Atlas Reactor First Impressions – A MOBA Revolution

Atlas Reactor is a new MOBA game developed by Trion Worlds that was released a bit over a week ago. The game features two teams of four players that compete in simultaneous turns with combat mechanics mixing XCOM and of MOBAS such as League of Legends. With highly promising tactical elements, and yet quite intense in practice, the game obviously intended to bring together two genres that are totally opposed and are often considered irreconcilable.

Even with solid a experience of tactical games like XCOM turn, the initial grip can be a bit difficult and might put some off. Fortunately the game welcomes players with a well-designed tutorial that explains the many subtleties introduced by a simultaneously resolution of each action in a single turn turn. Please understand that the interface is still very full and that a lot of information is constantly displayed on the screen, so it will take a while before beginning to truly appreciate all the info displayed, adapting yourself to the attacks of your teammates, or anticipating any possible attack or movement from opponents.

Dash or Blast
Atlas Reactor proposes to choose a Freelancer within archetypes we are already used to, i.e. DPS, tanks and supports, each with their own role, statistics and unique skills. Much like tactical games, the skills in Atlas Reactor come in different categories, all used within a set phase of each turn. First comes the Prep phase. This phase is basically about the Freelancers preparing for the clash to come, placing traps, using shields, going invisible, and so on. Next comes the Dash phase. This one occurs right before the clash itself, allowing Freelancers to use their Dash skills to dodges attacks and/or deal damage before opponents can hit them. Then comes the Blast phase. This is where most attacks will occur, a lot of the Blast skills possibly missing if the target moved during the Dash phase. Finally, there is the movement phase. Assuming you didn’t use a skill that prevents movement, this is the phase where Freelancers will move over the map, running to safety, moving into a better position, or chasing enemies around. This particular turn system has the advantage of enabling all players from both teams to decide on actions and apply them simultaneously, without imposing large timeouts to anyone. The words are thus positioning and anticipation.

It will also be possible to heavily customize your characters in appearance (it must be the game to be profitable eventually) but especially on the skills. Each Freelancer has five different Mods for all his/her skills. These Mods will be somewhat similar to the cards in Paragon, in the way that they each have a cost, and that their is a limit to the total cost of mods a Freelancer can have. So we end up with “builds”, special arrangements of each character that can more or less alter the gameplay heavily. For example, you can use a Mod on a skill that allows it ignore the coverage of enemies, and thus hit them even if they are behind wall. It’s well thought out, and combined with everything else, it allows for particularly interesting tactics, or combinations of devastating skills. Finally there are three consumables, known as Catalysts, that can only be used once per game. These “jokers” allow players to benefit from a special effect, be it a damage bonus for the turn, health regen over 3 turns, a shield for the turn, or emergency teleportation. Force your enemies to use them before giving them the final blow.


More Content Needed
For now, we count twenty-one different characters, and new ones should be introduced in the future to populate the game’s roster. There is also a good number of Skins, emoticons, and other cosmetic elements that must also be unlocked for each character via loot chests. Players owning the game can also obtain these through the in-game currency.

Unfortunately, despite its innovative model, and probably because it is still rather new, Atlas reactor seems rather lacking. The most obvious example will be the fact that the game only gives players access to four maps currently. This might be increased in the future, but makes things rather monotonous right now. Next is the fact that the game forces players to choose their actions within twenty seconds, sometimes making it hard to plan and coordinate attacks and movements with allies. Finally, there is only one game mode available at the moment, which however does a good job at slowly introducing players to the game, allowing them to start by playing with a team of AI Freelancers, against a team AI Freelancers, hone their co-op skills in matches with a team of player allies, and against a team AI Freelancers, till they finally feel ready to dive into complete PvP.

The Good The Bad 
Beginner friendly tutorial Lack of content
Matches only last 15mins on average 36hrs cooldown on looting for Free players
Excellent application of the Tactical MOBA concept Unbalanced Freelancers sometimes show up in the rotation
Diverse builds possible
Honest economic model


Atlas Reactor is a bold gamble that introduces a form of gameplay yet unpublished in the midst of competitive multiplayer games. The economic model is currently excellent, although some will regret the fact that Freelancers cannot be bought with in-game currency. The only true handicap of Atlas Reactor is the lack of content, something that will probably take many months before the game gets bit more comprehensive. Nevertheless, it is extremely rich and tactical, and certainly a breath of fresh air for the genre.


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