Exclusive Event Coverage: Merc Elite Action Day

We were invited to Hamburg last week to check out Merc Elite, the upcoming military-themed browser MOBA from Bigpoint. They organized a day-long event called "Merc Elite Action Day", which was truly "action" and perfectly in line with the game's atmosphere. Follow us in this article to find out a bit more about this interesting project and we experienced this amazing event.


Upon arriving in Hamburg, we were received by the extremely nice guys from Bigpoint who after a warm welcome brought us to the Bigpoint HQ. As you can see from the pictures, the offices are charming, and we enjoyed a quick tour which ended in a rich buffet that was more than welcomed after the long trip.

Our stomachs well-stuffed, we and the other reporters were finally ready for the presentation. Jeff Lydell and another developer from the team gave us an interesting overview of the game, explaining the unique main features of the game, including the cover and higher ground systems, the character progression, etc. To be honest, as informed reporters and avid gamers that we are, we already knew all this basic stuff, and we were eager to get to the hands-on and Q&A sessions with the dev team in order to find out more.

However, for those of you who haven't heard anything about the game, Merc Elite is a browser-based competitive MOBA with a modern military theme, which brings the classic FPS Capture&Hold game mode into the typical MOBA gameplay. The game is based on the Unity engine to boost a surprisingly good, client-level 3D graphic in your browser, offering quick and fast-paced team-based matches, and an interesting character progression system for your mercenaries. It also boasts some quite unique features supposed to add more tactical options to the matches.

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At the end of the presentation, we decided together to hold the questions for after the hands-on session, and followed the Bigpoint guys to the play room where they had set up a really nice gaming-station of two opposed rows of five PCs each for the perfect 5 vs 5 MOBA gameplay experience.

We had already had the chance to try the game with our closed beta account, but due to the "very closed" nature of the beta, it was really hard to find enough players for a match. So this was the first time we actually managed to play several matches in a row and really sink our teeth into the game.

Regarding the gameplay, there isn't a better way to describe Merc Elite than a crash between a MOBA and a Shooter. You have the League of Legends point of view, camera style and controls, and the classic Capture & Hold game mode of a normal FPS, all wrapped up with the unique features we've already mentioned.

You won't have a normal "Fog of War", instead your field of view will be determined by the physical obstacles surrounding your character. Thus, for example, in an open zone you can see an enemy player on the opposite side of your screen, but at the same time, you can't see an opponent who is behind a corner just next to you. The higher grounds also affect the line of sight and the damage taken in a similar way. This is actually very interesting and adds a lot more strategic options to situations like chasing/retreating or organizing ambushes.

Another interesting unique feature is the cover system allowing you to gain a directional damage-reducing shield if you are next to an item which provides cover, such as a crate or a barrel. Obviously this only works if the enemy is shooting you from the direction that faces the item which is giving you the cover bonus.

The game is really fast-paced and fun, and the matches are much quicker than the usual MOBA, lasting 10-15 minutes on average compared to the 40 minutes of an average League of Legend match. In our opinion, these quick game sessions perfectly fit the "pick-up and play" browser nature of Merc Elite. However, don't think just because it's a browser-based and easy-to-grab game, Merc Elite is only aiming at a casual audience. Due to its class variety, the heavily team-based gameplay and the character progression, it could attract the hardcore crowd as well.

And speaking about classes, we want to give a thumbs up to the developers, as each mercenary class plays in a totally different and unique way, and even the support one - which is actually our favourite - is absolutely fun to play.

The game also differs in other ways from your usual MOBA, abandoning the temporary character progression during the match in favor of a more RPG-like permanent mercenary growth that allows upgrading your team of mercenaries with talent trees and purchasable weapons giving you new abilities. You can have different mercenaries in your team but you can bring just three of them into each match to decide which one to play at every respawn.

After the fun and addicting hands-on session, we had the chance to present the developersask with some questions. Unfortunately, they weren't allowed to answer to the most interesting ones, and the majority of answers we received were cryptic or a simple "We're still thinking about that, maybe yes, maybe no." However, they gave us the impression that they were paying a lot of attention to the players’ feedback, developing the game by keeping in mind the community desires, too.

Despite the elusive answers, we could discover some interesting facts: for the updates they are already planning to release new maps, and then we can expect further expansions of the character progression system. Probably they are going to also release new skins for the characters, but they were clear about being willing to stick with the military theme of the game. So don't expect to see a "DJ skin" or a "fantasy skin" for your mercenary.

They didn't say anything regarding a possible release date, but if you can't wait to try the game out yourself, we have good news for you: they plan to send out more beta keys in the near future, and to reach the open beta phase this fall.

Now, for those of you who are concerned about the tricky "free-to-play or pay-to-win?" question, don't worry! The guys from Bigpoint were extremely clear and couldn't emphasize more that Merc Elite is a competitive game and so it will never ever be a pay-to-win game. You can obviously find a cash shop in the game, but it will feature only cosmetic, time-saving or convenience items that will never influence the gameplay balance.

When the Q&A was over as well, the Bigpoint guys decided that it would have been nice to let us try the joy of the Merc Elite team-based shootouts for real, supplying us with guns and ammos and letting us shoot at each other. Well, not with real guns and real ammo, off course... That would probably have been too expensive, and not really legal.

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Upon arriving at the paintball field, we were given the basic equipment (mask, neck protection, suit, gun and ammo) and a quick briefing about the rules of the game. Then, we split into two squads and the carnage began. Many of us have never had the chance to play paintball before, but we have to say that we had an absolutely great time! It can be exhausting as well, especially on a very hot day, but the fun of running, ducking, building tactics with your team and shooting your friends - or in this case, game developers and reporters - is definitely worth the sweating and the bruises.

After thousands of ammo shots, exhausted, sweaty and happy, we gave back the equipment and followed the Bigpoint guys to a quite welcomed barbeque with several sorts of delicious meat and rivers of German beer.

We finally ended this amazing day later on, after a quick stop at the hotel, with a tour of the spectacular night life of Hamburg.


Bigpoint really surprised us, not only with a fun and addicting game that has a lot of potential and could actually achieve big things, but also with their kindness and their ability to organize events that are just... well, fun as hell. We hope they keep up putting this kind of passion into the development of Merc Elite like they did so far. They have the right tools and a solid base to deliver a great game and a more than valid alternative to the most famous MOBAs out there. In the meanwhile, we wish them all the best.


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