The best-known characters, landscapes, and huge bosses from the Warcraft franchise are all represented in this amazing mobile strategy game.
The orcs-versus-humans franchise began on the PC with a string of popular strategy games before World of Warcraft. Activision Blizzard has announced a simplified mobile version based on Clash Royale’s minions-in-lanes gameplay, which will be available soon for testing. The Google Play Store currently offers pre-registration for the upcoming closed beta, with Apple’s App Store to follow.
With heroes, minions, and locations from the celebrated franchise, Warcraft Arclight Rumble adds its distinctive stamp to the mobile real-time strategy (RTS) genre by utilizing characters, minions, and places from the franchise: You can deploy the powerful Jaina Proudmoore down lanes with some Alliance footmen to take on Hogger, a prominent World of Warcraft figure who appears as the game’s boss on one of its maps.
The game is divided into short matches in which players deploy minions down one of two or more “lanes” to advance automatically and engage enemies. The objective is to destroy the top of the map’s boss or structure while defending your own base, but there are also towers and spawn points to hinder players. Winning fights improves units’ experience levels, as well as in-game money that may be used to acquire additional troops, abilities, and powerful leader figures.
Arclight Rumble is a mobile game that puts players at the bottom of each level with the action flowing upward, as it does in real-time strategy games. Maps are typically the width of a smartphone display, and players can easily scroll up and down to follow their troops’ progress and defend themselves from foes. The game has been simplified enough to be enjoyed with one hand, despite the fact that unit management and map intricacy have been limited to fit Warcraft onto a phone.
“Traditional PC RTS games have not translated well to consoles, and a lot of it has to do with the control scheme,” game director for Warcraft Arclight Rumble Tom Chilton said. “Our goal was to make the maps big enough so that the player can keep track of what’s going on off-screen and scroll there quickly.”
The game features a single-player narrative campaign as well as player versus player encounters. All of the maps are unique, but they’re symmetrical to ensure that neither side has an edge. The story levels are more dynamic and are generally centered on bosses and locations: An Ogre Juggernaut naval battleship rains cannonballs on the player’s troops in one setting, while players combat an undead scientist who resurrects Stitches, a gruesome abomination, in another.
Arclight Rampage, like the card game Hearthstone set in the Warcraft universe, is a humorously altered take on the brand with a brighter style than previous games. The initial lineup of more than 60 units includes familiar characters such as orc infantry groups, dwarven gryphon riders, and undead necromancers, each with unique abilities – and vocal barks when summoned on the field.
Arclight Rampage is also a free-to-play card game with in-game monetization that offers a slight edge to players who purchase the whole unit roster (at least as the game is currently implemented). Fans may be disappointed by this reduced version, but it’s enough for gamers who want to play on the go.
Warcraft Arclight Rumble: strategy fun in your pocket
I’ve spent a week playing one of the final alpha versions of Arclight Rumble, and I have an idea who this game is for and who should avoid it entirely. A note of caution: everything might alter, particularly monetization and unit balance, but on the whole, it’s a good attempt at cramming Warcraft onto a mobile system.
Arclight Rumble is a lane-based strategy game that scratches a similar itch as Apple Arcade’s Lego Star Wars Battles: Both are lane-based strategy games where the thrill comes from putting characters onto the stage you’ve loved since childhood, which feels very much like an adult version of battling action figures on the playground.
Arclight Rumble is a competent strategy game, with rock-paper-scissors mechanics and enough variation in units to satisfy strategy fans. Players choose one leader and six troops to bring into combat, as well as a free miner unit, and may pick from a selection of four units at once when the fight begins. Units have varying strengths and prices, with an ever-replenishing in-match money supply allowing players to replace their lineup against different story bosses or PvP opponents.
Arclight Rumble, unlike Clash Royale or Star Wars Battles, has a lengthy narrative campaign in which players progress through map objectives set on the World of Warcraft Azeroth and Kalimdor continents. Chilton anticipated that players would take three to five months to complete all of the game’s content at launch, but dedicated gamers might do so in a week.
There are incentives for replaying maps, such as unique dungeons and raids where players must defeat bosses quickly. The Arclight Rumble team also intends to keep the game viable “for many years,” which includes new areas, minis to acquire, raids, dungeons, and additional maps.
For a free game, Warcraft Arclight Rumble appears to provide enough depth for casual players to have a pleasant time and learn about some of the game’s roster of units and leaders, but I wish it were more generous with its free-to-play bonuses. You’ll need to complete four maps to earn enough in-game money to buy one new unit, which may be inconvenient if you’re stuck on a difficult map (there are a few in the initial few zones).
The cash incentives are likely to be adjusted before release, but the game’s overall auto-battling design can’t be altered, so gamers of old-school Warcraft who enjoy intricate base-building and unit-managing gameplay should avoid it.
Fortunately, Blizzard appears to have learned from the mobile Diablo Immortal debacle. The Warcraft Arclight Rumble, which began development in 2017 and will enter open beta “soon,” was announced today. That might imply months or years before players are able to play it for themselves.
Regardless, the release of Arclight Rumble comes at a bad time for Activision Blizzard. Last summer, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against the firm, claiming that it fostered a workplace environment that discriminated against women and subjected employees to sexual harassment. The family of a Blizzard employee who committed suicide also sued the company last year. Following its bid to acquire the gaming behemoth becoming public, Microsoft promised to change the company’s culture, which was one step closer to completion after Activision Blizzard shareholders voted in favor of the buy.
Arclight Rumble is also one of the few new Blizzard games to be near completion, having been in development for nearly as long as Overwatch first debuted in 2016. Apart from Diablo Immortal, which is scheduled to release on mobile and PC on June 2, 2019, Overwatch 2 has now entered public beta after years of speculation.
So it makes sense that before an announcement and release to follow, Blizzard would keep Arclight Rumble under wraps for years. While hardcore Warcraft fans may be disappointed, franchise enthusiasts will find enough familiar elements and hard gameplay to keep them occupied on the move.