A New MOBA Approaches: S2 Games' Strife
The MOBA market grows again, this time from genre veteran S2 Games, the creators of Heroes of Newerth.
Strife, a new title meant to provide a more community-based and easy-to-access alternative, is still very much in development and is slated for release sometime this winter. Unlike its sibling HoN, Strife will be free-to-play right out of the gate (HoN has been f2p for a while now, though). Though HoN isn't the most popular MOBA around, only lagging behind the two giants of Dota 2 and League of Legends, it's still been very well received and certainly has a fanbase of its own. But what's exciting is seeing the same developer take its experiences with their previous MOBA and try to make a big change in the genre altogether with this upcoming release.
Something New For All To Enjoy
From their press release: "It all begins when the invasion of the Dharkwave, harbingers of darkness foretold by prophecy, is imminent, promising catastrophe upon the world. Its only hope is an Army of Light, forged in the crucible of battle to hold the line against their impending arrival. Players must overcome “The Trials of Strife,” as well as one another, to prove themselves as champions worthy to face the Dharkwave."
On the face of the game, Strife seems to have a much brighter aesthetic all around, even bordering on cartoonish (in a good way). The screens that are out there will certainly look very familiar to anyone who has even touched a MOBA before. But, the heroes are a bit more illustrated than most and reflect the open-to-all approach of the project. The biggest goal with Strife seems to be an all-inclusive and friendlier MOBA, which is a great stride for a genre infamous for their not-so-tolerant communities.
It seems like this is S2's attempt to tackle what other MOBAs have been trying to accomplish in their own games, but haven't been able to without upsetting or jostling their playerbase. The team hopes to provide a much deeper integration of the lore into the game itself, something Riot Games has tried to do with LoL.
Additionally, crafting elements are being introduced into the game. It's unlikely that this will effect each game so heavily considering the matchmaking system which seems like it will match you with others based on your chosen hero's level, and not your persistent player level.
Working Together to Evacuate Ragetown
The core mechanics are going to be recognizable but different enough that it makes Strife somewhat of a gamble as it enters the market later this year. Last hitting is out. In fact, the devs seem eager to remove any element that might cause competition between teammates. There's a huge focus on teamwork and rating players based on behavior as interpreted by fellow players. In general, this seems like an effort not necessarily to provide a genre-changing MOBA, but simply to introduce one whose entire purpose is ridding the community of toxic behavior.
Gavin Townsley over at Massively has a great write-up about his hands on experience with the game, which reveals some very exciting details. One of the most interesting is Strife's take on matchmaking, which has players select a hero before joining a team. This will not only make for less squabbling about role selection, but should also smooth out a team's compositional difficulties right off the bat.
Check out the Rook teaser above for a first look into the world of Strife.