Gigantic preview

When you hear the term “MOBA,” or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, you probably automatically think of something like Dota 2 or League of Legends. But Motiga’s hopefully-upcoming gameGigantic,  is more of a hybrid between a MOBA and an third-person shooter.

Gigantic’s gameplay doesn’t include creeps or in-match gold and item purchases. Matches are focused on player kills, spawning friendly creatures on control points, and assisting teammates. Performing any or all of these actions gains the player experience points, which are used to level up the character skills. The exclusion of creeps gives players a chance to stay focused on fighting other champions instead of creep control.

In games like DOTA, “ancients,” or the large base structures on either side of the map, are stationary. In Gigantic, the goal of each battle is the slay the other team’s guardian, a gigantic creature that can move around during the match. Each team is able to power-up their guardian by killing opponents, as well as controlling areas on the map. Once powered-up, the guardian will move towards the opposing guardian and attack, pinning its counterpart to allow its team to attack the weak point. When a Guardian is killed, the match is over. Guardians also attack players and defend themselves during each battle.

Gigantic is free-to-play, with purchasable heroes, but different heroes will be available to try for free each week. The game will launch with 16 available heroes and three different maps. According to the team’s blog, Gigantic is specifically designed to let gamers of different backgrounds play together in 5v5 action. It seems as though the team at Motiga covered the primary character roles we all look for, but with fresh art and a plethora of diverse gameplay styles – from the run-and-gun first-person shooter style of the adventuring sky pirate, Beckette, to the close-range combo-heavy ninja frog, Wu. There are also two known guardians set for release: the griffon Leiran and the serpent Grenn, with more promised down the road.

Since Gigantic will be using microtransactions to unlock skins and heroes, Motiga has developed an interesting way to allow players to still get characters and items without spending real money. Players draw Fortune Cards daily, which give them new objectives. Completing these objectives in-game allow the player to obtain gold and experience points, which can be used to unlock heroes and skins. The cards range from simple tasks, like ‘get three kills in a row during a single match,’ to hero-specific and rare cards – like ‘Earn 3 nemesis or archenemy badges as Xenobia’ – which yield more rewards.

Gigantic’s matches are based on fast-paced, strategic team battles. The game is designed to support serious competitive play without incredibly long matches. Battles can be exhilarating and dramatic when teams cooperate effectively. Since the current version of the game offers cross-platform play using Universal Windows Platform (UWP), Windows 10 users are able to play on PC with friends who are on the Xbox.

I have tons of great things to say about my personal experience playing the game, but there are some problems that I hope will be solved before release. Being able to communicate with team members is incredibly important to successful matches. However, the game doesn’t currently offer a way to communicate in-game. Instead, Motiga has set up a GameVox voice communication channel in order to allow beta players to maintain team contact. They’re currently working on giving players a way to speak to each other in-game, so hopefully this additional download will not be needed in the future.

The biggest problem right now, however, is rage quitters. Players who are not happy with the way things are going in the game can easily leave the battle without any repercussions. This leaves the matches incredibly unbalanced, and makes for a very depressing and frustrating match.

Motiga will be conducting the final weekend of beta playtesting, along with a stress test, April 21-25. According to the team’s Facebook page, eight creatures and 17 heroes will be available to try during this time – the 17th being prototype hero, Pakko. After this period, Gigantic’s testing will only be available to the “Core” playtest community – a confidential, invitation-only group of PC players.

Though development of the game has hit a snag, Motiga seems to have assembled and retained a team of truly talented people that are committed to developing a new and compelling experience for players. It’s hard not to feel a bit of liberation while playing Gigantic – the ability to jump from platform to platform with each character is a break from the confining MOBA. Production and updates from the team have ramped up, if Motiga’s twitter is any indication, there’s still hope to play the full version of Gigantic!