Guardians of Middle-earth

GOMEWe played the trial for Guardians of Middle-earth today.  GOME is a digital download game you’ll find on XBOX Live or Playstation Network.  Gameplay is essentially DotA-esque MOBA, which we haven’t experienced on the console until now.

The controls are pulled off surprisingly well.  Movement is done with the left analog stick, and a circular aiming ring is controlled with the right.  Right trigger initiates an attack, and using the YXAB buttons activate the typical QWER abilities.  Controls are fluid, comfortable, and really well adapted.  The biggest downside to the controls is map awareness — there’s no way to look or move around which means you have to look at the minimap for any idea of what’s going on.

Heroes and abilities are also very well done.  We liked the selection of characters from Tolkien lore that aren’t usually brought up in LOTR games.  The menu system and options for custimizing characters are also nice with belts and gems and upgrades.

GOME is really generic, though.  The map lacks inspiration, and there are no items to purchase.  You get to allocate creep upgrades which are neat because it lets you send our different creeps for strategic use, but for the most part it ultimately just about pushing lanes with a lot less depth than a game like DOTA 2.  Despite being generic and lacking depth, this is actually a really good job for a console game.

Where the game fails, however, is price.  Their biggest competition is FREE!  Guardians of Middle-earth has a $15 price tag (which is fine by itself) but then proceeds to sell things like a season pass.  The Season Pass adds four characters and access to a special game mode when they come out.  It’s like DLC, basically.  GOME is fun, but is it $15 plus DLC fun?

XBOX Live has a really good trial worth checking out.  We both enjoy the game, but probably won’t invest the $15.

  • Did they really expect to compete with LoL with an incomplete game that costs money? I guess they figure they have a market on consoles, which might be true. It would never fly on PC. Even dota 2, a quality and well funded moba game from a beast of a developer like Valve can’t really make a splash, so we’re kind of in a WoW situation atm 🙁

  • Actually, the reason DotA 2 isn’t making a splash vs LoL is because DotA 2 was never made to cater to the “casual” audience in the way League is, and therefore is already catering to a much smaller audience than League is, and is not trying to directly compete with League in that way as it knows it would lose. However it is a quality game as well.

    This game sounds interesting but with both DotA and LoL being free to play, and only paying for what you want to pay for, I think the $15 price tag is going to prohibit a lot of those who would otherwise try it and who play both PC and Console. For those that just enjoy consoles though I can see it doing ok.

  • @Tristan: I don’t believe they expect to compete with the other MOBA’s. But for gamers like us who play both console and PC games, they are in direct competition. It’s a really, really good console moba — perhaps the best we’ve played — but we can’t wrap our head around paying for it right now.

    Drathmar is right about DOTA 2 and LoL. LoL caters to a more casual market, and DOTA 2 has always been … higher velocity is how I would put it.

  • I never played a MOBA. Neither, I suspect, have most Xbox gamers. Most probably haven’t even heard the term. So how it compares to similar games on the PC is interesting, but irrelevant to its sales.

    I purchased it a few days ago, largely because it’s LOTR. It’s casually fun. It’s also frustrating, and one of those rare games that I play repeatedly despite immediately recalling all the things I don’t like about it.

    The matchmaking is pisspoor. Connecting to a “Quick Match” generally takes over 3 minutes and sometimes doesn’t connect at all after 10 minutes. Disconnects are not uncommon. Lag is ever-present. And you often have only seconds to select your character before someone else picks it and a character is assigned to you automatically.

    Offline Custom matches against AI characters, however, are fun. I’m hoping some friends will pick up the game so I can try some private co-op games.

    There is only one map, which is ridiculous. Sure, there’s 3-lane map and a 1-lane map, but I think the latter is just a sized-down version of the former.

    The main dynamic is guardian variety. The differences between them are truly significant, and fun. My favorite so far is Runsig, a Northman siege-engineer. And, as a LOTR nut, that’s another thing I like about the game — introduction to lesser known characters in the lore.

    Anyway, the game is more relaxed than a shooter but more active than card or board game, and entertaining in that regard.

    Now, if I could just stop mentally comparing it to Battle for Middle Earth 2, one of my favorite games of all time; infinitely more complex and thrilling (the PC version, anyway).

  • I loved Battle for Middle Earth 2 as well.

    You’re right in that for most console users the sales won’t be affected by DOTA and LoL, but for some it will. Graev and I aren’t buying it because we feel like it’s not worth the investment given the alternatives available to us. We’re likely not alone.

    I felt the online was fun, but since the console players are so new to MOBA’s it was a bit of a stomp. Graev and I dominated a lane so badly they sent their whole team just to wipe to us.

  • What sort of mistakes were they making? I’m probably making them, myself.

    I keep forgetting about enemies’ root spells and that some guardians are faster than others, so I wait too long to skedaddle when I’m losing health. A pair of guardians can kill me in no time, depending on who they are and who I am.

    Gollum is hard to play with, he has so little health.

  • Always go for those boosts in the middle area, and hang back as much as possible waiting for the enemy to overextend. Catching someone who makes a mistake is infinitely better than making one yourself.

    Also, it’s best to use disables (stuns) when you have lots of your own creeps (units) nearby to benefit from their added damage on the enemy hero.

    And having the hobbit who uses traps always helps push a lane — he’s my favorite.

  • I have been playing this game for awhile now the doc that comes with the season pass includes 8 new guardians Bilbo, Bert the troll, Snaga, and a barrow-wraith others are secret also the season pass includes survival game mode. Also other game modes and maps are going to be released hopefully for free and there is a patch coming out very soon to fix the problem with lag and connection issues if you need any further information this is my gamertag: CrAzYxxmassacre messenge me any time.

  • I am a casual LoL player not one to do nothing but co-op vs. AI I love how a moba is on ps3/360 and I understand they made it 14+ bucks for a moba but I am hoping it’ll go free with mircotransactions like LoL the game would possibility do as well as LoL but for consoles but I am in the same boat I can see paying for a moba after playing others.