Action RPGs are rarely marketed as being competitive but Ubisoft is doing just that with their upcoming Free to Play Action Role Playing Game (ARPG) The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot. While some ARPGs such as Path of Exile and Diablo 3 have a ladder system that is very competitive The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is competitive in a completely different way. The gane centers around both defending one’s own castle with the use of monsters and traps, and looting other playerss’ castles. This means that a player can only truly progress by besting the wit and planning of another player, and stealing their precious resources. This creates a very interesting and fun dynamic.
The castle building is also incredibly fun. There are dozens of creatures to choose from, several traps to incorporate and many different room layouts to utilize. This means that no two castles will be the same, which is great in an ARPG. The competitive nature is also very enjoyable. Being able to best another player’s defenses, and steal their hard earned gold and life force is a rewarding experience. On the flip side, being able to stop a thief’s attempt to rob one’s castle is just as rewarding of an experience.
If there’s one aspect to highlight from the preview builds of The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot (MQEL) is that the game is ridiculously addicting. Players will want to play through just one more castle run and end up running through four because a few new players had their castles available to attack. The quest for loot is indeed just that as players will find drops and be able to craft their own loot within their own castles. The game has been masterfully through through from the perspective of keeping a player’s attention in the game and giving them the incentive to stick around for “just one more thing” that they “have to have” before logging out. Running through dungeons, gearing up and having special abilities and potions at the ready are incredibly fun and the quick nature of running through a castle (about three minutes per) also plays right into our ADD generation’s attention span.
Areas to Improve Before Official Release
Unfortunately, with the Free to Play tag comes the Pay to Win aspect. Initially, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot was entrenched in the world of Pay to Win. Players could use “bling” (the currency purchased with real money) to buy monsters, giving them a huge edge over players without bling. However in a recent patch, Ubisoft removed this feature, lowering the overall value of bling. Now it’s only real purpose is to speed along upgrades.
The castle upgrade system is another potential sore point. The player collects resources and then spends them to upgrade one of the various facilities in the castle. However the process of upgrading these facilities can take hours on end, which slows down the overall flow of gameplay. Players may choose to spend their bling to increase the amount of upgrades happening at a time, or finish an upgrade altogether. We get it – Ubisoft has to make a buck as they aren’t Buddhist monks playing video games to center themselves and bring balance to the universe. Players should just be aware that there’s plenty of incentive in the game to feed in a few bucks to improve your standing.
While building a castle is a lot of fun, it is ultimately less efficient than fleshing out one’s hero. The rewards one gets from their castle besting a player are completely eclipsed by simply raiding a castle. Furthermore, due to the limit on how many monsters may be in one area, there are only so many viable layouts of creatures. Each monster has a numeric cost, and there may only be a total of 20 cost in one area. This means the player cannot surround a strong boss type monster with dozens of weaklings. The player must space out several costly monsters, as one of them is simply stronger than a group of weaklings.
Lastly, the skill system in The Mighty Quest for Epic loot can use improving. Each hero has 12 abilities to choose from and level up as the player levels up, and the only real character customization comes from which skills are actively slotted. While this may help level out the balance, and make sure every player has access to the same skills without having to respect it does take a toll on the depth.
What’s Not So Enjoyable
The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot also suffers from several technical issues. Certain skills, heroes and monsters are just outright better than the alternatives. With only twelve skills to choose from, having just one that is simply stronger than the rest is a huge problem. The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot also suffers from a few performance issues. The UI tends to randomly lag, which is can cause a lot of accidental deaths. At times, the player will look down at their health to see it full and then they’ll drop dead. This is due to the UI lagging behind, and providing outdated information. This a huge issue in a fast paced game, and is the biggest issue with The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot.
As with most free to play titles, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot does have some glaring flaws, though many of them are not from its Free to Play model. Underneath all of its issues, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot shows a lot of promise. At it’s core, it’s a very addicting and fun game with a very interesting concept. Given that the game is still in Beta, it looks like it’s shaping up incredibly well and when it gets released, could be a breakout hit given that players can jump right in for free. The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is currently in beta with no fixed released date.
Executive Editor Sean Gibson also contributed to this preview.