There’s something undeniably epic about commanding several squads of troops into battle and running pell-mell after them with reckless abandon. Blueside’s new MMORPG, Kingdom Under Fire II (KUF2), somehow manages to give you an RTS-style feel of tactically directing groups of minions around the battlefield, while retaining the single-character progression and combat that have become hallmarks of modern action MMOs.
From what I could tell from our hands-off preview at E3 this week, the PvE aspect of KUF2 is split up into three major areas: the “City,” “Field,” and missions. The City serves as a kind of social hub for the game, and is where you can recruit, train, and merge troops and change jobs. Conversely, the Field, which our hosts likened to the gameplay in TERA, is an open world exploration area where you can fight monsters and presumably, fight more monsters. Missions are essentially instanced dungeons where you can bring your troops along with you and engage in gigantic battles alongside your party members and their own cadre of troops.
When you’re in a mission, you can easily switch between your character and troops by pressing the Tab key, and you’ll be encouraged to develop strategies that coordinate the two to take on KUF2’s monsters, which all have unique abilities. You can change your troops’ AI between offensive, defensive, and party modes (the latter of which simply enables them to attack your target), and have to take them into battle for them to level up.
In our tour, we took a look at a 16-player “Invasion” PvE mode, which our guides compared loosely to League of Legends, in that you can summon your troops into massive battles within this scenario but can only control your own character. We were also shown an arena where you can engage in different challenges to build reputation and subsequently hire new kinds of troops. And fight dinosaurs.
KUF2 will offer several different PvP modes, including 2v2 and 4v4 territory defense battles and a 10+ player Invasion PvP mode that is based on the objective of assaulting your opponents’ keep. The game will incorporate a large amount of raiding and PvP to comprise its endgame, and will support a guild war system, where guilds can seize different locations on the world map and form nations. They can then establish manors and draw upon the locations’ special resources to build particular items or troops. Of course, they’ll be enticed to either barter or go to war with other guilds for their locations’ unique resources.
Character customization is key in KUF2, and the game looks like it will provide a staggering amount of cosmetic, armor, and weapon detail and combinations, along with an intricate skill tree system. When it launches, it will be free-to-play, with cosmetic items available in the cash shop, alongside “cubics,” which will allow you to do things like expand your inventory and troops and make your items unbreakable while attempting to craft.
From what I could see in our brief preview, KUF2 looks a little bit like playing an RTS and an action RPG at the same time, and the sheer epicness of large-scale troop battles can not be overstated. The game’s environments and character models are highly detailed and very pretty, and while I’d like to see the same type of detail put into the user interface, we haven’t yet been shown very much on that front.
Blueside is aiming to begin focus testing on KUF2 in North America this summer, with a Closed Beta later this year. It’s slated for release on PC and PS4, but no launch date has yet been announced.
Som Pourfarzaneh / Som has been hanging out with the MMORPG.com crew since 2011, and is an Associate Director & Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.