Extensive Feedback from a Solo/Coop Veteran and Multiplayer Noob

For feedback purposes, this is written from the perspective demographic of someone who rarely plays competitive multiplayer, prefers solo and coop experiences (HUGE Borderlands franchise fan… played every single game), plays a lot of FPS games even if she is nowhere close to having pro skills, and plays to have fun whether losing or winning (if a game is fun even when you lose, then that’s a big plus for me). So please take my comments with my pov in mind.

So let’s talk about the PvE experience first. When I first saw this game’s teaser, as someone itching for Borderlands 3, it was a mixed experience. I was worried it would be a first-person MOBA, without a campaign or story mode. I was very happy to be wrong. Somehow, Gearbox managed to take the multiplayer experience and port it into a coop campaign mode, with levels, power enhancements, unobtrusive gear/loot, and a mission design that incorporated the best aspects of multiple games. And for the most part (there are exceptions which I’ll address below), it seemed that most of the characters were somehow viable in PvE despite being balanced for a PvP experience.

I think the campaign mode is the one aspect of the game that sets it above other similar games. This game, because of its role-based, over-the-top, colorful characters has been unfairly compared to Overwatch, but they’re completely different games. And that’s even if you remove the campaign mode completely.

There are a few exceptions to solo play which reminded be that even the campaign mode was meant more for coop than solo. For example, despite the scenarios being well-designed, melee characters like Rath and Galilea had a hideous time against ISIC Magnus’ floaty flying final mode or trying to kill the spread out varelsi shielding units. Other characters like Orendi were difficult to use because of being innately squishy by herself (and I know of at least one unfortunate poster on these forums who had the misfortune of picking her first and having a terrible time).

There are still a few AI glitches that need to be ironed out, like the frost golems sometimes standing like lumps refusing to aggro, or activation pads that sometimes need to be re-stepped on to make your presence register. Just a few though.

Environment and character design, overall, is superb. I’d even go so far as saying it’s better than Borderlands on many fronts (though Sirens, Vaults and Handsome Jack beat them there). It’s this kind of flavor and rich background that really gets me invested in playing these games. I’m not just playing some generic, male, grizzled, personality-less, (probably white…), assault rifle-toting operator. I’m playing a character with a crazy concept, crazy background, and even crazier attitude. Even Oscar Mike was entertaining.

Regarding coop mode (they really should call it a raid) and the general layout of setting up teams, there could still be improvements done. It’s not 100% intuitive for people on how to get a group of friends together, or how to play without randoms. Hopefully a proper tutorial will be in the main release. If you do end up with randoms, I like how the game automatically scales back difficulty if people go AFK or disconnect. Happened to me once (3-player campaign and , and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to trigger the activation pads by myself.

Moving onto the PvP: As I mentioned above, I am an almost total noob when it comes to competitive team multiplayer. I usually find them uninspired and too focused on killing other players. The more objective-based modes in the beta, with their emphasis on keeping your minions alive to do their job was a refreshing change for me, and contributed to my interest. In this game, I could get only 1 or 2 enemy kills, but if I mowed down 60+ minions over the course of the match, I was contributing. If I was building defenses and helping take down mercenaries? I was contributing. And I LIKED that. (Though the post-fight summary screen still shows kills and deaths on the default image, so that’s still important).

I LOVE how Gearbox balanced gear in this game. None of them break any characters (at least from what I can tell), and there’s always a tradeoff somewhere in having to choose powerful rare gear that you can only use late game, or weaker more common gear that you can activate and benefit from earlier. There are multiple loadouts for different character types, and enhancing different kinds of playstyles.

Speaking of different kinds of playstyles, while the characters are diverse, the diversity balance isn’t quite up to par. With 25 characters, I was expecting something in the lines of 13 attackers (7-6 or 8-5 ranged-melee split), 6 tanks/defenders, and 6 healing/support. As it is, support feels kind of lacking, especially since there’s only one real healer. What I do like is that even defenders and support can be dangerous in combat, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. As Gearbox promised, everyone’s a badass.

Of the two multiplayer modes, I’d have to say I like Meltdown much better. There’s a lot of variation and nuance, and you can have wild score swings. The map is well-designed and there’s so much to do no matter what kind of character you’re playing. Incursion needs some work, or it’s clearly more advanced than Meltdown. Half the Incursion games I played were frustrating back and forth flailing with no team gaining ground, and winning with a time out and no sentries destroyed. Something needs to be done to make that mode faster and less frustrating to play. (And this is without the sniper exploit I’ve read about).

I’ll repeat what others have said regarding the quitters: At launch, there has to be some appropriate penalty for people who quit matches. Perhaps something in the realm of being blocked from public multiplayer for 30 mins (that way if they really want to play they still have the solo or private options). I know there are disconnects due to lag/unstable connections, and I know there are emergencies that make people have to leave the game (I’ve left a game for both these scenarios), but if I was experiencing lag that bad, I’d opt out of multiplayer till my connection got better, and if I had an emergency, I’m better off attending to it with my full focus before returning to Battleborn.

Also, this being a game with actual human beings, I need to talk about player interactions. I’ve been told that betas of pay-for-access games are wilder and will have more diverse players (friendly and hostile), since later on launch the price barrier to entry will keep certain kinds of people from just jumping in. How was my community experience? It’s mixed, but mostly positive. In the different multiplayer games I played, most of the players were amicable, and in some cases even helpful, with everyone just wanting to have a good time. There were three cases of complete asshats (and in one case a complete unapologetic racist) making the experience terrible for the whole team, making ridiculous demands as if they knew how every character worked and getting angry at the team for not knowing how to push or threatening to report the support player if he didn’t get a shield NOW (and these were low-level people, mind you).

I was told this is part and parcel of multiplayer games, but I also know different games have ways of controlling this type of behavior. I’m curious as to what Gearbox’s take is. Is there a way of giving negative feedback on such players? Will they allow us to block those players so we no longer get teamed up with them in future matches (This is my favored solution)?

And while we’re talking about it, another thing that had me scratching my head was the matchmaking. Despite being a beta I expected a large population, and the matchmaking seemed to take a long time. I was expecting faster random groups. The pairings with those of “similar skill” seemed a little off; I’ve seen level 34/22/10/4/7 on one team and 7/5/1/1/2 on the other. The levels can be very deceptive. Since someone could get to level 100 based entirely on campaign mode, I think, if those people were to jump into multiplayer they’d get hated on for playing terribly. In my own case, Even if I hit level 50++ I think I’d still be a very weak PvP player (though it’s enjoyable enough that I’d still want to get in). Perhaps a tiered system based on win-loss as well as levels should be implemented?

To conclude, with the way the game stands, I’m very optimistic for where Gearbox is going with this new IP. I’ll definitely buy it, but… not on launch. If it stays the way it is, I’ll probably grab it during the holidays when Steam puts it on sale. But I think a few months down the line, if Gearbox makes the right tweaks and implements the proper policies for my problem points I outlined above, then this will quickly switch to being a must/immediate-buy for me, and I’d grab it sooner.

2 Likes

Great, detailed feedback there. Actually agree with most of it.

Incursion though: I love the tug of war that happens a lot in incursion. It generally takes too long though, so the time limit must be changed or something has to be done to make the game faster, I agree with that.
Incursion is just a very differenet game modes than most others, so I guess it’s pretty hard to make it balanced. But I’m sure they’ll figure it out.

A lot of people have been talking about a ‘Tier’ system but… Look, I always play the support, I will never have a high score in game. But let’s say this tier system is based on wins and losses. I as a support do not have to power to carry a team, I just can’t. Only damage dealers can really carry a game, and I as support can be the backup of that great damage dealer.
I have lost loads of games, games in which I was doing extremely well yet my team was not. My team was focusing players instead of minions, and nobody was communicating so I couldn’t get the team to go after the minions and I couldn’t do it myself either. (DPS Miko ftw. Not.) So it seems quite unfair towards support characters.

But overall, I really agree with you. You should get the game on launch though. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Seriously thought throwing racial issues into your feedback on the beta for a video game was necessary? Really?