My General Experience

I've tried to give more focused feedback on the individual forum posts however I've generally found my best way of being able to convey my feelings is in a central information dump so I'm sorry but i hope you bear with me and i will try to keep this as information dense as possible.

Getting into the test weekend I instantly downloaded the client and opened it. While the actual game was downloading i greatly enjoyed the art and very clean design of the client. I enjoyed chatting with all the people (definitely biased here due to the fact that everyone is probably just as excited to be here but hey still a great feeling), and once the download finished i quickly jumped into game. Note having played league, dota, SC2, HotS, and Age of Empires I thought that i wouldn't need the tutorial and that intro bots would be too easy, I'll come back to this fact.

Getting into the game i quickly adjusted a few hotkeys (changing items to ctrl-q through ctrl-d, don't remember why but for some reason i thought that would feel more natural, i have since reset), then got into champ select. I spent a long while overwhelmed by all the options of teams and mercenaries and probably spent about 15 minutes on that screen reading through all the different units trying to figure out which team I wanted to try first. I ended up settling on alder because the tree mechanics looked fun and interesting. Confirmed and got into the game.

The game was a bit of a crapshoot (that whole not watching the tutorial thing really bit me in the butt). First i couldn't figure out how to build a unit, i accidentally teched to level 2 after spending 3 minutes trying to figure out which buildings were mine and how to build units. I managed to figure out unit deploying fairly easily after that however the hero's build command really threw me for a loop. I kept trying to build things on the ground and didn't understand what it meant when it told me i couldn't build there i had to build on a gem or expansion. Believe it or not I lost that game.

I then watched the tutorial and learned a lot more about the mechanics of the game. Thinking that would fix all my issues i queued back up against normal bots only to get stomped again. Accepting defeat i switched to the intro bots and felt much more in my element with the slower pace of the game and with the notifications and advice popups got alot more comfortable with the basic mechanisms of gameplay. From there i moved on to co-op against normal bots into being able to solo normal bots and started trying out different builds. Along the way also learning that there are times where mercenaries help (Special thanks to Nib and Burdock for giving me advice about mercenary use and giving me some builds to get me started) as well as figuring out different charm configurations.

I played alot of bot games really wanting to get a feel for the game so i'd be ready when pvp opened up, however this also had the downside of me getting very comfortable with the way bots play. Playing against the bots a lot taught me to value my units and stock, as well as the power of AoE effects. They tend to mass alot of small units and play very aggressively so you would try and pick them off whenever the opportunity arose and could win the game from it. They take the fountains very well uncontested and can punish slacking very heavily however outside of contesting objectives it felt like they would play so aggressive you could bait them into just suiciding into towers or easily picking them off. Also while they would occasionally aggro an expansion it was sporadic enough to not punish you if you didn't build towers for protection, and even losing your expansion you commonly could kill them on the way out.

Quickly commenting on bot teammates, I felt like sometimes they would do what i wanted and other times I would think they were doing what i wanted only for them to wander off and leave me to die. The 2 places this was most notable was with taking camps and the bombs on the ground. The bots would sometimes clear the bombs and other times they'd just sit there and let both of us lose half our army to the bomb because i couldn't click it through their units. Also i would ping to take a camp and the bots would move towards me and sometimes help however i couldn't get them to initiate the camp (important skill when playing vela), and sometimes while they were moving to the objective they would go for 2-3 seconds then get distracted.

After all the bot games i had fairly determined that my favorite heros were Vela, Eris, Ryme, and Alder. Vela, Eris, and Ryme i liked how they each had they're own distinct playstyle that left me as the player feeling powerful and effective, while alder left me with a sense of fun due to the inherited joy of just planting a bunch of trees and just killing the other team with them. Celeste, i still felt powerful and effective with the distinct seiging style but i also felt the bots aggressive playstyle led to her purifiers being far more of a liability than they felt in pvp. Hydros i felt effective but in terms of being a tank i felt like i was fairly generic and i didn't feel powerful due to the tank charms leaving me feeling slow and not as powerful. Grath and Vex i didn't play, still not sure why but i suppose the best way to describe it is they felt gimmicky in a powerful but also simple way that wouldn't really have any avaliable innovation (keep in mind this is just a feeling from watching bots play and reading the description) so i didn't play either of them.

Onto the pvp stories and oh was it a ton of fun, starting with a very back and forth botlane match against pandaponium where he pressured me out of lane early but i stuck it out and built alot of DoT AoE with tier 2 and 3 units then landed a perfect ult on him to turn things around, felt great. From there there were a number of back and forth games which were all a ton of fun. The 3 biggest differences between bots and pvp was the ability usage, valuing units higher, and wards. People tended to play alot more conservatively than the bots leading to very back and forth fights over the fountains which felt super rewarding because every unit mattered and it was all about finding opportunities and exploiting opponent positioning which was amazing. This was also replicated in fighting over wards. The final difference was the use of abilities, most of the time it wasn't all too noticeable (I was already used to the line and circle in the ground meaning vela's planning to hurt you and the nuke circle was trouble (albeit double celeste matches could be problematic), but I hadn't realized the power of Alder's ult, nor even seen Vex or Grath ult so had no idea how to deal with those leading to some pretty bad blowouts.

Overall the game felt super fun to play and I absolutely loved the back and forth pressuring over the fountains. Thought the units that i played were alot of fun and felt very rewarded for putting the time in to try and attain some level of mastery over the different heroes. One of the only things the game left me really wanting for was the outside lanes, after pushing to the healing tower, felt as though it ended very suddenly, partially due to people/bots rarely expanding to the third expansion thus not really setting the opponent behind at all when i managed destroy the outer towers. The other big one builds off of that slightly in that camps felt very unsatisfying to take, they were almost never contested, they never respawned, you took one at the beginning to get a minor exp advantage but really they felt like they were there to fill time and i never felt particularly good taking one and likewise expansion also felt a bit monotonous and unexciting.

I know this was long so I greatly hope it was valuable, thank you so much for the weekend and I hope to play with you all again ASAP. Also if there's anything you'd like me to elaborate on please let me know and I will do my best to do so.

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