A Different Kind of MOBA
The MOBA genre is growing up, and there’s a new free-to-play game on the way called Supernova that aims to bring in more RTS elements to the genre. After all, that’s where it all started. Supernova was first developed as a more standard RTS game, until League of Legends became so popular that Bandai Namco had no choice but to evolve the game into a MOBA. Yes, it’s an upcoming game by Bandai Namco and it’s free-to-play, with 5v5 multiplayer matches and a three-laned map like you’re accustomed to.
The difference between Supernova and other MOBAs is the fact you can customize your waves of minions. Oh, and also the fact that there will be an economy aspect similar to what we see in traditional RTS games. You’re also going to control a tech tree and unit production to customize and upgrade your minions. So, you’re not just worried about leveling up your commander, which is almost too simple for some gamers.
Having the ability to choose which units to build and deploy is very refreshing, and allows for more strategic gameplay. You will not sit there and micromanage the minions, but you certainly have more control than in other MOBAs.
When your commander levels up you will earn points to put towards improving the commander’s stats, as well as talent points to use for more customization. The talent points will actually replace the item shop that you’re more familiar with in MOBA games.
Now, you’re probably wondering what your options are for commanders, and to put it in the simplest of terms – humans or cyborgs. Yes, there are humans in robot suits or aliens that are part robot. I guess as a species, we had a different way of looking at robots and technology in general…
In League of Legends you would unlock summoner spells as you leveled up your account, but in Supernova you will gain new faction abilities. Commands are able to be outfitted with different (craftable) accessories, similar to the LoL rune system. If you want to spend real money on the game you even have the option to purchase cosmetic skins for your commander. The developer has confirmed there will be no power benefits for sale and you can’t pay to win at this game.
The idea of leveling up your commander and adding points to specific attributes is better than an item shop, and it’s best that in a competitive game like this there are no options to spend real money on better items. Purchasing masteries for your commander is better than purchasing spells and magic items, right? Most science-fiction fans will approve of this concept.
Some of the hardcore LoL and Dota 2 fans have criticized Heroes of the Storm for being too simple, calling it MOBA-lite. If that’s the case, then Supernova looks like it will be the opposite, with much more strategy involved. The unique army system alone is enough to make battles more exciting, and it’s perfect for those of us getting sick of the same strategies used over and over again in LoL. It’s new, completely original, and has the potential to make gameplay more interesting for years to come.
Of course, that means Supernova will have a much steeper learning curve than any other MOBA you’ve played before. However, it doesn’t have to be that way in the beginning, as there is the option to set leveling and army building to automatic so it takes care of the little details for you. Still, it’s something you want to master so you can come up with your own strategy when playing.
It isn’t clear how big Supernova will become, especially in the world of eSports, where the spectators like to understand what’s going on at all-times. It’s definitely going to be a very competitive game, and I am particularly happy to see a different theme, as all the other MOBA games are so fantasy oriented and this one is space related.
So how different is the gameplay? Well, it will start out the same as any other MOBA, with heroes hanging around their towers going after minions to level up. However, as the game progresses you will find that minions are getting very difficult to kill, and eventually, near the end, they will be tough enough to take you on if you’re not careful.
It’s also more likely for your team to make a comeback if they’re behind on a ton of points, and this has been spotted many times during the beta launch. It wasn’t common for a winning team to get knocked down over a bunch of tough minions near the end, making it hard for them to defend and even harder to focus on their offensive play.
There are also neutral monsters on the map, just as in other MOBAs, and if you kill them you can gain additional experience and resources. However, if you want, you can actually claim these “camps”. All you have to do is sit inside them for a certain amount of time after you killed the former occupants. It isn’t clear if this is a distraction or if it can help with your end-game strategy, but it is new.
There are more decisions to be made in a Supernova match, more so than any other MOBA released to date. With many small differences from the other games in the genre, it’s hard to ignore this title, and if you play LoL or Dota 2 then you must be intrigued. It’s important you know that last-hitting will not get you the large amount of XP that it does in most MOBA games, and Primal has dramatically decreased the amount of gold and XP you get from landing the final blow on your opponent.
In Dota 2 and LoL you can use the item shop to quickly make improvements on your hero, but Supernova’s commanders are stuck with an upgrade system that doesn’t offer those quick rewards. In fact, you have to return to your base just to increase your stats and make a mastery purchase.
There are more than enough differences to make you love this game or hate it, but it’s one that I sincerely believe will become a huge hit upon its release. It’s got more options and Primal has created something original in a genre full of clones.