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Beta Impressions: Dawngate Preview

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I have played roughly 40 games on Dawngate, scored enough “destiny” to buy my first shaper, and I felt like this was a great time to write my first impressions of the MOBA from EA. I will touch on how the gameplay is different from other MOBAs, their currency system, and various other mechanics that I feel people should know about. With the success of League of Legends and DOTA 2 there is no shortage of MOBAs in today’s gaming industry. Dawngate is still in the beta stage, so there are grievances that I have that will most likely be fixed in future patches. Thus, this is only a “Dawngate Preview” and not a full review.

First, the lore: Dawngate recently provided an update to integrate the lore into the gameplay through skins and stories selected in the client. I like this addition because it gives the player something to do during the match finding process. It is well worth your time to look into, even if you are super casual about trying the game out.

combat

What makes Dawngate stand out among the other MOBAs like LoL and DOTA2 is the way you play. The map has two lanes and two jungles per side. The jungles are bigger than LoL but a tad smaller than DOTA. The overall size of the map is smaller to make the games go by faster. The general metagame is this: Two top, two bottom, and one jungle. As a jungler, you will clear one side, gank, move to the other side, clear it, and gank, back to base, buy and repeat the process. The flow can always change though because the game is fast paced.

What I mean by that is the combat is much more fluid compared to other MOBAs because the laning phase is focused more on getting farm while harassing. Every character in Dawngate lacks a mana bar, and instead every skill has a cooldown and/or costs health to use. This feature fundamentally separates Dawngate from other MOBAs. When you take something like mana out of the equation you have a higher harass game and less of a “I can’t do much because I don’t want to go OOM (out of mana)” game. It works surprisingly well.

Now there is one shaper I want to speak about that I know many Dawngate players love and hate. Voluc is a tanky jungler with a high damage burst and the best sustain in the game. With no mana to manage, Voluc is free to build items that give him lifesteal. He has the ability to build so much lifesteal that he can heal 100% of the damage he deals. This is a critical design flaw that will most likely addressed by the developers because getting HP back from autos and skills feels incredibly broken. Voluc is not an instant win, but he certainly has a high win rate. That is, after all, what patches are for, especially in a beta.

The next gameplay mechanic that separates Dawngate from other MOBAs is that every item you buy comes from a set of basic items. You can see what I mean below. You build a basic item, then you build the second and third tiers afterward. This limits the massive store you see in LoL, DOTA2, and Infinite Crisis to a fast buying process. I prefer this item system to anything else I have played in MOBAs. It is quick, simple, and easy to manage. Too many games try to look super complicated and technical to fool people into thinking they will become pro players by excessively playing the game.

ItemTree

DOTA 2 has a method where you can kill your own creeps to deny the enemy from getting them. Dawngate has a similar denying concept. It’s much more dangerous, but the reward is worth it. Each team has two spirit wells, and they have little workers that generate your per second gold income. Kill the minions and your enemy gets less money. After a set time you can start capturing these points. When you do, you begin to generate even more income. The risk is worth the reward, but the enemy gets a warning that you are at their spirit well, so you need to be fast.

At the end of the match you will be  to a screen to give “karma” to your teammates. This adds to the player’s end score which determines their rewards for playing the match. There are multiple tiers and the longer the game with the more karma you get, the better the reward. You can earn destiny and runes to customize your character. The higher reward tier you get, the more rewards you get. It’s a decent incentive to try and earn karma and not rage.  Runes are used in a similar way that runes are in League. You have a page, and every rune is a different shape. You must do your best to fill in the page as much as you can with the most relevant stats your character uses. This adds a higher strategy level because it is like a puzzle. Unlike LoL where you buy 9 of every tier 3 rune and make something happen.

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Much like other Free to Play games you have access to a group of free characters to play as every week. When you play enough games, you earn the free currency called, destiny. Every shaper in the game is 1800 destiny. I wish other games that made you buy characters did this. You will gain anything between 20-50 destiny per match (depending on your score). It took me roughly 40 games to get enough to buy my first character but when I played League, it took me longer. Now I can focus on learning that one character and get good at him. I can play enough games with him to buy a new one, which will be faster because I will be playing a character I know as opposed to the new Flavor of the Week.

You can spend your hard-earned cash on the game for skins, ward skins etc just like very other game in this genre. Some of the skins look cool and there isn’t much shame spending $20 for a couple skins.

The last result with Dawngate is that it is a much faster MOBA, possibly one of the fastest in its genre. Well, outside of Heroes of the Storm of course. It plays very well and the skill curve is evenly paced. The game is worth checking out. It’s free and in open beta. If you don’t like League or DOTA 2, I highly suggest you try this game out. I left some mechanics out so you can have some sense of mystery. This game isn’t a clone or a knock off, and I just wanted to put that to rest. You can learn more about the game on the Dawngate website. 

About Zach Martinez

Freelancer here at Armed Gamer, North American Video Game Correspondent for Following the Nerd, and a regular on Examiner.com, Zach has made somewhat of a name for himself at the age of 23. He has been writing professionally for just over 5 years now. He doesn't care about resolution or frames per second, he cares about what matters most, the games. You can reach reach him directly at zach.martinez09395@yahoo.com.

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