It looks like League of Legends and the like, it controls the same way, and yet Evercore Heroes is completely different.
Evercore Heroes Preview: MOBA with a difference
Do you remember the times when several manufacturers tried to get a piece of the MOBA pie? Only a few of them succeeded, because League of Legends quickly claimed the majority of the cake for itself and hasn't given it back since. Only Dota 2 was able to really hold its own, and Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm was halfway successful for a while, but has since been dropped completely. In other cases, there was no release at all. Do you remember playing Electronic Arts' Dawngate? You probably don't even know what we're talking about here. In short, the industry has realized that you can't win much with LoL copies. Vela Games is certainly aware of that, which is why the Irish studio is taking a different approach with Evercore Heroes. The thing may look like a typical MOBA at first glance, but the concept has little to do with the classic "Multiplayer Online Battle Arena" - if only because you don't fight against other players here (at least not directly). We were able to take a look at the title weeks before the start of the closed beta.
Competitive, but no PvP
Evercore Heroes is a competitive PvE game. Sounds strange, but it is! You don't use your blade, ranged weapon or magic against other human-controlled warriors, but only against AI enemies. Nevertheless, you'll be competing with human opponents throughout. In each game, four teams of four players compete against each other. All teams are in their own instance of the same map and have an Evercore to protect.
A match is divided into several phases. After the start, the first step is to level up your own hero, as in League of Legends and the like, in order to unlock and upgrade all skills. In addition, defeated enemies drop gold, which you can exchange for artifacts at the merchant, which sometimes give you more, sometimes less powerful bonuses. But there are also places on the map where you can complete tasks to get more energy, called luum, for your Evercore.
At the end of a phase, the goal is to fight for a particularly large amount of luum in parallel with all the other teams. Whoever performs best here has good cards for the subsequent event: the defense of the Evercores against attacking opponents. Here you have to hold out until the core of a team is destroyed. After that, the other three will continue as in the previous phase. The whole process repeats itself once and then it comes to the finale. Here, the last two remaining teams engage in a head-to-head duel. What this looks like depends on the map. In one case they have to defend their respective Evercore again (but then on a separate map), in another the fight against a powerful boss is on the agenda and whoever defeats it first wins.
A lot of familiarity
The concept of Evercore Heroes is really refreshing and well thought out. We really like the gameplay simply because of the strategic decisions that each preparation phase requires you to make. You'll always have to weigh what's more important to you: do you want to level up your heroes as a team, capture large amounts of gold to buy the most powerful artifacts, or get more luum for your Evercore? Since you only have a limited amount of time, you shouldn't spend too much time thinking about this question. Quick coordination with your teammates is essential to achieve success in Evercore Heroes.
As new as the idea may be, Evercore Heroes feels familiar when playing. The isometric camera perspective, the indirect control of your hero via mouse clicks, the division of the 16 heroes into the classic trinity of Damage Dealer, Tanks and Supporter - all this is MOBA standard. Just like in other games of the genre, each warrior has three normal abilities and one ultimate. The artifact system also looks very familiar. Theoretically, the principle of Evercore Heroes could be implemented as an alternative game mode in League of Legends or Dota 2 without major adjustments. Thus, those who have plenty of MOBA experience will immediately find their way around.
It still lacks "boom"
In our opinion, Evercore Heroes still has one big problem at the moment: the gameplay doesn't really feel good. We tried out three different heroes, two melee fighters and an archer, and with none of them did it really feel satisfying to use their abilities to take down enemies. Everything is kind of lackadaisical, lacking the good hit feedback of a League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm. As much as we are convinced by the concept, in practice we only had moderate fun with Evercore Heroes.
But Vela Games has the time to straighten that out. We've played a pre-alpha, the closed beta doesn't start until June 20, and a final release date hasn't been set yet. To get access to the beta, however, you'll have to buy one of the Founder's Packs, while Vela Games will rely on a free-to-play model from the official release. Whether it will be worth it to pay at least 19.99 Euros next month to be one of the first to play Evercore Heroes depends on how important the gameplay experience in a MOBA is to you.