This was originally posted on MMO Games on 16 April 2016. It is being re-posted here to archive the work I have done in case the original website ever shuts down.
Atlas Reactor is a new team-based tactics game by Trion Worlds, featuring a new form of turn-based combat with a twist, as players take strategic turns in combat simultaneously. The game features competitive team-based combat, a wide variety of “freelancers” (heroes) to choose from, PvE content via bot matches, and the Atlas Reactor Closed Beta brings us even more fun.
The customization available in the game is huge, and it keeps growing. Unique customizations include taunts, used to trigger an in-game highlight of the character allowing players to get closer to their favorites. There are also character skins, titles, user banners, and more.
I met with James Karras, Senior Producer, and William Cook, Lead Designer, to discuss the Atlas Reactor Closed Beta changes, which released on Thursday, April 14, 2016.
Meet Freelancer Elle
The Alpha introduced a new freelancer, Oz, and the Atlas Reactor Closed Beta introduces Elle. She’s a Firepower Freelancer, described as a cold-hearted assassin who just really likes to make a big old mess with her shotgun. Elle has one of the coolest primaries in the game with a targeting arc that can change shape from long and slim to short and wide. She is also the first freelancer to have an ability to dash one square and fire in the same turn, which can be used twice in a row.
She also has a free action to use in addition to other abilities where she can place an invisible drone on the ground. Enemy players will know that something has been placed, but they won’t know where the bot is located. The bot can be detonated at any time within three turns, when it will automatically self-destruct.
Elle has another ability, Overcharge, which grants additional damage to the next shot taken, including her Ultimate ability—a gigantic shotgun blast that deals knockback to everyone that gets hit, including Elle. It’s an interesting twist on freelancer abilities, and one that the developers hope to continue as they release more characters.
Seasons are something new being implemented in the Atlas Reactor Closed Beta, and they include a story made of multiple chapters, challenges, contracts, and other rewards. The chapters follow the story of Atlas Reactor, and each season introduces new elements to it. These stories change throughout the year, and introduce chapters every few weeks.
In the closed beta, players will be trying out the first few chapters of the story and providing feedback for developers on how the system feels. It was built with the players in mind, and it tries to break down the barrier between free players versus those spending cash on the game. The story itself cannot be progressed without playing through it, and it will be available to read in full once a season closes.
Contracts and challenges that go along with the Seasons provide big rewards, including XP and crafting components. Rewards are gained by leveling, and include loot matrices (the equivalent of loot chests), which hold cosmetics such as taunts, banners, and emojis.
Levels can be purchased, and only correspond to acquiring cosmetic items. Karras and Cook made it clear that there is no way to buy power in Atlas Reactor, only cosmetics. Levels are being tuned in the Beta, and the XP gain is linear, which mean the experience needed to go from level 1 to level 2 is the same that’s needed to go from 58 to 59.
Any cosmetic items earned in a season are archived, and they cannot be earned past the season except for special events. The goal is for these seasonal items to still be available by special means, however, they’re much more difficult to obtain once the season is over.
In the future, the developers are looking to implement things such as objective-based game modes, ranked modes, additional maps, more freelancers, and spectator mode. Spectator mode is something they plan to try after Closed Beta has been running for a few weeks.
Crafting For Fun
New season-specific crafting materials are given out from completing challenges and contracts, and more loot matrices can be crafted from these materials. There are some matrices that can only be crafted, and some that can only be obtained through play.
Anything opened from loot matrix’s that are a duplicate can be broken down into materials again so that nothing is wasted. The developers wanted to set up a system so that all types of players can participate to the fullest extent.
Karras and Cook know that their game is different from other games on the market, and getting feedback during the Atlas Reactor Closed Beta is extremely important to them. They need to know how the seasons run and want to know if players are engaged and having fun.
To facilitate this, a community rewards program will be unlocked for those that purchase a Pre-Sale pack. Missions for this program were unveiled on Thursday, and are about building a community for the game, as well as excitement for the official release. Karras and Cook noted they, “wanted to build stuff that we would have fun with as players and devs.”
Atlas Reactor Closed Beta Access
The Closed Beta servers are open 24/7 for testing. Any players who played in the February Alpha, or earlier, is automatically added to the Closed Beta. The developers wanted to reward those players for helping to shape the game into what it is today.
Anyone else who doesn’t want to wait can grab a Pre-Sale pack to obtain access immediately. The lowest cost option is $10 USD and includes $10 USD worth of cash-shop money to spend on freelancers, skins, and more. Players can also sign up for the closed beta on Atlas Reactor’s website. Invitations to the Atlas Reactor closed beta will be sent out every so often to those who have signed up, however, there is no guarantee that anyone who signs up will obtain access to the closed beta.
There is no NDA on the Atlas Reactor Closed Beta, and the developers are excited to see what kinds of content their players share through Twitch, blogs, Twitter, Reddit, and other social media platforms.