Right now the closed alpha is going on for Master X Master, and while that would normally be whizzing by my head so fast thanks to the slipstream of my MOBA disinterest, I keep hearing things like “this game is pretty good!” and “it’s got an MMO PvE nature to it!” and “BUY STATESMAN AND WEEP OVER YOUR FALLEN CITY OF HEROES!” That last one might be subliminal programming by NCsoft, I dunno.
So I did register and as far as I know, there’s no NDA, so why not talk about it a bit? What we have here is a hybrid MOBA/PvE game that pulls characters from across NCsoft’s library as well as throwing in a few original creations. I am no expert on NCsoft lore, but I don’t think these are all fan favorite characters.
Right when the game loads, you have to go through a pretty linear tutorial that works through all of the basics. And since the game has about six buttons, “basic” is really what we have here. Nothing complicated, nothing overwhelming. Probably the most interesting mechanic is the ability to swap between two heroes (“masters”) that you take into a match or zone. If one is dying or you need a special skill set, swap on the fly — there’s no penalty.
From what I’ve seen, characters have basic mouse attacks, a movement attack, a dodge on a timer, a stronger attack, and an ultimate ability that takes a while to charge up. The keyboard controls movement and special abilities (plus space bar for jump, which I didn’t expect) while the mouse handles aiming, basic attack, character swap, and dodging. It feels quite good and reminds me a bit of Smash T.V. from the old arcade consoles.
Two things really impressed me as I shot my way through a PvP match with bots. First is that everything here looks and sounds crisp, effective, and spot-on. Abilities have a punch and it’s quite enjoyable to run around blasting the place up. Good music, too.
The second thing is that it really didn’t feel overwhelming. I’m not one for the MOBA tower defense/lane push mechanic. But to be thrown into an arena and just run around blasting like crazy was pretty fun. I’m sure I had the weakest bots ever, but I did manage an 8-kill streak with no deaths, so I had a few seconds of strutting about the house like a boss.
I will poke further into it, but at least MxM is having the effect of making me want to play it more rather than run from the room screaming. I am really curious how robust the PvE portion is, because you won’t catch me in PvP matches at all.