Master X Master (MxM) is a free-to-play Action MOBA game with third-person shooter characteristics, including both PvE (Player Vs. Environment) and PvP (Player Vs. Player) modes currently in development by NC Soft. Much like how Blizzard Entertainment gathers characters from their own titles in Heroes of the Storm, MxM gathers characters from various NC Soft titles including Guild Wars, Blade & Soul, Lineage, Aion, City of Heroes and Wildstar, as well as adding a range of unique characters and calling them “Masters“.
The name of the game is based off each player having to control two masters which can be switched on the fly, currently on a 13 second cooldown in both PvE and PvP. The combat system plays like a shooter game where the mouse is used to aim and the WASD keys for movement. The tag system along with the third person shooter mechanics are what sets Master X Master apart from the competition, making it not just another Dota clone.
Ping is a major issue in any shooter style game with a heavy focus on aim making local servers mandatory for every region. I noticed heavy delays and rubber-banding playing in Australia with pings ranging from 170ms-260ms. Experiencing several sudden deaths while enemy skills were still charging on my screen, however clearly already executed on theirs.
Each character has a stamina bar which is used up by jumping and a default right click which is most of the time a dodge, depending on which master you’re playing.
The PvE modes have several difficulties and will definitely be a big hit on launch. They have a very indie-game feel to them and can be quite challenging. At the end of every PvE map you will be scored on several factors where unlocking the next difficulty may require an ‘A’ rank, ‘S’ rank or higher. If PvE isn’t your cup of tea, you may still want to jump into it to acquire items that unlock master and master skins.
There are currently two PvP modes in Master X Master with another one in re-development. They are Team Death Match (3v3) and Titan Ruins (5v5) both with Normal and Ranked modes.
There were only two maps for Team Death Match which seemed to get quite stale, quite fast. All you do is kill one another for 5 minutes, where the winner is decided by the highest number of kills by the timer. However, since you’re able to queue as a pre-made, I’m confident that it can be quite enjoyable when played with friends or a nice break from the more serious Titan Ruins.
About 80% of my play time was in the Titan Ruins as I enjoyed it the most and believe it to be the most competitive. It has taken many aspects away from other MOBA games including but not limited to: Three Lanes (Top, Middle, Bottom), Towers, A Core (like Dota’s Ancient), Titan-ites (like Dota’s creeps), Kahzor the Disgraced “Fallen Titan” (like Dota’s Roshan) and much more. There is a 25 minute time limit in Titan Ruins, which is a breath of fresh air for a MOBA game as Master X Master’s competitor games can last several hours. The game is won upon taking out the enemy Core or having a higher score by the timer.
There is a 25 minute time limit in Titan Ruins, which is a breath of fresh air for a MOBA game.
Labelled Titan Ruins due to NPC (Non-Playable Characters) Titans being spawned after a team accumulates 100 points, which heads down the middle lane with a pretty hefty health pool usually needing several masters to take it down, only stopping when the core is broken or if the Titan itself is taken down. Upon death, Titans drop a Titan Shard that needs to be returned to base, once accumulating several Titan Shards, players can opt to become a Titan Incarnate for a limited time, which is in essence a player controlled Titan.
Points can be gathered by performing several tasks, such as capturing towers, taking down enemy players/towers/titan-ites etc.
There are two Altar’s (Adaman and Ruark), one on the top lane and another on the bottom, each spawning Altar Watcher’s that when taken down open up the ability to capture the Altar spawning a strong NPC to fight for your team. Altar’s are probably one of the more important objectives in the ruins that can give either team a major advantage in pushing a lane. They don’t go down easy, usually taking down a tower before going down themselves and randomly select an allied player to heal while they’re up.
There are currently 30 masters in Master X Master which some may consider a good thing, I disagree and believe it’s over complicating the game for everyone including the developers. If the game had 20 masters at launch, it would be easier to balance master combos and simpler for newcomers to approach the game. Thereafter there would be a large pool of masters to release at a steady rate to keep the game fresh. Upon entering Titan Ruins for the first time, it’s easy to be confused by the sheer number of masters and their skills. I spent over 150 hours on the game and still have a few questions that were left unanswered. Most players will not put 150 hours into the game like I did and may walk away purely based on how intimidating the game can be at first.
The game constantly forces one to walk or teleport back to base in order to heal and assign skill points which can be quite boring. There’s also very few ways of healing and no clear outline on where to heal in base, taking an unnecessary moment or two to figure out that it was the three middle tiles in spawn. I believe that all seven tiles, not just the middle three should heal, or at the very least have a clear outline.
NC Soft has done little to innovate the ranking system, copying other MOBA systems entirely, maybe renaming a thing or two. They should have taken example from Guild Wars 2’s Structured PvP ranking system, where players must create a team, give it a name and that team is ranked and not the individual. It is after all, a team based game. Players should also be able to join/create several teams to be able to play ranked with friends who are at different skill levels. The current system (like other MOBA’s) deters players from playing the game with friends in ranked PvP and forces them to play the game with random individuals resulting in a very toxic environment.
- CPU: Intel Quad Core or higher / AMD Phenom II X4 or higher
- RAM: 4 GB
- OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32bit/64bit)
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 9800GT(512MB)/AMD Radeon HD4850 equivalent or higher
- Disk Space: 5 GB
- Developer: NC Soft
- Publisher: NC Soft
- Payment Model: Free to Play, In-Game Cash Shop
- Online/Offline: Online
- Players: Up to 12 players
- Release Date: TBA
- Official Site: http://www.playmxm.com/