Gnarly: Awesomenauts Overdrive Expansion Announced

I’m impressed and pleased that Awesomenauts [official site] is still ticking away merrily, big enough to keep expansions coming three years after launch. While many MOBAs in the early rush straight-up copied the Dota format (well, it’d probably be more correct to say LoL’s interpretation of the Dota format), Awesomenauts took the lane-pushing and tower-crushing wizardry into a 2D side-scroller to make something pretty different. Developers Ronimo this week announced a new ‘expansion’, named Overdrive, which will bring a mix of free updates and new features along with three new paid characters in early 2016.

On the free side, Ronimo are overhauling old art from the game’s initial release which looks a bit sloppy now, planning to tweak more core systems like they did in the recent levelling overhaul, and adding replacing its matchmaking system. THey explain:

“We will introduce a completely new matchmaking system, running on our own servers. It will both be a lot more stable and do a better job at pairing players of an equal skill level, while also keeping connection quality between peers in mind. This will make the game more rewarding for veteran players, and be less daunting for new recruits!”

Matchmaking is so vital to multiplayer games like this, so improving it is always good. That’s tricky when a game doesn’t have thousands of players at once – Awesomenauts tends to peak daily at around one thousand concurrent players – though. Have a read of this blog post from Ronimo’s Joost van Dongen a few months back, which explains the difficulties of matchmaking in games without huge playerbases.

On the not-free side, Ronimo will be adding three new characters: “The time-travelling inventor (Professor M. Yoolip), the hyperbike-riding bounty hunter (Chucho Krokk), and the LUX5000 bot piloted by the twin babies Jimmy and Amy.” They’re due in March, and going by pre-order pricing they’ll be £5.99.

On top of all this, before the end of June 2016 they plan to add a free community-designed character, Ix the Interloper, and another free map, the crowdfunding-supported Starstorm Station.

That’s it. I awesomethink that’s all the awesomethings.

5 Comments

  1. Zankman says:

    Well, the bad connections and lack of balance was always a big problem.

    So, better matchmaking will help… Though it still doesn’t change the fact that the game is incredibly imbalanced and snowbally.

    Not to mention that starting the game with X loadout, only to find that unless you have Y and Z upgrades, you will be useless in that given match (aka you don’t know who your opponents will be).

    Oh and the “drop in/drop out” thing, where you can just leave a game and be replaced by a bot… Ugh… Ruins many games.

    Finally, I am still stumped as to why they didn’t make the game F2P.

    They should have made that change ages ago, to improve the progression system and attract more players…

    Sure as hell won’t be buying this expansion.

    • alphagator says:

      They fixed the loadout thing you’re talking about (where you had to select a possible loadout before a match rather than during) maybe a year ago.

      This matchmaking update is fixing the drop-in, drop-out stuff you mentioned.

      The game isn’t F2P because they need to keep the lights on, but it goes on sale for as low as 3 bucks or 99 cents from time to time so you can just scoop up a copy and give it to your chintzy mates.

      It’s a great game and I’ve spent a lot of time on it and watched it improve over the years. Lots of people’s opinions on it are based on outdated notions–everyone, especially platformer-lovers, should give this title a spin imho :)

      • Zankman says:

        Dunno, if what you say is true it may be worth playing again.

        But yeah, the entire point of it being F2P would be to earn more money, lol.

    • Wolfcoyote_J says:

      I have to agree with Zankman. The game was fun for a while, but the frustration of entering a match and finding out that I was overmatched due to picking the wrong style of character or being the only one trying to push forward through clear lanes when other gamers had given up and weren’t even defending the base…no. Just no. Not to mention that that connections were weak (and not because of my ping, it used to be a problem all around), the matchmaking was historically bad, and pay-to-win content…I don’t even want to go on.

      And I’m sorry Alphagator, but one should have to wait almost three years for flaws to be fixed. Like Zankman, I’m not going to purchase the update, nor will I comment on Awesomenauts any further. A shame really, because when I first played it it seemed like an awesome game… :(

  2. draglikepull says:

    I don’t play Awesomenauts online at all, but I’ve been playing local/LAN co-op for ages and it’s a ton of fun to team up with friends for some comp-stomp.