Demitrius Berkley-Thomas On May 4, 2010 at 11:45 am

Lord of Ultima, made by EA’s Phenomic Studio, is a browser-based free to play MMO RTS that throws players into a broken land with a fresh city. There are dungeons to be explored and raided and dragons to be defeated for powerful artifacts and treasure. Player’s interaction with each other is also an important part of the game play. Find out in this review if this game adds up or is just another browser-based game to avoid.

The game starts out with a tutorial from a chick that looks like Padme Amidala from the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. She starts off by telling you about collecting resources such as; wood, stone, iron, food and money, and then using those resources to build structures and units. Lord of Ultima has most of the basic RTS resource gathering and spending elements, except here you can trade resources if you have too much of one or just need more of another. The game randomly places your city on the continent in an empty spot, so you can end up right in between a bunch of cities or out all alone. Most of the time your city will be next to some water so you can trade or send warships through water, but sometimes your city will be landlocked and you will not have access to harbors or shipyards. If this happens then the city is safe from being attacked by water but it will make trading with cities that also have harbors take a lot longer. When you start out your city is pretty empty except for the randomly generated resources where you build places to harvest them. The player’s level is determined by their title and score, which increase as the player improves their city and army. The tutorial is actually very helpful and shows players how to do most things they’ll eventually do. After the tutorial the player will have quests, which are just basic landmarks such as building 50 buildings or having an army size of 100.

Buildings are very important and you will almost never stop building and upgrading unless you run out of resources. Buildings are constructed and upgraded pretty fast in the first few levels but eventually everything will start taking a long time to build. A lot of times you will end up just logging in before going to bed and queuing up a few building orders so when you wake up at least some stuff will be done. There are buildings for collecting resources, building certain types units, hiding resources in case a player is plundered and ones that increase resource collections, building and recruiting speed. At the beginning building placement might not be so important but later on you’ll be reaching the maximum limit of buildings. There are also towers and traps that can be built along city walls to help with city defense and also makes it look cooler.

Units include infantry, cavalry, casters, blessed units, siege engines and ships. Infantry units are basic ground units like berserkers and rangers that move at a normal speed and are the easiest to recruit. Cavalry are mounted units that can get from one location to another faster and are good for sending to support a friend or alliance member in need. Casters are strong units that are really good against infantry and cavalry. Blessed units are really strong against casters and decent against other units but are pretty expensive and also include the Baron, which is needed to take over other cities and found new ones. Siege engines and ships are the most expensive units and are only used for attacking other cities. There are a total of 18 units and while some people may think that is not enough it seems like the perfect amount of units.

A very important part of the game is the Alliance system, which is like a guild in other games. Alliances allow players to group up and watch out for each other and keep track of enemies. The diplomacy between different alliances and players was actually a surprise to me and I didn’t think the game could be so political. There could be allied alliances, non-aggression pacts and enemies that can be seen from the Alliance menu. There were a lot of big alliances allying with other big alliances that they perceive as threats and smaller alliances banding together to stay protected from the bigger ones. Alliances also have a chat channel and an Alliance forum which is very helpful, eliminates the need for a guild site like other games.

Players can raid dungeons, attack dragons and attack other cities. Raiding dungeons are useful for getting extra resources and are spread out and respawn randomly throughout the region. Dragons also spawn randomly and drop powerful items that player’s can use. The last thing a player will be doing is attacking other cities, which takes a while to prepare for. Each player is given a one week protection period when they start so they have enough time to prepare their defenses but after that their resources can be plundered by other players. After building a castle a player can attack and take over another city if they also have a Baron. While a castle will enable a player to take over another city it also allows other players to attempt to take over their city. An attack on a city goes on in waves after the attacker chooses how many units to send and goes on until one person runs out of units.

While Lord of Ultima is a free to play game there are items that can be purchased with cash. While in most games the items purchased with cash wouldn’t give one person a much bigger advantage over a non paying player the items can actually make a big difference. It makes the cash you spend actually feel worthwhile and not a waste of money, though there is a limit to how many items a person can use at once with mana but that regenerates over time. A player that doesn’t pay for items can do perfectly fine though and have a very enjoyable time. Items are also available to obtain for completing quests but that is far and few between. On top of items that can be bought with cash a player can also buy ministers, which increases building and recruitment queues and can do things for the player while they’re gone. A war minister can alert a player’s alliance if they are being attacked so if a player is away for a time they don’t have to worry about coming back to a destroyed town.

In the age of increasing amounts of online multiplayer browser games, some decent but most not being good, Lord of Ultima is the first one I’d call a good game. Not just, “good for a browser game,” but a good video game. The game is easy enough to get into and is addictive enough to have you checking back up on your city every few hours seeing how your dungeon raid went or if someone traded you back some iron. It is free and I would definitely recommend it to anyone even slightly interested in it.


While at times slow, this game is addictive and fun and will have you thinking about your strategy long after you’ve logged off. While attacking other cities is fun you can also get a lot out of trading and being political with other players.


The graphics are very basic but solid and decent for a browser based game. I did experience some performance issues with lag and slowdown most of the time I was playing.


There is no sound in this game. While to some people that would be a definite turn off I actually enjoyed it since in most RTS games I end up getting annoyed with the voices and the sounds.


Although the game can be very strategic and complicated, the tutorial helps out a lot and makes the game understandable and easy for an RTS noob like me to get into.

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