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Bringing the MOBA Back to its RTS Roots

Previews By Michael Bitton on May 27, 2015

Bringing the MOBA Back to its RTS Roots

The MOBA genre’s roots lie in the now struggling RTS genre, but Petroglyph and PlayGrid hope to bring those roots back to the forefront with a new MOBA called Victory Command. Currently in Early Access on Steam, Victory Command is a 5v5 military themed MOBA where players fight it out using a small to moderate sized squad of units organized under 12+ distinct companies.


Each company can be considered to be its own player class or hero in a sense. Lead by different leaders, each company has a number of special abilities and default units that focus on a particular type of play style.  As Dictator company, you’ll start out fielding four pieces of mobile artillery, which, as you might imagine, are great at delivering indirect fire when adequately protected. Another company may be your complete counter, fielding units that are specifically designed to take out the sort of lighter armor that you’re bringing into battle. You’re looking at a typical rock-paper-scissors dynamic here, though there are plenty of other nuances to consider in battle.  Taking advantage of cover, elevation, attack direction, and more are all important to succeeding in Victory Command.  You’ll even find brush on maps, which is crucial in setting up ambushes with infantry units.

Out of game progression in Victory Command consists of utilizing experience and credits to unlock new abilities, units, and perks for your company. Abilities can be anything from the capability to call in an artillery barrage on an area to applying suppression to enemy units. These work sort of like MOBA abilities in that you only bring a couple into battle and you’ll need to keep their cooldowns in mind before using them. One other ability you’ll bring into battle irrespective of your company choice is your drone. You can pick from one of five different drone types to take into a match and these are more like summoner abilities in League of Legends. Your Spy Drone is similar to Clairvoyance, Movement Drone is analogous to Ghost, and so on. The key difference is that drones are actually spawned in their area of effect and can be killed by enemies, which will put an early end to whatever benefit they confer.

The map I was able to play was a capture point map with both primary and secondary objectives available for capture.  Capturing primary objectives locks them to your team for a short while and they generate resources towards the 250 point total needed to win the match. The more your team controls, the faster your point gains will be.  Secondary objectives, such as the Comm-Link, slow victory point gain for the enemy team and remove locks from existing objectives that they control.  


Ultimately, Victory Command is similar to 2007’s World in Conflict with a focus on a MOBA level team size.  You’ll be doing a lot of the same things here.  You’re not base building or creating units. In fact, once a unit in your squad dies, it’s dead permanently for the match. It’s got all the same trappings, but unfortunately it somehow manages to look worse than 2007’s World in Conflict in terms of visuals. Additionally, since you don’t know what the enemy or your own team will be fielding before you jump into a match, it’s fairly easy to get stuck with a terrible composition and there isn’t really much you can do about it, which leads to the potential for some incredibly lopsided matches.  This isn’t any different from playing Quick Match in Heroes of the Storm or Blind Pick in League of Legends, but with how heavily the game emphasizes its rock-paper-scissors balancing, it can be just about impossible to win if you go up against a composition that hard counters your own.  Thankfully, you’re able to unlock unit loadout slots you can select from once you’re able to see your teammates in the lobby, so there’s a bit of wiggle room there. Even if you don’t have the additional slots, match length is typically on the shorter side at around 12-15 minutes, and likely even shorter if you end up in the aforementioned terrible scenario. If you’re a fan of MOBAs and enjoyed World in Conflict, I’d encourage you to at least keep an eye on this one. It’s not especially pretty, but the map design and gameplay show promise.

Victory Command is available free-to-play in Early Access on Steam with an optional Premium Account bundle at $7.99.

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined as the site''s Community Manager.