Nosgoth is a free-to-play multiplayer action game that is presently in Closed Beta. I got in late February and I’m finally getting around to talking about it. At the end of this article I’ll have a gameplay video so you can see it in action. You can apply for beta at the Nosgoth link, or buy a Nosgoth Founders Pack which will get you into the game instantly (part of why I’m bringing it up now, as I think it’s worth looking at). Like most Founders Packs on games that will eventually be free-to-play, they include plenty of in game currency to buy skins, faster access to classes, and your typical free-to-play, but not buy to win, game… and that’s an important note. Based on my time in Nosgoth, I never felt the need to buy things, or that those buying stuff had an unfair advantage. That said, there are some really cool skins and stuff that would be sweet to have.
A small disclaimer, I’ve never played any of the Legacy of Kain games, the universe that Nosgoth takes place in, so I won’t be discussing any of that aspect. All I know about the world is there are vampires and humans, and from the dialog I’m guessing the humans are the rebels… Nosgoth refers to the world, the planet we are on in this story. Kain has died and the vampire race is in disarray and the humans seem to think it is a good time to rebel… or something along those lines. Like Titanfall (as I noted in my review of Titanfall), there is a story told here via dialog. Perhaps not as heavily well as Titanfall’s story, but in this case it has a rich history behind it already so it just needs to be there enough to connect it to the universe that it inhabits.
Anyhow, let’s talk about the gameplay itself, as that is what’s important. Nosgoth pits Humans vs Vampires. Each match features two rounds. One round you will play as a human, the other round as a vampire, keeping the same team. Whichever team has the best combined score, wins the match.
Humans aren’t overly mobile, they can’t even jump, but they have the advantage of range. Around each map are shrines where they can regenerate any health lost due to an attack. They break down to a few classes:
- The Scout: Use a bow to attack with. I haven’t actually played this class yet as I haven’t unlocked it yet.
- Alchemist: Uses chemical based weapons, including a grenade launcher of sorts. This is one of the starting human classes.
- Hunter: Uses a cross bow to attack with. This is the other starting human class.
- Unknown: There is another class being revealed soon, and I don’t follow rumors close enough to have any hints.
Vampires are fast, agile, able to climb walls and in some cases even fly. However, they have to get close to the humans to attack. The way they regenerate health is to take a dead human and bite/execute them, which leaves them vulnerable for a short time. They break down to a few classes as well:
- Reaver: A basic melee attacker. They have a really nice pounce attack. One of the two starting vampire classes.
- Tyrant: A tank melee class. They can charge up an attack that will blow humans over for a moment making them vulnerable to more vampire attacks. He can take a lot of hits before going down. They are the second starting class.
- Sentinel: This vampire can fly and swoop down, grab a human player then drop them from the skies. This is one of the first classes players seem to unlock, and I unlocked it as well.
- Deceiver: A stealthy class that allows them to disguise themselves as human until they attack. They also can attack a character’s mind, making them see and hear things that aren’t real, such as teammates going off in one direction that they aren’t going. It was the first expanded class added to the game.
With the humans, it is important to stick together. The vampires hunt as a pack, but try to drive players out of the group so that they can more easily pick off other players. When you die, your respawn point often is far from other teammates and it can make for some tense moments as you dash to get back with the group.
The game has, with some cause, been accuse of being too heavily favoring the vampires. While true to a degree, I’ve seen wins by humans on enough occasions that I think it is possible that when the humans play properly and off one another’s class strengths, they can easily overpower the vampires. The humans are a harder race to play for sure, but the reward as a human victor feels all the better. Even if the vampires slightly outclass the humans, the fact you play both each match, means that the better team will win anyhow. Lost your round as a human, step up the game as a vampire to out vampire the prior team. So the argument that the humans are over matched is somewhat negated and in the end, the final score will say which team was better.
Combat in the game is very fun and fluid. It is indeed why I think the game will be popular upon release. There is a great deal of joy in being a Reaver, crouching down and then leaping across the map to a helpless human as you start ripping them apart. It’s also fun to rapid fire cross bow bolts into somebody that is attacking one of your teammates.
The game looks great graphically. The sounds are first rate as well.
The in-game store doesn’t force stuff on you. As I said before, I never felt the need to spend real world money on anything, and the rewards of in game currency seem fair. Those who play a lot will have an advantage in having more in game currency to spend, which is to be expected. Play enough, unlock stuff from the store faster. Nothing that can be purchased with real world money really gives that player an advantage over a player sticking to the free to play aspect of the game. They may have access to classes sooner, but that doesn’t really give them an advantage on the field. It is nice to see a game do a free to play model well. It may not be as nice as DOTA 2’s model, but even within DOTA 2’s own genre nobody tries to match that model (which still works really well for Valve).
The game is fun, and seems reasonably well balanced. A few nitpicks here and there, mostly lobby times and the community can be toxic at times. Like most free to play games, strike that, most multiplayer competitive games period, way too many players get toxic. They get mad at their teammates when they lose, they rage quit, they seem to be there to win only and not just enjoy the journey and have fun playing an otherwise fun game. Toxicity is the reason I avoid League of Legends and DOTA and games like it, though I really hold out hope that the Heroes of the Storm crowd doesn’t get too bad as I really want to play and enjoy that game, and I hope some of the aspects they took to fight the toxicity bring it down from typical DOTA/MOBA style game toxicity to regular competitive game toxicity. Nosgoth is just slightly worse than most team FPS type games in toxicity, but it isn’t typically overly bad. Yeah, you’ll get lots of “just kill yourself” from angry players who are upset their team lost if you didn’t contribute enough in their personal opinion, as if the fate of the very world depends on the outcome of that game, but they aren’t so numerous to make one stop playing the game, at least yet. We’ll see how the community is after release. It’s an aspect of gaming I don’t get, why these players feel they deserve to win and get angry at players who aren’t as good as them, who perhaps are just casual players wanting to have fun playing a game that would be otherwise fun. Why they take a game so serious… Anyhow, be prepared for a bit of a dose of toxicity, but as I said, I haven’t stopped playing due to those people yet. The lobby times, were long back when I first played due to a lack of players, but even now I’ve found lobby times to be long, at times, exceptionally long.
Okay so now some Nosgoth gameplay video so you can see it in action….ummm poorly. I did really bad while recording that one.