By Scott Braquet (SimpleAnatomy)
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending a private Bandai Namco event in San Francisco for an undisclosed game. Things were kept so close to the chest on this event that the others invited and I literally didn’t even know the name or genre of the game we were previewing until we arrived. As such it turned out to be Bandai’s attempt to get into the core MOBA genre through Primal Games, a company with the vision to build on the existing success of MOBAs by adding an extra layer of tactics that, arguably given the nature of the genre, should have existed from the beginning. Read on to get the full details on SuperNova, an RTS MOBA science fiction hybrid.
SuperNova is a MOBA / RTS hybrid built by Primal Games in cooperation with Bandai Namco. Alpha testing officially begins today (2/26). Primal has been working for over 3 years and are now ready to release their title to the public. The development team is looking into the future to supply gamers with a long term title with constant optimizations and updates using their proprietary engine. There will be 12 playable commanders available from Alpha and the only purchases available will be in the form of commander and army skins.
SuperNova was inspired by League of Legends and StarCraft – looking to enhance the MOBA genre we have all come to love by incorporating RTS elements to strengthen the creep army and add another level of competitive strategy by allowing users to build and upgrade creep armies on the fly during the fight. Given the hybrid nature of SuperNova I have separated this preview into 2 parts: MOBA and RTS.
SuperNova focuses heavily on player experience; new adopters are provided the tools to learn quickly without harming gameplay. Players have the ability to set their commander to Auto Upgrade. This gives players the ability to focus solely on the MOBA portion of the game without getting lost in menus. Last hitting is not mandatory – commanders gain experience by being near enemy deaths and only receive a small bonus of experience for last hitting. Ultimate attacks are upgraded automatically as soon as the commander has hit the required level. Primal has also removed in-game item purchases, replacing them with a spec tree. Players are given spec points as they level that can be spent to further improve core stats such as Damage, Speed, Defense, etc. Mastery skills become available once core stats have been maxed.
Commanders are given 3 Alliance Powers to compliment their basic attacks. These skills are picked before the game starts and can be used in tandem with basic attacks to create serious damage, heal allies, or slow enemies. Alliance Powers have extra long cool downs so strategic placement is recommended.
The SuperNova jungle comes with one primary focus – the Quantum camp. Quantum monsters are units that can be added to your army for additional firepower. Quantum camps require commanders to team up together to kill and then capture the camp in order to get control of the Quantum monster. Both actions must be done before your team takes control, so if the other team is able to capture the camp after it has been killed they gain control of the Quantum and will use it against you. This becomes a main focus late game as it can help seal the victory for the controlling team.
On the surface SuperNova looks like a simple MOBA, however, implementing the RTS elements adds an additional level of strategy that provides users with a unique experience not found in the industry today. Players are given the ability to create and upgrade their lane’s creep armies. Armies consist of land troops, tank units, and air units – each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Players can queue up the next wave of army troops from the base to counter the opposing team. Research is available to further buff your army during key battles. Similar to auto upgrading commander stats from above, players will have the ability to auto upgrade their armies as well. This will allow users to play and learn at their own pace without feeling overwhelmed during games. Finally, players can set a load out queue before the game starts to prepare an initial upgrade strategy ahead of time.
The mixture of MOBA meets RTS gameplay styles fit extremely well. Primals focus on providing new users the ability to learn at their own pace is a refreshing take on a genre that requires the most out of its participants. There is plenty to look forward to both as a causal and hardcore player. And I am definitely looking forward to keeping an eye on SuperNova as it grows throughout the testing process.