Pagan Online Combines Familiar Genres for Tons of Epic Fun
When you think "Wargaming," the first thing that probably comes to mind is World of Tanks or, perhaps, World of Warships. Pagan Online is Wargaming's latest offering, and it proves that the company is about more than just military-based action titles. Pagan Online is filled with surprises and is a fun combination of several genres all stirred together for a new twist on the familiar. The surprise, however, began with the game's unexpected launch into Early Access late last night.
For Pagan Online, Wargaming teamed up with Mad Head Games to weave together MOBAs, MMOs, ARPGs, and horde-mode type games into something new.
MOBAs have given Pagan Online its cast of characters that players unlock over time through gameplay. These heroes are based on Slavic mythology. MOBAs also inspired lane-like combat. I say "lane-like," but it's not really. Rather than just two or three lanes, maps have a variety of ways to progress through them, though all lead to an end boss.
MMOs donated features such as character progression through skill trees for each of the game's heroes and which leads to specialized, high-powered combat. It provides players with an opportunity to take on the game in ways that are best suited to their style. Additionally, there are other familiar features such as crafting to upgrade gear via a blueprint system. Additionally, the quest system is in place, and it actually has a pretty decent story behind all the action. As you wander through the maps on the main questline, you'll pick up pieces of lore about the world and its characters. Players will also be familiar with the WASD movement system.
ARPGs have handed Pagan Online its combat and loot systems. On entering a map and moving down the pathways, monsters pop up, and players will have to unleash their attacks for several waves (hello, horde mode!) before being able to continue. Planning out attacks to build to an "ultimate" of sorts pays off in significant ways too. Pagan Online also tapped into the excitement of a loot system that sees monsters drop gold, items, blueprints for crafting and more. Map bosses fling treasure all over the area for players to pick up and examine.
During my time in the game, I played solo as the multiplayer system was not quite ready for prime time. But that's one of the beauties of PO: You can challenge yourself across three difficulty levels on each foray onto a map. You can further challenge yourself by playing solo or by trying a different type of hero. There are numerous ways to experience Pagan Online. As the team has said, "It is easy to pick up, but hard to master....especially after your 106th death..."
Combat is fast, fun and furious. While players have a limited number of abilities, as mentioned above, they can be customized through a character-specific skill tree as each one levels up. Those abilities matter too, and each hero has plenty of ways to take on the enemy. Once players land on a map, monsters will pop out of the ground at a variety of points along the way to the end boss. Piles of weaker mobs will rush at players and are generally quickly dispatched. On the outside edges, however, are tougher ranged monsters that can be pretty devastating if not dealt with pretty quickly. Waves will continue to spawn until all have been defeated.
Loot comes in a variety of forms from gold to items of different rarities to crafting materials. Players can equip four "cards" that enhance abilities as well as two amulets and two rings that also provide buffs and enhancements to skills. The crafting system allows gear to be upgraded or created from scratch. Each hero has specific equipment that they use. For instance, I started with a bearded hammer-wielding dude but along the way picked up swords, polearms, axes and more. I didn't see any type of shared stash, so it appears that gear can't be spread across heroes. But that's OK because selling it is also beneficial....because of health potions....yep. You're going to need them.
PRO TIP: If you're used to having an ability mapped to "Q," get ready to be out of healing potions most of the time. I found this out to my sincere regret.
Pagan Online will start with eight heroes as Early Access kicks off, but more heroes and more stories/content will be added over time. Players can look forward to a robust co-op system that will be a mainstay of Pagan Online and can also expect "more stories, new zones, and new enemies." Developers will be working closely with the community and responding to player feedback to add new, creative ways for players to enjoy the game.
Honestly, I had a blast playing Pagan Online and now you can too. With the game's launch into Steam Early Access, players looking for a unique blend of genres in an original setting will want to give Pagan Online a look. You can buy into Early Access for $29.99. Even at this nascent stage of development, the game has plenty to explore and is fun and exciting to play. At least for my money, it's worth the investment.