Robocraft Impressions

August 29, 2014

/ by Tin Salamunic

There are many pre-release games out there and almost all of them require that you buy before you try. Not many games can survive on a free-to-play business model while the developers are still working on how the game should play and develop – but as an example of a game that used this beautifully you don’t need to look any further than World of Tanks and now Robocraft.

Robocraft is a game that allows a player to create a vehicle, one of three types, and then ride their customized chariot into battle. There’s not really a whole lot of strategy involved in the game so far as most of the time you will see yourself back in the garage within five minutes rather than riding out the entire round to victory (or bitter defeat). The game will require more strategic thinking as you progress in player levels and vehicle tiers, but there’s little in the way of communicating with other players in the game. Most people are happy running out and getting blown to small robo-pieces rather than actually trying to win a match. Because you know, winning is hard! Fighting in a platoon of three players, four if you have purchased premium time, will be a huge advantage to players who can use a VoIP such as Teamspeak to coordinate your efforts. Many players do not return to the base to defend or attack the enemy capture point because they are too focused on killing the enemy rather than winning the game. One player distracting the enemy team while you and the rest of your team captures the base is a very viable strategy.

While comparing the early Robocraft gameplay to that of World of Tanks, there are no shortcut keys to ask for assistance and the chat box is not scrollable, meaning you are confined to what the last five players have said. There’s no pinging the map to report locations enabled yet – but they have recently added a spotting key “Q” to report an enemy using the same system as the Battlefield games. If you miss tagging an enemy, you must wait five seconds before you can tag again to prevent tagging spam. While helpful, your radar is only visible to you and of limited function if they are using a radar jammer. You will find that not many players are willing to tag enemy units and you have to guess where the enemies are by the disappearing blue dots on the mini-map. All that aside, the actual meat of the game resides in the garage. It’s here than you will spend up to your allowed level of CPU pFLOPS which is a way to restrict bigger builds until you have played a significant number of battles. Tier also restricts you. A bar on the bottom of the screen moves from the left to the right as you add more and more pieces with higher-ranking attributes. The higher your vehicle’s rating, the more advanced the other players robots are too. The difficulty is trying to outfit your robo-vehicle with enough high-powered pieces that you still fit right in under the bar for the next tier. Going into a higher tier battle with the equipment from the last tier is a good way to guarantee that you won’t make it out of the match alive.

Taking all of that into consideration, you will find that some players will “cheese” up their build by taking parts such as a high powered weapon and taking them into much lower tiered matches. It’s a good way to rack up kills, but a poor way to make friends.

 Three different methods of movement – wheels, hover, or flying.
 There is huge developer interaction with the community and they constantly givecodes for free premium time.
 You have the ability to create just about anything you can imagine on a battlefield short of a mech or anything with legs.
 There are three different types of weapons so you can choose which style of play suits you best – sniper, gunner, or bomber.

 The game is free-to-play so you will see a LOT of people who are just in the game to troll.
 Expect to get frustrated by the players in the beginning of the game in the low tiers.
 The weapon balance is better suited to higher tier play. Early in the game in the lower tiers you can expect to be taken out in one shot by someone using a weapon much more advanced than your battle tier (even if that does restrict the amount of points they have to use for vehicle construction).
 You will lose hours, days, or even weeks in this game. I have spent countless hours tweaking and refining a vehicle only to take it apart later to start over.

The game is currently in early alpha and you can get it for free on Steam now. When signing up for an account for Robocraft, use the code STEAMLAUNCH1000RP for a little boost to your starting funds. Hope to see you on the battlefield!

Article by: Mark Brenner | Tested on: PC (Steam)

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