In case you missed it, Battleborn is out. But exactly what is it? Even Gearbox Software CEO, Randy Pitchford, was at a loss as to describe it:
Battleborn is: FPS; hobby-grade coop campaign; genre-blended, multi-mode competitive e-sports; meta-growth, choice + epic Battleborn Heroes!
— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) July 8, 2014
Regardless of what Battleborn is there is fun to be had in its frenetic, colourful world, so here are five top tips on how best to approach Gearbox’s eclectic team shooter if you are new to it.
1. Work Together
Teamwork is absolutely essential if you want to be successful. Even the normal story missions become challenging towards the end and a team working together will stand a much better chance than a group with one or two lone wolves off glory-hunting for kills.
Stick together so that if you do go down to an enemy there is always a team mate there to revive you and spare those precious team lives, and remember there are no re-spawns at a previous checkpoint should you fail in your objective. If you all work together, supporting each other as needed, you are most likely to be successful; if not, expect to see the past forty minutes of working towards an objective completely wasted.
2. Know your heroes
Battleborn ships with twenty-five heroes so getting to know the benefits and disadvantages of each one will be a lengthy process, but it is worth spending some time with the ones that are available to you early on. Each hero has a unique skill tree or helix with two interchangeable paths to follow. You level up as you play the game, so understanding the character you are using allows you to make quicker upgrade choices during the hectic battles.
Each faction has a mixture of tank, support, skirmisher, assassin, and brawler and some heroes will be stronger choices for different situations. Montana, for example, is best utilised as a bullet sponge to soak up damage and provide suppression assistance while the smaller, faster characters can do the most damage. Characters like Miko and Reyna can be used most effectively if the players stay back providing healing and shield support so the more offensive players can do what they do best.
A varied team with different skill sets is the most effective, so if you are playing in a group it is best to aim for a good balance of the different heroes to maximise your potential to win the match or story mission.
3. Build the buildables
Later story missions are very much based on a tower defence model, and a team that does not invest its shards into the various build-able turrets, healing stations and drones will not last very long. Activating and maintaining each of these turrets can be the difference between success and failure, and you will get XP for each structure you build as well.
Shards are also used to activate your unique gear loadouts, but remember a team member that is going for personal glory will often cause the team to fail overall. There are always more shards available if you want to activate your unique gear later on.
Turrets are also essential in the various multiplayer modes, providing healing, acceleration or even just as a distraction while you fire shots in to your opponent.
4. Keep an eye on the mini-map
When the action ramps up it can be very hard to see what’s going on, but keeping half an eye on the mini-map will give you an indication of the location of groups of enemies and where your team mates are.
Other items are featured on the mini-map as well, such as giant shard locations in the story missions as well as objective markers.
In multiplayer, the mini-map will provide information on where sentries can be located, as well as minion chompers, Thrall camps and super minions, all of which can help turn the tide of battle. The mini-map also has the added feature of being able to expand out so you can see more of the action.
5. Remember the objective
Battleborn is an objective-based game; it isn’t quite a MOBA, but the influences are clear. Each mode, be it PvP or PvE, has an objective to either escort, protect or destroy, and the team that wins is the one totally focused on this. There is no room for being a lonewolf.
As a team, it is best to continually apply pressure to the opposition. In PvP there are extended respawn times so use this to your advantage. Wiping an enemy team out will give you about 20 seconds of uninterrupted time to capture objectives or escort your minions.
In PvE always keep half an eye on the target you are there to protect because you can quickly become overwhelmed by the sheer number of enemies thrown at you. There are very few choke points where enemies can spawn and attack from anywhere in the map, so try not to get drawn too far away from the objective.
6. Have fun
Despite a handful of shortcomings, Battleborn is ambitious and fairly unique. The mix of characters and modes, coupled with the generous amount of unlockables on offer, means there’s loads of incentive to experiment with loadouts and avatars, team compositions and map layouts.
Above all, it means that Battleborn has the potential to be lots of fun, so while it’s easy to get bogged down and frustrated with other players and tricky objectives, it’s much better to enjoy the experience and play around with its flexibility.
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