MASTER X MASTER – NCSOFT
NICKNAME: “MASTER X MOBA”
Master X Master is a new game in a genre that’s been dominated by a select few others. This game competes with these giants by offering something new.
Master X Master is a new MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) from NCsoft trying to make the genre feel fresh and new. It succeeds in many ways and feels very different from most MOBA’s, but there are some areas that could use some improving. This game is timed and It includes many different characters with differing abilities that are either original characters designed just for this game or characters from other NCsoft titles.
Unlike most MOBA’s which usually just have character background stories, Master X Master tells us more. Although it is a simplistic story. Many years ago, robots known as Synd waged war on humans and conquered the planet, forcing the human race to flee to outer space. The player controls a group of Masters sent to earth to take it back from the Synd.
Master x Master also presents character backstories you can choose to read as well as mini, visual novel style cut scenes for each individual character. These are designed to tell you a little more about the character personalities and character relations with other masters. The player may unlock these stories by simply playing as the character a required number of times. This may require you to play 10 times for one master, then 30, then 50, etc. These are cool little additions to the game and are pretty entertaining.
This game has a good variety of playable characters, also known as masters. Currently, there are 38 different masters with more being added to the game over time. Each character can have 3 abilities for any given match, two of which are customizable. There are also four abilities you choose 2 from, while your fifth “ultimate” ability is permanent. The player does not just go into the match with one character either. They instead enter with two! They are able to swap between their heroes at any point during the matches using the mouse wheel, which can even be done in the middle of a battle, granting 0.1 seconds of invulnerability. This ability the player can utilize has a fair cooldown rate and also enables the hero the player is not using to slowly regenerate health. Heroes are also tasked with many different roles such as support, damage, and surviveability.
There is yet another layer that you have to consider when picking your hero. Each hero has an attribute represented as fire, water, or earth. Fire attributed heroes deal more damage to earth, but take more damage to water. This applies to Player versus player matches as well as PVE, however, in PVE all enemies will be of one attribute and it will tell you what attribute you should be beforehand.
Master x Master also features “Nodes” which are items that you put into your node page to give small little buffs to any hero using that specific page. Before each game you can select any node page you have and activate it for any hero you choose. These nodes can be useful for stats such as defense penetration, life steal, health, and more. You can obtain these nodes from completing missions, playing through PVE stages, or you may decide to purchase them for gold at the games central hub.
Heroes are unlocked by buying them with xcoin, or with sol. Some heroes require you to complete an achievement before it will allow you to unlock them, but you can get around this by using xcoin instead of sol. NCsoft gives you two heroes that are incredibly strong and simple at the very start of the game, as well as 3 free heroes that rotate weekly.
Rotating characters GIF
Titan Ruins- This is the standard MOBA formula portion of the game. Titan Ruins presents the player with one map containing three lanes and a jungle in between. Minions spawn from the core of your base and go down each of the three lanes until they encounter the opposing team. While all of this is going on, each team tries to kill the other, the enemy minions, jungle monsters, and destroy towers until they ultimately take down the opposing team’s core resulting in a win!
There are some rather unique additions to the MOBA genre with Master x Master. One such addition is a timer. Each game has a time limit of twenty five minutes to destroy the opposing team’s core or amount the most points. Anything you kill or even hurt grants you points towards your team’s total which also contributes to each players individual level. Each time you level up you can upgrade one ability for your character and while at your base, you can even upgrade stats like defense penetration, mobility, health, etc.
The time limit component is a double edged sword, as it prevents the matches from going on for too long, but it denies the chance of turnaround much later in the game. This can sometimes result in the better team losing if they weren’t collecting points efficiently, even if they have been mopping the floor with the enemy players.
A boss level monster appears in the game for every 100 points a team receives. The Titan spawns at the team’s core and helps take over the middle lane. Destroying them grants a lot of points and they drop a token you can pick up. If you return four of these tokens to your base, one of your 5 players is able to turn into a titan for a short time and is able to fully control it. When a player wants to turn into a titan the team is able to vote yes or no since only one person can use this transformation. This feature can really turn the tide of battle and does incentiveize collecting points while also pushing and playing games faster.
Combat Arena- This is a 3v3 game mode where players or AI take control of their characters and fight each other. There are no minions or towers this time around, just six players battling each other to see who can get the most kills in five minutes. These matches are a lot of fun and function as quick bursts where you can take out any frustrations you have from losses in titan ruins.
PVE Stages (Player Vs Environment)- Master x Master includes a PVE mode where 1-3 players team up to fight waves of Synd, cyborg zombies, or crazy wildlife while making their way to the boss of the stage. Each stage has at least one mini boss and then a big boss at the very end. There are a good variety of difficulties to keep things fresh for a while even though the maps can be repetitive. . From these stages monsters drop gold, xp, and items you can use to upgrade your heroes. The bosses are quite varied, but some of them are more difficult than others and considering you queue up for a random dungeon most of the time, this can become a drop in the hat for how difficult the level will be. PVE stages work surprisingly well for a MOBA and makes you wonder why more MOBA’s don’t have something like this.
Mini games- These are a selection of free for all mini games in Master x Master where you have to survive while also dodging laser or electricity You may also be tasked with collecting as much candy as you can, racing to the end of the obstacle course, or keeping yourself from falling off a floor with falling platforms. This game mode is only available on Saturdays and Sundays for some reason which seems like an unnecessary limitation, but it is fun when you can play it and is a nice change of pace
Currency – This game has 3 main types of currency besides various upgrade materials that are used to upgrade abilities. Gold is a currency that is used to unlock abilities, buy upgrade materials or nodes, and to upgrade any master’s abilities for the PVE mode. Xcoin is a currency you can get by completing missions or spending real money for them. You use xcoin to unlock new heroes, skins, more storage space for your items, or even additional node pages. The other main currency is called Sol, which is unlocked by either completing a few missions, leveling up your player level, or by playing nightmare difficulty for the PVE stages. Every time you level up you get at least one Sol, but it does get increasingly harder to level up as you progress. Sol is only used for unlocking more masters. Depending on the master, it takes anywhere from 2-11 sol to unlock them. These currencies are all obtainable through missions which are separated into 3 categories, daily, weekly, and monthly. This gives you a nice goal to work towards while allowing you to decide what mode you want to play to finish them faster.
If you are a fan of MOBA’s then this one is well worth checking out. It probably won’t replace any game you might be currently playing, but it’s different enough to be a unique experience and is certainly a nice change of pace for the MOBA genre. If you’re not a fan of this type of game or are unfamiliar then this is a good start. Master x Master has enough modes other than the standard MOBA platform to keep you entertained and it certainly plays differently than other games like it. So what are you waiting for? You should at least check it out see if it’s your thing! If not, no worries, it’s free to play!