Given the fact that developer Yaeger is currently working on Dead Island 2, finding out that a smaller team was working on Dreadnought was surprising. In the pre-alpha demo, I learned a of couple things. First, Dreadnought is an action-strategy game where you control spaceships. Dreadnought uses five different classes of customizable ships for intense five-versus-five multiplayer.
Second, is that Dreadnought will be free-to-play with a single campaign and multiplayer explained by Peter Holzapfel, Game Director for Dreadnought. They plan for the single player campaign to be episodic and teach you about the different classes of ships. Yaeger didn’t show any single player gameplay during the demo, instead focusing on the five-versus-five multiplayer combat.
Instead of space battles, Dreadnought focuses on planet level maps. There will be space maps, but Holzapfel said there needed to be a horizontal frame of reference for players to stop the game from being disorienting.
On land, you always have a reference for direction. The demo took place on a planet with canyons that could be used for cover. When I first started playing, I would spawn and head directly for the center of the battle, but when I used a smaller ship, I realized that using the environment is required for strategy.
The five classes of ships are influenced by popular science fiction so that players can already get an idea of what kind of ships they’ll see. From the fast Corvette attack ship, the medium powered Destroyer, or the massive Dreadnought, each ship has different attributes that can alter the balance of combat. With five-versus-five multiplayer, knowing your individual role in a team is important. The support class that repairs other ships plays as big of a role as the Dreadnought who can support Corvettes as they fly in.
Dreadnought uses keyboard and mouse controls to navigate your ships from a third person perspective. By pressing the scroll wheel on the mouse, you can assign energy to different functions like engines or shields. You move with WASD and Shift, and the spacebar to control lift or descent. Aiming is done with the mouse, but your area of attack will differ depending on the ship. If you want a faster ship, your angle of attack will be much smaller than the 180 degrees of attack that bigger ships have.
Each ship has four different abilities, like special offensive attacks or defensive maneuvers. The Corvette can quick warp to escape from attacks while also using a 180 degree turn to quickly reorient itself for another fly-by. The Dreadnought has one of the most spectacular attacks called the Broadside. You have to turn the ship so that either the port or starboard side is facing the enemy, and then unleash a massive barrage of lasers that cause huge amounts of damage.
The balance of these abilities works in tune with how well your team can play together. There are still some in-game balancing that has to be done, but the pre-alpha build was a lot of fun to play.
Ship customization will also be a big feature in Dreadnought, and Yaeger is still working on its implementation. This means you’ll be able to customize the look of your ships and add all sorts of visual mods, along with different weapons. Holzapfel showed off some different ships that the team had customized, and while ships were recognizable by their size, the visual customizations really make each ship unique.
Yager plans to have a closed beta in early 2015 for Dreadnought with a launch sometime in the middle of the year. The team behind Dreadnought wants to create a strong community to really help them develop the free-to-play game. I don’t normally play any type of space battle game, but I’m excited for Dreadnought.
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