My Post-Beta Competitive Battleborn Comment Card

Well, it’s over. I would have posted feedback sooner, but I was busy enjoying the game. Not that my feedback is worth two cents, but here it comes anyway.

I was on PC, although I think most of this should apply to all platforms.

Meltdown:

The slow effect on the base and thumper turrets definitely helps keep overly-aggressive players out of the backfield. Once I figured out just touching the heal turret in passing provided about three seconds of healing, it shifted a lot of strategies for rotating between lanes. Paradise is just a really great map, fitting that easy-to-learn, hard-to-master dynamic.

Incursion:

I think there may be too many large shards available on Overgrowth, which are too accessible from the main combat areas. It causes problems. First, it encourages players to constantly buy the elite bots, putting a lot of free XP on the field for opposing heroes that can quickly and safely put minions to death (i.e. Galilea). In other words, spawning too many bots helps the opposing team win, despite the personal XP gain. Second, it’s easy for speedy heroes to maintain a shard surplus while remaining combat-ready, allowing them to crank a turret up to level 3 from scratch with ease.

For example, if I knew the first big bot was about to drop, I’d make sure the rocket and heal turrets outside the opposing second turret were wiped right before the charge, so I could immediately take control of the upstairs bunker. If we were already steamrolling, it allowed my team to transition to the final fight almost immediately, even if the opposing team had all 5 heroes up. I think fewer shards or a change in placement might give a pressured team more time to set up a defense.

Mercs can be circle-strafed by melee in such a way they never get to attack, which I’m not sure is intended.

Characters:

Ambra:

Her survivability in the right hands is practically unmatched, even by Miko, so I feel she could be slightly less deadly. She gets way with a lot of BS when backpedaling, and if she gets a level advantage early on, she can carry most teams. Maybe a minor reduction in HP or damage. Nothing major.

Attikus

He only showed up once as a teammate, and he was a worthwhile asset. His attack patterns reminded me of Boldur, with health leech instead of the shield. Can’t say much past that, unfortunately.

Benedict

Right in the sweet spot of character design, in my opinion. Strong at base value, while Gear and Mutations allow for a wide range of play styles. Still obnoxious in the voice department. His Ultimate feels a touch weak, often coming just short of securing a chase kill, even on direct hit. However, I didn’t get a chance to see if Skill Damage Gear put it back in the sweet spot, which it probably does. If Skill Damage Gear also boosts homing rockets (and I feel it should), then I would retract the complaint.

Boldur

I couldn’t bring myself to use him regularly. I know how good he can be, but in pub matches, he’s a risky choice, as a speedy team can leave you in the dust, and an inconsiderate team will just treat you like baggage, hogging the minions and shards you desperately need. The few players that chose him clearly had a Miko friend ready to go, and although he’s incredibly tanky in that role, if he can’t get to Lv.5 fast, he’s still in trouble.

When fighting against him, I made it my priority to simply deny him minions, which led to him being under-leveled free XP for my team later in the match. Perhaps Mutations fix some of the issues, especially if there is one that provides a movement speed increase when in Rage, but at base value, there’s just no room for mistakes. That means precise shield and skill control, which can be incredibly frustrating when involved in with multiple attackers in a close-range graphical clusterf… bomb.

Caldarius

My aim is lousy with his TMP, so I avoided him, but I did go up against a very skilled Caldarius as an opponent. I think, like Benedict, he’s in a good place. He punishes players that extend too far, and can set up great corner ambushes, but he can’t just wade into combat with equal-leveled opponents and land tons of kills. The duration of flashbangs feels just right–effective, but without falling into the realm of team-rending CC.

Deande

I unlocked her in my second-to-last match, so unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to try her out. The few teammates I ran with seemed to struggle with securing kills with her. They survived rather well, but I noticed a lot of tactical retreats. I really, really wish I had gotten a chance to try her myself.

El Dragón

I didn’t invest much time in him personally, but I had many teammates show me how it’s done, and went toe-to-toe with him quite often. I think he’s a great alternative to the other speedy melee characters. When facing him, sometimes I won, usually I lost or stalemated, and I never felt sore about it. The way he can knock Benedict off a high perch with a well-timed body splash is brilliant.

Galilea (Lag-ilea?)

What’s to say that hasn’t already been said? She’s the wet dream of players with a crummy ping and/or packetloss. 1v1, face-to-face against other melee (except Boldur, perhaps), she either wins or escapes with an advantage, even when under-leveled. I lost count of how many times I had a Galilea player down to a sliver of HP, only to watch her pop Abyssal Form and just waltz away.

Her staying power is still absurd, and even if she’s not getting a huge killstreak, she wins matches on pure solo harassment alone. I don’t think a crazy second nerf is called for, just cut her HP, the damage reduction in Abyssal Form, and/or reduce the shield stun time to 1.5 seconds.

Ghalt

As he took a while to unlock, most Ghalt players started showing up on Sunday evening. I think I unlocked him as well, but after facing him a few times, I wasn’t very interested in his play style. Ghalt users I ran with seemed to be struggling to find their place, hanging back, and pulling minions with The Hook when they were clearly trying for a player. Traps seemed to net more assists than kills. With all his CC, I imagine a decent player could clean up when assisting a melee paper tiger, but I didn’t see that happen in practice.

I killed a lot of Ghalts with Phoebe, as it was easy to sidestep a trap before it could become armed, or strafe away from a mid-range The Hook. I think he needs a buff, but I’m not sure where.

ISIC

Beastly. He was often the first hero picked, so getting a chance to play him was difficult, even if one wanted. He’s fast, he’s tanky, and does surprising damage. With a good Reyna in tow, he’s nigh-unkillable. If he’s overpowered, though, it’s really slight. A clean melee ambush can still drop him, especially with proper body-blocking to hold him in AoE junk.

I really like the damage he’s doing now–it feels right in the murderous sweet spot–but I think his baseline shields are just a touch too strong, especially when he’s the obvious large, tanky target for teammate shield support skills. I think it should be lowered, but only enough that one piece of shield-boosting Gear bumps it past the old value. In other words, make ISIC players use up a Gear slot if they want that extra shield oomph.

Kelvin

He was getting picked a lot early on, but I feel like most Kelvin players switched to Galilea about mid-Beta. They both allow players to adopt simple, effective melee strategy–punch the enemy in the face, retreat in Sublimate or Abyssal Form when low on HP, repeat. Galilea is just better at it. Minion denial screws over most heroes, but it really hurts Kelvin’s HP. Once players figured that out, Kelvin users seemed to struggle to gain levels in both modes.

Kleese

Played two rounds with him as a teammate. He didn’t get any traction, and I kept getting blocked by Energy Rifts in weird places. It seemed clear he was supposed to mix it up close range with the taser, but it wasn’t happening. Probably great in the right hands, but definitely counterproductive in the wrong ones, with potential to troll friendly teams.

Marquis

Fantastic for those with a good mouse (or equivalent), the skill to use it, and a team decent enough to provide him space to operate. Absolute baggage otherwise. I attribute many losses to bad Marquis teammates feeding the opponents XP, over and over, as if they had zero capacity to learn. I also killed a ton of Marquis players who were brazenly advancing right in the open, even with unoccupied side paths available. Few players seemed to realize you could also use Bindlebane as an unscoped pistol, as I saw a lot of oddball scoping at point-blank range.

Mellka

She was avoided by all, from what I saw. The few times I fought her, she was relegated to harassment damage at best. Her poison could force a retreat, but rarely lead to a kill, or even an assist, which put her at an XP deficit. I lost a round where she was level 7, while the rest of her team was 9-10. I attribute it mostly to a lack of understanding of her character, and how she’s typically played at close to mid-range, as well as players not having the Action Reload mutation, which seems rather key to PvP success.

Miko

The benchmark for support heroes, balanced right where he… er… it needs to be. Tough to kill, extremely dangerous when specced for damage, capable of making tank heroes unstoppable, yet still susceptible to a well-timed ambush. I noticed a lot of players feared Miko-buffed duos, but by the end of beta, they were learning what long-time TF2 players already know, that separating the healer from his charge via body-blocking or knockback is top priority, even if it doesn’t land you a kill. The best Mikos knew how and when to break off and engage in direct combat, often preempting an ambush, which is when combat would really get interesting.

Montana

Like Marquis, it all comes down to aim. Players seemed to have the tank aspect figured out, but it was still easy to flummox most Montana players by staying out of his FOV. You could tell those with TF2 Heavy experience (or similar), because upon taking damage, they would immediately do a 180 and check for the melee backstab. The best Montanas did that before taking damage, of course, which forced melee to use distractions such as map cover or team harassment on the approach. I think he’s highly balanced, and a great counter to mindless dry-humping melee, but the skill cap is pretty high.

Orendi

Well-designed, but she needs her Mutations to stand up to nasty high-level melee in PvP. I played against one player who was clearly using Instant Gratification + Legendary Gear, and the burst damage was appropriately insane. At Lv.10, she was a 1HKO machine. I saw most other players struggling to keep up, but that seemed to mostly be due to them trying for player kills when they should have been focusing on out-leveling opponents via quick minion disposal from safe positions. I wish I had used her more. Pillar explosions are satisfying.

Oscar Mike
The benchmark, the yardstick, the Ryu or Ken, if you will. Everything works, and the damage levels are tweaked to be deadly and fair. Unsurprising, considering his design has had the most time to cook. Some builds require precise aim, others don’t. Oscar Mike makes it possible to believe that all the Battleborn will eventually receive the tweaks they need to level the playing field.

Phoebe
This is where I spent the most time, which I didn’t expect. When I played with so many players that didn’t understand her mechanics, or claimed she had been crippled by nerfs, I felt compelled to take on the role.

I was doing fairly well at first, and not being a burden to the teams I was on. Then I started gaining character levels, and realized that, like most of the Advanced-level Battleborn, Mutations make the difference between a decent score and a complete steamroll in PvP. Crosscut and Contingency Plan allow for tricky setups, where enemies think they are safe to engage Phoebe… until the first damage-boosted True Strike lands, and it’s too late to correct their mistake. Crosscut is surprisingly easy to activate, especially when amidst a minion mob. By level 7, she’s wiping minions as fast as Thorn, Mike, or Galilea without any skill activation, daring the enemy team to challenge an highly unpredictable opponent.

At level 10, she eats Miko alive. Phasegate, Cascade (to force the enemy team to walk through as you chase Miko, ideally slowed), stab until your shields drop, Phasegate again, and it’s probably over. Miko has to land Sporeshock to even have a chance, even with Fungus out. I imagine Stormbringer only makes such ambushes even nastier, but I started Phoebe on Saturday, and came just short of the unlock before the shutdown. Curses.

Rath

If there’s a melee benchmark, I suppose Rath is it. He doesn’t require a lot of finesse in most situations, and even less so with Swordsman’s Salve. He just feels rather vanilla, even boring–the Battleborn equivalent of a TF2 Pyro that constantly charges forward (AKA w+m1). I suppose there needs to be at least one easily accessible melee character, but I wish his Mutations had mixed things up a bit more, such as actually altering the nature of his melee strikes in a similar manner to Phoebe.

Reyna

Deceptively strong. When I wasn’t playing Phoebe, I mostly played Reyna. I do feel like the Homing Shot curves too quickly at the start, making it tough to arc it around minion mobs or map objects. I kept getting tricked into using it, thinking I could get chase kills, but I kept coming up short. Then I started taking the slow instead, and quickly realized how superior it is in PvP. Yeah, you have to aim, but a well-timed Priority Target could rob a Galilea player of an early-round advantage, allowing friendlies to get around her shield during her slowed backpedal.

It’s impressive how Reyna’s gameplay balance comes not from damage or HP levels, but how, when, and where she places her skills. I used to think Photonic Ward was dumb, until I used it to rush down a Marquis, or completely ruin a Montana’s ability to fire downrange. Please, no changes, because I’m really going to enjoy making everyone’s life miserable in May.

Shane and Aurox

Once the nerf landed, most aggressive melee players abandoned S&A for Galilea. It’s not that S&A are bad, but much like Ghalt, they seem to have a really hard time landing a kill unless the timing and aim of the pull is flawless. I don’t know enough to make a full judgment, but it seems to me that the old approach involved mindless face stabs, while the new approach might involve a hybrid of melee and ranged boomerang attacks. But is the boomerang strong enough to make that work, even with Mutations? It doesn’t seem so, especially due to the travel time of the projectile.

Thorn

The travel time on arrows feels a touch too slow, giving distanced players too much time to read the trajectory and sidestep, or even halt their movement if you were trying to lead them. Still, the potential for huge damage bursts is there, and an opposing team that huddles together just begs to get hit with Volley into Wrath of the Wild. Though I didn’t get to use them much, the Mutations shifting into shield penetration seem great, making her one of the few that can tailor her approach based on the enemy team makeup. Reynas, beware.

I really, really want to try the sticky Wrath of the Wild–dropping it behind an enemy team, engaging them, then seeing if I can catch them in a backpedal. However, it does make choosing Wild Judgement feel like even less of a good idea. I still haven’t seen the bounce work in a beneficial way, at least in PvP.

Toby

I was on PC. I am sad.

Whiskey Foxtrot

Early on, lots of players were trying him, and doing poorly. By the end of the beta, no one seemed to want to use him. Heck, I don’t want to use him. His attack loop seems so generic… shoot, grenade, shoot, grenade. Maybe there’s some secret nuance to it when you use him a lot, but I’m not seeing it. Perhaps Weighed Down + Triple Threat + Sticky MIRV + Napalm makes for devastating AoE, but I didn’t see anyone going that route. I must be missing something.

Closing Thoughts

Battleborn is pretty damned cool. The polish of a long development cycle really shines. I’m not a fan of all of it, though. I don’t see how it’s ever going to be some kind of e-Sports thing, and the Campaign grind doesn’t impress me all that much. Some of the art direction and design isn’t my cup of tea, and the Command menu feels a bit cluttered. While you can rebind keyboard, mouse, and controller functions, the way it trickles down into menu commands and campaign build menus is inconsistent. That, plus the limited function-swap controller binding, makes controller/mouse hybrid controls a nightmarish compromise and a chore to set up.

However, it’s clear to me there’s some competitive-multiplayer-oriented folk at Gearbox that are finally getting a chance to do what they do best. I’m craving another round of 5v5, and even though it’s illogical and childish, I’m a touch bitter I have to shell out $60 to get my fix. You set the hook, and I both love and hate you for it.

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Not true. Gearbox need this kind of stuff.

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Perfect. I acgree with about everything you said, and I think this is going to be very usefull! You seem very pro at writing feedback, everything is nice and clear.
And by the way, if I’m correct, Miko is a… they? :mushroom: ;p

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Excellent detail.

Exactly the kind of stuff that the devs are looking for.

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I think Miko’s a singular it. The lore mentions that Miko was the sole survivor of a spore colony. One entity, unless it’s harboring secret spore babies under his hat.

Kelvin, on the other hand, is far more confusing. As multiple organisms coming together to form a single consciousness in the form of a giant golem, I suppose “they” applies. Then the question is whether that consciousness is male, female, or… neither. In gameplay videos, Kelvin is referred to as “he”, and he seems to be voiced by a male.

My vote is that Kelvin is all genders. He’s Kelvin, she’s Kelvin, we’re all Kelvin, really.

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Kelvin even calls itself different things. In one taunt he says: ‘This is the way we clean our teeth’
Yet in another one she says: ‘Even my inside are pointy’ and ‘Behold! my guts!’
Kelvin, just choose a gender mate!

I’m guessing Miko refers to it… themself… Whatever-self as a ‘we’ because it is carrying those unreleased spore thingies. Idk, it’s all way too complicated. I even read all Miko’s lore and don’t get it! ;p

I said this in response to someone asking for an Ambra Nerf. I definitely think the game is more complex than “first impressions” and the game is not a pub only game. A pub only game would be a bunch of self sustain characters that look very similar and lack in the complexity and diversity of the kind of game we see right now. The game has already undergone nerfs because of peoples responses, and I really think the game needs more playing before the nerfs come in. There just simply isn’t enough actual time to learn characters and see a meta develop. I really wish people would stop the nerf train because it could ruin the games balance before people even wake up to its actual design.

Why don’t you see this? I think it has a lot of potential for e-Sports.

I don’t agree. Less shards => more time farming / waiting for them to spawn => less players playing the objective

Also elite bots are pretty effective, coordinated team / elite bot attack can be very devastating…

i sincerely hope not. this is incredibly selfish of me, but i want it to stay small and relatively unknown. i dont want some kind of huge playerbase. this is going to be my casual ticket to finally enjoying pvp again. the game isn’t so much gear required as is other games, so i have a plan once they introduce skill based matchmaking to break away from that on a regular basis.

I have a similar selfish streak, but I’m at odds with it, because I’d also like to see Gearbox succeed on a large scale… provided they have big enough teeth to chew such a potentially-toxic sandwich.

My biggest issue is that I cannot picture how the RNG-based Gear system will work with in-person e-Sports tournaments. If they have players bring their own Gear on their own profiles (likely stored in duplicate on SHIFT for roaming access) that would force advanced players to spend a lot of time grinding for “Perfect” drops–such as a zero-cost whites for melee that give maximum movement speed benefit with a flaw that isn’t really detrimental, i.e. additional recoil. Perhaps teams will be able to generate whatever Gear stats they want before a tournament. They could restrict gear to casual modes, but that would split the player base. It would also mangle character balance, as nudges made in Gear-less modes would have amplified results in others.

Also, I wonder how skins will be handled. I would imagine teams would be forced to take on a uniform team color, in a sort of RED/BLU TF2 manner.

I think they were looking into the possibly of tournament specific gear that could be use only during competitions. Static gear that does not contain any RNG elements. There may even be some preset Loadouts that players could use as well. As it is they are still looking into it so nothing is finalized.

That might explain the locked and rather specific Gear loadouts I saw at the launch party demo. I was wondering what that was about.

That would be a decent solution. Set tourney loadouts that closely match the typical setups, then use the amount of buff/debuff as a fine-tuning peg for tier balance.