Before we start into the topic I must make a confession: I never played one of the recent Battle Royale games like PUBG or Fortnite. So it is for me impossible to compare Skyforges new Battle Royale game mode with his way more popular competition. So today we ask the question:
What can you expect from Skyforges Battle Royale game mode?
Short answer: It is fun and you should try it out! It is directly unlocked and you can decide to either go to the main game or the Battle Royale. No Barrier to entry!
Long answer: …
No Gods Among Us
In Skyforge Battle Royale you don’t play as God like in the main game. You are one of your Adepts in a virtual Arena that fights for the Glory of your God. The Adepts function in itself as classes. Currently there are 12 Adepts available and 3 are unlocked from the start. The differences in the classes go from perks like +10% hitpoints, +25% Stamina for running to invisibility over to a grow effect if you kill monsters on the map. If a class has a too strong ability it gets also disadvantages, like a reduced health pool.
So the overall classes seem balanced on first view. But that is something we ultimately will only find out the longer this game mode exist, but at the time of writing this blog post there seems no major imbalances. The classes in itself seem also pretty diverse. The game offers Androids, Hackers, Pirates, Corgs (or more likely said Kerrs), Engineers and more.
There are three ways to unlock the classes. First is paying one of the two collectors packs which include certain classes for this new game mode, another one is to purchase a class via Argents earned from the main game (12,500 per class) or you use Bitcoins … … er… I mean Token of the King (TOK). TOKs are awarded after every game depending on how long you survived and which place you made. On my personal experience you get at least around 160 TOKs if you die very early on or 500+ if you are one of the 5 last surviving players.
Then you use 500 TOKs to unlock a class for one match. In my opinion a great system because you can play like every second or third match another class. And if you played a class a certain amount of times through the TOKs (currently 50 times) you unlock them permanently. In combination with the possibility to spend also Argents on the Battle Royale mode a fair system because with a bit of patient you can playtest all classes and later on decide which you want purchase.
“Don’t be afraid, it’s just a simulation.”
The sassy computersystem Xargus puts you with 20-40 other Adepts in a virtual life and death scenario. You start from one of the smaller floating islands and drop to the map below you. The whole theme of the map is virtual reality. The mountains are low polygones and highly stylized, some parts are deliberatly not finished and white buildings blocks are inserted to parts of the map. Even the monster sometimes wobble around in a digital manner to underline the theme of this game mode.
As you land in the virtual world, controlled by Xargus, you are thrown into a fist fight for survival against each other, but luckily the map offers various ways to get your hands on some weapons, grenades and other gadgets. These come with the standard quality scale of any MMO out there(Green → Blue → Purple → Gold). This basically determines overall performances, like higher fire rate, higher damage, lower cooldown, etc.
Weapon and Gadgets can be found lying around, in chests or you kill some monsters. Gear in the open often has a low quality (Green → Blue) and you will find often more ammunition and shield fragments instead of actual weapons.
Chests come in the quality Green → Blue → Purple and the Gold Chest will be dropped by Xargus in the last stage of the match and clearly marked for everyone on the map by this sign . The loot must not always match the color of the chest, it is only more likely to be better loot.
Killing Monsters in the qualities Green → Blue → Purple will award you with a Chest in the same color as the monster. But be wary! While it is possible to kill a monster of green quality with your fists only it is almost impossible to do this with blue or purple monsters (or at least you will not come out unscathed). Also they have special attacks. You identify the quality of the monsters by the main color of their design, but that can sometimes be a bit tricky, especially at night. Luckily the monsters have this artifical virtual glitch that happens while they are idle which let you clearly see their color and quality.
What is the loot?
The weapons are categorized by the ammunition it uses: Bullets, Energy and Rockets.
Bullet weapons are Dual Pistols, Rifles and Dual Shotguns. Energy weapons are Heavy Blaster (Lasergun), Plasma Thrower (Minigun) and Ray Gun (Sniper) while rockets are used by a Bow and Grenade Launcher. Aside from weapons you can equip gadgets, mines, grenades and healing kits. Once you pick them up you can use them indefinetly, they only go on cool down.
Gadgets include special items like an invisibility cloak or a bubble blocking any damage for a certain amount of time. And they are implemented really well. My first thought about the invisibility cloak was that it is utterly broken. But it is not perfect invisibility you can be seen if a player looks closely because of a shimmer in the air and if you move your crosshair on it, it shows a player health bar. Also it immediatly disappears if a player attacks, so at best the player using it gets a good first shoot and can move a bit more carefree over the map.
Mines, grenades and healing kits are that what you would expect. There seem different types of it. For the grenade I encountered two different types, an exploding one and a smoke grenade. The mines seem only to have one variation of it, which will latch on a target and then explode. Also you must be carefull with mines, because they can also damage yourself, but luckily your own mines are marked then on the map. Healing kits only vary in effectivness.
Other than that you will also find general improvements. Like armor or boots that let you jump higher or the experimental boots from the main game increasing your speed by 30% and aren’t displayed in any slot currently.
Properties of the Map
Besides loot, chests and monsters you will find healing stations, armor stations and traps on the map. Healing stations and armor stations which are automatically marked on the map. The traps are openly scattered on the map and not marked but visible for anyone. If activated they always create a giant bubble either slow down, damage or confuse everyone standing in it. What I personally like about the traps, once you are in it you can’t see how big the bubble is. This makes traps within buildings especially dangeruous because you can end up running against a wall and still within the effect of the trap.
Every now and then day changes to night and back. During the night Xargus activates the digital storm which let shrink the area over time until it is day again. The digital storm is a white holographic wall. And if you go through it you get damage over time until you die. So it is the best to stay in the ever shrinking save zone marked by a while circle on the map.
Won has the person that survives the last.
What do I get?
If you die you are rewarded Token of the King and Symbols of Glory . As said above TOKs are used to unlock classes. Symbols of the Glory are transfered to your character in the main game and for 10 Symbols youn can buy a Royal Chest which includes 50,000 Credits and either an epic or mythical piece of gear which is two generations lower than the current one.
That’s sadly all you currently get and probably a reason for…
Skyforges Battle Royale Problems
A main issue are extremly long waiting times. As the game mode was released it took 5-8 minutes until a match could start. And now it takes over an hour. And if you wait too long you are kicked from the server for inactivity. Which is in itself hilarious, but also sad. Because the game mode is extremly fun to play with it 10-15 minutes at best matches.
Skyforge has already a very small population which is scattered on five different servers: XBox, PS4 EU, PS4 NA, PC EU and PC NA. On top of that you can’t queue up for Battle Royale and play Skyforge. You are forced to stay on the Battle Royale screen and wait until a match starts. So of course people get impatient after a while and just quit.
It is seriously a shame. Aside from some bugs that got relativly fast fixed the game mode is fun.
Maybe Allods Team can fix this by implementing a more convincing reward structure. Battle Royale Happy Hour and fusing NA and EU servers together could also help. In my personal opinion this game mode stands and falls currently with the queue times.