Publishers are no longer ignoring the free-to-play space – they can’t. League of Legends, TF2 and World of Tanks are just a smattering of examples of the ever-growing market. Ubisoft is one of the big names that is embracing this relatively young concept with their latest foray into F2P with The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot. Currently in closed beta, there is no word on when the game will be officially released, but this beta gives players a decent indication of what to expect once The Mighty Quest is open to all.
At its core, this is a dungeon crawler where the player’s main goal is to attack castles in the world of Opulencia – which just so happens to be up in the clouds. Each airborne castle has a number of areas where enemies of varying levels will attempt to thwart your efforts to get more cash and, obviously enough, loot. However, whilst also trying to overcome foes of different difficulty, players also have to be mindful of their own floating abode.
An overall map shows what story areas are open to explore. Players must ensure that one of their characters – mage, warrior, or archer – are at a certain level, in order to enter these regions and try to take some glorious loot. Each region contains one castle with a boss character that must be defeated before moving on to new territory in Opulencia. Remembering that the game is still in beta, it’s still off-putting that loot isn’t as plentiful as it is in other titles of this type. Enemies will sporadically drop weapons and armour that can be equipped to improve your roster of characters, but not at the regularity one would hope. Before embarking on any castle crashing, your favoured class must be decked out in the gear you wish to use, as well as having all preferred abilities equipped. This can’t be changed once in one of the many keeps within the clouds.
The combat is rather limited at first – with players able to equip four abilities and a main attack ability to hack n’ slash their way through the copious amounts of adversaries. Similar to other dungeon crawlers, mouse clicks are a constant fixture and can become a tad repetitive. However, what can keep mages, archers and warriors attentive is that in order to scoop up the loot at the end of each castle is a speed run aspect. Each map must be completed in an allocated time, otherwise the defeated castle will lock down its end prize of gold and lifeforce (in-game currency). Rewards will still be distributed for defeating any arena, but Epic Loot is the name of the game.
The more interesting feature of The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot is the castle building. Each user will have to worry about their own fortress whilst raiding others. Once the various story based missions have been completed, the game could potentially find new life in some fun PvP action. By scattering creatures of differing levels and ferocity across your dwelling, you can keep trespassers from getting to your own stash. If a player successfully slays every one of your monsters, they won’t obtain all of your cash – just a certain percentage. One of the more valuable facets available to home owners are the replays of trespassers on your own property. All attacks on your own castle can be viewed via this function, allowing players to see where their defences are flourishing, or on the other hand, failing. These can’t be viewed in real-time, but they’re a massive help in figuring out where improvements must be made.
Pay to win is an obvious concern in F2P games. For example, construction can be sped up and items can be bought by using in-game currency purchased with real money, but at this early stage, it appears that the aforementioned worries shouldn’t be an issue. Player level plays a vital role in determining castles that are open to you and, obviously, your skill.
The game’s main exposure comes from the trailer Ubisoft aired during their E3 media briefing. The Mighty Quest doesn’t include as much humour as was on show at E3, but it might garner the occasional titter. Thankfully, the menus seem easy to navigate, because the majority of play time is spent here. For anyone looking to max out their PC during gameplay, the options are limited, but that is one thing that Ubisoft will hopefully address once the game is released.
Looking like one of the most accessible free-to-play games on the market, The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot looks to offer something for casual and hardcore players alike. It’s always difficult to predict what will strike a chord with F2P players, and even though I don’t think The Mighty Quest will be dethroning any of the big boys, the beta proves that it could possibly sit next to them.