Of the many RTS splinter-genres, one of the most interesting is the tactical half-way houses between strategy and RPG. No base-building or resource-gathering, but still controlling multiple units and attempting to conquer a map. Adam fondly reminisced about classic Myth and “dwarves showering an entire hillside with the pieces of ‘sploded enemies” when he saw Deadhold this morning. The dev team were “inspired” by that series and have gone Norse with their theme and objective-based competitive multiplayer with their focus. It’s at a very early stage of development–hence the somewhat terrifying placeholder models above–but the devs have already put out several videos of what they’ve made so far.
I’m not sure why they’ve chosen to use “action RTS” to describe their game and refer to MOBAs, as I don’t see much of that in here yet. While Deadhold is being made to be viable as a competitive multiplayer game, that seems to be the only real similarity to Dota or LoL. Perhaps there’s more to be announced along those lines, given how often they reference it in their descriptions of the game.
That confusion aside, it’s an underserved area of gaming. You’ll be tinkering with formations and positioning your forces, but one of the main aims is to keep it easy to learn. They’re doing this through a simple point-and-click interface. The complexity will come from options of which units to field or how to use your special abilities as the commander of the army.
They’ve also shown off the Frost Giant in combat and how the Unreal engine is helping them prettify it up. The announcement post also links to a thread on the TeamLiquid forums about the next evolution of RTS, not written by the dev team but thinking along similar lines. As someone with a soft spot for RTSs it was interesting reading, particularly on the social factors of teamplay vs. the 1v1 nature of StarCraft.
Release is obviously a long way off, but it seems like Deadhold would be perfectly suited to either a nostalgia-fueled Kickstarter or Early Access’ brand of crowdfunding. Keep an eye out.