Friday, October 4, 2013

Prime World: It may look LOL or even DOTA, but it's not

I have always stayed away from MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games, or using a more understandable term: DOTA inspired games, because I always thought that they are just trying to copy DOTA's success without really offering anything else new to the genre. I tried League of Legends, glanced through Heroes of Newerth and heard of Chaos Online and felt that all of them could not measure up to the original game and subsequently its successor, DOTA 2. So I never bothered to change. Until today, that is.

While browsing the latest released Free-to-Play games at the Steam store, I happened to chance across this new game called Prime World, which was used the words such as "battle between technology and magic" and "RPG heroes" to describe it. Craving for a good ol' RPG game, I decided to give the game a try. Little did I know what kind of RPG they were talking about until I stepped into the game.


prime world


Despite my detest for any MOBA games which I felt were even slightly DOTA inspired, Prime World surprisingly accomplished something that League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth did not manage to do: making me stay beyond the first hour of gameplay. In fact, I enjoyed the game so much that I'm planning to stay for quite a while.

While the core of the gameplay is essentially the same as other MOBAs where the objective is to destroy the opponents main structure in instance based matches, Prime World boasts several features that makes gives it a unique flavour that makes it stand out from the other MOBAs out there, at least from what I have experienced.

For starters, rather than the traditional lobbies and waiting room that we often see, we are now given our very own castle to manage. Yes, a castle where there's servants who call you 'My Lord' and stuff.


my name's luke, and welcome to my castle crib


Aside from giving you a break in between matches to focus on something else, your castle plays an important role in supporting your endeavor and progress in the game. Rather than leave each match as its own individual game with no link or whatsoever, Prime World incorporates a form of progression into the game. And that form of progression comes in the form of your castle and its level.

To explain why a castle would come to determine your progress in a MOBA game, the story goes that you're essentially a "Lord" that is tasked to looked after your nation's border in an ongoing war between the Imperium faction (technology) and the Andornian faction (magic). And part of the "looking after" your border part involves sending the heroes currently serving under your lordship into battles to reclaim or defend land,which is where the traditional "destroy the ancient part" comes in. And going in that line, your heroes will naturally feel tired after each battle and would need a rest, in which where your castle comes in.

Buildings construction is an integral part of the game where you earn the different resources needed to upkeep your hero, which includes keeping them well fed and stuff and also helping them manage the skills that they have learned from the battlefield. Each buildings have their own function that helps in supporting your war effort and such.


not only you have to fight, you need to build too


I personally find the building part fun, because it offers a distraction from non stop battling and it fits in to the entire customization feature that this game boasts about.

You see, rather than set skills that are assigned to heroes which are unchangeable even if you play 2000 games with the hero, Prime World offers a unique customization option for each heroes skills or "talents" as they call in game that suit your play style most. It's like the skill tree in any classic RPG, only that you can throw away talents that you don't want and replace it with talents that you like. For me for example, I tend to equip passive and defensive talents because I'm a lazy person who just love to stand around and shoot but I've seen players spam active talents like there's no tomorrow in game.


the talent management window for each hero


Of course, the basics of upgrading the skills does not change, you fight and kill creeps/heroes in the game to gain experience (or prime as they call it in this game) which in turn you use to level up your desired talents. Rather than just deciding how many points you are going to put into a particular skill like DOTA, Prime World takes on a whole different approach in skills allocation during in game. There are essentially 24 skills than you can choose to level up in game which unlocks according to the prime (experience) you collected in game, with only three to four unique active heroes skill that were given to you initially.

Talents also come in different rarity and are colour coded, from the common white to the legendary orange and the higher level the talent you equip, the more difference it would make to your hero in game. Think of it as the Runes and Masteries system in League of Legends, only that talents drop randomly after a game to each player. Depending on how you play it, 2 players playing the same hero could end up with very different result depending on the talent the equip in game.

I personally enjoy the system not only it because it reminds me of the RPG skill progression system, it also offers me to customize the type of hero that I want.


leveling up your hero by choosing the talent you equipped in game


Other than that, the game also has several different features such as banner capturing to change the terrain while in game which is something like you have an advantage while fighting on your natural terrain, but I'm too lazy to go into that. The game also features different game modes other than the 5v5 three lane gameplay, which also includes solo play if you're not feeling particularly sociable.

The solo play part itself is quite interesting to be honest, as it incorporates voice acting and a believable enough storyline and quests to keep you interested. For example there's this mode where you have to fight against hordes of neutral creeps (called Touched for reasons I don't know why) to protect a lady. Something like that. Which is quite fun.


the single player part


But above all else, Prime World has also all the classic features of an MOBA game in addition to the unique mechanics of their game. You have the creep killing, heroes ganking, tower killing, hero ks-ing and such. Even their very own Rosham.


prime world's "roshan", a 3 headed dragon


No aegis or dragon balls were dropped though.

My only complain for now are the leavers or AFK-ers, there seems to be no option to report or to ban them as of now so if you're unlucky, you might find them in your team. Navigation is also quite difficult during games, as you cannot click on the minimap to view other parts of the map (you actually have to do the old school "pushing" your mouse against the edge) which is inconvenient and time wasting.

But other than that, despite Prime World looking to resemble League of Legends or even DOTA, it's not. It's a completely new game with a new mixture to it that makes it stand out on its own. It's enjoyable, at least to me, maybe because the players are relatively still new so I don't need to stress myself out like in DOTA where everyone is pro. But it's definitely worth the try. If you're bored with LOL, HON or DOTA at least.


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