By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
Thankfully I had the chance to try out the most originally unoriginal named MMO ever last week, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot. This brand new free-to-play hack and slash game by Ubisoft is still behind closed doors for most members of the public. But JamesBl0nde let me hop on his account for a bit to delve into the advanced closed beta dungeons full of scary, filthy and powerful creatures. And these creatures aren’t the only ones trying to bring you down; the dungeon itself will also try to confuse the heck out of you, with surprisingly innovative but overall just plain nasty traps lurking around every corner.
In The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot you get to play one of the three available heroes: archer, knight, and mage. While the names might sound generic, their kits play out quite differently in this trap filled dungeon crawling setting. Since James had already developed the archer and mage pretty far, I started with the knight to get a feel for how the early game plays. I figured of the three classes, the tanky knight would be easy mode in the early stages. Turns out I got my ass kicked all the same. From the get go you will be facing a barrage of diverse challenges that only share one common theme, they exist to maim you. And now you might ask yourself, why is the game so hard on you? Well, it’s not some standard MMORPG more interested in feeding your ego to get you to spend as much money as possible before you get bored and move on. It is so much more than that. Quest for Epic Loot is a strategy game at the core and an MMORPG as an afterthought. See, these dungeons are special. They are designed to punish you, to humiliate you, and to eventually train you to play at a higher level. You will feel like a donkey, making the same mistakes twice, but once you’ve learn from your mistakes, you might end up actually finishing the dungeon, and going to that beloved last room full of gold and glory.
When you start, you will begin in the beginner’s zone. Enjoy this zone while it lasts, because it will get at least twice as hard when you take the training wheels off. You see, these dungeons aren’t just randomly made by Ubisoft. Once you go to the higher levels, you will be forced to tackle player made dungeons, and well these dungeons are only made for one thing, to make you lose. The concept is simple; if you die you lose, and the dungeon wins. Think of it as playing blackjack with your life as the ante. The house enters with a slight numerical advantage and you need to be on top of your game if you want to walk away with a profit. Around each corner there might be a trap, or a monster lurking to kill you. Meanwhile hordes of monsters will literally be hunting you down to put an end to your minor success should you still be breathing a few minutes into the dungeon. If you’re not sweating yet, Ubisoft was cruel enough to add a time limit before the treasure room at the end locks.
Ever heard the tale of the rabbit and the turtle? There couldn’t be a worse moral when related to this game. The Rabbit wins in this case, so make sure not to take a nap. Once you’ve been jaded from getting destroyed by the toughest dungeons the server has to offer, you can take out your frustration on your fellow player by building your own dungeon filled with traps, monsters and map pieces that you can buy and create. Ubisoft did a surprising job keeping this balanced across the various elements you can implement, so it takes a truly tactically deprived mind to figure out the right combination of pitfalls and monster ambushes to bring down your fellow players on the regular. Beyond general malice though you might wonder what’s in it for you to rob other players from your dungeon’s loot? After all in a perfect world you could just build easy dungeons and everyone could help each other power level to wealth. Instead Ubisoft made it beneficial to profit on the misfortune of others. You can gain gold and life force with each kill your dungeon earns to be spent on improving your dungeons as well as powering up your hero. The fearless challengers that step foot in your dungeon also leave behind a replay, and learning from these clips will help you gain a better understanding of the typical psychology of running your dungeon. It’s incredibly useful for figuring out what traps that worked so well in your head are complete blunders, and ideally you will learn to better utilize your resources to make magic and mayhem happen. Best of all, you can run the dungeon yourself to see if you have the skill to overcome your own diabolical plans!
The gameplay itself is also easy to learn, but hard in a sense. You click your way through the dungeon, and with the use of the number keys plus your mouse buttons, you will be able to activate your spells. Each Hero has his own set of skills, and these skills can make your life much easier if used accordingly. One major component of skills is the ability to knock foes back, but said skills often have notable cooldowns. Most skills are pretty spammable however. You will want to play around with these skills to find a combination you are comfortable with. And while certain combinations will end up working pretty universally, I am still finding clever trap combinations that force me to react in new ways. Essentially no matter how well planned out your skills are, this game takes some fast reaction times, and the ability to keep cool under fire to succeed regularly. With gold you will be able to purchase new clothing and equipment, but what would an action role-playing game be without loot dropping? Well the loot drops, but you better survive the dungeon if you want to keep your precious new items. Each move, and action in this game has consequences, and if you make one mistake, they’ll make sure to smash your dreams into the ground. Losing hurts, and that’s half the fun!
Beta Verdict: Great
This hack and slash game looks very promising. In fact I think it is easily able to surpass the current market of ARPGs. The feature of having your own dungeon, making it as hard as possible, and witnessing others attempt to raid through it accomplishes what so many evil villain titles of late have attempted, and outshone them at that. On paper it looked kind of cool but once you experience it for yourself, the fun factor is phenomenal. The game’s learning curve is high enough to keep you coming back for more, and the focus on player created content means you’ll never run out of challenges to try. This built around a hack and slash game concept requiring actual skill and tactics to survive feels head and shoulders above the typical tripe publishers have pushed our way lately. From what I’ve seen so far, and even though the game is still in closed beta, it is shaping up nicely. There can still be some tweaking here and there, especially with some of the monsters and the loot drops, because as of now, equipment is hard to find, and the dungeons and monsters are getting stronger and stronger.