My "Battleborn Day"!

Sometime while I was home resting after the hospital incident Enrique stopped by to visit and gifted me a brand new copy of Battleborn for Xbox One. (and an Xbox Live card!) In my opinion, Battleborn is one of the most interesting games of 2016, due to Gearbox's decisions, the very tiny but incredibly faithful community and its blend of genres. I wrote a small blurb about playing the game during it's beta phase back in April. Regretfully this is the most time I gave Gearbox's unique shooter even though I bought the game on release. Ultimately I barely played it, choosing to spend my free time on other games. I wound up selling my copy but keeping an eye on the game's DLC packs, newest characters and watching Enrique play it around the shop. After receiving Enrique's gift I no longer had a choice!  It was time to sink my teeth into Battleborn. In a way, the stars aligned perfectly for me to do so, with "Battleborn Day" falling on 11/12 and running until 8am on 11/13. It just so happened 11/12 was my scheduled Lock-In shift...it was meant to be.






















Battleborn Day was an idea created out of the small Reddit community keeping Battleborn alive. A Gearbox employee caught a whiff of what the community was concocting and Gearbox ended up sweetening the deal for everybody. On top of the community's plan of banding together to create an environment of learning, Gearbox offered:

  • The badarsest of badarse in-game events: Prepare for the Lootpocolypse, play with the Devs, Double XP, Double Credits all rolled into one phenomenal weekend!
  • A special "Battleborn Day Queue" with all kinds of fan-favorite maps and modes.
  • Try out all 29 heroes! Every character will be temporary unlocked for all players. 
  • Enjoy 20% off all skins and taunts in the in-game Marketplace.
  • Swag giveaways on the Battleborn Facebook and Twitter channels!

Even if you aren't a fan of Battleborn or Gearbox, you really have to respect what "Battleborn Day" was attempting to accomplish. I know what it's like to love a game so much, but the community dies out. Shadowrun, Chromehounds, Gotham City Imposters, Monday Night Combat, Brink (shut up, I loved it) all suffered from some of the same problems plaguing Battleborn, and sit on a special shelf dubbed The Graveyard in my collection. I'm not going to pretend Battleborn is free of issues that would cause players to hesitate jumping in, but at it's core Battleborn is a good game and it's a shame it simply couldn't compete, despite Gearbox's confidence. If you're interested in learning some more of the history behind Battleborn and it's "failure" there's plenty of articles out on the web (some of them written by very intelligent and neutral parties) detailing the poor marketing decisions and game issues which led to the failure. It's a sad story, but a very important one. With all that aside, time to talk about my Battleborn Day experience!

I started off by doing the necessary prologue mission in the afternoon, which is very well done in my opinion. It's a great introduction to the main draw of Battleborn, it's incredibly well designed characters. After I finished the prologue I just started playing solo campaign missions with all sorts of different characters, seeing who I liked/fit my play-style. Thanks to playing in the Beta, I already knew I loved Rath, but after about 4 hours I had my line up of characters for the night.


Rath


Pendles


Benedict


Ernest




I ended up playing many more characters in different situations, but if somebody were to ask me what my favorite 4 were, it was definitely these guys. I decided to sleep for a bit then I headed down to the lock-in.


In between helping customers I was playing the special Battleborn Day playlist from about 1am - 4:30am. I had a huge mixture of experiences but for the most part it was a ton of fun and I learned a lot. There were certainly some high level players who didn't get the memo of "Battleborn Day" and ruthlessly oppressed all of us Rookies. There was a high level Galilea player who ended up having over 50 kills with only a handful of deaths against a team of all level >10 in a game of Incursion. While this is certainly a little frustrating, it's good to see the high level of play one can reach by sinking some time into the game. Eventually in a game mode I don't know the name of (We had to collect masks and deposit them into a bank), I did exceptionally well! I was playing Ernest and it felt like everything clicked. After the game, I got an invite to group. I accepted, recognizing the player as the Kid Ultra player on our team (A level 100 sporting the Battleborn Day Guide banner, let's call him Bob.). I grabbed my mic and played with Bob, his friend (both 100s) and 2 other rookies for another few hours. These guys were incredibly good and seemed to understand a ton about each map/character counter picks and loadouts. They picked their characters around us and were genuinely focused on teaching these new players how to not get wrecked by the less charitable veterans. Eventually one of the 100s and one of the rookies left, leaving 3 of us. We played campaign missions for another few hours, and THIS is where I had an absolute blast. The campaign is hilarious, interesting, challenging and theory crafting what characters are good in each mission was awesome. This campaign mode, in my opinion, is a massive strength Battleborn has over it's competitors and makes for a unique and memorable experience. Eventually the three of us split up, but we made sure to friend each other for future games. I thanked Bob immensely for essentially being the best community member possible, he laughed and said he was just glad people were playing.  I continued to play public campaign until the end of the lock-in, and I even got to share Bob's knowledge with some new guys.

So overall my "Battleborn Day" experience was bittersweet. In a very strange way I feel guilty for not playing Battleborn earlier and being a good community member. The game is a blast, and while a lot of the common complaints are things I cannot fix, being an active community member is something I am capable of. I wish Gearbox took a different approach to marketing and did not try to go toe to toe with Blizzard's Overwatch, among other games. I've heard horror stories of balance issues and buggy nonsense in the early part of Battleborn's life as well, and it seems these things worked in tandem to dry up a lot of the player base. From what I understand, outside of "Battleborn Day" it's very difficult to even find a game in matchmaking. I don't have the answers to these problems, but I can say I won't be putting Battleborn on my Graveyard shelf. I believe Battleborn Day was a very tangible positive step in the right direction to spark some life back into the game, and I am happy I got the chance to participate. I'm going to set time aside in the following weeks to play some games here and there, look for groups on Reddit and even pick the game up for some IRL friends to play with. I'm pretty sold on the game after playing for like 16 hours, and I think a lot of other people would be too if they gave it a shot. As a last thought, I implore any veterans reading this to try to be as great as a community member as Bob. It's not very often you see somebody put themselves out there and group up with some new players and genuinely have a good time/ not flame. Bob is Battleborn MVP.

What are your thoughts on Battleborn and games like it? Let me know in the comments! If you're also considering picking up Battleborn and want to play some games, let me know! My Gamertag is GreatGeteSage. Lastly, I'd like to take a moment to shed light on one of Battleborn's coolest things... its intro -




Uhhhh....this is like the coolest thing of 2016.

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2 comments:

  1. Great article, sums up my thought about the game : misunderstood, deep mecanism, and really fun to play.

    Too bad internet is more focused on posting meme about how bad is the game and how much it's now sold for nothing (here in France, the game is 3$ new nearly everywhere, including the biggest video game retailer).

    Now i just buy the game and gift them to random friends for no reason, just to try to keep it alive, for now at least.

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    1. Yep, definitely agreed. Gonna be gifting it to some of my friends for sure. The edition that came with the little figure is only 20 bucks brand new here in NY!

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