Things are about to get competitive! This weekend, teams from all over the _Battleborn_ competitive community will make their way to Durant, OK to participate in the $10k _Battleborn_ Tournament at the Choctaw Festival of Gaming. Many of us from Gearbox will also be making the trek to Durant to check out the action and hang out with the community for the weekend. On top of that, we’ll be hosting the winning teams of the online qualifiers -- “Dunk Squad” and “Lost Heroes” -- here in our studio today! Make sure you’re keeping up with us and the action-packed tournament festivities by checking out the [Gearbox Twitch Channel](http://twitch.tv/gearboxsoftware) and following [(@)GearboxSoftware on Twitter](http://http:/twitter.com/gearboxsoftware)! In case you missed it last week, here’s the schedule of events for the tournament:
4:00-6:00pm CT: GBX Battleborn Showcase
6:00-8:00pm CT: Online Qualifier Exhibition
8:00-9:00pm CT: Dev vs Community Exhibition
11:00am-8:00pm CT: Battleborn Bracket to Top 2
8:00pm CT: Battleborn Finals!
With the Choctaw tournament fast approaching, we’re not making any changes this week that might disrupt the existing meta in the game. This approach ensures that the competing teams will be in top fighting form, and that we’ll all get to see the very best of the teams that are competing in the tournament. Don’t worry though – as always, we’ll continue working towards refining Battleborn and giving the community the best experience possible!
As for queue changes, there’s not much happening on that front this week. You will however notice the arrival of Solo/Duo queue on Wednesday. That queue will be available for 24 hours, as will Versus Draft, which will arrive on Saturday.
Community Badass returns again this week and we’re recognizing a guy that has been an awesome asset to the community for quite some time - @VaultHunter101! Whether you’re new to the forums or you’ve been around since the old days, you’ve no doubt crossed paths with V.H. and can attest that he’s a great guy. Check out his Community Badass feature and offer him a kind “congratulations” in the thread!
We don’t have any lore for you this week, but we have something that we feel is just as good. Creative Director Randy “Jythri” Varnell asked us for a little real estate in this week’s Battleplan to say a few words and we were happy to oblige. Take it away, Randy!
Creative Corner – Thoughts from Jythri
Hello everyone! Now that Phoebe and the Heart of Ekkunar is in your hands, we’re going to take a break from lore for a week to re-focus our direction with the weekly lore updates and to properly celebrate the Choctaw Festival of Gaming and a major cash-prize Battleborn Tournament!
First, the Tournament!
I’ve been playing Battleborn competitive play for four-and-a-half years now. Believe it or not, the very first playable prototypes of Battleborn were being played inside Gearbox in the late fall of 2012, just about the same time as Borderlands 2 was landing in your hands. Gearbox devs tend to have an extremely competitive streak, and in fact, have participated in a number of tournaments for other games, including a TF2 Dev Tournament, many Magic: The Gathering Tournaments, Street Fighter Tournaments, and even international Cosplay competitions. Battleborn was our first deep foray as a company into serious competitive multiplayer, and it’s been a heck of a ride thus far.
Like you saw in our last stream, those early internal matches were built from whatever was lying around…mostly Borderlands parts! Phoebe was Maya with Zero’s swords floating around her; Rath was Handsome Jack with some weird dress; Montana was a soldier from WWII with this awesome winter coat and sporty lumberjack plaid. Even though the game was rough, we played seriously. Early Battleborn had 20 character levels and humongous multi-lane maps, and it wasn’t uncommon for single matches to last well over an hour. Even then, though, we were staging draft games and tournaments in-house, and had our own fear of “character designer 5-man pre-made groups” who would rampage during our daily playtests. We even had one Thorn player that was constantly accused of aim-botting. Turns out…he was just that good. (MARRRRRRRRKKKKK!!!)
Since those early days, we’ve dreamed of the moment where we could watch other players take our game and our characters to places far beyond our skill. To play the game expertly, with a well-honed team, and really make the competition sing. It’s been awesome watching hours of streams, jumping in to play with you guys over the months, and seeing great groups like the Helix Gamers League sponsor tournaments for Battleborn.
This coming weekend, Friday and Saturday, we get another great event! The Choctaw Festival of Gaming is going to feature some of the best Battleborn players brawling it out for cash prizes. Many of us from Gearbox will be there, and we’re incredibly excited to get to hang out with fans and celebrate a weekend of Battleborn glory. We hope this next great tournament in a continuing series!
Second, the Lore!
Next week, we will be back with more great lore in our Battleplan. Given the events of Heart of Ekkunar (no spoilers!) and the continued love and support we’ve received from you, our fan community; writer Dante Silva and I have cooked up some continuing lore adventures for our Battleborn that will take a look into the “darker” parts of the Battleborn universe, and give you a chance to share some adventures with our Battleborn as they learn to live in a post-Heliophage world. Stay tuned!
Finally – some notes on queues and content!
As I’ve teased in a few forum threads, we do have some additional content headed your way. Of course, you can count on more skins and taunts coming, and there are some very exciting ideas headed your way there.
We’re also committed to working with the balance and the playlists to keep the game as fair and as fresh as possible. I know there are many strong feelings within the community about certain modes and queues (I’m looking at YOU, Incursion queue!). We’re certainly listening to you and watching the health of the queues (meaning, number of players and matchmaking times) and may make some additional tweaks to get these in a shape more appealing to the community.
Additionally, we have a few more Rumble type queues to play with, and we’ll be looking for a few fun weekends to mix up our normal stable of choices. We’re also looking to add an “All Operations” queue soon for players who own all 5 Operation Missions to jump in and match with other players who own all the Ops. Look for that in the coming weeks as well.
Oh, and how about a surprise?
As I said, we listen to you guys closely. We do everything we can to take your great ideas and your feedback and turn that into a game we can all continue to enjoy. So…How about some FACTION PACKS?
This afternoon, in celebration of the Choctaw Festival of Gaming, we’ll be bringing our five Faction Packs back to the marketplace. And they’ll be staying there, for the foreseeable future. Faction COMMANDER Packs are still available through maxing Ops Points to 100 and through ranking up your Command Rank over 100 or characters past rank 15.
I love you guys. I love the Choctaw Festival of Gaming. I love Battleborn. I look forward to more battles to come.
Randy Varnell, aka “Jythri”
Creative Director, Battleborn
Ah, it’s that time of year again - time for us to make our way to Boston for PAX East! PAX East 2017 kicks off next Friday, March 10th and runs through Sunday, March 12th. We’ll be looking forward to seeing all of our Boston friends once again. It wouldn’t be PAX without an “Inside Gearbox Panel”, and on Sunday, March 12th at 10:30am ET, we’ll take the Main Theater stage and get the show started! Don’t be fooled though - this won’t be your average panel. We have a lot planned, including a surprise or two. If you’ll be attending PAX East, this is one panel you won’t want to miss!
Whether you’ll be at PAX East in-person or not, make sure to follow (@)GearboxSoftware on Twitter so you can keep up with us throughout the weekend. There’s always a lot of awesome stuff to see and we’ll be ready to show it to you!