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Arena of Fate
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Arena of Fate

Release Date:  2015
Publisher:  CRYTEK
Developer:  CRYTEK
Genre:  Strategy, MOBA
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Arena of Fate is an upcoming MOBA from Crytek Black Sea, a Bulgarian studio that developed Knights of Honor and WorldShift before being acquired by Crytek in 2008. It’s being developed for PC and unspecified consoles, and early access beta expected to launch by the end of the year.

The key standout feature of Arena of Fates is its star-studded cast. Each iconic champion hails from humanity’s own history, mythology, or popular fiction. You can’t help but smile when Cleopatra, Sherlock Holmes, and Achilles are waging war against Nikola Tesla, Frankenstein’s Monster, and Alice (of Wonderland). The range of included characters is awesome, and pulls from sources all over the world. It’s definitely worth mentioning that Arena will have 30 playable characters at launch. That’s an impressive feat that is nearly unheard of for a brand-new MOBA.

Of course, the characters are tweaked to fit the battle arena context they’re being placed in. Little Red Riding Hood skips merrily around the map, but she’s wielding a bigass sword and fiery magic while she’s at it. Like the rest of the cast, she’s delightfully larger than life, but still easy to recognize. I don’t feel like it’s really possible to do justice to the cast as a whole without simply listing them all. So, in alphabetical order and without further ado:

Achilles, Akashi, Alice, Arachne, Avicenna, Baba Yaga, Baron Münchausen, Baron Samedi, Blackbeard, Cleopatra, Fenrir, Frankenstein’s Monster, Grendel, Hippolyta, Hong Gildong, Jack The Ripper, Jesse James, Joan of Arc, King Richard The Lionheart, Little Red Riding Hood, Muramasa, Musashi, Polyphemus, Rasputin, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Tesla, The Chupacabra, Van Helsing, and William Wallace.

Arena of Fate’s gameplay is mostly what you’d expect. There’s a pool of heroes that each have a unique gameplay style, stats, and special abilities. Each player controls one hero. Matches split ten players into two even teams. Each team has a base and three lanes connect the two bases. Automated turrets guard the lanes and each team receives regular waves of AI-controlled minions to aid the fight. As the match progresses, players earn gold they can spend to upgrade their character mid-match.

Like many other up-and-coming MOBAs, Arena of Fate promises fast-paced combat and matches that last 20 minutes or less. In Arena’s case, that promise is absolute — matches will automatically end if they hit the 20-minute mark. The pressure piles on as the timer runs out, ensuring that every match is intense. The arena contains many dangers that players can overcome to earn points for their team. At the end of 20 minutes, the team with the most points wins. Alternately, the game can end before it times out if a team can either reach 10 points or destroy the enemy team’s base. The timer is a really simple twist on the MOBA formula, but its impact is significant.

The other key features, just like the timer, are meant to streamline the MOBA experience. Crytek Black Sea’s goal is for the streamlining to make Arena of Fates both more accessible and more intense. These features include the ability to level up in the field, passive healing when you’re in your team’s territory, and simplified character progression. Characters have all of their abilities unlocked from the get-go, but can spend gold to acquire new traits. These traits clearly explain how they benefit your character (e.g., increased health or adding life-stealing abilities to your attacks). You can activate these in the field simply by staying still and unharmed for a few seconds. Even though it’s simplified, character customization remains rich. At the start of the match, players select which of seven roles they will play. Each character can successfully perform multiple rows, so your favorite character is never limited to a single play style.

The early access beta for PC is expected to hit by the end of the year. If you’d like a chance to participate in it, you can apply right now at the official site for Arena of Fate.

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