The game is set to be released in Fall 2012 exclusively on Xbox LIVE Arcade and the PlayStation Network for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 respectively.
Guardians of Middle-earth follows the same core gameplay of traditional MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games. Up to ten players compete against each other to destroy the enemy base.
Each team begins the game as opposite sides of the map. Three paths, or "lanes", lead to the enemy base, each with a series of defensive towers along the way. Each team's base releases minions at set intervals that push towards the enemy base.
Players take on the role of one of twenty characters, each with their own set of abilities and roles. Players then move to their appropriate lanes, killing enemy minions, players, towers, and eventually the opposing team's base itself.
Players also gain in experience points during the course of every match, leveling up and unlock their set of abilities. These abilities traditionally offer three core abilities and one "ultimate" ability. Additionally, players earn gold for enemy kills which they can use to purchase items that augment their stats or abilities.
The official site describes the following features:
- Enter the fray in epic 5 versus 5 engagements with live players or AI combatants
- Fight as over 20 iconic guardians from Middle-earth — each with different strengths and abilities to develop and master
- Purchase items and buffs between matches using in-game currency earned through combat
- Track victories and defeats at any time through stat and leaderboard systems
- Coordinate with allies using in-game voice communication for a uniquely social Multiplayer Online Battle Arena experience
- Engage in the continuing conflict over Middle-earth with new Guardians to be revealed post launch, with several released in conjunction with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey motion picture to deliver gamers a deeper connection to Peter Jackson's epic film
Guardians of Middle-earth will incorporate twenty playable characters. The following characters have been confirmed:
- Thorin Oakenshield
- Great Goblin
- Guardians of Middle-Earth shows some similarities with DOTA 2 or Defense of the Ancients 2.