I’ve never been a fan of MOBAs. I can’t roleplay in them, they aren’t really known for being big on customization either. So that’s two of my favorite things in games taken out from the start. I never really bothered to give them the time of day. But after I met the Dawngate development team all of that changed. I’m actually giving Dawngate a try. You could say that they made a believer out of me.
So, I suppose the question you might be asking yourself is, what did they say to make someone who doesn’t like MOBAs break down and try one? Well, it wasn’t me just doing my job. Thankfully I’m in a position where I have the luxury of saying no to playing a game if I don’t want to play it. This is how I’ve managed to be in the industry for nearly 5 years and still haven’t played WoW or LoL. Part of what got me is the indie feel that they have. Waystone Games does fly under the EA flag. But they don’t feel like they’re under the boot of a publisher. In fact, to get access to the EA megabooth in the press area of Gamescom you have to check in at a front desk. They ask you what game your appointment is for and check you against a schedule they have on a computer in front of them. When I got there and said I was there to see Dawngate, they asked me if I meant to go to Activision. The ladies, wearing EA nametags had never even heard of Dawngate. Needless to say it wasn’t the best start to my day. Thankfully though I happen to know someone who works on Dawngate. So I braved the public area of Gamescom to find them and hope they could get me access to the EA area. It paid off in the end, I got access to the super exclusive EA area and so I got to see Dawngate, though I was a little late for my meeting.
But it isn’t just the indie feel of Dawngate that got me, after all there are tons of indie MOBAs out there and they’ve never managed to grab my attention. Another thing that makes Dawngate so appealing to me is that they aren’t afraid to break away from the MOBA norms and try something new. They’ve done away with the three lane system, your role isn’t dependent on which Shaper (character) you pick, and they put an emphasis on story. All of these things make them more attractive.
Instead of the traditional three lane system they have two lanes, a whole lot of jungle, and Spirit Wells. Four Spirit Wells sit on the map to be captured. Capturing them means more resources for your team. Letting them fall into the hands of the enemy will, for a short time at least reduce your passive income. Additionally each side has a Guardian who acts as the last line of defense before a game is finished. All of this together makes Dawngate a MOBA that makes sense to me.
Perhaps though the two biggest things about Dawngate that have drawn me in are the fact that Shapers can be any role and the story. It never sat well with me the idea that if I wanted to take on a specific role I had to change characters. Yes, I know that in most MMORPGs you still have to do this. But, I’m also known in my circle of friends for being the sort of player who tanks with her face on light armor wearing, magic using characters. I like that in Dawngate while each Shaper has a role that they are more ideally made for they can in fact take on any role you want. This means I can pick one Shaper and make him (or her) my own, make them the character that I identify as. This both goes a long way to curb my alt addiction and also not be stuck in the same role all of the time. If every time I played I had to be a Jungler I’d quickly grow bored. And this is true of all games I play, not just MOBAs. Variety is the spice of life as they say. Variety is what keeps people coming back for more.
Dawngate also has this amazing story that they’ve been developing through an online comic. The art is beautifully done and though I’m only half way through reading it at the moment it seems mostly to serve as a story telling device for the lead up to Dawngate. In that way it has been an excellent introduction to the world of Dawngate and once again, it gives a purpose. It gives me a reason for being out there fighting. That is, to me at least, something that is really important for real enjoyment of a game.
I had a really great time meeting the makers of Dawngate. They’re all passionate, they love the game they’re working on and they opened my eyes to the world of MOBAs. The game itself seems like an exciting new take on the genre while still being familiar enough to veteran MOBA players to be appealing. Who knows, in the future you might find me writing about my experiences in other MOBAs and it would all be thanks to Dawngate.