Master X Master is a new MOBA edited by NCSoft, planned for the end of the year in the West. The particularity of this game is to offer to play two characters, two Masters, in a MOBA combining PvP and PvE. During my game, we had the opportunity to test both!
Masters are the name of playable characters, they come in all styles, tanks, supports and DPS, melee or ranged. A thirty masters are currently available, of which around 2/3 are unreleased characters, for 1/3 from NCSoft licenses (Aion, GW2 Blade & Soul, WildStar and Lineage 2).
These masters are aligned with one of the three items, represented by colors: red, green and blue. These elements interact and depending on the element of the master that inflicts damage and the element of the one that receives it, the damage can be increased by 25%, or on the contrary reduced by 25%.
The personalization of the character involves the addition of Node. These elements come in three styles, attack, defense and utility, each coming with its own color (red, blue and yellow). Each master has a different compatibility that it is best to follow to optimize the result. Two profiles can be saved per master, allowing different combat configurations to be saved. Note that the developers want the equipment not to have a big impact in PvP so as not to benefit certain players.
Define a master as principal (Lead Master) fixes the appearance we have in the Lobby, the main area where all players log in and evolve when not on a mission.
The master moves on the keyboard with the usual key combination (ZQSD). With the left click, he launches his basic attack, while the right click triggers a dodge maneuver. The dial changes the active master (available every 10 seconds). Finally, the letters A, E and R cast the spells.
About thirty dungeons are planned, using known cards because they are carbon copies of instances that can be found in Aion, Blade & Soul or Guild Wars 2. Thus, everything is duplicated, monsters, mechanics, boss attacks ... You will notice on the right of the first screenshot the possibility of hiring mercenaries to accomplish these instances.
In dungeons, players have 3 lives, then it's over! Fortunately, to survive, in addition to group strategy (it is thus preferable to have a healer in the group), each player can also rely on his ability to change the master played every 10 seconds without limitation. An ability to use with care to thus juggle between the two health bars, letting a character regenerate while the other fights.
In the instance we did, from Blade & Souls, there wasn't a big challenge as it was accomplished solo, allowing us to chat and even take notes between two bosses. This results in a dynamic instance, based on the mechanics of a MOBA, while somehow feeling on familiar ground, in the Black Ram instance.
At the end, the loot is chosen in a sort of large table where each member of the group selects boxes.
Three modes are currently available:
- Vs. 3 3 : Deathmatch
- Vs. 4 4 : Domination
- Vs. 5 5 : Titan Ruins
A system of matchmaking connects players of the same level. To play with your friends, you can also create personalized games and fill in any missing ones with bots. It is proposed to evolve among two difficulties, in casual mode (Casual) or in ranked mode (Ranked), with for this second rankings and PvP seasons with special rewards.
Once in play, like any good self-respecting MOBA, there are lines, a jungle, towers, minions ... On this side, these are the classic rules.
The games last about fifteen minutes, with a maximum limit of 25 minutes. If no winner has been designated, then this is done by the number of points. To earn these points, several solutions: kill a minion (1 to 2 points) or a master enemy (10 points). You have to be particularly careful to finish off the minions and enemy masters, and not let the minions do the job, otherwise the point is lost! There are also NPCs to kill on the map, doing so will earn points and some may decide to fight alongside us providing a temporary bonus.
When a team reaches 100 points, a Titan appears, a large NPC that will automatically attack any buildings it finds. This is therefore particularly useful for knocking down enemy towers that remain deadly. By successfully collecting 10 Titan Shards and bringing them back to base, the team gains the ability to summon a Titan. After a vote, one of the players transforms for a limited time into a super titan. So it's better to activate it near enemy towers (and not stupidly mess it up like we did in the middle of nowhere).
No equipment management, there is nothing to buy. Masters do, however, gain levels that allow them to improve skills. You have to return to the base (a TP is available with the B key) or be killed (a good way to keep busy while waiting for the reappearance).
Although we were up against bots, we lost miserably, being crushed with a magical number of kills on the counter! I hesitated for a long time before publishing such statistics ... but I assume. I am definitely not very efficient in MOBA!
Everything about the monetization remains to be defined, nothing is definitive for the moment being a simple copy / paste of the Asian version. But NCSoft is aware that adaptations are necessary for our version and is currently working on the adaptation (as well as localization, adjustments concerning the "farming" side ...).
Likewise, the content of the shop remains to be defined. There are currently three tabs: skins for masters, functional items improving the quality of life (increase in inventory size, automatic loot collection ...) and tickets to pass VIP (with different bonus).
A currency in play, the SOLON (abbreviated in the interface in SOL), is there to buy masters. It works much like experience, with the amount needed to get something increasing over time. So, the first masters will be easy to buy, then it will become more and more difficult with time.
In addition to PvP and PvE modes, there are mini games. We could not test it (requiring to be at least 5), but there will for example be a platform game where it will be necessary to dodge obstacles. These games take about 3 to 5 minutes. A good idea to pass the time and warm up before a more serious game!
Quests, or missions as they are called, are offered in-game. They can be daily, weekly or monthly. Here are some examples to give you an idea:
There is also a management ofexploits allowing to acquire various titles.
Finally, what is NCSoft planning to fight against toxic behaviors ? They plan to be uncompromising: tickets can be automatically created in-game by reporting bad behavior, whether in chat channels or during a match. On the other hand, this promises to be more difficult for players who play badly because it is always more subjective (and not necessarily the fault of the player!).
Even though I'm not really into MOBAs from the outset, I had a great time on Master X Master. The alliance of the two modes, PvE and PvP, as well as the possibility of changing masters regularly brings an innovative dynamic to this type of game which currently tends to get bogged down in déjà vu. You add to that cute graphics, catchy music, efficient mechanics, and it results in what promises to be a great game in the future! You should be able to test all this on your side soon, everything seems to me already very advanced, and the CM has confirmed to me that the wait should be very short, a date should be fixed very, very quickly (watch carefully our site because we should have keys!). In the meantime, go to the Official website to subscribe to the newsletter and be even more sure not to miss future announcements!