End of Nations was originally showcased at last year's E3, but the final release is still up in the air. Nonetheless, the game looks pretty strong, as it should. Developer Petroglyph Games is comprised of former staff members from Westwood Studio, best known for the Command & Conquer and Dune games. I'm no RTS buff, but even I understand the kind of talent being brought to the table.
As mentioned last year, you can have fifty players in a single game battling against the main enemy, the Order of Nations. Thanks to the implementation of client-server technology, players can jump into a game at any time. Hopefully with this and other MMO-style features, both newcomers and seasoned RTS vets should feel welcome.
Before you embark on a mission, you get a chance to visit your armory. There, you can select a range of vehicles and troops to add to your load-out, trying to balance your squad's effectiveness against the cost of actually using them. There's also a degree of customization in which you can modify your units with add-ons. Continuing with the MMORPG features, you can expand your skills along talent trees, gaining new units and abilities depending on how you play.
Once a battle begins, it's business as usual. You assign specific units to groups, capture key locations in order to acquire war funds and energy, plant automated turrets for defense, and so on. Attacking your enemy isn't always as simple as hitting hard and fast -- you might have to target medic units that are repairing other vehicles. Again, not entirely unfamiliar territory for seasoned genre players.
One nifty feature is the ability to change the angle of your battlefield view. Whereas most RTS games only allow you to zoom in and out of a map while keeping an isometric perspective, End of Nations allows you to tilt the camera until you can see the horizon in the distance. Not only does this allow you to view the excellent in-game models in greater detail, it also allows you to see activity in the distance that you would otherwise not be able to without having to scroll the map or zoom extremely far out.
Despite my fear of micromanagement, I was having a good time with my playthrough. Granted, the reps granted me near infinite funds so I could drop nukes on my foes whenever I pleased. Didn't help me win, but I didn't lose either! If someone like me can somewhat handle himself, newbies should be able to pick up on the mechanics in no time at all.
End of Nations is looking pretty fresh and should satisfy your strategy desires when publisher Trion Worlds eventually drops on the PC.