Dawngate-Closed Beta First Impressions

Dawngate is a new MOBA by Waystone Games and is currently doing closed beta testing. On Friday, May 24 and 31 they held a 6-hour closed beta and I was one of the lucky players invited to try out the game. I’ve played both League of Legends and Dota2, so my MOBA knowledge is pretty decent and I was excited to try the game out.


Graphics can be a sensitive subject because this kind of game is more in-depth than pretty graphics. With that being said and understood, I wasn’t impressed by what they had developed so far. The pictures of the champions were very crude and didn’t have anything that was distinguishing. Thinking back on the pictures now, for some reason I picture them all to have faces of lions. It’s really weird.

The graphics in-game are a little better. Ability animations are very smooth and the champions look on-par with other MOBA’s. My complaint about the graphics probably comes from the MOBA spoiled side of me that is used to seeing awesome champion select pictures and not so awesome in game champion graphics. It’s a selfish complaint, but one I felt worth mentioning.

Waystone Games

Game Play

There is a mortal side and a spiritual side. I’m not sure what the difference is between the two. If you like League of Legends, you will feel very at home playing Dawngate. Controls, key bindings, and the way you use abilities are very much alike. I even saw similarities between champions.

Dawngate doesn’t follow the well-known meta of Top lane, Jungle, Mid, Jungle, Bottom Lane. Instead, it is Jungle, Top Lane, Jungle, Bottom Lane, Jungle. I haven’t played it enough to really try anything, but I think that the normal selection of champions for a MOBA will be challenged with this set up.

Along with the lanes and jungle, there are 4 spirit wells each team can capture or steal. If a team holds a spirit well, the well will spawn minions that harvest extra gold for the team that holds it. It can be looked at as domination and classic play meshed into one game. It’s a cool aspect that adds a touch of uniqueness to Dawngate.

Another small difference are the turrets which are called Bindings. Bindings have the ability to regenerate after a set amount of time and regenerate faster the closer it is to that team’s platform. I think this is kind of a crutch, but can help balance teams out if they can hold off the enemy team long enough for their Binding to respawn. In my opinion, the Bindings don’t do as much damage as I’m used to them doing, but they do their job. You also get an auditory warning when your Binding or Spirit Well is attacked, which is another crutch to me. However, your ability to be aware of the map is very important in League of Legends and not having to keep track of the map could make the game less serious and more fun – something I think a lot of people might find attractive versus League of Legends.

To win the game, you must defeat the enemy Guardian located by their summoning platform. The Guardian isn’t protected by any turrets, but has 3 levels of health bars and its’ attacks include random Area of Effects spells that can be avoided if you pay attention to them. I like this feature because it makes the game challenging to the end, but as I said for the Bindings, I don’t think it does as much damage as it should.


The matchmaking was awkward. You either had to start a lobby or join someone else’s lobby. Joining a lobby was hit or miss because the host might be AFK…or a dick and started the game with uneven teams. I assume this is something that will be different when the game is live, but it had an impact on my game and was worth mentioning.


I might have been really stupid when I was playing, but the champions that showed up at the beginning of champion select aren’t all of the ones available to you. Either way, there were not a lot of champions to choose from.

In any game that gives me a choice, I always gravitate towards a mage. I chose Mikala early on in the beta testing and her Q reminded me a lot of Ahri so I felt pretty natural when I was playing her.

When choosing your champion, you also have the option to choose an extra passive as well as a role. It allows champions to be more versatile, but I think that each champion will always be best with only certain options so this becomes nullified. For example, you wouldn’t set up a mage to be a jungler but choosing between setting them to extra attack power or splitting it between power and defense could be a choice you would have to make.

It is disgustingly easy to snowball in this game. I’ve had the horrible luck to be stuck on bad teams and all of us somehow ended up 3-4 levels below the enemy team. This could have to do with the roles that you pick in the beginning of the game, but it was certainly frustrating.

Final Thoughts

Dawngate is a good game, and worth a try. The learning curve is typical of a MOBA and might even be a little easier. It has the right touch of unique as well as keeping the fundamental elements of a MOBA. Personally, as a consistent League of Legends player, I don’t see myself migrating from what I know into a brand new game. However, I can see how new MOBA players would find it attractive because they get the chance to start on the same level as everyone else.

Even though I don’t think I will be making the switch, be sure to give it a shot! You can sign up for the beta on their website.