hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Dreadnought's huge spaceships are a fairly untapped idea, but still feel familiar

5:30 PM on 06.18.2014 // Darren Nakamura

Like Team Fortress 2, except with hulking, massive spaceships

The reveal trailer for Dreadnought pushes a lot of the right buttons for science fiction fans. It puts potential players into the right frame of mind and really sets up the scale of the endeavor. Combatants will not be darting around in fighters, they will be commanding huge, lumbering vessels that scoff at smaller ships. "Probably just debris, sir."

Despite the inherent coolness of taking control of a ship on the scale of a Battlestar, it is not something that comes up too often in games. In practice, it makes sense: the speed and control afforded by a smaller vessel is exciting, and that alone does not translate to huge ships. However, with its focus on tactical combat, Dreadnought makes it work, and it does so while remaining accessible to new players. Even though it treads less traveled ground in its subject matter, it features classes and tactics that will feel familiar to most gamers.

Before jumping into a team deathmatch, the five ships available in the E3 build were introduced. Though all ships in Dreadnought are meant to be big, they do still run a range of sizes. The titular Dreadnought was likened to a Star Destroyer, an enormous capital ship that can take and deal immense amounts of damage. On the other end of the spectrum is the Corvette, which was compared to the Millenium Falcon; it is easily the fastest of the ships on display here, but still several times larger than a single-pilot fighter.

However, what that all translates to in game terms is a fairly standard class-based multiplayer setup. The Dreadnought is your tank and the Corvette is your scout. Also on display were the Destroyer, an all-around combat ship, the Artillery cruiser, a long-range damage dealer, and the Tactical cruiser, which was essentially a healer. Though only five ships were shown, more are planned for the future. There will eventually be more classes of ships, as well as different ships within a class, each produced by three different in-game manufacturers.

In the couple games we were able to fit into the session, I got to try out the Tactical cruiser and the Artillery cruiser. Both handled similarly: They are smaller and less armored than the Destroyer or the Dreadnought, but still take some time to get where they need to be. The movement is tank-like, where ships can move forward and backward or they can turn, but they cannot strafe. Additionally, as airborne vehicles, they can ascend or descend. All of the movement, thrusting, reversing, turning, ascending, and descending is appropriately slow. It can be a little jarring for those more accustomed to fast action, but it makes sense and it sets up a different pace for the way battles play out.

Thankfully, one of the features that all ships have is the ability to divert power between subsystems. Diverting power to thrusters will make your ship move more quickly, and diverting it to shields will increase the amount of damage that can be absorbed. Additionally, certain special abilities, like the Tactical cruiser's enhanced repair beam, drain energy. This focus of energy cannot be sustained indefinitely; once the meter runs out, the ship must resume normal operating conditions while it recharges.

Each of the different classes of ships has a set of four special abilities to use. In addition to its powered up repair beam, the Tactical cruiser could self-repair, for instance. The Artillery cruiser has a nearly invisible cloaking ability, as well as a siege mode, which increases damage output, but decreases mobility and makes it more susceptible to damage.

Though we only got to try out team deathmatch, there are three modes planned. The second one discussed was team elimination, which was described as taking the deathmatch gameplay and slowing it down even further, creating an even more tactical experience. The third game type was not portrayed in detail, but one of the developers described it as a unique game that that fits into the universe. He said that the team took what they learned with how the battles changed when transitioning from deathmatch to elimination, and built the third game mode with those fundamental ideas in mind.

Though we were shown a simple, ten-player deathmatch, Dreadnought is not solely a multiplayer affair. Yager reported that it would also include a single player campaign, with episodic content. Additionally, it is planned as a free-to-play title. Yager would not discuss the details of how it intends to monetize the game, but the developers on hand did mention that progression through the ranks would be horizontal, cutting down on more experienced (or wealthy) players having access to strictly better gear. The developer intends to avoid a pay-to-win setup.

Dreadnought is set to release on PC initially. There are no official plans to release on additional platforms yet, but the developer did mention that it has a build that is playable with a gamepad, so the ability to branch out onto consoles is there, should the opportunity arise.

This is a strange beast in my brain right now. Its pacing is sure to turn off players who prefer faster action. It is not a game about dogfighting so much as it is about moving as a team, maintaining strategically advantageous positioning, and using abilities effectively. With its standard class archetypes and huge ships, it plays almost like an MMORPG dunked in molasses. And yet, I still feel compelled to check it out when it releases. I am not even sure that I really enjoyed my time with it, but I am sure that I want to spend more time with it to find out.

Photo Gallery: (9 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Darren Nakamura, Associate Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Dexter345 Tips
Darren is a scientist during the day. He has been a Destructoid community member since 2006, joining the front page as a contributor in 2011. While he enjoys shooters, RPGs, platformers, strateg... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Older. Grayer. Wiser. Dick still works. #Ballin
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Wow I just want a mic for the PS4...why are they so expensive ;_;
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Went to play MGSV, got prompted to download the MGO data; it's not on the PS Store yet. Or maybe it's Kojima-san's way of telling me it's not the real MGO data, but is instead a janitor who once protected me from a puddle of pee and now wears my face.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Going grey >>>>>>>>>>> Going bald
Rudorlf avatarRudorlf
Recently watched the Cannon Films documentary, by the director of Not Quite Hollywood. Super entertaining, hilarious, and it almost made me want to watch some of the Cannon films. Almost.
CaimDark Reloaded avatarCaimDark Reloaded
PEOPLE! PEOPLE! PEOPLE! Tomorrow I'm meeting Shade of Light in RL!
able to think avatarable to think
Tip for those who have plasma TVs and are playing MGSV; go into settings and make the weapon icon only appears when you're aiming. I had to buy a new TV because the weapon icon got permanently burned into my plasma.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Any of you cute little butts gonna be at London Comic Con?
Jiraya avatarJiraya
You felt your sins crawling on your back... [youtube][/youtube]
Halflocke avatarHalflocke
what was the first game that used crowd motivated you to contribute ?
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Mad Max, Critters and some The life and times of Tim to finish the night. T'was a good day.
techsupport avatartechsupport
I was excited to learn one of my favorite Philip K. Dick novels, The Man in the High Castle, would be receiving its own TV show. After watching the pilot, I'm cautiously optimistic. Looking forward to the rest in November.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I'm going to be honest; this is my new favourite line in anything ever. GOTY 2015 and all that. Also cocks: [img][/img]
I thought Laura Kate's Destiny piece for Polygon was pretty neat.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
Bungie have decided Kojima isn't the only one who can do 4th wall breaking shenanigans. Congratulations Destiny players, you're all now The Taken King.
I have (jokingly) wanted a remake/sequel to Geist. And then I went to YouTube to watch a longplay to see it in action again and thought, "nevermind!"
The humblest person I know avatarThe humblest person I know
I'd been worried that Jim had been losing his sanity with all the Steam sludge he's always attacking. If you've been feeling the same way, good news. His new vid warmed that void and reminded me that I follow him because he had no sanity to start with. ;)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Reading the Star Citizen expose reminded me of the whole Firefall mess last year. [url=""]Found the gamefront article [/url]
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I went from listening to the soundtrack of SMT IV, to the soundtrack to Mario Kart 8, Smash 4, Fire Emblem, and now chilling with some Mother 3. All of it was pretty awesome by the way.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
After the 11th, I'm going into cryosleep until SMT IV Final is out. I'm sure Mike, Occams and Strider can manage without me. [img][/img]
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:

  Jun 10

Yager announces PC dogfighting game Dreadnought

More Unreal Engine 4 multiplayer ship battles

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -