New Player Guide
This guide is for players unfamiliar with the MOBA genre and its various mechanics. If you're an experienced MOBA player, but new to Circuits and Shields, see the Veteran Player Guide.
The majority of sections in this guide have their own detailed subpages, thus we've broken each one up into a general summary and provided a link to the main page for further reading. There is also a tutorial inside the game that will go over similar details as found in this guide.
The MOBA Terms page is also a great reference if you fail to understand any terms used in this guide.
XYZ screenshots will be attached to each section as a visual guide
What is Circuits and ShieldsEdit
Circuits and Shields, also knowns as 'Circuits', is an upcoming free-to-play, indie-developed MOBA style game, developed in Unreal Engine 4 with a planned release through Steam in Q3 2017.
What is a MOBA?Edit
MOBA, or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, is a popular game genre with examples such as League of Legends, DOTA2, and Heroes of the Storm. Each game is held on a 'map', independent of previous games, with each map typically consisting of a a major objective that two teams (usually of 5) battle over. Generally, a MOBA will contain a large roster of champions, each with their own unique skillset and playstyle that a player picks and controls during each match. Champions level up through up the match and gain gold, purchasing items to further strengthen their character. MOBAs also usually contain AI controlled minions that spawn on set timers, which then auto run to the enemy base, fighting anything in their path. Minions are a vehicle to provide pushing power for teams as well as provide gold and experience to the players.
MOBAs are typically free to play and generate revenue through a microtransaction model. These microtransactions, at least in the case of Circuits, are purely cosmetic and do not affect gameplay.
MOBAs are extremely popular for a few reasons. Firstly, each game is different than the last. Players pick different champions, different strategies are executed, and different outcomes happen. Anything that happened the previous game is irrelevant for the next. Secondly, no player is at a distinct advantage to another. Someone who has played the game much longer than you won't have an inherently stronger character than you. Thirdly, MOBAs are very simple to pick up and play. Even with no prior experience, you'll be able to perform well in each game due to the ease of the base mechanics.
How is Circuits different?Edit
Of course, Circuits and Shields has many features that set it apart from your typical MOBA. Those can be found on the Features page.
Circuits will be available for a free download through Steam on release. You will require a Steam account in order to play. The Steam Store page can be found here XYZ link
Once Circuits is installed, you can open it up and be loaded into the home screen, something Circuits refers to as Headquarters. Headquarters is just a series of menus/UI and refers to everything that takes place outside an actual match. It's where you can manage your account, purchase champions or cosmetics, view your history, and join games.
Be sure to also get configure your Settings before diving in too far. This will help ensure Circuits is set up in a way that works best for you.
Screenshot of home client screen and explanation of each button XYZ
Champions are individual characters, each with their own play style and abilities, that can be chosen by the player to use inside a match. Circuits features a large roster of champions, but as a new player, it is recommend you focus on a select few and master each of their mechanics. While the roster may seem daunting, a few matches of Circuits will have you learning each champion kit fairly quickly. Individual champion pages such as Jan Itor also provide detailed information on each champion, so if you don't understand an ability or mechanic, be sure to check there.
Champions generally have four abilities and one passive. Passives are abilities that (in most cases) do not require a button to activate, and are instead constantly affecting your champion. Your four abilities are activated by hotkeys which you can bind in the settings menu. Your abilities are what makes your champion unique and each ability will perform a different task, whether that's dealing damage, escaping, etc. One of your abilities is your ultimate, which is unlocked for use when your champion hits level 6 inside the match. Ultimates are generally much stronger than your other three abilities, but have a longer cooldown.
As a new player, you will initially not "own" any champions. Rather, Circuits has a Free Rotation of 10 champions that changes every week on Tuesdays. Because this resets each week, you'll be able to try out multiple new champions each week. Once you find one you like, you can use your honor gained from matches to permanently unlock that champion from the marketplace.
Account Management refers to each aspect of your Circuits account, which is tied to your Steam account. XYZ list features of account management (depends on UI)
Your account and individual champions level up automatically as you play each match (only the champion you play that match), earning you an array of bonuses. This is called Account Level and Champion Mastery.
Circuits features two forms of currency in Headquarters:
- Honor: the basic currency earned through playing matches, primarily used for unlocking champions
- Glory: the real money currency, purchased through Steam Wallet, primarily used for purchasing cosmetics
These currencies can be used on the Marketplace, which is the hub of all purchasable objects in Circuits, whether through honor or glory.
One of the first things you'll want to do as a new player is unlock new champions to play. As you play each match, the honor gained can be used to unlock champions of your choice. Once unlocked, these champions are permanently available for you to play. Champion honor prices do vary based on champion release time, with older champions being priced lower.
Skins and Visual effectsEdit
"Cosmetics" are items that change a visual or audio effect on a champion or in-game object. These are purchased with glory and add no gameplay benefit other than you looking really cool!
Here's a quick summary of each available cosmetic item:
- Skins: Skins alter the look of your champion, changing colors or complete outfits, with some skins including separate voice-lines and ability icons.
- Accessories: These are miscellaneous items worn or used by your champion, such as hats or weapons. Accessories are purely cosmetic and even weapons do not affect the gameplay of the champion. Each champion (with a few exceptions) has a single accessory slot.
- Ward Skins: Ward skins change the look of any wards you place in-game.
- Account Icons: An icon tied to your Circuits account that displays in Headquarters and loading screens.
Joining a GameEdit
Matchmaking places you into a queue that belongs to a pre-set arena and game mode, such as Normal Draft Circuitball. Circuits will automatically match you with players of similar skill and then place you into Champion Select, which will then lead into the match itself. Circuits queues vary based on the arena, but in general, there will be at least one queue for each arena.
Custom games allow you or another player to create and choose their own arena, game type, and Mutators. Once this game is created, players can find your game on a list and join up. Once enough players are found, you or the host of the game starts the game, which then loads you into champion select. Custom games have a few different rules than matchmaking, but in general, you can expect to earn less honor for custom games than you would earn in matchmaking.
Champion Select refers to a stage that happens between joining a game and the actual match. It involves each player selecting the champion they wish to play in the match. Champion Select function relies on the type of Pick Variant - Blind Pick, Draft Pick, or All Random - each of which are explained on the Champion Select main page.
As a new player, we recommend you start out with a Blind Pick variant so you can pick exactly the champion you wish to play.
Each match takes place on a specific Arena, each with varying objectives and strategy. Though the strategy and win conditions are different, the core gameplay of Circuits does not change. You still control a singular champion, gain gold and experience, etc. As a new player, it's recommended you begin with the Standoff arena as it is the easiest to pick up and play successfully.
There are three arenas currently in Circuits and Shields:
- Circuitball: Players must capture a ball that spawns in the middle of the arena and carry or throw it into the enemy team's end zone.
- Siege: Round based arena where one team is offense and one is defense, switching after reaching the objective or after a time limit. Fastest team wins.
- Standoff: Minions spawn at each base and charge toward the enemy base in a single lane. Players must push with their minions and eventually destroy the enemy's main structure.
Note, each arena has it's own set of rules and therefore, things like champions or items may vary between arenas. For example, an item may be available for purchase in Circuitball, but not on Siege. Circuits operates on a set of default values for each arena, so when in doubt, assume default. Any changes to that set of default values are highlighted on the individual arena pages or the individual champion/item pages.
The following assumes you've chosen the Standoff arena.
Once inside the match, you finally enter the gameplay portion of Circuits. You'll find yourself looking at the champion you've chosen inside your teams base, along with your four other teammates. You'll want to familiarize yourself with each portion of the UI and understand what each piece shows. While it may look daunting at first, Circuits is streamlined to be as easy to understand as possible, so within a few matches, finding information via the UI will become second nature.
XYZ Screenshot of inside match UI
XYZ List of default controls
The most important stats on your champion are HP and Strike Damage. HP, or Health Points, are how much damage you can take until your champion dies. Strike Damage is how much damage a single basic attack from your champion does. Basic attacks are executed by clicking on the enemy champion and there is no limit to the number of times you can basic attack, though it is governed by your attack speed. You can visit the Stats page in order to learn more about each stat and their interactions with each other.
When you're ready to fight, you'll want to basic attack your enemy as much as possible, even as a spell casting champion. Along with basic attacks, you can use your abilities to deal damage. There are multiple types and functions of abilities, so be sure understand your champion's abilities before heading into battle. One important distinction in abilities are Unit Target spells versus Skillshots. Unit target spells allow you to directly target a champion with your ability, causing that ability to deal damage that target and add any effects it has. Generally, unit target spells cannot be dodged. Skillshot abilities, on the other hand, must be aimed by the player and usually have a projectile involved which the enemy can dodge if they're quick enough.
If you've taken too much damage and have no items or abilities to regenerate health, it's usually best to "Back", sometimes known as "Base". This refers to returning to your base, as the fountain inside your base will quickly heal you to full. Note, in some arenas, the fountain is disabled and the only way back to full health is to either die or wait for your health to regenerate slowly.
Killing Enemy ChampionsEdit
While it's not always the case, the team with more champion kills will often win the game. You can kill an enemy champion by reducing their HP to 0 through your basic attacks or abilities. If you kill or assist on a kill of an enemy champion, you'll be granted bonus gold and experience and that champion will be out of play temporarily, giving you a numbers advantage.
Luckily, death is not the end in Circuits. If your champion dies inside the match, you'll be taken out of play for a certain amount of time. That time is based on how long the current match has lasted, with early match deaths having shorter timers than late game deaths, meaning one death in the late game can spell disaster. Once the timer is up, your champion will respawn at your base with full health.
You control a single champion the entire length of the match, so it's best to maximize that champion's potential. Throughout the match, events will occur that grant you either Experience or Gold, either awarding you one individually or awarding it globally, which means each member on your team receives that amount as well. Experience and gold are earned through things like Last Hitting minions, killing other champions, or accomplishing various objectives around the map.
Your champion can gain experience up to level 20 inside the match. All champions start at level 1 at the start of each match. After acquiring enough experience, your champions gains a level, with each level granting your champion additional stats like Health Points or Damage, and an additional point for the Augment Tree, which is a champion-specific tree that further customizes and strengthens your champion.
Gold is used to buy items, which are covered later in this guide.
While not all arenas have minions, if you've chosen Standoff, you'll see a pack of 6 AI controlled minions spawn from your base around the 1 minute mark. Minions are the cannon fodder for your team, constantly charging into the enemy base, helping your team push (namely by taking tower shots for you!). Generally, you'll want to stay near your minions as they provide cover from skillshots and help siege enemy structures for you. Minions typically do not have any abilities, but they do have a basic attack that can deal damage. Be careful not stand in a pack of enemy minions getting hit as you'll take a large chunk of damage; let your own minions tank those hits.
Killing enemy minions is also a large part of Standoff as it provides one of your major sources of gold income. While being in the general area when an enemy minion dies will grant you experience, you must "last-hit" the minion in order to gain gold. Last hitting is the process of dealing the final amount of damage to the minion before it dies. For example, if you deal 100 damage with your attack and a minion has 80 health, your attack will last-hit the minion, granting you gold. Circuits has some built in mechanics to help you last-hit, but mastering this process is crucial to success.
Structures are essentially immobile minions. Depending on the arena, structures are placed in strategic positions to guard certain areas. Structures are usually hard to kill and it's recommended you have a group of allied minions nearby to help.
The three primary structure types in Standoff are:
- Towers: There are multiple towers throughout the lane in Standoff. Towers are difficult to kill structures that fire a powerful "turret shot" to enemies in range. It's recommended to allow your minions to take turret shots rather than your champion. Turrets will fire at the first enemy in range and will prioritize minions unless a champion damages an enemy champion, so be careful "diving" past an enemy turret and dealing damage to an enemy champion, or you'll take turret aggro, and thus take extra damage. There are often varying levels of towers that deal different amounts of damage or perform different functions, namely base towers, which protect the main base and deal significantly more damage than normal towers.
- Barracks (XYZ Name): If your team destroys the enemy barracks, your team is granted 'super minions' that spawn with each normal wave of minions. Barracks do respawn after a certain amount of time and your super minions will cease spawning until the barracks is destroyed again. Destroying the enemy barracks is a great way to generate extra pushing power as super minions are much stronger than normal minions. Barracks do not attack.
- Main Base (XYZ Name): If your main base is destroyed, you lose the match. The main base is unable to take damage unless the barracks and base towers are destroyed. Your main base can attack, but it is much weaker than a base turret. (XYZ, deciding how bases attack, thinking archers on a wall would be good)
Items are one of the primary means of progression inside a match and are bought inside your base at the shop. You must be inside your base to buy items. If your champion performs well, getting multiple last hits or multiple player kills, you'll have more gold than other players, allowing you to buy more items and therefore making you stronger than other players. You'll want to purchase items that emphasize your character's strengths. For example, if you have a champion who is primarily a spell caster, you'll want to purchase items that have "Spell Power" on them, which increases the strength of those spells. Circuits' item system is easy to understand and buying items is a modular process that you'll be able to walk through in steps, helping you perfect what items you want your champions to have. There are multiple guides available online as well as our Meta Game page for help on what exactly to buy.
Favor and BlessingsEdit
Circuits has a unique concept called Favor, which is used in turn to buy Blessings. Blessings are similar to items in that they enhance your champion, but they are generally temporary and benefit your whole team rather than your singular champion. Blessings are purchased in a similar fashion to items, but cost favor rather than gold. Favor is gained through team objectives rather than individual play. Your team is able to pool together each member's favor to buy extra powerful blessings to turn the tide of a game, so be sure to communicate with your team and work together.
Winning the MatchEdit
Each arena has different win conditions. If you've elected to go with Standoff as your arena, victory is achieved by destroying the enemies main base. Winning the match provides bonuses like extra account experience and honor, though you'll receive those even for a loss.
After each match, a post-game screen is shown, featuring detailed stats of each champion. Here you can see how much damage you did, how much you healed, how much damage you took, etc. Just remember, everyone has bad games, so if you or a teammate has a bad score, it's okay!
XYZ screenshot of post game
Now that you have a match under your belt, you should have some honor stored up. You'll be able to keep stockpiling this honor until you have enough to buy a champion of your choice. Of course, be sure to try a champion before buying it. You can continue playing matches to gain more honor and level up your account.
MOBAs are known to have a large learning curve as there are so many champions and meta strategies involved. While Circuits has several systems in place to help ease you in, don't be discouraged if you don't succeed immediately. After a few matches, you'll start picking up on each champion's play style and know what to avoid. It'll soon become second nature for you to navigate through menus and items. While the champion roster may seem daunting at first, each match will teach you more and more. As you become more comfortable and more knowledgeable within the game, you will become more successful.
Enjoy your time in the arena!