Downloadable Content is a dirty word now. As soon as DLC or a season pass is mentioned in a game, people get all up in arms (#nopreorders right?). A surprise to no one, Evolve also has a DLC plan. I’m not going to defend DLC as a great thing, but in all honesty the Evolve DLC is very forgiving.
To start it off, they have stated several times that all maps in the game from launch and beyond will be free to play on. Paid maps is one of the worst things that happen to games, especially FPS. Take a game like Battlefield or Call of Duty. In the beginning we all play together on the only maps available. In six months when two or three map packs come out, the community is greatly divided on who has what. With free maps, everyone can play together regardless of what DLC they have. They haven’t talked about how many maps they plan on releasing, so we could only get four or we could get twelve. Who knows!
So what payable DLC will there be? They plan on releasing both new Hunters and Monsters to play with. At launch there will be a “Hunting Season Pass”. Owning this pass grants you four new characters, one for each class, and three “Magma” skins for the launch Monsters. Who knows if they are going to launch each new Hunter individually or all at once. Given how each Hunter in each class plays totally differently, they could really freshen the game up in new ways or make it terribly unbalanced. One thing to note, you can play matches with people who have these post launch Hunters with no restrictions. If someone leaves a match and a bot takes control of the new Hunters, you are allowed to switch to it, giving you the opportunity to try it out when you can. This is a great idea to let people sample Hunters they don’t have.
Pre-order DLC: If you pre-order the game before launch you get a code for the “Monster Expansion Pack”. This grants you a usable “Savage Goliath” skin and access to the 4th Monster Behemoth, talked about yesterday. Behemoth won’t be unlocked at the start though, they are still in the stages of making him. As I said yesterday, they’ve only shown rough test footage of him with unfinished abilities so there is still big development and balance going on with him. There has been no announcement of when Behemoth is going to be release him, but I’d say sometime in March/April.
Other pre-order bonuses include unlocking the second tier of characters for each class, but those are very minor and can be done in one or two days of playing. Gamestop is offering weapon skins to those who pre-order through them, they just give your weapons a red coloring. They are been confirmed timed so I’m sure it will eventually be released for a price.
One more note about the DLC plans, the “PC Monster Race” edition mentions access to a 5th monster and two additional Hunters. These will eventually come to consoles and are just time exclusives (another dirty, dirty word). So more is on the way!
(Daisy Skins: Original, Exterminator Gamestop Skin, Elite Skin)
I have a feeling Evolve will try to take the route of making money off weapon/character skins. After the Beta they found several skins for the Monsters, and have pretty much confirmed a shop to buy different skins from. Skins found include: Albino, Corpse Eater, Magma, Savage, Swamp, Wendigo. This is whatever though, you don’t need skins to play the game and your experience won’t change without them. Moving on!
So the Character Mastery is one of two unlocking systems in the game. As you use gadgets, guns and abilities in the game on both sides, you earn points towards challenges. Each Class has their own Mastery that grants a bonus once you complete. Take for example Markov. Dealing a certain amount of damage to anything with the Assault Rifle will earn his first star. Once earned, he will gain a permanent 2% increase to accuracy. The second star is a bit harder and requires you to deal a set amount of damage to the Monster. Finishing this get you a +5% accuracy. For the final star you have to deal a certain amount of damage in Monster Headshots. This earns you a whopping +10% accuracy and an Elite Assault Rifle skin. Completing all 12 Masteries for a Character not only earns to an Elite version of each weapon, but also an Elite Character model. Monsters will have an Elite Character skin unlocked through the Mastery system too.
The Mastery System is also how you unlock new characters. Example: Getting a one star in all the weapons for Markov will unlock Hyde. Getting two stars in all the weapons for Markov will unlock Pharnel. Three stars is for elite skins. This goes for all the Hunters and the Monster. It doesn’t take very long to get a level 1 mastery, and most of them require you to just play the game to get. Be aware though, some are a little more tricky to do when finishing the final set of stars, but after every match you can check your progress.
Evolve has an experience and level system in it aside from Character Mastery. As you gain experience through matches, awards and medals, you level up. Through leveling you gain perks. Before each match you can choose one perk for your character to take into the fight. This can be something like reduced ability cooldown, faster jetpack recharge, less damage, slight healing, faster movement speed and many more. The Monster also gets a similar set of perks it can pick from. There are three stars for each perk so they grow stronger when unlocked with higher levels. It’s up to you to pick the perfect perk for your Character and play style! At launch the maximum level achievable will be 40.
So now we close the chapter on the progression system and DLC. It’s not complicated stuff. The level system is interesting and not too long, Mastery is good incentive to play keep with a certain character and DLC is still DLC. We are just a few short days away from Evolve though! Tomorrow i’ll be wrapping everything up with a short discussion on maps, game modes and any other cleanup topics.