Hey Guys, recently I came across a new gaming feature on Twitch where the community can interact together during a stream. Hearing about this feature I thought that this could also work really well with Borderlands 3. Yes, I know there are a lot of “fan request” articles and threads on the web about what the community would like to see in the next Borderlands. However, I haven’t seen this in any of the threads. I always thought I would eventually write an article where I list my “top 10 demands”, but it has never come towards that. However, seeing this community feature that epic games bring with Fortnite triggered me to write a deep dive into the subject and I would love to discuss it with you guys. I want to hear your feedback, so let me know in the comments below.
Table of contents
Fortnite has an integration with Twitch where if the streamers have their game linked to Twitch he/she is able to play exclusive twitch quests. When the streamer completes one of these quests some of the viewers who have the game and also have it linked with Twitch have a chance to be invited to play this exclusive broadcaster quest. This way the game creates little community events where the streamers are provided with “exclusive” content, which pulls in viewers and the viewers that are participating are rewarded. Because when one of the viewers completes the quest a notification will be sent to the streamer who can then give a shout-out to the player because they are so badass. Like all quests you will be rewarded with loot at the end, however, an additional bonus comes from being a subscriber to that channel as your reward will be bigger or have a higher rarity tier.
When I found out about these Twitch Broadcaster Quests, I imminently liked the idea and started wondering how it would apply to the Borderlands universe. If you check out Youtube or Twitch today there are still a lot of people playing and streaming Borderlands 2 and at this point, it’s a pretty old game. But these communities are a part of today’s video game marketing program. Because if you want to be successful you will also need to appeal on (Twitch) live streams. For corporations this is social influence marketing, you get people together and talk about the game. It is the new mouth-to-mouth marketing in our digital age instead of next to the water cooler. Everyone wants to be on the front page of Twitch as this is also an indicator of success. So I think this feature is an idea of publishers on how they can boost the views. Nonetheless, I think this could create some fun community engagement for and with the streamer. Because streamers like to give out stuff on their channel as that pulls in viewers and people like free stuff, therefore, it’s a win-win situation for both parties.
That leaves us with the question of how would such a feature be implemented into the next Borderlands game. There could be various rewards for these types of quests, however deciding which ones are the best option can be a tricky question to answer. Because you don’t want people to feel left out if they don’t participate in those things, therefore, coming up with the right rewards isn’t an easy task. So let’s look over the different options we have:
Fortnite gives out various materials as a reward that can be used to build stuff. While that game has crafting mechanics this isn’t something we have seen in previous Borderlands games. There was the Borderlands Online project by 2K China that got shut down that looked to have a crafting system in place. But I don’t know if such a feature would ever come to Borderlands 3, there are fans that would like such a feature in the game, however, there is also a core audience that likes the current system with the random loot drops and certain specific boss drops. Having a crafting system in Borderlands 3 could turn into a whole discussion in itself, so I’ll dismiss Materials for now.
Having a reward with in-game currency is not something new and this is easily implemented. But I think players would like to have something more valuable as a reward than the default currency. With Borderlands 2 Gearbox introduced ‘Eridium’, this second and more rare currency let the players buy upgrades making it more valuable. Then the Pre-Sequel came and this rare currency became ‘Moonstone’. This game offered more ways to spend this second currency but was still attached to stuff that would provide more value. Having special quests that would provide some of this currency would be a good addition in my opinion.
Now we are getting to a bit of a tricky part of rewards. You might think some people could get upset about streamers having more content than others with having access to Broadcaster quests. However, having unique weapons as a reward for these quests could also upset people. This does make me think of the slaughter dome DLC that came with Borderlands 2 that you could only get if you pre-ordered the game at certain game stores. This is basically also a unique quest with unique rewards, however, can’t remember if there was a lot of outcry for this. I do remember that Randy Pitchford had to explain it several times so there has to have been some feedback. The slaughter dome wasn’t a “hype” and the unique weapon was okay, but certainly not a must-have. I think Gearbox can pull these off if the weapons are good but not in the god tier. Maybe there could be a quest that gives a badass legendary but it with lower stats. So you have an easier way of getting them, but you pay the price of it not having max stats on it. While this header says ‘weapons’ this could also be applied to shields, class mods & artifacts.
An easy way to not break things online is character customization. We see it with every PvP game, if the developer adds microtransactions, it’s always character customizations. They add nothing but flair to your character, there are no stat boosts involved so people are always cool with those. If you want them the developer provides a gateway to obtain those. Having some unique skins would be awesome, a more badass idea would be if certain streamers would have their own unique skin in their channel/brand colors.
Here is a thing that is not fully present in the Borderlands games. You did have a class mods that gave you a specific title, however, that system isn’t what I’m aiming for. In Battleborn you have the ability to unlock titles by completing specific challenges. You could set these to show off that you have gotten that Penta-kill or that you have reached the maximum level on a certain character. A cool new thing Gearbox is doing with Battleborn is unique titles, they made a few for a community event and for 2 e-sports teams. While you obtained these through a SHiFT Code, unique titles like these could also be exclusive to some of these quests. What if Gearbox had a title generator in-game where the streamer can create his own title and set these as a reward for such a mission?
While the previous ideas leaned more towards the Fortnite setup where the community gets access to unique quests with special rewards. By having SHiFT Codes as a reward you don’t have to have people playing a mission. Because if the streamer unlocks a batch of SHiFT Codes by completing a mission he or she can then give them out on the stream as part of a giveaway or raffle. The SHiFT Codes will be sent as a PM on Twitch to the streamer so they won’t show up during the broadcast. You could do it like Fortnite and have a stacking mechanic, for each community member that completes the quest a small set of codes will be provided to the streamer. This way you get some synergy between the streamer and the community. The streamer provides a bonus to the viewer and the viewers provide a bonus to the streamer.
How do you implement this?
This all sounds like fun but how do you implement such a feature? Well, I’ll leave out all the technical coding stuff as the game would need to work with some Twitch API and more coding stuff. But in order to play these unique quests, I think the viewer of the stream should have made it passed the tutorial section.
If we look at Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel you first have somewhat of a linear experience, it’s when you reach the cities Sanctuary or Concordia that you go into a more free and “open world” experience. If Borderlands 3 is set up to have a similar journey where you first get to learn the basics and are then dropped into a hub where you can access these Broadcaster Quests. This way new people can easily join the adventure.
If we follow the Fortnite setup where the streamer has to play these missions first before the viewers can participate then these missions should scale with the level of the player. If only a few people in the chat are invited to play these quests then these missions should be interesting for the streamer as he will be playing these missions a lot. Therefore these quests should scale with the level of the player. Having bosses that learn new moves as the player levels up just like the bosses in Battleborn DLC missions would be awesome. This way it would challenge the Broadcaster and a boss fight stays interesting for a longer period. Then again should a broadcaster be forced to play Quest -X over and over again because his community hasn’t completed it?
Should the viewer when selected just be given the next quest no matter what mission the streamer plays? These are the hard game design questions a developer has to answer before the community freaks out. This leads us to how long is this interesting and fun to do.
What is the Long-Term Effect?
Is this just the “new trick” to gain exposure on the twitch front page? Streamers are always a good way to introduce new games to the public, these Broadcaster Quests are a fun way to create participation between the streamer and the viewer. Engagement is great, however, will it last because we see games come and go on the Twitch front page?
This will be fun for a short while but will it be something for the long term because as I mentioned in the argument above; people get sick of playing the same stuff over and over again? Having a streamer play the same mission over and over again like a monkey so his community can experience the content isn’t enjoyable for the streamer. So will there be more variety or some sort of addition to the end game? This small feature sounds like a huge investment for the developer if they have to create a whole second side quest line next to the base game.
How heavy will they bet on that horse that people will dive into this stuff? Will special events take place during the holidays? We know that GBX does have these special skins with x-mass for example. Will we get special quests during these events? I do like the idea of the SHiFT Codes where both parties can benefit from each other. However, I can also see 2 guys boosting the heck out of this system by only streaming and playing with each other.
Well let me know in the comments what reward you would like to see and if you think you know how something like this should work also let me know.
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