These reservations were dashed immediately upon meeting with the people of Nival. Hearing the developer talk about what they want to achieve with Prime World was engrossing and encouraging. As a developer, they have been putting in work since 1998 with their first game, Rage of Mages and its sequel, Necromancer. Nival developed Heroes of Might and Magic (and its two add-ons) for Ubisoft before focusing on publishing their own titles. Recently, their internal projects focus has been on the Prime World umbrella with Prime World, Prime World: Alchemy and Prime World: Defenders (which Gaming Illustrated recently reviewed).
What Nival hopes to accomplish with Prime World is to blend the long-term goals and progress of an MMO with the instant gratification gameplay aspect of a MOBA. Essentially taking the satisfying aspects of an MMO’s character building and sense of accomplishment, cutting out the boring kill seventeen pigs and collect tusks and lackluster combat, and replacing that gameplay with the concentrated and focused mob killing/short term sessions of a MOBA. It creates for an interesting experience that seems to promise a more significant experience than the average MOBA. One way that Prime World sets itsef apart from other MOBAs on the market is that characters do not reset after each match. Whatever level and skills the player earned during matches carries over. Not only does the level and skills earned carry over, but non-character specific traits can be used by other characters. There are 320 shared traits in the game, which leads to a high number of permutations. So, players can mix and match skills on different heroes to create the best build.
Prime World features 8 game modes ranging from PVP to PVE with Borderlands being the main mode with a traditional MOBA model. Before entering a match, players will have a castle that they manage. In this castle area, they can build structures to mine resources or ones to create and upgrade skills. This HUB world will be where players can select builds and skill load outs for their hero. While the focus of the demo was an actual match, there seems to be some interesting aspects added to the game with this castle area. Nival has plans to bring this HUB world to iOS and Android phones eventually.
For the demo, Nival gave me some hands-on time with a match of PVE playing with some of the developers in the meeting room and some of them back in Russia, it was a global game! Playing through the match, the combat felt natural to the MOBA world with button clicks on enemies and using hot keys for special skills. As the player kills more and more enemies, experience accumulates and when new skills are available a symbol in the bottom left corner of the HUD (next to the map) will flash alerting players they can either select specific skills or click the icon for a skill to be chosen without opening up the main menu (a smart skill of sorts). For experienced MOBA players, this act should feel like second-nature, but for newbies, it might take a while to choose new skills as they become available. To aid in combat, there are sigils that appear on the map that give buffs to players so they have an easier time dealing with enemies. While movement was a bit wonky at times, Nival has added a cool move for all heroes that allows them to teleport across the map. Pressing the teleportation button has a warm up time, but it will allow players to traverse the map and lanes easier.
The match involved fighting three different waves until 100 mobs are killed. Once those 100 are dead, the players have to find a button to press on the map. Pressing that button will activate some magic that closes off one of the lanes where mobs spawn from. After that to keep the lane closed for good, the players have to fight off a smaller amount of suped-up enemies. The match involved doing each act three separate times until the three lanes closed up for good. When closing up all the lanes summons a three-headed dragon that players must slay to win. Playing a match was fast paced, fun and pretty easy to understand even for an amateur.
Nival seems to be doing some cool stuff in the MOBA field with Prime World. The game is currently in beta and will be entering open beta soon on both the Nival website and Steam.