MoBA and RTS collide in this week’s Early Access release, Dropzone. I had the opportunity to test out mix of two genres which haven’t met much so far despite their common past. The MoBA genre was born as a mod to a RTS game and has continued its existence in the same way with Dota, a mod for Warcraft 3. But why nobody has tried to do this before?
Dropzone is mostly about fighting for objectives on a map that’s filled with AI controlled mobs and vision towers in a similar fashion with MoBA games, but without all the lanes and defensive structures. The gameplay twist is a RTS component that’s adding high micromanagement requirements and a well thought strategy as conditions for success. The players control a team of three rigs, which are highly customizable war machines, each having predefined roles and a bunch of active abilities and passive traits. This leads to a long path of trial and error trying to find the group synergy and learning all about the large number of potential abilities because Dropzone’s customization options are quite insane. The number of options for each of the classes is so high that I highly doubt players with the same setup will meet anytime soon.
The complexity of the pregame management isn’t dumbed down by the gameplay as Dropzone is focused on tactical decisions while requiring a Korean level of micromanagement. It’s an almost herculean task to control 3 units which can sum up to 15 active abilities, watching over the cooldowns and trying to create opportunities for lethal combos. It’s even harder in a game with an objective driven victory where killing the opponent only provides some breathing time. The battles are demanding (to say the least) and the strategy that goes into winning is quite scary which circles back to my original question. The reason nobody is mixing these two genres it’s because the outcome will most likely be a hardcore game and Dropzone is exactly that.
There is a reason why RTS competitive scene is dying out. While strategies are entertaining to watch, they aren’t entertaining to play at a competitive level. The abrupt learning curve makes strategy games hard to master and fewer players relate to them while the majority is migrating to genres that can be fun and competitive at the same time. Dropzone tries to make the best of both worlds and while I find it hard to believe that it will succeed into creating a strong competitive scene I think the game’s potential could flourish with the future free to play release.