New player; Some thoughts (mostly disappointment)

When I first heard this game, I thought it was pretty cool that Gearbox was making a foray into fast-paced arena shooters. There aren’t enough games like that nowadays, so it’s exciting that Gearbox is creating one. That aside, after doing the bot games I played a couple rounds against players.

I honestly don’t really see what this game has to offer in terms of fast paced shooters or TCGs. If anything, it’s closer to a bizarro Overwatch-inspired shooter where you pick abilities before a match to throw at an enemy, with global refreshes on cooldowns.

There are a lot of core design choices that are made to dumb down the skill ceiling, such as:

  • Being able to see enemy player health at all times

  • Charges randomly spawn around; Meaning “map control” is fairly irrelevant, and are given wallhacks so that you can see where they are

  • In practice, charges are instantly snapped up and there’s no functional difference in gameplay if they were just given for free to both players

  • Some of these cards are just ridiculously and laughably overpowered. Meteor shower is a “press for free kill at mid-range”, I played against a guy with invincible proximity detectors and it was pretty awful to play around (precisely because there is no counterplay)

  • No weapon pickups, and health pickups are situated so that only one can be controlled at a time

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’ll be blunt and say that you guys need to seriously look at current core mechanics and see if you want to lean closer to actual TCGs or arena shooters, because right now it’s in a weird Overwatch limbo.

This game is years in development, and I don’t know if you guys are able to change course now, but here’s a basic idea off the top of my head. I don’t think I’m the first to think of something similar:

  • Players build a deck, cards are in a movement, defensive, or offensive category. You have to have a minimum of each category in your deck (like most TCGs)

  • Maps are larger, feature corridors, and encourage players to move around the map to collect cards before engaging the other player

  • The cards that randomly spawn are picked from a conglomeration of both players’ decks, and act as pickups from arena shooters

  • Some are discarded after one use, others can be used multiple times or even infinitely. Some can lack an ability altogether and simply act as a passive

  • Have a mechanic for players to discard cards, or force card discards after a set period of time. Hell, you could have a mulligan somehow for the first hand dealt to avoid bad RNG

  • You can keep the two-weapon system and streamline armor pickups out of the game; Cards are the only pickups whatsoever

I don’t know where I’m going with this post. Anything would be more inspiring and fun than the current game. As it stands, the core gameplay systems aren’t something I would play if this were released. I would like this game to do something unique - as TCG + arena shooters is a crazy and great idea - but this current execution is straight-up bizarre.

As an aside, performance is a bit lacking. My framerate counter says 120fps but I’m constantly experiencing microstutters regardless of the map.