I REALLY like Dota 2, but I’m always open to new MOBA games. I went ahead and gave this “Prime World” game a shot. The game was… Not exactly what I was expecting. Prime World is a new MOBA that claims to be vastly unique. They were not mixing words. However, I am not sure its uniqueness is a benefit or a detriment.
Every Dota inspired game I have played is simple. You have your tutorial with bots, and then you have your regular matches. Sometimes you have different maps too. When you’re not in a game, you’re in a lobby. The first thing I saw when I loaded up Prime World was it asking me to join either the “Imperium” or the “Keepers”. I tried to look for a description, but it offered me nothing. After choosing my name and allegiance (I chose Keepers), I entered an aerial camera view of a little kingdom. Now I’m really confused. Immediately I get vibes of Farmville type games where you spend money, sometimes real money improving your village and whatnot. Thankfully there’s a quest giver in the screen to help guide me in the way the game works. His information feels very MMO-like, in a sense that he’s giving me quests guiding me through the user interface.
Eventually I manage to get into a little tutorial mission. I was given the hero “Fox Tail”, a fox-girl who uses fire. It showed the basics of the game, or so I thought. The character designs were appealing, though they seemed to portray familiar archetypes. The mission at hand was not that different from Dota, but a few things stood out.
First and foremost, there are no items in this game. There are consumables however, which do you usual buffs and recovery effects. Instead, you gain this stuff called “Prime”, which can be spent on abilities and passive upgrades. What would later confuse me is the correlation between Prime and levels. I think each ability obtained with Prime improves your level, and in a sense level doesn’t mean much. I am not sure of this, as it was never explained in the game.
When I finished the tutorial, I was brought back my kingdom. I was given more quests, such as building a spa for my hero. It claims to increase my “vigor regeneration”, and then asked me to heal Fox Tail with it. Now I’m really confused. What is vigor regeneration? Wasn’t Fox-Tail being healed in-game with potions? Why do I need to use these resources to heal her? Speaking of which, what are these resources in my top right UI? I just figured all these questions would be answered in due time, and proceeded on my quest of learning.
The game’s next main mission was to have me play a battle of “Borderlands”, a 5v5 game. This is what I was waiting for. An opportunity to utilize my incredible Dota skills to my advantage. I enter a 5v5 with bots, as it recommended. I wait 1 minute and it kicks me out of the queue. Thinking it was just a glitch, I queue again. And again. And again. I queued 7 times and it bugged out 7 times. I decided what the heck, I’ll try a live game. I have a distinct advantage after all. What could go wrong?
Why, everything of course!
I get into the loading screen. There are 2 Ukranians, 5 Russians, 1 Turk and 1 Kazakh. I’m from the USA. It seemed painfully obvious that there’s no such thing as region locking. Valve attempts to with server locations, but region locking is important. It cuts down on lag, which is massively important in games where you have to concern yourself with decisecond reaction times. An excruciating common occurrence in Dota is when, for some reason, a foreigner nowhere near my US East server insists on playing on US East. I tell them in game, to play on their own servers. It’s not racist or bigotry, its intelligence. In many online games, everyone connects to a central server, and then to each other. That server adapts itself and does its best to send out data so everyone receives it at the same time. When someone from Peru is communicating with a server located in New York, it makes everyone lag since we must wait for their connections to reach us. It’s even worse when there’s no server present, like in Warcraft 3 days. I am not sure how Prime World servers work but regardless, I had nearly 2 second input lag during this match. Unfortunately, being the minority for a change, it was my fault.
After about 4 minutes of everyone loading, we finally enter the game. Mind you, I did find it confusing that my game loaded faster than everyone else’s. I look at the map. It’s huge! The lanes are unnecessarily long and everyone seems miles away from each other. 3 people on my team head mid and 1 goes bottom. I figured I would head top. The game started, and I went and followed my creep wave to the center point. It seemed as though no one was opposing me, which I thought was rather strange. Leaving a lane unguarded during laning phase in Dota is beyond absurd. It’s like catering the Xbox to a Japanese market. You just don’t do it and expect good results will come of it.
I go ahead and get some solo experience Prime. I notice that my levels are higher than other players, but nothing seems to be happening. I’m miles away from everyone else, and the time wasted traveling would seem to be put to better use by leveling and pushing some more. As I push, this ogre-like unit starts joining the creep wave. In the lane were these little blue flagpoles that I destroyed. The ogre starts mounting them up again, this time with red flags. Apparently they give vision along the lane.
I take the tower and join another lane. Stuff is happening. That’s the best way to describe it. Since the game did not introduce me or show me how to learn all these other heroes, I have no idea who does what. One of my allies seemed to be able to stun enemies, but an enemy seemed to be able to cheat death countless times with what felt like ten seconds of immortality. Some even managed to teleport away with invulnerability while I was attacking them. Apparently the “recall” skill grants some shield of invulnerability, but it wasn’t clear at all. It’s not even in the info window when you hover over it. It was all so confusing. I guess things didn’t work out well for everyone, because people started leaving!
I went back to base and was confused by this “Scroll workshop” building. I click it, and it gives me the options you will see in the screenshot. I decide to click “Twin” and hit “Start”. My only thoughts were “I want to leave”. I thought I was playing Dota. Now I’m apparently hitting Zuma. I needed to go help my team, so I hit esc to leave. Nothing. Right click? Nothing. Q? Nothing. Eventually I figured out that I had to go into the menu and click “Interrupt Game.” Very bad choice of words. I didn’t know if it meant the overall game, or the miniature hell I had found myself in. One thing led to another and eventually we lost. I was awarded with a bunch of things I have no idea what to do with.
Okay. Here’s the deal. This game is beyond confusing. The tutorials go over a minuscule detail of the larger picture. There’s no hero rotation like in League of Legends or Smite, but instead you have to buy each new hero, each seeming to cost more than the last. The whole kingdom building and resource management, while intriguing, seems very abstract and convoluted. It doesn’t seem like it should belong at all. I relate it similarly to LoL’s rune pages mixed with Heroes of Might and Magic’s castle building. The actual gameplay isn’t that much better. The game recommends to keep the camera locked on the hero, which I approve of mostly because if you lose track of your hero there’s no easy way to find them again. As I said before, the map is so huge that utilizing the minimap feels akin to showing someone the location of a store by pointing on a map of North America.
The graphics are pretty at least. When you take flags and walk around the jungle, your faction’s vegetation takes over, pushing aside other types of flora. The game in general feels very vibrant and colorful. The in game HUD lacks any form of clutter, and is very minimalistic. Less wasted space equals more vision, which is always crucial.
Thing is, I’ve heard this story before. How an MMO loads a game up on graphics to mask its poor gameplay. I’ll be honest, I see no redeeming factors about this game. It mixes two opposing genres, three if you count that randomly placed minigame. Some games try to take away from Dota and make the MOBA experience simpler. This game loads it up with random details to make it unique. The game is very unclear, and seems more focused on making a profit by selling additional bonuses for real cash than having the player understand what those bonuses actually do. Maybe my teammates Хандир and Capиc enjoy it, but I’m going to have to pass up on this game. If the developers at Nival want Prime World to stand at the top, they’re going to have to climb a mountain.
We’re adopting a rating system at MMOGames now, and I really hate to give such a low rating for my first review. I’ll be generous and give it a 2/5, mostly because there is room for improvement. They need to implement a better tutorial system. Hi-Rez dealt with this perfectly. Dota is confusing, but familiar since it was a Warcraft mod. Tweaking it to be a 3rd person game sounds ridiculous, but people can learn. The actual game itself is loaded with videos that teach how the game is played, as well as what each hero does. I do like the talent system. It allows for heavy customization for your hero of choice, allowing them to be whatever you want. Problem is, if everyone is their own special snowflake, balance and cooperation becomes a massive issue. There are all these gaps and issues that need to be looked at and repaired before this game becomes notable. They can start by removing the Zuma minigame. Seriously.
Trailer:Related: Dota 2, MOBA, Prime World, Review