Last week during E3, I met up with 3000AD's president and lead developer, Derek Smart, where he showed me a significant amount of his team's upcoming free-to-play shooter Line of Defense. In all honesty, I was not familiar with title, so Derek had to catch me up on quite a bit in our short time together.
In total, he showed me four colossal landscapes, two of the huge space stations, the inside of one of the main space ships, and every other facet of the game you could imagine. Read on to see what I mean.
On any one server, 256 people can play in one scene at the same time. Split into two teams, the players' ultimate goal is to take up each of the key points on the map.
Once a team has done that, their goal is of course to defend against the other team from taking everything back. This is where things in Line of Defense get truly interesting.
Your journey in Line of Defense is really up to you, and how you want it to play out. Derek told me that as soon as players jump into a server for the very first time, he wants them to feel lost, and then venture blindly into the environment. His vision for this game at the most basic level was pure exploration and experimentation. If you want to start up a guild and take up a building, or just wander on your own with a squad of androids you've hired, you can do exactly that.
To help achieve this, everything in the game is seamless. If you pick your character class, you're never locked out of changing that class as you progress later on in your career. You can either play in third- or first-person, and you can take your character to any server you want. When you want to get to the other areas through the jump gate, there's only a barely noticeable load time and you're either in space, another region, or in the docking bay of one of the space stations.
The first scene Derek showed me was Heatwave, a scorched desert area with a large, open terrain. We started in the main base, where all the key points of the map are located. He entered one of the nearby aircraft vehicles, and flew by the nuclear reactor. He tells me that if this gets destroyed, absolutely everything else in the map powered by electricity no longer works. That means no light (if you have any), and absolutely no text or voice communication, as the radar will no longer work.
Right as I was just getting a sense of scale for this area after watching him fly around the map -- letting me see the incredible draw distance and the open spaces around the base just begging to be explored -- we moved right along to the jumpgate that took us out into space.
The first thing I noticed was all the junk floating around in space. Before I could ask, Derek told me that all of it was at one point part of ships from former battles that had taken place out there from earlier. I thought was an incredibly nice touch. While going through space, I couldn't help but imagine the possibilities of the battles that could take place out there. In this one area.
Before too long, we were at the hypothetical front gate for the space station: a giant red energy field in front of the docking bay. After a couple seconds, it turned green to allow us landing permission. Inside, the incredibly detailed station had a blue aesthetic to it (the other bases have their own, such as a yellow one), with numerous rooms and areas to hole up in to protect the eight capture points inside.
To save time, Derek teleported us to the other scenes. Next up, we headed out to Frostbite, which really seemed to me like the ice and snow equivalent to Heatwave in terms of landscape and layout. I truly am a sucker for snow levels, though.
After that we headed off to Nightbridge, a tie for my personal favorite map. Nightbridge is the "city map," or, at least, it's the most urban map. Skyscrapers can be seen for miles, and the best part is each and every one can be entered and destroyed. This is probably where a majority of players will wind up battling it out, and I'm excited at the prospect.
Derek almost didn't show the last area, as we were running out of time. But he figured I really like this one, so he quickly showed me Gulge. Nightbridge may be the most urban, but Gulge seems to have the most going on. Taking place in a mountainous area, all the bases are on top of huge mountains that have bridges connecting them. These bridges can be destroyed, and only a character with the right certification can fix them.
With over 50 vehicles, numerous guns, vast landscapes (which you can build your own base on), space combat, space stations, and ultimate control over your character's progression, Line of Defense is an ambitious and bold title from a team of about thirty people.
Derek seems absolutely confident that Line of Defense will be the title to finally break 3000AD out of the niche market when it launches sometime in Q3 of this year. Offering a free and paid client through Steam and as a direct download is definitely a step in that direction.
After spending a good hour with Line of Defense and seeing it for myself, I'd absolutely agree with Derek.