First Impressions of MXM: Active Community, Fast Matchmaking
The possible combinations between the capacities of the two characters opens the way to interesting personal strategies. For example, one CC focused Master will take care of stunning your opponent, giving you the possibility of switching to a DPS focused Master to deal massive damage. Likewise, you can have a Master that will heal and support teammates, and another that will focus on chasing and killing opponents. Better yet, their two life bars are independent. Unlike other MOBAs, where a low health means that you will have to teleport back to the base, here you can simply switch to your other Master at the most critical moment, allowing the Master on standby to recover health. Do not mistake this for invincibility, however, as it takes some time for the standby master to regen health. I would also recommend that you avoid switch to a different master right before an encounter as the 12 seconds cooldown can prove to be fatal.
The first grip of MXM takes players in a small PvE instance, consisting of trash mobs and bosses to eliminate. Fairly linear in their construction, we feel that NCSoft relies heavily on this PvE component (as well as the tag team system) to have the game stand out from its tough competition. If the first levels of difficulty are extremely easy to clean, it is quite different when it comes to aiming for the S rank, necessary to unlock the higher versions of each instance. In addition to the higher difficulty, they also provide much more experience and valuable objects.
The bosses of the instances demand a certain rigor to be defeated: AOEs to avoid, perfect positioning at key moments, the PvE is refreshing in many ways. A feature that almost had me regret the absence of such an element in other MOBAs as it opens up opportunities for hours of group play. The PvE is not to be regarded as a shady timesink that is here just to spend time as you wait between matches, but rather as an important part of MXM for which the studio will bring additional content at regular intervals.
The Titan mode map does not have the classic turrets placed along the lanes, they are all located inside the two bases (which still take a huge portion of the map). The heart of the fighting in mid-map resides in this sense in the confrontation against rather weak creepers, punctuated by bloody encounters between heroes who will be fighting for the various objectives. Moreover, now and then objectives that allows players to summon Fallen Hero will be available on each side of the map. This involves killing two guardians, and channeling an altar to summon the Fallen Hero. A common strategy will be having the bulk of your team focus on one side of the map, while one or two players will be on the other side to hinder opponents trying to summon the other Fallen Hero. Once one is claimed, everyone should head to the other is it is still unclaimed. Who gets the most of these can be as decisive to the result of the match as summoning Titans. Once the right conditions are met, the players themselves can turn into a Titan for a short time, which can be more than enough give the enemy’s base a final push, or save your team from a desperate situation. Mixing influences, MxM does not invent much, but offers a nice degree of finishing combined with a very good grip .
Finally, the community itself seemed quite active. Most of the time, the matchmaking didn’t take more than 5 seconds to find players for Titan Ruins matches. The same could most likely be said for PvE instances and the Arena mode, although I didn’t play they enough to have an accurate idea.
MXM represents NCSoft's attempt to enter the hyper-competitive MOBA sector, and so far the odds seem to be in their favor. The audience is already quite large, and I have no doubt that they will have no trouble with retaining players. With the focus on the PvE component, and the Tag Team feature, the studio has all the arguments to appeal and convince.