Blizzard has released a brand new RTS for mobile devices

Blizzard has released a brand new RTS for mobile devices

Tech Highlights:

  • The above alpha gameplay video was recorded by yours truly on a ROG 5. This video represents the fourth match in the first PvE world, called Fang’s Feast. Like many Clash Royale clones, you’ll build a team of collectible characters that can be slowly upgraded to take on the level-based content split between zones on a map, all with a healthy dose of tower defense gameplay slapped on top.

  • Blizzard isn’t just releasing a mobile game this year with Diablo Immortal. The studio has been working on a Warcraft title called Warcraft Arclight Rumble that is designed specifically for portable play. It’s still in the works, but the official reveal is today. At first glance, the game appears to be a Clash Royale clone, but once you dig deeper, it’s clear that Warcraft Arclight Rumble has a little more going on, thanks to its emphasis on single-player content. Sure, there will be PvP and co-op, but the main campaign with 70+ missions takes centre stage. So let’s get started and find out what the Warcraft Arclight Rumble is all about!

This gameplay is simple enough to grasp; just tap on the character cards you’d like to send out to the field to attack your foes, as your enemy will be doing the same. You’ll utilize a rock paper scissors mechanic to balance who to send out when. Of course, each unit costs money, so only a limited number can be sent at a time, though like a true RTS, you can collect money as you play by tactically sending out mining characters. More or less, it will take a proper balance of hero skills and miners to defeat your enemies before they destroy your base tower. So really, Warcraft Arclight Rumble is a game of attrition where both sides wage war on one another to see who will go down first, with an assortment of claimable towers scattered across maps to keep things interesting.

As far as the hero collection and upgrade aspects are concerned, so far, things don’t feel balanced for fun (keep in mind I tested an alpha). There’s a single currency in the game (the good news), used to unlock new heroes, but this currency is gated by your level progress (the bad news), as in you can’t earn any unless you beat a new stage. Sure, you can revisit previous stages to level up your heroes, but this will not net you any more currency. This problem is made worse by the game’s current difficulty spikes that see you forced to grind by the time you reach the first boss. Worse yet, the difficulty jumps again once you reach the second zone, even after you leveled enough to defeat the boss immediately before it.

Here’s the thing, it often feels like this game of attrition relies too much on RNG (random number generation), where some matches may last over five minutes while others could be over in under two, even when repeating the same match in a row. This makes it challenging to jump into a quick match since there’s no telling how brief a round will be, though it sure helps with replayability since you never know what’s around the corner.

Thankfully there’s some wiggle room to dominate your PC opponents through skill if you’re really gung ho about progressing, but your RTS skills will only get you so far. Grinding appears to be a pre-requisite early and frequently, which really distracts from the fun of conquering new areas. More or less, Blizzard went with an aging yet familiar mobile setup for Warcraft Arclight Rumble, where grind walls are frequent, minimizing everyone’s ability to tackle new challenges skillfully.

This leads me to the game’s monetization. Warcraft Arclight Rumble will be free to play, and yes, the developer has confirmed players will be able to buy items to advance quicker, shining a light on the current balancing that repeatedly hits you with grind walls. This will more than likely have a detrimental effect on PvP. Still, as a live service game, new content should flow freely, keeping fans engaged as the game grows, explaining where some of that monetization will be going.

Still, unlike similar games, the focus on PvE content means anyone and everyone can casually play Warcraft Arclight Rumble at their own pace, whether they want to pay to advance or grind it out. Plus, there is fun to be had when you’re properly leveled for the content thrown at you, as the tower-defense gameplay is varied and enjoyable in these moments. A match can turn on you quickly, so it takes diligence to see your way through, which is what makes games fun, the ability to conquer challenges on skill and skill alone.

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