3v3 MOBAs are a dime a dozen these days, which really shouldn’t be a surprise when you see the popularity League of Legends has enjoyed over the past decade. Theirs is a highly sought after business model, so tacking a Marvel license onto a simplified version of this gameplay formula is surely just going to print money, right?
Realm of Champions takes inspiration from Marvel’s Secret Wars stories and tells a tale set on Battleworld, a planet governed by Barons who are all fighting for supremacy. These Barons are alternate universe versions of popular Marvel characters, each with their own army of champions who fly the flag for their house – it’s a bit like Game of Thrones but with less murder.
The first house you are introduced to is the House of Iron, led by an A.I. construct of Tony Stark called Stark Prime. The champion, AKA you, are an Iron Legionnaire and must win fights on behalf of your Baron. There are five other houses to choose from – the Spider-Guild led by Madame Web, the Gamma Horde led by Skaar, the Temple of Vishanti led by The Ancient One, the Kingdom of Wakanda led by Queen Shuri, and Pyramid X led by Apocalypse.
You get the Iron Legionnaire by default and unlock Hulk and Sorcerer Supreme as you play. Web Warrior, Black Panther and Storm are locked behind in game currency purchases, which so far seems to be pretty easy to come across – I’ve unlocked two out the three characters stuck behind that wall after only a day of playing.
Arena Conquest is where you are going to cut your teeth. You and two other players go head to head with another team of three in a battle for control. The aim is to destroy the opposing teams B.O.D.O.K. (Baron Oracles Designed Only for Killing) while protecting your own. It’s not a simple case of ‘rush to the end zone to get the win’, however. Each B.O.D.O.K. has an incredibly damaging defence system that needs to be disabled before attacking. This is done by taking the centre zone and becoming supercharged. More often than not, it boils down to a case of whoever can kill the opposing team the quickest, but that’s down to how well people play. In games where everyone has gone their separate ways, that team pretty much always loses, while a team that sticks together can usually gang up on enemy heroes one at a time to melt their health. These aren’t exactly inspiring tactics.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky and the opponent isn’t paying attention, you can sneak a capture in while they are sitting outside the center circle battling your mates. This doesn’t happen very often, however. Once the center has been captured, the enemy B.O.D.O.K. becomes vulnerable and it’s time to Hulk smash!
Games do not take long at all and a lot of it is down to map. You only have the two corridors where the champions spawn from, and a small centre circle where fighting takes place. While there’s still some MOBA vibes to it, it’s only taken a handful of the traditional elements from that genre. The themes of the maps are slightly different, but really not enough to make you notice when you are fighting. Without any real tactical play, they could all be the same location, which once again is a shame.
Things differ in Stronghold mode where teams of three take on three waves of A.I. enemies who are trying to destroy a core you need to protect, while the third and final mode at launch is Deathmatch, a 2v2v2 affair, seeing your (hopefully dynamic) duo try to beat the opponents into a pulp for points. Each mode earns you different resources for levelling and gearing your characters.
Being labeled as an RPG, this game has a levelling system which increases character power on multiple fronts. At the forefront of this is the gear system which will also be the main draw of the game. Each gear piece has an overall rating and stats that increase your champions power level. Naturally, colours determine the gear rarity with grey being the lowest and purple being the current highest.
As always with these types of games, you should never get too attached to gear early on. You find so much gear that the last one you picked up tends to become irrelevant very quickly. Each gear piece can be upgraded, increasing it’s stats and your champion can also level up, boosting base stats. It’s all pretty standard stuff, but more importantly, the gear pieces bring with them cosmetic changes, which for any Marvel fan is going to be a major selling point. The unfortunate downside is that for a long time, your champion will most likely look like garbage as you cobble together different gear sets to get the highest character power. There are some really cool designs in there, but my Hulk currently looks like he smashed through a tailor’s and wore whatever landed on him.
Saying that, I really like the idea of having your own unique look. I just don’t like the time it’s going to take to get something I’m happy with. These kinds of games are designed with longevity in mind, so I guess it’s just an exercise of patience. You can buy gear from the store, but I personally haven’t feel the need to splash the cash for anything. Most things seem like they will drop of their own accord after a while.
There is a seventh character available, President Peggy Carter’s Super Soldier, that is currently only available through spending cash. This is fairly common in mobile gatcha games, but the reason why this bothers me here is that I’ve been earning loot for Super Soldier which I cannot use. I really feel this should be disabled as it feels like a bit too much of a nudge to go and spend money.