By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
The past couple of days I have been away! I was visiting Robot Entertainment, down in Plano, Texas, touring their facilities, meeting other fans of the franchise, and in general, taking a good hard look at the state of the game, where it is now, and where it’s about to be. I also got to see some ultra top-secret stuff that I can’t talk about just yet, but rest assured, as soon as I can open my big mouth, I will! Not a moment sooner. I’d also like to thank the fine people at Robot and Yellow Pike for having me. It was a blast, and I learned a lot more than I thought I could have in such a short period of time. Orcs Must Die, at its heart, is a puzzle game with incredible creativity and carnage. I’m glad that their level designers create a solution, but you don’t have to find that solution to move forward in the game. But they did come up with one. I also like the new tutorials I saw; they show how to play the game for new players in a nice, easy to consume way. I no longer felt overwhelmed like the first time I picked up the game. Luckily it has something even for veteran players, including some pro tips such as how to funnel Orcs down into one path to destroy them. Even more important, if you fail it, the game will show you how to do it so that you have a better eye for how to set up pathways/funnels in the future.
We focused on the state of Orcs Must Die! Unchained, which was originally designed to be a PVP game with two teams, their own death traps, and their own hordes of Orcs and such. Honestly? I hated Siege Mode. But why? It didn’t feel like OMD to me. In addition to keeping up with clever trap placements, now I had to worry about players and what they can/will do, and it just felt like a mess. Fantastic idea, but it just slowed the game down. One of the things we’ve learned recently is that Siege Mode is going away. Bye bye! Now there was a lot of outcry over this, both positive and negative. It’s a tough decision as even many of the devs at Robot liked Siege Mode, but it was creating a huge roadblock in development.
Things had to be balanced around just PVP. Damage was lower because it would be insane and unbalanced in PVP. Movement speed was slower, attack rate wasn’t quite as fast as you might remember in Orcs Must Die 2. Overall, the game suffered because of this mode, and that’s really quite unfortunate. So when you’d go do something in PvE, you might find it to be way more harsh or difficult than before since your characters were balanced for a PVP mode you might not even play. So, we got to play a few patches ahead, which I won’t spoil the date for, but the game moves so much faster now. It’s more responsive, the pacing is better, and you guys will love it. Characters were retooled for PVE too, so they will be terrific. There are more characters coming, awesome challenges, and glorious, beautiful maps. One of the hardest things for me is unlocking content, and I’d almost like them to attempt a CoD unlocking system where you gain new tools and traps and such as you level, to give you content at a nice steady pace.
One of the great things about this trip was it was not about Press [even though I was there]. It was about real, honest feedback, and of course getting back to Robot’s roots. They brought in some of their fans, and content creators that enjoy their work, and wanted to know how to make their game better. They took criticism well because the criticism came with reasons, logic, and it all made a great deal of sense. They asked us some questions about monetization, which is a dangerous thing. Nobody wants to admit they spend money on free to play games, apparently. I don’t get the stigma. You play a f2p, you enjoy it, so give something back to them to help them make more stuff! Right? Anyway, it was a wonderful trip. I made new friends on the fan and development side, and I learned about their business model, and what the game means to them. It’s just as important to them as it is to the fans, and I really think the choices they’ve made going forward, and some of the super secret stuff that I may or may not have guessed accidentally while throwing out suggestions, will blow people away. Don’t sleep on Orcs Must Die! Unchained, folks! A lot of really cool stuff is on the way. From new characters, new maps, and more. Stay tuned to OMDU!