Sins of a Dark Age mixes dynamic quests into MOBA formula

By Alice O'Connor, Jan 09, 2013 9:00am PST

While most MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena in full, or DotA Clone for short) have been content with copying the classic Dota design, Ironclad Games has tried to shake things up with Sins of a Dark Age. The Sins of a Solar Empire creator has added then later removed several RTS features, like base-building, and is now toying with dynamic 'Realm Quest' side-objectives.

"This pioneering system fuses RPG-like quests and their resultant opportunities into the intense framework of a competitive MOBA game," Ironclad said in the announcement. "Imagine dealing with the threat of plague-infested vermin, welcoming the arrival of timely reinforcements, escorting a merchant convoy, racing to gain favor of a powerful ally or even working cooperatively with your enemy against a deadly common threat."

An AI Quest Director will watch over the game and decide which quest to spawn, where, and when, Ironclad co-founder Blair Fraser explained to IGN. He also gave the example of a quest where a troll on a bridge blocks creeps spawning in that lane. It'll drop a big treasure chest when killed, but teams must slowly drag that back to their base to open it, sparking a capture the flag-ish battle.

The FAQ also details a quest where teams can kill plagued creatures to collect their pelts and concoct a plague for the opposing team, or gather plague samples by killing infected players. Though astonishingly intricate, the classic Dota formula is remarkably lean, so it'll be interesting to see how additions like this shake things up.

While Sins of a Dark Age will be free-to-play when it launches ("when it's done"), like with Dota 2 you can cough up a little cash for instant beta access and a grab-bag of goodies like in-game cash and character unlocks. $25 will get you in, but Ironclad's Founder program also has $55 and $125 tiers for the dedicated.

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