An introductory article covering the basics of Salt the Earth.
Salt the Earth is an RTS. Well, not really. Salt the Earth is an RTS that focuses entirely on combat, unit control and strategy. There are no resources to gather or buildings to construct; there is only player-vs-player combat.
Salt the Earth will release with 5 races (Humans, Dwarfs, Orcs, Undead and Demons). Each race has a number of units that can be customized and brought into battle.
To get into either a competitive or un-ranked game, simply select your race, customize your units and then hit the matchmaking button.
When an opponent is found, players will enter the loadout mode, during which players spend gold to purchase units. Loadout mode will always be a draft pick, to allow players to respond to their opponents unit choices.
Once in game, players command their units on the battlefield and play a best-of-three match to determine the victor.
Races and Units
Salt the Earth current has 5 races, with a total of 38 playable units, and 101 total available unit abilities. Each of the races has a unique visual aesthetic and a unique combat play-style.
- Humans – Focused on unity and cooperation, the forces of man utilize healing, utility buffs, and offensive magic to defeat their opponents.
- Dwarfs – The heavily armored dwarfs rely on their defensive rune magic just as much as they do on their engineers, to build turrets, lay landmines, and devastate opponents with bombs and grenades.
- Orcs – The orcs achieve victory through their ferocious strength as well as their shamans ability to conjure supporting totems and manipulate lightning in various forms.
- Undead – The legion of the Lich King is relentless. Continuously resurrecting their fallen soldiers, the undead conquer all with their corruption and death magic.
- Demons – The demonic hordes of the abyssal plane are an invading force that bathe their opponents in flame. Their strength is the ability to continuously summon more of their kind from the fiery wasteland of their home plane.
All of the races and their units have their stats and abilities broken down on our website. You can check out all the details here.
Units can be customized to have a variety of abilities. There are several types of abilities.
- Passive Abilities – Passive abilities are always on, and trigger based on time, or on event. For example, dealing extra damage every 3rd hit, or summoning a unity every 60 seconds.
- Basic Abilities – Basic abilities are abilities that a unit always has, no matter what. Basic abilities are often passive and have no cost.
- Activated Abilities – These abilities are activated by the player. They can be position based, direction based, or can target a specific unit.
- Ultimate Abilities – Ultimate abilities are available to use when the player has filled up their ultimate bubble by doing damage or healing. These are very powerful abilities that will drain your ultimate power on use.
Each unit has a set limit for the number of abilities available to it. For example, the Orc Shaman can have up to 4 abilities, while the Orc Warrior is limited to 1 ability at a time. Each unit has a base cost which is increased by the cost of each ability selected. For example, an Orc Warrior costs 100 gold, but if we choose to enable its ability, Thrill of the Kill, the cost is raised to 125 gold per Orc Warrior.
Choosing which units to bring, and which abilities to enable is what creates a ‘build’. A build is a way of playing a race to a specific goal. For example, the Undead have a very popular poison build, and its not uncommon to see Orcs running a very offensive-buff oriented build. While builds are important, how the player executes their strategy in-game is what really determines the victor.
Salt the Earth already has multiple maps available to play. The above map, The Forest of Rimnir, is an example of the clean moba-esque maps you can expect. Check out the maps section of our website for more details on available maps.
As you can see from the image above, some maps contain neutral monsters. Neutral monsters do not side with either player, and will attack any units that come near it. In this case, the creature seen is the Stone Golem, a powerful boss creature that uses ancient magic in combination with powerful attacks. Neutral monsters are passive for the first few minutes of gameplay, after which they begin to wander the map looking for hostile targets. Neutral monsters are a way of adding a third, chaotic element to the game, keeping players on their toes.
A Self-Balancing Game
Salt the Earth is unique in that it lets players vote on game balance, and automates the process of balancing units and abilities. We believe that players know the state of the game best, and want to entrust the playerbase with the health of the meta-game. Our goal is to democratize the process of gameplay balance.
However, not just anyone can vote on unit balance. Only players who are active on the competitive ladder, and above a certain skill threshold will earn the right to judge the meta-game. The skill threshold will be high enough to be challenging, but not so challenging that it is out of reach for the average player. The goal is to make sure that players who understand the game are the ones who balance it.
Competetive Play and Game Modes
Salt the Earth is designed to be a competitive multi-player game, with no single-player option or campaign/story mode. There are essentially two types of ladders: ranked and un-ranked. Every game mode is a three-round death match with the last player standing being declared the victor. Our planned game modes will be 1v1 and 2v2. Salt the Earth will never allow same-race matchups. That is to say, that an Orc player will never have to play against an Orc player, even in the 2v2 queue.
Updates and News
We are constantly updating the game! Check out our website over at salt-the-earth.com for news updates. We currently release about 2 to 3 articles on our website every week. Development is still very much ongoing and new units, abilities, and maps are being released and updated frequently. If you’re interested in Salt the Earth, please subscribe to our social media channels to stay up to date with news!
The Future of Salt the Earth
Salt the Earth will release late 2019 on Steam. We estimate that we will release the game with 5 playable races, possibly 6 (Elves being the 6th race). The estimated retail cost of the game will be $12.99, and we plan to keep the game growing and the community active by releasing DLC (race packs) every 2-3 months. There are detailed plans to support up to 15 races in Salt the Earth, including Giants, Trolls, Goblins and much more. Race packs will be fairly cheap at an estimated cost of around $3.99.