Warriors Rise to Glory! Multiplayer Beta – First Impressions
By Antonio aka @hypecaster
What makes a great game? Time and again I come back to the same benchmark, can it compete against the other great games in my backlog. Among the seemingly infinite options of things to play, does the game pull me back in? Surprisingly, Warriors: Rise to Glory! kept me at the keyboard for much longer than expected.
I jumped at the opportunity to join the multiplayer open beta because it was pitched to me as a turn-based RPG with detailed character customization, PVP, and ‘witty writing’. The game technically checks those boxes, but I was surprised that the game’s rogue-lite progression wasn’t advertised considering I think it makes such a big impact (I’m not a fan of the genre). Also calling the writing witty is… a bit of a stretch.
Although the developer has plans for a single-player offering the current beta features a handful of multiplayer modes. You begin the game by creating your custom warrior and then deciding how to invest your starting supply of points across your typical RPG stats (Strength, Agility, Attack, Defense, Endurance, and Vitality). Naturally each has a unique effect on combat, increasing your hit chance, dodge probability, and action stamina cost.
I spent the majority of my time in the 1v1 mode where you and an online opponent faceoff in a single-lane gladiator area. Each warrior gets a single turn each round, your stats determine your stamina pool that you must use to take action. You can choose to move along the spaces in the lane to rush or retreat from your opponent, or attack with a melee weapon (or ranged weapon if you’ve purchased one).
Once you’re face to face you can kick an opponent back a square, possibly into a health or turn stealing hazard that the crowd (seemingly randomly) throws in the lane. Interestingly you can use your turn to ‘Entertain’ the crowd. Every time you unleash this kind of taunt you fill bars on your crowd meter, which you can build up and spend to prompt the crowd into throwing bananas at the opponent. These crowd attacks deal damage, reduce your opponents crowd meter, and at its highest level inflicts a short stun. Eventually you’ll run out of stamina and you’ll need to spend a turn sleeping. Regardless of how large your maximum pool is, this one-turn snooze replenishes your energy completely.
The highlight of the game was how battles end. If your health is depleted and you lose you can beg for your life and offer some of your hard earned coin to your opponent in exchange for mercy. You choose the amount, so depending on how much you’ve built your character up you might want to sweeten the pot with a big bribe. Alternatively you can spit in the face of fate, offer nothing, and invite the enemy to kill you. Regardless the victor makes the last call to spare your life in exchange for your offering or execute you.
The animations that trigger when you execute an enemy are similar to a fatality in Mortal Kombat. Actually more like a Babality or Friendship because these finishing moves are also meant to be brutal but funny. One of the default animations involves farting in the opponent’s face causing them to pass out. Needless to say any time the game brandished this kind of humor, whether through highlighting the fact that these warriors are dumb brutes, odd character creator options, or silly dance taunt animations I was turned off.
I want to be clear that not all the death animations were cringe-worthy. They unfold with a high energy fun cinematic flair. Many mimic internet memes, iconic anime moments and pop-culture references. Eventually earning the right to equip anything other than the default fart is one of my top goals though I could have missed something because I couldn’t figure out how to unlock them. Speaking of progression, the way the game handles unlocking upgrades was one of my favorite and most addicting aspects.
As you level up and gather currency a shop opens that offers weapons and armor in exchange for your precious metals (silver and gold). You can also eventually purchase persistent upgrades for your home that “Applies to your current and future warrior.” Now this is where things start to heat up. If your warrior is downed in battle they can be permanently killed, or spared by your opponent.
If you spare your enemy you’ll earn Glory Coins, choose to slay them and you’ll earn Soul Points. Each need to be collected to purchase different upgrades and each upgrade has increasingly powerful (and expensive) tiers that you’ll need to save up to buy. These upgrades change the game for the better because many take away the annoying sting of defeat that accompany most rogue-like RPGs.
Instead of starting completely from scratch after you die (which I hate) the aforementioned permanent upgrades “strengthen your bloodline” by giving you more starting silver when creating new characters or giving you more attributes or skill points to work with. I’m sure experience level effects matchmaking in some way but I still found myself having fun beating up on opponents with weaker stats.
The game rewards you for achieving daily and weekly goals (spare X number of opponents for example) but I also set personal goals to earn enough to purchase a full set of powerful armor, and gaining more game-altering upgrades.
With so many stats at play, weapon and armor choices, different abilities, and the risk reward of choosing when to spend a turn to gain back energy I can only assume that the game has set the groundwork for deep strategic play. In my short time with the game I can’t say for certain, but I didn’t get the sense that the battle system was fine-tuned. The random elements that jump in to shorten battles seems a bit intrusive. I could be wrong, for all I know advanced players could uncover a fair and satisfying meta.
I didn’t spend much time in the other game modes but there was a surprising amount to see. You can play 1v1 in Casual mode to eliminate the risk of character loss, but I somehow ended up liking the higher stakes of the Brutal mode where characters can permanently die. There is a dull tavern dice game to play where you can make wagers to earn more coins but it feels divorced from the rest of the game and undercooked (this is a beta after all). There is a 2v2 PvP mode and even a Boss Mode in the works.
The odd 4-player free for all mode stood out. It retains much of the mechanics of the 1v1 and 2v2 battles but in this mode you view the battle arena from a high isometric view. Instead of a single lane of movement you battle on a much larger circular grid with interlocking paths. Before the battle begins you can whisper chat to other players to form temporary alliances. If you and your ally end up being the last two standing all bets are off and you’re back to a fight to the death.
I didn’t see the appeal of the mode in the slightest. I don’t think the alliance system adds to the fun in any way. The biggest difference I found that the matches took much longer to complete since you have to trek across a larger area to meet your opponent. A ring of fire eventually shrinks the play area battle royale style to force the final confrontation but not nearly soon enough.
I’m not sure how the developer Gavra Games might handle microtransactions and exchanging real world cash for gold come final release. Having multiple currencies usually hint at a paid premium option. Maybe they will take a reasonable approach but as of now it appears that weapons and armor effects stats, and upgrades effect starting character builds so unless things change it would definitely be a thin line to toe.
For all its faults there are a lot of little touches and intangibles that make the game charming and fun. Hold down the right mouse button and battle animations play in slow-mo for dramatic effect. I don’t know how many execution animations are available but they add just enough enjoyment that I didn’t want to click to skip them. The rewards and upgrades game me attainable goals that seemed at least at first glance worth at least some of my time.
The 1v1 battles were short enough and the penalties for death lenient enough to make the decision to create one more character and fight one more battle an easy call. If it weren’t for the literal toilet humor and the low-quality cartoonish style of the warrior avatars I think I’d enjoy the game even more.
Warriors: Rise to Glory! Offers a strange mix of lite-strategy, adolescent humor, and rogue-like progression that somehow works. It does just enough to keep me playing, and to warrant a recommendation. As of now the game has no release date or info if other platforms are targeted but you can check out the open beta for yourself on Steam to see if it’s your cup of banana tea.