It’s been a long time since we heard from Ironclad’s MOBA Sins of a Dark Age, but it’s still alive and kicking and has just landed on Steam Early Access for $5. That’s a steal compared to the $25 you had to pay previously for a founder edition and access to the closed beta. However, when it’s ready, Sins of a Dark Age will be free-to-play.
Sins of a Dark Age
The MOBA/ARPG genre is exploding. From indie devs to mid-sized studios in international markets, the subgenre that began as a WarCraft III custom map is gaining traction and diversity. Over the last few weeks, we've taken a look at a fair few upcoming challengers in the arena. From a modern military MOBA/top-down shooter hybrid to a licensed effort with steampunk Batman, we've broken down where each one fits in, and what makes it different from what's already out there.
Ironclad brought us Sins of a Solar Empire in 2008, and we enjoyed its space-based mixture of RTS and 4X. Its next project, Sins of a Dark Age, pivots the developer's focus to the expanding MOBA genre, and it seems part of the reason for the change comes from Ironclad's belief that RTS games are "very niche," as Director Blair Fraser describes it in an interview with RPS.
Ironclad hopes its mixture of RPG with RTS in its MOBA Sins of a Dark Age will help it stand out from competitors such as League of Legends and Dota 2. The crux of this approach are Realm Quests, optional side-tasks which players can complete for team-wide boons and powerful items. In an explanatory trailer, Ironclad Producer Blair Fraser describes how Realm Quests work and how they influence the Hero-on-Hero clashes on the battlefield.
When we first got a look at Ironclad’s Sins of a Dark Age, the developer underscored its intent to distinguish itself from competitors League of Legends and Dota 2 with by integrating an RTS role into its MOBA—Commander Mode. It was an insane idea, but we liked the thought of a game coming to the genre with a different focus, and we were confident Ironclad's experience making one of our favorite strategy games ever would help them pull it off.
Evan, Josh, Tyler and Chris reflect on our week of coverage, talks, and appointments at the Game Developers Conference right here in our backyard of San Francisco. That includes MechWarrior Online, Valve's "History of TF2" talk, the infamous Steam Box, SimCity, PlanetSide 2, and (duh) Mass Effect 3. Josh also checks in about the SWTOR guild summit, reported on in more detail here.
PC Gamer US Podcast 308: GDC 2012 Recap
Last week Ironclad came to visit us to tell us about a new, unexpected project: Sins of a Dark Age. They introduced it by saying it's "kind of like a MOBA," and we smiled politely, making inconspicuous looks at our wristwatches. But then we heard more. It's also an RTS. It has some novel ideas about defusing some of the hostility MOBA-style games like League of Legends are known for. It uses a new engine, forged from the Iron Engine code base. And it's coming this year.