Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Heroes & Generals Beta Update

7 Yanks in a Willys

Back in April Reto-Moto announced that the World War II Free to Play First Person Shooter Heroes & Generals was nearing beta. I was already lucky enough to to be part of the game's closed alpha at that point, but once the game hit closed beta they started to invite many new players. I have played Heroes & Generals many times throughout March, April and May and it is shaping up to be a very interesting and exciting game. If you are worried about the F2P aspect of Heroes & Generals don't be, it is very complementary and by no means give any players an competitive edge if they are willing to spend a lot of money, instead it allows you to highly customize your units quicker than one might if they are earn money through normal moneys. If you haven't read about it before let me give an overview of Heroes & Generals, plus the new info, a new trailer and some impressions of the game.

In this WWII FPS you  must choose to fight for the Allies or Axis. Once you do so you are presented with a campaign map of Western Europe, a map that is dotted with towns, factories and many locations that can be fought over. On this campaign map there a icons moving all over, these icons are Assault Teams. The Assault Teams make up the real time strategy aspect of Heroes & Generals. Once you are wealthy enough you can purchase an Assault Team, which is anything from a basic infantry unit, a paratrooper unit, a bomber squadron or an armor company. You may then move these teams around the map and use them to either attack enemy locations or support other teams in an ongoing battle. So if you are in-game fighting a battle and an enemy tank company shows up then you better hope you already have an anti-tank unit there of some kind, or you better hope that some other play on the campaign map is paying attention and moves in some anti-tank support. It is a really interesting concept and makes battles feel more dynamic. There is a video showing the whole campaign map and assault team part of the game, but I will post that later on in this post.

Combat is one of the roughest thing's about Heroes & Generals at the moment. I've seen it come quite some way since I've been playing it, but even in the current beta they still have a lot of work to do and thankfully they are well aware of that. When you are in the campaign map (as seen above) you see many battles that are currently being fought (right side descending menu on the screenshot). You can choose to engage in any of those battles, but each of them will tell you specifically what types of Assault Teams are there and how many reinforcements each assault team has left. Once you choose a battle the game will open up and load into a map. There are currently only three or four maps right now and you do see them repeated over and over as a result, but the maps have a pretty large scale. I appreciate that the scale is large enough to properly accommodate tanks and air, unlike Battlefield 3. You choose a unit once you are in there, many of which will have different entry points on the map, and then you head towards the battle lines. Each map has different capture points and they must be taken in succession. Eventually the attacking team will reach some main objectives and once those are taken (there are usually two of those) the defenders lose and that area will be taken by that side.

Like I previously said combat is rough, but let me explain that a little more. Right now there are some missing animations, some errors in design and quite a few things that can make combat tough. Planes in particular are very difficult to control and have a very limited supply. Infantry are a bit tough as well, mainly due to some aiming reticules and iron sights feeling off or not working. Plus there is a tremendous imbalance with machine guns and how they basically trump every other infantry weapon at the moment, but like I said before they are well aware of these issues and promising to work on it. The great thing about combat is that in every situation you have options. The game feels like a typical FPS, except it is slower and the maps are very open. There are some overly difficult choke points on a few maps, but you can often deal with them by grabbing a jeep, a halftrack, a tank or using simple flanking tactics. Each map also is affected by weather and more than a few times I have seen attacking teams using dense fog to their advantage.

Heroes & Generals is starting to feel really good, even with the bugs and problems. I cannot wait to see more in-game maps, smoother animations, balanced weapons and more progress. The mix of the strategy map, character customization and challenging in-game battles makes the game very attractive, especially since it will be free. In the video I'm about to show Reto-Moto shows how they will have an iPhone/iPad App that will allow you to manage the strategy portion of the game. So if you have a few assault teams and want to keep an eye on how things are going you can jump into that wherever you are. This video also shows how the strategy portion of the game works in tandem with the in-game battles. Take a look and then I have a tiny bit more to divulge.

If anything about this game sounds intriguing to you I encourage you to try it. They are accepting beta sign-ups over at the Heroes & Generals website, just like always, but now that it is in beta they have been inviting more players than before. The servers have been getting more stable and they do updates on the game pretty often. I didn't cover everything about the game, like unit customization, so if you have any questions feel free to ask and I will gladly answer them. Thanks for reading and I hope you keep Heroes & Generals on your radar. 
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-Written by Sean Cargle


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