EA’s Dawngate MOBA Detailed, Beta This Friday

By Nathan Grayson on May 21st, 2013 at 10:00 am.

Last week, EA shocked no one by announcing a fantasy-themed MOBA of its very own. RPS went street level to witness the complete lack of riots, and everything went pretty much exactly as expected. Jim Smitherford of Some Random San Francisco Apartment was incredulous. “Wait,” he said, brow furrowed as though on the verge of collapse. “They haven’t done that already? Huh. Also, how did you get inside my home?” Kelly Someoneson of Someplaceburg shared a similar sentiment. “Oh,” she replied when we gave her the news. “Well, good luck to them, I guess.” Then we tapped one last man on the shoulder and asked for his input. “Really? So they’re finally doing that, huh. Well I’ll be,” he exclaimed. It was EA COO Peter Moore.

[Obviously, the above events are highly fictionalized. The following Dawngate video footage and details, however, are most certainly not.]

Based on Machinima‘s video, Dawngate’s big focuses appear to be rich lore (especially in the environment), a more natural, easy-to-learn progression, a better interface, and multiple objectives in spite of a reduction to only two lanes. Case in point: spirit wells. They act as capturable sources of a currency called Vim, and NPC workers mine them once they’re under a team’s control. As a result, you can essentially harass your enemy’s supply line RTS-style, which is an interesting twist.

Creeps and towers are also getting their own EAvolutions – and rather symbiotic ones to boot. “Bindings,” as towers are known in Dawngate, are tied directly to creep strength, with lane-straddling “Striders” changing form in reaction to fallen Bindings. An energy-based “Circuit,” meanwhile, ties the whole system together, allowing Bindings to regenerate if enough energy reaches them. The hope, then, is that players will have a reason to defend lost lanes, presumably leading to fewer shutouts and more momentum shifts over the course of matches.

Dawngate’s tweaks to the MOBA formula don’t seem as overtly game-changing as, say, Sins of a Dark Age‘s, but this is a genre where little things count for a whole, whole, whole lot. Are you interested? Frankly, I’m still doing my damndest to find time to learn LoL. One thing at a time, though, I suppose.

Somewhat remarkably, Dawngate’s beta actually kicks off this Friday, May 24th. Have you signed up?

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93 Comments »

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  1. Yemala says:

    No.

    I’m sure paid DLC will abound from the very beginning, and when it isn’t as popular as DOTA or LoL, EA will just turn the game off.

    This is their MO, and I would rather just not even look at a game liable to fall victim to it.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    I wish there was some more information about this. The website seems to only contain the beta signup and the forum is literally empty. Is there at least a piper class?

    • MasticoreFTW says:

      At least the most vague thing you can possibly think of? What other games involve pipers? Do tell.

  3. crionuke says:

    I don’t like such game

  4. Noburu says:

    The concept itself doesnt sound bad in theory but:

    1. Its ANOTHER MOBA
    2. Its EA.

    How much do you want to bet its P2W to the extreme so they can maximize profits.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Premium players can play as any one of fifty characters, most of whom are slight variations on MAN WITH SWORD and WOMAN WITH CLEAVAGE. There will also be WOMAN WITH SWORD. There will be no MAN WITH CLEAVAGE. There will also be one or two novelty characters who do not fit into these essential paradigms, most notably TREE WHO IS LIKE MAN.

      Free players will be allowed to play as Ned. Ned has a stick.

      In between slaying creep waves and respawning when the guy in the helicopter inevitably turns out to be an overpowered damage-dealing gamebreaker, you must satisfy your character’s social, work, entertainment, and hygiene needs.

      You can buy cosmetic upgrades for your characters, mainly furniture, or pets. At any time you can hit “P” on your keyboard to “ULTRASURGE” money from your wallet into EA’s massive infernal money maw, providing a small bonus to your damage.

      A game will consist of the best of three rounds, after which the game servers will be shut down, and enquiring about it will be met with a blank look and suggestions that you might be looking for The Sims 4.

      • Noburu says:

        You sir have the best comments. Many are better reads than RPS stories!

      • Unrepentant says:

        “There will be no MAN WITH CLEAVAGE”

        But that’s precisely the type of innovation that would set them apart from the competition!

      • Bhazor says:

        “MAN WITH SWORD and WOMAN WITH CLEAVAGE”
        Now all I can of think is a character who’s cleavage is an actual physical weapon. Kind of like Chesty Morgan in Deadly Weapons.

        • Vorphalack says:

          Mash X to suffocate.

          • Premium User Badge

            Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            Sir, “Y” is the cleavage button.

          • Vorphalack says:

            Egad, you’re correct! Then what the devil have I been suffocating my enemies with…..

          • Premium User Badge

            Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            I shudder to think. But I daresay as they are your enemies you’re smothering, it’s acceptable if you’re not adhering to the rules of gentlemanly combat.

            You certainly don’t look like you adhere to the rules of gentlemanly combat, anyway.

          • EPICTHEFAIL says:

            I was going to suggest MAN WITH WOMAN (because Eagleland is a conservative nation, dammit) and SWORD WITH CLEAVAGE, but that works too.

      • Flammablezeus says:

        Well let’s just hope that EA keeps its priorities straight by not forcing our characters to be.

  5. jellydonut says:

    Why though? Why play EA’s version of this?

    Valve’s Dota 2 is still in beta and it’s as polished as can be.

    • Asurmen says:

      Because at least on paper, it’s trying to do something different. What, just because Dota 2 exists means no other MOBAs should be tried?

      • Terragot says:

        Well yes, exactly that. By it’s nature DOTA 2 and LoL both require a significant investment of time and money from player. Hench the “passionate” communities and (i’m predicting here) inevitable failure of the new kid on the block. It’s the buzzword entertainment as a service, but what it really means is entertainment as an investment.

        • Asurmen says:

          Just because two examples exist within a genre does not mean there isn’t room for more, especially if it tries something new and you’re bored of the status quo. As Dota 2 and LoL are F2P the time and money investment can be as high or low as you wish. It is not a block on playing another MOBA.

        • Kitsunin says:

          But, I don’t think those games being major timesinks immediately invalidates any new attempts at creating MOBAs. I think it will create a massive problem for anyone doing something that requires a similar time investment by the player, or any games lacking a significant enough amount of originality. However, MOBAs don’t need to be soul-crushingly hard to work. Look at Smite: That’s a MOBA I can dive in and play whenever; it barely took an hour to come to grips with (Being reasonable at LoL beforehand, mind). It doesn’t seem to be want for players, if the fact that it’s still in “Beta” is any indication of the polish their money has allowed HiRez.

          If anything, the ridiculous success LoL is means the market for such games is bigger than it ever has been. The question is how much of that market is tied up exclusively in LoL or DotA.

        • Infinitifizz says:

          I have played LoL for 6 weeks now on average about 2 hrs a day (some days 8 hrs others zero) and I’ve never spent a penny. I have unlocked all of my champions through the XP you get from playing and there is no reason to pay real money except for cosmetic things like skins.

          Yes you can get an IP (xp in the game) boost by buying it but it in no way makes you a better player, the only thing it can do is allow you to buy a load of runes that give you some slight perks at the start of a game, but I’ve also unlocked 25 runes in the time I’ve played without paying anything.

          If Dawngate is the same and isn’t just the one with the most money wins then I’m really excited to try out this new twist on the genre.

        • Premium User Badge

          darkChozo says:

          I’d say it’s less a matter of loyal communities and more a matter of WoW-syndrome, in that there’s no reason for a LoL or DotA player to switch to a game that is a LoDotA clone minus somewhere between three to a billion years of development. LoL and DOTA 2 each have over a hundred playable herochamps, multiple gamemodes, and are supremely well-balanced and polished games (fandom assertions about the other game aside). A new game just can’t compete with them on their own turf, which is why the successes we have been seeing are differentiating themselves in some way; Awesomenauts and Smite being the big alternatives.

        • Nick says:

          buh? What investment of money does DOTA2 need from the player?

          • Premium User Badge

            Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            For the hats. Silly question.

          • Dominare says:

            Valve has a skin for Lina that costs $34.99. If EA did something like that people would go insane, but Valve somehow get a pass for it.

          • Vorphalack says:

            When EA give away an entire game for free and only charge for actually well designed cosmetics that are both made by and sold by modders, I will finally admit that i’m in the parallel universe.

          • zachdidit says:

            ^ This. Valve has a lot more stored up good will of their community. So they can get away with things that other companies like EA would be shunned for. Personally, I could give a rat’s ass how much they sell cosmetic items for. If it’s reasonable I’ll pay. If not, I won’t. I haven’t seen anything in the DOTA2 store yet that I would consider ridiculous.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Well, aside from the fact it is an entirely cosmetic thing, you can also earn it randomly from the random bits of cosmetic items you get from just playing the game. You can then trade your unwanted ones for others or just sell them for Steam credit.

  6. sockdemon says:

    huh?

    It all seems surprisingly well realised for a new moba, interesting ideas and a consistent aesthetic….

    Shame it’s EA and as such likely to be plagued by overtly greedy mangement deicisions that’ll impact on gameplay.

    (inb4 “Waaahhhh I don’t like ANY mobas!”)

  7. Kollega says:

    So, there’s currency called “Vim” in the game? Will it also include Imagination and Pulchritude? And will you be able to block passages in the map with woodwind instruments?

  8. Pamplemousse says:

    Good god respawning towers, and I thought respawning inhibitors was bad

  9. Didden says:

    I’m totally getting this! It’s such an original idea and by a publisher I love and adore, and who doesn’t deny me access to their products on Steam because they want to take all the money. Oh wait…

  10. Crainey says:

    As you say, small changes of the MOBA format can have massive effects, League of Legends LOOKS similar to DotA 2, but in reality it is vastly different. I quite like the resource mining idea, pretty neat blend of RTS and MOBA. WIth EA behind it I am a little dubious of the monetization, will it be nearly impossible to unlock champions through hard work, or worse still literally impossible.

    Hopefully I get a chance to try this thing out!

  11. ZHsquad says:

    I think I’ll give this a try. Adding something new to the MOBA genre might improve it. So long as EA don’t ask for money every 5 seconds or make the game stupid buy forcing you to buy the best items, it could be fun. And if I don’t like it, just uninstall. Easy.

  12. NothingFunny says:

    At least they are adding some new mechanics and not just cloning Dota. But I’m not sure they actually understand what makes this genre thrive.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lim-Dul says:

      Yeah, instead of cloning Dota, they are cloning LoL, right down to the looks and mechanics borrowed from the Dominion mode etc.

      Meh.

      • Ringwraith says:

        The Dominion game mode, which no-one plays (comparatively).
        Nor do you get a gold income increase for holding points, the entire gametype is purely around holding points, whereas here it just seems it exists to get the material advantage rather than directly winning the game.
        I don’t see the problem with putting a slightly different spin on previous ideas, or combining them in a new way. Some of the best games made are like this.

  13. vivlo says:

    ” I’m still doing my damndest to find time to learn LoL. ”
    Don’t. I have about 16 beta keys of Dota2 waiting in the dark, as i’m sure each of your steam friends does. Try Dota2 instead. It’s better !

    • misterT0AST says:

      LoL is easier to learn, plus you can go from LoL to Dota and still be engaged, while if you start with Dota you’ll find LoL bland afterwards.
      I said he made the right choice. For starting out.

      • Maniac says:

        I sort of agree, but once Valve has finished creating the in-game tutorials for Dota… I very much doubt it’ll stay the case.
        Although ew, LoL. Ewww.

        • Ringwraith says:

          They are two different games, and thus it is perfectly fine to prefer how one plays over the other.
          I for one, prefer the higher amount of skillshots compared to targeted abilities in League to DotA, as in the latter I feel very helpless when abilities start to fly. You can be easily torn to shreds by stepping out of line for just a second without a chance to recover, as there is rarely anything to actually dodge.

  14. maximiZe says:

    But we all know that you can buy your way into e-Sports.

    • Mr Rud says:

      Yes, but i doubt EA is willing to invest as much as Riot did for LoL, which is a massive number

    • Vorphalack says:

      They don’t seem to have a clue about e-sports. The comment about random numbers was hilarious by its inaccuracy. DotA has numerous examples of dice rolling mechanics, all of which make for more entertaining viewing than purely predictable outcomes. Randomness can alternately frustrate and delight the players, but what an e-spot should be first and foremost is entertaining viewing. Not that many developers seem to get that, and instead become obsessed with the impossible dream that is perfect balancing. Additionally, considering that this game seems to promote accessibility above everything else, I don’t think they stand a chance as an e-sport and i’d be surprised as hell if they throw any money at it.

      • Mr Rud says:

        I don’t know if you are trolling, sarcastic or just plain stupid

        yes, there are dice rolling mechanics in DotA, but they are preatty discouraged (case in point: crit based heroes and items like Phantom Assassin or Daedalus), randomness is present but still preatty marginal

        on the entertainment value: you are plain wrong: by your logic, Call of Duty should be the best e-sport evar, it’s community must be really good at hiding though

        • Vorphalack says:

          I don’t know if you are trolling, sarcastic, or just plain stupid.

          Dice rolling in DotA is discouraged? There are literally dozens of examples, from both items and heroes, that see regular top tier play. Trying to argue the opposite is tantamount to admitting you don’t know anything about competitive DotA. Those random effects are game changing, not marginal. A CK crit is not marginal, a LD entangle is not marginal, a basher proc is not marginal.

          I have no fucking clue what your point about CoD was. It’s not entertaining to watch and is not that successful as an e-sport. The correlation is no coincidence.

          • Mr Rud says:

            Dude, you don’t understand how dota randomness works

            1) percentages in DotA are NOT accurate, they are artificially influenced, which means that the system is gonna give you the crit if you don’t crit x amount of hits, on the other side of the spectrum, the game artificially inhibits your crit percentage (in case of the basher, it is explicit). This is done because you can’t have pure randomness in your competitive game

            2) you made 2 examples out of context: CK is picked for CK+IO combo, which, guess what, is effective in the mid game for the relocate ganks, long before chaos strike can really be effective; LD is not picked because of entangle, is picked ALSO because he has that ability, but the main reason he is picked is because he has a really good lane presence … that’s why I say that is a marginal factor: players put points into random-based abilities when they can reproduce more easily the effects (read: high attack speed), coding and Law of large numbers do the rest

            on the other aspect: you assume that randomness is more entertaining than predictable results, and after that you point out that games should go for entertainment value; that’s idiotic and I used CoD as the example: a lot of random factors, no esports scene

  15. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    Sometimes journalism simply has to take a morally ambiguous path in order to unearth the true heart of the story. I hope to see more of this sort of thing as Nathan finds himself getting the hottest reactions as he breaks into military bases, aircraft carriers and possibly even the ISS. All in the name of The Truth.

  16. Mr Rud says:

    Personally, between this and Sins of the Dark Age, I like the fact that MOBAs are expanding into different directions, and though they wish they can spawn competitive scenes, I think they are realistic enough to not pursue the idea too much (which is reasonable: I don’t think there is space for another competitive Moba)

    As a Dota 2 player, my concern is: how much casual can you really go ? I mean LoL seams so casual for my Dota standards (no big strategy required, focus on tactical appoach and generic item progression) abd LoL has that sweet level progression and endgame scenarios which, in my opinion, are more than enough for the everyman … I just don’t see the market for these titles

    • Kitsunin says:

      Have you tried Smite? It’s more casual, and still very enjoyable.

  17. skyturnedred says:

    Looks interesting. I will give it a try at least, even if it is EA.

  18. Talnoy says:

    To sum my opinion of this and other EA games:

  19. Sploitz says:

    I really hate that MOBA has become synonymous with DOTA. There’s more than one way to make a multiplayer online battle arena dammit, why is every fucking one of them just lanes and minions >_<

    • Kitsunin says:

      But that would be risky, and would require originality.

      No, that wasn’t sarcasm, it would quite simply be very hard to pull off! I’m not sure how you could do it, personally! Bloodline Champions is pretty much that, but sadly it’s playerbase is nonexistent, so I guess they did something wrong somewhere…not quite sure what.

      • Reapy says:

        Sad to say for me by character design killed t for me, a really weak complaint for sure, but that stopped me from playing beyond a few tutorials.

        • mickygor says:

          I guess we cancel each other out. The character design convinced me to download Bloodline Champions

    • Maniac says:

      Well, thats quite possibly because these so-called “MOBA” games are *defined* by having creeps, heroes and lanes. But then again, the term MOBA shouldnt be used at all, its ridiculously daft and just foul PR-talk from Riot.. :<
      I mean come on, "Multiplayer Online Battle Arena" – It describes nearly every single multiplayer game ever created ._.'

    • ankh says:

      Quake Live is the best MOBA.

  20. aliksy says:

    Meh. Don’t like LoL-like games, strongly dislike EA. Be interesting to see if EA does a decent job, but I have low expectations.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Keymonk says:

    I thought ‘Dawngate’ was an RPS dramatization of its name in the vein of Watergate or whatever that old news scandal thing was called.

    • thegooseking says:

      Yeah, I saw EA, saw something with ‘-gate’ at the end and thought, “Ho hum, another EA scandal.”

      Was naming the game this really a good idea? Does EA perhaps not know what the public’s perception of it is?

  22. Arthas says:

    Ugh not again….
    Ok I get it Mobas are the new MMORPGS, but does that mean they all have to be the same as DOTA?
    Why are all big MOBA games set in a fantasy universe? Why do they all share the same concept of having 3 lanes and 5 player teams? Why is noone trying to do something REALLY different?

    But hey just blindly copying WoW also worked out so well for all those MMORPGS in the last few years…. ohh wait no it didnt.

    • Shokyu says:

      Smite is an exception and it works pretty well with its unique TPS gameplay.

      • 00000 says:

        There are still 5 players per team, 3 lanes and a jungle.

        Maybe if you’d combined SMITE with Ricochet, you’d have an exceptional MOBA.

  23. Moraven says:

    Art style looks to similar to LoL. Why not go for something different. Sci-fi? Star Wars? Steampunk?

    And based on EA’s track record, even if this gets a decent following they will shut it down and all that money you bought into he game gone. At least Dota and LoL will be around for awhile still and you have time to get your money’s worth.

    Now I do like the resource gathering concept. Kinda like a Control Point RTS (Dawn of War, Company of Heroes).

  24. Rollin says:

    Given that this is EA, did anyone expect the sentence:

    “And… if the players don’t like it, then…”

    to end with

    “Screw them”

    • Bhazor says:

      I’m just amazed they were able to form words for their statement instead of just banging a ladle around inside a pig’s trough. Clearly I’ve been underestimating them all these years.

      • Rollin says:

        I expect that Waystone have sold their souls to EA but the curse has not yet overtaken them.

  25. porps says:

    sounds liketheres a few interesting ideas in this game. I like MOBA games, but i swore after sim city never to play an ea game again and im sticking to that. Hope this bombs and fails.

  26. Shokyu says:

    I don’t see any game without serious changes within the genre making any succes in such a strong market next to dota 2, lol and hon.

    • Arthas says:

      This. Even their champions look like rejected ideas from LoL:
      a chic with paintbrushes?
      a weasel with a fish?
      a HUGE block of stone?
      What exactly were they smoking when coming up with those?

  27. Mark says:

    Some interesting news ideas although i’m not quite sure I like the aesthetics / art design – not as mature/dark as Dota 2 or as crazy / whimsical as LoL.

    Respawning towers sound cool, making comebacks more possible. The annoying thing about Dota and LoL is the sense of inevitability once one team is doing better than the other. It sucks to have to keep playing for 25 minutes knowing you’ve already lost.

    The producer I think is off when he talks about MOBA’s being in their infancy though. Personally I think they’ve reached the equivalent point in FPS’s where Counter-Strike reached 1.5. There is surely some innovation to come but the template has been laid down. We’ll see I guess.

  28. BlackMountainBoogie says:

    Here to say that, having played it, I found it not only to be fun, but actually better playing/feeling than DotA2 by a wide margin. Everything is quality, from the music and voiceovers to effects and art and responsiveness of the controls. I was incredibly surprised.

    Having said that, they are an EA studio. If any company can screw up a good thing, it’s EA.

  29. DigitalParadox says:

    There’s something about a bunch of grown men talking to a camera and saying the word “MOBA” aloud over and over again that makes me feel violated. Also I don’t think I ever heard a single concrete thing about the game in that video other than the fact that they will, in fact, have a map, and characters, and towers.

  30. Premium User Badge

    Continuity says:

    *yawn* MOBA… *yawn* *yawn*… EA?

    Fuck off.

  31. ShinRyuuken says:

    It’s Turtling the MOBA.