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I have fought in Warlander, the game of castle siege warfare with up to 100 players: or how from chaos comes glory and despair

Between sword blows, spells, war cries and bursts of projectiles from reinforced turrets, Warlander makes it clear that there is still room for new massive online battle video games. plaionthe recent rebranding of Koch Media, capriciously and completely takes 2022 elements from MOBAs, battle royales and Tower Defenses and brings them together in the same proposal for large-scale combat.

There are many ways to define Warlander, and they are all accurate. As far as his game model is concerned, he is a free-to-play manual and without surprises, but also a curious mixture, to say the least, that feels especially simple and familiar both at the controls and during the development of the games. And that, as we will see, ends up playing in his favor.

What it offers us Warlander in the gameplay, on the other hand, it is terribly simple to explain: as part of a large army, we will have to make our way between cuts and spells on a wide battlefield. Fighting for control and dominance of a huge theater of war. Adapting to what happens during the game and, ultimately, completing the siege of the enemy fortress at all costs without ours falling in the attempt.

The process, by the way, has no way around it: as a warrior, a cleric or a magician, in Warlander We will destroy all the enemies within our sight or we will try to block their path. And despite the fact that our performance and leadership capacity is key, team play is what really ends up deciding the outcome of our game.

Although, of course, how the hell do you get up to 100 people to agree? Let’s go step by step.

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Neither Fortnite nor Battlefield, but with a little bit of each

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Let’s start with the good: it won’t take you even half a minute to understand how to play Warlander and what are the purpose and rules of the game: at the level of mechanics it is not very different from any third-person action game, and despite the fact that the most common are the collisions of warriors and short-distance combat, basically because it is of one of its great claims as a playable experience, with a simple button we sheath our sword, wand or hammer and start shooting projectiles.

That yes, although we happen of the swords and shields to war in “shooter mode“, neither the gunplay resembles that of Fortnite nor the objectives are the same as those of a Battle Royale.

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Behind the initiative Toylogic. The same studio responsible for happywars Y Happy Dungeons. And although there is a little of these in Warlander, the sensations that his new project leaves us are much more aligned with the surreal Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. Which is, for all intents and purposes, a great benchmark. Because one of the keys Warlander and how easy it is to get comfortable in it is how it borrows what interests it from those games it fixates on.

Warlander bets on large-scale action and fantasy combats in which the cooperative, strategic and competitive factors intermingle without giving up simple mechanics and dynamic objectives. With loads of ideas shamelessly borrowed from other games, like the Battlefield deployment system, the progress of Fortnite or a rhythm fundamentally reminiscent of the aforementioned plants vs. Zombies:Garden Warfare, the latter being the most similar game to Warfare in regards to the development of each game.

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However, the first slap on the wrist of Warlander Its artistic section takes it: although, we are aware that Plaion gave us access to a much more focused beta more on the game proposal than on really showing off visually.

Being fair, that the three character classes available look relatively generic is something almost intentional: after each battle there is the corresponding distribution of rewards, including pieces of armor and improvements for weapons that, little by little, give our characters identity and character or generate quick money with which manage the resources of what we are interested in reinforcing.

Gradually making them unique and distinctive as we progress through the game. Giving additional value to the items in your store and your Season Pass.

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All for one and one for all

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my first game to Warlander It ended in a comfortable victory, and even though it wasn’t epic on my part, essentially because I was fixing crossbows on the walls and defending from there, I am fully aware that I helped make a difference. My second game was an embarrassing loss and also a dodge: all of our army went out to fight, ran into heavy resistance at the enemy stronghold, and ultimately cleared the way for an enemy team. They came in, tore down the core of our castle, and won in a matter of a few short minutes.

With the lessons learned, the third one became much more interesting: Warlander It is not about advancing and protecting, but about understanding what is happening and seize opportunities as a team. That of mounting a battering ram among several to start a siege, but also knowing when to stop and impose yourself on four clever enemies through organization and a simple numerical advantage. If you fall you return to the game, but rejoining late is exposing who needs you at a delicate moment.

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Although Warlander moves without hesitation between the clichés of medieval action and fantasy video games and its brazen way of sweeping home the progress formulas and battle passes already seen in other games, the true claim to experience is not in its combat mechanics individually, but on how we advance in the siege or defend as a group. Not in squads, but as part of an army.

From here on, another point: how easy it is to start playing plays very much in its favor in order to turn the chaos of a battle that evolves at its own pace into a really interesting experience. Enough to gather up to one hundred players in the same war zone and that no one takes too long to understand what is happening, what to do and how to function according to what is at first sight.

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The key is in the organization prior to each game. It takes a little longer to jump onto the pitch than in other multiplayer proposals, but it has its reason for being: in Warlander we are part of a large faction, each faction through two main modes (Battles of 2 armies Y Battles of 5 armies) in which each army is divided into different groups, with a postulated or elected leader. Once our group is chosen, each member votes on the contribution of his team to the game.

Although each class of Warlander (Warrior, Cleric Mage) has very defined abilities, before jumping into battle we can take the initiative to assault the enemy fortress, undertake the conquest and focus on battles against other players or take a defensive role in the rear by creating turrets and different types of weapons for our castle.

In Warlander all classes work equally well on offense or defense: the key is to adapt to the war you choose and not so much to be pigeonholed in what each class brings. Warriors don’t focus exclusively on sieges and clerics on defense.

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In fact, and this is key, when designing the scenarios, Toylogic has generously distributed different buildable and fortifiable battle machines in the form of turrets on castle walls and high ground, battering rams near gates, and even strategically placed revival towers that can be claimed by both sides.

Turning the chaos of large-scale medieval sieges into a simple experience at the controls, but interesting in terms of its own development. Not because of how good we are with a sword or at unleashing lightning from our fingertips, but because of how it constantly invites us to organize and fight. To take initiatives and react to what our enemies do.

Warlander aspires to be a new phenomenon, and his litmus test begins now

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Warlander brings together many elements at the same time in the same massive castle siege experience: the rules are very similar to those of modern MOBAs although the number of players is much greater, at the game level it is inspired by action and adventure games in third person with construction elements but avoids being cumbersome, complicated or those layers of complexity that combo chains suppose.

And despite the fact that the rhythm of the games is more similar to that of a Battle Royale than to that of Tower Defense, definitely We are facing another thing more grateful to the controls.

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Toylogic has designed Warlander to make it accessible and familiar, and that must be granted through our impressions of the version that we had access to. However, its success will depend on how enticing its rewards are, and how rewarding rather than frustrating engaging in large-scale matches and organizing at tricky moments is. Because under good leadership, victory appears as soon as you leave the fortress, but when each one goes to their ball, the battle is doomed as soon as you set foot outside the castle.

The rhythms will be set by both Toylogic and the player community itself, and it will be interesting to see how the game evolves both in terms of content and in terms of the arrival of new characters and increasingly powerful weapons and equipment. See how instead of going to war in waves of similar characters, each player demonstrates his unique touch through the way he looks and pulls off more easily.

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But it will be even more attractive and enlightening to find out how the opening of doors of Warlander the general public makes the whole evolve and makes these massive battles become more and more exciting, competitive and chaotic. Putting to the test those good wickers with which he already has a face to the game that is called to be. Because if we have made something clear, it is that Warlander, born with the intention of being a long-term project.

The good news is that it will not take long to clear up these unknowns.

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Although the release date of Warlander is still to be finalized, and there is still a long way to go before its final version, the open beta of the game kicks off September 12 on Steam. The great acid test of the initiative. Because the Warlander current has many things well tied and others are still to be polished, but it will be its ability to convince and engage compared to other free-to-play proposals what will determine its success.

A complicated mission, but not impossible, that -like the success of its games- depends on the performance of its own players and how they manage to extract from the chaos the glory of a well deserved victory.

  • Platforms: PC and consoles to be announced
  • Multiplayer: Yes (up to 100 players per match)
  • Developer: Toylogic
  • Company: Plaion
  • Release: September 2022 (beta)

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