The next big thing to hit the world of MOBAs has arrived…sort of. It’s in its alpha stage, but the upcoming Supernova is bringing a whole new spin to the game.
By now most people know that if you want to be successful in the over-saturated video games industry, especially in a mainstream powerhouse genre like that of the MOBAs, you have to bring something new to the table. The closed alpha game Supernova from Bandai Namco Entertainment has a lot to brag about, as it plays with the formula current MOBA players are familiar with.
In a talk with Gamespot, product manager Jason Schaefer had a lot to say about the game. The primary focus of the design team was to craft a MOBA with significant gameplay elements of the RTS genre. All of it takes place in a sci-fi setting and has a brand new universe and mythos from which the Commanders (analogous to LoL’s Champions) originate. Take a look at the cinematic teaser from the game’s YouTube channel.
Unique to the game are the elements taken from RTS games. Instead of the traditional system of purchasing items after scoring enough last-hits, Supernova chooses to approach it from a different angle. The two main differences from LoL and DotA are the absence of the last-hit mechanic and the removal of the item shop in place of control over minion waves.
First, the control of minion waves. Supernova allows Commanders to control what kinds of minions spawn, and offers a list of variations from the basic melee minion. They even go as far as to differentiate between ground and air minions. Each variation has a set of strengths and weaknesses, and altering the use of each variety will be the deciding factor for overall victory.
The development team hopes this blend of elements will attract jaded players of traditional MOBAs and fans of the RTS genre alike.
Second of the big two differences is the intentional exclusion of the last-hit mechanic. According to Schaefer, this was an intentional design decision:
It was [removed] on purpose, and for a specific reason. When we look at other MOBAs that have that last-hit mechanic, it really emphasizes the whole gameplay being really revolved around that. Especially early game. That’s a very mechanical type of gameplay. With Supernova, we want strategy to count just as much if not more. By removing a last-hit mechanic it allows you to focus equal parts on working on your army and making sure your army is optimized and performing well. It makes it less about knowing the exact mechanics and executing the exact mechanics and more high-level, and forming a strategy.
In this way, the team hopes to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Both these features combine to create an environment far more forgiving to players with higher latency. This was never an intended result, but a highly appreciated one by developers and players alike (especially those in Australia), nonetheless. Regarding this, Schaefer said,
Yes, timing counts for a lot on Supernova, but even when you’re battling a commander one-on-one, we’ve seen that even a medium latency is perfectly fine… One thing we have noticed is the game is pretty stable and is still a good experience even if you have a semi-high ping. It’s not really dependent on really low pings. So we’ve been happy to see that. That being said, we are making plans and starting the efforts of expanding different server locations throughout the world. The next one that we do will probably be based in Europe. We do plan to eventually have global support.
With this statement, even the perfect-connection purists can grasp at hope, especially those in the UK.
On this last note, I’ll leave you with the official gameplay trailer, and remind you that the very first link in this piece will get you to the game’s official website where you can sign up for the closed alpha.