STRIFE: The Next Generation of MOBA First Impressions

STRIFE is a new Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) that is both fun and and easy to get into whether you have played other MOBA's or not.

Like most MOBA's you choose a character, hop into one of three lanes (or go jungle) and kill NPC minions for gold until you are strong enough to take out a bunch of towers on your way to blow up the enemy base to win the game. You fight alongside 4 others as you battle 5v5 where killing enemy players awards gold and makes it easier to destroy objectives.

Unfortunately the only other MOBA I have really played was League of Legends, in which case most people know this game as the worst gaming community in the world. A lot of issues that plague League are completely eliminated in STRIFE. I have played only two actual games against other players where I won with the best stats and where I lost horribly due to a leaver and a bad 2v1 lane phase, but I really enjoyed the balance of the game and how objectives are far more important than grouping up to kill the enemy. Even though I lost on the second game I had a lot of fun regardless and was happy to see that I got an award for the most damage to the enemy team. I have listed some of the mechanics that I really enjoy and some that I do not below.

The game is currently in a closed beta and will soon be wiping accounts as it gets set to release once ready. For more information check out the Free-to-Play STRIFE here.

Here are a few key characteristics of STRIFE that make it very enjoyable and stress free to play.

-Lane Choice -
It doesn't matter which lane you go into, any player in the vicinity of a last hit on minions gets the gold, this eliminates any concerns of which lane you go into and who gets last hits on the minions for gold.

- Never Leave Lane -
Games like LoL require you to teleport back to base in order to purchase new items or heal back up, but in STRIFE you can buy items while in lane, and once you've bought all the requirements for a really good item, that item will be delivered to you through a little courier while you are in lane. Also if you choose to not attack (or get attacked) after a certain period of time, you will start regenerating your mana and health, however this is carefully balanced out as you will not earn any gold if you aren't killing minions. You CAN teleport back to base if you choose for faster regeneration.

- Unlocked Heroes -
Everyone has access to all the Heroes of STRIFE, eliminating the need to play the game over and over with characters you don't like just to try out a Locked Hero.

- Matchmaking System -
In STRIFE, you choose your character BEFORE entering a game, meaning there is no competition or arguing over who gets to play which hero.

- Lots of NPC's to kill -
One thing I love about STRIFE is that there are always minions or jungle creep to kill, giving you an abundance of opportunities to get some gold, this also means that there is a bigger emphasis on dying as well as a bigger risk towards how you play the game. With STRIFE there is more importance on pushing lanes and denying your opponent the chance to get gold off of minion waves.  Minions have much more health and makes it easier to control lanes as well as pushing a lane. If a lane is pushed up then it opens up opportunities to roam about the jungle or other lanes for longer periods of time, forcing the enemy team to either push out that lane or risk leaving it to be pushed even further against them.

- Character Abilities -
Nearly all of the characters do decent auto-attack damage, meaning auto-attacks are usually your best source of killing the minions. Abilities are also lower on the cooldown time but have a higher mana cost, meaning that using an ability is more of a timing mechanic of when to use them rather than having someone who can just bursts high damage over a long cooldown phase. Character abilities are also very utility based, meaning that every champion has the option of doing damage as well as crowd control effects or escaping a fight, meaning there are less worries about which champion you play in a certain lane like LoL that creates champions for certain lanes and play styles.

- Minions do Damage -
Minions actually hurt throughout the game, meaning that lane pushing and choosing when to attack opponents is critical, rather than just having a late game hero run at you and kill you while shrugging off the minions like fleas.

- Player Based not Team Based? -
There are a few things that could prove this game to grade players on their own efforts rather than if they won the game or not. After a game you get to see the breakdown of your score including gold earned per minute, and any individual awards like who did the most damage to the enemy team or who helped out the most, hopefully this will be integrated into their future ranking system rather than simply if you won or lost a game to determine your skill.

There are a few things that do bother me with STRIFE though.

- Awkward Ability Level-UP -
Whenever you level up, you have to pull up a menu and choose which ability you want leveled, sometimes you might not notice that you leveled up as the pop up "Level Up" text can sometimes not stand out if your concentrating on your game.

- Potential Pay-toWin? -
Whenever you complete a game, you can choose one of three random chests that will give you 3 different currency types used for different upgrades. You have the option of buying "Gems" which are paid currency (Like RIOT Points) to choose to open another chest. I haven't looked into other specifics about what you can buy with these "Gems" but at the moment I don't think it will be a big concern. (It is similar to using RIOT points to buy Masteries in terms of effect on the game)

Final Notes:
I really enjoy STRIFE, I like that it is more focused on player skill and and has a greater sense of objective based gameplay rather than simply killing the enemy determines who wins or looses. I can't wait to see what the competitive scene is like and if things stay the way the are then there is a good chance I will be playing this rather than League of Legends. There is a lot more to this game like crafting and pets but I definitely recommend any MOBA player to check out STRIFE.

If you want to add me on STRIFE my username is Djr7