Having attempted to try out Gearbox FPS/hobby-grade coop campaign/genre blended, multi-mode competitive e-sports/meta-growth, choice + epic Battleborn [official site] heroes… thingummy Battleborn’s new PvP mode, Supercharge, I must excuse myself to make an angry cup of tea.
I HAVE MY ANGRY TEA NOW. Right. So what is Supercharge?
Supercharge is a new mode with new maps. If you play Battleborn already it’s a mix of Capture and Meltdown. If you don’t (and based on how fast it bottomed out of the Steam top 100 and the horrible graph over on SteamCharts.com you are more likely to be in this camp) it’s a 3v3 mode. You guide minions towards a location to earn points and if you hold the capture point you supercharge those minions so they’re a bit tougher and it helps you put pressure on the other team.
3v3! – Smaller teams mean that you need to closely coordinate to get those minions to where MINREC wants them, while preventing the enemy team from doing the same. You’ll be doing more…and you’ll need to be a whole lot quicker. New Maps! – Play on three brand new maps created and sized specifically for Supercharge: Ziggurat, Permafrost, and Horizon. These tightened-up battlefields will make those 3-on-3 fights even crazier. New Challenges! Complete Supercharge-specific challenges for more titles, experience, and Credits!
I played a bunch of Battleborn PvP when the game first came out as part of the review but haven’t touched it since. As such I’m not actually at Command Rank 20 which is when you get out of the restricted novice queue nowadays. The novice queue wasn’t a thing back then.
Anyway, I thought I’d get a few matches in to level up and then take Supercharge for a spin. I had to play through the new versus tutorial which is the intro for PvP and then queuing for a single 5v5 game took more than 20 minutes. A bot battle was slightly better at 16 minutes but yeesh.
When I’m into something that’s PvP I like to dip in for a round or two at lunchtime (or a single game if it’s Dota). With those wait times that’s simply not going to happen. With the bot battles I spent longer waiting than in the game. That’s a trade-off that works for really exciting rollercoasters or necessary doctor appointments but Battleborn is neither exhilarating nor is it necessary.
For me this experience does not bode well for the move to make the PvP bits of Battleborn into a free-to-play lure because throughout the new player experience the game is wearing it’s piddling playerbase on its sleeve. But the devs were likely stuck between rocks and hard places at this point because it’s either this waitathon or you dunk newcomers in with people who did stick with it and will absolutely stomp anyone who wanders in.
I feel like maybe a 3v3 mode was an attempt to get around the playerbase problem by only needing 6 people to make it work instead of 10 but I’m not going to put in all of that queuing when I still find the game’s UI a mess and the combat muddled and unsatisfactory.
I appreciate that some people seem to have stuck with it and that a handful will likely have booted up the free-to-play PvP bits so let me know how you’re getting on if you’re experiences are very different to mine.
Sixteen minutes. Sixteen minutes to find five people for a short bot game. I NEED MORE TEA.