Guardians of Middle-earth Preview -- One MOBA to Rule Them All?By Leah Jackson - Posted Jul 26, 2012
Guardians of Middle-earth (GoME) is Warner Bros.'s. new multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game set in the Lord of the Rings universe. In our last hands-on preview with the game from E3 2012, we took a look at the overall scope of the title, including its modes, loadouts, and gameplay. This time around, we're going to be focusing on the different types of characters and classes coming to GoME, and a few ways that the game is trying to sets itselt apart from other MOBAs.
One of the most important features of any MOBA game is its characters. Each character has to be diverse, balanced, and exciting to play with and against. When choosing which characters they were going to feature as Guardians in Guardians of Middle-earth, Monolith definitely wanted to try and go for popular characters from the LOTR films, as well as ones who could fit in to one of five pre-determined class roles.
Since each Guardian in GoME will play differently than the next, Monolith introduced a class system to make determining your favorite Guardian easier, based on your playstyle. The five Guardian classes include Enchanter, Defender, Warrior, Striker, and Tactician. Here's a break-down of each class:
- Enchanters -- Enchanters have lower health and attack resistance, but they can deal more ability damage than other Guardians. They're perfect if teamed up with a Defender or Warrior, who can defend them while they dish out a ton of damage. Gandalf is an Enchanter.
- Defenders -- Defenders have the highest survivability in the game. They're designed to help out teammates either by absorbing incoming damage or by controlling the enemy. They can also use moves to shield or heal their allies. Galadriel is a Defender.
- Warriors -- Warriors are the most well-rounded class in the game and can be played a variety of different ways. They have balanced attack damage and survivability, and depending how you play them, they can be used as a damage dealer, tank, or even a ganker. Ugluk is a Warrior.
- Strikers -- Strikers deal a lot of damage to single targets with their basic attacks but have lower health and resistances than other Guardians. To compensate, they're usually equipped with some sort of escape mechanism, like stealth or move speed. Legolas is a Striker.
- Tacticians -- A Tactician's main job is to support the team by pushing lanes quickly and creating traps in order to maintain lane position. They're a relatively new class to the MOBA scene, so we'll have to wait and see what other type of class they're best with. Gothmog is a Tactician.
Monolith have also created a fully customizable loadout system complete with three categories: potions, commands, and the relic belt. You'll choose your loadout before each game, and it'll be in your best interest to choose the loadout that best counters the opposing team.
A potion is a one-time-use consumable that will regenerate your Guardian’s health or increase their stats. Commands are epic player spells that are on a long cooldown. Everyone can use Commands once they reach a certain level in the game, but if you want to use stronger Commands then you'll have to make it to a higher level first.
The Relic Belt is basically your passive skill tree. Seven gems can be loaded in to it at a time, or you can choose to sacrifice a few gems slots and place a Relic in the belt instead. Relics provide strong passive abilities, like healing regen, but they take up multiple spots in your Relic Belt. Gems also provide your character with passive attributes, and they're required in order to activate Relics. For example, to get the healing regen Relic to work, you'd need to equip two blue gems and two green gems.
With its class additions and unique loadout system, it’s easy to see that Guardians of Middle-earth is trying to make their own individual mark in a genre that’s currently exploding. Personally I think the Tactician is a brilliant addition to the game; a character focused on pushing lanes will make the games faster. GoME matches are already pretty quick, at about 15-20 minutes compared to 40-60 minute games that you’ll find when playing League of Legends or Dota 2.
However, I’ve found that change isn’t always welcome when it comes to MOBAs, so we’ll have to wait and see if other gamers will appreciate these additions, or if they’ll stick with a formula that’s already working.