Brought to you by Hi-Rez to celebrate the Early Access Alpha release of Realm Royale – download and install the game HERE.
Perhaps the single biggest factor that differentiates Realm Royale from other Battle Royale titles is the class system.
While there might only be five distinct classes in the game – at least right now – the customization doesn’t stop there. With abilities acquired by looting, having different rarities much like weapons, and only two open slots to fill, a player’s capabilities might change depending on what skills they value and what’s available.
The result is a system that opens up a whole range of distinct playstyles, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. A Mage will never have the same skill set as an Engineer, meaning that initial selection is important, but it’s also possible for two Warriors to pick up entirely different abilities according to their preference.
While availability still plays a part, the optimal playstyle for you isn’t solely dictated by what you can find. You can plan for a certain style and seek out loot that helps realize it, and then change things up according to how the game progresses.
No matter how you want to play, it’s possible to put together a character optimized for that playstyle. Whether you want to set up a defensive position, sneak around and pick people off at range, hunt down enemies or support team mates, the class system lets you play to those strengths.
One of the quirks of the loot system in Realm Royale is the armor. Stronger weaponry and healing potions aren’t the only thing you’ll be looking for in chests, there are also four distinct armor pieces that contribute to how well protected you’ll be.
Armor can still be replenished with armor potions, but the maximum amount of shielding you’ll get will depend on how much armor you have, and what quality that armor is. In order to maximize your effective health pool, adding a full 1200 hit points of shields, you’ll need Legendary armor in all four slots.
Handling shields in this way adds a little bit more nuance to the task of increasing your defences. Armor is another resource to seek and another incentive for using the forge, which encourages players to actively work towards powering up rather than merely hiding out for the entire game.
While stealth is still a viable strategy, if you find yourself getting towards the end of the game without having collected or upgraded much armor, you’re going to be at a significant disadvantage against those who have doubled their starting health pool by looting and crafting.
One of the other major changes to the standard looting system found in battle royale games is Realm Royale’s forges. As well as searching crates for armor, weapons, and abilities, players can craft it in a forge, which are found in every major location on the map.
The forge is how players unlock the most powerful weapons, armor and abilities in the game – the Legendary versions – giving a huge incentive to seek them out and use them. Forging mostly uses shards as a currency, which can be acquired by disenchanting surplus loot – which itself means that looting crates can be worthwhile even if you don’t get any items that you actually need.
Using a forge can be treacherous, however, as not only does crafting take time (either thirty or sixty seconds, depending on what’s being forged) but other players in the area will be able to see when it’s in use, alerting them to the fact that someone must be nearby.
As well as being an interesting and unique feature in itself, the forges therefore act as centres for action, each one a prize to be fought over in its local zone. Their existence is an extra force acting on player decisions, making them choose between the risks of actively fighting over them, and the costs of missing out on what they can offer.
Mounts are another unique aspect of Realm Royale that add another variable to in-game decision making.
Players can mount-up to significantly increase their speed, which is particularly useful for traversing the huge map that is typical of battle royale games, or running away from the deadly fog.
There’s a trade-off to the mount system, however, which is the lack of a sprint when running. Where other games might offer the ability to speed up at will, Realm Royale’s mounts offer greater speed, but at the cost of less versatility - mounts also take a few seconds to activate and taking damage or performing any action other than movement will result in dismounting, so they aren’t often viable in combat.
In turn, this also shifts focus back onto ability use in tense situations. Most characters will have some sort of ability that can help either chase or escape an enemy, but these have cooldowns, and so must be used more carefully.
Aside from their gameplay function, mounts also add to the RPG-like atmosphere to the game. While mechanics might ultimately be the making of a good game, there’s something to be said for a world that feels internally consistent and different to its chief competitors.
In Realm Royale, when your health bar reaches zero, you’ll find yourself turned into a chicken, unable to attack, use abilities, or do anything but run for your life.
On the surface, the chickens just look like a slightly gimmicky version of the “downed” state that exists in other battle royale games – perhaps even a nod to the “winner winner chicken dinner” phrase in PUBG. The chickens do have some mechanical differences that separate them from other games, however.
The chicken mechanic operates on a series of lives. Each player has three chickens to use, but if you somehow manage to use all three and still survive, then you’re on sudden death for the rest of the round – no “downed” state to go to, you’ll simply die the next time you health reaches zero.
Most significantly, however, is the fact that players who have been turned into chickens don’t need to be revived. Survive for thirty seconds as a chicken and you’ll automatically be returned to life, meaning that “downed” players can still survive even while playing solo.
In an extended fight involving multiple parties this can prove crucial, as if you’re too busy focusing on other enemies to finish off your kills, you may find those enemies that you thought were dealt with coming back for revenge.
The chickens also have a role to play in the game’s loot system. Killing a chicken awards a “chicken nugget”, which is needed to craft your Legendary class weapon at a forge. This means that if you want the strongest weaponry you can’t stay passive and let other players clean up the map – you’ll have to go out and make a kill yourself.