You may know S2 Games already due to the success of their current-gen MOBA, Heroes of Newerth. The game continues to be a popular and beloved contender in the MOBA market, building upon the classic genre formula with sharp visuals, fast-paced gameplay, meticulous statistical tracking, and more.
While the team was in Huntsville we had the pleasure of hearing about their exciting upcoming title: Strife.
Dubbed a next-generation MOBA, Strife was designed completely from the ground up to try and eliminate many of the more frustrating qualities common to the genre. While high-skill players will have no shortage of competition, new players will be able to break into this one with less irritation and more fun.
“We took everything we love about the genre and streamlined it, taking out all the stuff we didn’t feel was necessary," said Ryan Shackelford, Creative Game Designer for Strife. "We tried to make it a lot more fast-paced, a lot easier to learn, and a lot more intuitive. We want newer players to be able to get right into the game and hit the ground running.”
Strife evolves the genre with customizable progression that allows players to advance in the areas they choose. Gone are the days of being forced into a role you don't really want to play, simply to make your team happy.
Visual clarity in team fights and out of combat regen keeps everyone active and fighting longer, with a faster pace more suited to roamers.
“The game is really fast-paced and action-oriented. So for players who like to roam around a lot and not really spend too much time in one place, there are a lot of mechanics in the game that really make that a lot more viable," said Shackelford.
"The way gold is split makes it so that when you roam around the map a lot you’re actually not falling as far behind. We have out-of-combat regeneration which means that when you go between lanes and travel a lot you’re actually regenerating some of your health. Things like that, that really promote moving around and staying active. If you’re a player who really likes a fast-paced game, Strife is going to feel a lot more at home to you compared to some of the more traditional, older MOBAs."
Players will also be able to craft items that suit their hero's skills, and collect pets which provide an extra level personalization to complement the heroes' abilities. The heroes themselves are backed by their own individual rich backstories, documenting their personal journeys.
In addition the team is focused on giving players an environment in which the enemies are the enemies, and competition between team members isn't as fierce. Innovative social systems have been created based on the team's design goal of creating a more collaborative community which self-regulates.
"What really sets Strife apart is we have a huge focus on reducing community toxicity," said Doug Houserman, Creative Game Designer. "It’s a huge problem across all MOBAs, and so one of the things that we’ve tried to do is change the information that we provide our players. It’s more geared towards the positive things that players are doing and less on the negatives.
In addition, with the way that gold is split in our game, if you’re in a lane with your ally and you get a last hit, both you and your ally get it. That way you’re not competing with your teammates, you’re competing with the enemy team, which is how a game should be."
The way Strife is designed eliminates the need for teammates to battle over resources, doesn't shoehorn anyone into one role, and makes it much less intimidating for new players to dive right in alongside veterans. A toxic community is one complaint which is common across the entire genre -- one which makes it very difficult for new players to get involved. Strife hopes to change that.
Another change setting Strife apart is the pricing model. After downloading the game, players won't ever have to buy a hero or anything that inherently makes the game 'pay-to-win'.
"Heroes will always be free," said Shackelford. "As soon as you get the game, all the heroes are unlocked and any heroes we release after that will also be free for you. As far as monetization, we obviously have cosmetic skins; each hero has multiple different skins you can buy and play with, as well as different color schemes for each skin."
S2 Games may have left the Curse HQ for now, but we're still continuing to play Strife on our lunch breaks and at other times for, er, totally legitimate work-related reasons. We can't wait for it to enter Open Beta so more of you can enjoy it with us! We're even hoping to do more with Strife in the future, so keep your eyes peeled.
Until then, have a look at our screenshot compilation below and be sure to visit the official site at http://strife.com/. The Strife Wiki contains everything we know about the game, including details on items, pets, crafting, and more.