Join Michael Arsers, gameplay engineer at Maxis, as he leads you through the second Round of a PVP match started in our PVP Diary!

3 years ago


Check out this producer diary from the Darkspore team at Maxis! Gameplay Engineer Michael Arsers give an in depth look at PvP.

3 years ago


Destructoid Article: Hands-on Darkspore PvP

"When EA announced Darkspore earlier this summer, the fusion between Spore’s character customization and a Diablo-esque RPG set in space makes for an interesting set-up. Last night, we had the chance to see how the game’s PvP elements are coming together, and while Diablo and Torchlight clearly have inspired the game, there’s enough here that makes the multiplayer unique and worth playing.

Follow the jump for more.

[And after you do, be sure to check out Jonathan Holmes interview with Darkspore's Creative Director, Mike Perry. You’ll love it, I swear!]

Darkspore (PC)
Developer: Maxis Software
Publisher: EA
To be released: February 2011

Like most of these types of games, players will want to go through the single player campaign first before jumping in head first and trying to take real players on. This is important, because the single player is where new recruits will be found, as unlike the main Spore game, you wont be able to build an alien from the ground up. However, you can add all sorts of parts to customize your aliens to suit your look and stats to basically any position on the aliens’ bodies. One thing the team is addressing is the ability to de-spec the equipable items, so if players want to have something that looks cool but does nothing, they can do that.

After a solid amount of single player time, players are expected to have numerous squads of alien fighters. Squads are made up of three aliens at any given time, and it’s expected that a good squad will have a well-balanced team. I had a huge brute of an alien with a laser gun and some tank abilities, a spindly fast alien with large claws, and a green thing that focused on projectiles and healing. 

When squaring off against another player, players will want to switch out to best address the most immediate threat. Fighting against a tank character, you’ll want to focus on immobilization and distance attacks, and if a healing character comes out, being fast will be a major advantage to you. Characters can be switched out any time, with only a minor cool-down. All in all, it actually feels somewhat like a real-time Pokemon game, if that makes any sense. 

Unfortunately, if you are looking for massive instances with multiple players, you’ll have to look somewhere else. PvP is one-vs-one or two-vs-two only, and that is the only option. Thankfully, the PvP arenas are of a small enough size, that this isn’t too much of a problem. The arenas themselves have environmental hazards, such as fire shooting up from the floor.

Ultimately, it looks like PvP will be a fun little addition to Darkspore. I think there needs to be a bit more to it to make it the hardcore multiplayer mode people might better like, but it’s an addition that suits the nature of the game. I suspect the campaign, which can support up to four players in AI directed levels, will be where most players spend their time, but using their best fighters in a battle is something many gamers wouldn’t pass down.” - Ben PerLee, Destructoid

3 years ago


IGN Article: A Look at Darkspore's Hectic PvP

"Combining elements of Diablo, Magic: The Gathering, and Pokemon, amongst others, Darkspore is a product that appears simplistic on the surface, but gets nuanced the more you learn about the minutia of its gameplay options. While the goal is to make a game that anyone can play and enjoy, the more hardcore portion of the audience will have a lot to look forward to as well, as Darkspore most definitely is an “easy to learn, but hard to master” sort of title. Nothing epitomizes this more than its player versus player component, which I was fortunate enough to see for the first time recently.

OK, so you’ve never heard of Darkspore – it’s alright, I forgive you. Darkspore is an upcoming action-RPG from Maxis, the creators of Spore, The Sims, and a host of other PC gaming hits. You control a squad of three heroes, playing only one at a time, and switching between them on the fly in order to deal with the situation at hand. These heroes can be either a tank-like class, a rogue-like class, or a caster class, and can be modified by being one of its five “colors.” The colors are important because some are more or less vulnerable to others (electric heroes don’t hurt other electric heroes as well, for instance), adding another layer of strategy to each encounter.

While the bulk of Darkspore is a cooperative or single player campaign based around killing a host of monsters and gathering genetic components to modify your heroes (this is a Spore game, after all), its multiplayer looks promising for players who long for a more competitive experience. PvP will focus around teams of one to four players and throw them into arenas where they do a “best of three” style match. Each level has been crafted so each round should only take between two and three minutes, meaning players won’t get stuck in a match they’re hating (read: losing terribly) for very long. Not that losing is the end of the world, as after each round the loser gets to pick a new set of heroes to take into battle.

Darkspore’s PVP is a delicate dance of timing and tactics, and looks like it’ll please PvP MMO players especially. Because the heroes are made to balance against one another, players have to constantly adapt their strategy based on what set of three heroes their opponent brings to the round,. Each hero has a series of offensive and defensive abilities on a cooldown (much like an MMO), as well as one power they can share between all the heroes. This means that you might make a set of heroes where all three gain the ability to heal or teleport, changing the way that the entire group is used.

On top of managing and perfectly timing the use of offensive and defensive abilities, players also have to consider when to switch around their active character. Switching characters pushes back nearby enemy players, as well as grants temporary invulnerability to the user. Thus on top of being a strategic tool because it allows players to bring additional abilities into combat, it can also serve as a stun or interrupt for opposing players, or even push enemies into level hazards.

Yup, that’s right: each arena in Darkspore’s PVP has environmental hazards, adding yet another element for the player to manage. In the battles I played these were simple spots on the floor where fire would occasionally shoot out, but I could see how these could easily factor into hardcore strategy in high level play. I can imagine players picking characters for their set who have knock backs or stuns, using these to push their opponents into fire, or maybe even using the fire as walls to slow their opponents and buy time for them to get off a particularly lengthy healing spell.

Darkspore is still a long ways off, but, from what I’ve seen of the PVP and campaign play, there’s something for every sort of PC RPG player. Loot junkies can jump into it with their friends, poring over items in order to maximize their stats; PvP fans can tweak sets of characters and work with teams to see what sort of intricate combinations of abilities, heroes and colors make a devastating team. I don’t envy the balance work that Maxis is going to have to put into Darkspore to make the PVP work, but it looks like it could come together to be something special.” - Anthony Gallegos, IGN

3 years ago


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