Last week, EA shocked no one by announcing a fantasy-themed MOBA of its very own. RPS went street level to witness the complete lack of riots, and everything went pretty much exactly as expected. Jim Smitherford of Some Random San Francisco Apartment was incredulous. "Wait," he said, brow furrowed as though on the verge of collapse. "They haven't done that already? Huh. Also, how did you get inside my home?" Kelly Someoneson of Someplaceburg shared a similar sentiment. "Oh," she replied when we gave her the news. "Well, good luck to them, I guess." Then we tapped one last man on the shoulder and asked for his input. "Really? So they're finally doing that, huh. Well I'll be," he exclaimed. It was EA COO Peter Moore.
[Obviously, the above events are highly fictionalized. The following Dawngate video footage and details, however, are most certainly not.]
Based on Machinima's video, Dawngate's big focuses appear to be rich lore (especially in the environment), a more natural, easy-to-learn progression, a better interface, and multiple objectives in spite of a reduction to only two lanes. Case in point: spirit wells. They act as capturable sources of a currency called Vim, and NPC workers mine them once they're under a team's control. As a result, you can essentially harass your enemy's supply line RTS-style, which is an interesting twist.
Creeps and towers are also getting their own EAvolutions - and rather symbiotic ones to boot. "Bindings," as towers are known in Dawngate, are tied directly to creep strength, with lane-straddling "Striders" changing form in reaction to fallen Bindings. An energy-based "Circuit," meanwhile, ties the whole system together, allowing Bindings to regenerate if enough energy reaches them. The hope, then, is that players will have a reason to defend lost lanes, presumably leading to fewer shutouts and more momentum shifts over the course of matches.
Dawngate's tweaks to the MOBA formula don't seem as overtly game-changing as, say, Sins of a Dark Age's, but this is a genre where little things count for a whole, whole, whole lot. Are you interested? Frankly, I'm still doing my damndest to find time to learn LoL. One thing at a time, though, I suppose.
Somewhat remarkably, Dawngate's beta actually kicks off this Friday, May 24th. Have you signed up?