Supernova Preview

No one gives any love to regular novas anymore. 

The last time that I got hands-on with Supernova, the developers had stressed the RTS elements particularly heavily; in particular, the ability to decide which troops you wanted to build and upgrade— and how—for your lane units. This time the focus of the experience was clearly on playability, and getting the players into the flow of the sci-fi mech themed MOBA.

I certainly had more fun this time around (since I was able to better marshal the use of my commander) and was told that the commanders had gone through a lot of balancing since the closed alpha launch event I'd attended earlier this year. The game is also faster, and this was definitely something I could attest to from the session I played.

The focus of this session was the new commanders, new abilities, and the speed at which the game flowed. Game sessions, I was told, generally were coming in around 30-35 minutes long, though since the session at PAX Prime was filled with new players, they were rounding out more like 45 as players became accustomed to the game's style of play.

Now in their closed beta cycle, the developers of Supernova has had a lot of time to tune the game, and it's quite noticeable. I played as a human commander and ranged unit known as The Stormherald (the staffer on hand was quick to point out the devs had specificed it was "The" Stormherald and not just "Stormherald", since he thought it was funny how specific it was). When I'd used ranged units in the prior build of the game, the attack range had seemed almost artificially shallow, resulting in me frequently wading too deeply into combat and being killed, something that was definitely fixed, at least with this unit. 

In addition to the normal specials, Supernova has a number of unlockable extra abilities (also on the standard cooldown timer) and I swapped one of the standard ones out for a new ability to get one's lane units to attack a selected enemy commander who enters their field of attack. Pairing this with a special ability to fire a grappling hook that not only damages, but draws directly units to point-blank range with yours meant zipping an enemy commander to where I sat, in the heart of my lane units who blasted them into oblivion. Well, until their respawn, of course.

I enjoyed my time with Supernova, which as someone who has a hard time getting invested in MOBAs, is saying something. The game is currently in closed Beta on the PC, with sign up available here