Deep Silver's Take On The MOBA Genre Is Infectious - Dead Island Epidemic - PC -
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Dead Island Epidemic

Deep Silver's Take On The MOBA Genre Is Infectious

Deep Silver is mutating its open-world zombie series with a new twist on multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs). Dead Island: Epidemic is still very early in development, but developer Stunlock Studios (Bloodline Arena) is offering fresh changes to a formula that is quickly growing stale.

The first thing I noticed when settling into a PC to play through a match is that, unlike traditional MOBAs (Dead Island: Epidemic is technically a "Zombie Online Multiplayer Battle Arena" or "ZOMBA"), the WASD keys are used for movement. This gives Epidemic a feel closer to a twin-stick shooter than an RTS.

Instead of minions, Epidemic uses zombies to harass the three teams of surivivors.The goal structure is also significantly different, as players fight for capture points that award resources (victory points) on a timed schedule. Resources can also be collected from dead players and zombies to be manually delivered to your base or an occupied flag.

Familiar Dead Island zombie types and weapons make appearances, and a crafting system is under development right now. Each player has four weapon slots (toggled with the 1-4 buttons) and four different abilities (Q, E, R, F). Each character has a resistant and infected form, and instead of turning into a zombie, the infected survivors manipulate the virus to give themselves unique powers and mutations.

For instance, Sledge (likely a temporary name) is a big, slow tank. However, his resistant and infected forms play off that base archetype in different ways. His virus-ridden form gives him the ability to heal allies, taunt foes, and slam the ground after a massive leap. In order to streamline the demo, skills were automatically unlocked and upgraded when points became available.

Each map also offers a boss fight, and these are instances when cooperation with another group of survivors might outweigh open conflict. There is the potential for backstabbing and, for the third, forgotten team, an opportunity to move around the map quickly to capture real estate and vital resources.

This title feels like a part of the Dead Island franchise (down to the use of character John Sinamoi as an announcer). The maps break away from the traditional lane structure, and the landscape is the same destroyed tropical paradise that the first-person games showcased.

There's much to do on Dead Island: Epidemic before the public can jump in. When asked about a release date, Deep Silver and Stunlock told us they wanted to make sure they had enough time to get the systems and balance ready, so the title will be available in beta at that point. It's already differentiating itself in a crowded market, and I'm interested to see where the title goes once things become more refined.

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  • This definitely feels like a fresh take on the MOBA genre, and creative too.  However, it's still not enough to get me to play these games.

  • Only going to be on PC/ or are consoles going to get it to?
  • use WASD keys? yes, please. One of the main reasons I don't play isometric games is MTCS from using a mouse all the damn time.

    I love the idea of streamlining the ability leveling, too. the store system in LOL is crazy, and DOTA2 is much, much worse.

  • Wonder how much mike got cussed out... Because if he had a MOBA (ZOMBA) experience that's anything like mine... All I have to say is, need a tissue?
  • No

  • It's just a matter of time before we see alot more moba like games. The technology is there now and people like playing things that make them feel like a battle is going on. As much as i love battlefield imagine a real battle with 64 players on each team and platoons of bots moving in coordination.

  • Interesting. As soon as I heard about this I thought "oh, can't wait to see how bad this will suck," but maybe it'll be decent.

  • A zombie MOBA game? hmm.. i guess it wont be that bad.. right?

  • This might be just what I need to get into the MOBA genre.

  • I love Dead Island, but I'm not too much into MOBA's. Only time and more info will tell, but right now I'm not sure if I'll cave into my Dead Island love, or skip it because it's not my kind of genre.

  • This is just a quick cash-grab by Deep-Silver, they are on my s*** list since putting out the disgrace that was Dead Island: Riptide.

  • Still unsure how to feel about this :P

  • A zombie MOBA? Now I've seen it all............