Ever caught yourself smiling at the intricate beauty of League of Legends's IP-grinding system? Jumped into a DOTA 2 match, randomed Meepo and instantly felt the next one's simply "in the bag?"
Yeah, me neither.
For all of us unskilled plebs who don't have time to either get smashed by Invoker or grind like Koreans for "champions" that get nerfed every other week (they've got skins
to sell for the new releases, after all,) there's Sins of a Dark Age. The brainchild of the makers of Sins of a Solar Empire (only name-dropping that game here for some serious work ethic/critical reception brownie points,) this game has been in some sort of half-released state for over three years now, and upon its long-awaited free-to-play debut on the 8th of May, Ironclad's obsessively manic efforts are finally showing through.
The absolutely free hero roster and sheer level of detail on the character skins alone (which can, incidentally, also be crafted free of charge
: basically imagine League of Legends games dropping a few dozen RP after every match in the form of "ingredients" loot to use for crafting) should win over any fan of dark fantasy games from eons past (starts with a "D" and ends with -iablo
) all the way to this year's The Witcher 3;
put simply, there's plenty here to slake your bloodthirst. Keep in mind that the aforementioned crafting materials are fully integrated into the Steam marketplace, so it'll be possible to fatten your Steam wallet with SODA loot on a scale that DOTA 2 players will be jealous of.
The basic game mode is your vanilla 5v5 map with so
much icing heaped on top that it's become a layer cake: between "Realm Quests" (randomly generated side objectives that use classic RTS-inspired mind games to shake up your typical ARTS/"MOBA"'s FarmVille metas,) fully-featured Twitch integration (both streamers and
viewers get free loot just for doing what they already do best,) an overarching, cohesive
lore (no giggling hamsters or goofy cyborgs to be found here,
no sir!) and the most player-sympathetic developers this side of Waystone Games (they've hotfixed patch-related bugs on the day of,
I swear to God) you'd have to be neck-deep within the warm folds of your own rigid sphincter to claim that this game "brings nothing new to the genre" (that, or you're just scared for the future health of your favorite title of choice. I can't really blame you for that one.) There are also one-lane "Duel" modes that you can battle other humans within whilst queueing for a 5v5 in the background,
so kiss that Hearthstone Alt-Tabbing goodbye! :D
The business model is so
pro-consumer that TotalBiscuit himself used the phrases "very, very, very
fair" and "extremely fair" to describe it in his "WTF Is...?" spotlight. Moving on.
The game gets updated roughly twice every three weeks, with upcoming patches to focus more on "content creation" (i.e. new heroes and Quests) once the technical kinks they've been hammering out for the past few months smooth over (the company is only 15 people, so these things obviously take time.) This game is also nowhere
near done: the future plans for this title are so ambitious it's almost disturbing, and odds are if it's broken then the devs are already working on fixing it.
...honestly, I could go on and on about this game but it's like describing the joys of pizza: I'll never stop. Download the game 100% free of charge, figure out whatever it is you're having trouble with help from the integrated Wiki and forums discussions, and still rage-quit on minute one if you want to. The devs will even let you keep the loot drops for your trouble.