New studio Waystone Games has teamed up with Machinima to shed some light Dawngate, a new MOBA published by EA that was teased last week.
"When I look at where [MOBAs are]," says the game's lead producer David Cerra, "It sort of reminds me of where shooters were in the mid-90s. There was a lot of recreation of design over and over again, and then the genre just exploded: larger maps, larger team sizes, vehicles and verticality; all these different dimension came into play. I feel like that's where [MOBAs are] right now."
"From the beginning, we said the map itself has to have a story. As has been said often, in a MOBA the map is a [gameplay mode]," says Cerra, "and in a way ... the map is also another character in the game." From the brief glimpses seen in the video, Dawngate eschews the standard three-lane MOBA set up for a two-lane one, but makes up for it by scattering other objectives over the map.
"The spirit wells are one of our biggest additions to the core gameplay of a MOBA," says systems designer Alex Hetu. They serve as resource nodes; controlling them will spawn AI workers that steadily grant Vim, the game's currency, to your team. The other team can however come and kill your workers in a resource-line raid like the kind one might see in an RTS, and if not driven off in time will flip the resource node to their side.
Waystone is aiming for a user interface that is accessible and easy to understand. When a team destroys an opponent's tower, or "Binding," a line of energy stretching back to that team's base will retreat to the next active Binding. The line of energy will slowly regenerate and, if it reaches the destroyed Binding will cause it to respawn over the next thirty seconds. Bindings also act like a miniature inhibitor for the enemy minions: Destroying one will cause the major minions, "Striders," to grow more powerful and get new abilities. Once it respawns, however, the Striders will revert to their previous state, meaning that teams who are behind have an incentive to try and hold out to get back into the game.
Dawngate will enter beta testing this Friday.