Massively multiplayer games are everywhere these days, so they really need to distinguish themselves to find an audience. Fortunately, the nature of their continuing development makes them eminently suitable to a "try before you buy" open beta prior to launch -- and that's exactly what's happening with Nival's upcoming Prime World this weekend.
These days, the launch of a new massively multiplayer game is not something to typically get all that excited about, given the sheer number of the damn things that are all over Steam, free-to-play gaming portals like Aeria Games and even on mobile. It's a rare MMO that manages to be a breakout hit and capture the imagination of the public.
It remains to be seen whether Prime World from Heroes of Might and Magic V developer Nival will be such a game, but in the meantime if you'd like to have a hands-on preview of the game, you can jump into the open beta this weekend and judge for yourself.
Prime World attempts to distinguish itself from its numerous rivals by incorporating a combination of game styles rather than simply following either the Diablo or World of Warcraft mold. Specifically, it incorporates MOBA-style battles (think League of Legends) with persistent hero development -- in other words, between battles, you can upgrade your playable characters with talents and equipment, build up your home town and collaborate with friends.
Lest you fear this is nothing but a League of Legends ripoff, however, Nival is keen to stress the fact that it has a number of different game modes rather than simply following the standard three-lane map model of most MOBAs. At present, there are eight different game modes, running the gamut from pure PvP to pure PvE via challenges that combine the best of both worlds.
Nival is serious about making Prime World a big deal, too; the game has two standalone spinoffs (a tower defense game, available now, and a puzzle game, coming soon) and a tie-in novel penned by the apparently "bestselling" Russian author Vadim Panov, available now via the Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks ebook stores.
The first open beta session starts at 11AM Pacific on June 21. Want to give it a shot? Sign up on the official website -- and be sure to let us know what you think.