PAX West 2016: Hands-On With Dropzone

PAX West 2016: Hands-On With Dropzone

Day Two of PAX gives more than expected with GameForge’s game Dropzone.

Dropzone, in a nutshell, is a 1v1, real-time strategy game with mechs. When preparing for a match, players choose a pilot who acts as a  ‘hero’, similar to Heroes in games such as Overwatch and DotA, and pair it with a semi-custom mech. The customization produced by the many combinations that can make up your mech is what really drew me in, with multiple different abilities are available for different classes of mechs. For example, in my game time, I opted for the flamethrower ability, as suggested by the developer. It appears that the aesthetic of the mech also changes depending on which ability you choose, and if I ever had more time, this is where I would experiment the most. Most real-time strategy titles lack in-depth customization and Dropzone definitely fills that desire.

If you play any MOBA or real-time strategy (RTS), you will feel right at home with Dropzone. Right from the start, I can easily see the skill curve needed and its potential in the hands of a highly skilled player. I was overwhelmed with the onslaught of information coming from Dropzone, but I stood my ground as I faced off against the developer, who I suspect let me win.

The objective of a match is to accumulate points through various objectives. The easiest way to accumulate points is to take what’s called a ‘Holocron’ (found by destroying small creatures similar to the likes of ‘creeps’ in traditional MOBA titles). Once the Holocron is obtained, players will then need to take it to the center of the map to score. Each time you do this, the enemies gain in strength, increasing in difficulty. With this higher difficulty, they drop more than one Holocron you can score with. The other ways you can score include capturing and holding certain points on the map, and killing enemy heroes and their mechs.

The developer informed me that objectives will be randomly generated at the start of every match. These objectives will give a predetermined amount of points to the first player to complete the objective. Once they are completed, it can no longer be redeemed. These can range anywhere from killing 20 plus enemies all the way to capturing all 4 zones at once. I only had a short time with the game though, so I can’t vouch for the full range of objectives.

I was pleasantly impressed with this game. It merges the MOBA and Real-Time Strategy genres very well, while allowing for a fresh and enjoyable experience in the form of a new game. Dropzone fills a niche that will not be directly compared to other MOBA or RTS titles, but at the same time, will borrow elements of both. It’s the best of both worlds.

Dropzone is scheduled to be released sometime this year for the PC. Fans wishing to try the game for themselves can head over to the official website to sign up for the beta.