So a while back @RexxDoom had requested tiny updates from the devs and it made me think of writing an account of one of my own play test matches. Then I saw @WierdAlGankabitch do a write up about his Evolve Gameplay Experience. That inspired me to go ahead and review one my recorded games (with content already announced) and write down an account of what happened. Unfortunately things have gotten so busy that I kept pushing this off, but I decided to finally finish it. It is a bit of a read so I apologize if it’s hard to follow, but I tried to be as descriptive as possible. I hope that if you do read it, you find it worth your time.
Map: Fusion Plant
Monster: Goliath – leap attack lvl1, flame breath lvl1, charge attack lvl1
Hunters: Val, Hank, Griffin, Markov
Special Notes: At the time of this match, buffs from more than one elite could stack and they would last the whole round. Hunters would also not respawn on the drop ship if they just incapacitated. That has since been redesigned to be more balanced.
As the round begins, I start off near the center of the forest map shown off at PAX. I stand atop a cliff with a large pool of water below and a tunnel underneath me. Looking past it to the south lays a wasteland, tainted by the power station. Trees are shriveled and vegetation has dried up. To the immediate east is a small set of colonial structures built under the cover of a tall cavern with massive rock columns. Further east lay a vast swap, with pools of water, large trees, and large space ship wreckage having crashed some time ago. To the west there is a power plant and a man made water way. To the north it is an uphill path through uneven terrain with various rock formations.
I begin my start by walking a few steps north, but then crouch down and sneak directly east, climbing a large cliff side and make my way to the Swaps. As I get closer to it, I hear off in the distance gun fire, and the game prompts me that the hunters have acquired the Mammoth bird buff. For hunters they gain a dexterity bonus that lets them reload and switch weapons faster, but as the monster it allows my abilities to cool down 20% faster and I want it.
So I start heading South, sneaking every so carefully towards a small pass that connects the Eastern swaps to the Southern wasteland. As I am half way through, I hear hunters on approach, spreading their search party wide to find me. Tension rises as I can hear Griffin north/east of my position about 20-30 meters away yell out that he’s planting a sound sensor. Now I have to stay sneaking or I’ll be revealed to the hunters, so I continue scaling around a massive rock column that from the other side would appear as obvious and awkward as Barney the purple dinosaur scaling a plain white billboard sign. Yet the hunters are still searching for me to the East and allow me to sneak down into the pit and through the tunnel.
At this point I’ve managed to make a complete circle around 15-20% of the map and only managed to feed on 1 Marsh strider along my way. As I sniff, I see my prize just outside the other end of the tunnel exit above, the elite Mammoth bird. Though as I approach I hear gunfire and jetpacks; the hunters can’t be far. Time is running short, if I wait much longer the elite carcass will decay and all my efforts will have been in vain. So I climb out of the hole and go for it. Just as I reach the top, I hit one of Markov’s Arc mines. If they didn’t figure out where I was at that point, they sure did when I managed to eat the last remaining piece of meat off the elite.
Now I book it north/west and kill and eat whatever I come across as fast as I can, but it’s not long before I hear gunfire and jetpacks on approach. Intimidating as the situation may have seemed, I was relieved somewhat to be gifted with another elite creature, the venom hound. I killed and consumed its buff which gave me a poison attack that does damage over time. So I keep eating till I have enough energy to evolve and just as I finish, the hunters arrive and lock me into their mobile arena.
So the first dance begins at stage 1 with full armor in the north/west corner of the map, just on the border of the power plant. My first goal is to try and hit each hunter to poison them. I climb atop a large rock structure and take a swipe at Griffin, knocking him way off and then leap attack towards Val far atop a nearby structure of the plant. I overshoot and miss however, but try again against another target back on the same rock I leapt from. Having fallen short of that target, I can tell their positioning is well spread out and any that I engage would result in the other 3 railing into me with open line of sight(LOS). Maybe I could have incapacitated a hunter, but it would have come at a great cost to me and I would not have been able to outright win at stage 1 against this team, in this position, with my current abilities. So I played it safe and planned on my retreat. (You win this round hunters…)
Once the mobile arena came down, I booked it eastward to the swaps, which was nerve racking with Griffin hot on my tail harpooning me at the end of my leaps, but I still managed to reach the swaps safely with ~50% armor and no health lost. Once I have reached the complete opposite end of the map, I stage up and put 2 points into rock throw and 1 additional point into fire breath. As I exit my metamorphosis, the hunters managed to catch up and trap me in another arena, forcing me to fight without armor.
With Griffin first in my LOS I try to focus him down in hopes of breaking the arena and securing an escape, but his team proved too skilled in keeping him alive and I know how good they are, so I switch my efforts to focus down the medic knowing how the hunters will react. At every moment Hank will try to shield Val, which means it’s a war of attrition for me to wear down the shield until I can do actual damage against Val. Griffin will try to harpoon and constrict my movements, which means I need to be mindful of my positioning and ability usage to counter his effectiveness. Markov is going to do straight damage to me not matter what, so I need to keep him at a distance, while focusing down Val. Val will try to heal an ally if dangerously low, otherwise she will tranq and juke me.
As I chase down Val, Markov is lighting me up 5 seconds straight, which has my attention, so I toss a rock at him, knocking him down to about 40% life and behind a tree. I attempt to go after Val, but Griffin’s harpoon stops me, so I breathe some fire on him and go around the other side of the tree to provide an LOS blocker against Griffin. Val tries healing Markov, but I come in after her, while knocking Markov away with a heavy hit and a leap attack, which sends them both flying in opposite direction. Val has been tossed closer to Griffin, while Hank is perched atop some ship wreckage strategically shielding his allies at just the right moment. As Val attempts to recover into a good position and heal Markov, I see that she has low life, so I throw a rock at her, knocking her back and bringing her down to about 20% life left. Griffin’s Harpoon has gotten on me at this point and as I try to swing at it and gracefully leap attack towards Val, I mess up and end up leaping in place. Once I break it I am after the Val who has ended up so far away from the rest of the team that she tries desperately to get back to the group. I finally get up close and lay into her, as griffin harpoons me, while Hank shields Val, but it’s clear to me that she is mine and I commit to the kill. 10 seconds and 25% of my life later I have Val incapped.
I begin to focus down the other hunters while using Val as bait since I know they want to try to get her back up. I toss a rock onto some arc mines to set them off and disrupt the hunters and leap smash onto Val knocking away the trapper. In this moment Hank calls in an orbital on Val’s location to scare me away, while he shields her from taking any more damage. So I charge after the trapper while keeping away from the bombardment, but am still keenly focused on not letting them revive Val. Finally after the smoke has cleared, I rock throw and charge onto Val’s body and kill her, coming out with 50% of my life left.
From here I run down Griffin and incap him and then Markov right after managing to bring me down to 40% life. Only Hank remains, who I already lost sight of 30 seconds ago, so I sniff around in an attempt to pick up his trail, but I can’t find it and there is only 1 minute left before the dead hunters respawn. So I abandon my hunt of Hank and proceed to Stage up to 3. (Monster totally won that engagement)
Now at stage 3 with full armor and 60% of my total health I proceed to the power relay where the hunters have dug in and prepared for a fight. It is a tall rectangular building with 3 levels of walkways along its interior except for the southern side where the generator is located. The setup allows hunters enough room to jetpack around to different locations, but also lets monsters leap and climb around. As I draw near my senses can detect their traps planted at all the entrances, so I begin breaking down each barrier and breathing fire to detonate the arc mines. This should allow me pass through the entrances more freely should the hunters decide to use them to slow down my pursuit of them and reposition Markov from within to replant some traps as I make my way in elsewhere. I decide on entering in from the third floor of the western face of the building, because falling down is free, but leaping up isn’t.
At the entrance I am greeted by an anti-material round from Val’s rifle. In kind I return it with a massive boulder knocking Hank off the third floor and only slightly bruising Val as she ducked behind a beam for cover. Having set my sight on Val, I uncaringly step off the third floor onto the 2nd to go after her, only to fall atop of mine that instantly clears a 5th of my armor as she gracefully evades my hulking mass mid-air.
Unfortunately for Griffin he is standing near the mine as it detonates and I can pin him to a wall momentarily, but he manage to climb up the wall face while I fall down to the first floor. There I regain my bearings for a moment but finally come across Markov who had gone to replant his mines as I made my grand entrance. I did not want to deal with him just yet, so I searched for squishier targets.
Realizing they are on the third floor standing atop a beam on the west side that I could barely traverse, I toss up a rock at them just to get them to jetpack up and climb up to them. The rock grazes Griffin just enough to become uneasy with my sudden appearance and it is enough to let me swat him back down into the center towards the eastern face of the room. I focus him down, not caring that Val and Hank will just heal and shield him, I just want to weaken their team by one and Griffin is the easiest target at this moment in time. I wail on him a little just before he begins jet packing upwards which provides me the perfect opportunity to hurl a rock at him. Hank shields him of course, but after all my previous hits, a rock to the face drains away all of Hanks shield reserve. Falling back down Griffin comes and I proceed to batter him towards the north east entrance. Sensing the danger he is in, he desperately tries to jetpack his way back to the center of the room, but I block attempt until I finally knock him outside and isolate him for the kill.
With Griffin lying broken under my pounding fists, Hank manages to sneak up behind me from a catwalk above and grabs my attention first with beams of hot lasers. This is followed up by Markov peeping out with his lightning gun, which seems close enough to take a Rock from me, but ducks back inside avoiding the rock, giving Hank enough time to stealth away before I can sear him with my fire. Leaping up to the second floor, I sniff him out, but can’t find his tracks, until I see him back near the western 2nd floor entrance.
So I move in to mop up the remaining 3 hunters before the drop ship returns. At this point my armor is back up to about 45% after chowing down on Griffin. Sensing more claymores I clear the entrance first with a rock throw, though I could not sense Val, so I just leapt over the mines down on the first floor onto Markov. After a few swipes, Val gives away her position with the heal ray up on the third floor beam that they used early. So I leap up and climb up to get her. She tries to jetpack slightly away in hopes of juking me, but I maneuver quickly to face her and smack her down. She regains flight and ends up on the second floor walk way on the north side. Unfortunately I land on a mine that brings me down to about 25% armor left. No matter I have Val in my sights now.
With a rock throw I nail her, but Hank shields her just in the Nick of time and repeatedly does so as Val performs a series of maneuvers to fly around a wide column that I have difficulty getting around to hit her like an annoying gnat around my head. Inevitably though, her jetpack runs out and she’s stuck down on the first floor and that is where I focus her down, not caring for Hanks shields, or Markov’s lightning. Once I have Val down in the south west corner of the 1st floor, my armor has been depleted and Hank’s laser bores into my flesh from atop the generator on the southern wall, while along with Markov lights me up on ground level with me. I breathe fire wildly in any direction to do damage all around, but in my haste I step on a claymore, which combined with their firepower has brought me down and left me with 42 seconds on the drop ship timer before the dead revive.
Hank has cloaked again and is making his attempt to run away outside, but I’ll have none of it, so I chase him outside the western 2nd floor entrance atop the third floor platform outside and burn him down again until he collapses under the flames leaving me 45% life left and 20 seconds remaining before the drop ship kicks in. So I leave him alive just in case the drop ship returns, so that he does not re-spawn with it. From there I enter once more from the same way I came in at the beginning of this fight and I jump down now with 10 seconds left on the clock. Markov ducks behind a metal wall where a claymore waits blows up beneath me; 6 seconds 40% life left. I attack propelling me forward just as he pops his shield negating the damage while I step onto another 2 mines; 5 seconds 30% life left. He jet packs up, hitting the room of the 2nd level catwalk, but slowly descends and I pounce him. Unfortunately, it took me too long to beat through his shield and the drop ship is now inbound.
With his lifeless body I regenerate my armor back up to 40% and proceed to the drop zone on the third floor platform outside. Griffin and Hank attempt to proceed through the Eastern entrance, but I come up around and catch Val in the back of the party and force her into the isolation of the water way through an opening. Yet she manages to evade me for another 30 seconds. At this point I assume Griffin has run into hiding, so I head to destroy the generator.
Griffin as it turns out was not as far away as I though. He was somehow managing to shoot me at the generator, yet I could not see from where, and the round end timer kicked in letting me know that if I did not kill all the hunters or the generator, I would lose. I look around and don’t see him, so I attack the generator again. Again I am peppered by sub machine gun fire. At which point I am determined to find him, which I eventually do sitting atop a narrow beam perch on the eastern side. After going through some 45 seconds of extra effort just to reach and kill him, I finally kill Griffin and win the match with 27 seconds before another drop ship would have arrived and 2:13 before the round would have ended.
I am glad to say that from that match we learned that some of those narrow beams were super annoying and cheesy so we got the level designer to remove them so that no one will ever have to deal with it.
If you made it this far then congrats. You have my appreciation for taking the time to read what I spent a lot of time writing.