Preview: Hands-on with NCSOFT’s new shooter Master X Master

Hybrid of both MOBA and TPS


The most unique thing about MxM is the character selection during online play. Unlike other games of this nature, like Smite, where you are limited to one character, Master X Master allows you to choose two just as in the singe player portion. The 12 second cool down remains in effect as well. So, in a classic 5v5 match, you now have to account for 10 characters and attacks opposed to simply five and you never know when the opponent may swap. At first, I felt a bit overwhelmed when listening to the explanation of the game. Once we jumped into a match, however, it actually ran a lot smoother and was surprisingly easier to grasp than other MOBA's. The manner in which Master X Master spread out the maps and separated them with pathways allowed for a more fluid experience than a single, crowded arena that was wide open. 
Overall, I was very impressed with what I saw with Master X Master. I don't consider myself to be a very proficient MOBA player, as I tend to get killed often. While I was playing Master X Master, however, I was able to survive much longer than normal while maintaining a strategy by navigating the playfield. As a magic user, I was able to loop around to the rear of the enemy while my teammate was able to take them straight on with our Titan. A minute later we had them surrounded and won. 
Master X Master does a good job of integrating players that may not be familiar with MOBA while not alienating veterans of the genre. This makes for a larger player pool and it's never the same battle twice. 
Master X Master is launching exclusively on PC in the second half of 2016 and may just be the next big game.

After releasing games like Blade & Soul and Wildstar, NCSOFT has announced their new game Master X Master (MxM)

Master X Master  combines elements of a MOBA and third-person shooter with a top-down camera angle similar to Diablo and Van Helsing. It offers both single-player and online functionality while adding its own, unique twist to gameplay.

The single player portion lets you choose two characters (masters) to control, each with their own abilities. You will need to differentiate  between the two as enemies present a varying degree of difficulty during the level. Your assault rifle character may not be as suitable as a heavy weapon shooter against an armored enemy or boss.

The ability to switch characters is allowed at any time, but a 12 second cooldown takes effect in between swaps. It's a progressive single player campaign with a backstory, and the levels in Master X Master are aesthetically beautiful. 


NCSOFT opted for a bright color palette, as the background appears to have that glowing, eclectic appearance. From what I played, it's a good choice as it adds to the futuristic feel of the game.

The online MOBA portion of Master X Master includes classic setups from the genre while injecting its own features into it. There will be maps geared specifically geared to the three different modes in online play, 3v3 4v4 and 5v5. The larger maps will be restricted to the 5v5 players while smaller, 3v3 groups will play on smaller maps to avoid roaming around unconfronted. Each map will include a left, right and middle path that the team will need to attack and defend while defeating enemies.

Players will earn points for defeating enemies and every hundred points let's the team summon a Titan into play. It's a giant, rock monster that will attack enemies until it sustains enough damage and disappear. It is an AI controlled monster that deals a massive amount of damage. As a result, the enemy turns their attack toward the Titan which frees you up for the offensive. This is a progressive counter, which means if you drop a Titan at 100 points then get to 200 before it is knocked out, you will have the ability to have multiple Titans on screen at once. Each team also has beacons located throughout the map that you will need to destroy as well. From what I saw, there is both a time limit and points threshold in determining a winner.

Deaths cause a cool down timer in order to respawn, and I was impressed with how long it actually is. At multiple points, the timer was upwards of 20 seconds, which is incredibly long in a MOBA style game. The reason for this, according to the development team, was to ensure that all players took into account their team and not just themselves while playing. After all, you'll hopefully think twice about  the run n' gun philosophy if your death will drastically impact your team's success rate. Master X Master is geared to be a combination of both MOBA and TPS with a philosophy centered on team work. Each player utilizes the standard three special attacks with one of the three being your Ultimate move. There is a cool down timer for each of these as well.