The hottest genre in gaming right now is Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, or “MOBAs” for short. Dead Star is a top down twin-stick space shooter that has up to twenty players participating in competitive matches online. Before I get any deeper, let me start by saying that I’m absolutely awful at Dead Star. I was completely demolished during my demo at PSX, and since then I’ve tried honing my skills at home in Dead Star’s beta. I have yet to be on a winning team, but I think I’m slowly starting to get the hang of it.
But in any case, Dead Star’s main focus is its MOBA mode, which is in this case is called its “Conquest” mode. During the keynote at PSX, however, developer Armature showed off its new mode “Escape Run”. You can check out the trailer for the new mode below, but read on for a breakdown of Dead Star’s Conquest mode.
Conquest mode comes in two different flavors: 5V5 and 10V10. I’ll focus on the 5V5 mode as that is what I played at PSX and on my own time. In Conquest, it is the players objective to destroy the opposing team’s base. There’s three ways to do this: deplete the enemy teams tickets, activate a super weapon that instantly destroys the other team’s base, or outright attack the enemy base until it is destroyed.
During my time with the game, my team lost by running out of tickets and by getting hit my the super weapon. Yes, I have not once won a game in Dead Star. This is, honestly, a point of contention between the game and I. It’s not the game’s fault, of course, it’s a failure that’s attributed to my lack of skill and experience as well as the lack of skill and experience of my team. After all, MOBAs require a large time commitment to learn the ins and outs of the game.
There are currently 4 factions and 12 different ships in Dead Star. Before entering a match, players can choose a “load out” of ships to go into battle with. This load out consists of three types of ship–small, medium, and large–that can be mix and matched between any faction. This is where the meta game of Dead Star begins; you have to create a composition of ships that will not only aid your team in attacking the enemy but in defending your team as well. Some ships act as your primary attacks, while others act as your support ships or healers. So before you even decide to queue up for a battle, it’s best to test out the different ships and pick a handful that are to your liking.
But be warned, if you choose ships that are all primarily attack ships, there’s a good chance your teammates did the same thing. This will leave your team offensively strong, but with no defense whatsoever. The opposite can be true as well, if your team has nothing but defensive ships you’ll never get anywhere either.
I can’t exactly sit here and try to give you tactics on what you need to do to win a match, because as I said earlier, I’ve never won a match. Instead, I’m going to say that you should try Dead Star out for yourself. It’s available right now if your pre-order the game on PS4 and is in Early Access on Steam. And, in case you were wondering, yes it’s cross-play (PS4 and PC players can play with and against each other). The full release for Dead Star is slated for a 2016 release and will cost $14.99.