Hunter’s Arena: Legends Preview – Mystical Royale

The battle royale genre may be beaten to a pulp with a seemingly perpetual stream of new releases, but apparently there’s room for more. This year, we’re going to witness an interesting showdown between two new games, each one with its own merits in this battle for the last game standing: Hunter’s Arena: Legends and Pearl Abyss’ Shadow Arena.

Hunter’s Arena: Legends is the first game by Korean outfit Mantisco, a PC exclusive crafted with the always reliable Unreal Engine 4. A closed alpha in late 2019 showed the game’s promising mix of action RPG and battle royale mechanics, and a recent closed beta revealed the progress made by the development team in the meantime. What it may lack in originality, it more than makes up for in sheer energy and ambition, not to mention its killer looks.

Hunters Arena Legends Preview City

Hunter’s Arena: Legends Preview | Run to the Forest, Run

The standard battle royale game modes show up for Hunter’s Arena: Legends. You have your solo and trio options where 60 players battle for supremacy, and a free for all mode limited to four Legends is also under development. However, the unusual addition of a tag match is a welcome departure from the tried-and-test modes, adding an unexpected beat’em up flavor to the game. Think of it as a sort of Street Fighter or Virtua Fighter mode, where you pick two warriors and step into a confined arena in a frantic tag team match.

Starting with the basics, you must pick one character among the available selection of Legends. During the closed beta we had a decent range of fighters, most of them focusing on melee, but a couple favored long-range combat and a single character was versed on mid-range action. The cast is considerably diverse and resourceful, drawing inspiration from different sources but mostly from fantasy and eastern mythology. The ensemble is appealing enough, with a massive panda galloping at high speed or a cute young girl named Dara who prefers to fly everywhere instead of running.

The action RPG side of Hunter’s Arena: Legends is going to take your character through several levels of abilities and skills. There is a huge mastery tree that you unlock as you gain levels, strengthening aspects such as weapon attack and health, among many others. This is the touted RPG progression system of the game, one that is bolstered by your performance in the battlefield.

The beginning of each match sees the gates of a small city sitting in the middle of the forest open, letting all players out into the wild in a frantic rush for the grind. You must make the most of the meager seconds of forced peace to hunt down monsters, getting as far as possible from other players so that you don’t turn into an appetizing first target. Eliminating creatures, hunting bosses, and raiding dungeons are activities that will earn you experience points and levels, improving your stats and providing you with valuable points to distribute among many skills. The more you farm and stay alive, the stronger you will be when the circle shrinks and only a handful of players are fighting to be the one left standing.

Hunters Arena Legends Preview Dara

The combat system isn’t extremely in-depth but provides enough opportunities for combos, cancels, and swift comebacks. I’m not a great fan of using the same button for attacking and defending, but I quickly grasped the concept and understood the intention of the whole high risk/high reward intention. Timing is crucial, as you find an opening in your rival’s attack pattern and counterattack with relentless force, breaking his guard.

While there are a few intricate strategies and skillful combos to use when you are playing solo, it’s when you are a part of a three-man squad that Hunter’s Arena: Legends truly shines. Organizing a group that covers all the basics (melee, mid-range, and long-range) and meticulously sticking to the plan, relying on strength by numbers and never straying from the winning path is how the game lives to its full potential. Several new strategies that you had only dreamed of open up for combat, as each team member dutifully performs his assigned role on the battlefield.

The vast arena has thousands of monsters waiting for your blade or other weapon of choice and has different activities and resources at your disposal. When you are playing trios, death is not the end; there are shrines where your teammates can revive you. Wild horses patiently wait for your command to use them for fast travel, and you can even take a friend along with you for the ride. Some points in the map provide gliders for you to journey long distances and quickly get closer to a boss that just spawned, for example.

If you prefer to partake in a more intimate kind of brawl, the tag match is there for you. You pick a pair of fighters that you deem complementary and enter a picturesque arena where they will fight another duo. The battles are one on one, putting forward the skill and timing that you have hopefully learned in the battle royale mode.

Hunters Arena Legends Preview Tag Mode

Hunter’s Arena: Legends Preview | Little Time for Sightseeing

The least that can be said about Hunter’s Arena: Legends graphics is that they are gorgeous. The environment is diverse and extremely beautiful, gifted with a realism and attention to detail that puts many current games to shame. From lush forests to the stunning river or the arid regions, there is always this realistic style to the settings that sits particularly well with the fantastical characters. The way that the leaves are blown by your attacks in the arena is remarkable, and the weather effects are impressive, more specifically the thunderstorm and the puddles that ensue. A day and night cycle provides a nice change of style, adding a sense of the passing of time as you see the legends counter steadily diminish.

Each one of the legends is thoroughly detailed, with incredible attention to the hairworks and the cloth that softly waves as you move. Running is a gentle process that begins with a cool animation and suddenly you are zooming around the battlefield in Sonic the Hedgehog fashion.

In other words, Hunter’s Arena: Legends has the style and seemingly the core mechanics as well. Each character feels unique, with a set of skills that paves the way for intense cooperation, and a huge mastery assortment to keep you invested for some time as you strengthen your character.

Hunters Arena Legends Preview Character Selection

South Korea isn’t particularly known for its battle royale games, but Hunter’s Arena: Legends seems poised to carve a spot, possibly alongside Shadow Arena. There’s no shortage of ambition in this title, with a hint of fan service here and there to catch a specific crowd, but overall it is a strong offering that cuts no corners in order to provide a rich and compelling battle royale experience. In the end, the success or failure of this game may rest upon its pricing, an unfair but oh so true examination based on the multitude of similar games that have fallen by the wayside. Mantisco clearly has the skills, now let’s hope it has the marketing talent to put forward as well.

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Killsquad – Bounty Hunters in Space

Is it still a Diablo-like game if it stars space bounty hunters? Probably not, but Killsquad certainly qualifies as a loot-driven action RPG. The latest game from Spanish developer Novarama is a far cry from its most popular series, the family friendly Invizimals.

Killsquad is a sci-fi co-op action game where you can take on contracts solo or in a team of up to four players. Going in by yourself is far from the ideal way to enjoy Killsquad. In fact, it is detrimental to the experience and could give you the wrong impression about the potential of this game. Do yourself a favor and make some friends before playing. You’ll thank me later.

Killsquad Night Two Player Co-op

Bounty Hunters of the Galaxy

In my ill-informed mind, Killsquad was this story-driven co-op game where players would explore new planets and discover exciting new alien species, and blow them to pieces. That much I knew, or so I thought. Reality came knocking and it turns out, Killsquad doesn’t feature a proper campaign, and most likely never will. This is a game about loot and leveling up your hero, paving the way for more challenging and ultimately more rewarding contracts.

After subverting my expectations, for better and for worse, I was able to enjoy Killsquad for what it is; a fast-paced action RPG where loot matters and grinding is key. It may feel light on content during Early Access, but the core mechanics are in place and the wheels are in motion. While the theme couldn’t be more dissimilar, Killsquad feels remarkably close to Pagan Online, right down to the way that enemy waves appear out of thin air. Not my favorite mechanic, I must confess.

Killsquad features four space bounty hunters for you to choose from: Troy, Kosmo, Cass and Zero. While the selection is sparse, the heroes are diversified enough to suit most playstyles. My favorite of this bad bunch is Zero, a medical combat robot gone haywire. So much for empathy, as it is now a reckless murder machine, using its laser attacks to deal with any creatures. I’m also a fan of its ability to drop a MedPack, making it the perfect healer unit on the battlefield.

Killsquad 2-Player Co-op Zero and Kosmo

On the other hand, if you prefer to get up close and personal, Kosmo may be the right man… er, dead man for that. Wielding a massive sledgehammer, he isn’t afraid to use it to crack some alien skulls. Troy is the gunslinger and natural gambler, shooting his way to better loot. Finally, there’s Cass, the warrior nun, with her sharp sword and invisibility powers.

The grind may be strong with this one, but it’s not entirely unforgiving. You can stick to your favorite hero without second thoughts as you won’t be forced to start from scratch when you want to try the others. The support gear and prototype gear that you purchase from the shop is shared through all your characters, so you’ll swiftly find your brand-new space bounty hunter starting from Vector 31 or so. Weapons, however, are bound to each hero, so this is another aspect entirely.

Vector is the fancy name given to experience levels in Killsquad. This is a calculation based on your current equipment, which includes weapon, support gear and prototype gear. To make it perfectly clear, your overall ranking is the sum of the three gear parts divided by three, in case you find your Vector number not to be an exact reflection of your stats. It took me a while to discover its inner workings.

Killsquad Palace of Pain Co-op

Contracts Make the World Go Round

With no campaign to sink your teeth into, you must pick one contract from the available selection. Contracts rotate in real time and are currently divided in three tiers: Recruit (Vector 1-30), Veteran (Vector 35-90) and Spec Ops (Vector 120-150). There is nothing preventing you from accepting contracts above your pay grade, but don’t get too cocky or you may end up seeing your mission cut short.

Killsquad’s Early Access features 12 contracts spread across three different planets. It’s a skimpy selection that is enhanced with day and night missions, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a game in desperate need for additional content. Luckily, the maps are randomly generated, which means that you’ll face slightly different challenges. Sometimes you’ll struggle to find the right path, especially in The Palace of Pain, with a narrow pathway or two being harder to find than it should. Killsquad doesn’t feature character transparency, so it’s not uncommon to lose track of your hero or an enemy in the heat of battle.

The Palace of Pain is one of the planets filled with riches and bugs of various sizes. It’s not my favorite place, due to the industrial complex design that leaves me somewhat cold, maybe due to the endless steel walkways, or the succession of vast, empty rooms. I much prefer my trips to planet Kemmekh, where the neat sound of crystals shattering is like music to my ears. Planet Wasteland 7A is exactly what is says in the box, a devastated place with traces of a long-destroyed civilization.

Killsquad Wasteland 7A Battle

Apart from the randomized level design, Killsquad’s planets also feature a few neat touches. Environmental hazards are something you must deal with and  they come in different shapes and sizes. You have meteor storms dropping at the worst moments, or laser storms that sweep the screen and everything in their path. Both you and the enemies are affected by these hazards and taking advantage of them in an intelligent way will save you a lot of trouble and health.

Each contract unfolds in a similar manner, as the heroes earn experience up to level 10. In regular intervals you’ll unlock new upgrades, choosing a new skill from a few choices. Steadily you’ll learn the best skills for your playstyle and as soon as you reach level 10, the contract objective is activated. It may consist of destroying a boss, safely escorting a vehicle, protecting an antenna, destroying crystals, and so on. It all boils down to exterminating whatever gets in your way.

While Killsquad is described as featuring “short, adrenaline pumping missions”, these actually run for longer than I was expecting. I would say that your average mission length is around 30 minutes, with some of them going well past that. This isn’t an issue for me, but some players may be more interested in short bursts of gameplay. The addition of a few extra contracts that don’t exceed 10 or 15 minutes would be a welcome addition.

Killsquad Warrior Nun Hero

A Disconcerting Lack of Talking Raccoons

The DNA you collect during the missions is the in-game currency used to purchase a few specific items in the BioSystems Labs shop. If nothing tickles your fancy or you feel confident in your abilities, the acquired DNA will be converted to credits by the end of the mission. These credits will then be used in the main shop, where you gradually purchase better weapons and gear. Things get more expensive as you go, but in general the Vector level of each piece is superior to what you have previously acquired, so it is a good deal. This is the recurrent way for leveling your heroes and confidently taking on better contracts.

There is a secondary shop where you can purchase epic and legendary weapons. These come with significant attributes but also a heavier price. You need to grind additional materials and craft three special types of currencies if you want to lay your greasy fingers on one of those.

With my early game experience being mostly to blame, I had mixed feelings going solo with Killsquad. The pace was trite and the frequent need to destroy stationary mines to earn that little bit of experience made it feel a bit dull. It was an unexciting grind that slowly improved as I became suited for better contracts and more challenging foes.

Killsquad Vehicle Escort Co-op

Still, playing Killsquad alone is wasting the tremendous potential of the game. Playing with one friend is enough to lift the game to other standards, and the four-player mode is certain to raise the chaos and fun factor in equal measure. It gets so frantic at times that the battleground turns into a dazzling light show, and you’re left wondering how you managed to stay alive amidst all that spectacle.

Co-op is where Killsquad absolutely shines, making some of its shortcomings feel inconsequential. I didn’t care that much anymore about the repetitive enemies (30 at the moment), or the small number of environments. I was having fun handing out medkits to my partner, as he unabashedly dived headfirst into the chaotic enemy waves, while I took out the rest of them from a distance. We were having fun and boasting about our newfound abilities to survive in a deadly environment, against all odds.

I can’t fully recommend Killsquad for solo players, but it gets high marks if you plan on playing with a friend. As I said before, this is where the game truly shines. It was purely designed to be enjoyed in co-op and does quite a good job at it, too.

You should have a decent amount of fun in its current state, but Killsquad needs more content; more loot, more heroes, more planets, and more contracts, which it will certainly get in the future. I can only endure so many steel catwalks before I start longing for other, more alluring planets to scavenge. Isn’t there any lush tropical planet in need of a committed and reasonably priced bounty hunter?

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Lornsword: Winter Chronicle – Clash of Genres

It’s not easy being a hero, especially when you’re stuck inside an action and strategy mix where the fate of your people lies on your shoulders. Such is the basic premise of Lornsword: Winter Chronicle, the first game from developer Tower Five.

Founded in 2017, Tower Five is a French studio comprised of ex-Creative Assembly staff. Having worked on the Total War series for several years, the small team is now setting its sights on a different kind of strategy game, once again embracing merciless army battles but with a story-based focus and an ingenious twist to it – but more on that later.

The historical accuracy is thrown out of the window, giving room to a fantasy-based setting where anything is possible. Even dying and coming back to life repeatedly.

Lornsword Winter Chronicle Preview Desert Soldiers

A Hard Day’s Knight

The arid landscapes that introduce us to the world of Lornsword take me back to an era when the term real-time strategy wasn’t yet coined. It was Westwood Studios’ Dune 2 that made it mainstream and successful, with its endless war over the precious resource called spice.

While Dune 2 and even the Warcraft series are comparisons that aren’t entirely out of place when referring to Lornsword, they aren’t exactly the most fitting either. If there is one game that fits like a glove into the action and strategy design that Lornsword uses, then its name is Spellforce. Both games place you in the shoes of a fearless hero, commanding armies in a fantasy world where your goal is to constantly raze the enemies’ base camps to the ground.

My first hour with Lornsword wasn’t particularly noteworthy, as I wasn’t sure of what it was trying to be – is it a top-down story-based action RPG or a real-time strategy game stripped of any fancy bells and whistles? As it turns out, this was a lengthy tutorial showing players the fundamentals of the game’s hybrid genre. Sticking to it was the best that I could have done, as Lornsword slowly unravels its secrets and reveals layer after layer of intricate concepts and a tangled web of ingenious battle mechanics.

Lornsword Winter Chronicle Preview Defending Headquarters

Unlike other standard real-time strategy games, Lornsword prioritizes using a controller instead of your typical mouse and keyboard combo. This unusual approach takes some getting used to, but soon you’ll find yourself dashing through enemy lines and expanding your headquarters without worries, as it becomes second nature. It’s an action-based control system that ditches the often cluttered and laborious point and click control system in favor of a seamless approach.

Your general is remarkably tame when it comes to slashing his enemies with his sword, but he learns more than a couple of tricks during his journey. Without spoiling too much, I can say that running will soon become a thing of the past, a burden that only regular humans must deal with. Sunknights such as your very own Corun Lan Ka prefer to resort to blinking, skipping short distances and thus being able to get to places that are out of reach to the common soldier, such as small islands. This action consumes stamina, as does instantly teleporting to your headquarters or raining fire from the skies on top of your enemies. This is infinitely more powerful than your puny sword, but it won’t be enough to change the tide of battle all by itself.

Lornsword doesn’t leave fog of war out of the equation but puts a spin to it. Instead of terrain that slowly reveals as we explore, you have an ability called far sight. With this you can see remote parts of the map, checking your buildings and seeing what your men are seeing. This way you avoid spending time running or blinking to a place where nothing substantial is happening.

Lornsword Winter Chronicle Preview Protect the Base

Real-Time Sword and Sorcery

A great leader plays a large role in a battle, but he is nothing without his army. This is where the real-time strategy aspect of Lornsword comes into play. Your general can build and upgrade structures, adding fortification or turrets, and ultimately choosing what soldier specialty a building should focus on. All of this is done via an intuitive and incredibly simple switch system – each structure has a few ground switches and you simply activate the desired one.

Altars are crucial in Lornsword, acting as portals to a full-fledged world of elemental beings and spirits. Using the d-pad you can summon the different types of guardians pertaining to fire, water, stone and air. From stone golems to fire archers, thunder elementals or water priests, among others, these are not to be underestimated, as their might on the battlefield is second to none. Obviously, this is where gold comes into play, as each new tier requires a larger amount of your valuable currency. The returns are absolutely worth it, however, so don’t hesitate to upgrade any structure if you have the means to do so.

Summoning any group of elemental soldiers is another action that will drain your stamina. You will often resort to this tactic as these creatures are an undeniable force of nature (pun not intended), but it will hinder your movements in case you need to make a quick escape, for example. Returning to your headquarters and collecting those shiny orbs will reinvigorate both your health and stamina, so you need to get used to the continuous back-and-forth, either by foot or teleportation.

Lornsword Winter Chronicle Preview Dark Walkers

No good general would feel complete without a group of trustworthy men willing to die for the Emperor. As soldiers complete their training, they wait for your orders. You can give them a couple of basic commands using each building’s flag: the orange flag tells them to wait until they complete a hand of seven before marching on; the black flag orders them to defend the area, and lowering the flag orders each soldier to march and attack as soon as he exits the garrison. Always be on the lookout for the waystones spread across the battlefield as these mark the path that your soldiers will relentlessly follow.

But leaving these men to their fate is a bad move; you’re wasting strength in numbers. With a simple click you can gather up to 15 soldiers who will follow you everywhere without questioning – you can release them with the same ease, which makes them suddenly attack any enemies close by. Amassing a large army and unleashing it simultaneously with elemental soldiers can make all the difference when it comes to raiding enemy bases, especially those that have several guard towers and a fair number of warriors.

Nonetheless, the Zerg Rush strategy isn’t a given here, as you have to chiefly deal with resources such as gold and food. Gold allows you to upgrade structures while farms increase the number of houses that you can build. Losing the mines will decrease the pace at which you earn gold, but losing the farms is equally dangerous as you won’t be able to build any structures beyond the specified cap. Sporadically you’ll be confronted with varied objectives, including defending your headquarters for 30 minutes or destroying a camp in a limited time.

After slaying a few enemies and wildlings, you start to uncover the web of intrigue where nothing is as it seems. Nonetheless, you have your orders to follow and your leaders to obey. Suddenly, Lornsword turns from a linear game into one where you get to choose the mission that you want to tackle next, complete with a dialogue system that seems to work as a disguised difficulty setting – going with full forces or choosing a smaller, stealthier army is one of the examples.

Lornsword Winter Chronicle Preview Snow Village Hub

Everything is Better with a Friend, Even War

One of Lornsword’s highlights is the option to play with a friend in a drop-in and drop-out cooperative split screen mode. This takes me back to bygone times when online gameplay was still a thing out of sci-fi movies and couch co-op was all the rage. This is the best way to experience Lornsword, putting the emphasis on player coordination and shared tactics, as the gold and food resources remain the same throughout, as do the enemy numbers.

Developer Tower Five is testing a PvP split screen mode that is bound to make it into the game if it’s as fun as they are expecting it to be. I think this is vital for the game both as a selling point and for the sake of its longevity, but I’m under the impression that online connectivity would significantly boost its appeal when it comes to a certain segment of players.

Lornsword Winter Chronicle Preview Split Screen Co-Op

Visually speaking, Lornsword is clean, sharp, mostly functional but it can also be quite pretty in places. The top-down perspective is perfectly suited to the strategy elements and the tiny characters are nicely rendered and smoothly animated – above all, their ranks are easily discernible when you know what to look for. I do have an issue with the running animation, including the main character, as it seems too robotic and unnatural, as if it was simply a matter of fast-forwarding the walking animation. I did enjoy the little details including the pixelated trails that every unit leaves on the sand and snow (there is also a pretty forest environment), as well as the splashes of blood and the bright flashes from spells and fire.

Lornsword feels oddly familiar despite its clever mix of genres, and it’s all the better for it. It is heavily story-based, with a tale that feels rich and complex, and the control scheme is ingenious and easy to grasp. It’s not quite on a league of its own, but the clever mix of action RPG and strategy elements surely contribute to a freshness that is equally gripping and challenging.

Lornsword is now in Early Access and is out later this year on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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Top 10 Upcoming Diablo-Like Hack and Slash Games

There is no denying that Diablo was responsible for the explosion of hack and slash games. More than a couple of decades after its release, the action RPG genre is often referred to as “Diablo-Like” and for good reason. Blizzard’s classic spawned countless clones and they are still coming fast and furious, with tons of loot, relentless mouse clicking and a fair share of wrist pain. Here are a few Diablo-Like games that you should keep an eye out for.

Pagan Online

Top 10 Diablo Like Games Pagan Online

Pagan Online is the upcoming action RPG from Wargaming. Taking a break from its serious warfare simulators such as World of Tanks, World of Warships and World of Warplanes, the Belarusian company is helping Serbian-based developer Mad Head Games with this grim hack and slash RPG inspired by pre-Christian mythology.

I can tell you that Pagan Online’s world is deliberately bleak and desolate, with its heavily stylized visuals. But it’s the template that stands out, with its MMO-ish design and bite-sized gameplay pretenses. The Pantheon is the hub for your character (from the initial choice of eight unique heroes), with short missions of different types awaiting you. WASD control assures optimal ease of use and co-op play doubles the fun – or even quadruples it, if things go according to plan.

Despite looking and playing like your typical hack and slash game, Pagan Online’s 50-hour campaign doesn’t shy away from some interesting twists, such as the occasional mission with increasingly difficult enemy waves and intense, challenging combat that takes cues from MOBA games.

Pagan Online may draw inspiration from Diablo, but it proudly shows its very own, fierce distinctiveness.

Torchlight Frontiers

Top 10 Diablo Like Games Torchlight Frontiers

What’s not to love about the Torchlight games? They take all the exciting combat and endless loot from the Diablo series and multiply it by a substantial dose of fun, resulting in two of the best hack and slash experiences ever made.

Following Torchlight 2 would never be an easy task. The next chapter needs to bring something special to live up to the hype, and indeed it does – an extra layer of MMO goodness. From public areas with up to eight players and dungeons supporting parties of four, Torchlight Frontiers ups the ante in co-op potential.

Torchlight Frontiers also tries to deviate from the tried-and-tested vertical progression systems found in most MMORPGs, offering a distinct take on levelling your character. Each frontier is levelled up independently, with specific gear best suited for each one. The alpha tests brought the first two frontiers, Goblin and Hyvid, along with randomized dungeons and a season-based contracts system that will reward players for completion of their daily and weekly missions.

Oh, and loot. Tons of loot. Torchlight Frontiers doesn’t seem destined to disappoint in that regard, nor where it comes to classes. The Forged was different enough, but the Railmaster is an entirely original beast, probably the cleverest class ever designed for an MMO in the last decade.

Last Epoch

Top 10 Diablo Like Games Last Epoch

Last Epoch is another Kickstarter-funded action RPG that looks like a close relative to Path of Exile, but with a twist: time travel. Now there’s a great excuse to take you to forbidden lands and forgotten places, or even to the end of time – no, seriously, this is a real map, set in space.

Last Epoch also comes with a skill tree of hell – or in fact, 110 skill trees. The promise of “endless replayability doesn’t fall flat in light of this feature. With five base classes and 15 mastery classes there should be more than enough to experiment, regret, re-roll and finally specialize into your favorite character. Developer Eleventh Hour Games claims that this is an action RPG for newcomers and veterans alike, so you tell us if that is the case since the beta should be available right now, with the full release slated for April 2020.

Lost Ark

Top 10 Diablo Like Games Lost Ark

Each day that goes by without an official announcement of a Lost Ark North American and European release, an angel loses its wings. We know it’s coming – Smilegate’s CEO has confirmed this – but it hurts seeing our Korean friends enjoying one of the best MMORPGs of recent years and realizing that we can’t get our grubby fingers on it before… what? Late 2019 or 2020?

Oh, come on, will you please hurry up with the English localization? China and Russia versions are well underway, and the original Korean release already got a host of new content including a new class, the Lance Master, so the anxiety is eating me up inside.

If you don’t know what Lost Ark is, then you have no love whatsoever for Diablo, MMOs or both. This is everything that you ever wanted from a Diablo MMORPG, but with so much more than you asked for. Combat alone is a thing of beauty, with several classes so diverse and resourceful that you will shake your fist at the skies in the selection screen, rightly enraged by the unfair decision that must be made before you start your adventure. Do not fret, that is what additional character slots are made for. Then you have the incredible cinematic dungeons, with camera angles and boss battles designed to keep you on the edge of your seat right until the climax.

Lost Ark is the real deal; an MMORPG that delivers on its promises. This is, by definition, the kind of rare beast that is on the verge of extinction.

Warhammer: Chaosbane

Top 10 Diablo Like Games Warhammer Chaosbane

The Warhammer franchise has seen so many video game adaptations, dipped its feet in so many genres that it sounds odd to think that no one ever created one action RPG set in this fantasy world. I’m not talking about the Warhammer 40K universe, as that one was already graced with the middling Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr.

But that glaring mistake is about to be fixed with the release of Warhammer: Chaosbane. This is a Diablo-esque action RPG coming to PC and consoles in June 2019, with a focus on co-op play up to four players, but you can play alone as well. You should know what to expect right now: hordes of monstrosities for your righteous heroes to slash through.

Four character classes doesn’t sound like a lot (Mage, Soldier, Waywatcher and Slayer) and the Dwarf’s spin attack is already getting on my nerves, but other than that, Warhammer: Chaosbane is shaping up to be a good action RPG, with 10 difficulty levels and a boss rush mode to keep you busy.


Top 10 Diablo Like Games Fractured

In theory, Fractured sounds more ambitious than most of the games in this top 10, but that comes at a price. Coming from Italian-based indie studio Dynamight Studios, this is an open world sandbox MMO complete with a full-fledged housing system.

Graphically, Fractured looks a bit rough around the edges, but nothing to be ashamed of. If the trade-off is a deep MMO with exciting action combat and interactive environments, then I can live with it. You can pick from three very different races (Humans, Beastmen and Demons), something that isn’t just for show, having a practical effect in your game: from your society to the interaction with other players. You can choose to go to a PvE co-op only world, a brutal open PvP environment or a mix of the two. Crafting and trading is entirely player-driven, something that can either make or break a game.

Fractured has a lot of potential but we’ll have to wait and see if this small indie studio is able to pull it off. Sheer ambition can only take you so far.


Top 10 Diablo Like Games Darksburg

Darksburg isn’t so much about loot or forging your path in a vast world. Instead, it places you and a few friends in a zombie-infested world where surviving the invading hordes is the objective. It’s a more immediate and enjoyable hack and slash game without loot dropping every step of the way – items and rewards should be more manageable than your average action RPG and won’t get in the way of the fast-paced game.

Darksburg offers 4-player co-op action where teamwork is crucial. Each character from the roster comes with unique skills and personality – Sister Abigail has a set of abilities that is completely different from Varag, the escaped werewolf. Your character will improve with items and unlockable talents and you’ll need all the help that you can get to fight the bosses. There are different maps with varied objectives to keep gameplay fresh: find the cure, escort someone, escape from the area and more. In PvP mode you can choose to play the bad guys and face other players.

Coming from the makers of Evoland and Northgard, Darksburg looks like the kind of multiplayer experience that you can’t go wrong with. It may not bring a ludicrous dose of loot like some of the other games from this list – that is not its purpose –, but I’ll be a rotten zombie if it doesn’t turn out to be tons of fun.

Lineage Eternal (Project TL)

Top 10 Diablo Like Games Project TL

NCSoft is having a hard time finding the sweet spot for the next Lineage game. The follow-up to one of the most profitable MMORPG franchises ever is switching from third-person to a top-down isometric perspective like Diablo.

Lineage Eternal is in development for ages, having been first announced back in 2011. So that nearly makes for a decade of development hell that doesn’t seem close to the end. In 2016, things seemed to be on the right track – you could pick a team of four characters out of the existing 13, there was a nice system for randomized dungeons and the closed beta was coming soon.

But that didn’t happen. In 2017, a new game producer and a new team undertook some serious changes to the game, including the switch to Unreal Engine 4. The multi-character system is gone as well, replaced by a traditional class system. The name was scrapped, changing to the Project TL codename. That stands for The Lineage, apparently.

It’s been a while since we last heard from Project TL, but you can rest assured: NCSoft has a lot at stake with this game and you can bet that it won’t disappoint.

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem

Top 10 Diablo Like Games Wolcen

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem is in a strange place. Once hailed as the next coming of the action RPG, it is slowly dragging its blood-drenched sword through Early Access for over two years. While it entered beta in March 2019, the community seems to be losing faith in the developers, with some updates to the game being badly received, such as the removal of the open world from the first act in favor of a bog-standard, linear area.

Notwithstanding, Wolcen still looks promising, albeit in an unashamed Diablo 3 wannabe kind of way. That doesn’t make it a bad game, but it did subvert initial player expectations in a way that is affecting its reputation.

But what about the game itself, you ask? Wolcen is a fun action RPG with some great gloomy graphics and solid, weighted combat without any class restrictions. It feels like a mashup between Diablo and Path of Exile but currently with much less content and with streamlined skill trees, things that surely will be improved as development progresses.

And that is where Wolcen’s worries lie – a slow-paced development that despite showing commitment to the game, is under fire from a community that is growing impatient as months go by. It’s been four years since this game showed up as Umbra on Kickstarter, but let’s never forget that good things come to those who wait – Path of Exile is a perfect example.

Legends of Aria

Top 10 Diablo Like Games Legends of Aria

Legends of Aria tries to scratch that old-school MMORPG itch that very few games managed to do effectively. Citadel Studios mentions Ultima Online as its biggest inspiration, something that is not to taken lightly seeing that the creation of Origin Systems was released in 1997 and is still running today.

Much like Fractured and even Albion Online, Legends of Aria tries to go for a sandbox open world design, possibly the most difficult template to successfully pull off for an MMORPG. It is advertised as a game with no hand-holding and where community servers and modding are not only allowed, they are vigorously encouraged.

Legends of Aria is another one of those MMORPGs where the community will dictate how it will evolve. If the mechanics are sound and polished, it may stand a chance; on the other hand, a lackluster Early Access phase will surely lessen its chances of success.

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Pagan Online Early Access – Unlocking Your Way to Glory

We live in remarkable times. When you market your brand-new action RPG with citations such as “no phones involved”, you know that some serious damage has been done before. Pagan Online isn’t shy when it comes to tooting its own horn: “WASD controls”, they say; “PC game”, the official website proudly boasts. Could they be taking a stab at Blizzard and NetEase’s Diablo Immortal? Surely that’s just a coincidence, right?

But this is done in a lighthearted comedic manner, one that severely contrasts with the game itself. Pagan Online is a somber, grim and desperate hack-and-slash game inspired by Slavic mythology. It recently entered Early Access and unlike most games published by the World of Tanks creator Wargaming, this isn’t free-to-play; Pagan Online is a premium game and one with enough virtues to stand on its own.

It could, however, be free-to-play if Serbian developer Mad Head Games just so wished. Pagan Online has all the vital elements to make it work as such: character skins, pets, inventory space and unlockable characters. Thankfully, this can all be achieved through in-game currency and there is no cash shop in sight. Microtransactions should be outlawed in full-priced games. There, I said it.

Pagan Online Early Access Preview Anya Skin

Whip and Slash

If Indiana Jones and Harley Quinn had a baby girl, her name would be Anya. She is one of the three initial characters for you to pick in Pagan Online and I have no doubts that she will be the favorite of most gamers. Her extraordinary whip and blood magic abilities are just too tempting to ignore, turning her into the perfect killing machine for your first hours in this hack-and-slash game.

But don’t get too comfortable with Anya, as Pagan Online features an account-wide Legacy system where your experience level is the sum of each one of your heroes’ experience. By unlocking more heroes (eight in total as of right now) and progressing with each one you add to your shared experience level, ultimately reaching bigger challenges and better rewards.

This progression system isn’t necessarily new, but it is seldom used – Marvel Heroes is one of the games that uses a similar approach. In Pagan Online, some missions reward you with hero shards. You must get 50 shards to unlock each additional hero, but this comes with a twist that you may love or hate – shards are specific to a hero and apparently RNG-based, which means that you can spend a long time without getting the shards that you desperately seek.

Some of you will surely find this approach interesting, extra challenging and more rewarding, while others will prefer the traditional system where you simply choose a different hero and level up accordingly. I can find positives in both methods and I don’t mind a good grind, but no matter your preference, it’s strongly advised to give your main character a good run. Then, when you have a decent amount of loot for your main and for the other heroes – your stash is shared as well – you can try a secondary hero (Arcane Priest Lukian was my choice… I mean, my prize in the raffle). Equip him or her with good gear and after a mission or two you should find that your new hero is now level ten or close. Not bad for 15 minutes of hacking and slashing, don’t you think?

Pagan Online Early Access Preview Lukian Hero

Overall, I didn’t mind this approach and don’t see it as overly punishing, but I understand if you prefer your heroes available right from the start. And as for those extra shards that you get, they are used to unlock additional colors and cool skins, so it doesn’t go to waste.

Shards are earned by completing Assassination assignments. However, to enter these you need to acquire key fragments by playing other missions that vary in their requirements – you may be tasked with surviving waves of enemies, defend some object from invading hordes or destroying all enemies in an area. Progression is invariably tied to these different game modes, so you must regularly complete them, along with daily and weekly missions. Hunts are goals that you set for yourself to earn some extra gold – kill 20 spiders, collect 50 zombie eyes (yuck!) and other achievements of the sort.

I really, really hope that Wargaming isn’t doing this to add a hero selling system somewhere down the line. As a core mechanic it may not be suited to everyone’s tastes, but Pagan Online has a lot to offer, so I can see it being great value for money if you put the hours into it; but as soon as you can buy your heroes (knock on wood), you must kill the entry price for good or you’ll get bashed by your Early Access supporters. And despite my poor knowledge of Slavic myths, in no scenario whatsoever you could unlock a hero with a swipe of the credit card.

Pagan Online Early Access Preview Boss Battle Usud


Pagan Online’s WASD controls aren’t exactly a common practice when it comes to action RPGs, where the tried-and-tested click-to-move method is universally accepted – the upcoming Torchlight Frontiers also goes for a similar mouse-driven control style.

But Pagan Online benefits from this decision as it brings a more responsive and thrilling feel to the gameplay, with superior dodging and aiming. Gone are the mistakes where you attack an enemy when you just want to move; it may feel a little unusual at first, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it and enjoy the spotless control that you have over your actions.

The core of Pagan Online is standard fare, with an isometric perspective and dungeons that are essentially made of corridors connecting larger areas where a procedurally generated battle takes place. I’m not too keen on the way that the enemies appear out of thin air, sometimes surrounding you with no chance to escape – using Torchlight Frontiers again as comparison, foes are clearly visible or approach you from easily identifiable spawn points. Pagan Online is an enemy spawn fest and you’d better get used to it as soon as you can.

Pagan Online Early Access Preview Phanteon Hub Anya

Pagan Online has often been introduced as an action RPG inspired by MOBA mechanics, but don’t expect any sort of ground-breaking fusion here. Your hero has a fixed set of abilities that you unlock as you level up and upgrade with Potency points, offering the fast-paced and widespread combat that you’ll appreciate the most as you discover and experiment with new heroes. But Pagan Online remains a hack and slash for Diablo fans, and not the kind of game that I would recommend for those who love League of Legends to death.

The Pantheon is the hub area where your heroes get some respite before heading into the next challenge. It is where you choose your next character, upgrade your abilities and craft your epic weapons of doom. Crafting plays a huge role in Pagan Online. During your adventures you will pick every sort of items, with recipes playing a vital role in gear upgrades. These come in different tiers and are tied to certain item levels, in addition to requiring the consumption of specific materials. Apart from collecting these materials in the battlefield you can also get them from the occasional card pack. Crafting increases your skills and Might score, which translates into the overall power of your hero and a great way to properly assess your chances when it comes to Missions and Assassinations.

Pagan Online is a PvE experience with a vast campaign (allegedly 50 hours) and three difficulty levels. The Early Access build doesn’t include co-op gameplay which is said to be a huge part of the game and I can see that happening. Competitive activities are another one of the teased aspects, although Mad Head Games has expressed its intention to steer clear of PvP, so this could mean anything – leaderboards are already present in the game, but it could be some feature in a similar style.

Pagan Online Early Access Preview Loot Everywhere

I’ll admit that I didn’t pay much attention to the story, as I was more interested in checking out the game’s mechanics and trying to turn Anya into a mean, lean whipping machine, something that remains a work in progress. But what I could grasp of the lore seemed overly serious and often despairing, with cavernous voice acting that suits the dark undertones. It’s a deliberate choice, obviously, as no self-respected hack-and-slash would place you in a world full of unicorns, rainbows and fluffy clouds. But it’s up to you to decide if it is worth listening to.

I, for one, really couldn’t care less, at least for the purpose of this preview. I liked Pagan Online for what it is, and that is a fast-paced, enjoyable and solid action RPG. For an Early Access title, it already feels immensely polished, without any blatant bugs or server issues, although I was slightly annoyed by the server lag when selling items. Pagan Online is a blast to play and if you can get your head around the way that the character unlocking system works, it offers plenty of bang for your buck. It’s a game where you can play for hours on end or just a few short sessions for extra loot, and co-op will surely take the game to an entirely different level. Not too shabby for a studio that built its foundation developing hidden object games.

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Torchlight Frontiers – I Like the Way You Loot

A Torchlight MMO is something that has been rumored for a long time. The idea harkens back to the days before the first Torchlight game was released by Runic Games, serving as an introduction to this fantasy world before development on an MMO was started.

Fast-forward a decade or so and here we are: Runic Games is no more. However, it lives in spirit within Echtra Games, a new studio that is finally developing the long-desired Torchlight MMO, or Torchlight Frontiers, as it was blissfully introduced to the gaming world. It has all the makings of an MMO and feels like a natural evolution for the series: from the single-player thrills of the first game to the co-op riot of the sequel, and now the next step is the MMO enterprise of the third game. Sounds like the perfect plan… that is, if we choose to ignore the substantial setbacks that reared their ugly faces along the way.

Torchlight Frontiers Preview Boss Battle Strongtusk

Looting Is My Business… and Business Is Good!

I’ll start off by mentioning one of the latest features to be introduced during the Torchlight Frontiers alpha: the Contracts system. This is a system akin to the battle-passes that you usually see in Battle Royale games. You have two reward tracks, with one of them unlocked and the other one being a premium reward track. Completing contracts will increase your Fame experience level and unlock all kinds of rewards. This is the place where you should go for unpredictable missions that deviate from the straightforward story-based campaign – although there is nothing linear about Torchlight Frontiers’ bold approach to progression.

Instead of pushing you through a linear progression system such as the ones seen in countless other MMORPGs, Torchlight Frontiers offers you a choice right at the start: the Goblin Frontier or the Hyvid Frontier. Your hero, chosen from the two classes currently on offer (Dusk Mage and Forged), will see his experience level increasing independently, according to the path that you take. As an example, this way you can be a level 15 character in the Goblin Frontier and level 5 in the Hyvid Frontier. This dichotomy opens a range of possibilities and freedom that is severely lacking in other games of the genre.

The twist is that the gear you collect is aligned with the frontier where you earned it. So, your frontier level determines the level of the gear that you may use, with the caveat that the Goblin Frontier gear won’t be suited to other biomes, and the same works for the opposite as well. If you insist in doing so, this results in severely underperforming gear, ensuring that the early levels of other frontiers remain somewhat challenging and worthwhile. As you progress, it’s inevitable to steadily switch to gear from your current frontier, as the challenge intensifies, and you must adapt to survive.

Torchlight Frontiers Preview Hyvid Frontier Retch the Regurgitator

In practice, this frontier system can provide variety and optional routes for you to evolve in case things get particularly tough in one place or another. But it is also a much-coveted escape path in case you want to discover new enemies, new gear or just complete a series of contracts to clear your mind from a given obstacle. So far, I haven’t stumbled across any insurmountable challenges, but there were a couple of occasions when the opposing forces were so numerous that I found myself trapped amidst a barrage of gnarly netherling teeth and goblin clubbing, with no chance of escape. I’m not ashamed to admit that making a run for it when the going gets tough is a valuable strategy. Live to fight another day and all that.

Don’t get too comfy with all the loot coming your way. Your inventory isn’t too skimpy, but the amount of loot left in the battlefield during your average daily journey is probably enough to make a pile as tall as the Empire State Building. Your loyal pet serves as a secondary inventory and you can send him to town to sell unnecessary loot and earn a few coins in the process.

Changing gear sets is made easier with the help the Wardrobe system. A couple of clicks should take you to your Fort, where you have access to a multitude of options such as this one. Serving as the housing system of Torchlight Frontiers, your Fort has a shared stash, the Mapworks device (used to access additional missions and possibly new endgame content) and the structure where you can unlock new skills and upgrade them, among several other functional or cosmetic options.

Torchlight Frontiers Preview Goblin Dungeon Battle

What Lies Beneath

Were it not for the looming shadow of the frightful progress wipe, Torchlight Frontiers would already be one of my action RPGs of choice. It doesn’t break any new ground in terms of gameplay, but it is designed to addict in a way that only the best loot-driven hack and slash games can do. It’s compelling to the point where you begin wondering if you should give your wrist some much-deserved rest or suck it up as you stride on, eager to complete a couple more missions.

WASD control would be a godsend for Torchlight Frontiers, providing a vital alternate control scheme for many players. I, for one, would undoubtedly favor it over the current click-to-move option where it’s not unusual to find yourself attacking an enemy close-by when you only wanted to take a step back. This control method is allegedly being worked on and it is in my opinion crucially important to the ambitions of Torchlight Frontiers. Another upcoming action RPG, Wargaming’s Pagan Online, is straight up going for WASD as its main control scheme.

The randomized dungeons will always provide a different set of challenges, although I have a couple of quibbles about it. The first one concerns the length of the dungeons, something that could turn out to be a slight problem when you don’t want to give up halfway through. It’s not easy to determine whether you should venture forth or hold on for the next day, and a previous patch already reduced the length of a handful of dungeons, which means that I am not alone in this regard.

The other annoying aspect is based on the randomization system itself. It’s not unusual to find yourself threading familiar ground and wondering if you’re not going in circles. Sometimes the layout feels too coldly engineered and could use an additional human touch to avoid severe repetition. After several hours exploring the same seemingly bottomless caves and infested toxic forests, it can get exhausting.

Torchlight Frontiers Preview Champion Goblin

But those are pretty much all the complaints that I have for now. There is a disconcerting lack of good free-to-play hack and slash games and we’re yet to see if Diablo Immortal will ever find its spot as a proper Diablo-like game for longtime fans of the series. Quite a paradox, to say the least, but it couldn’t be more accurate.

As for Torchlight Frontiers, it’s shaping up to be the logical evolution for the series and the perfect embodiment of everything that makes a good hack and slash game. It has tons of loot, boss battles, crafting, an innovative progression system and an irrefutable potential to cause carpal tunnel syndrome. If that’s not a sign of a promising action RPG, then I don’t know what is.

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Dragon Hound – Monster Hunter Meets World of Tanks

No matter how many games with monsters and hunters you might play, there is always a name that pops out: Monster Hunter. Capcom’s quintessential series has millions of fans worldwide and very few studios dare to pick a fight with it.

Dauntless is one of the latest entries in the genre and it seems to be doing well for itself, despite the predictable competition from Monster Hunter World. Oddly enough, the free-to-play co-op game is benefiting from the ‘Monster Hunter effect,’ as Capcom’s game opened the genre up and caused a spike in sign-ups.

Now, another monster hunting game is rearing its ugly, scale-ridden head: devCAT’s Dragon Hound, currently in development for PC using the Unreal Engine 4.

Mounted Hunter Online

DevCAT is the Korean studio best known for its acclaimed Mabinogi and Vindictus MMORPGs. The latter was praised as featuring some of the best MMO action combat pre-TERA and Black Desert Online, so it could be assumed that they would build on that. A sequel, or even a completely different game improving on Vindictus’ mechanics crossed my thoughts several times, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Instead, devCAT decided to risk it all and try something entirely new – for them, at least. Originally known as Project DH and introduced to the world during G-Star 2016, Dragon Hound holds a lot of promise while at the same time leaving a bittersweet taste. The reason for this is that Dragon Hound’s battles are all based on mounted combat, without the option to get off your mount and take a different approach to the battle.

Dragon Hound dragon attack

This may be personal bias, but no matter just how tactical or mechanically advanced the mounted combat may be, being stuck with your mount all the time sounds like a cop-out. It feels as they have this hugely promising battlefield and yet you are being severely restricted in your movement. The developers say that you should see your character as a centaur, which is more than enough evidence that you will never be able to fight on foot. Hopefully the matches won’t turn into boring sessions of circling around a dragon while shooting at it.

Dragon Hound’s Game Director is keen to say that despite all the Monster Hunter comparisons, his game is more of a mix between Monster Hunter and Wargaming’s World of Tanks. As odd as it may sound, this is probably due to the use of ranged weapons and horses, making you feel like you are controlling a vehicle. A tank, so to speak.

That being said, Dragon Hound still has significant depth to it, especially when it comes to monsters. So far, there are 30 different creatures planned and while the name may give you a hint on the kind of foes that await you, it’s not all about dragons. We’ve spotted other antagonists such as a huge boar-like animal and a bizarre dragon-giraffe hybrid.

Dragon Hound landscape

Getting Under Your Skin

Dragons are fire-breathing winged creatures with thick skin, but sometimes you will need to get under it to be successful – or at least, to pierce through it. Dragons and other creatures include internal damageable organs such as heart and lungs, weak points that don’t need to glow bright red for you to realize just how important they are. If you manage to hit these vital organs instead of aimlessly shooting around, the battle may be over sooner than you think. Obviously, it’s easier said than done.

Eyes are also noticeable weak points, so if everything plays out as expected, the creatures should have a lot more trouble finding out who and where to attack. The same goes for limbs, as a focused attack should severely limit a creature’s movement or ability to strike back. Each battle is expected to last 10 minutes on average, with larger creatures requiring around 15 minutes. It’s all very enticing on paper, but let’s see how it effectively turns out when all these features are properly implemented.

Dragon Hound bow and arrow attack

By now you are probably thinking which class to pick and what kind of weapons each one gets to use. DevCAT has decided not to include a restrictive class system, meaning that whatever your decision, you will always be able to equip the weapon that your heart desires. Dragon Hound’s arsenal is said to be comparable to the one used during World War 1, but there is clearly some thrilling steampunk imagination at work, as it is shown by the gigantic vehicle used to drag the fallen creatures and where your hunts begin. Long range weapons such as Gatling guns and shotguns evidently play a vital role in the gameplay, but you can also expect some melee weapons for those moments when you need to get up close and personal with the creatures.

It will certainly come as a big surprise to you that Dragon Hound won’t feature any PvP modes. In current days, this almost sounds like shooting yourself in the foot, but that is the plain truth. My guess is that the developers have fiddled and toyed with the idea until they decided that it wasn’t viable or that it wouldn’t add significant value to the game.

Far from considering Dragon Hound an actual MMO, they are labeling it a team-based multiplayer online game. There is no word on the maximum number of players that can participate in a raid, but there are other features such as a tower defense mode that requires a larger number of players.

Dragon Hound stable

Up in the Air

Intentionally or simply a remarkable coincidence, Dragon Hound seems to borrow Dauntless’ concept of the floating isles. The villages in devCAT’s game are floating and they are prone to rotation, switching positions on a weekly basis. Apparently, this was designed with the intention of creating some sort of artificial limitation to the way that players burn through content. By restricting the window of opportunity to attack certain creatures, it will delay those specific encounters for some days. If this is as linear as it was explained, we can’t say for sure, but let’s hope that there is always something to do while you wait for your next big hunt to open.

Dragon Hound is one of the few high-profile PC games coming out of South Korea’s G-Star 2018. In a sea of mobile releases, it’s always great to discover a new and exciting game that dares to think outside of the box. Considering Nexon’s penchant for western releases, we would say that Dragon Hound is highly likely to reach North America and Europe, but we are probably a couple of years away from that. In the meantime, I recommend you to keep an eye out on this one, especially if you are a fan of Monster Hunter and… World of Tanks. Because we have seen stranger things.

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Path of Exile: Betrayal – Forsaking the Masters

Grinding Gear Games is at it again with yet another major content update for Path of Exile. This time around, Path of Exile: Betrayal will focus on revamping the content for the Forsaken Masters, which was released around 2014. Since then, the content surrounding the masters has been considered relatively weak compared to new updates and revamps for other old content. That’s why the development team has focused on designing the 2018 leagues around NPCs in order to phase out the old masters.


A League of Death

The upcoming expansion will emphasize the disappearance of the old masters and rise of the Immortal Syndicate. As players progress through the league, they will help Jun Ortoi unveil the secrets of the syndicate and its connection to the disappearance of the masters.

The Order of the Djinn has tasked Jun, and thus the players, with investigating an artifact that the Immortal Syndicate has stolen that gives them the ability to revive people from death (not as undead). It should be obvious the implications this could have to a crime syndicate and killing off an enemy means they likely won’t stay that way.

One of the key differences with Path of Exile: Betrayal is that four different encounters will take place during a normal playthrough of the game instead of in a separate area and include: Fortification, Transportation, Research, and Intervention. Fortification involves taking down a stronghold, Transportation is an escort-style quest, Research involves raiding an underground lab, and during Interventions the syndicate can send assassins to attack you at any time (including boss fights).

Path of exile: betrayal panel

Once an encounter has been completed the player will subdue an Immortal Syndicate member and be allowed to choose from multiple paths. They can capture and interrogate in order to obtain information, bargain to cause a change in the organization, or execute them which increases their rank in the syndicate for not divulging information. Finally, there’s an option to betray another syndicate member, but this requires multiple syndicate members to be present and there needs to be relationship between them and it will cause a change in the syndicate ranks.

Each of these options has its own positives and negatives. Interrogating is an excellent way to increase progress towards a Syndicate encounter and learn about safehouse locations. Bargaining is a wildcard with multiple outcomes, but it only works if the member is alone. Execute might seem counterintuitive, but helping an enemy gain ranks means better rewards for killing them later. Once enough knowledge has been gained, players can raid safehouses, which are full of enemies and items to be pillaged.


Mods, Crafting, and Hideouts

One of the new item mechanics in Path of Exile: Betrayal is the Veiled Mod system. Enemies in the league will drop rare and unique items with veiled mods that can be revealed by Jun. Upon taking an item to her, players will be able to choose one of three modifiers. Once learned, players can then craft that mod onto items with the hideout crafting bench, and revealing the same mod multiple times will increase its power.

Path of Exile: Betrayal Bitterbind Point

The hideout function also has a few new features, which players have been asking about for quite some time. Now players will be able to save, load, and share hideout templates instead of having to make a new one each time they want a change of scenery.

Finally, Master Crafters no longer need to be leveled up to receive recipes. Instead, recipes are obtained by completing objectives during Master missions, such as clearing certain encounters in Delves.


New Masters, Items, and Skills

With the new expansion, all of the old Forsaken Masters, with the exception of Zana, have mysteriously vanished. In their place will be NPCs from recent leagues including: Einhar, Alva, Niko, and Jun. While most players are likely familiar with these NPCs, there have been a few adjustments. Now Einhar will be in charge of throwing nets at the beasts and Alva can take players on multiple incursions.

In addition to the masters, there will be 15 new unique items. Some will be exclusive to Betrayal and have veiled mods. An example is Bitterbind Point, which is a shield that increases the power of the player and their spectres after landing critical strikes.

There will be a total of 10 new or revamped skills introduced in betrayal. Two of these that were revealed in our preview include: Winter Orb and Storm Brand. By channeling Winter Orb, it will fire projectiles at nearby enemies and increase its rate of fire the longer it is charged. Support gems also have various effects, such as increasing the number of projectiles, how long it lasts after being channeled, and size of the damage area.

Brands are an entirely new type of spell that summon arcane runes on the ground and bind to nearby enemies when approached. Runes that kill their target will return to the ground or jump to the next available target. Storm Brand will zap three nearby enemies and can be modified to increase the number of targets, damage, or restore health to the player. Brands do not act like traps, totems, or minion skills because the damage counts as the player’s.

Path of Exile: Betrayal Masters


There are a lot of new, exciting features coming to Path of Exile in the Betrayal update, which will be available on December 7 for PC and mid-December on consoles. In the comments, let us know which aspects of Betrayal you’re looking forward to most!

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Ex-BioWare Devs Unveil Co-Op Action RPG Breach

The pedigree of being a former BioWare developer is something that bears a bit of weight in the minds of many gamers, self included. So considering the Breach announcement that crossed my desk led off with that bit of information, I felt compelled to share details of the incoming co-op RPG, which has offered a look at its gameplay in both text and video form.

breach announcement

With plans to “revitalize the co-op action RPG genre”, Breach will have players facing down mythological threats that have collided with a modern-day Earth. The game features dozens of classes like the Gunslinger, Chronomancer or Auros Gladiator to name a few. Each class can be customized with endless options according to the announcement, and players can switch classes at any time they like.

If you’d rather not play the goody two-shoes, there’s also the option to play as the Veil Demon. This class lets you summon traps, place elite monsters and possess bosses to generally make the lives of the party a little less comfortable.

Breach is due to enter paid early access later this year and will launch free-to-play sometime in 2019, along with a technical alpha test at some point beforehand. Fans are advised to head to the game’s website for more information, or you could stay right here and watch the trailer below.

Our Thoughts

Assuming this game’s pacing is anything like it’s demonstrated in the above video, we suspect that Breach will definitely bring something new to co-op multiplayer. Particularly if the Veil Demon role is as fun as it sounds on paper. We’re looking forward to learning more soon!

Source: press release

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