Open Beta Comments/Review:
First things first, I really wanted to like Prime World, and in some ways, I guess I really do. I've been playing LoL for a couple of years now and it's really time for some innovation in the genre, or at bare minimum give me something fresh or different. Traditional MOBA lovers will no doubt complain about this or that difference between PW and DOTA2/LoL, but I say isn't that the whole point? Why create yet another MOBA game which is just a different set of skins with the same gameplay? You might as well just stick with the one you know/love already.
Whatever its ultimate intentions, PW is certainly offering a number of new features that set it apart from the basic MOBA model. Persistent gameplay (city builder), two "factions," more customization and strategic choices, different modes, a mini-game within the main game, PvE content, and most importantly, a similar but very different in-match advancement scheme. There are two sides to choose from, nominally at war with each other to control the spice, I mean, PRIME. I'm not sure how this conflict is recorded but hopefully there is some overall impact or reason to care. Each side has approx. 30+ champs to choose from, which I assume roughly mirror each other for balancing purposes. You can use silver earned through PvE/PvP/city builder to unlock more champs as your main "summoner" levels up. Each of your champs will also gain levels outside of the traditional level-up scheme within matches. But in the biggest "twist" there is no store or cash system within a given match. A single resource is accrued from kills, etc that doubles for both money AND xp. Once you get enough, you can unlock "Talents" in a tree which you control before the game starts. These talents are both your active skills and passives that take the place of items in a normal MOBA. Once you spend some on a talent, you start to level your character within the match, and eventually open the next tier of talents. The beauty of this system is hypothetically you never have to return to your base to become fully loaded with all your skills and buffs.
Outside a match, you can replace talents as you wish, and these come in a loot rarity system with 5 tiers of typical colored rarities. What this means is that if you are lucky enough to get a really spectacular talent that happens to be low level, you can assign it to your pool before the match starts and then choose to unlock that first during the match. The game will pop up suggestions to unlock as soon as you have enough prime accrued, but the choice is yours. You can, for instance, unlock all the cheaper bottom tier talents before taking higher ones if you want, it's up to you.
It's a refreshing change of pace to have actual customization potential that in theory continues indefinitely. So as an example I found playing a healer, my offense was almost non-existent, so I've been slowly exploring adding talents that increase offensive potential through base damage or procs. I'm hoping there will be some really cool unique talents that can change/define a build. This is a really unique system at the heart of the game and I think what really sets the game apart. Of course this is the kind of thing that can create balance issues, but it's hard to gauge just how much from limited playtime.
All in all I find the entire game both hit and miss. It's really frustrating because it feels like it's just on the border of successfully integrating a bunch of new and different elements into the core MOBA gamestyle. But for every single thing you like, there seems to be a deterrent to really taking the game over the top. The game is just hitting open beta so hopefully that leaves time to make changes and improve things, but from what I've seen in the past, most games will be pretty similar to what you see in open beta, which would be a shame for this game. Anyway, to make things simpler, I'm going to clearly list out what I think needs to be changed/fixed for the game to be a success:
1. WAIT TIMES: This is the single most frustrating part of the game. The average base wait time to start any PvP match/mode I tried was over 5 minutes. If someone doesn't respond, the queue starts over. In this day and age no one has the patience for that, particularly when they can jump into an LoL match generally in under a minute. If there simply aren't enough people, they may need to look at allowing bots to substitute. I understand bots can be horrible and problematic in terms of balance, but having to wait an indeterminate amount of time for the primary content to start is a flat out game killer.
2. PRACTICE MODE: As an addendum to #1, a possibility is to forgo PvP and just do practice mode. The problem with this is it is far too easy/trivial and after about the second time offers no challenge or much interest at all except perhaps for seeing how a particular champ or talent works. Improve the AI, improve the rewards, offer multiple difficulties, this shouldn't be too hard.
3. CITY MODE: As another addendum, if there were ample things to do in city mode while waiting, that might be a decent concession for the wait time. But the fact is there really isn't much active gameplay going on. Once you've collected resources and maybe built or upgraded a few things, that's it. I like the idea of the city mode and it would be fine if it offered a little more of interest to actively do. Maybe move the Zuma mini-game here and use it to build resources.
4. ZUMA in PvP: Speaking of which, I don't know what the designers were thinking with this. Maybe it's one of those things that sounded good on paper. In practice, it just seems completely bizarre and out of place. There's all sorts of stuff going on all over the map, and I'm sitting playing Zuma for a single use scroll? Take this out, or improve the rewards/time to be commensurate with what someone might get while jungling, or just make it faster/quicker/simpler to get a scroll. Can you imagine a basketball game where 1 of the 5 players decides to start playing Around the World on a side court to get an extra timeout? Well maybe Dwight Howard might do that.
5. CHALLENGE MODE: Maybe it was just me but I found the Solo challenge too difficult. I tried multiple times and multiple champs, and aside from not getting the harpy, I completed every bit of content on the map before moving to the finale, yet I lost every single time. If I did it one more time I'd likely make sure I had the harpy but it seemed like I had to do it all completely perfect to get to the end. Once Hagrid died and never respawned and from there it just went downhill. Recommend making this a bit easier, or just make sure Hagrid can respawn. I actually liked the idea of completing this PvE map content but the implementation was just a bit buggy. Perhaps with the PvE content more opened up, #1-#3 would be less of a problem.
6. ODDITIES: The game starts out with some PvE and intro content with voice overs. On the Keepers side, it's a vaguely fusion Asian theme and we get some incredibly hideous, racially offensive, Asian accents. The dialog isn't even consistent within a sentence, sometimes they'll flip r and l, sometimes they won't. It's kind of funny, but also pretty racist for a modern game. Ditto with some rather antiquated sexist comments and content as well, like a talent that only works on members of the opposite sex, and goofy dialog that would probably be offensive to most modern women. I suppose you could say it adds to the charm, but it's definitely a bit bizarre and makes the game feel cheap. Recommend dropping the inane accents immediately.