Nosgoth: New Maps, Skins, eSports Integration Incoming
Nosgoth is in closed beta, and we have seen the game growing as time goes on. The closed beta made its show debut on the floor at PAX East this past weekend, where we had a chance to chat with Game Director Corey Davis and Square Enix Community Manager George Kelion about what’s ahead for Nosgoth, community response, and delivering on the lore.
For those unfamiliar, Nosgoth is an upcoming free to play, third-person PvP only action game set in the Legacy of Kain universe. Taking place in the time when both Kain and Raziel are gone, the game pits humans and vampires against the other side in multiplayer, third person shooter style action gameplay. Players choose a mode, select their character class, weapons, and enhancements, and take one another on. Each mode has players rotate sides, so that they play as both humans and vampires during a match. There are two modes currently in closed beta, Team Deathmatch and Siege, which focused on capturing points for humans and on preventing those humans from capping points by way of vicious slaughter for the vampire side.
Siege (which unlocks at level 10) is focused on scoring points, with the human team scoring for the amount of time they hold the various control points and the vampire side for killing the humans and preventing them from taking control. Expect a fast-paced PvP fest that encourages more activity outright with the existing classes than Deathmatch sometimes provides. I asked about Deathmatch, since sometimes the general human strategy often involves finding the right building to huddle together in and stay close to one another, while the vampires are more active or must find ways to get in there and split them apart. Plans for new classes to join the game should help shake things up a little bit, as well as some new abilities recently introduced into the game. Shadowstep lets the Reaver close gaps but also gain agility for an escape. And his new choice of Sweeping Kick lets him kick and knock enemies back. Should your Reaver find himself in a tight spot, these moves can help him out of it.
It’s expected that other classes will also get abilities that players can use to create preferred builds on classes to play them their own way. The Hunter is getting a whip move soon and the Scout is set for a move called Marked Target, which grants vision to your team and causes extra damage to your vampire target. Of course, when you die in matches, you can always switch classes and attributes. This, and the general forced rotation in making players play both sides within each match is a core design decision meant to expose players to all the content or at least both sides of it instead of just focusing on one or the other.
As far as what’s on the horizon for Nosgoth, naturally the subject of more modes comes up. While there’s nothing just yet ready to be named, there will be multiple additions for the game over time. What the team is definitely excited about are the new classes for the game. The new human class was fully unveiled at the game’s panel on Sunday. The Lost Seers of Avernus’ Prophet (AKA the Prophet), once a divinatory order derived from the Cenobites, they escaped from the horrors of Azimuth’s demon hunters. Now, they have resurfaced as enhanced and driven by mysterious powers granted them by a fountain of blood, as well as knowledge of guns passed down through the revamped order. This lets the Prophet fire guns and use abilities that rely on blood that’s their own and that of their vampire enemies, granting life steal and fierce power to fight against the threat.
The upcoming new vampire class, the Deceiver, will be able to trick humans into appearing as one of them, which should shake things up a bit. They are vampires of the Zephonim and are focused spies and assassins that should provide a dose of trickery on the vampire side. Should humans find themselves too close together or picked off, a good Deceiver player could infiltrate and lead his teammates to a quality feast. As Davis explained, the Deceiver should help in breaking up some of the stagnant human gameplay meta that was seen in alpha and through some of beta.
One of the features the team is excited about, revealing more details at Sunday’s panel, are what they’re calling Evolved skins. These skins were designed and developed with the art lead from Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Daniel Cabuco, and will be choices for each class and certain clans. One example is the Reaver skin, which will represent Clan Dumahim. The Sentinel, which can swoop down and pick up a player on the battlefield, will get a skin from Clan Razielim. These skins all feature artwork that gives a nod to the characters and lore of the Kain series.
I asked about these Evolved skins and was told that they will be available both as an item players can pay for and as an unlockable item through simply playing the game. Should you be a devoted Nosgoth player and hit level 20 with each class, these skins, once they are implemented into the game, will be unlocked automatically for each class you spend enough time playing. New classes too, will be unlockable through play. Every five levels players will get a new class unlock token allowing them to choose a new class to add to their roster. This is in line with the rest of the game’s monetization, which the team promises to be made of “sidegrades”, not pay to win upgrades. The focus is making sure that anything a person can pay for will also include downsides that make sure that no one item is inherently better. This could mean a gun that does more damage but has a smaller clip or other tradeoffs. Though players will be able to buy runestones with real money to unlock items earlier than they would normally, since they won’t need to earn the requisite XP level or gold to buy them the standard way.
Nosgoth players who are familiar with Legacy of Kain might be interested in the new map that is coming soon to the game. Valeholm, originally created and cut from Blood Omen 2, has been resurrected. The snow-covered territory will see some hot competition between the humans and vampires this time around. Provance, another upcoming map, is based upon a human settlement in Blood Omen 2. Finally, Sommerdamm, is an original introduction for Nosgoth. All of these maps are meant to bring some of the lore and locations into the multiplayer game, but in ways that let the Nosgoth devs put their own spin on them. And in the case of Sommerdamm, to create something new.
Other new features that have come from the community include controller support, as well as some consideration that might allow for a class that isn’t always requiring super accuracy. More requests also came on the eSports side, so expect elements like Twitch integration, spectator modes, community and social tools, and private match systems. George highlighted the active beta forums and the amount of feedback rolling in, and said that Nosgoth’s beta will be ongoing for a while to allow for continued rollout of features and working on features both internally derived and suggested from the community.
Christina Gonzalez / Christina is a freelancer and contributor to MMORPG.com, where she writes the community-focused Social Hub column. You will also find her contributions at RTSGuru. Follow her on Twitter: @c_gonzalez