Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard of two upcoming games, claimed to be very similar to MOBAs, but in fact, far from them. Overwatch, Blizzard’s cross between an FPS and a MOBA - though it looks more like a class based FPS - is set to release in Spring 2016, and Battleborn, Gearbox’s mashup of genres, including elements of FPS’, RPGs, and MOBAs, is set to release on May 3rd, 2016.
Now of course, with two titles releasing in the same season, with similar gameplay, similar mechanics and whatnot, the community starts to compare the two, bicker about which is better, and draft up and entire system of fanboy-ism which has been around in games for years, our biggest nowadays being Dota 2 vs League of Legends, FIFA vs PES, COD vs Battlefield, etc.
Personally, I’m looking forward to playing both. So far we’ve only seen glimpses of Battleborn, while Overwatch seized its chance to bask in the spotlight, inviting gamers to test its latest beta (I wasn’t one of them, DAMNIT), which was embraced with open arms. The former however, hasn’t looked very promising as yet, but I really want it to succeed, because Borderlands, and because I have a soft spot for over-the-top, whacky characters.
Lets take a better look at both games, and see what we can expect, as well as hope for.
So far, this looks the most promising of the two, and from what we can see, Blizzard’s done a commendable job on trying to make this game as welcoming as possible. They’ve implemented elements of MOBAs and FPS’ into their own style. So, what does Overwatch bring?
“Soldiers. Scientists. Adventurers. Oddities.
In a time of global crisis, an international task force of heroes banded together to restore peace to a war-torn world:
It ended the crisis and helped to maintain peace in the decades that followed, inspiring an era of exploration, innovation, and discovery. But after many years, Overwatch’s influence waned, and it was eventually disbanded.
Overwatch is gone… but the world still needs heroes.”
For console gamers, we’ve been used to booting up our generic shooters, jumping into multiplayer with our generic characters, leveling them up, unlocking armor and weapons for them to equip, selecting their skill set, and endeavoring to shape them up into the very best of their kind. Some people felt proud of their creations - A level 40 Warlock, maxed out ‘Stormcaller’, with exotic and legendary equipment forged to melt the Taken in Destiny - while some people saw them as a disgrace - A level 5 Vault Tech survivor who was basically food for ghouls in every settlement he discovered... Ugh. Moving on.
People accustomed to MOBAs are familiar with choosing a hero/champion from a given roster, tactically forming a team consisting of your attacking unit, defensive unit, tanks, supports, etc in order to counter the enemy team and achieve victory. However, that experience was mostly on PC, and unheard of or relatively unknown on consoles.
In Overwatch, twenty characters are available to choose from at your discretion, each with a set of skills to deploy in combat. You have your offense, your defense, your tank and your support. Each character is really well designed and animated, and pleasing to look at. I’ve already found my favourite:
Now, I didn’t get to play the beta (like many of you), but from what I saw, combat looks amazing. Its fast, its explosive, its skillful, and there’s always something happening. Whether its zipping around as Tracer, or positioning your Bastion, or reviving fallen heroes using Mercy, or even ‘JUSTICE RAINS FROM ABOVE’, there’s never a moments peace. Its a blitzkrieg of bullets, arrows, lasers, grenades, sound waves, the random hook, its fun!
From what we know, there’s two game modes so far. One involves a team capturing two zones on the map, while the opposing team has to defend. The second mode requires the attacking team to stop the ‘payload’, while the defending team has to escort it to its checkpoint.
Now, usually, when you select your teams in a MOBA, each member can only pick ONE hero, and the opposing team CANNOT pick that hero. That way, you have ten different heroes in one game. However, Blizzard decided it’d be a good idea for the opposing team to pick the same characters you have. I guess that’s okay, right? I mean, you only have twenty to choose from, and as long as its five unique characters per team righ-
Wait. Is that a defending team with multiple Tobjorns? Oh COME ON. As if one turret wasn’t enough!
That’s kinda put me off. You could have a team with five of the same heroes. Ugh. Although that likely won’t happen 99/100 times, I feel like you shouldn’t be allowed more than one unique hero per team, and I hope Blizzard decides to do something about that, because the thought of attacking a payload with five Bastions...
Apparently, Blizzard is also working on a series of animated shorts for Overwatch:
BABY GORILLA WINSTON AWWWWWWWWWW
But, according to the lore, Winston is the name of the scientist and he dies so the gorilla names himself Winston and-
I’m depressed now.
You know, I’m going to stop writing, and watch this all day.
Now a little look at the title I’m mostly looking forward too, Overwatch’s potential competitor:
While Battleborn had released a beta, there wasn’t probably much to look forward to. Edit: I understand that this game might be very underwhelming, and has a high risk of failing to capture an audience. In fact, there’s this part of me that’s scared for Battleborn. From what we’ve seen so far, the game hasn’t been very well received by gamers. Edit ends here. So I’m hoping and hoping, from the glimpses of the game we’ve been getting, that this title surpasses my expectations. Lets see what we’ve got.
“A tremendous band of badass heroes fight to protect the universe’s very last star from a mysterious evil in this next-gen shooter by the creators of Borderlands. To defend it, you’ll need to utilize every type of character and weapon you’ve ever imagined — from cyborg hawkmen to samurai vampires to mini-gun wielding man-mountains. Slash and parry, run and gun, cast and dash, or simply obliterate foes all while building and growing your personal team of heroes. Choose your hero and fight alone or co-operatively alongside friends in story missions, or battle against them in fast-paced competitive multiplayer matches.”
I have to say, the first thing I fell in love with when I laid my eyes on Battleborn was how absolutely fun its characters looked. There are five factions: The Eldrid, the Peacekeepers, the LLC or Last Light Consortium, the Rogues and the Jennerit Empire. Each group had its wonderful heroes, brimming with vibrant colour, each remarkably different from the previous, and everyone of them batshit crazy. Along with the aforementioned heroes, you have Pheobe, the telekentic swordswoman, Miko, the combat botanist, Orendi, a psychotic mini-witch, and Toby, a little penguin in a massive mech-suit, to name a few.
A styled up roster like this is likely going to target the Borderlands audience, as well as any newcomers of course, and Gearbox claimed that we’d grow to love these characters and feel some sort of attachment to them. I’m not sure about being attached, but I do know I’m going to love a whole lot of the heroes. Again, here’s my favourite:
Apparently, Battleborn has a campaign that can be played alone, or co-op, as well as three main multiplayer modes: Capture, Meltdown and Incursion. We’ve seen the first mission for the campaign mode, and while it may not look as appetizing, it does look like a lot of fun, and, in fact, reminds me of Destiny’s campaign.
The story is a cliched one, and is already escalated to its climax. Its the end of the world, the universe has been destroyed, save for one planet, one star, Solace, and a group of heroes (or survivors from planets, plucked here and there). The ‘Varelsi’, your enemies, are looking to invade and destroy Solace, but guess what? It’s not happening.
You pick five heroes, and have to complete the story with them to unlock more and more heroes. There are twenty five in total, twenty of which have been revealed (so far). Apparently, the remaining few might not be revealed, and can only be unlocked by playing the game.
Its more or less the same wave clearing gameplay. You’re showered with Varelsi here and there, and each character uses four skills, including your ultimate ability to demolish and destroy every last one your foes, with aesthetically explosive blasts of light, a whirlwind of blades, air strikes, beams of light, magic and ‘mansformations’.
This involves your classic 5v5, and you have to escort tiny robot minions into the enemy robot god mouth. Of course, its not that simple. You’ll have to prevent the enemy team from doing the same by eliminating their heroes and their robot minions, purchasing turrets and leveling up in-game. (More on leveling up later). One of the good things about this game mode is that no matter what, the battle will never be one sided. There’s always a chance for a quick turnaround, so these games will end up being very close.
Again, 5v5, but more of a team deathmatch where you’re required to capture hand hold objectives on the map to win.
I haven’t seen any gameplay for this as yet, but apparently this is where the Dota 2 element kicks in. 5v5, where you have to escort your minions and help them destroy your opponent’s base/throne.
This is your in-game leveling system, where the max level for your hero is ten, and every point you gain in leveling up is spent on your hero’s ‘helix skill tree’ which grants your hero different buffs and upgrades as you progress, and max out whatever skills you deem necessary.
Keeping it relatively simple, combat is basically going to go haywire, like Overwatch. You’ll constantly be using one skill after another, spritzing the screen with damage counts, explosions and abilities with massive areas of effect. However, Battleborn allows melee combat, in addition to its wide range of ranged combat. Gearbox made it clear they wanted their IP to feel like it incorporates combat from many different games, with shooting familiar to Halo and Destiny, and hacking and slashing similar to other beat-em-up games. Each character will have four different skills, and will attempt to strengthen and reinforce each hero’s playing style and reflect their personality. You’ll definitely need to plan your team out, and counterpicking is necessary. For example, a player could pick Benedict, the cyborg hawk to attack heroes that are less mobile and more grounded, while some players may pick quicker and faster heroes to counteract the sluggish pace and movements of the tankier heroes. Combat will definitely feel refreshing, at least that’s what I’d like to hope for.
For a long time now, we’ve had shooter after shooter, Advanced warfare after Ghosts, Six Seige after Splinter Cell, with the same recurring gameplay. Only a few manage to remain as memorable, and with more and more innovative and intuitive games coming out that aren’t JUST bullet after bullet, maybe a new competitive franchise is what we need, and hopefully these two games have the potential to be something bigger. However, they could last a few months and be left for dead just as easily. While its too difficult to completely kick out competition, and while Call Of Duty and Battlefield will last for years to come, many audiences are looking for something new, and who knows, if these games kickstart well enough, more devs and companies will follow suit, and more MOBA-like games will continue to rise. Have you seen Paragon? Looks amazing! ITS FREE TO PLAY TOO!
So, which of the two are you looking forward to playing?
Sorry that took so long, life got in the way of my writing, but here’s my third article! Enjoy! Loving the consistent feedback, and a special shout out to Zarnyx, who granted me authorship, and I hope I will not fail to disappoint!
- The barelyfanatical blog