Okay, I have to air some thoughts. They’ve been chewing at my insides and I’ve been trying to hold back on going on about the problems PvE has, but I really do need to talk about this. Otherwise it’ll just keep festering.
I happen to think that PvE players are treated like second-class citizens. And The Saboteur is why. A little while back, my partner, without any solicitation or input from me turned around and said “you know, I get the feeling they’ve just forgotten about us PvE players and they’re focusing entirely on PvP.” This is a conclusion that my partner came to on their own, and it mirrrors how I feel. It was really The Saboteur that got both of us talking.
The story side of The Saboteur is amazing. No doubt. The voice-acting and the writing is sublime. The level design? Ehh, not so much. It’s under-optimised, for one thing. If you look in a certain direction it slows down. This only plagues Jennerit maps, weirdly, including the Prologue itself. Moreover, as we played, there was one small room that was stocked full of turrets and traps that made us being there kind of pointless, they did all the work. Then later on, there was that room (you know the one), and it really could’ve used more traps. Especially when played with a team of two.
If Gearbox is actually playing the PvE (and not just the PvP, as we assume), then how can they drop the ball that hard with the distribution of turrets and traps? As I said, that corridor chamber earlier on was overstaffed, the latter room that everyone complains about is understaffed. It’s just bad design and balancing. It bothers me, because it’s PvE they expect to make money with, right?
And with PvP nerfs making characters less viable in PvE (please, please unlink PvE and PvP balancing), it’s actually highlighting the problem more all the time. Before the nerf, ISIC could have made up the deficit of turrets in the latter chamber. Not so much now. And htat’s how things have been going.
PvE feels completely neglected. As a PvE player I feel like an ignored, second class citizen compared to the golden PvP chidlren. And The Saboteur is a great example as to why I, along with others who’ve already quit the game (that review thread), feel this way. PvE just isn’t fun enough. It’s too punishing, it’s too poorly optimised, in places it’s just badly designed (the layout of traps/turrets in The Saboteur, Geoff’s 66 per cent explosives resistance, et cetera). It’s not fun.
The only PvE mission that really comes close to being fun any more is The Experiment. So my partner and I are losing interest.
In many ways, Battleborn is the '90s/'00s throwback game I’ve always wanted. It has the character diversity, imagination, and wonder of games I remember from that period. It’s genuinely funny and it doesn’t care if you don’t get its jokes or if they’re too dorky. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s a beautiful thing ruined by bad design and balance choices.
And it’s frustrating to watch. It could be so, so much more if they actually cared about PvE.