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Games of Glory - Hands-on Preview

Previews By Neilie Johnson on June 29, 2014

Games of Glory - Hands-on Preview

In general, developers hesitate to show projects during their Alpha stages, but Lightbulb is all for it. As their online motto has it, Games of Glory is a game made “With you, for you,” and that refers to the company's ongoing solicitation of feedback from players and willingness to let the press see a work in progress, warts and all.

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Games of Glory has an extensive backstory, but nutshell version, it involves a sci-fi society in constant turmoil due to conflict among its many opposing factions. To channel this conflict, the government's supreme leader invents the “Games of Glory,” a kind of gladiatorial competition. Each faction has its own clones which it enters into the Games, and the clones then battle it out in exhibition matches—a strategy that thus far, has prevented all-out civil war.

The Alpha build we saw last week lacked some clones, a finished interface, and some other features, but had enough going for it to allow us a decent picture of the game's hybrid approach to combat. Building on a MOBA foundation, Games of Glory adds aspects of shooters, MMOs and social games.

The shooter reference was obvious right away, as we chose our clones and equipped them with guns. I chose a purple, four-armed “carry” clone called Pinto (who in my opinion, should be able to wield four guns, heh).

The match began, and it occurred to me that traditional MOBA veterans could have an adjustment period when it comes to the controls. Movement's done with a right click, and attack's done with a left click. Also, you have to be in range for your projectiles to connect, and figuring out which guns have a good damage-to-energy-use ratio is pretty much key. Lightbulb CEO Anders Larsson commented that weapons in GoG are so important, they're more than weapons, they're “supporting characters.”

If that's so, then Pinto's supporting characters should never be melee, because every time he tried to attack someone with a knife, he got his skinny purple rump kicked. Around about my fourth death, our journalist team figured out we were being destroyed because we weren't working together. The goal in GoG matches is to bring your opponents' force fields down and claim their base, and you can't do that alone. In our enthusiasm, my team kept rushing forward individually and getting obliterated. At long last however, we began to move forward more strategically, claim gold points on the map, and start buying better weapons.

The map we were on was open, easy to navigate, and feature-wise, fairly basic. No split-levels or side objectives (beyond claiming gold points). Combat was fast-moving and fun, especially when wielding a powerful, multi-shot weapon. As mentioned before, the interface is still incomplete, and the store was in some aspects non-functional, so it's hard to say how that will eventually work. I was just starting to find my groove when my clone was killed by a sneaky assassin and got stuck in a death pose. Amusing as it was, it took me out of the match permanently. Oh well, no biggie—just a bug. And it did give me time to ask Lightbulb about the elements of the game that weren't part of the demo.

Two of the most important differences between GoG and other MOBAs are its an extensive fictional context and it's persistence. Though neither was on display, Larsson had this to say about them:

“Stories are experienced through quests and missions, where based on achievements, a player can unlock additional features of the game.The persistent nature of the universe manifests in different story arcs where the actions of players directly impact the game world. Like the gladiator games in ancient Rome and Constantinople, the winners of the Games of Glory gain enormous prestige and influence.

As a player you can choose to support a faction, in which case your wins, kills, and exploits in the arena count to add to the influence of this faction. As a story arc is resolved, the game world changes, which will tweak game play. To us this is super exciting, as not even we know the future of the Synarchy.”

 

He also mentioned something that to me, is the game's most intriguing feature: its rating system. Let's face it, one of the worst things about MOBAs are their jerk-filled communities. Nothing kills a good game like having some ass-hat barking orders over the headset or typing insults into chat. Lightbulb's strategy for counteracting that kind of antisocial douchery is to reward good behavior. Post-battle, players can rate one another, and not just in terms of skill. Other categories will also be there, things like “fun,” “helpful,” and the like. Players who consistently receive such ratings will not only build a reputation for good sportsmanship, they'll get additional XP and gold. Larsson adds:

“Social ratings create a reputation for a player which will influence which clubs/groups he will be able to join. They also allow the player to see what others think about his behavior. Social leveling means higher social level players will have more influence in the game world, and we have other ideas about it as well, like match-making based on social ratings etc.”

In addition to this potentially useful social mechanic, Lightbulb's creating GoG with E-sports firmly in mind. Tying in with its persistent universe, GoG will allow players not only to join tournaments, but through its hybrid clan/EVE Online-like organizations, to create roles like star player, tournament organizer, and club president.

During the Games of Glory Alpha demo, we spent but an hour engaging in basic combat. Compared to what's planned for the game, what we saw represents a mere sampling that leaves us unable to assess the eventual depth of clone interaction, effectiveness of weapons, usefulness of upgrades or efficacy of social mechanics. Still, it did confirm Lightbulb's ability and ambition. It also made me excited to see what the coming months bring, and how community involvement will affect the finished product.

Neilie Johnson / Neilie Johnson is a freelance contributor to MMORPG.com. She''s been writing about games since 2005, developing games since 2002, and playing them since the dawn of time. OK not really, but she''s pretty sure she''s got controllers older than you. Witness her game-related OCD on Twitter @bmunchausen.