First I’ll say you should get comfortable, adjust your glasses, find a nice tilt for your monitor, and get ready to scale a wall.
Mobas are great, and this is a moba. It’s on the lighter side of mobas, something like Heroes of the storm… and though I dislike that game, I told my friends that it existed as a stepping stone twords better “Casual” mobas, and I honestly believe this is the next step to greatness. With mobas comes a whooooole lot of stuff though, not just inherent to the genre, but to the concepts within it as a competitive medium. When you make a game and it gets a competitive scene, you now have to work twice as hard dealing with small things that would otherwise not be an issue to the general crowd. And now we come to a point where a hard scrutinizing look should be taken at this game, or at least a facet of it.
All games that have different characters generally have an intended job they are better at compared to another character. Some games focus this harder and shove characters solidly into a role. A medic is a support, your job is to heal stuff and make them not die. As a scout your job is to quickly secure the objective and flank the enemy. As a spy you take out dug in points and you -counter- engineers. But when we go into mobas, sometimes those roles are just suggested.
Dota was a game about accidental design, people made stuff and it sort of fell together in a genius way, until it became a competitive titan. It got that way by taking the accidental genius and refining it over many many years. It’s why a lot of newer mobas simply can’t compete with older ones like dota and league. Roles in dota, at least, aren’t defined by the game, but they’re defined by the meta.
Roles in battleborn are different still… With most stuff not being required for a team.
I’m going to preface this by saying it is My opinion.
Every team seems to need only a handful of things. Someone who can clear waves, someone who focuses on grabbing shards and building buildings (Which doesn’t even have to be one person, but with building cost reduction items it makes sense to have one person do it), a couple sources of slow/stun/knockup, and (though I don’t agree with this) a sniper because they can take out buildings with no risk to them.
You don’t need a tank, you don’t need a healer, you don’t need someone who can burst, you don’t need someone who can provide a solid stream of DPS, you don’t need a ranged, you don’t need a melee… You just need those things that benefit directly to the objective, and benefit your team’s ability to secure a kill.
With roles so loose, you can practically pick any character and help your team just as much as any other character, and that’s fine… But counters exist. Even though killing the enemy team doesn’t directly influence your progress twords your objective (I know kills in meltdown gives points, work with me.), it does help you in a roundabout way by “Clearing the way”, as it were, to your goal. And counters can make fighting the enemy team easier.
Some of the most obvious counters are kelvin’s chomp doing a percent of their max health, meaning he can do more damage efficiently to tanks than other characters. Galilea having a wound effect on some of her skills, allowing her to prevent a miko, ambra, or kleese from healing the target, as well as preventing effects like lifesteal and the supply station. Benedict spends most of his time either in the air, or on positions on the map most characters can’t get to, making it so under most circumstances melee characters cannot even touch him. With the game feeling so free to pick whoever you want and it still work…why do counters exist to punish people for picking who they like, why are the counters so broad countering a handful of characters each when we already have a small roster, and why can’t we even see the enemy team so we can intentionally pick counters?
There’s no simple solution to this, it seems. If we add an alternating pick mode, it doesn’t change the fact that counters are sweeping, locking out multiple characters from being a really good choice, unless you counter the character who counters another character…setting up this rediculous chain of counters and encouraging one person to only go after this one other person on the team who they counter, and avoiding the character who counters them…it gets absurd.
And since there are no real roles, picking a broad counter has no downside. I’m not forcing my team into a box by picking gally, they don’t have to pick to work around it. They can pick anything they want, it doesn’t really matter. And I’d like to reitterate that I like that people can pick what they want and it still works, it just contributes to this big mess of not knowing where to go with all this.
Should counters be focused or removed? It would require extensive reworks of some of the characters to make that a reality, give more melee characters a way to ground benedict, or make him not fly as high. Remove kelvin’s percentage damage on chomp.
Should we have a pick mode (Either alternating, open, or ban) that lets us see the opponent’s picks? It would mean counters would have to be changed, making them more specific. It would mean roles would have to be focused in, making people pick a team with a tank, a support, an assassin, etc. So you can force picks and reduce the counter chain effect.
Should we have bans? It would let people remove certain counters from their match, putting more depth into the pick screen… however bans generally mean that the game is poorly balanced or set up in the first place, requiring player intervention to set things right.
Right now though, as it stands, there seems to be actually ideal team compositions because of how broad the counters are, and how loose picking can be. From my point of view (and please PLEASE correct me if you think I’m wrong), I think this team is the ultimate, and showcases some problems.
Marquis: A strong character all around, easily takes out enemy buildings without putting himself in harms way, and generally stands at points on the map where he can easily retreat to utter and complete safety. Does well against all characters, but specifically counters benedict, as his vertical superiority means nothing to marquis. Countered by melees for the most part.
Kelvin: One of the highest health tanks in the game, can get solid regen through his helix allowing him to sustain himself. Has the best stun in the game, his stun makes him invulnerable and move faster for the duration giving him the perfect escape, and has a second stun which also manifests a wall. Counters every other tank and is essentially only countered by himself.
Galilea: Has a tool for nearly every job. Is the only melee who can reliably kill a benedict due to her fast moving long ranged stun. Has low damage normally, but can get high damage at level 3 while at full health. Can increase the damage all enemies are taking, bring mild health regen to the team, can lane clear effectively with spin on melee combo, silence all enemies in an area, and has an excellent escape on an ult. Counters healers and characters who rely on lifesteal for survivability (Rath). Countered by nothing.
Benedict: Though countered by snipers, melees have no chance against him. Cannot be touched by a fifth or more of the roster. Brings high damage with low effort. Can lane clear effectively.
Ambra/Miko: Miko brings the highest heal per second in the game especially when focused for it, and can start doing it at level 1. Can hold heal beam and focus entirely on dodging, while bringing yet another stun to the team, and between his heal beam and ult can refill his team’s health after a fight with minimal time or effort spent. Ambra can also heal her team very effectively when focused for it, with an easier time escaping than miko. She also has some of the strongest lane clear in the game, and with the team set up here can reliably have ults land due to the amount of stuns going on. Both of these characters when focused on combat healing are countered by disruptions, like knockbacks and pulls, or stuns.
From everything I can tell, the only thing to adequately deal with this team is by also picking this team. It has so many stuns, it counters almost half of the roster, and if properly coordinated gives such a large inherent advantage that losing with it should be more than difficult. Is it unbeatable? Probably not. But it highlights the issues with counters in the game as they stand. It may even highlight some issues with characters, I don’t know. But what I do know is it seems like the game will stagnate around these characters.
Again, if you think I’m wrong, PLEASE argue against me, I want to be wrong. I don’t want to see the game become this before it’s even released. I don’t even want to entertain the idea that there might be something so fundamentally wrong with so much here that the game’s release gets pushed back even further. But…right now, this is the conclusion I’ve come to.
With how roles are set up, counters don’t feel like they have a place. With picks how they’re set up, counters can’t be picked meaningfully. With counters being as broad as they are, they don’t have to be picked meaningfully! It encourages dumb team compositions that heavily discourage picking half of the roster, removing part of what makes this game so much fun: The ability to pick any character and always contribute to your team, regardless of what they picked.
If the game needs to be shifted into roles and counters, I’ll still love it, I love dota, so there’s no reason for me to dislike this game… But it brings something else to the table though, something that other mobas don’t, and I’d like to see that preserved. Overall though, I just want to see this game do well, and keep being fun.
Sorry about putting the great wall of china to shame, I just had a lot to say is all.
Please, give me your opinions on the ideas on any of this stuff. I’d love to hear it.