The WorldShift Open Beta has been going on for a while now, but I thought I'd post here in case anyone is interested. WorldShift is an RTS game that has also been compared to an RPG in that you collect items (artifacts) and develop a skill tree that help you in the game.
There are three game modes. The first is Missions, a single player campaign that is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which there are three factions -- humans, tribes (mutants), and cult (aliens) (Starcraft anyone?). You get to play as some combination of the three throughout the campaign, which is admitedly a bit short. The better part of the gameplay is in the other two game modes, in which you can select a faction to play as. Deathmatch, which can be 1v1, 2v2, or 3v3 (with the option to arrange teams in the latter two) is a lot of fun, and is reminiscant of Starcraft PvP. The third game mode is Locations. This has been compared to WoW raids, albeit on a smaller scale. You team up with two (sometimes one) other players and battle out a variety of scenarios usually culminating in killing boss(es).
The Missions give you items to get started out, and you get better items as the campaign progresses. In Deathmatch, you can find some items on the battlefield, but you're also able to buy items using battlepoints earned by winning DMs. The bosses in Locations also drop items, quality depending on the scenario/boss and map difficulty levels.
Your units have a variety of skills and special abilities themselves, and battles require a lot of strategy as far as determing tactics to defeat other players in DM and in roles to be played in Locations.
Overall, I've found the game to be a lot of fun. As it's still in beta mode, they're still working on balancing issues and such and working some bugs out, and the developers are very receptive to input and feedback. I'm not sure whether I'll be buying the game when it comes out, but it's definately worth playing while it's free. Check it out at worldshift-game.com.
Any game that requires real-time strategy and planning, from StarCraft to Age of Empires to Chess can be discussed here.
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