Champlified: Bloodline Champions Open Beta

By Quintin Smith on December 17th, 2010 at 11:06 am.

Just like that, Bloodline Champions has entered open beta! Anyone interested in downloading and playing the skill-focused arena game can do so here. Good news indeed. BC is my favourite out of all the Defense of the Ancients-inspired games that I’ve tried. It streamlines each match into a minute of white-hot combat, and the way it’s designed allows for displays of skill and cunning that make you want to stand up from your chair and salute. You can currently pre-order Bloodline Champions for £24.99 to get some special benefits when it comes out (whenever that is), so interested parties would be wise to try the game now. Thanks to Blues for the news. Open beta launch trailer follows…

As I described in my Eurogamer preview, Bloodline’s skill-based flavour comes from the fact that each Champion’s skills are highly nuanced. None of your powers are easy to use, and it’s not just that they’re hard to master, but that they’re all significantly more impressive when used well, or in the correct situation. Talent (or even luck) is clearly visible, basically. It makes for an entertaining game to watch.

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25 Comments »

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  1. HexagonalBolts says:

    I hope this isn’t the first comment because it’s such a pedantic one, but ‘champions… resound with the clamour of battle’? What’s that even supposed to mean?

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      ffordesoon says:

      It means…

      SOOOOOOUUUUULLLL CALIBUUUUUURRRRR

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Edit: when it says resound with the clamour of battle, it’s referring to the battlegrounds referenced at the beginning. So, basically the battlegrounds echo with the sound of battle, in a nutshell.

  2. thebrassthief says:

    BLC will actually be free to play when it releases. Pre-ordering will cost your $30, $40 or $90 (package depending) which gets you various benefits. Something to remember is that all Bloodlines (heroes, whatever) can be earned in-game. It’s an LoL-like model where there is a rotation of free Bloodlines each week and you earn in-game currency (Bloodcoins) to spend later.

    They have the rotation system going and you can earn Bloodcoins but the shop isn’t open right now, which is making a lot of people piss and moan like kids.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Wow, so you can pay money for a pre-order but when the game comes out it’ll be free? That’s something.

    • thebrassthief says:

      Well, depending on what pre-order you do you’ll unlock a certain amount of heroes, titles, avatars and skins.

    • Delusibeta says:

      Here’s the features list: http://www.bloodlinechampions.com/faq.php#c11q74

      Basically, the $30 Champ edition gets 16 Bloodlines, an extra $10 gets another 4 Bloodlines, The $90 pack contains all of that, plus “Lifetime VIP membership”, which removes VoIP adverts, grants access to special tournaments and removes the weekly cap of Blood Coins (currency you gain during play to use in the shop).

    • Drew says:

      They have done themselves absolutely no favors on the pricing setup. No one in the game understands how it works, either. The problem is basically that they pushed the pre-order advertising really hard, and it makes it sound like the game won’t be free to play on launch. LoL has exactly the same kinds of bundles as BLC does – you can pay $30 or $40 (I forget the precise cost) to unlock a big chunk of basic heroes. That’s exactly what the BLC pre-order does, but they put it so prominently that as far as anyone visiting the site is concerned, that must represent the post-launch price. This is an epic marketing blunder and as far as I’m concerned, if the game doesn’t succeed (and I dunno if it can unless the community rapidly grows, and I’m skeptical) it will be because they handled their marketing really poorly. It should say FREE TO PLAY every in huge letters because that’s what actually matters, and it’s what they want visitors to their site to remember.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      @Drew – Totally agree. If they advertised free to play all over the place, tons of people would at least check it out, even if they didn’t stick with it. People who otherwise never would have touched the game if it weren’t free could end up spending money on the game if they like it well enough.

      If they are going the F2P route, they are doing it all wrong.

    • Collic says:

      The payment scheme they have for this is really off putting. I can see it’s going to be a micro-transaction money sink, and that just isn’t something I allow myself to be suckered by for any game.

      The gameplay itself is pretty fun, but the learning curve is pretty steep for someone like me (not a DOTA player). It’s a moot point anyway since I wouldn’t invest money in the way want me to.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Schaulustiger says:

    This looks pretty promising. I’m currently in the mood for some hero-based smash action, so I’ll give the beta a try. It was mostly your Eurogamer preview that sold me, the trailer itself looks a bit rubbish.

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      Schaulustiger says:

      Oh, and I like some of the premises of the game: cooldowns instead of mana, short round times, aggressive play styles. I always wished for a game like this, even if I pictured it as turn-based in my head :p

  4. Berzee says:

    “skill-focus arena game”

    Nice =) Don’t give up testing genre names! :)

  5. Hallgrim says:

    Anyone know how long an average match in this game is supposed to play?

    I would be big fan of LoL if I was able to dedicate 45+ minutes to a single round of competitive play where I’m screwing my team if I go afk for 5 minutes. I keep hoping someone makes a game like this where a round takes 15 minutes to play.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Yeah, that’d be this. The CTF matches take perhaps 15 minutes and the arena team matches take 5.

    • LukeAllstar says:

      Standard Game mode is 3vs3 Arena
      its a best of 5 rounds match
      one round is limited to 2 minutes, after those 2 minutes there is sudden death, where the arena gets smaller (indicated by some kind of red mist that deals hefty damage when you stand in it) so its around 3 minutes MAX for one match
      so it can be 10 minutes for one 3vs3 arena match, it also can be like 3 minutes or less when one team dominates, depends how balanced the teams are

      Matchmaking Queues are around 20sec-2mins, depends on the time

  6. Premium User Badge

    Lim-Dul says:

    The average match is LESS than 15 minutes. This game sounds as if it is right up your alley, Hallgrim.

    Each round lasts only a few minutes with a hard-cap imposed by sudden death (a shrinking circle of death =) and a match only lasts a few rounds.

    Getting stuck with the same idiots is a non-issue then. All in all Bloodline Champions remind me a lot of Guild Wars PvP but with skill-shots instead of auto-targeting abilities. A bit less than other MMORPG arenas since there’s no reliance on builds, equipment and levels.

    The closest comparison you can draw when it comes to the gameplay experience from the standpoint of the individual player is probably some co-op 360 degree arena shooter.

    I love their character designs, by the way – none of the female characters are oversexualized – SO rare in games these days. (Look at LoL’s champions – the female ones cater to the teen demographic mostly by the size and degree of exposure of their boobs -.-).

    • LukeAllstar says:

      And there is the opposite gender of each bloodline as a custom skin you can buy
      so if you don’t like lets say the herald in male, you can buy a female version of him
      Which is in some cases .. strange .. or ugly (female blood priest for example >.<)
      But in the most cases its a really nice addition and looks really good (and you still know what class you are facing, even if they are a different gender)

    • Drew says:

      They’re prettty good about non-sexualized female characters, but Ravener is still pretty ridic in her default skin. But yeah, overall it’s not too bad. Nomad, Alch, Pysch, Gunner, and the new tank who’s name I’m forgetting are very reasonable female character designs.

    • Froibo says:

      I believe one of the designers is a woman if I am recalling correctly. She wanted to make sure there was a respectful representation of females.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Schaulustiger says:

    After playing a few matches, I have to say that this is surprisingly good. The combat feels meaty and very satisfying once you get a basic understanding of your hero’s skills. Make sure to play a few bot matches before you jump into multiplayer. It can get quite hectic and you have to keep moving all the time to not be an easy target.

    Unfortunately, the community reminds me of HoN. A lot of kicking pre-game and badmouthing during rounds.

    • LukeAllstar says:

      I play both HoN and BLC, so i know both communities good enought
      i thing you just were unlucky, because i often play with nice people, but on the other hand, if you loose due to a new player who misses all his skills, of course you get a bit angry
      sometimes they criticize you, sometimes they say that you did a good job, sometimes they don’t say anything

      and to avoid pre-game kicking and stuff, just play until you are level 5, and then play matchmaking, you’ll get ranked with people that are as good as you, so you shouldnt get bashed (at least not often)

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      Sinomatic says:

      I played the beta and while I found the game to be okay (not mindblowing but I think I could learn to like it) the in-game community seemed to be consistently awful. Every other comment in the chat, pre-game chat or games was offensive in one way or the other. There are too many games around where I don’t have to put up with that kind of thing for me to spend my time tolerating all manner of idiots in this one.

    • Drew says:

      I’ve played BLC, HoN, and LoL and in my experience, BLC is a bit better than LoL and LoL is loads better than HoN.

      My basic attitude is that games get the communities they deserve. I don’t mean this in a nasty way, I mean that the design of the game has a huge influence on the way people act in it. HoN is a cesspool because the game is extremely feed forward and represents a huge time investment. This makes it easy for another person’s poor play to ruin 45 minutes for you. There’s just nothing you can do. HoN’s stat tracking makes it even worse. Since every game influences all your stats and a bad game (even one where you play really well) will usually hurt your other stats (e.g., it’s generally difficult to be getting kills if the rest of your team sucks and you lose every team fight), and people are always looking at your stats when you join games to decide whether to kick you or not, people just get obsessive about every detail and hateeeeee losing. So I don’t think it’s just that HoN got unlucky, it’s that the game is designed to make people rage and nothing was really going to change that.

      LoL is better because it drops a bunch of HoN’s features: it’s significantly less feed forward (no creep deny, no gold loss on death, no exp loss on death), is mostly matchmade (you can’t obsess over other people’s stats / block people from games if they look bad based on their stats), and does very little low level stat tracking. It’s still got the long-game strike against it, but losing a game doesn’t hurt as badly. LoL also hides all internal matchmaking data. The only real progression it reveals to you in the default matchmaking mode is your level, which just aggregates over time. You can’t lose levels, so there’s no obvious information that the system thinks you suck at the game. This makes losses in public games hurt much less.

      BLC is another step in the right direction. It, too, hides your underlying matchmaking rating (although it does have a floating rank system that I thiiiink you can lose ranks on, but I haven’t had it happen to me yet) and has zero feed forward mechanics. It does lose points for the being primarily non-matchmade (like HoN), but because the games are short it’s just not that big a deal to get a crappy team. Plus, since the games are iterated it’s in your interest to try to help your teammates get better – you might still win the game if they get the hang of things, since you’re not at any disadvantage on a round to round basis. Plus, BLC is a really small community. In my experience, that always helps. I see people greeting each other all the time because you actually run into people with some frequency. That makes reputation matter, and keeps the really annoying people from flourishing. And since it has public chat rooms, there’s actually ways to meet people and chat about stuff outside of the game context. In a hermetically sealed game like LoL, there’s just no venue for kindness and conversation and connection-building outside of the game. When I first logged on to BLC and was having some UI confusion, someone helped me out and we now play together from time to time. That’s never happened to me in LoL.

      Anyway, this turned epic. But I would encourage you to give BLC another shot. I’ve had a great community experience with it, and I suspect you might have gotten into one of the relatively rare games with assholes. Feel free to look me up, I’m “drewww” in game.

  8. RogB says:

    oh do fuck off