Admit it, you skipped the perfunctory loading screen description and introductory comic that explains what you're supposed to do in the Mourkain Temple scenario. I know I did. And it's painfully obvious when my teammates do as well. The basic principle is really simple: kill, kill, kill. But when you start to understand the strategy behind it, you can start playing to win.
Mourkain Temple is the only map available at this stage in Wrath of Heroes' closed beta testing. The scenario is designed to be easy to play, but difficult to master. As I mentioned before, the basic premise is to accrue points by killing opposing players. To win a match, you either have to be the first team to accrue 250 points or be the team with the most points once 15 minutes have elapsed, whichever happens first. Secondary objectives can help you reach the game-ending goal faster, but you have to collaborate with your team to strike the perfect balance between killing, capturing, and holding to take advantage of them.
The official description for Mourkain Temple:
Capture flags, kill players, and hold the Artifact to earn points for your team. The Artifact gives more points than the flags, but may only be held while your team also controls a flag - if you lose all your flags, you lose the Artifact. Be wary while holding the Artifact, since your team will be worth double points to the other teams if they kill you!
Note that because this is a beta, the numbers used in the guide can change with any future game versions, but they are accurate as of the testing period of September 8-10, 2011.
LayoutMourkain Temple features an artifact in the center, surrounded by three flags in a valley along its outer rim. Spawn zones for the three teams are spread among the outside rims of the map, on hills. Each spawn point is positioned roughly equidistant from two of the flags, with the third flag directly opposite the map. The Artifact itself sits within a temple on high ground, with three hallways opening it to the battlefield. The spawn points all have direct paths leading into the hallways, so you can jump right into a battle in the center if you die. No direct pathways exist between the flags and the temple.
Cover and Line of Sight
All of the flag stands are painfully open, and in general, the changes in elevation do not really cause much in the way of line of sight (LoS) issues for ranged characters. Corners and obstructions can break LoS, but the detection of line of sight seems imprecise. This feeling is largely due to the fact that:
- All champion abilities, including channeled abilities and projectile attacks, are instant activations. There is no concept of "cast time," which tends to be the element that causes failure when line of sight comes into play.
- Projectiles are ranged attacks that have travel time, but they automatically seek their targets, so it cannot miss, even if your target goes out of line of sight during the projectile's travel.
- Channeled abilities, once activated (instant), ignore line of sight. Furthermore, the caster can move while channeling, so they can simply continue following their target.
With the swampy overgrowth - protruding tree roots, hanging vines, rock croppings - path obstructions blend into the decoration, and can occasionally wedge you into a tight spot until you familiarize yourself with the terrain.
Teams can earn points through two actions: controlling the artifact, and killing a member of another team.
To control a flag or artifact, you have to capture it first. Stand near the flag or artifact to capture the location. The more members of your team at the location, the faster you capture it. If the location is controlled by another team, you will first cause them to lose control of the point:
If more than one team is near a capture point, capture progress will halt until the intruder is far enough away from the location (or is slain).
Kills and Flags
Killing a player will grant you a base of 1 point. For each flag your team controls, each kill grants your team an additional point. So, if your team controls all three flags, each kill your team manages to achieve gives 1 + 3 = 4 points. But with three teams on the playing field, controlling all three flags can be quite difficult, as you can imagine.
- 1 Flag: +1 Point per kill
- 2 Flags: +2 Points per kill
- 3 Flags: +3 Points per kill
According to the scenario description, killing a player on the artifact-holding team is worth "double points." This term is actually a bit disingenuous, as only the base point per kill (1) is doubled. An artifact defender's death is worth 2 points + flag bonuses instead of the usual 1 + flag bonuses. Although it's not quite double points per kill, the bonus does make the artifact-controlling team members quite a tasty target for opponents.
Holding the artifact scores 3 points for your team every five seconds regardless of whether or not your team makes any kills. However, holding the artifact is easier said than done. Both opposing teams can overwhelm yours and remove your teammates from play, seizing control. Or, they can simply nullify your control of the artifact by capturing your flags. If you lose control of all of your flags, you immediately lose the artifact.
Because of the bonus to your death value as an artifact controller, it's quite possible for a non-artifact-controlling team to farm you for points and gain a lead if you're not carefully holding the line. Therefore, if you see a mad rush for the artifact while it's under your control - and you're not confident that you can repel the onslaught - your best bet is in retreating over fighting to the last man. It's more beneficial to relinquish control and retake it than to die and give your enemies bonus points while still losing the artifact.
With the aforementioned mechanics in mind, there are a variety of approaches that I've seen teams take. Some of the prevalent tactics are (not mutually exclusive):
Once you've captured a flag, send most of your team members to the center to capture and defend the artifact. Allow 1-2 members to travel around the outskirts of the map capturing flag stands at every opportunity. Scoring kills AND getting the constant stream of points from holding the artifact is an attractive option, but it is difficult to pull off without a competent team. This sort of teamwork guarantees that some members will lose out on the opportunity to pad their killcount, so it probably a less popular approach than zerging.
Camp the Center
There are bound to be players hanging around the artifact most of the time. You lose less time to traveling around the map. However, it takes a pretty strong team to stay in battle against two teams for a long time, and the flag-based objectives serves to prevent turtling, so this approach may net you mixed results.
Control Two Flags
As long as you control at least two flags, each kill is worth at least 1 base point + 2 bonus = 3 points, and killing at least 1 enemy every 5 seconds makes it nearly as powerful as controlling the artifact. It is also likely that you'll go after the artifact defenders, earning you 1x2 (i.e. double) base points + 2 bonus = 4 points per kill as you pick them off. Focusing too much on capturing flag stands may keep you out of the fight too long, so you still have to strike some sort of balance between killing and capping, even with this emphasis on capping.
State of the Game
If you come from a Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR) background, you may be familiar with its version of Mourkain Temple, whose gameplay has been referred to as "murderball." Unlike WAR, WOH's Mourkain Temple is not "murderball," there is no carrying of deadly items involved, although there is a lot of murder certainly.
Right now, the beta seems to emphasize your personal kill count, not your teamwork, but it is inevitable for any MOBA game to shift that focus towards wins instead of kills as the game mechanics mature.
In short, a balanced approach toward controlling flags, holding the artifact, and smashing/burning/stabbing/finger-wiggling your opponents will win the day. Of course, if you're concerned with K/D ratios, then you can disregard this and keep spamming Blood Siphon on Nephys. But if you are that kind of person, then stop being that kind of person and read this - your teammates will thank you for it.
Enjoy the chaos, and play smart.