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Helldivers 2 meets League of Legends in flashy new Steam MOBA

Blending the co-op chaos of Helldivers 2 and the base defense mechanics of League of Legends, this new Steam MOBA looks like a blast.

Helldivers 2 meets League of Legends in flashy new Steam MOBA: A man with short black hair and a goatee stands with a weapon over his shoulder, a huge glowing purple orb behind him

While 2024 is a slightly quieter year in our virtual world – there are no Diablo 4s or Starfields – I’ve already played (and completed) more games in the space of five months than I did last year. While League of Legends will forever remain at the top my most played list, Helldivers 2 remains high in second place, despite my natural preference for fantasy over sci-fi. It’s no surprise, then, that Wardens Rising looks right up my alley. Blending the frenetic co-op combat of Helldivers, the base defense mechanics of League of Legends, and a splash of Warcraft, we caught up with Big Moxi Games’ founder Damon Alberts to find out more.

Wardens Rising is described as a “mix of ARPG shooter and base defense strategy,” and is characterized by colorful visuals and a whole lot of chaos. Tasked with defending your customizable base from waves of bloodthirsty enemies, you can dive in with up to four other teammates, or go it solo and try to best the hordes alone.

The action is viewed from a top-down perspective like League, but it’s all PvE which is reminiscent of Diablo. Alberts tells me however that Wardens is more than just mash up – it’s a fresh new take on multiplayer games.

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“The novel mix of ARPG shooter action with fast and fluid combat mechanics and base defense strategy delivered through an exhilarating build-and-fight game loop is unlike anything on the market today,” he tells me in our exclusive interview.

“We worked tirelessly to make the combat and movement in Wardens feel intuitive, fast, and exciting. [We’re] pushing ourselves to deliver some of the best isometric combat action ever while making the overall experience memorable by infusing satisfying base defense strategy elements.”

A videogame character protects a huge glowing blue base as enemies swarm it, the area is covered in snow

Speaking of bases, these aren’t like the Nexus in League of Legends. Instead, they’re fully customizable, meaning you can concoct all manner of traps to ensnare your enemies. “Before each invasion, players use resources to build defensive structures including walls, towers, traps, teleporters, and more,” Alberts explains.

“As each Synthesis Core [the item that needs to be defended] is attached multiple times, you can upgrade and optimize these between each onslaught to adapt to the challenge faced. This can lead to some pretty impressive and elaborate set-ups by the end of the last invasion for each map.

“Multiple paths on each map and escalating invasions demand some strategic defense planning,” he continues. “It was important to us to ensure the build phase is quick and intuitive, focusing on the fun, action-packed battles – our vision for Wardens Rising is that it’s a uniquely thrilling ARPG shooter base defense game versus a more traditional base building, construction-focused game.”

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But while the base building sets Wardens Rising apart from games like League of Legends, there are clear homages to a few other series in there. The one I spotted was in the teaser trailer above – hordes of orcs spilling out of a big portal ringing any bells?

“Absolutely, Blizzard’s Warcraft universe is one of many different sci-fi and fantasy IPs across media that inspired us when creating the Wardens Rising backstory and world,” he tells me. “We were deeply interested in exploring how humanity rises up and fights for survival when faced with an existential threat that so often comes from rifts in reality, alternative dimensions of parallel universes.

“Looking beyond Warcraft, we drew inspiration from a broader range of influences. The epic hero team aesthetic of Guardians of the Galaxy and even the space opera elements of Star Wars definitely resonate with the Wardens story.”

We’ll be able to find out more about the overarching narrative during the game’s campaign missions – while not entirely linear, they’ll drop a slew of lore nuggets for enthusiasts to devour.

A player in a mech crosses a metal bridge over lava, blowing fire from huge canons on its front

What I find more interesting is Alberts’ closing comment, which hints that this may be our merry band of misfits’ first outing of many. “This is just the beginning for the Wardens universe. Future games will delve deeper into the lore, exploring the various factions, characters, and dimensions within this vast world.” You heard it here first, folks. This is just the start of an exciting new journey.

The Wardens Rising release date is set for Q4 of 2024, so yes, we’ll have to wait a little longer. You can, however, add it to your wishlist if all of this sounds like your kind of party.

In the meantime, we have a list of all the best MOBAs if you’re looking for something a little different. Alternatively, if you don’t want to break the bank but fancy a new adventure, we have a rundown of all the best free Steam games, too.

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