Rivers of Blackgate is an exciting new game that combines elements of the ship battle genre such as Guns of Icarus, and MOBA games such as League of Legends or DOTA.
However unlike the traditional MOBA which includes 3 lanes, a jungle and a river, this game has 2 broad rivers which players must do battle upon, as they help man one of 3 ships.
Each ship holds 4 players, meaning there are 12 players per team instead of the standard 5.
The 4 players usually consist of the captain, the gunner and 2 engineers. Although it is possible to run a crew with 2 gunners and 1 engineer instead, this is generally only used by the roamer ship, as it makes them extremely squishy.
The engineers tasks include reloading guns, patching up holes, and pumping out water to ensure the ship stays afloat. However if everything’s going smoothly they can grab a cannon and open fire themselves.
As with League of Legends, every player has a unique ability called perks. The gunners, for example, can take incendiary shots, or chain shots, which are made to snare enemy sails and reduce their movement speed.
The current meta has a team send 1 ship out into the bottom river and another top, with the third ship sailing around the narrower rivers in the jungle. Often times the captain of this ship will take the perk “Full Sails” which allows them to sail into a river at high speeds and ram the enemy vessel.
If they execute it well the hull will pierce their opponents ship, allowing the crew to board. Boarding simply involves jumping from one ship to another, and attacking enemies with your sword or blunderbuss. The blunderbuss as a painfully long reload time, but if it hits them in the chest of above it is almost always an insta-kill. Sword combat works much like the game Chivalry, where blows can be parried and blocked.
Ideally you want to board when a ship is filled with enough water that attacking its crew members will force them to choose between holding your crew off, or bailing out the water and stopping the ship from plunging into the depths.
That call will be up to your captain, and he may even decide to send you out into the forests of Blackgate. There you will find many monsters you can slay to gain buffs for your entire fleet. Also, a treasure map will periodically spawn, pointing the way to a valuable beast that can be slain for great rewards.
Remember though that this map is visible to both sides, and they will probably send men after it too. It’s important to remember that letting your crew step into the Jungle means that your Roamer will be down a man or two, and this might be the difference between a successful gank and a failed one.
When it comes to minions, they act somewhat similarly to those in League of Legends, however they are much more deadly and will tear each other apart in a few seconds. They are slimy pale creatures that were once humans, but the mists that surround Blackgate have mutated them into horrific creatures with webbed hands and a hunger for flesh.
Keep an eye on them, as they will try their hardest to climb aboard, and there is nothing that will ruin a naval battle quite like the corpses of once human creatures.
As for floating towers, they work quite like they do in other MOBA’s, they do a lot of damage to ships so without first sinking the enemy ship you will have a very hard time.
Once all towers have been sunk, the Naval yards must be plundered. Destroying these drains your opponents power and gives it to your fleet, so they are essential to victory. The final battle comes when you reach the Marble Triton. A giant merman statue that comes to life when your fleet nears, once defeated players are able to plunder the gold and gems it guards, and winning the game.
The land of Blackgate is a horrible place, where ash rains from the sky and periodic waves of mist can completely ruin a ships vision, causing them to smash into lighthouses, rocks, and various other deathtraps.
After playing early access for a few hours we believe that this MOBA is going to quickly become popular amongst fans of the MOBA genre!