Team-based airship PvP combat. I really shouldn’t need to say more than that, but I am. I had heard of Guns of Icarus Online, but never had a chance to take a stab at it until PAX East this year. Apparently I’ve been missing out, because I had a blast.
In Guns of Icarus Online you are a crew member on an airship. Basically, your objective is to keep your airship in the air while swatting other airships down. There are three classes with very specific jobs to choose from: Captain, Gunner, and Engineer. The captain is the pilot of the ship – he will be at the helm steering the ship out of danger and working with the Gunner to line up shots on enemy ships. The Gunner’s job is to use the weapons on the ship to take down opposing airships. The Engineer’s job is to make sure the airship stays in the air by keeping various components repaired. Each class can perform the actions of another class, but each class does their job more effectively; so you don’t necessarily want an engineer in the Gunner seat, but it may happen from time to time.
This comes in handy in certain situations. If your ship is in really bad shape, the Gunner can get off or a turret and help the Engineer repair. On the opposite side of that, the Engineer may be able to hop on one of the other guns to help inflict more damage on an enemy vessel. The only person I really can’t see getting help is the Captain. It’s lonely at the top, but the view is beautiful.
One thing I found out very quickly is that communication is key; primarily between the Gunner and the Captain. The ship’s guns don’t have a very wide turning radius, so the Gunner is at the mercy of the Captain when it comes to lining up shots. The Gunner may need to shout up to the Captain to keep steady for a shot or move into the proper angle. There were three guns on the ship I fought on, and when you are on a gun your vision is pretty limited. Since the captain will have a broader view, they should be telling the Gunner which side an enemy ship is passing so that the team doesn’t miss any opportunities.
I didn’t get a chance to pilot, but I can only imagine how fun it is to fly through the clouds, dodging enemy fire and setting up shots. I primarily played as the Gunner and helped out with fixing things as well. The ship I was on had two side guns and one big one in the back that could fire a volley of bullets. The two on the sides only shot cannonballs, but the one in the back was able to change ammo. I had access to a standard shot, a shot that did explosive damage, one that did piercing damage, and one other that I’m not exactly sure what it did. According to the developer, once you get used to the ammo types you will be able to determine which is best for what situation. Some are better to hit a hull, some are better to get through armor, and some are best used to damage the armor around the balloon.
When you fire a volley it doesn’t hit instantaneously and there is no tracking. So, based on speed, distance, and direction you need to properly gauge where to aim in order to inflict maximum damage. Also, reload time is pretty significant; so letting off rounds or swapping out ammo frequently will lead to a lot of down time for you. Playing the Gunner was fun, but it also required a level of patience, strategy, and vision.
From what I saw there are different ships with different configurations, so the color won’t be the only difference between ships. I don’t know what the exact difference is between the ships besides weapon placement. I think there are different weapon types and different level of armor, but I haven’t gotten far enough in the game to tell. Also, when I get close enough to those ships we were too busy blowing the shit out of each other for me to determine many differences.
Right now there isn’t a single player, but the developers have started a Kickstarter to create an Adventure Mode. The video below will give you an idea of what they are trying accomplish. If they can manage to pull off an awesome single player on top of their already engaging multiplayer, this game will be the complete package. I had such a good time playing Guns of Icarus Online that I came home and purchased it the day after PAX.
For a small team, Muse Games did a great job. I’m hoping their Kickstarter is successful so I can see what they can do with the single player. Even if it isn’t, the game is already worth it.