MXM or Master X Master, is the newest game due out from Korean developer NCSOFT. Though known for MMOs for Lineage, City of Heroes, and a slew of other games (they used to publish Guild Wars 1 and 2, for example), the giant studio from the East is set to make a mark on the MOBA landscape later this year with the launch of MXM. Now, don’t roll your eyes. MXM is anything but “Just Another MOBA”. This one isn’t trying to supplant DOTA, League, or even Heroes of the Storm – MXM is entirely its own beast, and for gamers who like PVE with their PVP, or those who simply tend to avoid competitive games – you may want to keep an eye on MXM.
Still in its closed beta period with founder’s packs available for immediate entry, MXM is due to launch essentially “any day now” (emphasis my own). It’s feature complete by our estimation, though we’re told by NCSOFT that there are even more maps, modes, and heroes to be added to the game. When it launches, MXM will be free to play, but the only way to get in and try it out now is with either a Founder Pack, or with a giveaway (*COUGHS LOUDLY AND POINTS TO BOTTOM OF ARTICLE*).
Take a look at the above gameplay video, and tell me that MXM doesn’t look fun. Hyper? Sure. Insane and fourth-wall breaking? Why not? But it plays so well, and has so much to collect and do, that it puts other MOBAs to shame. I don’t expect MXM will be a powerhouse in esports, though that’s probably a hope for NCSOFT. I mean, who doesn’t want to be the next LOL? Thing is, even Blizzard couldn’t do it with Heroes of the Storm, so I worry that a game which splits its strengths between co op fun and competitive hijinks may not fit the bill for serious esport competitions.
That aside, I know I’m not alone when I says that MOBAs never hold me very long. There are millions of gamers who play other titles in this genre, some exclusively, but there are many millions more who don’t get fully jazzed by just fighting on the same maps with no real sense of progression except up an ELO ladder. MXM has ladders, don’t get me wrong – they’re just smart enough to engage players further by giving them a central hub to hang out in, tons of loot and gear and progression to work on with each and every character they unlock, and an ongoing story to play through alone or with friends.
You see, MXM is one part Action RPG and one part MOBA. You can spend hours playing through dungeons and working on your Masters, or you can do nothing but compete in the 3v3 and 4v4 competitive matches. What’s more is that each hero has their own set of skills, including some that are only unlocked as you play with them and spend in-game currency to unlock more skills. One thing that’s always bugged me about MOBAs is that I don’t feel a hook in me – climbing a seasonal ladder alone is not enough for me. I want permanent progression. With the dozens of masters and more to come, that’s never a problem in MXM.
And finally, the controls. Unlock most MOBAs, MXM plays more like a twin-stick shooter than a point and click RTS. WASD moves your character, spacebar jumps (yes, JUMPS!) and the left and right clicks are your main attack and (usually) a dodge. QER act as your skill shots and ultimate – the rest is gravy. It feels beyond satisfying to have direct control of movement, and I expect MXM has its eyes set on console release as well down the line, because the setup would play great on a PS4 or XB1 controller.
In any case, these are just some of the reasons MXM has kept my attention more than any recent MOBA throughout its alpha and beta periods. I’m personally stoked for the launch, and you’ll find me as BillMMORPG when it all goes live later this year. Until then, try to win one of our founders packs below, and if you miss out – you can still nab one for yourself over at the official site.