RUiN Is Back! 7 Reasons to Play This Promising PvP Arena Game

If you want to play a PvP arena game that isn’t a MOBA or an FPS, you don’t have many options right now. Last year, I rounded up a handful of PvP games that weren’t Battlerite and they all died over the course of 2016 (the only exception being Running With Rifles). For many months, Battlerite stood alone in this genre.

Now one of those games is back: RUiN.

To be fair, RUiN never actually died. The development team (Tarhead Studios) ran out of funds in October 2016, which forced them into a hiatus while they figured out what to do. It’s been four months since and the hiatus is now over. RUiN is back on the menu.

1. It’s All Skillshots and PvP

Just like Battlerite, RUiN is a skillshots game where every ability involves aiming, timing, or both. This distinguishes it from most action-oriented PvP games, including Dota 2 and WoW Arena, because there’s no such thing as click-to-target.

The Fireball ability is a projectile that needs to collide to deal damage. The Grenade ability is a delayed ground-target AOE explosion. The Time Warp ability sends you back in time to where you were a few seconds ago and resets your HP to what it was at that time.

If you’ve played Battlerite, you know what I’m talking about. But if you’re coming from a game like League of Legends, RUiN can offer a more mechanically challenging experience.

2. It’s a Unique Kind of Gameplay

Each game of RUiN takes place in a circular arena that shrinks over time. Most abilities have two components — damage and knockback — and the goal is to kill before you get killed. The knockback is crucial because the arena is surrounded by hazardous lava, so positioning matters just as much as damage.

If you’ve ever played Warlock Brawl, it’s basically that. But one huge difference is that RUiN uses WASD for movement instead of right-clicks, which is what most Warlock-inspired games tend to use. And unlike Battlerite, which is feels like an all-out chaotic brawl, RUiN is more strategic.

3. It’s Real-Time and Perfectly Paced

One of the big issues with skillshot-centric games is speed of gameplay. When it’s too fast, the learning curve tends to be too steep for casual players to find any enjoyment in it. Just look at Quake, Bloodline Champions, or even Starcraft: all difficult and intimidating.

I think RUiN hit the sweet spot, at least based on my pre-pre-alpha experience. Compared to Battlerite, RUiN has snappier movement but fewer abilities per kit and slightly shorter cooldowns, resulting in action-packed gameplay that’s more comfortable for newbies yet still fast enough for intense battles.

A great side effect of this is that every action feels meaningful. Whereas Battlerite often feels like a game of attrition that’s full of abilities that all feel the same, every ability in RUiN serves a unique purpose and each one impacts the game in different ways.

4. It’s Simple but It Has Depth

From what I remember, here’s how RUiN’s gameplay works: you have five ability slots and you can pick from a pool of abilities to fill out your kit however you want. Some ability types have restrictions on how many you can have, such as only being able to pick one spammable “primary” ability (e.g. Fireball or Grenade).

As with any mix-and-match system, the RUiN system has its flaws. Some combos are flat-out better than others due to synergy of mechanics. It also promotes flavor-of-the-month builds that stifle the overall meta. And it can be incredibly difficult to balance.

But it’s simple and it’s deep. Anybody with half a brain can pick a viable build, even if it’s their first time playing the game, and the number of combinations is huge. Every additional ability increases the number of choices exponentially — for example, you only need a pool of 20 abilities to have thousands of potential builds.

5. It Encourages Individual Skill

RUiN is technically a team-versus-team game and the official format will likely be 3v3, but due to the way the game is designed, it puts heavy emphasis on individual skill — so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if 1v1 becomes the unofficial format preferred by top-tier players.

This is because RUiN doesn’t have a lot of the team-oriented elements of Battlerite. For example, there’s no such thing as spamming M2 to heal your teammates, nor are there any targeted shield spells to save your teammate from imminent death. Abilities are mostly offensive, so good aim is the number one factor for victory.

6. It’s Pay-Once-to-Play-Forever

The original plan was to release RUiN as a F2P game with microtransactions, but due to reasons beyond my knowledge, Tarhead decided to shift towards a business model similar to what Rocket League has done: one-time payment to access the game, optional DLCs if you want expanded game content.

I think this is great because it bypasses a lot of the “necessary evils” in F2P games, like gated content and artificial grinds. There’s also an interesting psychological benefit where someone who buys the game will be more likely to keep playing it because they made that initial investment. F2P gamers, on the other hand, tend to be fickle and capricious.

The downside to this is obvious, but pay-to-play games can succeed (off the top of my head, Heroes of Newerth) and Tarhead can always run free weekends or free trials to capture potential players who want to try before they buy.

7. It’s Made by a Great Team

Have you heard of Tarhead Studio? Probably not. I’ve admittedly never met the team in person so I’m taking a risk in calling them “great” but I’ve interacted with them a lot on Discord over the past year and I have to say I’m impressed.

Most game developers are bad at communicating with their players. I won’t name any of them, but I’m sure you have a few that come to mind. But what’s great about Tarhead is that they regularly stay in touch on Discord — even though they are a small indie team, they still recognize the importance of community interaction.

The actual speed of the game’s development could be faster, but again, the team is relatively small so I don’t hold it against them too much. Plus, the game is conceptually simple so it won’t need huge, frequent patches once it’s released.

How to Support and Play RUiN

RUiN will be entering Pre-Alpha testing in March 2017 for about one month. When the game has been sufficiently tested, it will transition into Early Access for an undisclosed length of time. When everything is finalized, the game will be officially released.

To help fund server and asset costs, Tarhead is running a Kickstarter campaign. You can view the campaign to see all of the amazing reward tiers, but here are the most basic ones to know about:

  • 5 — Coffee Supporter
    • Access to the exclusive RUiN Discord.
  • 10€ — Early Bird, Limited Time
    • Access to the Pre-Alpha (March).
    • Access to the exclusive RUiN Discord.
  • 10€ — Early Access
    • Access to the Early Access (April).
    • Access to the exclusive RUiN Discord.
  • 15€ — Pre-Alpha Access
    • Access to the Pre-Alpha (March).
    • Access to the exclusive RUiN Discord.
  • 25€ — Double Pre-Alpha Access
    • 2x Access to the Pre-Alpha (March).
    • 2x Access to the exclusive RUiN Discord.

If you want to start playing ASAP, grab the Early Bird reward while you can (or the Pre-Alpha Access reward if you’re too late). If you have a friend or want to split costs for a discount, grab the Double Pre-Alpha Access reward. It’s unclear how much the game will cost at launch, so back it while it’s cheap!

No matter how much you chip in, it all goes toward the development and infrastructure of this highly promising game. If the Kickstarter fails, there’s a good chance that RUiN will be shelved for good — so share with your friends and get them to support it!

Best of luck to Tarhead and see you all in the Pre-Alpha. 🙂


He is the lead writer at Battlecrank. You can find him on the Battlecrank Discord.

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5 Comments on "RUiN Is Back! 7 Reasons to Play This Promising PvP Arena Game"

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It’s lit fam


Out of curiosity, I know that early access will be paid to get in but on launch will it be free-to-play


I’m really interested in that game 🙂 love that there isn’t just BR on that genre.
Where it will be released? (Steam or others?)