LOTR: Guardians of Middle Earth – Review
MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games really don’t like new guys. You will be constantly humbled during your pursuit for victory, by top level players: you will die, you will kill and you will die some more. It’s a rite of passage of sorts, and soon categorizes the Hobbits from the Black Riders. Sauron’s boot may as well be a hat, for the amount of time it will spend on your head but if you persevere, like a ring-obsessed Gollum, eventually you can scream “you shall not pass!”
It starts off relatively simple; you have three lanes and the objective is to destroy the main base of the opposing team, smashing any towers that bar your path. Your main base spawns soldiers, who act as fodder and distraction for the five-strong team of guardians (human players) allowing you to attack the towers barring the lanes. It usually starts with good and evil colliding in the centre of the map, locked into a deadly game of tug-of-war. When your guardian dies, you have to wait for a while before respawning, giving the enemy a window and time to wait for reinforcements to push the assault.
Sound simple, right? Well it is, at first. Until you start to think about individual character classes and character specific skills. You unlock the various, licensed characters, by purchasing them with the spoils of battle, or (cough) the spoils of your wallet. First you have Tacticians, who buff and debuff allies and enemies respectively, whilst using their skills to distract enemies. Enchanters are damaging magic users like Gandalf, who use spells to smash swathes of enemies. Defenders are debuffing masters, who use their cunning to keep the enemy back. Strikers are the “rogue” class, who use guile and stealth to gain bonuses or to attack from range, like Legolas. The warrior class does what it says on the tin, it hits things, really hard.
Each character has four main abilities, which are upgradable when you gain levels. On top of these standard abilities you also unlock commands, which are powerful abilities that, unlike the main skills, share the same cooldown period. On top of this, you can take a selection of potions into battle and also equip attribute-boosting belts. Every character has a set of challenges to complete; each one giving you bonus experience upon completion. Once you gain enough experience you level up, and gaining a set amount of levels allows you to upgrade your fortifications in battle.
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