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TOME: Immortal Arena

TOME: Immortal Arena is a 3D fantasy themed MOBA with an emphasis on shorter 10-20 minute matches with more action. TOME differentiates itself from other MOBAs with its emphasis on simplicity - as the game has no ability power / armor penetration / magic resist / or other complicated stats.

Publisher: KIXEYE / Steam
Playerbase: Low
Type: MOBA
Release Date: November 21, 2014 (NA/EU)
Shut Down Date: May, 2015
Pros: +Shorter 10-20 minute matches. +Simple learning curve. +7 vs 7 Map.
Cons: -Limited customization options. -Casual mechanics may turn some players away. -Few item choices / builds.

 

Overview

TOME: Immortal Arena Overview

TOME: Immortal Arena is a fantasy themed MOBA developed by Kixeye and published on Valve's popular Steam platform. The game was originally developed as a browser-based title but upon launching on Steam, the browser-based version shut down for good. Despite originally being designed for the browser, TOME has surprisingly good graphics and supports 1920x1080 resolution. The best way to describe TOME is a mix between League of Legends and SMITE, but with much shorter matches. Players can battle on either the 3v3 Colosseum map or the 5v5 Sanctuary map. A 7 vs 7 map is also available. Some of the key differences between TOME and other MOBAs include:

  • Short 10-20 minute matches with an emphasis on action over farming.
  • Zero customization options. Abilities level up on their own with no input from the player.
  • No stats beyond Damage / Health. So no armor penetration / ability power / armor / magic defense, etc.
  • No wards of any kind.
  • Players can shop without going back to base simply by being out of combat.

KIXEYE announced that official development support for Tome: Immortal Arena ended on February 5, 2015. No new content will be added, but the servers will remain up for some time. 

TOME: Immortal Arena Screenshots

TOME: Immortal Arena Featured Video

Full Review

TOME: Immortal Arena Review

By Huy Luong & Kaneka Chhak

TOME: Immortal Arena is a MOBA brawler developed by KIXEYE. It was formerly available in closed beta as a browser-based MOBA, but made its debut on Steam on November 21st. The popularity of games such as League of Legends and DotA have caused a huge increase in the development of MOBAs.  TOME distinguishes itself from other games in the genre by eliminating many aspects of a typical MOBA in an attempt to create a fresh and streamlined perspective.

It was designed to be a fast-paced game focused more on the fighting rather than farming, and seems to be a MOBA “Lite” in that the main objective of the game is to push fast and push hard. It simplifies many aspects, for example: no last-hitting -- gold is earned by being near minions and killing enemies; no mana -- player abilities are only limited by cooldowns; and no need to back -- stepping out of combat allows health regen and item purchase.

This creates a very small learning curve, allowing new players to quickly get in on the action. In addition, the short game time (10-20 minutes depending on game mode) and lack of established meta seems to make the game less toxic than others-- a main complaint of the MOBA culture.

Getting Started
Within the world of TOME, you play the role of Harbinger and you choose a Guardian from one of six Domains to bring forth into a battle arena.

As a first time player, TOME presents you with the option to choose your skill level-- Beginner, Intermediate, or Expert. Beginner launches a tutorial which explains the basic aspects of a MOBA and walks you through the mechanics of TOME. Intermediate and Expert explain the differences, but Intermediate puts you into a practice match while Expert takes you to the main screen where you can choose your path as a Harbinger. Having played League of Legends for a couple of years, I disregarded the tutorial and dived in… and proceeded to lose my first two games. This is not, however, evidence of the game’s difficulty but my inability to read ability descriptions.

Guardians and Customization
There are currently 20+ different Guardians and six are available each weekly free rotation, which means a casual player could easily get away with never making a purchase. This is especially true since TOME offers a Quest mechanic, which will unlock certain Guardians after playing a certain number of Co-op v. AI or PvP games. Of course, Guardians can also be purchased either with Devotion, which is earned through playing, or Platinum, which is bought with real money. On average, the Guardians cost 7000 Devotion or 900 Platinum.

Each Guardian has a Domain and a suggested role. However, the roles don’t mean much because of the limited itemization and lack of coordination. Although the game suggests that tacticians such as Auberon are more support characters, I built him for Might and Attack Speed and scored many kills. So it's more of a suggestion than anything else.

When you finish a game, you gain Favor towards the Domain the Guardian is in, you also gain Guardian XP and Devotion. Upon acquiring certain amounts of Favor, you are granted with Blessings, equippable buffs during Guardian selection that persist throughout the game. Guardians can only use Blessings from their own Domain. In addition to Blessings, you also have relics that can be equipped for a minor buff. Aside from the core Relics, which are tailored towards each Guardian’s role, Relics are Guardian-specific and are unlocked with Guardian XP. Devotion allows for purchase of Guardians.

A nice thing about the game is that it allows you to accumulate Guardian XP even for Guardians that you don’t own, so you don’t have to start over when you get around to making the purchase.

Game Modes
There are two maps, Coliseum (3v3, about 10-15 minutes game time) and Sanctuary (5v5, about 15-20 minutes game time), which can be played in three different modes: Practice, Co-op v. AI, and PvP. A third 7v7 game mode is also available. Practice mode has all the Guardians unlocked, which is a nice feature allowing me to try out Guardians before buying them, but doesn’t give any Devotion, XP, or Favor.

The Coliseum is split into two lanes and has two enemy towers, one in the top lane, one in the bottom lane, and a midboss. This map provides quick games with constant action. The Sanctuary also has only two lanes, but being a bigger map, has a total of four enemy towers, two in the top lane and two in the bottom lane, and a “jungle area” with vision-granting lanterns and some jungle monsters. A more lengthy map, this map can last the same amount as The Coliseum or much longer depending on how the game goes.

Gameplay
You start the game with three of your abilities (your ultimate unlocks at level 6), which automatically rank up as you level, and head off with your team along with an army of seemingly worthless minions, to push a lane towards the enemy’s altar. Along the way you’ll be faced with towers and the opposing Guardians, leaving you with only one option: chew bubblegum and kick ass. And you’re all out of ass.

The towers in this game have an interesting mechanic where they have ‘ammo’, which can be depleted when the they are pressured. This means that if the enemy pushes, they can be left defenseless. Once a tower is destroyed, your seemingly useless minions receive a power boost allowing them to wreck face, represented by a square above their health bar. This can make the game go even more quickly, especially on the 3v3 map. The loss of one tower gives the other team a huge advantage which is hard to come back from and can easily lead to a defeat. It sort of feels like losing an inhibitor in League of Legends or a Barracks in DotA 2.

The ultimate goal is to destroy the enemy team’s altar. How do you accomplish such a heroic feat? Click. A lot. Since abilities are only limited by cooldown, players have to be prepared for a lot of spamming, from themselves and their opponents. This, combined with the lack of last-hitting, means that you are constantly moving to avoid skillshots or auto-attack minions. A single intense 3v3 match left my wrist kind of sore afterwards.

There are some additional objectives-- the 3v3 map has a midboss, Morthul, who grants a life-steal and Might buff to the Guardians. The 5v5 map offers a bit more differentiation with green runes that give movement speed; lanterns, that give vision; some smaller monsters, known as Lasthul who give an attack speed boost; and Behemoth, an overpowered midboss which deals massive damage to enemy Guardians as well as killing all the monsters and claiming their buffs. However in both game modes, there isn’t usually enough downtime to kill the midbosses unless a team is already winning, and if that’s the case, it isn’t necessary.

What’s going down in Coliseum town
Upon entering the Coliseum, you are spawned in your base, and from what I have seen, you immediately go to lane and start fighting. Usually no one died, so it was kind of pointless since you regenerated back to full health in about 20 seconds. Most of my time was spent going back and forth in lane with my opponents, clearing each other’s minion waves as fast as possible for gold and XP, attacking each other, and occasionally stepping out of combat to regenerate. Ganks were often, though of course it depends largely on your team composition. Whichever team takes down the other team’s tower first, gets a huge advantage over the other team. When my team lost our first tower, it became hell. Buffed minions paired with such a linear map made it hard to manage both lanes. One lane had all of the other team pushing, while they let their buffed minions push the other lane. At least one team member was forced to go to the other lane and stop the ongoing push of buffed minions, leaving only me and the other teammate to defend against enemy Guardians AND buffed minions. In games where I was somehow on the winning team, after we destroyed both of their towers, their base became overwhelmed with buffed 2x minions that hit like a Hostess truck full of Twinkies. At that point we either charged in and ended the game, or went to kill Morthul and then ended the game.

Adversary within the Sanctuary
Spawning in Sanctuary, things begin a bit differently. Instead of going straight into battle, teams usually scurry into the jungle, taking as many of the vision-granting lanterns as possible before minions spawned. Occasionally you’ll run into some of the enemy if not their whole team and a little skirmish will break out. Usually nothing too fatal. The Lasthul and speed buff runes proved to be ideal for ganking. Aside from that, not too much is different. You’re still trying to out push your opponent in lane to gain more gold and XP, while occasional skirmishes break out with ganks and such. A lot of emphasis was put on control of the vision lanterns. They provided good sight throughout the jungle, especially against gankers. Though destroying towers and gaining buffed minions still provided a good advantage, a comeback was much more plausible in this map. Good teamfights in the jungle can quickly change the tide of the game as well as keeping good control of the lanterns and taking Behemoth.

The game promises to be more oriented to the fighting aspect, and delivers. Even though the main objective is to push the lane, the lack of importance on other objectives means that you will end up fighting a lot, and the fact that you start the game with three of your abilities means you get right into it.

Items
TOME is unique from League of Legends or DotA because it allows you to purchase items from everywhere. All you have to do is avoid getting hit, and after a few seconds of ‘channeling’ you have your shiny new item. Unfortunately, there aren’t many items to choose from. There are only three types of items: Might, Attack Speed, and Health, and only five items in each category. This, combined with the fact that you only have four item slots, leads to very limited itemization and cookie-cutter builds.

Final Thoughts
Being relatively new to the MOBA genre, TOME still has some things to work on. For example, the matchmaking is not efficient and some of the Guardians and monsters could use reworks. Games like DotA 2 and League of Legends have had years and years of improvements and balance tweaks, so TOME has a lot of catching up to do. However, KIXEYE seems to be aware of some of this as they include a survey after the game asking for feedback on their matchmaking. There are also not many Guardians yet, especially compared to other MOBAs, and only some of them have skins so people who value customization will have to wait before they get their fix.

Other than some balancing issues, the game is quick and easy to pick up-- definitely a change of pace from hardcore MOBAs like LoL and DotA. It starts almost immediately and in-lane regen and shop means that you’re never far from the action. In fact, the only time you get a break is when you’re dead, and even that doesn’t last long. It’s intense, but not intensive. You click a lot and you’re almost always in a fight, but you don’t have to think about much. No mana means that your abilities are not precious and you don’t have to worry about using them. There is also not much of a meta, at least not yet, so you don’t have to spend time reading up on strategies. There are four roles, but it doesn’t seem to affect gameplay very much. While this means you aren’t likely to get raged at for taking someone else’s ‘role’, it detracts from the individuality of the Guardians and can make you feel a bit insignificant.

It’s said that League of Legends looks easy because a lot of the gameplay takes place in strategizing, which is why it can be hard for new players to get in to. TOME, on the other hand, is very simple. Other than learning what your abilities do, you don’t need to know a lot. It's simple to learn, but requires some dedication to master.

Final Verdict - Good
TOME: Immortal Arena a good way to get introduced to the MOBA genre, and if you can get over the somewhat cheesy announcing and voice overs, it can be a quick, thoughtless, time-killer, but those familiar with the genre might find the experience overwhelmingly underwhelming.

Screenshots

TOME: Immortal Arena Screenshots

Videos

TOME: Immortal Arena Videos

System Requirements

TOME: Immortal Arena System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP (SP3)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.13 GHz or better
Video Card: nVidia GeForce 8600 GT or ATI HD 2600 XT with 256MB or better
RAM: 4GB
Hard Disk Space: 4GB

64 Bit OS Strongly Recommended

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Windows Vista (SP2)+
CPU: Intel Core i3 3.3GHz or better
Video Card: nVidia GeForce 8800 GT 512MB or better.
RAM: 4GB
Hard Disk Space: 4GB

64 Bit OS Strongly Recommended

Music

Tome: Immortal Arena Music & Soundtrack

Additional Info

Tome Immortal Arena Additional Information

Developer: KIXEYE (Previously known as Casual Collective)
Open Beta Date: February 16, 2010

Development Background

TOME: Immortal Arena is a 3D casual MOBA developed by San-Fransisco California based KIXEYE. The game was originally designed to be a browser based game powered by Adobe Flash and a facebook game, but pivoted to a client based game. The game launched on Steam on November 21, 2014, but never managed to capture a large audience. The developer ended support for Tome on February 5, 2015.