I played this game when it came out of the beta on one of the first worlds, I just recently came back to see how it developed and whether they worked on anything.
On the bright side, it's a fun MMORTS, it's very slow paced and it takes knowledge to be excellt. Teamwork is huge, and you'll find large houses (aka "guilds") battling over terroity, it can get you hooked for a while, but overall I'd not recommend it, for various reasons:
Great concept, but lacking mechanics
This another bugger. The game gets very repitive very fast. You'll find yourself doing the same thing over and over and over, and it gets very tedius. Place the same buildings, send out traders evertime you login, scout resources, clearing some AIs.
The only variation you really get in this game is when going at war with other factions, it's pretty much the one thing that can really give excitement, and it's one of the strong points and while the mechanics are awefully similar, you still need to think about what you do in a war situation instead of just mindlessly sending attacks. If you play smart in war, you will survive.
Overall the concept is really nice, but after seeing how little was done with it, it's a bit say, it could have been a much better game.
Pay 2 Win
It's massively pay 2 win. Premium is cheap, and gives quite the advantage, you can do without, but it also means you don't have to babysit 24/7 just so you can get the next research or building.
This would also be bearable, but the real problem here are cards - while there are ingame systems to obtain cards, such as free cards every 12h (but ONLY after you paid TWICE), and some quests or raids on special AI castles that give you a chance at you card packs, people who just spent TONS of money can buy justwhatever they want.
The more people spend and use cards, the more massive their advantage become; if you bother to look at the maginitude of cards, you can see clearly how advantageous is this - 10x the production, 2x stronger defenses each, lots of instant troops, even instantly building castle defenes.
A good example of this how the most recent world 2 europe just started, and people reached rank 14 within an hour with the use of spamming cards, and the avarage player (even with some cards AND premium), can make it to rank 4 or 5 in the same time; the righer ranks take exceptionally longer to achieve, so the first few are easy, and it would usually take a few days to get to 14.
As I said I've been returning to this game. It was fun for a while, but after 3 years it was shocking to see how little was done to the game. What has changed in such a long time period? They added quests which give you a one time bonus, ears which are mostly just restarting a world with some slight modificiations and 2 new AI castle types.
Oh right, and don't forget that they existed even more pay to win cards. That's the most important part, they added tons and tons of even stronger cards, you can only recieve when you *BUY* card packs (or get really lucky when you find a card pack in game), the weaker card can be bought for card points, but the really strong ones only found.
It shows they only care about the p2w and money aspect of the game.
On the other hand, did anything in the gameplay evolve to make it fairer or improve it? Nope, nothing. Actually, the one change they made it made even worse, i.e. like captains (an extremly expensive unit) that now disappears after attacking other players.