According to reported statistics, Riot Games’ popular MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) League of Legends, made the developer upwards of $600 million in 2013. For a free to play title that figure is mindbogglingly impressive and it’s one that plenty of developers and publishers would like to gain a slice of. Perhaps, too many.
But who better to try and emanate League of Legends’ success than a group of self-described “hardcore MOBA players”? The team at Waystone Games is the very group of people describing themselves as such and with their new game Dawngate, they are looking to launch a MOBA that’s legitimately different from the crowded MOBA market.
How Waystone is doing this, they say in a new trailer revealed during EA’s press conference at E3 2014, is simply by talking to other MOBA fans. They are also actively seeking input from the MOBA playing community in order to make sure that their game is not a clone, which is something that they are so concerned with avoiding.
“If we’re going to do MOBA, we don’t just want to clone. We knew we were coming out nowhere and we knew that the people were super diehard. We put it in the players’ hands at a very early stage and we were just kind of like ‘we’re gonna build this in front of you guys and whatever you tell us about this we are gonna hear it whether we like it or not.”
That’s a bold – yet welcomed – statement indeed from the Waystone team member in the video above but it’s one that could prove useful to players who would like to shape development of a big game, backed by a big publisher before the world has a chance to play its final version, but just how different is Dawngate proving to be? For one, the art style and design of Dawngate appears vividly different. The game presents more colorful, cartoon-y visuals even if Dawngate’s design (the patterns on its stone textures, the grass and the positioning of the lanes) appear to riff from League of Legends more than a little bit.
However, perhaps this will be somewhat offset by Dawngate’s roster of playable characters. Shown off at E3 is a character described as a “badass bookish nerd” along with a “lizard monk” and a “little spirit whisp dude” who have all been designed alongside “big guys with axes and armor and skulls” and “supports” (characters who typically do their bit to keep the more powerful characters alive) in order to be someone whom players can “identify with”. Players will need to make good character choices too as Dawngate is said to cater to a range of different strategic methods that players can change on the fly, making for a unique game every time.
What will also influence character choices quite a bit is when players realize that they’ll have to consider the character’s role in the wider arc of Dawngate’s story. It’s unclear as to what the story is but Waystone Games says that even the very map that you play on will be a smaller cog in a larger, narrative machine. Waystone Games also spoke of Dawngate ‘breaking the meta’ of MOBA games, explaining that it “allows you to play the characters you want, how you want” presumably rather than the pre-assigned roles and playstyles of characters that are seen in many of Dawngate’s competitors.
While the breaking of the meta that Waystone describes may be a welcome change, how that plays out for their game is yet to be seen although you can visit the Dawngate website to find out how to access the game’s community beta.