Recently at Insomnia 52 we had a chance to speak with Shaun Akerman, Community Manager of the MOBA, Transformers Universe
Navigating through the packed exhibition hall the open booth of Transformers Universe could be found with many wanting to try out the game first hand – from adults to children most of them found themselves battling through the short 10-20 minute games which were being live streamed straight to the jagex twitch account. Whilst Shaun was not commentating over the fast paced action packed games, I decided to catch up with him and find out a little more about the game.
On the Autobots team, characters such as Monsoon, Triage and Overclock can be found as “starter” warriors which every first time player will be provided with. Likewise on the Decepticons team, players are provided with Rampart, Hotwire and Drive By. Each Warrior features their own unique abilities that can help in the aspect of healing or damage. Where the money lays for Jagex are the real bad ass warriors for players is that these characters can be purchased with the in-game currency .
Deadheat, ” a founders warrior, bought from one of the four packs” (starting from as little as £24.99) can see perks such as laser beam riffles and blades for both short and long range battles. These paid for warriors can give a significant boost to the gamers playing style but some may argue that it empathises the idea of a pay to win game. However, playing as Hotwire (one of the starter warriors) on the day, using my amazing healing abilities, I found no significant difference between me and the other players using founder warriors.
Changes to the game
Amongst the various changes to the HUD and gameplay elements the most advantages change was Jagex’s decision from “originally being an MMO to now being a MOBA spaced style”
In this case it is a battle arena, its multiplayer and its online
This change comes as MOBA style games become increasingly popular within the gaming community. MOBA’s, of course, refer to the Multiplayer online battle arena features and many of the heavy hitting first person shooter mechanics combined with the more relaxed RPG elements that many gamers already love. These changes could of reflected an opportunity spotted within the market or could be down to the vast amounts of player feedback the Jagex team has acted upon.
Interestingly we spotted another major change in the mechanics of the game from when it first started out. “With the death mechanic before, it was cool to kinda split it up into the use of separated warriors but we would often find that people might just enjoy playing certain warriors, like their healers…”, shaun explained. This change feels as if it has greatly improved the fluidness of each game, no longer are players forced to wait and watch their team mates get slaughtered as they stand on the side lines with their wrecked warriors. Now players can jump straight back into the action and it reduces the need to pay money within the game to have fun.
Team play is better than going alone
It seems most game developers now focus their attention on moving players away from their old habits of braving the game alone and to the albeit more interesting team style playing. Although on paper this is a very good idea, the reality is that many players still fail to communicate and play as a team – this has been echoed in games such as Battlefield, Dota and even the recently released Destiny . However, maybe due to the lack of high quality mics or matchmaking,team play has never quite launched perfectly in any game.
Even if this is the case with most games, we are slowly shifting our attitudes and it could be the next generation of gamers who finally make the change as evidenced with some of the younger players in the transformers booth at Insomnia 52. Certainly whilst playing it could clearly be seen that using team play tactics lead to a much longer survival rate for players. One of the key advantages is the use of the healers’ ability, their sole purpose is to keep the team going for as long as possible and was perfectly shown with one of the players at the even – “if she went down, then her little friend next to her would try and heal her and keep her going”
The future of Transformers universe,
From an upcoming clan system, tournaments, game modes, maps, unique warriors and community driven suggestions, the feature Transformers Universe looks bright, and combined with the the strong image of the Transformers brand and the expertise of Jagex Game Studios, the game is certainly in safe hands. Shaun expressed to us how with their internal tournaments of the game held within their studio offices has lead to the idea of implementing a clan system throughout to give players a better chance to play as a team and to add new layers of user interaction. As for new game modes, maps and warriors, only the future can tell what these will be like. Hopefully maps will become more detailed and warriors will continue to evolve without the need to spend mass amounts of cash.
The game is constantly changing to suit the needs of the player base and with the majority of it being user driven via the community forums, the game can be shaped into what we the players want to see.