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A german version of this report can be found here.
Hello dear MOBA- and DC-lovers and thank you very much for your interest in my report. For all of you wondering what the blog-post is about: On 23rd May I was invited to an Infinite Crisis Community-Event in London. This report is to share my impressions about the game with you.
Before I start, I want to give sincere thanks to Johannes "Foppes" Brauckmann from Wikia Gaming for introducing me to Warner Bros. and to Warner Bros. - namely Markus Häberlein, Egbert Latza and James MacDonald - for inviting me.
If you haven't heard anything about Infinite Crisis before, never mind - till I got invited to the Community-Event I didn't heard anything about Infinite Crisis, too. I will begin with a small introduction into what Infinite Crisis is about before I proceed reporting from London. But at first, let's have a look at the trailer.
The trailer highlights the background-story, which shall explain, why the player as superhero or supervillain teams up with the opposite side to fight together against mutual enemies. How this could happen remains to be seen, for the trailer alone can't answer this question. The story, which is imparted by the game itself will be limited to this question. Whoever expects the story to have depth, will most likely get disappointed, because - like in any other MOBA - the story will be irrelevant within the matches. To find out about the background of the characters has to read the champion lore, which is by now not longer than eight lines.
Related to the gameplay, Infinite Crisis is an out-and-out MOBA-game. Action-packed skirmishes, in which the team with the better strategy and the better position wins, are the key element of the matches. A peculiar difference to League of Legends is the huge amount of crowd-control abilities the champions are able to use. Many Champions provide an ability with crowd-control over an area-of-effect. This leads to much more game-changing abilities. A good example for that is Flash, which ultimate ability by itself can destroy the whole enemy team if it is well used.
How much champions, which rely on auto-attacks, suffer under this cc-machines isn't evident yet, because there are not enough champions to play with and the balancing isn't done yet, but the question will come up later on.
But now back to the Event: When I got to Warner Bros., I saw the other paticipants I had the pleasure to meet. All in all, there were 20 persons invited. Additionally, there were 15 persons from Warner and Turbine, amongst others some of the developers, which traveled from Boston to London just for the event.
At first we saw a presentation about the game. Basically, they told us everything about the story and the gameplay I have witten above, but one thing I'd like to highlight. A catchphrase, which was used to describe the game was: "Play your favourite champion. All of them."
A good example for that is Batman, who is currently available in two completely different versions called Gaslight Batman and Nightmare Batman. The Batman we all know from the Christopher Nolan movies is none of them, thus he could find his way into the game in the future for a total of three playable Batmen. This differrent champion versions of one hero or villain are made to enable the player to choose his favorite hero or villain no matter what position and role he decides to play. The differrent Batmen are in no way an invention by Turbine, but part of the DC-multiverse, which consists of many parallel universes, where the superheros and supervillains have developed different to their "Prime"-universe counterpart.
This shows, that the game mainly approaches players, which have no MOBA experience, but are fans of the DC-multiverse and always wanted to play their favorite superhero/supervillain: Almost regardless the role you get to play for your team, there is always a Batman/Joker or whoever, which fits perfectly into the role. Nonetheless it raises the question, if there will be any skins for the game.
I think this might me a good time to refer you to the batman champion-spotlights, as you can get an impression on how the same hero can be played in different roles by using different champion versions of him.
After the presentation we went to the next room to the hands-on-session, where we had the oppurtunity to try the game by ourselves and give feedback directly to the developers. For that, we were distributed into four teams. At first, team alpha played against team bravo and team charlie played against team delta. Then the losing teams competed and the winning teams fought for the possibility to play against team echo, the developer-allstars-team. Thereby every team had the chance to play twice with the exception of the winning team. Unfortunately, I wasn't in the winning team. My team was pretty much destroyed not only, but especially by Deficio. But though Deficio played exceptionally well, the developers were able to take a narrow victory.
The matches took place on a map and in a game mode very similar to dominion. Unlike dominion, the match had a time limit of 30 minutes. This means, that the game can be finished either by one team running out of points or by timeout. But in reality, the timeout is very unlikely to happen since regular games last 15-20 minutes.
That this map is the first one to be implemented is due to the fact, that is it easier to test on a map with schorter match length. In the future, there will be a classic tri-lane map and a new innovative map with a so far unseen new game mode. But what the map or the game mode will look like remained a secret.
Spread around the map are life artifacts, which heal passing champions. They work similar to the ones in League of Legends.
There are also hiding places in Infinite Crisis. Of course, there are no bushes, but some energy panels (?) on the ground. I wasn't able to figure out what the hiding places should represent, but if you have an idea, please tell me in the comments.
One game element which is unique for Infinite Crisis are the so-called catastrophic events. They occur randomly within the game and can influence the game. They won't mess up whole matches or strategies, but a team which can adapt better can get the upper hand in a even match. When we played there was only one catastrophic event implemented, a giant meteor. In the middle of the map a area is marked, where the meteor will land. After that, you have enough time to leave the location of impact. The actual impact of the meteor makes the camera shaky and a dust cloud takes your sight. But if you are standing in the impact area... Well, I guess even with superpowers you get really flat when you get hit by a giant meteor: You die.
Furthermore the paths in the impact area will change. The change will be not big enough to have a big impact on the gameplay, but it is enough to get noticed.
But the appearance of the map won't be affected only by catastrophic events, but also by the champions' fights: The environment is destroyable by champions abilities. At the end of each match the player can see, how much destruction he caused. This doesn't affect the gameplay at all - but it is pretty to watch.
Besides the map we could have a closer look at the champions. Though I played Joker and Flash, I want to talk about Cyborg, because he was released today and probably only a few saw the spotlight yet.
Cyborg is interesting, because he is a champion which relies on ranged auto-attacks. Therefore he belongs to the category of AD-carrys and in the category of champions I mentioned earlier, which could have problems with all the crowd-control.That being said, I however thought, that he isn't really weaker than other champions, probably because he deals a huge amount of damage with his normal attacks. Maybe this is Turbines way of balancing the AD-carries. Regarding balancing we can be curious for the developers have told us about some champions, which are overpowered righht now. Balancing is, however, not Turbins priority. Priority is to release as many champions as possible.
The last gameplay element I want to focus on are the "Stolen Powers", which are pretty much comparable to the Summoner Spells in League of Legends. Some of them are old and well-known like "Super Speed" is similar to Ghost and "Bend Space-Time" is similar to teleport. But there are also new Powers like "X-Ray Vision", which reveals a big circle around the champion, "Consume", which destroys a part of the environment to heal yourself, "Meteor" to summon a small Meteor that falls from the sky and damages all enemies and my favorite "Proximity Mine", which allows you to set a trap, which damages the first enemy who runs into it.
What especially interesting about the mines is that they don't dakay. They stay until they are activated.Therefore, you can place many mines at the same time to control small paths in the middle of the map and until the enemy chooses to get himself damaged, the mines provide you a good amout of map-control.
After the hands-on-session there was a possibility to ask questions. Many questions were about the ability of Infinite Crisis for eSports and most of them remained unanswered; nevertheless I want to highlight a few questions.
One Question was about the Teamcolors, because the choice of blue for the left team and red for the right team doesn't seemed to be the best. The choice of color is not determined yet und it is a highly discussed question in the design team. The team colors did change their color during development two times and it is not unlikely to happen again.
A spectator mode is also planned, but any details about that would be pure speculation. Whether streams can be watched with the client or not is also uncertain. Certain is only, that there will be web elements in the client, but not how many.
At the end there is some good news for everyone who participates in the Infinite Crisis Beta. The players who participate in the Beta will be in any way rewarded. Once again, the exact process is to be determined, but certain is, the beta-accounts won't be resetted to zero when the beta ends.
To come to an conclusion I'd like to say, that Infinite Crisis will gain their playerbase probably from DC-fans and frustrated League of Legends players from bronze and silver division, but most certainly not from the professional eSports-szene. But nonetheless is Infinite Crisis a game that has the potential to bring changes to the MOBA eSport.
Feel free to ask your questions. I am pretty sure I can't answer all of them, but the more you ask, the more I can answer.
All answered questions will be appended to this blog-post.
Q: Just what teh heck does this have to do with LoL?
A: InfiniteCrisis is a MOBA like League of Legends so the two games are quite comparable. And since there is no real InfiniteCrisis-Wiki for InfiniteCrisis is currently in closed beta, Foppes asked me to put the text in the english League of Legends-wiki so he can link to it from the english hub page for videogames.