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DOTA comes to VORP!

General Articles By Richard Cox on July 07, 2011

DOTA comes to VORP!

I know I’m not the only one out there who scoffs at the thought of Facebook games. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried, so many times have I tried. I love the idea of playing games in a browser window I have open all the time anyway. But to date, 99% of people out there making Facebook games have done it wrong. Well, in my opinion anyway. And considering the vast millions of people playing Zynga’s (and others of course) titles, apparently my opinion is in the minority. But I still insist they’re doing it wrong. There are a couple of companies out there doing it right though, and End Games with Vorp! is just a great example of that.

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My biggest pet peeve with Facebook games actually isn’t the item shop business model. That’s all find and dandy, I get that making games is a business and businesses have to make money somehow. My biggest complaint is that I can’t play a game on Facebook without involving every single friend in my list in my SINGLE-PLAYER game. Sure, other people can visit my farm, or city, or whatever, but really, let’s be honest, they’re single-player games for the most part. So ummm… when did the definition of single-player game change? Why is it I need help from dozens of other people to accomplish anything? Sure, they want you to think it’s a multi-player experience, but I’m sorry, me sitting around waiting for some friends to give me some nails so I can finish building a poop-collector for my farm isn’t a co-op game. It’s a waiting game.

Vorp! changes all of that though. It’s just a straight up overhead space combat game, which happens to be played in Facebook. The only interaction you’ll need from any of your friends is when you rub it in their face that yo­­­u passed them in the leaderboards (Ha! I finally passed you Cody, take that!) Oh, and now they’ve added multiplayer, so when those friends get mad that you passed them on the leaderboards, you can take it directly to the battlefield in person.

This week I had the chance to play around with the new DOTA (Defense of the Armada) mode with some of the folks from End Games: Cody Bye, Scott Brown and Ryan Seabury in particular. If you’ve ever played League of Legends or Heroes of Newearth, or well, the original DOTA mod for Warcraft 3, you know what to expect here. For those of you who haven’t, here’s the description straight from the Devs/Website: “Two deep space capital ships are running broad side each other while searching for B! Join the Red or Blue side and destroy the enemy capital ship before they can destroy yours! Destroy the outmost enemy turrets to make inner layers of defense vulnerable to attack. Teamwork is critical; communicate with other players and work with your team's AI drone fighters to invade the enemy's power core and take down the enemy team! Collect ATOMs from enemies and nearby wreckage to increase your ship's level and earn upgrade points. Compete with your Facebook friends for the most wins, or see who can score the most ATOMs or kills in a single match!”

So basically you’re split into teams and you have to destroy the other team’s turrets in succession until you eventually are able to destroy their base. Sounds simple enough right? And it is, very simple, and oh so much fun. The action was fast paced and brutal at time. These guys weren’t pulling the old “be nice to the press guys and let them win” routine by any means. We played an hour or so long match and the time just flew by. It was pretty close, by unfortunately my side ended up losing in the end.

One of the things that made it so very fun and interesting was the ship design. I’d been messing around with the survival mode of Vorp! for a little while now, and I’ve played a bit here and there with each of the four ships available. But it isn’t until you’re playing multiplayer with other people that you realize just how differently each ship really plays. It definitely borrows a lot from the traditional MOBA (Multi-player Online Battle Arena) games in that regard, such as League of Legends, with all of the different characters to choose from. And since they play differently, that also means you have to approach them differently in multi-player. Currently there are four ship/pilot combinations ranging from a traditional spaceship layout (lasers, etc) to a melee build to a DoT specialist. The only typical archetype not currently present is a support type character/ship. Well have no fear, that’s next up in the queue.

I find the way End Games is going about the development of the game to also be very interesting. And I know I’ve talked about it a bit in the past, about how they don’t want to spend years working on a game in secret only to reveal it and hope it succeeds, etc. Vorp! is a perfect example of that. They started off with a VERY basic concept, asking themselves “If we were to make a space based MOBA, what would the bare minimum we need be? Basically, a spaceship, some enemies, and a map.” And that’s pretty much what they started with, and released it to some players/testers and went from there based on feedback. What people liked stayed, what people didn’t went away, what people wanted got added, what people didn’t ended up on the drawing room floor. People wanted Deathmatch… It’s in. People want more ships, so there are currently three more in the works. People wanted a campaign, and that’s in the works. People want more maps… You get the picture?

Really there’s no limit to where they could go with a system like Vorp! Sure, today it’s a Facebook game limited to ten people in a 5v5 match, but there’s nothing saying that’ll always be the case. It’s built on the Unity engine, so it isn’t limited to Facebook. It could be ported to any number of other platforms. As more ships and maps are added, the number of people in a match could just as easily increase. Personally I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. And now, back to gunning for the other END Games guys on the Leaderboards now that I’ve taken down Cody.