Battleborn released on the 3rd of May 2016, and I pre-ordered the game so that I could play it on launch day. Typically the postman was late, and couldn’t find my work’s address because it was little more than a flat above a kebab shop with eight men coding away against the walls, while in a cupboard a huge server stack slowly fought against the urge to set itself on fire. Eventually they found it and crammed it through the door, so I got to play it around the time of launch at least. But I digress.
I had the best time playing Battleborn in those early days. The gameplay wasn’t something I was used to, or expecting, but I found myself adapting to and enjoying it all the same. Each mission in Battleborn sees you pick one of the absolutely mental characters and take them through your choice from the list of set missions. Each mission plays like a first person MOBA. Of course the view was first person, and all your abilities and weapons were played out from this view, but characters levelled up as missions went on, with each level you unlocked new abilities, and herein were the MOBA mechanics.
Missions could be completed in co-op locally or with others online, and they were quite a lot of fun because of how bonkers everything is. Even competitive multiplayer saw the MOBA elements bleed in, forcing you to stay back and level up your character as much as possible before blasting in to annihilate the enemy team. I remember that there was one particular game mode that was basically a MOBA match, with three lanes and minions that headed towards the enemy’s base, and enemy minions that came towards your base. These were great fun, particularly while playing as a support character.
Battleborn is Closing
Sadly the Battleborn servers are closing on the 24th of February 2020. Unfortunately this means the whole game will be unplayable, because it’s online-only. In this really sad announcement, it’s clear that the decision has been made because so few people are playing Battleborn, but it’s not something that anyone really wants to do. When games first started being online-only there were a number of people who pointed out that when the servers go down, it’s going to kill the game forever. A publisher, or developer, won’t pay for keeping servers online forever, especially if they don’t break even in some way, which would have been through an in-game currency called Platinum in Battleborn. It’s also worth pointing out that there’s no way to preserve Battleborn, unless game preservationists can get Gearbox to agree to let them load the game up on some private servers and keep it running, which 2K may not be happy about.
In many ways it’s easy to say that Battleborn was just a rubbish game. I’ll admit that the story came out of nowhere and stayed there, but I still had fun with it. The characters were brilliant, and I had a great time getting to know all of them, but there were so many that the game felt overstretched. Games like DOTA 2 have built up their huge character rosters over years, and Battleborn tried to launch with the same number, which wasn’t a good move.
There’s also the fact that Battleborn launched in the same month as Overwatch, a much more polished and enjoyable game. Both games were pretty similar, but Overwatch had that speed and pace that only it has, while Battleborn’s design required it to have the slow, methodical pace of a MOBA. In the end, this and a culmination of the other reasons Battleborn wasn’t immediately fantastic are why it didn’t take off like it could have. Developers and publishers have clearly learnt from this though, since we’ve seen more delays in release dates to improve games, and just avoid the release dates of others, since then.
Play it One Last Time
I don’t know about you, but I’m gong to play Battleborn at least once more before the servers go down. The game is free-to-play now, so it’s easy enough to load up and decide that you definitely hate it, if you wanted to try it. Let me know what you thought of Battleborn in the comments.