I don’t like League of Legends. I’m terrible at it, everyone who has ever ended up on my team hates me. I know how to play 1 champion with one build. Learning upwards of a hundred champions and items has always seemed too intimidating of a feat. Though I still play, I really don’t like League of Legends. That in mind, I have one big thing to say about Strife: It is not League of Legends.
Though the comparisons are there, I’m not going to sit around and compare Strife to League all day. The differences, and thus the areas where Strife really starts to shine, start right in character selection. Strife has less than a dozen characters to choose from, but the small roster doesn’t limit the different styles of play represented. Characters are able to be built in different ways both through the use of in-game item customization and through pets. Before each round you choose a pet to follow you into battle. At the time of my demo, three pets were shown: one that supports, one that increases your gold farm, and one that does some sweet stealthy stuff. Pets have both passive and active abilities, which compensates for the lack of passives on heroes. Equipping a different pet at the start of battle drastically affects how you can build your character, removing a ton of limitations from traditional MOBA character selection.
I talked with a sound developer as he played through a typical match, showing me the ropes. Strife features dynamic music which adapts to the situation your character is in. About to take down a tower? The music will reflect that. Heading into the jungle? In the middle of a massive team fight? The soundtrack will adapt for ultimate dramatic impact.
The UI is also pretty sweet. The scoreboard is displayed along the top edge of the screen, toggled by tab. The shop is opened via hotkey and slides in on the left third of the screen. Items are sorted by large, easy to understand icons. All of a hero’s abilities are displayed at the bottom of the screen. Upon level up, the tilde key will open a menu where players can choose which skill to level. The entire thing looks great and the UI is ultimately one of my favorite elements of Strife.
Items can be purchased at any time and will be brought from the shop to your location by a cute panda courier. Strife also introduces a crafting system that lets you spend points outside the game to upgrade items in more advantageous ways, thus adding to the personalized feel Strife prides itself on. In an effort to reduce ‘toxic attitudes’, Strife features shared resources. Killing enemies will grant a gold reward to everyone on the team, finally bringing back some actual teamwork to the MOBA field.