Some remarkable news hit the interwebs yesterday as i got a notification of a game event, the Choctaw Festival Of Gaming. The interesting part of this news is that Battleborn is listed as one of the games that will take part in this e-sports event. I love this game but with the current player base i don’t see a lot of gamers attending this event for Battleborn in its current state. However i am optimistic about Battleborn’s future as i believe Gearbox Software still has a few tricks up their sleeve. This event at the Choctaw Hotel & Casino that is being held from 3 till 5 March might just be one of them. Because if we check the list of partners of the Choctaw Festival Of Gaming, Gearbox Software is listed as one of them and there are some sweet cash money prizes. This could be a bold move but looking at some other elements it might not be so foolish because Battleborn has transformed is some way. Gearbox hasn’t given up on their newest IP the game has evolved since launch and that this event shows they are confident in it’s future. Because i believe that their previous efforts and multiple upcoming elements combined could potentially give Battleborn a second chance.
The Future of Battleborn
During the launch-window of Battleborn there were somethings that Gearbox Software and 2K Games did right like getting quality streamers play the game. But there was also some stuff that wasn’t so successful. The launch of the game got overshadowed by the competition and players didn’t knew what Battleborn excactly was and how they needed to play it. New ip’s are risky and always have to prove themselfs. Even some other big franchises had a rough time this year like; titanfall 2, watch dogs 2, gears of war 4 and others are hitting the budget corner early. The same goes for Battleborn but as the player base of battleborn started declining Gearbox didn’t gave up on their game. They did do weekly hotfixes and started working on bigger patches to fix a lot of stuff. The first patch seemed like your basic support for a game, do some balancing on the heroes and fix what’s broken. But with the second patch they changed they way some heroes played and altered the allied collision detection. Why ? Gearbox knew at the time in what state their game was and even then they decided to go the extra mile. The developers stated during their live stream that changing the collision might seem like a little adjustment, but it is actually a massive undertaking for the developers to get it right as it affects a lot of systems in the game. They did this to make the game more enjoyable and investment their time to make Battleborn future proof.
The creative director, Randy Varnell, did let us gamers know that Gearbox is working on solutions for the short and long term. While Randy was more transparent about some of the short term solutions, like updating the matchmaking and adding exciting new content to the game. The long term solutions were kept back as these solutions need to answer some complex questions.
The bigger question, in my opinion, is how to attract and retain more players. We have to work on both. If we attract players, but do not retain them, we don’t solve any problems. So, we’re working on both. Some things I can mention here. Some things I’m not allowed to talk about yet. – Randy Varnell – Creative Director Battleborn
Upgrades to Battleborn
So how can Battleborn attract and retain more players. Here are some of the things Gearbox Software has done recently.
- Make your game great:
Gearbox fixed and added stuff to Battleborn. They are polishing the game and making sure the game is balanced and enjoyable.
- Getting the word out there:
As early on the promotion and communication could have been better, Gearbox hired a new media manager for doing things like live streams.
- Supporting the Community:
You are nowhere without the support of a community. Power to the player. Gearbox showed their support by creating events and powering up community events like Battleborn Day & community tournaments.
Battleborn to the next level with E-Sports
Battleborn was designed with E-Sports appeal in mind. Sadly at launch some core elements were missing from the game. So what can Gearbox do to further enhance the e-sports community, to appeal to the people that really like to play competitive games? They did add the broadcast mode. This let’s 2 extra players join a private PvP match and spectate the battle. You are able to freely view the match and look over all of the player Gear and Helix options.
However there is another thing the community has requested for the competitive scene and that is a Draft Mode. The option to pick and ban heroes in order, so each team has to strategically select their team composition. The Creative Director has mentioned that they are looking into this feature but it would take some time before they would be able to do that. Well some time has passed and we have an e-sports tournament coming up. Will this be an event where Gearbox will be showcasing this feature to the competitive community. I don’t know if you remember Insomnia last year, but on that event gamers got to experience the Multiplayer Mode Meltdown with shoutcasters that did have in-depth knowledge about the game. I don’t know about you but I really enjoyed watching that. Later 2K Games did a similar thing at Dreamhack with Nicky from StealthShampoo. This whole e-sports push would make Battleborn more competitive and could showcase some high skill play.
Getting people to play
Gearbox partnering up to host an e-sports event shows convidence from my point of view. This announcement shows they are working towards a goal. They have done some preperation but there is still some work to be done.
Gearbox needs to get more players in, Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox Software, did mention that they are working on a Trial version. This could get new players in, but how they are going to do this is still unknown. Randy Pitchford mentioned a trial version that included the ability to upgrade to retail. However some have speculated that it could go into a Free2Play like model where the multiplayer is limited but playable. Heroes and other stuff have to be unlocked by micro transactions. But non of that has been confirmed.
Battleborn could use some better tutorials. The story mode does have a tutorial level but the multiplayer mode doesn’t explane a lot. You have your short 20 second intro that tells you go kill stuff. There are some community members like the Battlebros or Battleschool that are willing to help out new players. But the game needs to be equipt with some better tutorials. Luckily this is something Gearbox is working on, so that fresh blood from the trial version are more knowledgeable early on in-game.
- Disable curbstomp
Currently because of the low player base Gearbox needs to match everyone to anyone to setup a match. If the player base grows the improved matchmaking features can do their work. Better quality matches will happen, so more players equals happier gamers. So this could be part of the accessibility but new players might want there own que to ease them into the game before they come face to face with some of the veteran players. However those more experienced players can also be getting back that ranked mode that was available during the open beta.
Battleborn got a lot of updated and more is on the way. The game has evolved and could get a transformation with the trial version in the near future. Early on during the development of Battleborn the team over at gearbox needed to make some design choices. While a lot was in the right direction some got retouched and altered based on player feedback. The game got somewhat remastered by the community. But hey that’s just a theory, a game theory thanks for reading! (yes i totally stole that line from Matpat)
Let me know what you think of this in the comments or join the discussion over at the GBX Forums.