Atlas Reactor by Trion Worlds, describable as XCOM meets League of Legends, finally went free-to-play earlier this year, switching back to its original roots.
Atlas Reactor is a tactical turn-based strategy game where players must balance movement, cover, and abilities to wipe out the opposing team. Typical matches are four vs. four, with the winning team being the first to rack up five kills. The game features the standard class types, damage, tank, and healer.
Each character has a handful of abilities, with three generic actions added in. Most abilities deal damage, heal, buff, or move, with a few characters having special abilities that provide extra benefits. Traps, teleports, and stealth are highly valuable for their ability to remove a character from danger or block the path of a melee character/make them pay for being aggressive.
Each turn in a match features four phases: Preparation, Dash, Blast, and Movement. The Preparation phase is where traps, buffs, shields, and heals usually take place. This is where support classes come in extremely handy, as the opposing team may not be able to predict who will get a shield that negates an attack. Some characters have special moves that not only block damage but reflect it as well.
The Dash phase is aptly named. Some characters innately possess special movement abilities that give them an edge in maneuvering. Whether it be the generic teleport used to jump away from a rampaging swordsman or a dash into the middle of a group of enemies that roots them, the Dash phase plays a significant strategic role.
The Blast phase, as can be expected, is where/when most of the primary attacks are launched. Bouncing bullets, rockets, claws, and more are deployed by the various Freelancers for attack. Most of the attacks in this phase are stationary, meaning a champion will be in the same place from beginning to end of the attack.
The Movement phase is the time for repositioning. Melee characters will try and close with the enemy, while ranged damage dealers will try and flank around or to cover. While the Blast phase may be were damage is dealt, the Movement time is where survivability comes most keenly into play. Many times a player will find they are surrounded, and the only hope for survival is to move as quickly and as far away as possible.
Atlas Reactor was originally free-to-play back when it was first released, but after receiving feedback from the player base, Trion chose to make it buy-to-play. Now, it has switched back to the free model. Players can unlock the various Freelancers either by paying real money or earning in-game currency to purchase characters. It can take a fair amount of playing to unlock even one or two of the Freelancers, so grinding may be an issue for players who want more than just the free rotation available to everyone. On the other hand, the rotation (similar to League of Legends) allows players to figure out which styles and roles they are most comfortable with before spending currency on a champion.
In addition to becoming free-to-play, Atlas Reactor now allows players with at least 50 PvP matches and 10 unlocked Freelancers to take part in the official ranked matches. This allows people to earn the special crafting resources to acquire some of the rare rewards options given at the end of a season. Better yet, most of these rewards are limited, in that once offered, they will be archived and almost never brought back again.
“Players who have already paid for the game aren’t being left completely out in the cold: They’ll be given ‘reward packs’ including exclusive titles and emblems, loot matrices, 50,000 flux and 5000 ISO, and access to all future freelancers, including the newly-added Brynn, the Sky Warden,” reports PC Gamer.
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[Featured Image by Atlas Reactor/Trion Worlds]