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Crytek's 'Arena of Fate' MOBA is surprisingly innovative

Little Red Riding Hood is just one of the many champions in 'Arena of Fate.'
Little Red Riding Hood is just one of the many champions in 'Arena of Fate.'
Photo courtesy of Crytek, used with permission.

In a market that is quickly growing crowded, how do you differentiate yourself from the competition?

Such is the situation Crytek finds itself in with their new MOBA, Arena of Fate.

Stocked to the gills with champions based off of real world myths, legends, and people such as Red Riding Hood, Tesla, and Fenrir - at first glance Arena of Fate doesn't particularly feel like it's going to change anything.

The second you get in game however, that quickly dissipates.

Most MOBAs like League of Legends and DOTA 2 are known for their particularly lengthy matches. Crytek has done something very different with theirs: at 20 minutes the match ends and whichever team has the most points walks off with the victory.

Okay, easy enough, but what are points? Points are awarded primarily based on team play. Take down a tower, that's one point. Take down one of the neutral titan monster camps, another point. For those that enjoy focusing on taking down enemies, seven kills nets you another point.

Cram all elements of a MOBA into 20 minutes and the experience can be pretty overwhelming.

Our only complaint lies in the fact that there's no clear moment of victory. Taking down the opponents “nexus” is exceedingly rare. Most of the time you've decided who is going to win well before the timer expires. It's possible that the match comes down to the wire when dueling over a tower, seeking out one more kill, or rushing to steal an enemies titan camp, but when our match ended we only accepted the victory, we didn't relish in it. After getting an early lead, all we had to do was turtle before the victory inevitably landed in our laps.

Crytek continues to boil down the essence of MOBAs with their item system which rewards you with a single purchase every time you level up (at least until your inventory is full). One active slot allows you to equip some of the more influential spells, like teleporting to a friendly tower. Outside of that there are three stat slots and two mastery slots. The stat slots simply give your character buffs such as 500 additional health, 30 bonus strength, or 20 bonus mastery. They're generic terms that are typically assigned as a characters primary, or secondary attribute, with each point making their spells stronger. Masteries on the other hand give you more influential passive abilities such as having all of your basic attack apply a slow debuff.

Fans of the genre shouldn't be turned off by such significant changes, chances are it's only a matter of time until you get used to the rest of the changes Crytek throws your way. Besides, evolution and innovation are what's going to keep growing the genre we've come to love so much. We can't wait to see where Arena of Fate lands.