The Unofficial Battleborn Discord channel that is setup by the community had arranged a AMA (Ask Me Anything) with a few Gearbox Software staff members. On August 19th Battleborn fans could ask everything about the game. This initiative delivered somewhat of a happy hour for fans because the Gearbox Staff spoken openly over various topics and some answers were really surprising.
BATTLEBORN AMA [08/19/2016]
- Jythri: Randy Varnell, Creative Director of Battleborn
- GBX JoeK: Joe King, Community Manager Gearbox Software
Aikage: Is BB going F2P any time soon?
Jythri: That’s one of those things we can’t answer until we answer. So, I can’t give you a definite on that. We’ve definitely discussed it, along with other plans, as something that might be good at bringing more players into our community.
ZombiePizzaMan: Insanity Engine wanted to know why so many helixes/buffs/nerfs use a + or – 18% modifier as opposed to a 15% or 20%
Jythri: Hmm. Not sure about why 18% instead of a 5’s based number. All I can say there is I trust our balance designer, Grant, and he is fine tuning in values now. Typically, he starts at big changes, and then makes smaller changes after looking at data.
IntelliHeath: I just wonder why they decided to nix Insect faction out of the game? I’m aware that many concept arts never got used in many development studios but I really find insect faction very appealing and unique so I wonder what’s their perceptive and why they just moved away from those designs.
Jythri: Ha! Yeah, those rearly concepts were cool. I don’t know we’d ever considered an entire faction, but a character or two there would be cool.
Zarnias: Why does destroying the Sentry in Incursion also destroy the nearby buildables?
Jythri: on Incursion – Sentry buildables .. I believe the intent is to give you the feeling of a “big change” moment. Taking down a Sentry is a big game changer in incursion, and we want to be sure you have a moment to capitalize on if you want. Trying to balance snowballing vs stagnating is always hard there, and we’ve tweaked things back and forth to try and get to something that feels satisfying
Mr skeltal: Was there any character concept that was scrapped at one point? What was it, and for what reason?
Jythri: On scrapped concept art: Oh yeah. We have over a thousand character concepts alone we’ve created over the last four years. Most of that never sees production. There are lots of reasons, but many of them come down to factors like “what excites us internally”, “what do we need to create different experiences”, and “what can we technically pull off”. we cut a whole group of quadruped characters because it’s a beast trying to make that work in first person.
Kaleidodemon: Another multi-part question, and one with a lot of tough questions: What do you think went wrong with at the game’s release? What are some of the obstacles you are currently facing? What are your plans moving forward? How are you planning on overcoming those obstacles?
Jythri: @Kaleidodemon That was a pretty heavy question on our release earlier.Don’t want to ignore that, but as you might appreciate, I can’t go into all the details with my answer. The safest answer I can give is that Battleborn is a hard game for a lot of people to understand. We see a lot of players really fall in love with it after some time, but it takes a few hours of good experiences for it to click. Given that we had a competitor that was very well-funded with a similar game, it really made it difficult for us to get people to take that “long look” at Battleborn.
Kitru: Are there any plans to add additional helices to characters beyond those already unlocked through leveling (such as through additional challenges, missions, mastery, or faction mastery/completion)?
Jythri:I think the best answer I can give you on content post season pass is I don’t know yet. We’re definitely committed to supporting Battleborn as long as there is interest, and we’re still doing things to try and generate interest. So, we’ll have to see. I really really hope so, because I like this game.
The Magna Carta: I’ve got one – this is for both @GBX JoeK,@jythri and any other gearbox people who would like to answer – in an ideal world how many characters would you like to see in the game at the end of it’s growth?
GBX JoeK: @The Magna Carta I’m sure we’d all love to see the character roster grow as much as possible in the future, but as for me, I’m still working on making it through the characters we have now! I love Oscar Mike too much to move on to anyone else.
Jythri: @The Magna Carta On Numbers of Characters: I’ve always thought 50 was a good number. 100 has been interesting for the 3rd person MOBAs, but I’m not sure that number is approachable for the complexity we have on individual characters. We’ll see how far we can go. We are certainly not out of ideas; we just need to be sure that’s profitable to us business-wise.
Poetic Nova: Well, I do have a question myself, regarding the platinum currency/new skins. Any plans on making Platinum currency available to drop in game or is that a big no-no?
Luck_mod: is there were gonna be any special weekly/daily challenges that could award credits or possibly platinum?
IZED: Do you have any plans to support tournaments by allowing them to give out platinum prizes? Feels relevant, considering how actively you’re stocking up the marketplace.
Jythri: So, several questions on PLATINUM: @poeticnova and @IZED and others: We’re discussing things like that. To a degree, though, I’d like to keep Platinum cleanly as the “purchased currency” and for things that you buy there (mostly aesthetics). Credits (“earned currency”) is available for almost everything else in the game, and I think at the point I would consider awarding Platinum, I’d be more prone to add a Credits purchase option. That said…we’re definitely talking about all of that right now and trying to land on a balanced economy that allows us to release new content for sale down the road
GBX JoeK: @IZED We’re working really hard and coming up with some cool ways to support the competitive community. It’s out there and we know it. We’re in touch with a lot of those guys and working hard on figuring out ways to best support their efforts. I don’t know if we’re sure how or even IF Platinum would factor into that or at what point in time. It feels like there are steps we need to hit before we have that discussion.
Jythri: As far as PLATINUM for tournament rewards: Cool idea! We definitely want to help tournaments find rewards that are meaningful, and there are talks about things down the line with ….(about all I can say now)…bigger prizes.
Kaleidodemon: Multipart question: Who was the hardest character to design? Who was the hardest character to balance?
Jythri: @Kaleidodemon Hardest character to design? Hmm. Probably Shayne & Aurox. It’s two characters that detach from one another and then re-attach. Our producer was pretty certain S&A was going to get cut for technical reasons. We’re delighted we got them in. Hardest to balance – Two answers. Caldarius, early on. his mobility made us re-think almost every element of design in this game. In release, Galilea. For whatever reason, we thought it was awesome to let her be extremely versatile. That means she can either do everything better than everyone, or everything half-assed and unsatisfyingly. We’re still watching her closely.
Kitru: Can you elaborate on your references to the new Season Pass missions (Thrall Rebellion) changing every time you play them? E.g Are they going to be like the existing missions except with more challenges, will we be able to choose the objectives or will they simply be random, etc.
Jythri: @Kitru Ooh, asking about the structure of our “Operations missions”. Attikus and the Thrall Rebellion is the first one we’ve teased at. So, we’re trying something different with those missions. I think it works. I hope you like it.First – we heard feedback that some of the Story missions were too long for many people, so we wanted to lower the average play time for those missions, But, we wanted to keep the value of multiple playthroughs, and find a way to bring in new content when you do that. So, all of the Operations have a story that will narratively advance through multiple playthroughs. New dialog, new characters and new topics. But that arc actually has a beginning and end across all those playthroughs. If you’re a Battleborn lore fan, I think you’re really going to like it. If you’re just a person who likes to re-run content to maximize rewards, I think that’s still going to make replay on those missions much more exciting.
SirIsaacNewbton: So far, what’s the biggest lesson you’ll take away from Battleborn as you eventually move on to new projects?
Jythri: @SirIsaacNewbton Heh. Biggest lesson? Wow. I could write a white-paper on that. Hardly one that I could take away by itself. For me, it’s probably somewhere in the realm of improving early communication with marketing. I’ll just leave it at that.
Aengus Rafferty: Question: Will there be any future content planned that has Orendi in an actual conversation with someone? She’s one of the few characters who doesn’t seem to directly interact with anyone and get a direct response, but she’s one that I’m interested in seeing interact with people
Jythri: @Aengus Rafferty Orendi is a odd one. Some of her lack of conversation fits her character. Some of it is practicality – Ashely Burch (the actor) is in California (not with us in Texas) so it’s harder to get her in a recording session for a few lines here and there. However, we were doing some recording just today that has Orendi in a conversation with other characters. So, yes. There’s a little bit in the future.
Kitru: Do you guys have a “lore bible” where you’ve got all of the lore/backstories/explanations/etc written down, and, if you do, would it be possible to share some of that with us through the Battleplans?
GBX JoeK: Also, I like the idea of us delving more into the lore in the Battleplans, @Kitru. Good idea!
Tuffeddie: Question: For the next two PvP modes, will different enemy factions (Jennerit or Varels), be used as the main creeps for the modes? Such as how Minions are used in Meltdown and Incursion.
Jythri: @Tuffeddie On factions in the new mode: Yes. The next one heavily incorporates Varelsi.
KillerKodiak69 : Any plans to add a ranked mode with drafting. Or at least drafting for privates.
Jythri: On Ranked and Drafting: I posted on the forums recently a blurb that drafting is definitely in the works. So, bans, picks, reserves, captains…that’ll show up this fall-winter if things stay on track. Real Ranked is something we very much want to do, and we’re moving towards it slowly. No ETA on it though, but I really really really want it.
Tail Lover: Are there any plans to add a battleborn that has a large tail? In my opinion it’s the only thing missing from this cast of great characters
Jythri: I think we’ve discussed tails before. There’s nothing I can talk about now, but I’ll keep it on the list.
Zarnias: Thanks for the earlier reply @jythri. Personally, I feel that the sentry destruction has an extreme snowball effect. My next question: How are your attempts going to address quitters from the game? It’s a major problem with the PvP experience, being one of the larger reasons my friends have played less of the game lately.
GBX JoeK: @Zarnias ☼ Quitters are clearly a big problem for the community and that’s not lost on us. We feel like the recent addition of in-game reporting functionality will help that a lot, but we realize that more tweaking may be involved there. We’re at an interesting point in the process in regards to in-game reporting/bans because we’re monitoring the data that has been coming in in preparation to begin discussing that data and taking some action on the people who need to be dealt with. So, to answer your question, what we’re doing is monitoring the functionality we have now and letting that dictate what steps we take next. Just like with balance, community related things tend to be a journey and not a destination. We’ll do everything we can to give you guys the best playing experience we can across the board and that includes destroying cheaters and anyone else that legitimately is trying to hinder that.
Kaleidodemon: Q: Have you thought of adding an experimental playlist to the matchmaking to test out new game mode ideas?
Jythri: @Kaleidodemon Experimental playlists – Another thing we’ve thought about, and want to do. Logistically, getting new code to users for this, and getting another server environment setup is a bitch….so, more than likely, if we did this, it would look more like Early Access on PC only than a “test experience”. We’re not opposed to it, just limited on our resources for making it happen. It would be extremely valuable
Kitru: When Pendles was released, were you expecting one of his biggest roles in PvP to be “the guy who screws around in the opponent’s side of the field”? Considering how effectively he can dominate an opponent’s base (kill turrets, kill minions where they spawn, stealing shards with impunity, etc.) is there any plan to make Pendles less of a homewrecker or are you fine with that tactic as it is now?
Jythri: @Kitru On Pendles: I think he’s performing better than expected right now, and we’re good with him as an insurgent – diver role. We actually thought he was going to be much much more exploitable and we’re pretty happy that he’s settled into the roster fairly well.
IZED: Q: What are your plans about ISIC’s balance in the future? He seems kinda misunderstood by large parts of the community and generally doesn’t seem to be in the right spot.
Jythri: @IZED Not sure of any specific ISIC balance changes in the pipe. We statistically compare the performance of all characters on a weekly basis and look for changes. I don’t believe he’s near the top of the list. I know I can still wreck face with him. He’s my best. Sure do miss that Slow mutation, though.
Shadowevil1996: Have you guys ever considered adding a test map where players can test their damage without any kind of interruption? I feel like that can help with coming up with build and ideas to see if things are viable
Jythri: @shadowevil1996 For a “test map”, yeah. it’s something we’ve really wanted for a while. We’re looking into solutions now. It’s actually a technical / cost hurdle for us. If we do it offline, we put code in the hands of hackers, which we’ve strongly avoided. We don’t want more cheating that we already have. if we do it online, it’s single players on servers, which is very expensive for us. I think we have some possible solutions, and as soon as we can work that out, we’d love to get that to you. We call it “The Dojo”.
Skelion: What character has the largest difference in winrate between platforms?
Jythri: @Skelion Hi Skelion. Love you, man. I’ll look up platform winrate for you, but I don’t have that offhand. We do have that data, though.
The Magna Carta: While you’re on about the DLC (if you can) will any bosses there have unique drops added which may go in faction packs (so that non dlc players can still get it) or will loot that is already in just be allocated
Jythri: @The Magna Carta On DLC Loot: Definitely have unique boss drops. I believe each operation also releases a new set of legendaries into the general legendary pool for the game, so it’s not limited to only those who own the operation mission.
Luck_mod : What are the chances of having weekly/daily challenges that award extra credits or possibly platinum being added? This could draw players in, keep people playing, and calm some people who don’t want to pay for skins
GBX JoeK: we went live with just such a mode this morning. It’s called Hardcore Spotlight and matches players into story mission on Advanced difficulty w/ Hardcore mode (no respawns) enabled. This will be something that is around on the weekends (for now at least). Better loot, a few extra credits, and a little extra XP (Command and Character). The missions are themed too for the next few weeks. This week’s is story missions that take place on Ekkunar!
Kitru: Danke. Another question. Is there any plan to make the lore pack legendaries as accessible and available as the PvE and lore legendaries? Addendum: is there any chance of getting the loot pack prices reduced to their Lootpocalypse level on a permanent basis (many people felt those prices were a much more appropriate time:reward ratio)?
Jythri: @Kitru On Lore pack legendaries: Not sure I understand the question. What do you mean by Lore pack legendaries? On pricing – yeah, legendary pack pricing changes is something we’ve discussed. WE might consider a small reduction. Before we do that, though, we’re looking into ways to increase the ability to unlock more gear through PvP play; probably through more Credits awarded.
Kitru: @Jythri I’m referring to the legendaries that can only be acquired through lore packs. Because lore packs are so much stingier than PvE missions where legendaries are concerned (it will often take 3-5 missions to get enough for a loot pack and the chance of a loot pack dropping a legendary is tiny so that you could open 50 without getting one), it’s incredibly onerous to get the legendaries from the loot packs compared to any other source
Jythri: @Kitru I’m still trying to sort out what you’re calling a lore pack. The <faction> Commander packs?
Jythri: @Kitru All, okay. So, generally, there are two categories of Legendary drop pools. Boss drops, and Loot pack drops. Character legendaries are a third type, but they are very specifically earned. That’s where my confusion was.
Kitru: @Jythri Yes. Referring to the significant disconnect between the time/luck required to get a legendary from a loot pack (much less a specific one) compared to a legendary from a boss, especially after the drop rate buff
Jythri: So, we have increased the boss legendary rate drop already, and that’s not far off of where we want it at the moment. For the loot pack legendary group…yes. I’d like to increase the rate you get those. The Operations will eventually give you a bit more agency to directly earn those, but that’s probably not the only thing we’ll do. Boss Pools and Loot Pack Pools are completely different sets of legendaries, if that wasn’t clear.
This_is_Dom: Why does Monuments have two stinger turrets in the first sentry area while the other two maps have a stinger + thumper combination?
Jythri: On Stinger turrets on Monuments: I’d have to ask the level designer to get a specific answer, but my educated guess is that it has to do with the size and shape of the sentry arena, and how flow is controlled into the arena. Thumpers add slow to incoming enemies, but I believe Monuments needs that less because there are a few more places where a player can provide pocketed control from protected ledges and areas.
SeraXeratomos : What’s the reason of making PC BB having the same hotfixes/patches timing as console BB?
Jythri: On PC vs Console patch timing: Good question. My answer isn’t going to satisfy you, but let me give you the technical answer.
Short answer: Because it is logistically very hard for us to create and track patch changes through multiple different builds. Longer answer: Remember, we are working on patches, new content, new characters — all sorts of stuff. Some of those releases have longer time frames. Some of them get prioritized more urgently. If we start to stagger releases, then we have the same release engineers juggling builds that have some changes in one builds, different changes in another, and we have to track which changes are in what build on which platform, and did we already make them, and which community feedback is coming from builds where some changes were made, and which isn’t and….well. It really really complicates our ability to focus, often for the benefit of a few days or weeks difference. All that said, we have (and are) still considering this in the future.
GBX JoeK: – The simple answer is that we prefer to give all platforms the same content at the same time. The idea of giving PC patches and updates first has been floated, but it’s of course not something we’ve decided to move forward on at this time. Who knows what the future holds, but as of now, that’s where we are on that
Bohan716: Q: if/when the ranked is added will we be able to tell when a friend is in it? If so will there be a feature for us to spectate them? Or is that gonna stay private match exclusive?
Jythri: @Bohan716 On details of ranked mode: We’re too far out to answer those details with any certainty. Interesting question, though.
Zarnias: Why did the balance team decide that character uniqueness was mandatory for PvP? It seems to lead to a lot of animosity when some players can’t get “Their” character during selection. Have you considered some sort of mode where you can have duplicate characters?
GBX JoeK: @Zarnias ☼ This is a really good question. The short answer is that the game is balanced with character uniqueness (as we call it) in mind. That means that removing CU introduces chaos. That said, chaos can be super fun, so we’ve been discussing the possibility of a limited time experience that would explore this idea more. We don’t have any hard and fast news on it yet as it’s just an idea we’re toying with.
Jythri: @Zarnias ☼ On Character uniqueness; I made that decision, very early in the project.
We actually debated it hotly a few years ago in Gearbox, and tested with uniqueness on and uniqueness off. when we disabled it, we found that in most cases, players gravitated to wanting to play unique characters anyway. We like to feel different. Also, I really want to push players to mastering more than a few characters. Enforcing uniqueness is admittedly a heavy-handed way to do that, but it works. On the question of experiences that bypass it: You’re in luck! We recognize the same difficulty you do with new character releases, so starting with Ernest next week, we’re going to enable an experience called (I believe) “Chaos Rumble” which disables uniqueness and ELO matching, with all maps for voting like our previous Casual Play experience.
Epsilon Rose: Why was one of the last characters you unlock chosen as the character you play in the tutorial (or why wasn’t she a starting character) and is there any plan for new tutorials that cover more of the PvP play and earlier characters?
Jythri: @Epsilon Rose Ha! You know, I expected this question a lot more up until now. I think this is the first time it’s been directly asked.
It’s one of those odd caveats of development. We picked Mellka because she’s a very approachable hybrid character, useful for training a lot of gameplay. But, because she’s a central narrative NPC, we never were comfortable with (on your first campaign playthrough) leading off with the “I’m playing Mellka, and she’s talking to me as the mission giver” experience. Once the problem was clear to us, the Prologue level was already far along and had been tuned and created specifically as a Mellka playground. So, we went with it. Great question, though.
TitiShu: Is there any plans about all the loot that we have to sell (because not wanted or double), as we sold them for a really low price. Will there be something we can do with them, maybe craft 2 of the same type into the same item but higher rarity or with some credits and some materials be able to reroll items stats for a chance to get max roll ? and maybe the possibility to combine 2 epic of the same type + credits/material into legendaries
Jythri: on other things to do with loot: We actually prototyped a crafting system at one point just exactly for this reason, but have not had the time yet to develop it to a releasable state. It’s still low on the priority list, but something we might see way down the road.
Poetic Nova: One last question I have: any possibility the game will ever get a FOV slider on consoles?
Jythri: @Poetic Nova On FOV console slider – We discussed it. It’s not a “No” forever, but that would adversely affect performance. I’d like to not go backwards there, but it’s something we could discuss for players as an option.
The Magna Carta: A closing question from me – What is the best fan/community set up event to do with the game you’ve seen (tourney’s, speedruns etc)
GBX JoeK: @The Magna Carta It would have to be the Discord AMA that was awesome and so smooth and amazing! 😀 Also though, and it’s not Battleborn related, The1Life2Live events for Borderlands have gotten pretty incredible. This past week they raised upwards of $12,000 for charity I heard. That’s nuts. Pretty cool to see our community (and there IS obviously overlap) do rad things like that for other people. Pretty cool.
Jythri: @The Magna Carta Best fan or community event? This AMA.
ZombiePizzaMan: Question from Drhoho: He was curious why El Dragon’s level 10 helix augment “Dragonfire” no longer applies a dot to the fireballs
Jythri: @ZombiePizzaMan With El Dragon – I have no idea, I’m embarrassed to say. That might be a good one to poke gRANT about on Reddit or our forums. He would know for certain.
Zarnias: CHAOS RUMBLE MODE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jythri: Please note
@Zarnias ☼ about “Chaos Rumble”, it is going to be ….not competitively balanced.
5 Kleeses on a team may just destroy the universe.
is NOT going to be “competitively balanced” rather
Kitru: any news on clearing up the whole “loadouts make you wait before selecting a character” issue?
Jythri: @Kitru On Loadouts make you want before Character Select – yes. Next big patch will have optimizations there, and we can also consider increasing bank size and Loadout numbers again at that point.
Kitru: From a friend of mine: Will Whiskey Foxtrot be getting any QoL changes for his basic attack such that he won’t have to hit the button every time you wish to fire a burst and can instead hold the button down?
Jythri: @Kitru That’s been a popular request on Whisky Foxtrot. I think there are some technical difficulties to making that happen. I haven’t heard any plans for it, but I’ll poke the design leads again.
Luck_mod: Why was it decided that CC abilities should be nerved instead of buffing CC Reduction items so that there is a counter to CC and the item class becomes relevant?
Jythri: On CC times: Slow, specifically, was much stronger than we intended it to be. Especially considering that some character comps can already chain it, we needed a systemic reduction to some of that. We might also bring in CC Reduction items, but there aren’t many of them now. If / when we do, we’ll look at the timing and balance on other CC abilities.
So if you liked this first Battleborn AMA or hanging out with the community check out the Battleborn discord. There are other GBX staff members hanging around there and in the near future there will be more AMA’s on there.