State of the Game: Mostly MOBA

This week has been like any other week. I bounce around from game to game, and end up finding new stuff to play, and ways to avoid finishing things I’ve started. It’s a vicious cycle. Still, I manage to have fun and keep things fresh. I find having a small list of MOBAs and Rogue-likes to play is a good practice, because it gives you something to do in short bursts, for the in-betweens in life. It also keeps any one game from getting boring, due to overplaying.

I have been a little sarcastic here though, I did still work on my playthrough of Shadowrun: Dragonfall. I also played a bit more of Alan Wake, but I don’t have much to report there. It’s not really a game that I can write about, as it needs to be experienced.

I broke a vow.

I played the Call of Duty series from its inception (when it was a WWII shooter and was only available on PC), all the way through the end of Modern Warfare 3. At that point, I vowed that I wouldn’t buy any more CoD games, mainly because paying $60 a year for a game and then $20 every couple of months for map packs was beginning to be tiresome. I also grew tired of the same-ol-thing every year, in a new skin.

Well, my roommate ended up getting a copy of Black Ops 2 on PS3, which is almost two years old (Ghosts was the incarnation from last year, and later this year will see the release of Advanced Warfare). Black Ops was my favorite entry in the series, outside of Call of Duty 2, which was my favorite on the PC. My brother-in-law also owns a copy of the game, and let me borrow it so I could play it on my PS3 with my roommate. At first I tried to resist. Thought that I’d play it and be able to say it sucks and move on. But then I played it, and I was hooked. Why does this series have such a pull on me (and everyone else)?

Ok, so I vowed that I wouldn’t BUY anymore CoD games, and I didn’t buy anything here 😀 I won’t be buying any map packs or anything like that either. I haven’t touched the Campaign, only played a bit of Zombies. I’ve mainly been focusing on leveling up in the Multiplayer portion of the game, and that’s where the game has always been the most fun. I do also rather enjoy the Zombies mode, I just don’t know anyone else playing the game anymore (my friends that I played Zombies with all the time have probably moved on to something else). So anyway, for a change of pace it’s been fun.

Call of Duty really is basically a MOBA when considering the scope of the multiplayer game modes (or it could easily be made into one by adding a few details). I’ve also been playing the games I always play, Awesomenauts and Hearthstone. I have my staples and eventually some of them might get retired, but for now I like the multitude of games I have at my disposal, especially due to them being multiplayer/pvp. I have a competitive urge on a daily basis!

I expanded upon the list of MOBAs I’m playing recently. I ended up getting access to some beta keys for Dead Island: Epidemic which is actually a “ZOMBA” according to the developer. It’s a mix of Diablo-MMO-MOBA gameplay. There’s PvE and PvP, and it seems to have a pretty decent system for crafting and upgrading your character. There are also quite a few characters you can unlock, though that will take some grinding unless you want to spend some cash. It does appear that the best gear is crafted, so leveling with crappy gear is just going to slow your progression a bit. This unfortunately means that PvP is pay-to-win to a degree, but you are free to grind PvE runs as long as you want. This means you can eventually get to the point where you are dangerous, even more than those who paid to win, it’s just going to take longer. I’m ok with smelling the roses, so this suits me fine. The game is in early access closed beta, so you can play it now if you like, but it’ll cost you $15 or there abouts. I’m not going to go into anything more specific than this, because I have a beta-time post coming. Here’s an action shot during a game I played with my bro:

This game is a blast to play.


I ended up downloading two other free to play games on Steam, both that are MOBAs in a similar vein, though being in vastly different settings. A few years ago a game released called World of Tanks. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Of course you have. It was followed by the less successful World of Warplanes and the same company is working on World of Warships. They’re essentially Call of Duty style deathmatch or objective based maps with PvP, and using — you guessed it — Tanks/Planes/Ships instead of grunts. I played the first game of the series a while back, and it was ok, but a little too simulation-heavy for my tastes. Enter War Thunder, the arcade-y military war vehicle MOBA.

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I need a bomber for these ground forces…

This game mixes air and ground war, giving you the ability to choose which you prefer — tanks or planes. I think ships are supposed to be involved too, but as I just started with the game I’m uncertain of that. I only played a couple air missions, that also mixed the ground and air bits of combat, though I was only in the plane’s perspective. My mission was to destroy the enemy’s ground forces (I’m not sure if those were player or AI controlled) and at the same time avoid being destroyed by enemy planes, or letting them destroy my ground forces. I was given a few planes but quickly found out that once all of your planes are destroyed, you’re done for the match. It appears that those planes are repaired in-between matches. Overall the game plays well and is pretty fun, but I’m far from being an expert yet. You’ll hear more about this in the future, I’m sure.

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Here you see one of my destroyed planes, along with the map of the action.

The last new MOBA I tried out is basically the same type of game as War Thunder or World of Warplanes, but in space. It has the arcade-y controls as well, but being in space they are a little different. I haven’t had any luck playing the PvP portion of the game, as every time I’ve tried to queue up, I wait for a long time and nothing happens. It appears that the game’s population might be a bit low, but not so low that there isn’t anyone to play with. Thankfully there’s some PvE missions that you can play and that’s been fun for a while.

Capturing a point.
Capturing a point.

There are capture points and waves of enemies that come after you. You and your co-op partners have to survive, hold the points and destroy the enemy waves. At least on the mission I was playing. There are most likely further missions and the PvP is probably a lot of fun, but I haven’t gotten very far along with this title yet either. The graphics are pretty and the animations are smooth. I like the HUD and the combat feels fluid. Overall it’s a cool looking game, and I hope that enough people still play it to warrant full exploration.

Battles are pretty intense
Battles are pretty intense

Look me up if you play any of these games and want to join forces!

Lastly, the newest update for Nuclear Throne added a new character, so I had to check that out. Each of the characters have their own stats and their own unique special power. They aren’t really game-changers, but knowing when and how to use them is important. The new character, Horror, is a lump of radioactive goo that uses your primary source of XP, radiation, as a weapon. This is a good and a bad thing. For one, if you have a lot of radiation you can do a devastating attack, but that also means you’re stopping yourself from leveling and getting the awesome mutations. It must be used wisely. Also, Horror is not immediately available, he must be unlocked. Doing so is pretty tricky. First up, here’s a short video I recorded just so you can see him in action:

To unlock Horror, you’re going to need some patience. It took me a few tries to do it, but eventually you’ll get him. Basically you need to start a new game with any character, and when you find one of the radiation canisters (the ones that blow up if you touch/shoot them and drop radiation for you to pick up), ignore it. On the next level, there should be a larger canister. Ignore that one too. On the next level, Horror will appear randomly and if you defeat him, you can play him. Things to note: If you accidentally shoot a radiation canister (or an enemy does) or for any reason it gets broken, this will not work. If you don’t see a large container on the level right after you saw the small one (and ignored it), this will not work. If you don’t kill Horror (i.e. Horror kills you), he will not be unlocked. Hopefully that’s clear.

That’s about all for this week. As usually I’ll be back with another round up next week. Happy Gaming!

#stateofthegame #roundup #gaming