Developed by Splash Damage under the supervision of id Software, Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars (ETQW) is the spiritual successor to the free multiplayer game Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory released back in 2003. ETQW is set roughly fifty years into the future during the Strogg’s initial invasion of planet Earth. The Strogg are the antagonist race featured in the Quake 2 and Quake 4 games. ETQW then serves as a prequel to these games telling how the human race, led by the Global Defence Force (GDF), repelled Strogg’s attack on our planet.

Core Gameplay

The Enemy Territory (ET) franchise’s key gameplay is objective-driven that two teams of varied classes try to accomplish during a match. In the default game mode, you gain experience for completing team-oriented goals. These range from completing an objective (blowing up the bridge) to team support (making sure your team mates are stocked with ammo). A certain number of experience points grants you a new character level unlocking special abilities or weapons. After the default 3 map-campaign, the experience points reset and everyone starts again on a new campaign.

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If Wolfenstein is any indication there will be many servers running larger map campaigns or even disabling the XP reset switch so that players can keep their unlocks for weeks or even months. The goal of the developers with the XP reset is to prevent people that buy the game 6 months after release being completely slaughtered by seasoned players that have better gear because they lack a social life.

Since it is objective-driven ET can be both easier and harder to play. It’s harder because knowledge of the maps makes a much bigger difference than in Death Match or flag capturing type games and it’s easier because once you do learn the map you don’t have to look for people to fight; the fight comes to you. Because both teams will be focused around objectives, fire fights are much more intense, chaotic and exhilarating. With almost everyone on your team right next to you when you try to conquer an objective the game feels more like a war instead of the usual three or four guys firing at each other in other games that promote spreading across the battlefield.

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ETQW, like its predecessor, is fast paced, unrelenting and unforgiving. If you prefer slower moving games like Battlefield or long-lasting duels as in recent Quake games then you’ll have to adapt. ETQW’s core tactics promote thinking on your feat, a good aim, and a good mental overview of the battle. If you try to bide your time you’ll find your timing always off but if you decide to Rambo-rush the enemy without a coordinated strategy it’s going to be hard getting past your first kill.

Rather than just promoting it, ETQW demands teamwork to win. The game has five available classes in both teams which would take many pages to fully detail so I’ll just give two examples: the engineer repairs vehicles, deployables and constructs certain objectives while the covert ops hacks deployables and objectives and infiltrates the enemy ranks. The best strategies make use of all five classes though because of the objective system at any given time one class may be more important than the rest so there’s a degree of management that has to occur if teams want to maximize efficacy.