Now With Added Scorpions: Robocraft

Robocraft is an early access mash-up of World of Tanks and voxel building, letting players build land and air vehicles and then take them into online arenas to do battle. Chris thought the “tinkering is actually more fun than the tankering,” when he played it back in July, though both are likely better after the latest update added wall-scaling, crawling vehicles to its already hefty number of customisation options.

Of all the long-running multiplayer Early Access games, I find Robocraft the most tempting. One of my flatmates was well into it a month or so ago and I spent more hours than I’m willing to admit cheerleading him and his increasingly large and violent mechanical babies. It’s one of the few grand, alpha ideas that seems to be achieving its goals; it’s just the right combo of fast-paced and easy-to-learn with a creative side to draw in a crowd. A quick glance at the game’s dedicated subreddit revealed both great originality and skilled references. And, well, this.

The update’s also added the ability to engage in “boss battles” where a higher tier player – with naturally stronger guns and armour – faces off against 20 lower tier ones. These are scattered into the match-making, so they occur randomly when searching for normal games. It’s a brilliant idea, giving newer players some idea of what they’ll get to do later on while also allowing for a big XP bonus if they manage to survive and triumph.

5 Comments

  1. Tei says:

    what the… it even look cooler that it sounds!, I can’t wait, love this game

  2. LionsPhil says:

    Robocraft is pretty fun right up until the F2P design ruins it. They’ve pretty much nailed the mobile-phone-esque “the grind seems fine at first with good progress then it tapers off into frustation” curve.

    At least you have the option to stick at lower tiers, though; making rank based on parts rather than some always-lousy attempt to measure player skill is a good choice.

    Here is my joke robot: Mr Doggums. I then realized I could put a higher-tier plasma weapon on it and still squeeze into T1, so now he’s actually kind of effective. I feel bad (normally the people doing this are kind of jerks), but at least I give amusing killcams. (Also it’s top-heavy and completely useless if you get into a brawl with it. The ears block its own outgoing fire from certain angles and it’s hard to self-right.)

    (Which is actually sorta the other problem with Robocraft. The higher-tier you get, the more serious. You’ve sorta got to build a practical robot, or you’re just going to get killed over and over. Tier 1 is more Anything Goes. And doesn’t have assholes welded to the top of the skybox sniping. [The worst ones then miss repeatedly, contributing nothing but delays to the match while someone on the ground tries to shoot them down with an inaccurate laser.])

    • SAM-site says:

      Everything you say is true, however the F2P grind becomes a non-issue if you chuck £10-15 at the game (which it’s definitely worth). Skybox snipers are a drag, but largely because few people make fighters – one MG-laden air superiority bot per team and all is right with the world.

      I find kicking around between tier 4 and 6 to be the most fun.

      • Doganpc says:

        One MG-laden air superiority bot gets taken down almost immediately by every railgun tank… balance.
        I was loving this game and saw the walker update and was super excited. Then I found out that the walker bits were a tier above me and I didn’t have enough RWM leftover to snag them. So I tried to play, then discovered the nano guns (Heal allies, damage foes) and now… I’m done.

        It wasn’t the thick magenta lines of the healing gun or the grind (which $5-10 got me everything I wanted, and still could have if walker bits were out sooner). It was partly the auto aim of the healing gun (right click to win) and watching people who I brought down to 3% being brought back to life as my team floundered. Sure you can chalk it up to other teams having good medics or just better tactics but it ruined the feel of the game for me.

        The Design aspect of the game, where you had to balance offense and defense with survivability seems off now. Having everything you did to help your team nullified by an opportunistic healer took everything I had going for me even when I lost (I’m big on support dps and crowd control) out of the game. Now there is no more small victories in my fun. Less fun means I find something else to play that gets me more fun value for my time.

        So I went back to MWO and its lopsided victories, cause at least there I can insulate my futility with a soft fuzzy comfy warm cozy blanket of battletech lore.

    • Drognin says:

      Hey LionsPhil, I’m Drognin, one of the developers of Robocraft.

      I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but we’ve made some huge changes to our F2P model in this update.
      The repair system has been completely removed, meaning progression is far quicker and far smoother throughout the tiers. Now anyone can easily reach Tier 10 without needing to spend a penny.

      On top of that, the removal of repairs costs means you’ll never be penalized for doing badly in a game, freeing you up to experiment with different and creative robot designs.

      We’ve made other changes to help people progress too, like giving all users in a battle (both paying and non-paying) an additional 5% RP for every premium user present. We want our gaming community to realise we love them all, whether they spend money or not :)