John McCarroll
E3 2011: Prime World Impressions
Part RPG, Part Strategy, Part MOBA, all fun.
06.16.11 - 10:30 AM

MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas) aren't really a primary part of our coverage here at RPGFan, but for those of you who aren't familiar with these titles, which include popular Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients, my personal favorite League of Legends, and Heroes of Newerth, they're a subset of RTS titles - but you only control one unit. This unit levels up like you would expect your favorite RPG protagonist to and you attempt, with your fellow players, to take down the opponent's base amongst a streaming of NPCs and defending towers. While these titles are far more strategy than RPG, Prime World goes beyond even League of Legends' skill trees and RPG-style customization with the ability for players to create their own catles outside of battle that will help them and further customize their hero.

Why should this game appeal to you, the RPG fan? First off, the social aspects of the game really shine - and unlike most games that find their home on Facebook, Prime World isn't about making your friends play a MOBA to help you. Does your girlfriend (or boyfriend) like puzzle games? They can play a game inspired by Zuma that will help you out. They can also engage themselves in the castle building aspects of the game as well as sending their heroes out on quests. The MOBA, which is the primary aspect of the game, is more focused on territory than most other titles. While there are indeed towers across the map to defend and attack, there are also flags to capture. These flags will turn territories to your side's type - for the Keepers, that's nature, and for the Imperium, that's technology. When you're on your own terrain, your units will get a boost to their abilities and attacks. On opposing territory? Don't expect to hit quite as hard.

Why are these two sides fighting? Resources, of course: they fight to control the mysterious element prime, which appears to be quite multitalented. For the Keepers, is used as the source for all of their magical abilities, but the Imperium uses it as a fuel for their technology. We didn't get to go much in-depth with the story of the title, nor did we get to see a wide variety of the heroes; I was only able to play a portion of a single game, but there were about twenty-five selectable heroes. Castle-building, which is one of the primary elements of the game, wasn't being shown, but this is the element that's going to be cross-platform. If you have an iOS or Android device, you can connect on the go to Prime World and make sure you're getting all of the right stuff. There are also some interesting features related to player gender - if you're playing with people of the opposite sex, you will actually end up getting bonuses (although it was unclear as to what these would be).

Prime World is shaping up to be interesting at the very least, even if it's not strictly an RPG. Fans of the MOBA genre should check it out when it hits open beta late this year. Nival has quite a few interesting ideas wrapped up in a social package, and as more and more titles from major publishers and genres make it to Facebook (think Dragon Age Legends and Heroes of Neverwinter), it's going to be a subgenre that can't be ignored.