By Mohammad Abubakr
For the past few years, I have been spending most of my free time playing MOBA/ARTS games. I am a fan of this genre due to games such as Dota 2 having something new to learn each and every day. I have been playing that game for years now and I still improve and learn every day. Therefore, when I was offered the chance to look at a new MOBA on the market, I could not decline.
Most games of this genre are run in standalone clients but Tome: Immortal Arena is a browser based MOBA running on the Unity engine. I am a fan of this engine but I do not think it is a good option for games of a larger scale. It works great for smaller flash type games or mobile games but if you stick in the browser, you are not going to have a good time. This is due to performance issues even if the graphics are not very high quality. Surprisingly, Tome ran pretty well but it was still under the standard 60 FPS we should aim for. I got around 40-50 FPS on max settings running on a high end PC. Not as bad as the experience I had with Transformers Universe, the developers did a good job at making the game run smoothly.
Moving on to the actual game play, when you see a game of the MOBA genre you can quickly guess how a normal match plays out. Tome features a two lane map separated by a boss in between the two lanes. Games are played 3 versus 3 with Guardians (heroes, champions, etc.) chosen by the players. Both teams aim to destroy the enemy base to come out victorious. In the beta there is a simple All Pick mode with no complex drafting.
The two lane map is very small. Please note this is an older screenshot but the layout remains the same.
The map is very small and you can get anywhere within a few seconds. This makes the game play very fast paced and games only tend to last around 10-15 minutes. This was a nice change to differentiate Tome from other ARTS games on the market as they usually tend to have 30-40 minute matches which can make it difficult for those on busy or variable time tables. There are no jungle creeps that can be killed for extra experience except the boss in the middle of the map. Killing this boss grants gold to Guardians and lifesteal to your own creeps. Once again, this mechanic helps to make games even faster as waves of life stealing creeps can easily mow down buildings.
Players can also stay in their lanes applying pressure for the entirety of the game. Guardians heal at a rapid rate if they stay out of combat and instead of having couriers, items are channeled to Guardians as long as they do not get hit. To make it even simpler, it is not necessary to last hit enemy creeps for gold, simply being near the dying creep rewards Guardians with gold and experience.
To make the games even faster, spells do not consume mana and can be used whenever they are off cooldown. Guardians start at level 1 with all their abilities and receive their ultimate at level 6. There is no need to prioritize skills as they cannot be leveled but they do scale with the Might stat.
Finished the match in under 8 minutes!
There are three different stats in Tome: Immortal Arena which can be improved by purchasing items. These are Might, Attack Speed, and Health. Might increases Guardian damage by directly increasing skill and auto attack damage, Attack Speed increases the rate at which Guardians may auto attack, and Health increases survivability of Guardians by increasing their health points.
There are only three base items which can be purchased for these stats and can then be upgraded to provide additional effects. For example, purchasing the base attack speed item can then be upgraded to provide a chain lightning effect allowing players to clear creep waves at a faster rate and the base might item can be upgraded to items that increase movement speed. Items are very simple with only 18 items being in the game, including the base three. To further simplify items, only three items can be equipped by each Guardian and all items cost a static 500 gold.
There are not just items in Tome: Immortal Arena allowing players to customize their characters. Relics and blessings can be equipped outside of each game to improve Guardian stats and abilities. Each Guardian is categorized under a domain such as Fire, Air, and so on. By playing Guardians from a certain domain, that domain gains favor and unlocks blessings. These blessings are different for each domain and provide bonuses such as increased attack speed and an increased rate of experience gain. Relics are tied to each individual Guardian and are obtained by gaining experience playing a certain Guardian. These relics are unique for each Guardian and provide bonus effects such as improving a Guardian’s spell.
Guardian selection screen.
As far as Guardians go, Tome: Immortal Arena categorizes these Guardians into four different roles: Slayer, Tank, Tactician, and Pusher. Slayers are like your typical ARTS/MOBA carries that can quickly kill other Guardians. They possess low health and utility and are weak against tanks. Tanks are designed to take a beating and initiate a fight. They are able to lock down enemy Guardians with hard crowd control and protect their team mates. They are weak against Tacticians. Tacticians can fit into the support role by providing buffs to allies and soft crowd control towards enemies. They are able to take down tanks due to their percent health damage abilities but die quickly to Slayers. Finally, Pushers are Guardians that are capable of pressuring lanes and quickly take down towers. They are designed to clear creep waves and mow down buildings but are easily killed by Slayers in team fights.
There are a good number of Guardians available for players but they must be purchased for use if they are not on the free rotation. As readers of my past articles may know, I am not a fan of having to pay for additional characters in MOBA/ARTS games. Doing so imbalances the game before even getting into a match. Guardians tend to cost from 8.2K to 12.6K in game currency and you only gain around 90 per game. After some games you are awarded with additional currency by unlocking rewards but it can still take a long time to unlock all the game’s Guardians. At times there are sales such as Khar being offered for only 100 points. Players also have the option to use cash shop currency to quickly unlock Guardians. It seems to cost around $8-15 for most Guardians. Skins can also be purchased with cash shop currency to change the look of your Guardians.
Loading can take quite sometime on slower PCs.
Conclusion: It is a last resort.
In conclusion, I would only recommend this game to those that want to like the ARTS/MOBA genre but haven’t liked any other game from the genre. This is a watered down version of ARTS games looking to offer quick games for the casual player. Being run in the browser allows almost any PC to easily access the game without too many problems but it provides an inferior experience to those that are able to run a fully featured standalone game. There are many features missing which makes the game less tactical and more focused on quickly pushing and ending the game. The item system is very simple and never having to leave the lane lets players develop bad habits which would never work in games such as Dota 2. Only try this game if you really want a browser based MOBA and would rather not play games such as Dota 2 or League of Legends.