that can help you improve your gameplay and stay on the field of battle a while longer. Health potions and better armor are pretty standard for any game, but there are other items that can be carried as well, including items that grant better bonuses. For freeplay characters, inventory is limited, but the ten dollar premium fee offers better options.
One benefit that Savage 2 offers over many games in the MMO genre is that skill really is the biggest factor of all. While characters are able to level up, a player of the highest level still needs to worry about that low level toon walking up. With this game, high level doesn’t carry the same advantages that it does in, say, World of Warcraft, and a skilled low level toon can easily take out a level 10 character.
Another benefit of Savage 2 is that it has a built in mechanic that helps them find cheaters and people who exploit the game’s code, a notorious problem in the freeware community. The game has a built in replay feature that can be watched online, and when a player feels that another cheated, they can use this feature to seek out abnormalities in the code.
There are a number of maps to play in this game as well, which keeps it from ever really getting stale. Much in the same vein as Warcraft 3, players can also use the map editor to create their own maps or gameplay options. This feature even allows for the addition of new scripts and events to really create a unique gameplay environment tailored to the player’s own unique tastes.
The Final Word
Ultimately, Savage 2 is a surprisingly well designed game. It has appeal to new and veteran MMO players alike. New players will find that the easy combat controls and the well designed tutorial make it easy to jump right in, while the class and level balances keep them from just getting ganked by high level players all day. Higher level players, on the other hand, will enjoy being able to view their stats in the games tracking system and to compare themselves on the player ladder to others in the game. Skill is certainly more important than ping time here, and that is one advantage that anyone who has ever played the average MMO will be thankful for.
At the end of the day, Savage 2 is just a well designed and well executed video game. The graphics are smooth, the options are diverse, and the gameplay is simply fantastic. It offers a great deal of fun without the “just one more quest” time-sucking factor that plagues most MMO games. The freeplay version offers ample options, and the premium is incredibly inexpensive, meaning that even if you do decide to make the upgrade, you won’t be set back a considerable sum every month in order to enjoy the best the game has to offer.