PAX Prime 2013: The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot

By: Michael Dao

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is quite possibly the most creative free to play game that’s coming out that hardly anyone has heard of. This needs to change. The title comes from Ubisoft, and didn’t originate from the wish to build a dungeon crawler, but the idea of creating a space where players can create things, and then allow different players to then interact with them. The whole castles and fantasy theme came later.

Upon first glance, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot looks like any other 3rd person, isometric dungeon crawler set in a fantasy realm with bright colors vaguely reminiscent of the Dreamworks Shrek universe. It’s only after playing the game for a bit that the asymmetrical gameplay presented takes center stage, and then manages to steal the show. The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot focuses on wealth and the accumulation of it. The player starts the game by entering generic, NPC made dungeons, and then navigating past all of the included traps, and defeating whatever monsters are in the way until they reach the final chamber, and past that, the treasure room. If you were successful in navigating the castle without dying and under a certain amount of time, you’re then welcome to pilfer a decent percentage of whatever was in the coffers.

Yes, it’s all fine and good to collect gold and the second resource in The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, life force, but the question begs to be asked, what do you do with it all? The answer to that, is where the genius comes in. In addition to raiding castles, the player must design, build and improve their own castle, to repel invaders that want to make off with their own resources. It’s this part that for me, is the most fun. I can be honest and say that invading other dungeons to steal their gold and life force is not for me. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with the mechanics of it. They’re actually quite fleshed out. As there are with many other similar games, as you level up one of the three characters you can play with, you unlock new abilities, and the mobs that you kill can sometimes drop loot that you can then pick up and equip. Or you can just craft your own equipment at your new castle. Each character can only equip a limited number of abilities at a time, so there is some thought required on the players part, and there are certainly enough abilities to afford a variety of playstyles.

However, building dungeons is incredibly fun. The best way to describe it is you’re playing a version of the Sims where you’re encouraged to be an asshole. Heck, not even encouraged but rewarded. The first thing to do is to place some mines in your castle – these gold and life force mines provide a steady revenue stream, and from there the player can start using the collected resources to upgrade and build out their castle, from upgrading and customizing rooms, to adding creatures and bosses, and putting in traps. Creatures and boss creatures can also be upgraded to have one of several abilities, so there’s a quite real possibility for a great deal of complexity as the player can pair up customized creature sets that complement each other well. There are also checks in place to ensure that a player can’t pack a dungeon room with a thousand creatures and make it impossible for anyone to clear. Each creature is assigned a numerical value that tells us how powerful it is, and there is a cap of just how much numerical power can be concentrated in a certain area. This levels the playing field. There are also other fantastic features to the game, and the best is that upon completing a castle, you can leave a note for the owner. My day was made when someone who was unable to clear my castle sent, “WTF.” There’s also a replay mode so you can watch what people who entered your castle did inside, and a test mode where you can attempt to tackle your own defenses yourself.

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is indeed a free to play title, and in some of the mechanics, it shows, albeit not in a bad way. Gems can be purchased with in game money, and these gems are used to speed up in game processes. Let’s say that you’re upgrading your gold mines so they can produce you more gold per hour. The upgrade process takes a specified amount of time, and depending on how much time the player has left to go in the upgrade, they can decided to spend a certain amount of gems to speed it up. It’s a fair way to monetize the game, as it charges the players who choose to pay it the, “I want it now tax” and provides no real competitive edge – it is hardly an I win button by far. The title also comes with your choice of one character, you can either pick an archer, a knight or a mage, and though details are scarce, they will be adding a fourth female class soon. Additional class slots are purchased with gems. Coming in the future are additional ways in which you can spend your hard earned gems, such as cosmetic themes for your castle.

This title is currently in closed beta, and Ubisoft is targeting an open beta by year’s end, and of course, release soon thereafter. This game is for PC, and is a ton of fun.

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