Forest_POC.jpgThe Ember Conflict is a competitive, free to play RTS currently in development for mobile platforms. IndieGames first covered the game in January, at which time developer Substantial Games shared information about how the game will work and what direction they planned to take the game. Since then, they've run an alpha test in limited regions. Based on that, they've made a couple of substantial changes (no pun intended) to the game, which is now due for release around March or April of next year.

Substantial Games is trying to capture the things tabletop war gaming aficionados love about their army building games and cram them into short matches for The Ember Conflict. When they ran their alpha testing, however, they discovered that in spite of the effort that had gone into making their army building system flexible, in practice a match was over as soon as one side gained any tactical advantage, forcing players to play conservatively. Their recently announced changes are designed to give players more strategic options in both army building and during matches.

SpecializationLineup_3DRender.jpgThe biggest change is the addition of a reinforcements system. Where before players would take a four unit army into battle, they now choose six. Three of those will be deployed at the beginning of the match and the others will be deployed later at the player's discretion. Deploying reinforcements will cost resources from a pool that recharges over time during the match. Multiple units can be deployed as reinforcements at once if the player has enough resources, but they can also choose to spread deployment out.

Another pretty big change they have introduced is unit specializations. As the player uses units, they can be leveled up, gaining minor stat bonuses along the way. Upon hitting level 10, the units can be specialized to one of two more focused types. The unit specialization example on Substantial Games development blog is of a ranger getting upgraded to a longbow ranger, which does less damage but from longer range, or a crossbow ranger, which has shorter range and does greater damage.

RoadForest_Map.jpgSubstantial Games representative Xavier Rosee took care to point out that these are sidegrades, not upgrades, and that leveled units will not have great enough stat differences to make them significantly better than unleveled units. "Since we plan on going the e-sport route," he says, "balancing the game is our core priority." (Bolded and underlined is how he emphasized it in the email.)

The Ember Conflict is scheduled for beta release in limited regions in January with a full worldwide release planned for April.

[The Ember Conflict]