I suspect a large part of why most MOBAs are about wizards is because it’s easy to wave away questions about the genre’s intricacies and absurdities by saying “A wizard did it.” Wizards aren’t cool though, are they? You know what’s cool? Tanks, guns, bombs, and bullets. If only tanks could be wizards! Alas, the elver blood shortage prohibits weaving tank-sized robes.
Undeterred, Grey Goo developers Petroglyph are making a military MOBA where each player controls a company of 2-12 units. Victory Command [official site] will be free-to-play when it properly launches but, for folks who dig the idea of MOBAs but don’t want to be a daggy wizard, you can now buy into the beta through Steam Early Access.
Giving folks more than one unit will add an RTS element to the genre, Petroglyph think, encouraging clever tactics and combined arms manoeuvres.
Why’s it in Early Access? Petroglyph explain:
“Because Victory Command is a 100% team vs team battle arena game, we are asking Early Access users to play the game, try different combinations, and give us lots of feedback and reviews on gameplay, design, progression, etc. The only way we can realize Victory Command’s full potential is to get honest feedback from actual players competing in matches with all of the Companies, Units, Perks, Drones, and Ability combinations the game offers.”
Back in The Day, you’d toss out a couple of thousand beta keys if you wanted that sort of feedback. What interesting times we live in! There’s a reasonable argument to be made that people who’ve paid will be more invested in helping improve it, but that is still sort of having people pay to play at being a QA worker. Given that Petroglyph’s attempt to Kickstart the game failed, I suppose they’re doing whatever they can to get it out there. Not that they’re the only folks who charge for early access to F2P games, mind – it’s standard practise for MOBAs.
Victory Command is £12.74 right now and comes with some F2P gubbins. Petroglyph plan to gift Early Access folks premium membership time at least equal to the game’s cost, but admit “we can make no guarantee that a full release or the gift will happen”. Buyer beware and all that.