We have a look at the KingsRoad Closed Beta, an Action-RPG from Rumble Games.
Once you are done talking with the locals it's time to get to the meat of the game. When you first enter the town you are given two quests. One will be a side-quest often asking you to buy an item or join a group and complete missions, the other will ask you to complete the next mission.
There are currently two classes in the game which are the long-range arrow-slinging Archer and the skull-smashing Knight. The skill system in KingsRoad is really basic and currently only goes as far as level 25 – this includes seven active and six passive abilities for each class.
The active abilities are slotted into the 1-5 skill-bars at the bottom-center of the screen and each offers unique effects. The Archers active abilities include the likes of “Spread Shot” and “Flame Arrow” that hit multiple enemies, the archer also has a number of single target abilities that slow or stun enemies and a decoy that tanks damage so you don't have to. All-round the Archer is a fun class to play with many ways to deal with enemies and a considerable amount of damage.
To the left and right of the central skill-bar are your health and Valor respectively. On the edges of the action-bar there are two spots on each side for consumables such as food for health and water for valor, these are activated by the Q, W and E, R buttons.
While progressing down the road you will notice the theme of the missions changing. Sometimes you will be trudging through spider invested forests and other times you will be climbing through the ruins of a once great city or castle. The level design in some missions is quite detailed and lives up to the aspirations of the developers. When I inquired about the number of different maps Brett told me there were 2-4 different maps for every stretch of the Kings Road – that's often enough to not get bored with the scenery.
While playing as long as I had enough food and water I was able to tank any amount of damage and clear levels fairly easily. As an extra-circular activity I tried rounding up all the enemies on the map and killing them simultaneously with my AoE spells. It was super effective. The Archers decoy ability doesn't seem to have a health bar which allows it to tank any number of enemies until its time expires, which is 14 seconds at level 1, as I said to Brett during our session “Archer Decoy OP.”
That aside, the gameplay feels solid throughout, but with only five slots in the skill-bar and seven active abilities in total it is quite basic and certainly isn't going to provide the frills an avid gamer is seeking. Definitely an improvement over other Facebook games though.
One of the big questions I had for Brett during our session was how Rumble plans on building the replay value of their game, something that is pivotal to the longevity of the game. He told me the two current replay factors of the game are the Map Mastery and the co-op experience.
During my play through with Brett it became increasingly apparent how much Rumble emphasizes the co-op experience in KingsRoad. With Facebook integration it is really easy to invite, find and play with friends. Players in a party will use the starting village as a staging area, then when the party is ready, they can embark on a mission; it's really easy.
The game gets a lot more exciting when you play with a friend, you unlock Heroic difficulty within the first hour or so of playing, Heroic is built for 2-3 players and offers more loot and experience.
Each time you complete a mission you are given a score based on your performance which contributes to the “map mastery” and you will be rewarded with gems as you get a higher score on that map. Since gems have so many uses in KingsRoad players are encouraged to complete the mission multiple times to achieve full map mastery which will reward five gems instead of just one. This does give players a way to grind gems to buy those cosmetic items and experience potions without spending real money, but there are so many uses for gems that it's unlikely you will have enough hours in the day to cover everything.
Brett tells me in the next month or two the internal focus will be on the experience for those who have maxed out their classes. When I asked about the possibility of PvP the response was that it is certainly on the table and is a common request on the forums, but if they are going to do it they want to take their time to do it right – not make it pay-to-win.
On the topic of things to look forward to, Brett told me they are working on a Guild system that may or may not make it into the initial Open Beta launch. This will give players more connection both online and offline.
Additionally Brett teased me with an overview of the Mage-Wizard class that will be coming next in KingsRoad. It will be a mid-range fighter, with active skills that include a Fire Drake summon and passive skills that primarily boost Valor and Valor regeneration.
Rumble Entertainment has a lot of content planned for the next six months and KingsRoad is shaping up well. Be sure to head over to the official site and sign-up!