Beatrix’s early access period comes to an end today, so that means she’s now available to everyone! All you have to do is unlock her in the Marketplace for 47,500 in-game credits. Hopefully, you took advantage of last week’s Double Credits event. If you did, then you’re probably most of the way towards having the credits to get her unlocked and start spreading her signature sickness across the Solus system.
With Beatrix finally here, we wanted to help everyone get a head start on leveling her up. It’s going to take you a little longer this time around as the Winter Update raised the Character Rank level to 20. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered. Starting tomorrow (Friday, January 27th) at 8am PT (11am ET) you’ll be able to earn Double XP in Battleborn all weekend. Dive in, enjoy the new update, enjoy Beatrix, and earn twice as much XP as you normally would! The magic won’t last forever though. It all ends on Monday (January 30th) morning at 8am PT (11am ET), so rake in that double XP while you can!
As we announced last week, today we’ll take to the Gearbox Twitch channel once again for our Montana and the Demon Bear reveal stream. Join Community Manager Joe King (that’s me!), Creative Director Randy Varnell, and Associate Producer Anthony Nicholson as they discuss Battleborn’s fourth Story Op and give you all the details on its development and what you can expect from it. The stream goes live today at 3pm PT (6pm ET), so don’t miss it!
We’ve actually got a lot to talk about in our hot fixes section this week. They’re not all technically hot fixes, but we’ll start with the hot fixes first. For one, you’ll notice we’re increasing the number of Bank Pages from 8 to 10. The increase in loadouts has been very well received, but many players still wanted more space to store the gear they’re not using, so we’re very happy to be able to make this improvement. This week’s hot fixes will begin rolling out today at 12pm PT (3pm ET).
- Set the item level of Beatrix’s lore legendary Harresburra Adrenal Serum to be fixed at the same level of other characters’ lore legendary items
- Increased the maximum number of available Bank Pages from 8 to 10
Moving on, let’s talk about the queues in Battleborn. We will be making some changes to the Versus queue choices this week. We want to keep the ability for new Beatrix players to try her out without getting beat to the punch at character select. We also want new and returning players to get a chance to get acclimated on their own terms, before they jump into the deep end of high competition and have to contend with advanced and organized teams. However, we would like to move back away from the insanity of Chaos Rumble to move the “real game” back to into the limelight.
While our population is up quite a bit with the Winter Update, we still want to be judicious as we consider adding new queues. Fewer queues helps keep our matchmaking times down, and also gives us the best chance to offer more matches to you each time you search for a game, which increases the chance you will match with people closer to your skill level. Still, we have lots of ideas for fun ways to keep things fresh and continue to add variety to the game (more on that below). To accomplish all of this, here are the queues for this week, which we will be moving to today.
If you are a new Battleborn player, new to PvP, or just want a lightweight casual experience, Bots Battle is for you! You still match in with random teammates (unless you bring your own!), and you can play Versus maps and modes without the increased pressure of player opponents.
- Randomly matched with 5 players versus 5 randomly selected bots
- Incursion, Meltdown: Finale, Capture
- Voting, three choices at a time
Additionally, through Monday morning (January 30th) at 8am PT (11am ET), character uniqueness will be turned off as it is in Chaos Rumble. This is to ensure that everyone who wants to play as Beatrix can use this queue to do so, since Chaos Rumble will be cycling out.
Quick Match is intended to be the common, casual competitive queue for all players. This is where we expect most players to go for Versus competition once they have gained some comfort with characters and modes and are ready to test their skill against live opponents.
- All Modes and maps
- Loose ELO-based matchmaking
- Character Uniqueness Enforced
- Voting, three choices at a time
Our intent with Versus Draft is to offer the most competitive experience currently available in Battleborn. Five-member pre-made teams and experienced players should spend most of their time in this queue. With tighter ELO matchmaking, and Ban and Pick select, teams should be more able to find matches of their skill level, and make smart choices with banning and selecting characters to create evenly competitive matches. The maps are limited to our modes most chosen for competition: Incursion and Meltdown.
- Ban and Pick Draft select
- Incursion and Meltdown: Finale
- Tight ELO-based matchmaking
- Voting, three choices at a time
Final Note: The “Incursion” Factor
For many months, we have noted that Incursion is the most popular game mode. So much so that if it is available in a queue, it often is the vote choice for that queue. Sometimes, this has resulted in frustration from players who want to play other modes.
One strategy we have tried is offering the “Incursion” queue, again noting that many of our serious competitive players gravitate towards that mode, and this created our “try hard” queue, at least on the consoles. With the option now of Versus Draft, we believe the best competition will be found through draft select.
To that end, we’re going to experiment with removing the Incursion queue for a time. If you are one of those Incursion players, we would encourage you to try the Versus Draft queue, as we imagine most of the matches you will play there will still be in Incursion maps. We would also encourage you to give Meltdown: Finale a good try using your competitive skills.
For those Incursion players who simply do not wish to draft select teams, jump back into Quick Match. Incursion is often available there, and we expect it will be played regularly.
Finally, we know many players want to play modes other than Incursion, and have some concerns that when Incursion is available as a choice it is the only one chosen from the queue. We’re going to evenly weight the modes in Quick Match, meaning that four modes will be available, but only three choices at a time. You should have plenty of opportunities to vote for modes that aren’t Incursion. If we continue seeing a heavy Incursion trend, we can look at removing Incursion completely from Quick Match and/or reinstating it as its own queue, as population allows.
In this week’s Community Spotlight, we’re happy to be revisiting the subject of Battleborn in more competitive terms. The release of the Winter Update has rekindled interest in the idea of Battleborn as tournament fare. There are already groups planning to put together some great tournaments in the coming weeks, including the big outing at the Choctaw Festival of Gaming in Durant, Oklahoma. This will be Battleborn’s first “big” tournament and will include cash prizes. You can get the details of how your team can participate and sign up HERE. Don’t have a team yet? No problem! There’s currently a Choctaw Festival of Gaming LFG thread on the forums! If you’re not looking to participate, but still want to keep up on the conversation, we have a thread for that too!
Helix Gamers League is also getting in on the action by planning some upcoming community tournaments. The HGL tournaments are happening this weekend on all platforms. You can get the dates and details for those HERE.
We’re excited to be able to support these tournaments - so much so that we set up a form on our website where you can go to request Gearbox support of YOUR Battleborn tournament. We offer a couple of different tiers of support, so check out our website for more details. There are also some guidelines in place that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with while you’re there.
This week’s lore makes mention of… bears? Strange.
[Excerpted notes of Dr. Beatrix Lucavi, retrieved from personal station located in the med-bay of Nova]
Subjects 14 and 15, Ekkuni Dwarf and anomalous parasite
Subject 14 initially sought consultation at the urging of his granddaughter after complaining of recurrent transient spinal paresthesia. During questioning, he expressed depressive symptoms, stating that he has lost interest in activities which he previously enjoyed (“burying axe in Varelsi faces”, “laughing with computer lady”, “trees”, etc.). He further explained that he had heard rumors of a “mighty bear” on Tempest. I inquired further, but discussion of anything related to this “bear” only exacerbated his condition, leading to minor muscle spasms.
Having seen firsthand Boldur’s distinctive regenerative capabilities and resistance to injury, he appears to be the very picture of physical health. However, my findings upon closer examination were simultaneously troubling and exciting. Though I had initially dismissed his “stump” as some form of Eldrid ornamentation, the trunk and root structure covering most of his back appears to be an arboreal parasite, the likes of which I’ve never seen.
When I offered to excise this growth, he immediately became hostile; despite him being unarmed, I elected not to press the issue. However, I did take a small bark sample in the course of the remainder of my examination. Following analysis of both Boldur and the sample, I have determined three things:
- Boldur hosts a transplant of what may be the last Ursus cedrus horribilis in existence.
- Though I can only hypothesize as to what constitutes a biomarker of aging in this species, if its growth patterns are at all similar to typical trees, the one on Boldur’s back appears to have been cut around the age of 500. Somehow, he’s transplanted it onto his body, enabling it to survive by drawing off of his own incredible regenerative properties for the past 50 years or so.
- The root structure is already fundamentally altering Boldur’s body.
If left unchecked, the Cedar Bear will either continue to mature (which, if records are accurate, will result in Boldur being crushed beneath many tons of bear)…or the root structure will invade one or more of his vital organ systems, inadverdently killing the host and the parasite alike.
The stories of the tenacity and destructive potential of the Cedar Bears of Ralpopym are well-documented, as well as their extinction through the veiling of Ralpopym and extended Eldrid conflicts with both the Varelsi and Peacekeeper forces on Codex, Ekkunar, and elsewhere. It would appear Boldur’s stubbornness is not entirely without merit. Nonetheless, the point stands that this course will kill him. When I informed the subject of his impending death, he simply laughed and called me a ”silly Jennerit science-baby” with “much to learn of bear-science”.
I can do without the condescension, but I fear he’s right; Jennerit record-keeping is notoriously scant with regard to extirpated peoples and species. Possible resources and references: The Mikes, against all limits of credulity, seem to have improved upon the RDC quick-culture process. Though much of the lab was obliterated and technically what remains of my notes are held in Imperial Confidence, I’m sure that Deande can help me salvage something from PHALANX.
Lastly, the Codex Regrowth is showing promise…
P.S.: ask Ms. Hyenyota to reach out to the Green Observer for details on Cedar Bear biology and the specifics of the Codex Regrowth process. She’s got a poison arm thing, I’ve got a poison arm thing; I can probably leverage this relationship to my advantage in this request.
P.P.S.: Never refer to Mellka as “Ms. Hyenyota” again.
On the plus side, I finally have firsthand access to a sample of the toxin peculiar to her bio-gauntlet!
P.P.P.S.: I feel funny…
[Attachment: excerpt from the children’s book “The Greedy Cedar Bear”, courtesy of Teshka Elessamorn’s private “Book Club“ collection:]
“[…] See the greedy cedar bear
That lives within the trees?
Its claws can split an Aelfrin hair,
Its roar can still the breeze!
But only in the hardest stone
Do cedar bears take root,
And only once their tree is grown
Do cedar bears bear fruit.”
As we touched on above and in previous Battleplans, in Battleborn, we have the ability to enable a variety of different queues that play host to a variety of different game modes. Our team loves coming up with the ideas for these modes based in part on community feedback! We’ve refined many ideas over time that have eventually made their way into the game and have proven to be very popular with the community. Chaos Rumble, Bots Battle, and now Versus Draft are big hits that always keep things interesting for players, so we’re ready to start expanding on these modes a bit. Here are a few new things you can expect to see in the coming weeks:
- Solo Queue - for all the lone wolves out there
- Big Head Mode - we’re on fire!
- Captains Draft - Captains draft for their respective teams
- Warfare Rumble - versus battles with increased damage and no shields
- Gravity Rumble - increased jump height and melee power
- Versus Draft - Short - draft for shorter duration matches
- More of the modes you already love, like Chaos Rumble, Quick Match, and Bots Battle!
As you can see -- the Winter Update may be out, but our work is far from done. We look forward to talking more about what’s next, but for now, we’re excited to hear from you about these modes and what you think once you’ve had a chance to play them. In the meantime, let us know which ones you’re most excited about!