What Would You Change About… Shards of War?

Shards of War - op-ed headlogo - EN

We’re taking a look at Bigpoint’s sci-fi MOBA Shards of War in our newest “What Would You Change About…?” article, a free to play classic lane based mobile battle arena where you get to choose from [currently] 25 different Sentinel characters in a fast paced 5v5 team battle. The game features WASD movement, gear crafting for your characters, PVP and PVE battle modes and generally a faster state of play to appeal to a more casual MOBA player with game times hovering around 20 minutes.

There’s a lot of this game that we love, but right now we’re here to see what we would change.

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  • Weak Turrets - We don’t like the underwhelming amount of power that lane turrets put out. As the primary passive defense to stop players pushing down a lane we’re not thrilled at how weak the lane turrets are in terms of firepower, sure if you stand there long enough they will kill you, but they don’t seem to pose a major threat. If a pursued squishy assassin or healer Sentinel is hoping to find some respite by diving to their turret then they have another thing coming, it’s all too easy to ignore or mitigate the damage done temporarily by a turret long enough to get your kill (even if it takes quite a bit of work). We’d like to see an increase in the towers power and a larger threat to players, but not as a standard buff, the knock-on effect this would have keeping back lane drones and camps means matches would suddenly become a lot longer. A system where the turrets are more powerful against enemy Sentinels the closer an allied player is to them might be a great way of increasing their effectiveness without skewing the game length.

  • Quitters - More specifically those who quit at the char selection screen. The game just isn’t that populated, so queueing for 5minutes+ isn’t uncommon; when you get into a game and at the Sentinel selection screen it is literally fastest finger first to lock in your Sentinel choice (there’s no turn based system or way to queue as the Sentinel you want to play as seen in other MOBA). What this means is that if a player didn’t get the char they so desperately wanted then, instead of being a team player, they’ll just quit, throw everyone out of the game and force everyone to queue again, the game used to allow players to just leave at the char selection, but it was removed to stop this kind of activity, unfortunately players can just hard quit the game. Whilst we’d love some of the options implemented that we’ve mentioned (queueing as a Sentinel, turn based char selection) what we’d prefer just as much is the same punishment for quitting pre-game as you get for leaving during.

  • Never Surrender - The game probably needs a surrender option. Due to the nature of the game it is quite easy to fall behind in a game and once the enemy gets a few team levels between you then catching up grows increasingly more difficult, but not impossible. There are far more people who will “GG” a match after one bad team fight, writing off the team as noobs that will ultimately be defeated, and so they will just rage quit the game and take the penalty that comes with it hoping that their team will hurry up and lose so that they can jump into a new game. The problem is for the players left behind as the AI BOTS that fill a leavers place can be pretty poor, if the team wasn’t going to lose before it almost definitely is now, and unless the remaining players want to face a similar penalty they will just have to suck up the incoming defeat for as long as it takes (the game detects AFK/non-participation so you still need to play). We think that if a team suffers a Leaver then after five minutes (more than enough time for the player to reconnect if it was connection issues) the team should be able to surrender, or if two players leave and there’s two replacement bots, then the remaining players can instantly vote to surrender with a 2-1 majority and get the rewards for the game (providing one of the leavers isn’t grouped with a remaining player to avoid any abuse).

  • More Map Variety - The maps are kind of similar and a bit tedious. Unfortunately for most MOBA we’re quite big fans of Blizzards’ Heroes of the Storm, which currently has ten maps with each having a unique layout and unique map sub-objectives. Shards of War doesn’t have that, it has a handful of maps with very similar layouts and not much else to do other than push lanes. As it is the game is just simply classic three lane MOBA with shorter match times (with a few added extras) and the game promotes itself saying “forget about long lane-phases and jump straight to the action to feel the rush…”, when in all honesty it’s still the same kind of laning game but with quicker results. The game design is more of a sped up version of League of Legends and so the different maps would be kind of pointless, but if they took a page out of HOTS’ book and threw in some unique map objectives then things might be a lot more fun.

So that’s what we’d change with Shards of War, but more importantly what do you believe should be changed? What do you think could/should be added to improve the game? What would you add to your own personal wish list? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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