Dawngate is a new MOBA, built from the ground up to look and feel familiar while offering a whole new way to experience MOBA gameplay. Dawngate empowers you to forge the champions you love for the roles you want in a competitive arena, shaped by ever-evolving, community-driven content and story.
Binding Towers: Push through either lane to destroy the enemy’s towers and gain upgrades to your minions to push harder than ever before. But each subsequent tower is immensely stronger and towers can regenerate over time so don’t ever let up the push!
Base Boss: Think you’re team is going to push to an early win? Think again. The enemy base is protected by a powerful boss that will require you to level up your characters and push plenty of minions to stand a chance against, allowing the other team ample time to regroup and recover.
Altar Resources: Four resource nods farmed by npc minions provide additional gold to the team in control. But watch out as your enemy can ambush your npcs to hinder your progress.
Rolls: Choose your roll on the team from the start without care for which hero you pick to impact the way you gain resources, opening up the meta to allow more diverse team strategies.
Dawngate Featured Video
Dawngate – First Look
By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Waystone’s Dawngate is in the process of being rebuilt. But I have invested a chunk of my time into this game, and what I have come back with is a mixed bag of emotions. Multiplayer Online Battle Arena are the flavor of the month right now. Among them are SMITE, League of Legends, Dota 2, the upcoming Infinite Crisis (which I am also in the beta for), and a host of others. Waystone is trying terribly hard to take the tried and true MOBA formula and turn it into its own game. For better or for worse, I feel like they at least succeed at that much. One of the major problems with video game communities is the notion of the “killer.” Every MMO wants to be the “WoW-killer.” Every MOBA wants to dethrone League of Legends and Dota 2. It is this unfortunate mindset that I believe leads to the toxic communities these games have to offer (that and the anonymity of the internet). Perhaps it is this writer’s idealism, but if communities would work together, there would be a lot more enjoyment in games in general. The genre doesn’t have to reinvent itself with every game. FPS and RPG titles are proof of that. Just enjoy smile, say “GLHF,” and get in the game.
You Aren’t Dealing With Your Average MOBA Anymore
MOBA titles have the same goal: break past the enemy defenses, and destroy their base. How they are set up generally varies, but the goals are the same. One positive for Dawngate is that it’s very different in its map set up. The average MOBA layout is three lanes: two duo lanes, one solo lane in the center, and a jungle. You have three towers in each lane that lead into the main base. Here is where Dawngate draws the line. It is still the traditional five on five combat we have come to know and love, but there is no solo lane. The middle of the map is where the large enemy (Baron, Nashor) arrives at. Dawngate offers two lanes and a jungle, without a solo lane. This puts a great deal of emphasis on the jungler role; if you have no jungler, there is a lane of three people, or perhaps someone roaming from lane to lane instead, and either way the xp is split in an uneven manner. I’ve had several games where this turned out to be a liability. Another factor on the map is the Spiritwells. There are four of them, one in each corner, with two per team. You can acquire these after ten minutes, noted by an unlocking animation. Stealing these essentially gives you worker minions who are farming currency for you. It can become a major objective, especially if you are behind, to grab these and increase your income.
There is no leveling system to worry about, either. You do not start with a complete collection of items for your loadouts (think runes, etc.), and those are purchased with “Destiny,” a currency you get post-game. You do start with a few of these to place on your grid, and there are several slots to try different builds. One thing I liked about this system was not having to grind for twenty or so levels to add stats to my character. While Dota 2 already eliminates this issue, and I find their system more enjoyable, it’s also nice to not have to wait level after level just to add a few points to my champs when the system does exist. Loadouts are made in a square pattern with a certain amount of space in it, and a variety of shapes to fill it with. These shapes offer a bonus on their own, and have slots for gems, kind of like material in Final Fantasy VII. The gems offer their own intrinsic benefits. You do not start off with many of these, but I have had no problem getting Destiny to purchase other shapes/gems. In a way, I like this more than leveling to 30, because I can start the game in my first match with builds that I think might work. If I find they do not, I can just change them.
A Rose By Any Other Name Feeds Just As Hard
Another point to look at is nomenclature of playable characters. In League, they are called Champions; in Dota, Heroes; in SMITE, Gods. In this strange community, you best come correct with the right lingo. In Dawngate, we have Shapers. I was sort of surprised at how few Shapers I was offered at this stage in the closed beta, but after a few wins I could afford to purchase a few of them to try, other than the free to play offerings. This game is different from its predecessors in many ways, and this portion is certainly no exception to that. I have not played as everyone yet, but I have tried a healthy spoonful of the characters and I have found what I like and what I do not. Yes, most of the abilities are going to look familiar from some game or another, but that’s the price you pay for playing MOBAs. You will run out of cool powers eventually. One thing I thought was interesting was the lack of Mana. In Dawngate, Shapers either cast freely (with cooldowns), or have some other gimmick. I have yet to play with anyone that used “mana.” One Shaper used their health, a’la Vladimir. Another had Spirit, which refilled on its own. This is a pretty interesting point; not a game breaker by any measure, but certainly interesting.
The Item system is also new and exciting. It is very streamlined, and in a lot of ways, it reminds me of earlier games. While the names of the items are generic and boring, the effects are pretty wild. You start with your green items (sort of like WoW, you have green/blue/purple), which are the basic items. The cost for the blue items are a little higher, and the purples higher still. The prices are not unreasonable though. If you click on the purple items, it shows you the path to take. It is better than having to buy seven items just for one, even if it is over simplified. There are still health pots and other utilities, but the game does lend a hand in what items your character probably should start with. And again, the spiritwells help you get currency to buy items, which is a definite plus.
The issue of surrendering is important to many MOBA players. There’s the “NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER SURRENDER!” camp. Then we have the “Jungler failed a gank, time to surrender” camp. Dawngate sort of sits in the middle, and there is so much jungle on this map, that I feel that this merits mentioning all on its own. The folks at Waystone offer a few instances where a surrender is free and clear to just get the game over with. In League of Legends, if a player disconnects, you still have to fight it out, until twenty minutes passes. Dota 2 gives a five minute leeway. When five minutes passes after a disconnect, the game informs you that you can surrender, and get out of the match. It also gives this option if there is a huge, overwhelming amount of kills on one side or another. I thought it was kind of nice, but it was a little upsetting to see that the game was just unwinnable. I have won a horde of matches when we were 20+ kills under in other MOBAs. I do not know if that is as viable in Dawngate, as I have seen a few matches where one player wanders and murders an entire team. Perhaps it is not balanced yet, but it is still in Closed Beta.
Post-game has its own interesting details. After the game is over, you are taken to a screen that asks you to click on players who made the game fun and enjoyable (Karma). You can click as many players as deserve this. Depending on how long the match was, if it is your first win of the day, victory, and Karma, you are given a score, and depending on how high you go, you get to open a chest, that gives a variety of items. Examples of these are currency and shapes for your loadout boards. There are some unrevealed aspects of this yet, so it is pretty difficult to reach the top of the charts just yet. But, we shall see! I do think this is a pretty cool concept, and even if you are the bottom, you still get the common chest.
One final note on this beta: I have been in a dozen betas over the past couple of months. Literally! I have to say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have never seen a more self-entitled, toxic, abusive community. It is even worse than League of Legends’ community, so far that I’ve seen. There are nice people in this tiny community; however, there are a whole host of people ready to yell and scream and rage if a simple mistake is made. I suppose this is part and parcel for all online games, but I was genuinely surprised at the level of toxicity in a beta. The point of a beta is not to get good at the game before everyone else; it is to learn the game, find bugs/inconsistencies, point out other flaws and broken characters for hopeful balancing. That simply cannot be done if players are just in it for bragging rights.
Final Thoughts: Work-in-Progress.
I really want to like the ideas that Waystone is dropping here. It’s a different sort of MOBA, while also keeping traditional elements. There is still quite a bit of distance to go for the Waystone team, but I have confidence that they can do it. I do hope they release more Shapers into the beta, or perhaps make more of them available at one time, but that is something I simply do not have power over. (But if you’re reading, I’ve always got ideas! Just sayin’!) There are a lot of good and bad things, but overall, I think it is a beautiful game, and way better than its original iteration. I was genuinely surprised at how detailed the graphics were, how interesting the characters sounded, the kits were fun, and overall, I enjoy playing the game.
2013 Preview By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
Some naysayers claimed the MOBA genre was just a passing fad that couldn’t support more than a few games at a time. Yet now in 2013 we’re knee deep in new MOBAs, each offering a different take or tweak on the tried and true formulas of past titles. Not only is it fun to play with your buddies, you can test your skill and gain ranking against the rest of your game’s population. I couldn’t be happier as nothing brightens my day as much as being asked to cover a MOBA for my latest assignment. And so that assignment has come in the form of Dawngate, a new MOBA trying to make a name for itself as development continues through various short beta phases. I managed to snag a key off their Reddit page and test out the latest phase.
The company behind this game is Waystone Games, a studio most of you are probably hearing about for the first time. Dawngate is actually their first title to enter testing. If you’re a sucker for close communications with the development team, Waystone won’t disappoint. With the community still as small as it is, and the game features still in such heavy flux, now is the ideal time to chat it up with them and see if you can influence the development of Dawngate towards your vision of what a MOBA should be. Beyond forum communications, it’s not uncommon to see a known developer in-game testing various factors. I get the feeling from my brief interaction with them that Waystone is a company consisting of gamers, seeking to make a MOBA for gamers rather than for profit.
Now onto the actual game! What is the standard MOBA and what is Dawngate doing to tweak the rules? Well for the newcomers of this genre, a MOBA or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena is a type of strategy game you play as a team. Usually the map is symmetric and you have a team of 5 players on each side. And usually there are three lanes for players to play on along with zig zagging routes between the lanes filled with monsters you can kill for bonus experience. The first initiative Dawngate makes to change the rules is the set-up of the map itself. In Dawngate you only have two lanes, and a bigger jungle that actually has a meaning besides a way to grab some quick cash and the occasional buffs. You see in addition to the standard monster spawns, there are also four camps, 2 per team, that automatically farm money for you. But these camps can also be taken over, so a jungler’s role evolves beyond farmer and ganker to also include gate keeper as they’ll have to keep constant vigil that their team’s camps aren’t overrun. The jungle is too large for one player to manage themselves so the entire team will need map awareness to recognize when someone is missing so that camp conquest can be prevented. Once a camp is captured, you gain control of its gold flow and gain a temporary lock so your rivals can’t just capture it straight back right after. As a result, team fights happen more often and less predictably compared to other MOBAs I’ve experienced.
These map changes are interesting and shake up the gameplay, but I have my doubts about the system. It’s challenging to implement something that is completely different than what the usual MOBA player is comfortable with; MOBA players typically get struck in a rut where they’ve worked so hard to master their systems that they react with anger when the game doesn’t fit their desired mold. Sure if the new system’s fun factor overrides that initial hate, it can work. But I don’t think Dawngate has found the right balance as of yet.
The major flaw with their map comes when one team is badly losing the laning phase. If your opponents get an early lead and play smart, they can keep your team constantly pushed back against their towers, meaning there is no way you can jump from your lane to defend your jungle camps. This results in the already dominant team gaining four sources of passive income to steamroll to an easy win. It’s like kicking someone that is already down on the ground begging for forgiveness.
Terms of Heroes or Champions might sound familiar to you, but in Dawngate these heroes are called Shapers. Currently the game is limited to an unusually small pool of shapers, with only around 10 available to play. And even though Waystone has put an admirable amount of effort into making the Shapers look and sound unique, their kits feel directly inspired from characters seen in other MOBAs. Without a doubt, new games will take something from old and successful games, but some of these Shapers are in my eyes a little too much inspired by some of them.
Thankfully this kit stealing is alleviated slightly by the role choosing system. Each shaper is able to choose a role prior to the start of each match. This means you can actually play a single Shaper in various lanes and still be viable. Do you feel like playing the carry role in the lanes? You simply choose one of the four available ‘roles’ and boom you get the extra required stats that will grant you the needed bonuses for the lane. The four roles you can pick from are the Gladiator that is meant for the carries, the Tactician that is meant for the support role, the Hunter that is made for jungling and the Predator for the Shapers wanting to roam the map. I imagine this system is incredibly difficult to balance and give Waystone props for introducing it since it kills two birds with one stone. It keeps the game fresh for a longer period of time while allowing players a better chance of choosing the Shaper of their choice since you won’t be locked out on playing them just because someone called their standard lane on your team.
Current State: Good
I hopped into Dawngate after reading Hhean’s article a few months back expecting to see a much more polished title. It’s clear though that Dawngate is still in a phase of heavy development, but you can see they are picking the pieces and shaping this into a truly promising MOBA. Despite my various issues, overall I left the game knowing I had an enjoyable experience, and their twists on the standard MOBA, while not perfect, still left a good impression when imagining what they could offer when polished for launch. As far as the gameplay and graphics, I do not want to go into full detail yet since the game can change a lot, but the gameplay itself was smooth, and the graphics are certainly on par with the competition. All in all it looks like S.S. Dawngate is sailing on the right course, and barring any icebergs, should arrive as one pretty vessel come launch day.
Dawngate – First Look
Dawngate – PAX East 2014 Dev Interview
Dawngate Basic Tutorial
Dawngate Advanced Tutorial
Dawngate System Requirements
Coming Soon. . .
- PAX East 2014 Coverage Recap - Posted on April 18, 2014
PAX East 2014 came and went but we have plenty of insider discussions with developers across the board of online gaming. Catch our full PAX East coverage all in one place, right here!
- Dawngate 2014 Closed Beta Impressions - Posted on March 13, 2014
MMOHuts's Ragachak runs Dawngate's lanes and jungles to give some early impressions of the state of the MOBA.
- Dawngate Patch 26 Brings Big Changes - Posted on March 3, 2014
Waystone Games Overhauls their MOBA Dawngate with a massive update impacting every aspect of gameplay.
- Dawngate Beta Impressions - Posted on September 17, 2013
The company behind this game is Waystone Games, a studio most of you are probably hearing about for the first time. Dawngate is actually their first title to enter testing. If you’re a sucker for close communications with the development team, Waystone won’t disappoint.
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