Battleborn’s last breath?

Earlier today the struggling shooter Battleborn effectively went “free to play”, validating the long standing rumor that it would indeed end up being free. Most would agree that Battleborn’s troubles are mostly due to the fact that the game launched just before Blizzard’s Overwatch, which quickly took off to become one of the hottest games of 2016. It may not have been fair to compare the two games, as they play quite differently, but they were similar enough in most people’s eyes that they decided to pick one title (Overwatch for most) and stick with it.

I was incredibly excited for Battleborn’s launch, especially after reading about how it would blend MOBA gameplay with a shooter. As someone who was a casual fan of MOBAs (but never any good at them) it seemed like it would be the perfect game for me. I eagerly awaited its launch, and early on I found it to be fun, if a little slow moving. As days went by, however, I found that the hardcore player-base got so good that I couldn’t have fun playing anymore as I would be overwhelmed by more skilled players. What made things worse was that teams of randoms never seemed willing to communicate, and I would often get matched against teams of players who were mic’d up.

As Overwatch neared release I started to get more and more excited by the hype surrounding it. I caved and bought it for PC on release day which ultimately led to me never returning to Battleborn. I had so much fun in Overwatch from the very first moment I launched it that I couldn’t see myself wasting any time playing Battleborn that could be better spent in Overwatch. Once or twice, out of curiosity, I tried to give Battleborn another try, but each time I was met with longer and longer matchmaking times (on the Xbox One) only to have to spend thirty minutes or so to complete a match when I finally got in. This didn’t prove to be fun, whereas in the same time span I could’ve played two or three games of Overwatch. More recently I launched Battleborn one last time, only to sit at the matchmaking screen for a full twenty minutes without finding a match (there were no server issues reported with either Xbox or Battleborn at the time).

I’ve always felt like if Battleborn ever wanted to make a splash at all, it should have gone free to play long ago. It remains to be seen if the free to play model will have a significant impact on the game’s player-base and perception going forward, however I personally think that I’ve already had my fill. Still, I’m going to try it out on PC (I already own it on PC from a Humble Bundle) to see if the new influx of players can make things fun. I’ll be sure to post an update after playing a round or two of the PC version of the game to see if any of my feelings have changed.

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Thoughts on Battleborn so far

Battleborn Xbox One

I didn’t know a lot about Battleborn going into its release, other than it was a colorful first person shooter with a MOBA mode. The game’s prologue didn’t offer a promising start. The first time you play the game you’re forced into watching some a sort of hyper energetic anime sequence that is unskippable and entirely boring. Some people certainly seemed to love the opening sequence, but I was not into it at all. I had to put the controller down and leave the room until it was finished.

Once you get to the playable portion of the prologue things don’t get much better. Sure the game needs to introduce you to the mechanics, but I found the opening story mission to be boring and incredibly long. I just wanted to jump into the MOBA mode (Incursion). Instead I had to play through an unappealing mission that serves little purpose.

Once I got past all the roadblocks and finally launched into the Incursion mode I started to begin regretting purchasing Battleborn. My original plan was to try to rent it from Redbox, however it wasn’t in stock anywhere nearby on the morning of its launch. I figured Battleborn might make for a nice ‘pick up and play’ game where I could play a match anytime I find myself with nothing better to do. I would have been better served to continue to play Rocket League during those times.

The idea of the Incursion mode seemed like it should be enjoyable, but there are quite a few things that stop it from being fun. First of all, I have yet to play a game in which anyone on my team was using a microphone. The Xbox One has already proven to be a place where very little communication takes place, especially when compared to the days of the 360, but in games where communication and planning is a necessity the lack of players using mics ruins the experience.

So far it seems like the general populace playing Battleborn is just running around trying to shoot at anything that moves without any particular strategy. This isn’t how a MOBA should be played, and every game of Incursion I’ve played so far has been a landslide one way or the other. No one wants to wait for minions to make a push, everyone just seems to congregate around the middle trying to shoot everything.

Screenshot-Original (3)Screenshot-Original (1)

Now I can’t sit here and say I’ve done particularly well in Battleborn. I’ve died…. a lot. Another problem that I have with Battleborn is that it feels like there’s too much going on at once. There’s so much flash and color on the screen half the time I can’t figure out what I’m shooting at. And when I am trying to shoot at an enemy player, I can’t really tell if my attacks are effective. Sure there are numbers all over the screen (like in Borderlands), however I can never tell if my abilities are even hitting the targets I’m trying to hit. I’ve found myself frustrated more often than I’ve had any fun with Battleborn, and since no one else is communicating I just end up joining everyone in the middle repeatedly dying.

Battleborn scoreboard

The story missions in Battleborn aren’t anymore enjoyable than the Incursion mode. You can matchmake with four other players, but I have yet to encounter anyone with a mic in those missions either. Everyone just runs around doing their own thing, and it just feels chaotic. So far I haven’t encountered any particularly difficult missions, but shooting at everything that moves with no real purpose alongside four other players isn’t exactly entertaining. Borderlands at least gave you a purpose, with its interesting loot drops and sense of progress. Battleborn hasn’t given me any sense of accomplishment or desire to do more. You can get gear as you accomplish things in the game, but I honestly haven’t found any of the gear I’ve received so far to make any sort of difference in game.

Screenshot-Original

If you’ve been on the fence on whether to buy Battleborn, I’d have to recommend passing on it for now. Unless you have a group of players you intend to play with, I don’t think very many people will find much to enjoy in Battleborn. A team based game in which no one cooperates is makes every match nothing more than a coin flip. I’m not having fun, and I probably won’t play much longer. Too bad I bought the digital version and can’t recoup any of my $60.

 

 

First week home

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Hey there, I’ve been home for just over a week and it’s been great, but it’s time I stop ignoring my blog! There’s so much I should be writing about, so I need to make myself sit down and start writing again. I figured I’d start with a brief check in, but I’ll write about much more in the weeks to come.

Since being home I’ve enjoyed all the great food I’ve missed out on, especially my first trip to Boise Fry Company, which I intend to write about over at ABoiseLife.com.

Boise Fry Company

The food was great, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Boise!

I picked up a Samsung Gear VR which has been a pretty cool experience. One of the first things I did was boot up Minecraft VR and it’s a mind-blowing experience for sure!

Gear VR

I’ve enjoyed messing around with my new gaming PC, and tried my hand at Dark Souls III. It took a few days but I finally beat the first boss (technically just the tutorial boss) but am once again finding it difficult to progress past the very first section of the game.

I’m contemplating downloading Battleborn today (for the Xbox One), because I’ve been wanting a shooter I can fire up when I just want to play something casually. Rocket League is a great game to fire up and waste some time with, but I just want to shoot things!

Thanks, as always, for reading what I have to say, and I hope to bring some significant content back to the blog within a day or two! Until then I’m going to keep relaxing and enjoying America!

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