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It’s not easy running an airship in Guns of Icarus Alliance

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I always liked the sound of Guns of Icarus Online.
It’s a competitive multiplayer game in which players work together to
control a steampunk airship and take on other teams. Someone physically
steers the vessel, while others man turrets, spot enemy ships, and put
out fires. It’s one of those games that you probably don’t want to get
into unless you can assemble a decent, reliable group — that’s been my
thinking these past few years, anyway. I can’t be alone.
The game is getting an Adventure Mode, though. It’s called Alliance, and it’s going to pull in a whole new batch of players who, like me, have been intrigued by Guns of Icarus
but would prefer to focus more on teamwork than competition with real
people. In this expansion, you’re facing off against AI-controlled ships
with your fellow crew members. It’s PvE, not PvP.
I tried Alliance last
month at PAX and while I enjoyed what I played, my goodness was there a
lot to take in all at once. It was my first time with Guns of Icarus, after all.

My duties were relatively simple — help mark far-off ships and
structures, hop from gun to gun, shoot bad guys until they explode —
but even that proved chaotic. Acclimating to the different types of
weapons and their variable ammunition (and bullet drop!) proved
difficult at first, especially when the ship’s layout was still
unfamiliar to me. Efficiency is crucial to surviving.

Sometimes, our guns were on fire, on account of the many ships shooting at us. Other
times, while backing off of a turret (because it needed to reload or,
uh, it was on fire), I fell to my death. It didn’t happen early on like I
thought it might, but after the first fall, it became a habit.

Despite Muse Games CEO Howard Tsao’s best efforts as our pilot, we
died. A lot. Still, it was exhilarating — each airship we brought down
felt like a feat, as it should. There’s depth to the combat, which I
appreciate (and will appreciate far more once I’m proficient with the
systems).

Alliance has been a long time coming — reworking the game
to function with AI has been challenging — but progress is being made.
Kickstarter backers are now testing the prototype.

In its latest Kickstarter post,
Muse Games wrote that it will be “adding progression to characters and
factions. There will be a world map and a grander sense of the Guns of Icarus
universe where every battle will shift the course of history. At the
end of each season of conflict, you’ll have the opportunity to have
your deeds immortalized in the lore of the game, and have glory
bestowed upon your clan and faction. While not all of these features
will be available immediately, we’ll be seeing more and more of them
enter testing as we continue to push towards launch in 2016. Last but
not least, there will also be new unlockable ships, new weapons, new
tools, new clothes, decals, and more!”

It’s still going to be a bit of a wait, in other words. I hope everything comes together as promised.

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