Have You Played… Demigod?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

When people remember Demigod, mostly they recall Rook, the character with castle towers for shoulders pictured above. That’s fair, he’s great, but Demigod was fun across the board.

Demigod was a MOBA before the entire industry started making MOBAs, in which teams of five heroes fought while creeps trickled down lanes towards the enemy base. It never took off because it wasn’t a free-to-play game, because it had only a small number of heroes, and because it had a terrible launch with broken multiplayer servers.

But the small number of heroes and decent singleplayer mode also meant it was more accessible to regular strategy game player than a DotA, Dota 2, or a League of Legends. Eg. someone like me. I liked Rook, but also the angel-sniper character. Demigod is another reason to be sad that developers Gas Powered Games disappeared.

32 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    I have indeed, but it didn’t manage to keep my attention long due to the lack of variety in maps, which seems to be a “feature” of MOBAs from the point of view of an old fart who squints at them from a distance while mumbling about bloody kids and their new-fangled gibberish…

    • Darloth says:

      People only played one map, but it actually had several. some of them, especially the later ones, were really quite interesting. There was one made of two snakes biting each other’s tails twined around each other… one generic fantasy floating platform one, I think that’s the one everyone played… uh… I forget the others, but it had quite a lot and I thought they were fairly different.

  2. plavski says:

    I played the hell out of this game and it was a shame it was mired in technical issues. It gave me a taste of the simple, accessible MOBA I wouldn’t find again until Heroes of the Storm.

    • Xocrates says:

      Ironically, Heroes of the Storm has probably the worst experience for casual play I’ve ever seen in a moba. Plenty of good ideas on how to make it more accessible, sure, but terrible for those “I’m bored and I feel like playing something” moments.

      • Moraven says:

        How so?

        I have seen it as the best for casual play and players.

      • Greg Wild says:

        I have to disagree there: I would love to get into Dota 2 for instance, but the long game lengths & high skill floor makes it feel like too big an investment just to get started. HOTS on the other hand feels playable even if you’re just playing the odd round every other week.

        • Xocrates says:

          Talking about different things. I agree that Hots is among the easier mobas to get into (though I still have plenty of complaints there).

          My problem is what happens once you’re past that point. Hots is an extremely frustrating game for unprompted solo play – i.e. “the I’m bored and feel like play something” kind of play.

          Hots is accessible to casual players, it’s not good at casual play.

        • Narg says:

          If you really want to give a chance, there is an excellent “teach a noob”-series currently going on where the dota 2 analyst Purge teaches the starcrafter-turned-youtuber-nerdguy Day9 the mechanics and reasoning of dota in a weekly series, I have kindled the interest of 2 of my friends to play dota with me from these series.

          There is a lesson and then practice games to watch, here’s the playlist

      • vahnn says:

        HotS is without a doubt the easiest moba for casual gamers to get into. I honestly have no idea why you’d think otherwise.

        • Xocrates says:

          Get into? Yes.

          Play casually? Good lord no.

          Even if every moba is team oriented, as a rule of thumb, they allow for some individuality.
          By contrast, Hots heavy objective focus and shared xp means that either everyone is doing well, or no-one is. Add in the fact that abilties that in other games would be the ult with a long cooldown are frequently basic abilities in Hots, and playing the game with anything other that a well coordinated 5 man premade is an exercise in frustration.

          Easy to get into? Sure.
          But it’s not a good game for casual play.

          • vorador says:

            Also, most people play it like their lives are on the line. Extremely competitive and god forbid if you don’t know by memory character stats and synergies with other heroes.

            Unless you get some friends to join you to learn the ropes and/or play casually, MOBAs, including HotS, are very toxic for newbies and casual players.

  3. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    What ever happened to Chris Taylor? When is he going to Kickstart all those games that were cancelled when Cavedog was shutdown?

    • carn1x says:

      Last I heard he works at Wargaming.net, who also acquired the Total Annihilation rights.

    • Son_of_Georg says:

      After the Wildman Kickstarter failed (too bad, it looked really cool), Wargaming bought Gas Powered Games and made Chris Taylor the general manager of Wargaming Seattle. A lot of people thought he’d be working on Total Annihilation 2, since Wargaming owns the rights, but last fall Taylor left Wargaming to start a new independent studio, and I haven’t been able to find any news since.

  4. Misaniovent says:

    Unfortunately, this game’s launch was a disaster and it failed accordingly. Retailers started selling the game before it had launched — before servers were online.

    I only played it years later, but it apparently had serious netcode issues, too.

  5. BockoPower says:

    I really wanted to play it as I wanted to play a new MOBA after DotA exhaustion but I think it was 30 euro at release if I remember right. And there was no way to pay such money for such game.
    Anyway I see it’s still on Steam right now. It has an average peak of 7 players per month for the past 3 years so they probably play only vs AI.

  6. Bayemon says:

    People played one map and there were 8 heroes. Was fun for about a week.

  7. Premium User Badge

    lasikbear says:

    Demigod had some cool ideas that other MOBAs never really picked up on. Every hero had multiple upgrade paths, so you could have builds focused on totally different skills, and you could also spend money(skill points?) to upgrade your sides units instead of your hero.

    Shame the broken netcode meant it never took off, would have been interesting to see how the would have genre evolved if it had had more influence.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I remember seeing the box for this in stores rather often, and always thinking I’d pick it up someday.

    But it’s a MOBA? Gross, I thought it was an RTS.

    Glad I didn’t get it, I suppose!

  9. AIAndy says:

    As others have already mentioned, this game suffered immensely from bad netcode. Someone at the developer thought it would be a good idea to use Peer 2 Peer for a 10 person game in 2009. So every player had to maintain connections to 9 other players and if any of those 45 connections lagged, everyone lagged. And someone would lag from that bandwidth usage in 2009. 3 vs 3 was a lot more likely to succeed with limited lagging but that is not really what you play that kind of game for and you might still have needed multiple tries to get a game that allowed everyone to connect to everyone.
    Later they added some code to allow rooting the communication between two players over a third which increased the chances that the connections were made in the first place but did not really help much with lag.
    A pity, it could have been a good game, although the hero pool was too low for replayability.

    • Eschwen says:

      Same engine and net code was used in Supreme Commander (from 2007) without any issues. The only difference is that Supreme Commander used Quazal + GPG.net, vs. Demigod that used Impulse.

      But if you’d like to keep blaming the net code, don’t let me stop you.

      • AIAndy says:

        The main difference is player number. P2P gets worse with player number because the number of connections grows with the square of the player number (1vs1 = 1 connection, 2vs2 = 6 connections, 5vs5 = 45 connections).
        So what is a fine choice for 1vs1 and 2vs2 (which are the common numbers for RTS) becomes a bad choice for 5vs5.
        If the chance for the connection between any two players to be bad is 2%, then the chance for a 1vs1 to work fine is 98%, the chance for a 2vs2 to work fine is 89% but the chance for a 5vs5 to work fine is only 40%, so more often than not it will be quite laggy and slow.
        And I have not even considered the bandwidth issue here.

  10. Xocrates says:

    Played it quite a bit, but almost exclusively against AI. For a long time I kept it installed so I could dive in and relax after getting annoyed at LoL.

    The “campaign” was completely rubbish though, and not in the sense that it was just a series of AI matches (though it was that too) but because in one difficulty it was too easy and in the next your team would become significantly dumber than the opponent, requiring you to solo carry the game, which was incredibly annoying and frustrating.

    The game did not age particularly well either, especially since it was at the forefront of the moba explosion, but it did a lot of interesting things, some of which I wish more games copied.

  11. Son_of_Georg says:

    THE WHITE CITADEL HAS CONSTRUCTED TREBUCHETS!

  12. OmNomNom says:

    It was kind of fun but the game was soooo sloooooooww that it just ended up boring the crap out of me

  13. Osi says:

    For some inexplicable reason, Demigod at release had zero copy protection.
    So as soon as it launched it was pirated en masse.
    It was a shame, I loved playing the game and really wanted to see it succeed.

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      I remember buying it, and taking it to a friends house because he has a better PC than me. We installed it there and played it for a while…

      The next day he told me he was still able to play it sans disk. That was pretty cool I guess!

  14. dorobo says:

    Aah yes this was good. And so pretty. Now they all runnin on acid with these almost casual game looks