DescriptionOrda: Severnyi Veter, also known as Horde: The Northern Wind, is a real-time strategy game that is very similar to Warcraft II. It is set in the world of Semirechye (Russian for "Land of the Seven Rivers"), a medieval fantasy setting loosely based on Slavic folk tales, and the player, who takes on the role of a tribe leader, must build up settlements, explore and interact with his neighbours, and eventually uncover the main plot of the game. Unlike other RTS games, there are no missions; the world is divided into 9 large maps (in a 3x3 pattern) and the player's units can traverse between them at any time, given that the path between the two adjacent maps is not obstructed. Once the player's alter ego leader unit moves into a new map, control of the settlement and all remaining units in the previous map is relegated to the AI. There is a vague global goal of slaying the dragon, but as the game progresses, the player has to figure out how to find said dragon and deal with it, introducing a non-linear element to the gameplay.
There are detailed elements to the visual style and how it influences the gameplay. Buildings catch fire if attacked by flame weapons, such as lighted arrows or ballista bolts, as opposed to fire as a generic damage indicator. The flames may then spread to adjacent structures if the wind is blowing in that direction, thus causing a large fire in the settlement; forest fires are possible as well. Flags on all structures are animated, and are affected by changes in the direction of the wind; units leave tracks on sandy river banks etc. etc. Foot soldiers can move through the woods (at a lower speed than on open terrain), although it can become dangerous, as wolves and bears easily chew up a troop of inexperienced soldiers wandering in the forest.
The economy system is a bit more complicated than what is usually found in similar games. Generally, the player has to pay more attention to the management of their settlement, especially early on in the game. There are four types of resources: ore, wood, gold and population. The first three are collected in a regular way: workers chop down trees and carry sacks of gold and ore from the mines to the town centre. The only real difference is that the player must first construct a mine over a gold or ore deposit to be able to collect those resources. As for population, building farms in Horde does not increase the number of units that can be built or trained, but adds to the overall population growth in the settlement. Every time a worker or a soldier is trained he is recruited from the available population, making it a resource as well. The same goes for newly built structures (except farms), which require a varying number of people to operate them. Population also pays taxes (in all three other resources, not just gold), so the more populated a settlement is, the more resources the player can get. Some of the taxes are spent to pay salaries to the army and workers (this time only in gold). Tax collection and payments are done automatically.
Base construction can be described as a mixture between Warcraft and Command & Conquer. The player's castle functions both as a town hall and a construction yard, able, on one hand, to train workers and store resources, and to issue construction orders on the other. Once a building is placed down, it begins construction by itself, without the need for workers; the same goes for building repairs. All buildings, with the exception of mines and lumber mills, can only be constructed within a certain range of the castle. Some buildings like the barracks or the factory can somewhat expand this radius, but the size of the settlement is still limited. There can be one castle per map, and thus one settlement, although the player may destroy their current castle and build a new one elsewhere. However, in this case all the old buildings that remain outside the new castle's radius will be abandoned and will dilapidate slowly until completely destroyed.
When the player encounters other factions that populate the world, combat is not the only option. Every newly encountered nation is initially neutral towards the player. This status can be changed via the diplomacy option; the player can declare a war, propose an alliance, or surrender and become a vassal of an overwhelming opponent. Diplomacy options are limited but they are quite useful, as conflicts can be seldom resolved by complete decimation of an opponent. It is up to the player to experiment with different approaches and find out what fits best in each situation.
Battles, especially when they involve large numbers of units, are rather chaotic, as units often seem to ignore the player's orders in the heat of battle. Up to 400 units can be selected at a time, and group management is simplified by the ability to exclude entire unit types from a group by a mouse click. Units cannot be upgraded, but they will gain experience over time, making them stronger, more resistant and able to heal wounds.
While exploring the world, the player can find various items that are either quest- or story-related, or allow the use of special abilities like the summoning of magical allies, revealing parts of the map etc. On some maps, different creatures can be found that, upon their release, will either join the player or attack at random. In some places there are cryptic hints engraved in stones that should help the player in their quest; important information can also be obtained from ancient scrolls that are found in possession of some of the wizards.
- "Оpдa: Северный ветер" -- Russian spelling
- "Horde: The Northern Wind" -- Common title
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