We cringed when we first heard that Deep Silver were calling Dead Island Epidemic a ZOMBA. The whole thing sounded like a cash grab, taking a well-known (though, not that well-respected) zombie franchise and stuffing it into a MOBA mould, cracking its FPS skeleton and resetting it to look a little bit more like Dota.
Deep Silver have now loosened their grip on the game’s details and what they’re saying actually makes DIE sound pretty darn enticing.
For a start, there are three teams of four fighting in DIE, not the two teams of five that you have in Dota. Those 12 players are fighting for control of supply dumps, not the destruction of towers and ancients. The creeps are zombies, that much was to be expected, but with the new mechanics it’s not clear how they’ll play. Will there be lanes for them to waddle down in the same way as other MOBAs, or will they spawn outside the map and stumble in?
You’ll also be able to craft weapons, as you do in the other Dead Island games. Now, this may just be Deep Silver playing fast and loose with the term ‘crafting’. You could say that you craft high level weapons in Dota, simply by combining low value items into a single high value piece. Or, it might be that the developer has you harvesting resources as you hold supply dumps. If so, a team may lag in points in the start of the game by avoiding supply points and crafting epic gear, then pull ahead in the end game by dominating the poorly equipped (but higher-pointed) competitors.
Finally, and this may not sound like a huge change but it will separate DIE from other MOBAs, you’ll have direct control of your character. In Dota and League of Legends you control your hero by clicking on the ground, WASD are taken up by ability and item shortcuts. In DIE those abilities are controlled differently, WASD move your character about the mouse is for shooting and swinging your weapons.
Closed beta is “right around the corner,” according to the site.