The flashy charm of Battleborn keeps sucking me back into to a broken competitive experience

Every time I exit Battleborn, I say the same thing: “I’m done with this &$*!?%# game.”

The reason is simple: Certain abusive, low-effort melee strategies are completely unstoppable in sub-par network conditions. In these situations, the tactics required to counter these strategies do not work.

The strategies in question fall into two categories:

  • Tank characters with extreme damage reduction or negation, such as Kelvin’s Sublimate, Boldur’s shield, or Galilea’s shield and Abyssal Form, bolstered by support healing from Miko or Alani.

  • Melee assassins with triple movement-speed gear, typically El Dragón and Phoebe. No support is required.

In a perfect network environment, both of these strategies could be countered a number of ways. Players with precise aim could hang back and fill them full of lead. Aimed CC attacks could slow or altogether halt their advance.

But in typical conditions online (at least in PC matchmaking), this is usually impossible. Accurate hit registration on enemy players seems to be the first thing to go as overall latency between players increases. Aim at an enemy player model, then watch volleys hit thin air. Shoot at the the air near a player model, the true position, and hits might start landing. Other times, on-target damage will register a full second later, presumably at a rather-delayed server update. When these sorts of issues are present, they severely handicap most ranged heroes, especially Oscar Mike and Whiskey Foxtrot users, while effectively crippling Montana players.

In a similar manner, crucial CC attacks will frequently fail to properly connect. I have lost count of all the times I have thrown Miko’s Spores dead-center at an advancing player, only to see the stun effect be briefly applied and discarded. Trying to land Reyna’s Priority Target slow effect can end up feeling like rolling two sets of dice–one set to see if a bullet lands, and another to see if the slow effect is actually applied.

These sort of lag issues are nothing new in online games, of course, but they are especially ruinous in Battleborn, making a player using the aforementioned melee strategies practically invincible. Tanks stay in combat far longer than they should be able to, and escape whenever they feel like it, as precise ranged damage sources are partially ignored, and shields stay up longer than they should. This leaves high-damage AoE as the only reliable defence, making talented Thorn, Orendi, and Benedict players some of the few reliable counters. Their ambush must be flawless, though–certainly of a much higher effort and precision than that of their opponent.

Movement-buffed melee assassins are far, far worse. Landing any consistent damage against such opponents becomes extremely difficult, because clients cannot seem to keep up with such rapid updates in player position. Even sentries and turrets seem to find it impossible to target these players. Close-range engagement in sub-par network conditions is a nightmare, as this is when the game seems to have the most trouble reconciling player positions. This typically results in horrible rubber-banding issues, as well as getting ejected at odd angles when players are improperly stacked into the same position. I haven’t found a reliable counter to this sort of assault, and I seriously doubt there is one. Most of the matches that have featured such players have either ended in early forfeit or time expiry, with the offending player sporting a 10/1 K/D ratio.

When either of these sorts of players are KO’d, it’s often after a seemingly-impossible retreat, when all of the damage they were actually dealt catches up to them. But that really doesn’t matter, because by then, they’ve already done enough to secure an absurd advantage for themselves and their team.

I know this problem exists because I’ve seen it from every angle. I’ve been up against it, I’ve been on teams with it, and I’ve even tried it myself. It takes little effort to execute, it’s reliable, and nets a ton of XP. Once you get to a 2-3 level advantage over the opposing team, you’re practically in god mode. This is especially true of Phoebe–movement speed Gear combined with Aggressive Advance creates a truly unfair advantage. This approach allows players to dominate almost every XP source on a Versus map, from minions to players to buildables, giving little or nothing for the rest of the team to do except pick up scraps of XP as backfield support. In short, it ruins Versus matches, exalting one or two players at the expense of the rest.

So, how to fix it? I don’t think it can be fixed, at least not with a tweak here or a nudge there. This is a fundamental problem with running a game like Battleborn in an unpredictable online gaming environment.

I imagine the game is a lot more fun on a LAN. I can picture it. Dragón dashes in, only to be swiss-cheesed by Mike and Foxtrot. Kelvin Sublimates away, only to get picked off by Marquis. Phoebe advances on a Miko, only to be stunned by spores before she can teleport. I can totally see how it should work, but online, it just doesn’t.

It’s sad, because I still think Battleborn is a good game. I enjoy playing most of the cast. The gameplay has a great feel to it, and the visual presentation features some fantastic animations. But the Versus mode on PC is quickly devolving into something cheap, ugly, and pointless, a playground for sadistic players with poor connections, who trample new players in the most exploitative fashion. I won’t be a part of that.


Not disagreeing that what you are saying is what is happening, but it doesn’t make sense to me. Isn’t character position stored on the game server? It sounds from the description like you are the one with the bad connection…


Is this a PC only issue? I’ve rarely had latency issue playing the PS4 version with a wired connection.

Ranged attackers are not meant to really engage hence the word range and melee chars are. Also a good thorn can counter melee strats for the most part.

Also a ranged melee will always do better than any two melee or two ranged will ever do for the most part with the exception of whiskey. He is just a bad character.

Also a support and tank is fulfilling it’s role, but just taking out the support is all you have to do. Or just burst damage them with a well placed team attack. Of course it’s harder with bigger bodies like Montana but its doable.

The latency issues I’m not sure of cause I play on ps4 but ranged play their own role and for the most part it isn’t kills. The game isn’t really about kills, like CoD or battlefield.

I always support games having LAN abilities because that means we can play them after servers are shut down (bb would need a patch right before they shut them down though). So I fully support that.

But its not a priority for me because weve still got at least a year…

I have horrible ping ALL THE TIME. its part of where i live and my isp, but even my rubberbanding and shot landing isn’t terrible ([most of the time] and im killed just as much so i know others arent having trouble hitting me). maybe just because its a reliably bad ping. ive always wondered what it’d be to play this game with a good connection, and ive talked about going to a friends house (probably not till october) and three of us with our pcs playing private matches together. :slight_smile: so…yeah.

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The pocket-healer issue is getting a counter soon. During the Dev-play event, on of them mentioned a lot more characters getting a wounding ability. (I’ll find a link and edit it in later)

He specifically cited WF’s scrap cannon, but there will be others. Half a dozen or so, iirc. He mentioned a 66% heal reduction, so not completely blocking heals, but definitely giving you an opportunity to burn someone down.

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I’m not sure exactly what Gearbox’s implementation is, but from what I’ve seen in other games, and read online, between each update from the game server, each game client has to guess where the other player actually is, based on whatever they sent the server in their last update, such as the direction they were supposedly moving.

The problem is this can actually punish players with a good connection, because clients that are slow or lose data force everyone else, including the server, to make more guesses. I find the information in the Server-side section of Wikipedia’s page on lag makes a lot of sense with the sorts of things I’ve seen in online games, Battleborn included. It might be an oversimplification of a far more complex system that Battleborn uses, though. I know the devs work very hard to refine this stuff, and I wouldn’t want to trivialize that.

I have, as far as I know, a very good connection, but that’s going by other games that actually let me check my connection during heavy multiplayer load. In such other games, my ping times are typically below 50ms with minimal packetloss to servers located in the United States. In Battleborn, the three little bars, they are green all the time, they tell me nothing…

Okay, I take that back. In the wee hours of the morning, players from Asia start to show up in matchmaking (it seems Battleborn has a oddly strong Japanese following on PC, actually). Usually I have green bars, while most of the other players have yellow or red. However, rarely, in these matches, I will be the player with 2 yellow bars, and the other players will have all green bars. I am guessing this is because I have been matched to an Asia-based server.

When this happens, my hit registration is markedly improved. I actually play less aggressively in these instances, because I start to feel untouchable, like I’m on the other side of the fence, with the server making decisions in my favor.

It might be. I don’t know how much Battleborn leverages PSN or XBL to support online play, but I imagine on PC, it’s all Gearbox/2K behind the scenes. Maybe that’s a raw deal, at least for the moment.

From what I’m seeing, it’s only good if everyone has a good connection. Otherwise, good connections get bogged down by the lowest common denominator.

I do have a relevant anecdote for you, though. I had the lucky opportunity to play Battleborn on a local network at the launch party, and it felt very different than current online PC play–buttery smooth, with all the graphical treats. Every hit felt laser accurate, with zero delay in the hit marker visuals or audio. Y’know, like playing on a LAN.

Of course, this was on Gearbox’s crazy overpowered SLI PCs on high-dollar monitors (might have been G-Sync), plus they had AI-controlled bots padding out the teams, and they were able to lock gear loadouts to a fixed set. So it was likely a custom dev build of the game that supports all that stuff, including LAN play.

Maybe I’ll just have to wait for some major gameplay alterations, then. I think I’d like to see Slow CC always drop characters to a fraction of their base movement speed, because half of Gear-buffed gotta-go-fast Sonic speeds is still too damned fast.

I’m ready to give Battleborn more chances, but not until some serious changes are made. It’s so damned frustrating, wanting to play the characters I like, but not wanting to get stuck in another grueling match against an abusive premade team, shooting guns that feel as if they are loaded with blanks.

It’s interesting. I don’t claim to be an expert by any means. And I have way more experience with MMOs than shooters, and they may implement things very differently. In those games, to the best of my knowledge, typically the server stores where you are, and if you DC, other players will see you continue moving in a straight line in whatever direction you are going or just run in place. On your own screen, you could be running around, but abilities won’t work and no one else will be moving. Then, if you reconnect, you would rubber band back to where the server says you are.

It’s possible shooters do things differently.

100% true, I have all green bars, and a wired connection on my ps4. The shots don’t always register damage because the target is actually in a different spot on the server.

So you actually have to lead your targets just to get the damage to register which makes ranged characters even harder to play.

Against fast/agile characters like thorn,orendi,rath deande etc. good like landing consistent shots when they’re moving, I have experienced it many times where my crosshair is right on them and I unload on them with no dmg registering at all, sometimes even if they’re standing still on my screen because on the server they have already moved a bit. The game needs more work than possible I’m afraid…

I had my last versus match today I’m afraid :frowning: might hop in for some campaign play off/on cause the characters are great.

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I’m going to counterpoint here. Not because I actually disagree with the OP; I think he’s fairly right. But there is a problem that all melee characters suffer from: getting INTO range for all those big hits.

Fear the Montana/Alani combo that slows, stuns, knocks up, HOLDS up, and transfers all damage the first target suffers, to anyone around them.

Fear the ISIC/Reyna or Benedict combo, that stuns, adds a lockon effect, and pummels with missiles or energy blasts.

Fear the Ghalt/damn near anyone combo, that sucks you into a mine that stuns, while you stare at both barrels of a repeating shotgun :slight_smile:

Fear the Toby who can not just slow you down, but suck you back INTO a spot with a mine while he blasts from range with a railgun.

And ABOVE ALL ELSE, fear the Deande ultimate that freezes you, damages you and lets an entire enemy team get in great shots for five seconds. :slight_smile:

Now, granted, a lot of these are two characters dealing with one Melee. Problem is, they can all do it WHILE dealing damage elsewhere or repositioning to get out of trouble. Melees don’t have that luxury. They have to stay hard in the crosshairs, to do their damage.

As a Post Script; I’m going to echo someone else’s statements here on the off chance you haven’t. WIRE your connection. I used to run my PS4 connection via Wifi and it was utter garbage. I couldn’t even watch Youtube videos on my PS4, cause the connection would constantly drop from the router end. I recently hooked up an ethernet cable to my PS4, and I can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes. I want to strangle whoever sold the horsecrap that gaming could be done via wifi.

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Its funny cause I always assumed that lead-on you need when aiming was more or less because of the weapons being very fast projectiles and not hitscan weapons. Its a shame to hear its server-side inefficiency. Whats weird is it feels very consistent, I have felt like Im still improving my aim…

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I actually enjoy watching this combo go off. Up, down, up, down, up. I kid you not, I even enjoy getting hit by it. It’s a wonderfully calculated setup.

However, the Montana typically opens this with knock-up Dash or Mansformation. Dash will whiff often on speed-jacked melee, and Mansformation always will, unless the player gets stuck in a corner or with a body block. It’s another one of those situations where if any CC in the chain is dropped into the network ether, it’s bad news.

Plus, Montana gets heavily bullied from the start of the round by melee, even when hanging back. His defense should be close-range minigun fire, but if the hits don’t register, he’s early-round fodder.

This is certainly a solid counter, provided the ISIC and Benedict don’t try for direct hits and shoot at feet. As I said, splash damage seems to be the most reliable thing to stop cheap melee advance at the moment, besides a mirror match. It shouldn’t be the only thing, though, in my opinion. It also has to be executed very fast, before a melee retreat skill is fired. Seems to work best in confined spaces, like the sniper nest on Overgrowth.

However, I find lock-on skills tragically fail at the worst times in a typical online game. I play a lot of Reyna, and used to play a lot of Benedict. Even aiming upward to arc the shots results in situations where the homing effect just seems to give up mid-flight, probably when line-of-sight was reported lost server-side.

ISIC/Orendi is a similar, solid combo I like. Gnosis means pillars are usually ready to slam damage if a CC lands, and Nullify + Fire Walk + Let’s Bounce lets you drop all the fire DoT right on a stunned player’s position. One time I did all this perfectly, dropped a Dragón to 1/4 life, then watched as my dead-perfect Paradigm Shift inexplicably missed as he clotheslined away. I was… upset.

It’s very, very rare to see a Hook/Trap combo land any more, at least on PC. All a player has to do is duck behind some map geometry when they hear the noise, and chances are they’ll only be pulled half the distance at most.

Now, it’s important to note that while I rarely see it land, that doesn’t it’s not working for certain players. What I mean is, I’ve seen a Ghalt with red connection bars fire the Hook at me and seemingly miss, right as I duck around a corner. Then, when I’m not remotely near him, I will die to the tune of around 3000 damage.

The damage reports for such KOs are always vague, usually showing around half of the damage dealt as coming from Ghalt’s shotgun, and not accounting for the other half at all. Occasionally I can see my character teleport through the map to the Ghalt’s position, right at the moment of death. I swear, I’m not making this stuff up.

Anyone else ever had a damage report that doesn’t add up to the total damage dealt? I have–on just about every KO.

I’ve seen the Toby vacuum work once, and I’ve played quite a bit. It actually feels like a very fair kill when he sets it up. It also requires a great deal of precision in shots and mine placement. It can catch that one melee player, but then you have to seal the deal with railgun, which is just another projectile prone to laggy misses.

It also usually requires Toby to bait the melee player into a close-range engagement. Most melee I’ve seen just avoids Toby until late round, much like they avoid Marquis or any other sniper. They can get XP elsewhere.

I have to totally disagree with this one. I’ve been the Deande, and I’ve been the team. The ult does very sad damage to players that are a higher level than Deande, and ends on a very predictable timer. If you can’t secure the kill during the ult, the target will escape the second they are out of stun, or worse, have fuel remaining to turn on you and end you. If you save Holotwin, you still might have a chance, but getting the drop on the super-melee probably required you to Holotwin early to get the position required in the first place.

I’ve also had her ultimate miss, when the cone was clearly centered on the target on my screen. Not hitting the target on the server, I suppose. Landing Ire’s Echo improves one’s chances, but then you have to trick the target into actually engaging your Holotwin. Most players can tell the difference, and just hang back and wait for the real Deande to decloak.

I’m not saying any of these combos aren’t good–they’re great examples of stuff that can work, if all goes well. I could give you just as many of my personal favorites. But it’s like I said in my first post: In sub-par network conditions, the tactics required to counter these melee strategies do not work. They’re too precise, in positioning and timing, while the melee approach is lazy and reliable.

When I play, I find myself spending most of the round trying to protect whomever the aggressive melee has decided to bully and feed from, and unless I succeed almost every time, I’m prolonging the inevitable. It requires too much attention to maintain while simultaneously denying minion XP and defending all the map objectives. It doesn’t even matter if I hold these players to a reasonable K/D. Something else will give, and the game will be frustratingly lost.

Even when I restrict an early steamroll, I’ve seen better-than-average melee players respond by hanging back and working buildables until Lv.5 to 7, activating a legendary or two, and then resuming their simple approach of picking on the weakest link, backed by extra statistical firepower.

It really depends on the quality of the signal and the wireless card. I don’t trust console Wi-Fi hardware (the Xbox 360, for instance, has terrible built-in Wi-Fi), but on PC, you can have Wi-Fi setups that aren’t much different than wired for a gaming scenario. You just need a good router, the knowledge to set it up properly, and the ability to test for interference. If there is too much interference, though, then yeah, the inconsistent connection that results is terrible for gaming.

That said, I’m running wired gigabit ethernet. Pointless overkill for gaming, but it’s nice to have the overhead when I have to download games from Steam or GOG. :slight_smile:

Wounding would be nifty, but it’d be nice to just be able to kill them without having to be a character who can spec into it. Make it so that dealing a certain amount of damage in a certain amount of time automatically wounds them or something. Otherwise they still get the chance to just run and jump away until they get Biosynthesis back or something, then get back to full health and be invincible until your skills are cooled down.

Also, yeah, a lot of what you said is stuff that’s really annoying anyways. El Dragon’s clap needs to be changed or just gotten rid of, Boldur’s shield needs to be toned down, and they could really stand to do something with Phoebe, because her True Strike dash basically has the same effect as rubberbanding due to lag.

And yet, on PC, I swear I am the only Phoebe player I’ve seen that uses True Strike. Most Phoebes do it TF2 Backburner Pyro-style, W+M1 into a player’s back, nothing but the lowest-effort dry-humping stabs.

It’s why I typically win Phoebe v. Phoebe, because I keep the True Strike damage reduction active.

With something like half a dozen characters getting wound, it’ll be pretty easy to have one around just in case. IMO, it’ll be kinda like stun: you always want at least one on your team. A couple is better.

I would be open to the idea that you mentioned, where doing enough damage in a short time frame could auto apply a sound effect … But let’s see how these changes play out first. We definitely don’t want to completely cripple healers.

Off hand Melee solved that issue for me. It pushes them back just enough. For me to survive most of the time. It is a pain when they ult tho.

That’s the go-to strategy against tank melee, but speed-jacked Assassins pretty much ignore quick melee if they are moving directly into it. I use it a ton, but if their entire movement speed gear kit is active, it doesn’t push them out of range at all.

Besides, in most situations, such players start attacking as they are already curving around to my back, often pincering into a body block with the rest of their team. It takes a fraction of a second for Aggressive Advance Phoebe, and Dragón does it right after Fuego body splash stun. And you only have a couple seconds after that to escape high-DPS death.

Because they are moving so fast and strafing around to try and stay at my back, retreat into what seems like an empty space frequently causes rubber-banding. It’s as if the server thinks they are multiple positions at once, and denies movement into all of them.

The best solution I’ve found is a lateral sprint-jump into quick melee, but half the time, that just converts the backstab rush into a glitchy juggle kill.

Thorn gets away reliably with Burst Propulsion, as does Orendi with Let’s Bounce, which is why I stick to them if I get suckered into playing with friends. At least I know I won’t be feeding the bears.

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I don’t like burst on thorn personally. I the Pierce is better bc it stops body blocks. As for the tank thing I can easily use the melee to stops rath demands or phoebe stuns are my only real issue trying to escape.

That’s what I love about Thorn–both sides the Helix are good in PvP. I used to take Draw Strength because it keeps players from using minions as physical shields, but Burst Propulsion lets you do some crazy situational stuff.

Opponents can’t easily quick-melee you into a corner or off a ledge. You can escape anything with a pop-up CC, such as Attikus/Deande melee chains, Dragon’s pop-up Clothesline, Montana’s pop-up Dash, Rath’s Smash, and so on. You can avoid any Alani Geyser outside of chain CC. Et cetera, et cetera.

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It is very useful. Her jump though is my favorite. It allows me to maneuver quickly even though I’m not sprinting and I don’t gets as much slow from her drawing her curse out. Esp with her leg