Little Red Riding Hood at Gamescom
At the end of our second day at Gamescom we had a meeting at the Crytek booth where we were getting the chance to check out Arena of Fate their new MOBA that they aren’t calling a MOBA (but is very much a MOBA). The game is like many others that are currently out there, very much in the genre but adding their own twists to features to try and do things a little different without stepping too far away from the familiar gameplay. In all honesty this was the impression we got of all the new MOBA games we saw at Gamescom this year, they all want to be different, but want to be familiar to the audiences as well; this isn’t a criticism and to those players who are really into their MOBA games they will no doubt think they are all different (similar to how DotA 2 and LoL are different games).
The concept for the game is that in the future, for whatever reason, characters from history, lore, mythology and popular fiction have been brought to life (or back to life) to save humanity in some grandiose celebrity deathmatch. The Crytek folks admitted that the lore isn’t exactly important, and the story is open to change as they start doing public testing, but for those that like a bit of fluff behind their characters then it will be there. The characters range from King Arthur, Little Red Riding Hood, Robin Hood, Baron von Münchhausen, Nikola Tesla and more from an expected cast of 30 characters at release and each will have their own style, skills and bio fluff to set them apart from each other.
When talking about how they decided which characters to draw from, the process was more along the lines of taking typical classes players would expect to find in these types of arena games and choosing a popular character that would fit them, some were easy such as the Archer being the most infamous of them all; Robin Hood. With other characters they put their own twist on them, the likes of Robin Hood being the result of what happened after the story of her and the wolf; she is now a trained wolf hunter with her fearsome sword which has the wolf’s tail attached to the hilt and is appropriately called “Big Bad Wolf”.
As far as the game goes Crytek have taken a lot of the classic MOBA features and put their own twist on them in the design, or taken areas that they think didn’t work in other games and changed them, for example matches last 20 minutes, but players still earn points from character kills, dropping towers and more in the event that they don’t destroy the enemy base there will still be a winner.
The single map itself is different, using two “proper” lanes that link the bases and one “soft” lane that doesn’t link the bases but has its own unique tower that, if controlled by a team, makes the enemy towers weaker and thus giving an alternative objective in the battle.
Instead of using items players get traits that they can “purchase”, which they can improve as they level up, essentially making a system that keeps players in the field and removes the need to keep heading back to the base. As the amount of time that a single game lasts is restricted there is no level cap and so players will have a nice secondary task no doubt of trying to reach the highest level possible in a game.
Players can heal themselves up with a cooldown skill or more passively simply by being in their own territory, so as long as they have a tower available they can get within range and their health will replenish, again, removing the need to keep teleporting back into the base and keeping players in the field so that the 20 minutes of the game is spent fighting.
Regardless of the character you choose players are still able to choose their own role in the game, from the Breaker who becomes a classic tank to the Sieger who can take damage from towers a lot easier. This gives players the chance to stick with the type of character they like and use their skills, but focusing on a role that best suits their preferred style of gameplay, and ultimately offering a lot more tactical choice as to how teams are put together with the numerous class/role hybrids available.
Playing the game it’s safe to say that as it was Crytek the game looked amazing, already well polished for a game that has only recently been announced and is still in Alpha (though this is an internal). The game also played really nicely and was very newbie friendly, as someone who hasn’t played a lot of MOBA it was relatively easy to get into and grab a kill or two against the other newbies we were playing (the AI was much harder to kill and Little Red Riding Hood had a knack of teleporting away every time we were going to get a killing blow).
The game isn’t going to be groundbreaking, but it’s definitely going to lure a lot of people to it due to its quirky theme and great polish, the battles are extremely fast paced and intensive; the in-field healing meaning the pace is pretty constant and the only breather you get is when you die!
Alpha is due to start relatively soon, but it will be an invite only focusing on the technical aspects and focusing on the ranking system, there is no word on closed or open beta as of yet.