Battleground Europe is a little known MMOG from Cornered Rat Software, Battleground Europe pits you against hundreds of other dedicated players who fight in a single arena across northern France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. The game has a multitude of distinctive WWII era equipment, from the Luger to the Enfield, the Sherman tank to the Tiger and Focker Wulf 190 to the distinctive Spitfire.
Battleground Europe boasts the largest game map of any game without zone lines, this allows a pilot to jump a plane in England and fly all the way too Germany, drop some bombs, turn around and fly back.
The game itself is played in campaign mode, campaigns can last as long as 80 days real time, it is a continually moving game, where people play it all around the world right around the clock.
Each campaign starts with the basic 1939 equipment. Not all equipment is modelled from the war, but there are enough pieces to keep any enthusiast happy. This equipment is divided up into brigades of infantry, or armour. These brigades are then placed on the map by the developers at the start of the campaign and when spawning is turned on, players can choose any equipment that are available (rank permitting) and drive, run or fly it where they want.
The objective of the game is to own the map to approximately 95%, with over ~600 towns/cities on the map, you have a lot of flag capturing to get through and battles over towns can last upwards of 6 to 7 hours real time, depending on how well people defend or attack.
At the granular level, Battleground Europe delivers a game where flag capturing will advance your army. Within each town there are a number of flag buildings that need to be captured spread out across the city, from as many as 30 flags to as little as 4 flags in smaller villages. Once all flags have been captured your side will then own the town. Flags are located at spawning depots and Army Bases. They can also be located at City objects like a city hall, a station or a warehouse of importance to the war effort. There are also Docks and Airbases where flags need to be captured, making cities and towns with airfields incredibly difficult to capture due to either a large expanse to cover or heavy fighter/bomber cover across the city.
Once a town is captured this would generally signal the end of the game. However, Battleground Europe has a strategic level that other games lack. Once a town has been captured the High Command then take over and start moving Brigades around to advance the army across the map.
There are two High Commands, Allies and Axis. Each side has its own Command structure from Commander in Chief (CinC), to Colonel. As a player of Battleground Europe, you can join the High Command after a set time playing the game, you will be given certain tools that allow you to make the strategic decisions for your fellow players. Being a part of the High Command structure is not to be taken lightly, your roll as a commanding officer can be make or break on your sides morale and potentially you could lose the war through a seemingly innocuous decision days earlier in the campaign.
If you’re not in the High Command you shouldn’t worry about the strategic level to start with, get down to putting your enemy face first in the dirt or blowing the top off his tank with whatever you have at hand.
On the left you will see a damage model example of a Char B1 BIS being hit from the right hand side by an HE/AP shell. The lines projecting from the tank are representative of how the shell that was fired enters the tank.
Each model is built up of many different rectangles, each of them representing a part of the vehicle, right down to where the vehicle operators would sit/stand within the tank.
The redder the rectangle on the tank the more susceptible to destruction the item is. As an example, at the top of this tank you will see 2 red rectangles where the tank tracks are located. A direct hit to either one of those with AP (Armour Piercing) or HE (High Explosive), would knock off the track and disable the tank. To the rear of the tank you can see the fuel tanks, back left.
Of course it’s not that easy to knock out a tank. Each part of the tank has the equivalent armour thickness at each point of the tank including the angle of the armour at that point that is equivalent to the real machine back in the 1940′s, making your shots count is important and not just being able to hit the tank, but knowing where to hit the tank is also important. Tanks don’t have hit points, so firing as many rounds of ammo at a tank won’t make it explode.
Of course the ground isn’t the only domain of this game. CRS originally came from the game Warbirds. As prominent fliers you can guess that the air game is an important part of the game and having friendly air over town when you are capturing it is important.
What this did was add another dimension to the game players could suddenly group up and arrive pretty much all at once and overwhelm a town and with coordination between the players on the ground and players in the air was to be a major factor for many months.
Battleground Europe has a good chance of increasing its stature in the coming months. They’re about to release a licensed version into China, something that has been in the pipes for over 12 months now. With increased revenue from the license the players hope that they pump the money back into the game and hire some much needed development talent to help the guys who are there at the moment.
The game is currently on cusp of version 1.30, a version that is earmarked as a stepping stone to delivering improved FPS and improved gaming enjoyment. With new planes and retexturing of large swathes of the game, fan boys all over the forums are fingers crossed that this will be a great step forward.