As skeptical as I was due to the cleavage-laden ads, after seeing a friend playing, I thought I would give Evony a shot, and I like it quite a bit more than I had expected.
Having been a veteran of various other nation-builder games, the concepts that Evony threw at me were nothing new. That's not to say, however, that it was a bad game because of its similarities...in fact, I would say, if anything, that I like it more for those similarities and how well they are executed compared to other games in the genre.
Another thing I like about Evony are the new options given to their players, such as the ability to teleport out of a given area and move to where friends or their alliance are, and the ability to halt attacks and reward your heroes with items that you can acquire through gameplay or buy with Cents, which serve the same as Gold or other premium bonuses offered in games.
Indeed, you can purchase Cents and various Packages of items that are packed full of useful goodies that do anything from let you participate in chat, to hastening building completion or any number of other things. Unlike many other games, also, Evony offers special deals now and then that are really appealing to those who might not have the 20 or 30 extra dollars...right now there's a featured special that gives you 250 game Cents for just $5 USD! That's 5 times cheaper than normal price.
That also having been said, I've yet to spend any real money on the game, and I haven't felt that I'm playing catch-up one minute of it. One of the best features of Evony, and one I want to draw special attention to, is the addition of quests (also called Beginner's Quests, but many of them carry on for quite some time.) Quests are, if you wish to follow them, a great way to ramp into the game and get a jump-start on building prestige, population, rank, and resources...the four most important things to keep raising in the game, other than an army and defenses.
These quests reward players for completing something as simple as raising food or wood production, expanding one's territory by upgrading parts of your city or conquering valleys and cities, and completing researches in the Academy that aid in almost everything a Lord, the game's name for players, need in order to further your city-states in-game.
In all, I would say Evony is one of the best in its genre, and definitely the best free game that I have played in the genre. The fact that the game feels like it's "paying" you just for playing in the form of freebies and rewards to be had daily makes it a game that people will want to play, and who will likely come back to it if they ever leave. Many I have talked to agree with me on these points, but I invite all who are curious to join us on Evony.
You can find David (Shulsen) and I (Rikus) on Server 65 in the state of Lombardy. If you decide to join, message us and we'll get you in our alliance, Pentad.