Barjona On August - 17 - 2014


The number of titles is growing. DOTA 2, League of Legends, Smite, Bloodline Champions, Guardians of Middle Earth, and more, plus more on the way, and new ones starting pretty much every month. They’re called Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, or MOBA for short. While DOTA 2 dominates North America, League of Legends (LoL) dominates the world. HiRez Studios has stated that their MOBA, Smite, has generated more income for their company than Tribes Ascend, which they believed was going to be their big headliner. Each has their own feel and play style as they attempt to carve out their own niche in the MOBA wars. Each has their own pros and cons. One thing almost all of them have in common? An immature and trollish community, ready to leap down your throat at the slightest mistake, regardless of their own, whilst tossing around profound vocabulary like “noob,” “newb” and whatever other rendition they can create on their keyboards.

Into this war steps a new contender: Dawngate. Going into it, I wasn’t expecting very much. After all, it was just the latest MOBA.

First game: Crushed. Something is different.

Second game: Did a little better, figuring it out.

Third game:  ”To crush your enemies, see them driven before you…”  -Conan the Barbarian

I mainly played League of Legends. Entering Dawngate, things were slightly different, but I was able to pick it up pretty quickly. The meta game is in depth, with a great number of customization options. The Shapers (the player’s characters) have great lore backgrounds and builds. The stats and abilities are similar to other MOBAs, but have their own flavor. Comebacks against tidal waves? Not unheard of. The most outstanding difference though, is the community, but we’ll get to that later. First, let’s go over a short review.

Like other MOBAs, the player chooses their character, called a Shaper. Dawngate has two shaper rotations of 5 shapers going on at the same time, each lasting 2 weeks, offset from each other by a week. So every week you get a new rotation of 5 champions for 2 weeks. The shaper archetypes are labeled as Ranged Carries, Bruisers, Mages, Tanks, Assassins, and Supports. Their store filter is very in depth, including filters for world region (lore/background), play style (damager, disabler, initiator…), ranged or melee, magic or physical damage, main stats, and availability status (owned/unowned/on rotation). The art for the game is easily on par with DOTA 2 and LoL.

Each character has a recommended item build that is found along the top of their store screen.

This is a good start towards learning how to build your shaper. After learning the play styles, and figuring out how best to use each shaper, customizing the builds can mold them into what you’re looking for. Each item has it’s own build tree, building into stronger items. There are 3 tiers: Basic, Advanced, and Legendary. Be careful how you build, as you need to know what legendary item you are aiming for from the get go!

Each shaper has four skills, tied to the QWER buttons. They also come with a passive ability.

Each shaper is also equipped with a ward, which is an item you place on the battlefield that reveals a small area and any hidden units within that area. You can also purchase announcers, voiced by shapers, so you don’t have to listen to the same announcer every game.

As for the game play, well, it has more to offer than the other MOBAs currently available. As mentioned earlier on, you can make comebacks against a tidal wave of defeat. All your towers are down, and suddenly your team finally just starts clicking? It is still possible to win in Dawngate. Dawngate has added player controlled passive in game currency, called “vim.” You gain vim by killing creatures, enemy shapers, minions, destroying towers, and by your team’s workers. Yes, workers. Dawngate has returned to it’s RTS roots in that you now have workers gathering vim for your team at places called spirit wells. They mine from the surrounding rock, and return the vim to the well, and it sends your shapers passive amounts of vim. You can attack an enemy’s spirit well, killing their workers, and dropping their passive vim gain. After the first 15 minutes of game play, the spirit wells unlock and are available to capture. After you capture a spirit well, it locks again for a short while, but workers are always vulnerable to attack.

In the center of the map is the parasite. Killing the parasite buffs your team, and spawns super minions.

You win the game by destroying the enemy base’s Guardian, which is basically a small boss fight.

The guardian is surrounded by six ability cores, each core giving the guardian a specific ability. Destroying a core will remove that ability from the guardian. After destroying all six, the guardian becomes vulnerable to attack.

Then there is the in depth meta game. Instead of skill trees and rune pages, Dawngate has “Loadouts.” The loadouts are built with puzzle pieces called Spiritstones that you need to fit together, and fill with sparks. Sparks give small bonuses, and when you fill a spiritstone with sparks, the spiritstone gives a greater bonus.

Even with the game itself being as fun as it is, the best aspect of Dawngate, is the community. Where other MOBAs are infested with trolling and downright nasty behavior, Dawngate has figured out a way to settle everyone down, and just enjoy playing the game as best as you can. They do this by implementing “karma.” After the game ends, each player awards other players karma, which adds points towards your “blessing,” your reward after the game. The more points you gain, the greater your blessing. Since everyone wants a greater reward, usually everyone remains very civil in hopes of getting your karma vote, and getting a greater blessing.

All in all, I am enjoying Dawngate very much. I like the greater depth, the meta game, and most of all, the community. The simple fact of having a community that is SO much better than the other MOBAs places Dawngate head and shoulders above the competition.

Categories: Reviews

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