Strife is a 3D action-packed MOBA with a colorful cast of characters and bright cartoony graphics. The game features a unique crafting system and several other original features that set it apart from other MOBAs.
|Publisher: S2 Games
Release Date: April 9, 2015 (NA/EU)
Pros: +Unique pet system. +Great interface / visuals. +Unique gameplay mechanics. +Crafting system.
Cons: -Only 1 map.
Strife is a unique action-packed MOBA developed by S2 Games–the same studio behind Heroes of Newerth and the Savage franchise. Strife blends traditional MOBA elements with unique features to create an original gameplay experience. The game's most prominent features include its pet system and item crafting. Aside from simply selecting a hero, players can also pick from one of over a dozen pets to accompany them in battle. Each pet has 3 distinct skills that enhance the player's hero. Any pet can be matched up with any champion. The game's item crafting system allows players to customize the items available in the shop with the stats they want.
Strife Key Features / Differences From Other MOBAs
- Hero Variety – over 30 playable Heroes, each with 3 regular abilities and an ultimate.
- Unique Pet System – every player has their own pet. Pets have 3 skills that provide benefits to their masters.
- Crafting System – that allows players to enchant/alter items in the store to match their play style.
- Shared Last Hit Gold – for both Heroes and Brawlers (Minions/Creeps).
- More Action – players regenerate health and mana quickly while out of combat, leading to more action and less retreating.
- Couriers – everyone has their own personal courier to deliver items from base (Couriers cannot be killed).
- Different Objective Rewards – huge gold rewards for killing enemy generators (equivalent to Barracks/Inhibitors) instead of stronger Brawlers.
- Other Differences – no wards. No denying. Max level 15. No gold penalty for dying.
Strife Featured Video
By Omer Altay
Strife is a 3D fantasy themed MOBA with vibrant graphics developed and published by S2 Games, the same studio behind Heroes of Newerth (HoN) and the Savage games. Strife officially launched on Steam on May 22, 2015, but has been publicly available in open beta since August 29, 2014. S2 labels Strife as a “premier second generation MOBA,” as it's the second major MOBA developed by the team over at S2 Games. Since S2 sold off Heroes of Newerth to Garena's Frostburn Studios on May 5, 2015, the studio can now better focus on improving Strife without the hassle of developing two competing products.
Given S2's 5+ years of experience running Heroes of Newerth successfully, it's fair to say S2 is a skilled operator of MOBAs. I personally played HoN for years and even purchased it when it first launched. Back then it was a buy-to-play game but has since gone completely free to play. As a fan of HoN, Strife was a game I've been looking forward to since it was first announced back in August 2013. The game launched into closed beta on February 22, 2014 and open beta on August 29, 2014. Like other S2 products, Strife is one of the few truly multi-platform MOBAs as it's available on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. The game's multi-platform availability since launch says a lot about S2's development prowess.
Diving Right In
Upon first launching Strife, players are prompted to complete a short tutorial as Caprice, The Pirate Queen of Lyrie. Anyone who regularly plays League of Legends or Dota 2 won't get too much out of the tutorial, but those new to the genre should definitely pay attention, as MOBAs have very steep learning curves compared to other games. It's worth mentioning right away that every Hero in Strife is available from the get-go. No need to purchase them individually or unlock them one at a time.
The first thing I noticed after I launched my first Strife match is the game's crisp visuals. Graphically, Strife looks a bit like Team Fortress 2 meets League of Legends. The game's graphics are cartoony, but they're incredibly detailed and polished. Individual heroes have a lot of character too – they're anything but generic. Bandito, for example, is a snarky android slot machine with a cigar that relies heavily on RNG to defeat his enemies. The RNG theme matches Bandito's character and is just one example of the many well developed heroes in Strife. The game isn't perfect though, as there are a more than a few generic heroes like 'Malady' the Sky Queen, who's just a lightning/storm themed caster.
The core gameplay in Strife is similar to other MOBAs. The ultimate goal of each match is to destroy the enemy's Crux, which is their primary structure. With 3 lanes, towers, and a jungle, Strife encompasses the same basic elements found in all successful MOBAs. The game's jungle features 2 main objectives - Baldir and Cindara. Both are crucial to ending games, as killing Baldir spawns powerful NPC minions in all 3 lanes while killing Cindara summons a single powerful minion to push one of your lanes. Strife bills itself as “familiar, yet different,” as even though its core gameplay elements are similar to other MOBAs, it has its own unique mechanics.
One of my favorite things about Strife is that the last hit gold from brawlers (minions/creeps) as well as Hero kills are automatically shared with nearby teammates. This ensures everyone gets equal access to late game items and no one is forced to give up gold to their “carry.” Strife doesn't have wards either, so no one has to constantly spend money buying wards. Instead, players fight for control over strategic observatories which grant temporary vision over an area. Another unique aspect of Strife is the game's personal courier system. Everyone has their own personal courier that can safely deliver items from their stash to their heroes, allowing players to shop while in lane and stay closer to the action. Unlike Dota and HoN, these personal couriers cannot be killed. Having a personal courier minimizes toxicity and frustration because players don't need to fight over whose turn it is to use the courier. Another aspect of Strife that ensures maximum action is the game's passive healing system. Upon staying out of combat for little bit, players begin regenerating health and mana fairly quickly, which keeps them closer to the action rather than constantly going back to heal.
These unique features may not seem like a big deal looked at individually but as a whole it actually does a lot to create a frustration-free environment. I've played Dota 2 for years. Playing support in Dota 2 means 20 minutes into a game the only item you'll have are regular boots. You're not supposed to take last hits from the carry and you're responsible for buying wards, smokes, couriers, and other supportive consumables. Strife, on the other hand, allows everyone to participate in the fun. Instead of having one player blowing his money on wards, everyone is responsible for taking control of observatories.
Game-mode wise, players can hop into matchmaking to automatically get matched up against players of similar skill level or hit up the game's custom browser to join custom games via a lobby system. Strife also has a story mode called “Adventure” for those interested in learning about the game's lore. Those new to the game should probably play a couple of co-op vs bot games before facing off against actual players as Strife, like any other MOBA, has a pretty steep learning curve.
One aspect of Strife that I really like is the game's stat system. Instead of having 2 separate attributes for physical and ability power (AD/AP in League of Legends), Strife has a single universal stat called “Power” that effects both ability damage and physical damage. Power doesn't only effect offensive capabilities but the effectiveness of supportive abilities like heals too. This ensures that every hero scales well into the late game. Aside from just “power,” Strife has a lot of the same stats you'd find in other MOBAs like armor, magic armor, cooldown reduction, crit chance, lifesteal, and more.
Another unique aspect of Strife is the game's pet system. Aside from simply selecting a hero, players must choose from one of over twelve adorable pets to accompany them in battle. Perhaps the best way to look at pets is to compare them to “Summoner Spells” in League of Legends or “Stolen Powers” from Infinite Crisis. Each pet has 1 special activatable ability and 2 passives. Tortus for example, one of the free starting pets, allows players to cast rejuvenate once every 160 seconds which heals their hero over time. Aside from an activatable heal ability, Tortus also gives players the “harden” ability which blocks up to 106 damage (scales with a hero's level) every 12 seconds. Tortus' other passive is “Vitality” which increases max health by 170 (scales with hero level). Each pet has 2 unlockable skins, which can only purchased with Gems, Strife's premium currency. Aside from the 2 starting pets, additional pets must be purchased with Gems or Elixers, the in-game currency earned by playing the game. Given that any hero can be paired up with any pet, there's an incredible amount of variety in Strife.
Crafting and Item Customization
Strife features a unique crafting system that sets it apart from other MOBAs. Every recipe in the game can be customized by altering its components and adding an enchantment. The “Grimoire” item, for example, by default costs 3,215 gold and requires the following components: Power Crystal (+16 power), Mana Shard (+55 mana), and Clarity Shard (+1.2 mana/sec). Players can customize this recipe by changing its components. The Grimoire has a component value of 5 must customized with any components that add up to a value of 5 to be customized. The more powerful a recipe, the higher the component value. Late game recipes, for example, have much higher component values. The default "Grimoire" provides bonus mana, power, and mana regen, but it can be customized with any other combination of base components (Power, Attack Speed, Health, Health Regen, Mana, and Mana Regen)
One example would be: Health Shard (+85 health), Health Shard (+85 health), and Health Crystal (+230 health). While it would be nice to add 3 health crystals, health crystals have 3 component value while health shards have 1. The Grimoire went from providing bonus mana to bonus health! Don't need health or mana? No problem! It can be customized to increase power and attack speed too. Depending on the total gold value of the components selected, the total cost of the item will change to ensure fairness. After selecting components, players can also add an enchantment to their crafted item, which further increases its stats. However, adding enchantments make the item cost more gold to complete. Players can create as many customized items as they wish, which adds an extra layer of customization to Strife.
The only real drawback to crafting is that it requires Elixers or Gems. Elixers are earned simply by playing games while Gems must be purchased with cash. Crafted items last forever, but players need a lot of Elixers or Gems to craft a large variety of items.
Final Verdict – Great
Strife is an incredibly polished game and an excellent addition to the MOBA genre. The game is fun, well paced, and unique. The game's item crafting and pet system means that there are a near infinite different ways to build every hero. Those looking for a solid MOBA to play should definitely give Strife a chance.
Strife System Requirements
Operating System: XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
CPU: Intel Dual Core / AMD 2.4 GHz
Video Card: GeForce 8600 / Radeon 2600 / Intel HD 2000 or better
RAM: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 4 GB
Mac OS X Requirements:
Operating System: OS X 10.7
CPU: Intel Dual Core 2.4 GHz
Video Card: GeForce 8600 / Radeon 2600 / Intel HD 2000 or better
RAM: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 4 GB
Strife Music & Soundtrack
Strife Additional Information
Developer: S2 Games
Publisher: S2 Games
Other Platforms: Mac OS X and Linux
Engine: Kodiak Engine
Closed Beta Date: August 8, 2013
Open Beta Date: August 29, 2014
Steam Release Date: April 9, 2015 (Early Access)
Southeast Asia: 2014 (Asiasoft)
Russia: 2014 (Mail.ru)
Development History / Background:
Strife was developed by American game developer S2 games from Kalamazoo, Michigan and built using the Kodiak Engine. Strife was first announced back in August 8, 2013 after it had already been in development for 2 years. The game entered closed beta testing on February 22, 2014 and finally reached open beta on August 29, 2014.