Guardians of Middle Earth was developed by Monolith Productions and published by WB Games. It was released December 5, 2012 for 1200 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
The Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, or MOBA for short, is not a genre typically associated with the Xbox 360. Sure there have been a few good attempts to bring this style of game to XBLA, titles such as Awesomenauts or Monday Night Combat, but no company has found a runaway success, a game so good, and so well loved by the fans, that it could sit up there with the big PC titles like League of Legends and DotA. The people over at Monolith have taken it upon themselves to finally break the mold, and bring a deep MOBA experience to console. Guardians of Middle Earth does exactly that, bringing one of the best MOBA experiences you can find to XBLA, showing that a console can be home to this genre just as well as any PC.
XBLAFans was able to sit in on a conference call last week with Guardians of Middle-earth Producer Bob Roberts and Senior Producer Ruth Pomandl. They shared intricate details about the game’s development process, what it was like to balance a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game for the console space and some details about how various systems will work in the game.
Players new to the MOBA genre should consider checking out Monolith’s own video tutorial series explaining it. The basic idea, though, is that players choose one of a number of heroes (five of them are unlocked initially, and the others are unlocked via in-game currency), and fight on a team of five champions against a team of five other champions. While each champion has unique talents and attributes, there are five basic character archetypes. These include:
In most PC MOBA games, players shop at an item store for items to upgrade their characters as the game progresses. Guardians mixes things up by introducing a less UI-intensive series of systems that should help make the console experience go more smoothly. Players can set loadouts similar to League of Legends rune and mastery systems before a game begins, except that the loadout options in Guardians are even more extensive. There are three loadout systems in place for players to manage and utilize throughout a game — Potions, Commands and Guardian Belts.
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