Review: Sins of a Dark Age

Can I call Sins of a Dark Age SoDA for short? Or SoaDA but that’s not as cool.

Let me start by saying I know it’s hard to start any MOBA. Even if you’re a seasoned veteran, the different playing styles, items, and champions are a huge handicap when it comes to learning a new MOBA. The first MOBA I ever played was League of Legends and I haven’t played it in a while so any skills I may have had are beyond rusty. I also only had the patience to play one game as my rage-quitting skills have not lessened over my time away. With that in mind, I try to write this review subjectively.

I don’t think that Sins of a Dark Age is a bad MOBA. I found many parts of it to be frustrating as I spent a lot of time learning how to play League of Legends properly. With this being said, I also don’t think there is room in the game-o-sphere for another MOBA. These are games that you have to spend time and effort to learn and, if you don’t, you’re stuck being “that person” on the team and you never really have any fun.  I think that new MOBA’s are fun to try out, but when you’ve invested time and effort into one game, why spend time doing it all over again in another?

Anyway, back to SoDA. This one is your normal 3 lane MOBA, as most of them are. I think the only one that I’ve played that didn’t follow this was Dawngate, and we all know how well that one worked out. It has the same 4 towers in each lane, but the mid point of each lane offers a tiny side lane that can be used for ambushing or going for short walks while you’re being ambushed.

The jungle is a little different and a lot confusing, especially your first time around. It didn’t look like there were enough creeps for a jungler to be successful, but there were other things going on in the jungle that might make use for somebody claiming that as their territory. If there were a jungler, that person would have to spend a lot of time ganking because it didn’t look like they would be able to level up fast enough by just killing what was there.

I liked the environment and the graphics. It is labeled as a dark fantasy type of game and the graphics reminded me a little of Alice in Wonderland with the big mushrooms and oddly fluorescent foliage. Bodies hang from the towers in an ominous way and I feel like if time were invested into any part of this game, the graphics are where that time was well spent.

Ironclad Games

One of the most frustrating aspects of SoDA were the minions. I don’t have an exact timer, but I’m pretty sure they spawned every 10 seconds and got in the way of pretty much anything offensively. There were less minions per wave than what spawn in LoL, but it seemed like you couldn’t move forward because the next wave of minions were already there to you. Minions also got mad strong in the end game. I had a group of around 8 of them take me down in 10 seconds at my own base before I even realized what was happening. In my mind, minions are there to force the flow of the game by helping you level in your early game and helping towers drop in the end game. There aren’t there to wreck me at level 13 with their super fast attack speed and great defense.

In a related rant, let me move on to the towers. The towers are crazy powerful…against champions. Against minions is a completely different story. A tower could drop me in 5 hits, but take 7-10 to take out the catapult minion. Maybe this is supposed to stop tower diving, but I’ve never played a game where that’s really changed the flow of the game. Anytime somebody had enough health to tower dive, their team was winning and they could afford the extra gear.

Ironclad Games

I honestly think that SoDA is doing too much and not enough. For example, the champions and abilities are nothing new. I get that there’s only so much you can do, but everything seemed uninspired and boring. On the other end of the spectrum, I think that there were too many decisions in the wrong places like upgrading your glyphs mid-game. Maybe this annoyed me so much because I had no idea what they were for and reading them while getting attacked would kind of be a burden on my game play, but I feel like that’s something that should be handled outside of the game. Would it really make a difference if it were changed mid game? And if it did, would you want it to make such a difference that it changes the flow of the game?

If SoDA wants to gain the following of newer MOBA players, they will have to work on the recommended items list. I followed it to a T and I didn’t feel like I got any stronger. This could be because I didn’t know the champion or how to read the game, but if you’re a new player and you do what the game says but it no longer helps, then I’d probably just stop playing the game. It got to the point where the obvious veterans of the game were so OP there was no point in even trying to defend by engaging. God forbid you had to 1v1. At one point, I was just running around my tower getting wrecked by a guy who took me down from full health even with the tower attacking him. How is that ok? In short, I didn’t feel like I got any stronger with the items they recommended I use so yeah, fix that.

Annoyance award of the century goes to how much your character talks. Like, they don’t shut up. I know that your champion is going to say something quirky and maybe funny. This is popular of all MOBA’s. I think SoDA might have gone a little overboard.

The only unique aspect of SoDA are the random quests that pop up giving you the option to capture areas before the enemy team does. I assume that if you win at it, you get stat upgrades or gold. To me, it’s more annoying than worth it because you basically have to abandon your lane and go into the jungle to capture points. Not just one point either. This isn’t just a 2 minute trip to a creep you have to team kill . This is an expedition that takes 5-10 minutes depending on how much resistance you come across and takes you through the entire jungle. Not only does it mess up the flow of the game, it turns an already long game into a longer one.

So, what Sins of a Dark Age is implying is that I have to deal with rapidly spawning and kind of powerful minions, random quests that pop up in the jungle, glyphs that I have to upgrade and probably won’t use, while also defeating and defending towers. Where is the give here? When do I have to stop grinding and start actually enjoying the game? It’s hard enough to find people that can just hold a lane much less multitask like their life depends on it.

In conclusion, I think if a lot of balancing were to be done, Sins of a Dark Age might be a MOBA worth playing if you aren’t already invested in a MOBA. I don’t think that it offers anything different and the things that make it different are more tedious and annoying rather than something that would make me want to break from the norm and play it. I think a lot of community building will have to be done, too. It took 5 queues and 10 minutes to find a game that I could start playing.

Whatever happens with Sins of a Dark Age, I wish Ironclad Games the best of luck, but I won’t be playing this one again.