Warning: Savage 2 servers are no longer populated.
Savage 2: A Tortured Soul is S2 Games' second game released on 16 January 2008 and it isn't quite what you would expect from a sequel, as the game was remade from scratch. Most criticized by the Community was Savage 2 for no longer being an asymmetrically balanced game, which is the very core of the Savage gameplay asides from being an RTS/FPS hybrid. Despite of being promoted as an esports game, the Savage 2 clan scene didn't grow as expected. Despite of 2 content patches and a free-to-play week, Savage 2 died the first time around August 2008. S2 Games then changed the combat system, added new units and released Savage 2 as Free-to-Play in December 2008, with the option to buy Runes in-game influencing the gameplay. With the help of popular youtube reviewers and the publicity Newerth.com got with Savage XR, Savage 2 could hold its ground during the golden age of another 2 years (2009-2010) with a small, but healthy competitive community (comparable with Savage XR in 2015). In 2012 the US community died and servers weren't populated anymore around the clock. By the end of 2013 european servers were only populated for a short time in the evenings. In 2014 Savage 2 completely died off.
Play Savage XR Why don't we play Savage 2?
Savage 2 is an action RPG with virtually identical teams to choose from. The fundamental asymmetries and unique dynamics of the Savage 1 melee combat (what the Savage Community loves the most about Savage) were sacrificed for a polished, but comparatively uninspired and over-complicated combat system that is still fast and fun, but without all the hidden depth and learning curve. Unlike in Savage 1 where Beasts would mostly go melee and Humans ranged, Savage 2 has the emphasis set on melee only for both teams. Melee and ranged weapons deal much less damage and the attack speed is higher. As a consequence melee involves much more mouse clicking, running and chasing (instead of engaging fights), is more anticipation than perception based and more forgiving to misses and inattentiveness.
The commander in Savage 2 has a simplified economy and a lot fewer responsibilities, having no longer to deal with complex base layouts, tech trees, resource management and microing his AI-workers around like in Starcraft. Besides that, almost everything he has to do can also be done by the Builder class. The commander has mainly a supportive role like in Battlefield game series, giving buffs and debuffs to players.
While in Savage 1 action players had to keep resource management in mind and could freely choose and buy weapons and items from a huge loadout screen, in Savage 2 you now get almost all units for free while abilities and weapons are part of fixed unit classes without customization. To make up for that vast reduction of freedom, Savage 2 has introduced 3 race independent Hellbourne units and lots of new micro configuration (ability points, spells, items and runes) that don't define new game mechanics but slightly alter existing ones (buff or debuff hp, mana, armor, speed, stamina), so despite of providing no meaningful choices Savage 2 would still appear to be somewhat complex.
What Savage 2 does very well is everything to serve a competitive community: accurate skill rating, automatic replay recording, karma system, clan and competition management. But if you aren't much into MMO's and don't like the melee combat, then Savage 2 will most likely disappoint you. Because that's all it has to offer. The RTS mode is very basic and the FPS gameplay isn't really influential and satisfying. Savage 2 lacks maps and mods and the effects of gameplay choices are often superficial. It's no surprise the clan scene lost interest so fast. On top of that persistent pay-to-win items are a slap into the faces of the players.
A long story short: Savage 2 removes extremes, asymmetries, freedom, responsibilities and skill from the gameplay and fills up the remaining emptyness with loads of insignificant elements to deceive from the utter lack of interesting and varied gameplay mechanics. Savage 2 takes the safe middle of the road approach to appeal to the masses. It didn't adopt the boldness and epicness of the classic.
R.I.P. Savage 2. We will never forget what you've attempted to be!