The Orcs Must Die MOBA Is Fun, But $150 For Early Access Is Steep - Orcs Must Die Unchained - PC -
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Orcs Must Die Unchained

The Orcs Must Die MOBA Is Fun, But $150 For Early Access Is Steep

I want to get something out of the way first. I really liked Orcs Must Die Unchained when I played it this morning at PAX. The title will be free-to-play and should be in open beta by the end of the summer or early fall. That said, I think the $150 asking price for technical alpha access (going on right now) is utterly insane.

The first two titles in Robot Entertainment's Orcs Must Die series pit players (first solo, and then cooperatively in the sequel) against a horde of orcs flooding from gates to the "nexus' goal. The franchise borrows heavily from tower defense titles, but instead of emplacements on the perimeter of a path, players lay traps and directly confront monsters.

Unchained drops the A.I. horde in favor of five-on-five competitive multiplayer. The tower defense elements are still in place. This is MOBA-flavored, but players will work together to lay traps to confound foes and their minions. Instead of automatically spawning creeps that march mindlessly toward the opposing nexus, players will spend "leadership" to play minion cards at gates.

In fact, everything in Orcs Must Die Unchained is based on cards. Similar to the spellbook found in the previous entry, player-made decks will determine which minions, abilities, items, and more are available. Each character (of which there are currently 10 in the alpha) has core abilities, but beyond that, things are based on cards.

Unchained is free-to-play and is monetized with booster packs. These allow teams to strategize and create synergistic combinations of skills. For instance, one character is powered up when near giant minions. Another is boosted by ogres. Teams that play to those strengths will find themselves with an advantage.

One of the other core divergences from the MOBA genre is that the end goal is not to destroy a base. You won't be tearing down inhibitors to buff your minions either. Instead, you'll be swinging between offense and defense, trying to usher your minions into the enemy nexus. No matter how big or small, each minion through the portal takes one point from the starting total of 15.

Robot Entertainment is considering a season model, which will entail rotating cards in and out of service. The studio is also focused on building a community of competitive gaming fans and is tailoring Unchained for the same type of gamer that delights in League of Legends and Dota 2.

Orcs Must Die Unchained is in technical alpha right now. Robot Entertainment is offering a "founders' program" that offers immediate access for $150. Those interested in waiting for the traditional alpha can pay $60. Just want to guarantee a spot in the closed beta? That's $20. There are other perks for ponying up now, but as someone who is hesitant about the early access movement in general, I'd suggest waiting (at least until you can see it played for yourself on Twitch). The game will go into open beta late this summer or in early fall.

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  • Now I don't even want to try it when it's fully released.

  • Ridiculous in every shape of the word.

  • I don't understand... If you're paying for a game that is half finished... Shouldn't you be paying less? If anything, the price should rise as you wait... This makes ZERO sense lol

  • $150 to alpha test a free-to-play game like Orcs Must Die is the biggest joke I've heard this year!
  • What a blatant cash grab. Lost so much respect for Robot Entertainment.

  • Reviewers seemed to be fine with MGS $30 price tag for DLC content, and TitanFall full price for basically a FTP(based on market) game, so why not test the waters and praise this? As a consumer i haven't bought any of them. Why, because i CHOOSE not to buy them because they are overpriced. Let the consumer be the judge, if someone wants to over pay let them. Stop trying to tell people what they should be doing. Let people make their own stupid decisions.
  • I usually avoid early access because playing broken games is not my idea of fun. And paying just as much if not more for a broken, unfinished game than a game on store shelves is not my idea of fun. And having that broken game sit in my library for a year or more before everything is finally fixed and I can actually play is not my idea of fun. A buddy gifted Rust to me though and it was pretty solid. A bit lacking in features but it just about everything ironed out. But $150 is just straight WTF especially if it's going to be F2P on release.
  • Are MOBAs taking the place of zombie games?

  • $150? that just *** greedy

  • Imagine if all industries used this model. The car is going to be 60-70K, but if you start driving it now before all the bugs are worked out so we can see for ourselves whether it works or not we will let you pay 100+K. Oh wait, Tesla did that.

    Now imagine that people lined up to pay. Oh wait, they do.

    I'm working on designing an ultra-light airplane sourced entirely from Home Depot. It should cost under 7K to make. Who wants to give me 25K for the first one? I am a start-up, but I am hip and enthusiastic and I have social media accounts. Good enough?

  • So wait a minute- you get this early access for $150, or the regular alpha for $60, or a spot in the beta for $20? First off, as you said, $150 for early access is just complete insanity. But more importantly, their whole payment tiers are completely backwards! You don't charge people MORE money to play early, you charge less! With early access, you're telling players, "Look, you can buy this right now, but it's going to be really early builds. They might not work or they might really not be that fun, but you can buy in early if you want." But that's why you make it cheaper- to convince people to put up with possible brokenness and help you test without having buyer's remorse. That's why I loved buying into Minecraft during its alpha stage- it was $15 as opposed to $25 or $30, and I got to watch the game take shape and have cool features implemented. But if you start out expensive and then make the better version cheaper, who in their right mind is going to pay MORE for the WORSE version of the game? Edit: I didn't notice the first time through that this game is actually free-to-play. So I retract my earlier statement- this is not complete insanity, it is far beyond that. Words cannot describe how nonsensical this is.
  • Planetary Annihilation did the same thing with their $100 early access price to keep out "the undedicated" people from buying it and only dedicated people.

    I think it's stupid and I really don't approve of it. You buy an early access game cheaper and you're rewarded (For helping with development is the reason you're supposed to do so) by getting a cheaper product for helping bug test the game and improve the game.

    Not pay 40-60 dollars more than the actual value of the game to ween out the undedicated as PA did. It just seems ridiculous and makes me kind of wish Early Access was discontinued of it is further abused with practices like this.

  • Well I guess I'd better act now before the game gets fixed and the price goes way down. By the way, I'm opening a restaurant and You can get Your food uncooked for only three times the regular price.
  • Ha! Haha!


    I've seen some pretty shameless cash grabs but this is both stupid and insulting. They can take their "Founders Program" and shove it way up there where the sun don't shine. I hope no one is dumb enough to buy into this, sadly we all know that the truth is there will be some that do.

  • I enjoy a good MOBA despite the lack of skill. However, I do believe companies need to stop shoving them down our throats and give other genres a chance as well.
  • To everyone calling this a cash grab... The developer wants testers but don't want droves of people rushing to buy the game in an unfinished state. The high price point is just a way to gate people but the enthusiastic fans into the beta.

    There was a similar problem with Prison Architect, where the dev actually had to increase the price to discourage alpha sales. So if you're not interested in paying for testing - don't. Of you're not interested in playing - don't try it and don't pay.

  • With the increasingly blatant cash grabs more-and-more publishers are trying to pull on us gamers lately, I've had to be EXTREMELY picky on the games I buy because I don't want to support something that might become the norm later on. I feel like we, as gamers, are in a dark age with the incessant greed that runs rampant in the industry the last 6 or so years. It was never blatant before like it is now. Such a shame. :(

  • Two things: First off, this seems like sensationalism. You're not simply paying $150 for early access. You're also getting a bunch of exclusive content, access to developer forums, and $200 worth of in-game currency. Pretty big difference there. Second, people don't seem to understand why you'd pay more for early access to an unfinished game. They incorrectly liken it to buying a broken product. Truth is, they continue to work on the game, and improve it. When final release comes around, you have the same product everyone else does, not some cheap early prototype that's super buggy. The advantages should be obvious, you get to play much sooner, you get access to all content, as soon as it's developed, and you can actually help shape the game, to some extent. If you want to make an industry comparison, imagine paying extra for a car, in order to get it a full two years before anyone else. Yes, it lacks some features and has some kinks, but the dealer will bring their shop to you, and continually fix, and improve your vehicle.
  • Mod

    Game seems fun enough, though I do like the closer/behind the shoulder style and the usage of traps...I'm kinda burned out from the ton of MOBA games out and with Heroes of the Storm already being made...ehhhh. As for the pricing thing...testing should NEVER be charged.... we're honestly doing them a favor by testing the game out and potentially saving their arses for breaking bugs/glitches, imbalances and broken features. It should have been a "sign up" feature. I've gotten into a handful of betas this way, including Hearthstone and no way would I have dropped over $100 for such a thing.

    It's shameless and on the greedy side, just like charging for a demo -_-. video games have always walked a thin line, this is just trying to dance on said line. Limited and random invites are still the best opportunity and way to go about this.

  • Why is everyone making a fit about this? its early access, not the game. They are looking for the dedicated people who want to help develop and fix issues with the game, not people to pay 15 bucks to go b*tch and moan about "wow this game isnt finished yet, put this in now or i will never play on release, wow gonna tell everyone not to get this" (see the dayz steam page or forums) Its like the equivalent to a kickstarter except they are already developing the game. Come on people, think! (Ive never even played orcs must die or even heard about a moba for it being made, I just am in awe from the comments)
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