Ecol Tactics Online, a fun tactical MMORPG, has opened its door to everyone. With internet connection and a simple registration, you are entering an isometric world where evil creatures threaten the beauty and peace of the small town in daylight. Come to the fantastic land and do something wonderful and exciting!

You come to this land as an innocent child who runs into a dangerous monster but is rescued by four mercenaries timely. You are amazed by their heroic prowess and so determined to be a mercenary yourself. In this way, you start your hard training and a worthy life that brings happiness and blessings to the town. And in this way, the main storyline evolves bringing new battles and offering a motivation to do so.

In-game battles are tactical and turn-based. In every map, you can preview your enemy types and outlay, and then position your character and hired mercenaries in the starting squares (usually at one corner or side of the map). Battle starts immediately. All units in the battle take their turns to move or/and attack, when the sword marker is above their heads. Battlefield is grid-like, while ach unit has its own moving/attacking ranges limited by the blue/red squares. And each unit in its turn can only move once and attack one time basically, with the option of staying still for tactical needs.

After a couple of battles you will pick up the basic mechanics and meanwhile come to realize there are more exciting features to learn and master. As in most games, you need to take quests from the NPCs in town, then go outside to the wilderness for a good fight, and return reporting to the NPCs to claim rewards. Unlike most strategy games, the different locations on the wild map are not for one-time challenge. Instead, they show up different themes and battlefields once a corresponding main story quest is accepted, albeit with the free trial option always available (yet seldom with good results especially for low level players).

The initial quests are really important because it’s rewarding. Completing them will offer you various gears, items and different weapons, the much needed stuff that helps you through the upcoming challenge. As you busily shuffle between town and wilderness, you can earn experience, gold, gears, items, M-tickets, etc. in battle and from NPCs, which allow you to level up the character and also hire extra hands to battle. You fight as a lone wolf in the beginning, but will be able to hire mercenaries when you get gold and M-tickets.

There are four types of base mercenaries including Fighters, Clerics, Archers and Mages. They fill into the standard archetype as in any role-playing game with their typical skills, play styles plus move/attack range in this game. Besides, every class has its own Elite version known as Warriors, Priests, Rangers and Sorcerers respectively with two advanced jobs in branch. For example, rangers can be either Snipers that fire really far or Breakers who can stop enemies from staying buffed; and sorcerers can be either Soul Master to deal destructive power or Warlock to drain enemy’s life. When you have enough gold or tickets, you can start hiring elite mercs and draw upon their strength the normal mercs don’t possess. Of course, that also means another layer of strategy to deploy to battle.

As to your own character, it is the best because it can be any of the four classes. In the game, you start in default as a fighter, swords in hand, but you can shift into other play styles – just get the right weapon and skill stone (and you will get them by questing), put them on, and, ta-da, you turn into a different fighter. Do remember to change the skill stone, for the skills won’t change automatically with the weapon.

From Merc types and skills to the varied attack/move ranges, they are important components of tactics, but not all available. There are Combos, too. You can create and master various Combos simply by trying different battle formations with teammates. When you confront an enemy with a teammate behind it, you will get a rear support combo that allows your teammate to attack simultaneously in your turn. When you attack with two teammates behind you in a line, you create a powerful Knockback combo that can push foes as far as three spaces away. Moreover, in different battle landscape, you can make combos by using the environment.

The variety of maps is plentiful. You have forests, meadows, mountains, pits, etc. as backdrop, unfolding different landscapes from normal land to water, lava and ice, to name a few. And different landscapes have different effects, such as half range in water or swamp and fiery hurt in lava. Sometimes, these will affect combos as well. For example, if you fight on Ice, a normal attack will generate the push-back effect one square away. Under this circumstance, a teammate one space away behind can help achieve a knockback/backstab combo.

Simply put, Ecol Tactics Online is really fun. The aforementioned is only a scratch of the immersive gameplay. There is also the duel between players, party exploration, crafting system, mini-map hints and so on to make the game an enjoyable experience. It’s beautifully crafted with solid tactical core. It’s recommended.