Published on April 29th, 2016 | by Suros_Six2
First Look – Atlas Reactor
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The idea of a turn-based MOBA piqued my interest after hearing about the new game Trion Worlds has been working on called Atlas Reactor. Trying it out during its Open Alpha phase hooked me in far enough to purchase the $10 Founder Pack that gave me access to the following Closed Beta. Anyone who likes turn-based tactical games will definitely enjoy this as its diverse character and map combinations allow for many different strategical approaches.
As stated before, Atlas Reactor is a turn-based MOBA. It pits two teams of four against each other on one of three maps: Cloudspire, Flyway Freighter, and the recently added EvoS Lab. Different maps have different layouts, so buffs spawn in different areas and cover/obstacles are in different places on their respective maps. Map size varies thus making some characters stronger on some maps. The first team to get to 5 kills or reach the highest amount of kills by 20 turns, whichever comes first, wins. If the score is tied at 20 turns, overtime begins and turns are added until one team has a higher kill count. Each turn consists of three phases: Prep, Dash, and Blast. These phases take place after players have inputted their commands (Movement, attacks, traps, etc) within a 20-second window of time. While 20 seconds sounds like a short amount of time, it actually is plenty of time to get your moves in once you’re adjusted to the gameplay, which takes about a match or two.
• Prep Phase: This is where setting traps and using buffs takes place.
• Dash Phase: Dashes happen here. Almost every character has a dash and it allows for a quick escape or gap closer. These remove any chance of movement at the end of the turn.
• Blast Phase: Attacks happen here. All attacks happen simultaneously on the Atlas Reactor servers and are shown one at a time so players can keep up with what’s going on. Any chosen movement (besides dashes) happen this turn.
The order of these phases is well chosen as it allows for more possible predictions, making the gameplay more dynamic and interesting. For example: if someone elects to dash on the same turn I throw a trap, and I happen to predict where they are dashing to or the path they are dashing in, I can hit them for a nice amount of damage. If they have low enough health during this it may actually kill them. This rewards the smart and skilled players that think ahead and can use their game knowledge to make the right predictions. With the way the game is set up right now matches take about 20-25 minutes depending on how close the match is.
The maps aren’t the only diverse things, as Atlas Reactor also has an interesting cast of characters that have their own unique personalities and abilities just like many other games in the MOBA genre. Characters are separated into three roles: Firepower, Frontline, and Support. Firepower is just the run of the mill DPS; Lower HP than tanks, or Frontline in this case, but higher damage output. Frontline characters are tanks, and Supports are healers. Even though it is recommended to have specific team configurations such as 2 Firepower, 1 Frontline, and 1 Support, players can tune their team as much as they want if they are in a party. The double-edged sword in matchmaking at the moment is that players choose their character and then queue up. This makes it completely possible if you queue solo to end up with teams of 4 firepower characters. The nice thing about this, though, is the fact that no one feels forced into a specific role. In that vein. however, there is a clear advantage to queuing up with a group in voice chat making coordinating attacks easier, thus hindering the experience of a solo player.
Speaking of matchmaking; with the game being in Closed Beta the playerbase isn’t the largest, with queue times taking anywhere between a few seconds to a few minutes. Currently you’ll be seeing a lot of familiar names as you will be matched with players you’ve played with or against before quite often. The biggest issue with the game at the moment in terms of bugs is that sometimes you’ll get the occasional disconnect from servers. With their reconnect feature not working properly all the time it means that you’re kicked out of a game. You can queue up again right away, but when playing with friends it can be a bit annoying. Luckily it doesn’t happen often enough to really hinder the playing experience.
Atlas Reactor currently has a great monetization plan that gives players all the cosmetics they could ever desire and in no way makes the game pay-to-win. This sets the game up in a way that makes it look like it will be a free to play game, but as of the time of writing this article it has not been confirmed whether it will cost money or be free. At the moment, though, there may be some work needed on its currency exchange rate as some “Freelancers,” which is their term for characters, cost 10.00 USD. With Credits, their in-game currency, players can buy characters, skins, taunts, GG Boosts (EXP boosts), and even levels upon hitting level 10. These, except levels and GG boosts, can also be earned through loot boxes that are dropped after reaching level 10 and higher. These boxes don’t currently require a key and are completely free to open and craft. Buying levels doesn’t give players unfair advantages, as leveling past level 10 only allows for more loot boxes and makes the number next to your name bigger. Similar to Heroes of the Storm, players can earn re-colors of a freelancer’s normal skin by leveling that character through playing matches, along with earning a taunt for reaching level 6 on said character.
Atlas Reactor is setting itself up to be a great and interesting game through what has been shown in the Open Alpha and now Closed Beta. For anyone who enjoys turn-based tactical games, I highly recommend paying the $10 entry into the Beta and checking it out for themselves. I have spent many hours playing this game and I’ve enjoyed almost every second. If you’re not too sold on it just yet. be sure to keep an eye out as the community has been rallying around this game to create a competitive scene, going so far as scheduling individual tournaments.