This is the story of how I was swayed away from Battleborn, came to play it, fell in love with it, and recruited other Badasses. I’m sure my story isn’t uncommon, so I thought it would be helpful for people at Gearbox to know what went right and what went wrong.
I played the beta story missions and loved it. The characters looked interesting, and as a Borderlands player I had faith that I would like the writing style and character personalities. Unfortunately the timing didn’t work well for me, so I was only able to play 2 or 3 story missions before the beta ended. No chance to play online PvP.
On release day I almost picked up a copy, but even after the beta I wasn’t 100% sure it was worth the full $60 (PS4 player). I mentioned this to a coworker and he advised me not to bother because the servers had an extremely low population. Forgetting about the fact that he plays on PC and that the populations are completely different, I considered this heavily. I asked my friends if they wanted to get the game and play together, and they instead opted to play the Overwatch beta that dropped the same day. (Screw you Blizzard.) I could have been a lone wolf and played on my own, but I didn’t. I still don’t know why. I think if I had known the community was so awesome I would have made the leap.
For the next few weeks most of gamer friends were on Overwatch; I opted out because I am tired of the standard FPS tropes. The only reason I was interested in Battleborn originally was due to the story mode, and Overwatch didn’t have that. Then one weekend in late July, Gamestop had a 50% off sale for Battleborn. That changed everything. I told my friends about it, and most of them agreed to pick up a $30 copy and try it out. These are people who went from Call of Duty to Battlefront to Siege to The Division in a matter of months, dropping FPS games as soon as the next one came out. Half of my friends abandoned Overwatch completely and started playing Battleborn on a regular basis. Most of the time I get online at least a couple of them are already playing.
I like this FPS MOBA fusion, and I think the unique system will keep my friends playing long after any standard FPS games come and go. For the life of me I don’t understand why you (Gearbox) resist the MOBA tag. I understand that it is a mix of many different game elements, but trying to classify your game as a unicorn made it hard for gamers to understand exactly what the game is. Just because the characters are fully rendered and some of them have shooting reticles doesn’t mean your game is a shooter. How can it be a shooter when most of the characters don’t have a long-range firing mechanism or ammunition? Last week I talked to the coworker who swayed me away from buying the game, and I was telling him about how much I like it and explained the helix system and various online PvP modes. His exact words were, “Oh, I’m into that stuff. If I’d known it had heavy MOBA elements I would have been a lot more interested.”
I’ve never delved this deep into a game before. I’ve been a gamer all my life, but this is the first game for which I’ve participated in forums and made an effort to be active in the community. This is the first game that made me care about each and every single character despite the fact that there are so many of them. I wish I could go back and tell myself how much this game impacted my life so that I could drop the full $60 on it and feel like it’s a steal doing so.
In conclusion, I wish I had known from the start how much this game was truly worth. It saddens me to know that there are a lot of people who would love this game as much as I do but don’t play it because they simply don’t know what it really is. Most people I talk to think it is some sort of Overwatch alternative, but it is so so much more than that. I’ll do my best to keep spreading the word, but I hope you take the upcoming DLC release as an opportunity to do more too.