Preview: The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot will make a dungeon designer out of you
The dungeon crawling genre is about to be turned on its head. Ubisoft's surprise title at their E3 press conference, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, didn't show much aside from an overly egotistical knight gloating about all his phat loot. However, I finally had the chance to play around with MQfEL, and boy is it addicting.
I have to admit that my experience with the game was complemented by in-game currency, provided by Ubisoft. The reason I say this is because, even though you technically don't need any of it to find enjoyment in the game, it did allow me to progress through the game at a much faster pace.
MQfEL builds itself on two gameplay mechanics. One has you raiding other Castles (mostly designed by other players) in search for better loot, gold and the satisfaction that you bested their grand design of defense. The other puts you in control of designing the layout of your Castle, placing traps and monsters in strategic locations so anyone who dares enters your domain in search of loot will face the wrath of your grand design. Let's talk about the former first.
The game gives you access to three classes, Knight, Archer and Wizard, with the latter being only accessible to those who pay $39.99 for the Legit Fan Pack. You're then dropped into a series of Ubisoft-created levels, which aren't too difficult but provide with enough resources to level up and, more importantly, get some sweet loot!
To actually loot each Castle's final chests, there are three prerequisites: completing the Castle in a given amount of time, using only a limited amount of health potions, and not dying. While these may sound easy, devious layouts made by other players will put you to the test, and it'll be up to you to figure out the best strategy to not only come out alive, but do it in the fastest way possible.
There's a simple yet relatively deep upgrade system with three skill trees per character, each focusing on vastly different skills. Considering you can only take four with you at a time, it makes picking the perfect combination a fun challenge. Going with strictly offensive skills might not always be the best idea.
When you're not raiding Castles, you're building up your own. From changing up your layouts to setting traps and monsters, it's completely up to you how you choose to defend your treasures. Everything in the game can be upgraded, which means if your current monsters aren't doing the job, maybe all they need is a strength boost, or perhaps a touch of poison to their attacks. Each section of your Castle has a limited amount of resource points which limits how many monsters or traps you can lay in a certain area, as to not make it impossible to beat. As you progress, you'll also get access to various Boss monsters which are not only harder to kill, but pack a punch as well.
The game is centered around upgrading, and this certainly applies to your Castle as well. Want better monsters? Purchase an upgraded Summoning Portal. Want monsters to have a specialization? Upgrade your Research Lab. Want to craft more potent potions? Upgrade your Potions Brewery. It's a system that constantly has you upgrading every aspect, but it does come with a caveat: Every upgrade requires time to build. Early upgrades are short, later ones will take an hour or more. For patient gamers, this isn't a big deal, especially considering they can use that time to go an raid more dungeons, but for impatient ones who don't have access to buying currency with real money, this might be a downside.
If there's one piece of advice I would give to anyone interested in trying The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, it's that you should never underestimate the layouts of other players. The early Ubisoft levels will give you a false sense of security, thinking you'll be able to overcome any obstacle. I was quickly reminded that this is certainly not the case. There are some truly imaginative people out there, and I got crushed hard on many of my raids.
The game is currently in closed beta, but you can get access to it by registering or paying for the premium packs, which go for $9.99, $39.99 and $99.99, all of which can be found here. I highly recommend checking it out; it's great fun!