Orcs Must Go F2P – Orcs Must Die! Unchained

By Nathan Grayson on April 11th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

Not pictured: orcs, dying.

I feel like life has dealt orcs a pretty unfair hand. I’m not just referring to the insidious, discriminatory presumption that they must be villains of the lowest caliber, either. It’s all “musts” with the poor green giants. Orcs must fight, orcs must die, orcs must be back from the school dance by 11 or so help me they are grounded from here to kingdom come.

And now, thanks to Orcs Must Die! Unchained, orcs must also go free-to-play. Robot Entertainment’s latest entry in the popular trap-laying, fortress-defending actioner adds MOBA elements to the series’ (perhaps too) tried-and-true formula and dresses it up in shiny new F2P pantaloons. It’s certainly uncharted territory for the series, but is it any good? You can find out right now, surprisingly enough.

It’s actually a pretty solid foundation, if you ask me. Orcs Must Die, but with competitive, hero-based multiplayer defending¬†and attacking. An action-based MOBA littered with OMD’s trademark punchy, prickly traps and some new offensive toys to boot. Here is how all of that will work:

  • Attack and Defend – White-knuckle Fortress Assault action puts you into the thick of competitive siege warfare. Unleash your minions and charge into the heart of the enemy stronghold and build an impenetrable gauntlet of traps to hack, grind, flatten, gibletize and incinerate your foes. Your team must master both tactics to triumph.
  • Choose Your Hero – Dozens of unique and powerful heroes offer deep gameplay options at all skill levels. Old friends the War Mage and Sorceress return to face new enemy heroes like Blackpaw, Midnight, Stinkeye, and Bloodspike. Whether players prefer might and majesty or scum and villainy, there’s a hero for everyone.
  • Collect & Customize – Collect and upgrade powerful heroes, over-the-top weapons, devious traps and fiendish minions. Build an arsenal from an enormous variety of options, and customize a strategy for every match. New heroes, weapons, traps, and minions are continuously added, and your collection will never stop evolving.

For now exact details of OMDU’s F2P model have yet to surface, so that’s still a big question mark. Robot has cited League of Legends as an inspiration, so probably expect a rotating selection of free-to-try heroes and traps. It sounds like most everything will be earnable in-game, though.

You can leap in and try the MOBA-fide monster mash right now if you’re willing to spend, um, a whole lot of money. OMDU is already running a Founder’s program, but right now only the highest tier gets you instant alpha access. That’ll run you $149.99. And while it apparently contains $500 worth of goodies, that’s still a massive amount to drop on any game, let alone one so early and unproven. The first ($19.99) and second ($59.99) tiers, meanwhile, get you “priority” beta and alpha access, respectively.

Orcs must die, go free-to-play, and be home before curfew (not necessarily in that order), but you have a choice. What’s it gonna be: dive in headfirst, traps be damned, or watch and wait?

, , , .

64 Comments »

  1. Noburu says:

    I swear i just write stuff off as crap and ignore it when i read MOBA anymore. You could tell me something is NOT MOBA and i might even still ignore it.

  2. FFabian says:

    Crap. I loved the OMD series and always hoped for another sequel. A proper SP sequel – not this MOBA F2P bullshit.

    • Chalky says:

      But surely when a genre of game makes lots of money, releasing hundreds of games in that genre all at once is bound to mean lots of money for everyone? I mean, isn’t that what happened to all the MMOs that were released once people realised WoW was really profitable?

      RPS should turn into a MOBA. It’s clearly the future.

    • Vinraith says:

      Exactly this. Ah well, maybe they’ll come to their sense after it flops.

    • pepperfez says:

      Free to Play Must Die

      • Balanuir says:

        This. There is no free when it’s a commercial game. “F2P” just means they take your money in other ways than an honest over-the-counter deal.

    • TheVGamer says:

      The moment they released a sequel not a year after the original’s release should’ve been a sign that they’re only in it for the money. Yeah, the two games had charm but so does Angry Birds.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Anthile says:

    Might as well turn it into a kart racing game.

  4. Cooper says:

    Really, really bad practice going on here:

    There is NO mention that the game will be free to play either on the main website or on the ‘founder’s programme’ pages.

    The only way a potential purchaser will know this is if they are made aware via news posts like this.

    Early access for f2p games is fine. But it needs to be made clear that you are paying to playtest a game that will eventually cost nothing to play.

    As consumer we should obviously pay attention to what we spend our moeny on, but producers should also clearly label and define what their product is.

    Taking money for a product that will eventually be free without stating this is deeply underhanded.

    • Moraven says:

      Yah, I could not find any mention of F2P.

      I assumed it was based on the founder setup. Your purchase nets you so much of in game gold and its set up like the MWO Founder’s program, which everyone copies now.

  5. LionsPhil says:

    Welp, that’s a shame. OMD2 was some amount of fun in co-op, but this just ticked a couple of big NOPE boxes.

  6. aliksy says:

    Hmm.. can I just buy it for $15 and have the full game? Because I dislike microtransactions.

  7. phelix says:

    ‘Unleashed’ and ‘F2P’ is a bit of a contradictio in terminis. Or is it?

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      They have unleashed the monetisation! Flee, flee while you still can!

  8. InternetBatman says:

    Eh, OMD2 was far worse than OMD and was halfway there to an F2P game, so it’s not really an issue to me.

  9. Heliocentric says:

    GODDAMN IT.

    Another franchise i wanted to endure shitted on from a great height by F2P.

    Free to play means no balance and no strategy, just snipped corners and inexplicable advantage, and moba? Moba means no soul, moba means that the game will be horrific to play outside of arranged group matches, pubbing will revolve around hateful bile and greed.

    Robot, I regret that OMD was such a failure that you thought to do this, but not as much as I hate that OMD was so much a success that this will probably hold you afloat. Because for this you deserve to fail.

  10. Agadagen says:

    I feel like people could spend a little less time shitting on the devs for choosing to make a moba-style game based on OMD, and actually wait to see what they make. But wait, that’d be far too reasonable, right?

    • DatonKallandor says:

      Oh no, people who loved the old games being disappointed they’re shifting to the worst genre-business model combination in the entire industry. How rude.

      • Kitsunin says:

        My, my, yes. Heroes of Newerth, DOTA 2, totally games out to screw consumers over. And Magicka: Wizard Wars, talk about a game throwing away its roots just to jump on that MOBA market! Luckily we have Strike Vector to show that you can make a good multi-player game and sell it, and people will play! 30 players two months post-release, that is so more than enough.

        • Koozer says:

          Wizard Wars is closer to Unreal Tournament than it is DOTA.

        • Premium User Badge

          Malibu Stacey says:

          Heroes of Newerth

          If you’re going to use a game as an example of F2P done well, I would advise against picking this one.
          It was a regular price game until Dota 2 went into “closed beta”. Now that Dota 2 is generally available all the professional teams have deserted HoN for Dota 2 & the majority of it’s players have left for either Dota 2 or LoL. S2 games literally can’t give the game away any more hence they’re working on a new DotA-clone called Strife this time aimed at the LoL crowd since they know they can’t compete with VALVe.

      • Premium User Badge

        jezcentral says:

        There’s “Oh no, I won’t get an immediate sequel to a game I liked” and then there’s “Waaaah! I wish poverty upon the devs and that their company fails”. The latter is rude.

        • dE says:

          And so is pulling strawmans out of yer arse to attack someone with.

  11. MkMax says:

    sigh, goodbye OMD, i loved you while you lasted

  12. ecbremner says:

    I played this at Pax today and was super excited… until i got home and read this. The game is REALLY good.. and I normally hate MOBAs… but if its using this model… forget it. GOD i hate the FtP model.

    • pepperfez says:

      It’s pretty much universal among MOBAs though, isn’t it?

  13. Kitsunin says:

    Jeez, what’s with the cynicism? I get that people would be disappointed that there won’t be OMD3, but the idea of a trap-based team vs team game with OMD style gameplay is actually an extremely cool idea, and I bet it wouldn’t have enough players if it wasn’t free to play, because that’s just how the market is.

    Just because free to play is horrible on a regular basis doesn’t mean it is in any way a guarantee a game won’t be good and fair towards consumers. Look at Loadout, for instance. The $150 pack makes me feel very uncomfortable, though, if that can really get you everything in the game it’s still cheaper than a lot of free to play games…

  14. bill says:

    Personally, I don’t think RPS should give publicity to games that have a “$150 edition that gives you $500 of items.”
    There is no way that is good on any level. Shouldn’t really promote or encourage it.

  15. armchaircowboys says:

    Does the I-hate-F2P bandwagon come with extra cushy pillows and free blowjobs or something? Because everyone seems to be jumping on it when there is enough proof out there these days that the F2P model can be just as good as other business model. It’s pretty sad to bash a game before it is even out just because “OMG F2P!”.

    Whatever happened to playing a game and then deciding if it’s good or not? Too mainstream for the gaming hipster elite?

    • WrenBoy says:

      I suspect that the bar for what you consider proof is set low enough to challenge champion limbo dancers.

      • armchaircowboys says:

        Go play Hawken, Blacklight Retribution, Dota2, Smite, Planet Side 2, Team Fortress 2, and a plethora of other F2P titles and then tell me how sub par they all are.

        • WrenBoy says:

          Actually, the existence of a tiny minority of free to play games which dont suck wouldnt be considered “enough proof” by most people.

          Its also exactly what I assumed you meant and why I wrote what I did.

          • armchaircowboys says:

            Working with that logic you can say the exact same thing about the entire games industry. There will always be more garbage out there than gems. It is not exclusive to F2P games at all.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Thats not the same logic actually. You havent taken into account the proportion of good games to bad nor have you taken into account the cost to consumer, either in money or time invested.

            Obviously you have thought long and hard about this though, what with you having enough proof and all.

          • ravencheek says:

            Wrenboy what are you on about?

            You are saying that good F2P games are not proof that there are good F2P games?
            Or are you saying that because there are a few good ones and a few bad ones, ANY game that uses F2P is also bad?

            That’s like saying that because some indie games are good but some are bad, anything that can be classed as indie is bad.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Take a deep breath and slowly read the following sentence.

            The presence of a handful of good F2P games does not prove that F2P is as likely to produce quality games as more traditional models.

            Complicated?

          • Koozer says:

            WrenBoy, you can apply that statement to literally any other genre. There are plenty of absolutely dire FPSs, but also some pretty good ones. You don’t get this level of hate when a FPS game is posted about though.

        • Balanuir says:

          Actually, DOTA2 is pretty bad, if I didn’t know better I’d think it’s an indie game by some small studio given the cheap animations and sound effects.

          PlanetSide 2 has the right production value, but the gameplay is way, way, WAY too obviously geared towards strong incentives to spend money. It’s Pay2Win game and it hides it badly.

          Haven’t played the others.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Umm, proof that something exists is that thing, existing.

        So, Dota 2 is free to play and in an unarguably consumer friendly way. That in itself is irrefutable proof that games can be free to play without being unfair to consumers.

        • WrenBoy says:

          Actually what he said was “there is enough proof out there these days that the F2P model can be just as good as other business model”. Looking at a single or even small group of cherry picked games proves nothing about the business model.

          Its a little annoying to have to spell this out but all the existence of DOTA and its ilk proves is that its possible for good games to be created using the F2P model. You will notice that this is not what he was claiming to have proof for.

          Its harder to prove something than you might think.

          • armchaircowboys says:

            So what you’re saying is that giving proof that there are F2P games out there that are great is not proof of there being F2P games out there that are great. Well done. Not that it matters, it is obvious you are only adding to this discussion so you can be right and/or witty. Both of which you are not, but meh, for the sake of this dragging on here’s my closing:

            You’re right, F2P games totally suck, one should never judge games by actually playing them and .. god these cushy pillows and free blowjobs are awesome!

          • WrenBoy says:

            If you read your comment and mine again you will hopefully realise that you understood neither what I said nor what you originally said.

            Honestly this conversation feels like the unnecessary grind of a typical F2P.

          • Kitsunin says:

            there is enough proof out there these days that the F2P model can be just as good as other business model.

            WrenBoy, what the dingus are you even talking about? You are the only one with no idea what he was talking about. We don’t have any idea what you’re talking about because you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between trolls and children.

            If two business models are equally good at producing quality games then you should not be able to make predictions about the quality of the game purely from the business model.

            Imagine however that the proportion of quality games produced by one model is 10 times higher than the other. It should be clear that one of the models is better at producing quality games. It should also be clear than the inferior model occassionally produces quality games.

            It is therefore irrelevant to point out the existence of an occasional quality game for a particular model. This only shows that it is possible to produce a good game despite this model. It doesn’t show that one model can be just as good. In the example I just gave it only shows that it can only be 10 times worse. 10 times worse is not just as good.

          • Koozer says:

            I like how he starts every post with an insult. He must have made a lot of friends in the debating society.

    • Niko says:

      I think “good” in regards to a business model doesn’t mean what you think it means.

      • armchaircowboys says:

        How is the F2P business model worse than the one used for Pay to Play games these days? Season passes that double the price of admission, day one DLC, yearly expansions. At least with F2P you get to play the product and – when implemented correctly – you do not even have to spend a dime.

        • pepperfez says:

          The worst of those anti-consumer hijinks are typically reserved to Quintuple Alpha Cinematic Events. OMD 1 and 2 each had three (fairly slight) expansions and the complete games can now be purchased for under $30. OMDU is offering a $150 package the claims to include $500 of in-game stuff.

          • armchaircowboys says:

            Wouldn’t it be pro-consumer when a game offers more stuff to get? :P

            Seriously though, what most forget to take into account when it comes to F2P games – should said game have a “fair” FP2 model and not a P2W one – is that the things on offer for real world currency are not must-haves, they are not required to actually play and enjoy the game. They can add a millions upon millions of dollars of virtual gear and player skins, all of which have zero impact on the game.

            A good F2P game does everything to make you want to spend cash but offers nothing that makes you have to spend cash.

  16. bodydomelight says:

    For me the main disappointment isn’t that it’ll be F2P. The free-to-play model can work if implemented properly, which it admittedly isn’t in the majority of cases. My gripe is that my favourite co-op game of the last couple of years is switching to PvP.

    I just don’t particularly like playing against people. If I ever do, it’s against friends. It’s relatively rare to experience multiplayer without a driving sense of competition (that can slide sometimes into direct hostility) and that is most definitely not what I play games for. If you do – cool, enjoy. I am envious.

    But give me my goddamn solo and co-op games back or I’ll cry and cry until I’m sick*.

    * I know that one game turning out to be PvP does not mean all games are, or even that a co-op OMD3 won’t turn up one day. But I also really like to whinge.

    • Jakkar says:

      *pat*

      *biscuits*

      *sympathy*

      I love a bit of compet’, but also know all too well the moods in which the very idea of fast-paced destructive gameplay surrounded by howling intarnet-children chanting ‘u mad bro? LOLOLOL’ makes me want to hide under the table.

      A sadness. There remain many, many, so many games yet to play, though… Sadness not.

  17. ravencheek says:

    Ok enough with the naysayers.

    Is it just me that is really looking forward to this? I love Orcs Must Die and I love PvP games.

    I’m not sure if this will play something like TF2s MvM game mode but with two teams of players facing each other backing up waves of NPCs?
    Or will it be more like one team offensive commanding orcs and the other defensive laying traps and fighting?

    Either way I’ve already thrown enough money at the screen for Alpha access.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Sinomatic says:

    I’m not too worried about the conept of a free F2P game in theory, so I’ll reserve judgement on that until I see how it’s implemented (pay to win or constant bombardment for upgrading will be met with swift derision, naturally).

    As someone who loved OMD1 and 2, I’m not thrilled on the direction of this. But, perhaps this will be the one thing that can convince me on the MOBA style of game. Not holding my breath on that, but I imagine it may well be something of interest for others – it certainly looks like more fun to actually play than other MOBA games I’ve seen.

  19. HisDivineOrder says:

    Too bad they’re throwing away the greatness of the franchise making it into something completely different. When I read they were “changing the traps” because “having a wind trap blow a whole bunch of ogres down a pit is cool when you’re playing by yourself or co-op, but when it happens in competitive MP, it’s not so cool since other people thought those ogres were supposed to do something.”

    That’s like… the whole point of a traps defense game? To build traps of doom no one can get through and watch as you mow down hordes of orcs? Now… the point is what? To put traps up only to have them sabotaged by players before hordes can be mowed down? Dumb the traps down so they only affect a few mobs at a time?

    It’s like they completely missed what made their games fun. Or perhaps they’re just so eager to get LoL/Dota2 moneys, they’re screaming, “Screw our original customers, we want moars moneys!”

    This is the classic dump your old customers to reach for the larger base of another business. Microsoft tried this recently with Windows 8 and Xbox One.

    Didn’t work out very well in either case.

    • pepperfez says:

      Chasing competitive multiplayer is almost always such a disaster. You’re almost guaranteed not to hit the ESPORTS!!11 bigtime, just by the nature of high-level competition, so why waste your time/game systems trying?

  20. headless97 says:

    I loved OMD1 and never got to complete 2 because my co-op buddy dropped out on me. Competitive tower defense can be really interesting, as Tower Wars demonstrated. Free2Play, when done right, can save a game. Strike Vector looks really cool but it might have more players if there was no barrier to entry. Personally, I’m looking forward to what they do with unchained.

    • MkMax says:

      if it was just that, maybe

      but chasing the competitive multiplayer and mobas bugs means it wants or will want to be an esport and that throws “having fun” completely out of the window