While I definitely think that post could’ve been worded better and Battleborn has its flaws, I do agree with the idea that gaming consumers, not nessecarily online communities but these as well, rarely reward risking taking when it comes to most new games.
One way to describe Battleborn would be a fusion of Borderlands and DotA or LoL. This is a very risky decision for a few reasons, the primary ones to me being:
MOBAs originate out of RTS games with their Isometric view and ability for free camera control. This allows for the player to micromanage parts of the game, while obtaining information from other parts of the game (vision). Battleborn’s First Person Camera completely eliminates this element of the MOBA equation.
Traditionally, the types of players drawn to FPS games like CoD, Halo, Battlefield etc, are not the same types of people that play MOBAs or even “competitive”, in the sense they play other humans online not just bots or the campaign, RTSs.
So the player niche that Battleborn is attempting to target are people who are comfortable with the pacing and structure of a MOBA, with the gameplay features of a FPS. This combining of the action of an FPS with the strategy and teamwork of a MOBA, to me at least, is very innovative and is actually attempting to push both genres. The problem with this, however, is that FPS games exist in a post-CoD world where skill gap compression is rewarded. This video and this interview ,with the creator of Tripwire Interactive, do a good job of summing up those problems. This narrowing of skill gap and “slot-machine” effect are part of what makes people enjoy games like Overwatch. I can join a game as Reaper or Pharah, build up my ult, and then hit Q in a group of people, which ends up netting me a bunch of kills and I feel really good because my score goes up. In no way am I trying to disparage competitive aspects of these games. I recognize strategy required in games like Overwatch, CoD, Battlefield, and now Halo, but all of these games capitalize on this “slot-machine” effect. Some more so than others.
Battleborn simply does not do this. A good player playing a character they are really comfortable with can simply dominate newer players to the point the new players might not even get minion kills. It feels really bad to get destroyed, especially when it’s hard to recognize why or what you could do differently. This leads to frustration with most players who simply decide they have better things to do with their time.
Companies recognize what the mass of people enjoy, and cater to that desire. This is why companies like EA, Ubisoft, and Activison, simply publish the same type game year after year. They know these mechanics will sell. They know people like feeling powerful with minimal effort.
Gearbox has not done this with Battleborn, and has taken tremendous risks in a very traditional genre. From the level of complaints about lack of innovation from the gaming community, one would think this would be rewarded, instead of derided. It’s really quite unfortunate.