God of Destiny preview: how different is a MOBA from Taiwan?
We’ve always focused a lot on Western MOBAs, but what about those from the east? Asia is a treasure trove of games waiting to be discovered, and the latest gem to land in our inbox is Wayi Entertainment’s God of Destiny: the Eternal Strife of Gods (GOD).
Developed in-house at Wayi, GOD is the second game produced by its team, its predecessor being the MMORPG 81 Keys. The standalone MOBA features heroes based on Eastern and Western fantasy, including in its varied cast Chinese favorites like Wukong, Bajie, Wujing, and Tang Xuanzang from the Chinese novel, Journey to the West.
Its basic premise is the same as any other MOBA: two opposing factions are clashing in an endless war. However there aren’t any Dire or Radiant sides with GOD. Instead, the war is between the undersea world, and the landlubbers.
GOD is presently only available in Traditional Chinese. Its closed beta test started in Taiwan last week. Don’t worry if you can’t speak Chinese, though. That’s what we’re here for, right? The server population is still pretty low (and there are three servers) so we tried a few games with bots. Read on to find out what we think of the game so far.
Now if you’re a MOBA player, you’re going to pick up on GOD really quickly. Like Dota 2, it features just one map apart from a single-lane tutorial map only accessible at the start of the game. This main map actually looks like an inverted Dota 2 one, and experienced MOBA players are going to find a lot of similar features in this MOBA mix-up from Taiwan.
Instead of a lobby, GOD gives you a game hub, where you can wander around in the guise of any hero you choose, chat with other players, as well as create, join, or spectate on-going games. There are player ratings, in-game leader boards, as well as a cash shop where players can pick up cosmetic pets or buy EXP boosts.
Although GOD definitely draws from other games (at this point I actually felt it was a lot like League of Legends), it still manages to hit a sweet spot that is intriguing, interesting, and well-paced.
Firstly, GOD looks good. Although its user interface could definitely use a bit more polish, it displays all important information and buttons. GOD also has pretty solid visuals in spite of its UI. Its heroes are well drawn, most have unique features (bird in a feather skirt? You don’t see that in Dota 2.), and they also have animations for when they’re idling.
Most of the heroes available right now are from Chinese myth and legend, though this being just the closed beta test in Taiwan, I’m sure more Western-influenced heroes will be patched in before long.
The map is a bit bare when compared to Dota 2 and LoL, though. Although there are many routes through the jungles on either side, as well as many creep camps of varying difficulty, there aren’t any extras like grass or fog. The routes are pretty straightforward with no treelines to take advantage of.
It sounds like Dota 2 in Chinese, but with much more hilarious quotes from the heroes. There are also disembodied voices that tell you when the battle begins, and that your base is under attack. GOD has surprisingly impressive background music at the start of the game, and the filler music it has in-game isn’t that bad, either.
Now here’s the meat of the article. Each hero in GOD comes with four preset skills, with the fourth skill being an ultimate that can be upgraded every six levels. The maximum level each hero can reach is 18. Although most of the skills are nothing new, and could be accused of being rip-offs, how they complement each other in each hero’s skill lineup made the game feel fresh.
Heroes in GOD come equipped with two things. One: there is a button on your UI to purchase your personal courier that doesn’t need to be controlled. The courier is probably the fastest I have seen in a MOBA, and it can be killed.
Two: every hero has a four-second long anti-magic shield that protects against all spells except the crowd-control effects of ultimate ones. It has a 60 second cooldown and does not cost mana.
You can also choose to play with a free camera, as with a typical MOBA game, or with a fixed camera that focuses on your hero. There doesn’t seem to be an option to buy back in the game, but you do get a summary of the last three enemies to send you to your death.
Other minor observations I made: there is last-hitting but no denying, and creeps can be blocked. Items can get really expensive, with prices going up to 10,000 gold. There is no town portal system, and there is a warding system and a rune spawnpoint.
Bases follow the same MOBA recipe: there is a main building that must be destroyed before the game can end, and it is surrounded by towers and barracks. Like the jungles, bases in GOD are pretty sparse. Each lane has just one standard rax and two towers, with nothing else in between that and the main building. Destroying the enemy’s rax does give you an additional heavy-hitting creeping that deals splash damage, but the rax can also rebuild itself automatically.
The basic concept GOD is exactly the same as that of Dota 2. If you feed, or AFK too much, you’re going to be much weaker than everyone else, and you’re going to feed even more. There is a clear concept of carrying in GOD. Each game is supposed to last approximately half an hour, but we haven’t had the chance to try that out with real opponents just yet, owing to the low server population.
Ultimately, I believe the biggest feature that differentiates GOD from other MOBA games out there on the market will be its IP. Heroes in GOD are not Dota clones, nor are they rehashes of existing heroes.
The heroes are instead drawn from myth and legend, and while their skills are not 100 per cent original, each hero is well characterized, has great voice acting, and has skills to suit its persona.
According to a press release from Wayi Entertainment, the English version of GOD will be released within the next couple of months, and it will be released internationally. We’re looking forward to that!
UUPDATE 11-04-2013: The courier can be killed and the article now reflects this.