By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
It is difficult for a new game to break through in the MOBA genre, since the market has fully grown to its potential, and the player base scattered over four major games. Given this competitive nature of the genre, it is extremely difficult to get your game popular, no matter how much money you throw at it. Dropzone is another game set to take on the MOBA genre, although focusing a bit more on the PvP aspect of the game rather than farming the lanes before PvP begins. Although monsters still have to be killed, you are in an endless race against the clock and your opponent for the win. Is the idea of Dropzone innovative enough? Lets find out.
In Dropzone you don’t get matched with teammates against another group of people, and even though there are game modes available like this, its main focus is the one versus one mode. In this mode your objective is simple – dominate the map and win. Obviously it sounds easier than it is. But how exactly do you win? Well unlike most MOBAs where you have to fight in a lane and jungle to push the enemy back until you get at their base, Dropzone takes a more simplistic approach. One that feels more reminiscent of an RTS than a moba, particularly with imagery of Starcraft coming to mind.
Scattered all around the maps are towers. When you claim these towers you get vision from a wider area. Besides the towers, you will also find packs of creepy slimy aliens that you will have to kill. And each pack of mobs has its own boss, and these bosses drop cores. Depending on the tier of the boss, it will drop an amount of cores that you will then have to take to the middle of the map. The player with the most cores handed in wins the game. It theory it sounds easy, but there is a lot more strategy involved than just trying to kill as aliens as fast as you possibly can and delivering these cores, because you still have an enemy that’s doing the same. An enemy that can intercept and steal the credit for your hard work!
What makes this game harder is that you have to control three individual Pilots. These Pilots are your heroes of the game, and since you have three of them you can use them for different strategic purposes. Most of the time these pilots fill some sort of a basic role, like tank, healer and main damage dealer. But I have played against many different combinations where they play around with gimmicky combinations that can catch you off guard. One example that comes to mind was a team where all three pilots could place down turrets to whittle you away with ranged zoning fire. Dropzone really lets you play around with the unique combinations that are possible, and there aren’t really any limits to what pilots you can take with you.
But I still want to talk about the elephant in the room, and I gotta say, I don’t really understand why they would do this. By winning games and leveling up, you get crates. Crates that can also be bought with real money, and do note, you already have to buy the game to be able to play it. And in these crates you will find skills for your pilots – skills that unquestionably make your pilots stronger in one way or another. It doesn’t seem fair to offer such things for purchase. You can still buy craters with the in game currency, but if you open your wallet and throw real money at the game I can definitely see you getting stronger without having to play the game. This brings me to another problem – what if you don’t have enough time to play?
Obviously the game is all about getting matched against people of your own skill, but what happens if the player you are playing against has unlocked all of the skills? That doesn’t really make a fair fight does it? Dropzone is a beautiful game, probably one of the best looking MOBA/Strategy games I have seen over the years, and the concept itself is also refreshing. It brings a very unique idea to the genre and as a strategy fan I just absolutely love it. But at the same time I just cannot support the idea of getting stronger through real money, especially when the game already has to be bought, and it’s not a very cheap game to buy into early access on either.
Besides the quick play mode where you fight other players, you can also do the infestation mode. This is the survival mode where you will have to defend a base that is placed in the middle. With turrets all around it as a defense, you will have to assemble your forces accordingly to fight an endless wave of monsters while trying to get as many cores delivered as possible. It’s a fun way to learn the various strengths and weaknesses of pilots in a PvE setting, and makes for a great trial run for untested team comps. This mode can also be played with friends so it’s definitely a recommendation when you get tired battling it out against other players.
State of the Game: Good
Dropzone is innovative enough that I can see the game get a lot of fans. But at the same time there are aspects holding back its potential. Although getting Jovians (the ingame currency) by doing daily missions and just playing in general, I do think it’s a bit strange that you can pay to gain an advantage, when the game already has to be bought. If the game were completely free I could somewhat understand this decision, but even then unlocking skill shouldn’t ever be possible. The game itself is good, pretty good, and with enough support I can definitely see Dropzone having a nice community built around it. The quick match mode is a ton of fun, although I would’ve loved to see a bit more around it. Every game is played on the same layout, against the same type of monsters and I can fully understand if it gets boring after a while. The game is still in Early Access, and has room for improvement, and once the game is fully finished it is supposed to be free to play. Hopefully that remains in their agenda and we see an improved monetization system going forward.