Things will seem confusing at first because Strife is a new game after all, but if you’ve had previous MOBA experience, I doubt you’re going to have a difficult time with Strife.
Strife is the latest second generation MOBA game by S2 Games and Asiasoft. Ever since the game has been introduced, Strife has been focused on being beginner-friendly, team-oriented and less toxic. In an attempt to decrease toxicity among players, Strife introduced a number of features including a unique karma system, optional voice chat, and no all chat. Whether or not it’s effective will only be obvious as more people gets into the game. One thing they’ve succeeded in doing, however, is to make the game easier to step into for newer players. And here’s how.
1. Less burden of knowledge
Strife currently has 14 heroes in the pool. Compared to popular MOBAs like League of Legends (LoL) and Dota 2 with more than a hundred heroes, Strife’s hero pool is very, very small.
While experienced MOBA players may complain how this limits the number of hero combinations you can make per match even with the permitted hero duplication, it most certainly makes it easier for novices to try the game. This is because they have to be aware that the number of heroes to go up against or play with and this is important in strategy games. You need to know what everyone in the game is capable of. Who can stun you? Who can run away quickly if you don’t hold them down? Who has critical strikes you need to watch out for? Having a hundred heroes in the pool makes it difficult for newer players to adapt to the game. Strife’s very small hero pool allows you to try the heroes all in one day.
If you’re still worried about the kinds of strategies you can pull off in Strife, the lack of heroes is compensated by their ability to play multiple roles. This way, you can use a hero depending on your play style or what is required at the moment. It opens up doors of possibilities and unpredictability like for adjusting from being a support into a carry mid-game if the need arises.
2. The tutorial teaches quite a lot
Once you start playing Strife, you are introduced to a tutorial by playing as Caprice. It tackles a lot of the game’s basic mechanics and introduces you to the game’s story. The tutorial comes in several parts. Here’s the first part:
3. Worry less about game mechanics
When I played Strife, I realized it’s a more relaxed game than Dota 2, which I’m used to. This is partly attributed to the fact that I have less to worry about in Strife. For instance, the courier is immortal. You can summon your items anytime from anywhere and worry not that it will die in the hands of an enemy hero that it may come across. And speaking of couriers, everyone gets a courier. For free. First, this saves one person from having to sacrifice early game gold to buy one. Second, this saves you from that person who hogs the courier all to himself (aka the guy who bottle crows selfishly in Dota 2).
There are no denies. This means you can’t deny the enemy heroes gold or experience by denying your own brawlers (creeps) or towers. Lane control will feel rather weird for Dota 2 players when they come to Strife, but since there are no denies in LoL, I assume the LoL players will feel right at home in that department. Strife also allows creep blocking and animation cancelling, which can work wonders if you know how.
Another game mechanic that is less toxic in Strife is juking or basically the art of using the in-game environment to avoid, mislead or lose an enemy. Juking is often done when one is being chased and in Dota 2, this is often done by making use of the fog of war. Strife, on the other hand, does have a fog of war to cover the map, but you can’t use it to juke the way you do in Dota 2. You can run straight into the fog to escape enemy vision, but you can’t use the treeline to block the field of vision.
But of course there are other alternatives to that in Strife. Aside from doing all you can to run faster, your other option is to run into tall grass. Why? That’s because enemies won’t see you there unless they have special items to grant them vision. Again, this is something that LoL players may be used to. In fact, these bushes may also be used aggressively by hiding in it and waiting for a good chance to strike.
4. It’s a small world
True enough, ganking is easier with a smaller map. When I first tried Warcraft 3 (WC3) DotA, the jungle was a foreign, scary place for novices like me. You’re not sure where it leads and when you’re being chased, you can end up running into a dead end and not know it. While Strife has four different jungles of its own, it isn’t massive. The lanes are significantly shorter and closer to each other, which allows for faster lane rotations and ganking possibilities.
5. Everyone gets gold
If you played MOBA games previously, you’ve probably experienced being berated for taking or stealing last hits. The common practice is that the carry hero gets all the last hits because he needs the gold for items. What the supports do is to deny and harass the enemy hero. Supports usually get their gold from the jungle or from hero kills during team fights or successful ganks, but aside from that and the per-second gold, they get nothing.
In Strife, when one hero last hits an enemy brawler, everyone in the vicinity gets the same amount of gold. This way, the supports can help with the last hitting (no denies, remember?) and they can play their game without having to worry about how to get support or survivability items.
Of course, Strife is still in closed beta, and there is still the possibility of having new features or tweaks to what we currently have right now. However, for a game that’s aiming to be user-friendly and less toxic, it certainly does that job quite well.
For those of you who are interested to try the game, Games in Asia is running a giveaway for Strife closed beta keys. To keep yourself updated with our news and giveaways, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
UPDATE 22-01-14: This article has been updated to properly explain the existence of the fog of war and how works. It previously stated that there is no fog of war.