Orcs Must Die! Unchained: Gameplay Footage, Interview, & MOBA/RPG Mix

By Published April 15, 2014 at 3:49 pm
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We've been covering the Orcs Must Die! series since its inception -- actually, it was one of our very first camera interviews ever -- and have followed it through the second iteration. The first OMD shipped as a single-player, traps-oriented game that encouraged Rube Goldberg-lite combos to pulverize orcs. The idea centered on tower defense mechanics (prevent the bad guys from getting to the end) mixed with on-the-ground action-RPG mechanics. The second game -- cleverly named "Orcs Must Die! 2" -- introduced co-operative play between two players. It was a much-needed refresh that we largely enjoyed within our team.

I suppose I'll take the opportunity to mention that OMD! is made by Robot Entertainment, a studio that's largely formed of refugees from Microsoft's now-dissolved Ensemble Studios - the makers of Age of Empires and other RTS games.

The newest game was unveiled at PAX East 2014 this weekend and brings F2P 5v5 combat to the series. In playing Unchained on-site, the game felt like one part MOBA, one part action-RPG, and many parts Orcs Must Die! (that is to say: blood, giblets, and gratuitous amounts of cartoon death). Let's do the interview thing before we jump to further details:

Orcs Must Die! Unchained interview with Chris Rippy - Mechanics Discussion

In the video you'll see the star of the show, OMD Producer Chris Rippy, joined by the hair of the show, yours truly. We talked traps, minions, versus mechanics, and F2P monetization; like any good journalist, I had absolutely no idea the game was free-to-play before speaking with the team, so it was our 'shocker' moment at the end of the video. We've got some Orcs Must Die! Unchained gameplay footage of players awkwardly fumbling through levels (it is a PAX unveil, after all) and a gameplay mechanics preview in the above.

OMD! has always had a bit of a silly charm to it -- it doesn't take itself seriously and it prioritizes absurdly complex means of orc-obliteration to achieve an otherwise simple objective. That charm isn't lost in the 5v5 version of the game, from our 10 minutes on the show floor, and is furthered by a swath of about ten new heroes (perhaps a few more). When GN's Paige Spears was stationed on a system next to me, OMD! staff assigned Head Coach Rippy to talk us through strategy, compliment our recoveries, and demand more of our shortcomings. Robot Entertainment's developers were positioned at each of the play stations, all working against one another through careful deployment of PAX attendees (they were pitting us against each other!); with the coaching meta game going on behind us, Paige and I set forth to establish a solid offense/defense mix in dealing with our five opponents.

omd-unchained-2The Orcs Among Us - A Crooked Rift.

As with the first two games, you've got a set amount of Rift points that must be preserved. The first to 0 loses. Rift points are lost each time an enemy NPC (goblinoid minion) enters your Rift. Unlike the previous games, though, it's also your job to deliver your own minions unto the enemy, escorting them to the Rift to decrement the point count. This creates a sub-team of offensive and defensive players on each side. I played most the D for our group, given my -- ahem -- significant experience in the series, and was happy to see that traps are just as important as ever. It's easy to get sidetracked in incinerating the already-charred corpses of your fallen player opponents, but the heart of the game is still to halt the orc assault.

From a mechanics side, the game has gone entirely free-to-play and will utilize CCG-like card purchases for monetization. Before launching a match, you're presented with a more advanced version of the spellbook that's outfitted with all manner of cards that represent our items, traps, and upgrades available in the impending conflict. Because each team is now sic-ing minions on one another, part of gameplay includes spending points (not purchased with real money - all in-game) on new minions and their upgrades; buying ogres, giants, and the like from your war camp means beefier waves for the opposing team to fight against. Whether this will turn into a pay-to-win mechanic is to be seen.

omd-unchained-3

As for single-player and co-op mechanics from the first games, it's still do-able, but in a different way. You can select the count of players per team (so, say, 2v2) and can assign bots to empty slots -- if you wanted to play single-player, doing 1+4 bots vs. 5 bots is a possibility. Similarly, co-op can be done in 2v2 fashion vs. bots/AI.

OMD! Unchained is in open alpha now, so you can sign up and decide for yourself if it's worthy over here: https://orcsmustdie.com/

We'll have more coverage going forward as the game advances.

- Editorial / interview: Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.

- Video / photos: Paige "dino pillow" Spears.

Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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