Savage is a hybrid of the real-time strategy and first-person shooter genres, what S2 Games describes as a "Real-time Strategy Shooter," or RTSS. One player on each team plays as commander, with a top-down view typical of most real-time strategy games. The rest of the players on the team play as combat units on the battlefield, with either a third-person view for melee or most siege unit combat, and first-person view for ranged weapons. The goal of the game is to destroy the enemy headquarters, either the Humans' Stronghold or the Beasts' Lair. The game was made free to all as a promotion for its sequel, Savage 2: A Tortured Soul.
Eons from now, civilization is all but lost, and the humans roam in nomadic tribes, pillaging what is now known as Newerth (New Earth) for resources, paying no attention to the lost arts of science. The animals of the world have evolved as well, gaining intelligence similar to that of humans. A brutal warlord's son, Jaraziah Grimm, reforms and regroups the tribes under a single banner, the banner of the Legion of Man, after his father disappears. He creates the Protocols of Grimm, a law declaring humans superior to beasts, and under his excellent leadership, leads a renaissance in both military and scientific fronts. Meanwhile, Jaraziah's youngest sister Ophelia sees good in the beasts. Her presence has the ability to tame animals, and she can communicate with them. She keeps her gifts a secret, while at the same time pressuring her brother to treat the beasts as equals, to make peace with them. Jaraziah outright refuses, and she becomes a pariah, kept inside her mother's home. She finally escapes after she watches in horror as a naive young beast attempts to return a flower she dropped, which then gets unmercifully slaughtered when noticed. After a good ten years, the Legion of Man finds the beasts mysteriously more organized and more advanced than they had expected, united under an unknown leader, prepared for open war.
The game has both RTS and FPS elements, and therefore the skill of both the commander and the players is important in determining the winner. If the commander is poor and wastes his money or researches unnecessary technologies, the team will likely lose no matter how good the players are. If the commander is good but the players can't aim, or make terrible tactical choices, that team will likely lose as well, although typically technologies are the overall determining factor in which players do better.
The game plays similarly to any other real-time strategy game. From a top-down perspective of the map, the commander builds structures, researches, and commands a small number of resource harvesters. However, he cannot directly build other units - these units are human-controlled, and while they may be commanded, there is no guarantee that they will obey. The commander can promote a small number of human players to officers, who have a number of positive area effects as well as being an impromptu squad leader. The commander also approves the other players' loadout costs if the player himself does not have enough gold to pay for his chosen loadout.
The Beast commander also has a limited number of special powers he may use. The Portal power creates a temporary portal that allows players to jump between points. The Fire Shield power makes melee attackers of the shielded unit take damage. The Mana Restore power restores a beast's mana reserve.
The commander may be impeached by popular vote, typically if he is a poor commander or makes unpopular command decisions.
The players act as agents of destruction, attempting to prevent the enemy from reaching their base and sub-bases, as well as taking over tactical locations like spawn flags and chokepoints. The players themselves choose what type of unit they would like to spawn as as well as what items they would like in their loadout, and as long as they or their commander has enough gold, may spawn as such.
Each team starts with a headquarters, a Stronghold in the case of the Humans, and a Lair in the case of the Beasts. These may be upgraded to allow tech tree expansion into better units and weapons in each technology. Also, when a building for a specific technology is lost, the ability to spawn with or resupply those weapons is also lost.
Tech Tree Structures
- Arsenal - Weapon upgrade center. Can upgrade bow and arrow technologies as well as special weapons. Requires other specialized buildings for research into other technology specializations.
- Chemical Factorium - Unlocks the chemical (explosive) weapons branch.
- Electrical Factorium - Unlocks the electrical weapons branch.
- Magnetic Factorium - Unlocks the magnetic weapons branch.
- Seige Workshop - Unlocks the seige weapons branch.
- Monastery - Unlocks the Chaplain, who may heal and revive friendly units.
- Arrow Tower - Automatically fires arrows at nearby enemy troops.
- Mortar Tower - Upgrade to the Arrow Tower, fires explosive glass and chemical mortars automatically at nearby enemy troops.
- Shield Tower - Casts a large magnetic shield that protects units and structures inside it from damage.
- Electric Tower - Actively destroy incoming projectiles.
- Garrison - Forward spawn and resource drop-off point.
Tech Tree Structures
- Nexus - Melee upgrade center.
- Arcanum - Special weapons (relics) upgrade center.
- Entropy Shrine - Unlocks weapons that unleash the power of Earth and stone.
- Fire Shrine - Unlocks weapons that unleash the power of fire.
- Strata Shrine - Unlocks weapons that unleash the power of wind and lightning.
- Charm Shrine - Unlocks the seige units.
- Sanctuary - Unlocks the Shaman, who may heal and revive friendly units.
- Defensive Spire - Automatically fires bolts of raw magical energy at nearby enemy troops.
- Fire Spire - Automatically fires balls of fire at nearby enemy troops.
- Strata Spire - Actively destroys incoming projectiles.
- Entropy Spire - Regenerates nearby structures and units.
- Sub-lair - Forward spawn and resource drop-off point.
Both teams get Workers, non-playable computer-controlled units which gather resources and build or repair structures as the commander decides. All units may contribute to resource gathering and structure building and repair by attacking the resource point or structure with their melee weapons.
- Nomad - Basic, free unit. Relatively fast melee attacks and average health.
- Savage - Cheapest non-basic unit, higher health and higher melee damage than the Nomad.
- Legionnaire - Expensive, heavy duty warrior, has a high amount of health and a high-damage but slow melee attack.
- Chaplain - Can heal hurt players at range and can revive fallen ones by standing over their body and performing a ritual.
- Ballista - A large bolt-launching weapon with explosive splash damage and a short travel time. Good against structures and infantry.
- Catapult - Launches stones great distances in an arc, allowing for a slower but indirect attack. Good against structures, and infantry if aimed properly.
- All of these units have a special lunge ability that allows them to travel quickly or close distances with an enemy.
- Scavenger - Basic, free unit. Relatively fast melee attacks and average health.
- Stalker - Cheapest non-basic unit of feline ancestry. Has higher health and higher melee damage than the Scavenger.
- Predator - Expensive, heavy duty warrior, has a high amount of health and a high-damage but slow melee attack.
- Shaman - Can heal hurt players at range and can revive fallen ones by standing over their body and performing a ritual.
- Summoner - A gaunt caster with a small jump. Very low health and easy to kill, but do high amounts of ranged damage and do not have limited mana. Devastating against infantry, reasonable against structures.
- Behemoth - A giant beast descended from elephants, this creature wields an uprooted tree as a club. Slow, noisy, and obvious, but heavy on health and damage, a rush of these can mean total devastation for the enemy team. Infantry turn into baseballs and buildings to rubble.
Weapons and Accessories
This does not include melee weapons as these are tied to the units and have already been mentioned there, but does include melee improvements as those are the Beast equivalent of the Bows branch.
All Human weapons are limited by the amount of ammunition carried.
- Hunting Bow - Typical bow and arrow, has a low damage arcing projectile.
- Crossbow - A crossbow, but relatively fast to load for a crossbow; fires in less of an arc for more damage than the Hunting Bow
- Marksman Bow - A pair of bows attatched to each other to form an X shape, giving the bow more resistance and power. The arrow flies completely straight and the user may zoom in to get a better long-range shot.
- Scattergun - Fires metal shot in a cone. Can be highly effective at close range.
- Repeater - Fires metal slugs relatively accurately at a rapid rate.
- Coil Rifle - Fires a metal dart accurately at high speed. Can zoom in for sniping.
- Discharger - Fires a pre-charged bolt of lightning into a single energy. The longer the charge, the more lethal.
- Flux Gun - Fires a constant beam of electrical energy. This weapon makes it easy to track and lock onto a target, even at medium range, making for easy kills if not overwhelmed.
- Pulse Cannon - Fires an area-of-effect disruption and damage rapidly.
- Incinerator - The classic flamethrower, good at close range against units and structures.
- Mortar - Fires glass mortars filled with incindiary chemicals in a short range arc, hitting for a damaging area of effect.
- Launcher - More powerful version of the Mortar.
- Med Pack - Heals the player that uses it.
- Ammo Pack - Increases the amount of ammo in reserve.
- Mine - An above-ground chemical explosive mine that detonates when encroached upon by the enemy.
- Demo Pack - A large chemical explosive demolition pack which deals massive damage if it is allowed to detonate. Has telltale green smoke when set, which changes to black if close to detonating.
- Immobilizer - Freezes enemy units in place temporarily.
- Sensor - Remote surveillance device, allows the commander and players to see an area even when there are no players nearby.
- Disruptor - Fires an electric pulse that disables structures and destroys Mines and Fire Wards.
- Relocator - Teleports the user back to the Stronghold instantly.
All beast weapons are limited by the amount of Mana possessed, although the Mana Crystal regenerates it slowly, and mana bonuses may be collected from slain enemies.
- Venomous - Deals damage over time to an enemy unit temporarily after they are hit by the player's melee attack.
- Carnivorous - The player's melee attack heals him for a small amount each hit.
- Ember - A small fire projectile that bursts into flames on impact.
- Blaze - Short range streaming/repeating fire attack that lights its target on fire.
- Fireball - Launches a fireball that increases in power the longer it is charged up.
- Frost Bolts - Fires a shotgun-like cone of ice crystals.
- Tempest - Creates a small storm of lightning and hail at the target location.
- Lightning - Call down a bolt of lightning at the target. Deadly, and can be used well as a sniper weapon. Also does not reveal the caster's location.
- Chaos Bolt - Strikes any enemies that the projectile gets near.
- Surge - A continuous stream of energy.
- Rupture - Area of effect damage by focusing on the ground near an enemy.
- Mana Crystal - Slowly regenerates player mana, giving him more ammunition for ranged weapons.
- Frenzy - Single-use crystal that causes stamina to quickly regenerate for a short period. Good for melee combat.
- Sixth Sense - Points out nearby enemies with a beam of light above their head, even if they are otherwise hidden.
- Snare - Freezes enemy units in place temporarily.
- Sacrifice - Destroy oneself in an explosion of fire, doing a large amount of damage to structures and bystanders.
- Storm Shield - Prevents area of effect damage.
- Mist Shroud - Cloaks the user, making them hard to spot.