Welcome to the “Who is” article series. With these posts, I will take a look at the unannounced Battleborn heroes. My goal is to unravel what secrets they hide from us and explore what potential they could harness.
Mellka is not an NPC
This time I will be looking over Mellka, she first was introduced to us in the cooperative gameplay walkthrough. Back then I got the impression that Mellka was an NPC (non-playable character). In the demonstration, they never said she was an NPC, but with the communication, it was presented that way. Then with the release of the E3 trailer, I spotted her again during the course of the trailer. This led me to believe Mellka was a playable hero.
Looking at the cooperative gameplay walkthrough we see that the team of battleborn already contained 5 heroes. The story mode is meant for a party of up to 5 players. It would be odd to have a 6th playable hero on the battlefield who also is essential to the story. How would a scenario play out if one of the players selected Mellka for that stage? Blocking certain heroes for several missions would be kinda odd if character choice is your selling point. The only way this could work is if the specific dialogue is done by multiple characters. This way they can always insert one character that’s not part of the current group of players. By adding a random hero as NPC they can change the dialogue a bit, changing the scene up every time you replay a mission. Include this with the battle chatter how each hero responds to one another could add to the replay value. Now the dialogue is randomized and can entertain you over and over again. Having dialogue for 6 heroes would suffice as the party size of the story mode goes up to 5 players. Then there is always a spare character they can insert into the mission.
This could be one of the options to her mystery, it’s a lot of work but it’s possible. Another option I could think of is that Mellka got upgraded from NPC to Battleborn hero. Almost a year has passed since the creation of that presentation. So it could be that the development team preferred her design over another. It won’t be the first time in game development that a character gets swapped for another. Although it’s been mentioned that Gearbox had way more ideas than the 25 characters that are announced for Battleborn. So what would have been the reason for the upgrade? For now, I’m sticking with option 1, more interactive storytelling.
Mellka a Battleborn
If you are sceptic about Mellka being a playable hero, well Randy Varnell, Creative Director on Battleborn, mentioned Mellka in a tweet. He said he needed to nerf her because Scott, PR on Battleborn, got too good playing as Mellka. Randy also said that Mellka has a really different play loop. This statement made me think about the possibilities and got me looking deeper into my resources.
So what do we actually know about Mellka besides the dialogue in the cooperative campaign walkthrough? Well during the E3 demonstration, I did spot her with another Battleborn in the background (watch the video in this analysis). By looking closely at the footage we see her shoot some kind of blaster pistol. There are two ways to interpret this short footage. One is that Mellka is charging up her shot as you see her pistol glowing. The other one is that it’s not glowing but flashing quickly and that each flash is one shot. From a blaster pistol, I would expect that I would also see bolts of plasma flying through the air, and from the looks of it there are none. However we do see the shots impact one of the enemies, so this would mean Mellka has a pistol with a fast rate of fire. Could this whole gun thing make Mellka a gunslinger? We haven’t seen this type of hero yet and there is a good possibility that Gearbox would include this class. So how would a gunslinger work in the Battleborn universe?
We already concluded that the rate of fire of the blaster pistol is kinda fast. I’m expecting somewhere in the range of Caldarius’ gun, so the damage wouldn’t be very high. As an alternative, I’m going for the charged-up shot. Holding down the secondary fire button would focus the blaster’s energy. The longer you wait the more powerful it gets. Having that risk/reward mechanic. Each charge shot has a maximum of 5-sec charge. As a helix skill, you could extend the charge up to 10. Creating an even bigger energy bolt and dealing more damage. And yes I want to see a big plasma bolt fly through the air.
Well as a gunslinger you want to have two guns right? Doubling the rate of fire for twice as much damage. Although I haven’t seen any indication yet that would suggest this. Looking over Mellka’s design it’s not like she has a second holster for another pistol. But if you read on there is some evidence explaining why there is no second gun.
Looking at the design of Mellka’s blaster pistol it has some attachment underneath. Could this be for my charge-up shot or will this barrel have some unique abilities? One of the most common barrel attachments is the one for frags. Time will tell.
Force of nature
At first, I thought Mellka could be a bit rogue but a recent discovery makes me think otherwise. By looking closely at the trailers I spotted that something was up with Mellka’s other arm. Her fingers looked a bit like a claw. So I went over the footage frame by frame and then I saw it. Mellka’s arm has something nature-like growing on it, it looks kinda mutated. Could this mean Mellka is an Eldrid and she harnesses some Eldrid magic? Before you go rogue on me and say “Eldrid don’t have guns”. I must say that the currently known Eldrid heroes indeed have primitive weaponry at the moment. But that doesn’t mean they can’t use firearms.
- Mellka has pointy ears.
- Maybe those pointy ears don’t indicate that Mellka is an elf but more of a Goblin type.
- Your weapon doesn’t tell what you believe in. Remember the Battleborn come from all over the universe they aren’t born on the same planet. It would be possible that an outsider got infused with some Eldrid magic and therefore is now from two worlds so to speak.
What potential powers come along with this Eldrid infusion? Looking at some of the other footage I spotted something that looked like an energy sword. This could indicate some enhanced melee features. Mellka seems to be the quick-on-her-feet type, could she play a bit like Caldarius? Although Caldarius can fly and it seems Mellka won’t have that ability. I can make a weird twist here, as Caldarius takes the sky, Mellka could go underground (Goblin?). Go with me here. Before I first found out about her arm, I thought Mellka would be someone with a portable transporter. Back then I thought she would be a rogue. The shapes on her arm look like roots from a tree climbing onto her arm. If she was able to slam on the ground, extend those roots, and dig through the ground. When reaching the other side the roots will shrink and pull her underground travel to the new location. It’s like an underground Hookshot (The Legend of Zelda). Yup, it’s a weird one and would leave you vulnerable for a brief moment. But there comes the risk/reward gameplay, or did you forget about that energy blade?
Having an arm that can change into different shapes opens up a lot of possibilities. In the previous example, we used it for traveling, but we also needed some damaging abilities. I could go Battletoads on here creating a giant mutatedfist punching the crap out of your opponent. But I’ll get back the my happy tree vibe. So let’s slam those roots into the ground as they pop up a few feet further. These spikes will slam your opponent up into the air and deal massive damage. For a helix upgrade, we could add extra spikes popping up along the path while executing this ability. But beware you will also have a risk/reward feature here as you have to stand still while executing this ability. Mellka might be fast and packs a punch but are you willing to take that risk?
Sting like a bee
Coming back to the energy blade this ability could not just function for melee, it might also work as a projectile. Firing a harpoon that stuns your enemies gives you the ability to land that critical hit. This kinda reflects back to Caldarius’s playstyle, using the flashbang to blind your opponent to get in close for the powerful melee attack. Through the helix system, this ability could be enhanced with more projectiles or a bigger radius.
Do these theories make any sense to you, do you think will result in a different play loop? Or should Mellka just travel by fairy dust? Well, let me know what your thoughts are on Miss Mutantfist, cheers!