Dungeon Defenders is a fun co-op action tower defense game. Dungeon Defenders II, announced today by Trendy Entertainment, is that idea give or take everything that's happened in PC gaming over the past three years. It's free-to-play with cross-platform multiplayer (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Web), and it's launching in two parts: a new competitive MOBA mode that's in closed beta now and will be playable at PAX East this week in Boston, and an update to the cooperative defense mode of the original, which is scheduled for beta late this year or early next. So, not much has changed.
The competitive mode, which Trendy happily labels a MOBA, is taking beta signups right now. It will initially feature just one 5v5 map, but on the hero side Trendy anticipates it will have amassed 24 to choose from by launch. Some of those will be paid heroes, but the rotating selection of free heroes is expected to match "similar free-to-play games." Meaning League of Legends, of course.
And, as is now standard practice when announcing F2P games, Trendy already has an answer for the question: "Is the game pay-to-win?"
"Of course not!" reads the official FAQ. "As of this moment in development, everything sold in the game is obtainable through play. Furthermore, all stat giving items are awarded only through play, not pay. Like many other games in the genre though, you will be able to purchase boosts that will let you level faster or find better cosmetics."
But why make a cooperative game into a MOBA in the first place? Answer us that, Trendy!
"During the development of Dungeon Defenders we constantly tried different multiplayer modes. Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, you name it. None of them really fit. When planning the sequel, we couldn’t drop the idea that a MOBA in the Dungeon Defenders universe would rock. Maybe it was all the after hour games of League we played in the office. We don’t know. But it fit well into the storyline and achieved a core goal of helping Dungeon Defenders players meet new players, so we went all in."
Oh, well that makes sense. But what makes it different from League of Legends and Dota 2? Don't have an answer for that, do you?
"Our take on the MOBA genre is more rpg-esque, with more hero customization, persistent hero leveling, loot and a town square where players can socialize, manage their heroes, shop, trade, and queue for matches. We’ve drastically simplified the item system, to reduce the learning curve for new players and are aiming for shorter total match times. We’re also experimenting with some other unique twists that you might find out about later (if they work!)."
Alright fine, announce your game with plenty of details and jump straight into closed beta like some kind of indie game studio that communicates frankly and only when it has something to show. See if that works. And while you're at it, why not promise a gameplay reveal in the announcement post? Schedule it for this Friday, maybe? Yeah, I thought you would, and now I guess have to get real excited about it with no need for sarcasm, because it actually is pretty exciting.
I'm not a big MOBA fan, so I'm more excited to see more of Dungeon Defenders' original co-op, but I'm willing to give the competitive mode a chance while I wait. What say you?