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Dungeon Defenders 2: A Gentler, More Persistent MOBA

I desperately want to look that cool when I'm running. What do think: should I get the axe/cape combo first, or raise a pack of wolf cubs from birth to adore and obey me until the bitter end?

Though valiantly working to improve, MOBAs can still be quite mean. The original Dungeon Defenders, meanwhile, was the cutest, nicest, most snuggably soft action-tower-defender out there. So naturally, Trendy’s decided to mash up its two great loves, in much the same way one “naturally” leaves their squalling infant at a daycare center run by salivating rhinocobears. And yet, the original Dungeon Defenders was deceptively complex, so perhaps these seemingly incompatible puzzle pieces can snap together and form a respectable portrait of some penguins – or, I suppose, Dungeon Defenders 2 – after all. I have to admit, the first details do sound fairly promising.

If you loved Dungeon Defenders: The First, fear not. Its tried-and-true co-op mode is still fully intact and trundling into town with a whole host of improvements and potentially “experimental” changes. Only in competitive multiplayer do MOBA elements really start creeping into the equation. This isn’t just some haphazard genre blender job, though. If all goes according to plan, we won’t even have to rally terrified townspeople when this Frankenstein monster is finally aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive.

“Our take on the MOBA genre is more RPG-esque, with more hero customization, persistent hero leveling, loot and a town square where players can socialize, manage their heroes, shop, trade, and queue for matches. We’ve drastically simplified the item system, to reduce the learning curve for new players and are aiming for shorter total match times. We’re also experimenting with some other unique twists that you might find out about later (if they work!).”

Once you enter a match, however, it’s 5v5 arena action from the word go. Meanwhile, the only real crossover between competitive and co-op will be your heroes themselves, who will hold onto all gear, weapons, pets, currency, and achievements no matter whom they choose to hack, slash, and otherwise do uncharacteristically grievous harm to.

The whole thing’s F2P, but Trendy’s not trying to be evil, even though evil’s all-too-often the trend with these things. “All stat giving items are awarded only through play, not pay,” it explained. “Like many other games in the genre though, you will be able to purchase boosts that will let you level faster or find better cosmetics.”

Dungeon Defenders 2’s decidedly offensive MOBA portion’s in closed beta right this very second. You can have a go at the line to get in right here. Co-op, on the other hand, isn’t slated for beta until late 2013 or early 2014, with Trendy explaining that it really wants to pull out all the stops and make sure its new ideas don’t leave the original’s delicate balancing act in critical Humpty Dumpty condition.

Both halves of Dungeon Defenders 2 sound like exceedingly tall orders, too, so rushing would probably not be the greatest idea. What do you think, though? An RPG-styled MOBA sharing a roof – not to mention character progression – with a co-op tower defender: can it work? Do you want it to?

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Nathan Grayson

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