The Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) market has opened up over
the past year, and games like style="font-style: italic;">League of Legends,
Heroes
of Newerth
, and style="font-style: italic;">Realm of the Titans
have rushed into the market established by a style="font-style: italic;">Warcraft III
mod -  style="font-style: italic;">Defense of the Ancients
(DotA)
– which brought persistent champions into RTS games for the
first time. All of these games have focused almost exclusively on
competitive gameplay, following in style="font-style: italic;">DotA’s
PvP-fixated footsteps.



That’s about to change. At GDC 2011, Petroglyph Lead Game
Designer Amanda Flock introduced us to style="font-style: italic;">Rise of Immortals,
arguably the first game that improves on the style="font-style: italic;">DotA
concept in several revolutionary ways.



But let’s start with what’s roughly comparable. The
bread and butter of the MOBA experience, Champions, fit one of three
archetypes,. Amanda freely admits that these archetypes were derived
from those in style="font-style: italic;">Heroes of Newerth,
simply because they work so well. Archetypes summarize roles
– agility (fast attacks), strength (defense / sustained
attack), and intelligence (magic casting), but each Champion will have
unique abilities based on skill tree decisions.


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Kyrie

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Kyrie being agile.



While only 3 champions have been revealed thus far, Amanda noted that style="font-style: italic;">RoI
will launch this spring with a dozen Champions and many more
planned.  Amanda used Lazarus, a demon killing, morbid
looking, goth-type character with a humongous scythe, as her Champion
example.



Each Champion and his or her weapons have a number of skins available
for purchase in the item store, including a humorous outfit. Lazarus,
for example, can don a complete KISS ensemble while his death
magic-imbued scythe can get a fire or ice, Tatiana has a complete
“I Dream of Jeannie” outfit, and these come
complete with social animations. Non-win button items such as
experience boosts will join cosmetics and consumables in the item store.



Instead of persistent equipment, style="font-style: italic;">Rise of Immortals
has persistent itemization. These “artifacts” have
over a dozen modification slots and are available as loot and rewards.
Artifacts, as well as skill trees, are the fiddly knobs on your
individual champions – you’ll want to tune them to
fit your playstyle.



In addition to your Champion, a set of “creeps”
will fight for and against you. These AI-controlled fighters are
spawned by each base and these creep waves eventually collide.
Petroglyph preferred the term “creeps” to
“minions”, because – as Amanda explained
– the word “minions” connotes control.
Creeps can’t be controlled – they just
“creep” – but a wise MOBA player uses
their momentum effectively.



With each battle, you’ll gain experience and gold plus
whatever loot you find along the way. To spend your take, you can
teleport back to the hub – where other players congregate and
storefronts offer goods customized to your champions as well as creep
and turret upgrades. You can teleport out of a map at any time, but
teleporting is a long cast best done far away from enemies. Also true
to MOBA form, your kit (apart from artifacts) only lasts as long as the
scenario. Instead of recipes and crafting, style="font-style: italic;">RoI
has simplified the process to item upgrade paths. Upgrades are
represented as simple pips on item icons.


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Lazarus bolt

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Vincent



Similar to other MOBA titles, style="font-style: italic;">Rise of Immortals
will have a basic layer of social support at launch, including a groups
and group chat, a friends list, and guild support. Petroglyph plans to
ramp up social support post-launch depending on player feedback.



But Rise
of Immortals

doesn’t just take from its MOBA predecessors, it gives back
to the genre by addressing some of its shortcomings. How so? First and
foremost is the PvE side of the game.  Petroglyph hopes to
make the genre accessible to players who don’t have the skill
or desire to compete against hardcore MOBA gamers.  A separate
co-op PvE experience has been designed to accommodate three players.
Since PvE maps come complete with a base and lose conditions, co-op PvE
players will have to both attack and defend, just like PvP players.



The second way style="font-style: italic;">Rise of Immortals
improves on the MOBA theme has to do with persistence. Most MOBA games
are persistent on the account level, not the character level. That
means that when players acquire new champions and play them for the
first time, there’s a painful “first time
rise” period where a player’s perceived skill far
exceeds his or her actual skill.



Rise
of Immortals
, however, is
persistent on the champion level, meaning you’ll level up
each champion individually, learning the ropes as you play. New skills
can be selected via a skill tree as the champion levels, and slots for
up to 5 “super abilities” can be unlocked at level
25.



Another new factor in style="font-style: italic;">Rise of Immortals
gameplay is the concept of relics – structures that, once
destroyed, release a “mega-creep” that in no way
resembles the homeless guy that followed me for 2 blocks on my way to
GDC this morning. Players will have to unleash this mega-creep at
exactly the right time to get the maximum benefit, because once the
relic is gone, it’s gone – no relic respawns.


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Tatiana

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Tatiana dishing it out.



Finally, Rise
of Immortals
has a loose but
entirely unique story element. Built on Petroglyph’s original
IP first established with its October 2010 release of style="font-style: italic;">Guardians of Graxia,
Rise
of Immortals
occurs 300 years
in the story’s future. The continents suspended by power
crystals high above Graxia’s uninhabitable surface have begun
to crash to the surface. Champions are competing for the honor of
restoring these power crystals and gaining divine, immortal status in
the process (hence the game’s name).  Amanda
laughingly admitted that Petroglyph wasn’t out to write a
story of epic, BioWare-ish proportions, nor will the game have
withering cutscenes and NPC dialogs. Instead, Petroglyph will primarily
tell the story by environments, bosses, and creep types for those
interested.



As Rise
of Immortals
soon kicks off
closed beta  and builds toward a Spring 2011 release, Amanda
already has plans for post-launch.  Those plans include new
Champions, skins, and maps – including a 10-man PvE
“raid” map. Where style="font-style: italic;">RoI
goes from there is up to the players, Amanda explained.  If
10v10 PvP is of interest, Petroglyph has some ideas. If players want
something else, Petroglyph appears to be all ears.



Ten Ton Hammer would like to thank Amanda Flock and Petroglyph for
allowing us to be among the first to see style="font-style: italic;">Rise of Immortals.
We look forward to new Champion reveals, beta signups, and more
information at href="http://www.riseofimmortals.com/">http://www.riseofimmortals.com/
as Rise of Immortals heads toward a Spring 2011 release.



To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Rise of Immortals Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Jeff
Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.

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