Things You Should be Hyped About

9 04 2012

Every Monday, I’m featuring a brief article highlighting something in the gaming (or entertainment, if too godlike.) world that you should be paying some extra attention to.

This week, I think it’s important to talk about something that not enough people even know exist:

Bloodline Champions is an arena based, PvP game (with a REALLY HORRIBLE NAME.) designed to get you in, have you kill some people, and get the fuck out.  Imagine if Guild Wars (or WoW Arena) and League of Legends had a really ugly baby.  And that ugly baby grew up to be kind of a homely girl, but she’s so cool and she loves the things that you love, and she really likes you for you.  Like, you maybe don’t show her to too many of your friends, but you’re loving your time with her.

Well I’m not embarrassed!  This game is a fucking godsend!

A single game of League of Legends is going to cost you a clear 35-40~ minutes of your life on average.  You have to queue up, pick a chracter, have an idiot ragequit cause he wanted to jungle and you’re an asshole for being a higher elo and having the choice first, load in, wait 800000 seconds for the game to start, lane for 25 minutes, then walk around as a team until one of your idiot teammates runs off and gets demolished so that your team can now get steamrolled 4v5.

FUCK THAT.

Bloodline Champions is about instant gratification.  From the time you click to queue for a game, you’re in, playing and done within eight minutes.  Often time less than that!  I’ve been done in five!  FIVE MINUTES.

Players face off in 2v2, 3v3, or 5v5 fashion, in close quarters battling to be the last team standing.  Each champion is equipped with seven abilities, all including a damage reduction, some type of counter, and at least one projectile.  Even the healers have melee attacks, to ensure they can stay competitive with melee based champions.  All champions also have a built in channeled heal and resurrect, in case the enemy team tries to camp you out.  A brief two minute timer counts down to sudden death, which eliminates the use of team resurrections, and consistantly shrinks the map size, to flood players towards each other.

You’re kind of like a tribute in The Hunger Games.

The object is simple:  Last man standing wins the round for his/his team.  (That was not a typo; let’s be serious, here.)  First team to win three rounds wins the game, some nifty blood coins to spend on Skinner’s Box crap, and the notoriety of being the player that didn’t just waste 6-7~ minutes of his life.  At least, wasted it less than the other team.

Each champion uses the same mechanics:  Use abilities to build Energy.  Reach 100 energy to gain access to your ultimate ability.  Bait idiots into using their defensive abilities, then use ult for great success!  Simple in design, amazingly difficult in execution!  The maps in the game are small, yet varied.  Well over a dozen playing fields suit the different archetypes of champions, with wide open fields giving the ranged classes benefits, and close-quartered arenas allowing the Melee-based champions to hunt you down and bring some of your guts out.

Every map is equipped with a buff that appears in the center at repeated intervals throughout the match, granting the player who grabs it a major chunk of their energy bar.  This reinforces the aggressive nature of the game, by forcing players to a point of control.  If you continuously allow your opponent to grab the orb while you run, they’ll wind up getting a huge advantage in the ability to use their best attacks at a much earlier point in the game than you.

What makes the game so appealing to me is the ease of gameplay.  Very simple to understand, but as you progress through the ranks, a sharp increase in player skill evolves in both you and your opponents, allowing the challenge to never truly cease.  Ranged attacks are always “skill shots” meaning they must be properly aimed and casted.  No auto lock-ons or guaranteed abilities.  Even the melee swings must be aimed by your cursor.  this allows top level play to be a tad more dynamic in nature, giving the better players a bigger advantage.

Unfortunately, every good story has a nasty, ugly side to it.  Coincidently, the ugly side to this game is… Well, that it’s ugly.  The downfall is that the character design is so rudimentarily plain; flawed in the sense that it’s far too simple.  I’m a minimalist at heart, but this is just a tad bit too “Oatmeal” for me to wrap my head around.

Each is an individual in their own ranks, but they lack personality.  A certain je ne sais quoi that we find in the characters we’ve come to love in League of Legends or DotA.  Characters like Master Yi, The Wuju Bladesman or Annie, The Demon Child are simplified, being called simply Ravager, or Thorn.

                    

Yorick, The Grave Digger!                             Guardian.

Completely uninspired character models and design give us little to imagine, and little to relate to.  I mean, you have infinite possibilities with LoL or DotA for fan made art, machinima style animation, character biography and more.  Hell, Riot Games, the company behind the life-destroying League of Legends has a weekly youtube series dedicated to the fans’ re-imagining and recreation of their characters through art.  People making giant ceramic busts of in-game monsters, cosplaying as their characters in droves at conventions like PAX and Anime Boston and more.

It’s a shame, because subconsciously, people aren’t realizing just how important the aesthetics and sub-cultures of the games they play are to them!  When it comes to lesser known games, with sometimes less than perfect artstyles or somewhat flawed design, they write it off as unacceptable and move on.

But in this case, we’ve been blessed with a fast paced, skill driven game that rewards players who have skill in playing against other people, rather than playing against in game dice rolls, and monster spawns.

Did I mention there is no critical hit mechanic in the game?  I didn’t!?  Well, then…  THERE IS NO FUCKING CRIT MECHANIC!  No bullshit 4% chance to win a fight because the god’s of luck and stupidity decided to make you feel like you deserved that kill.  In fact, not only is there not crits, but the game rewards you for aggression!  The game rewards you with 20% more damage if you land a hit on the enemy’s backside.

So if you’re a player who likes to run away and hope lucky crits will help him win a fight, this game is NOT for you.

So, while the game isn’t precisely pleasing to the eyes, it provides you with a great experience, and best of all, it’s completely fucking free.

The game has its flaws, like (almost) any games do, but it’s the fast paced, spine busting action that keeps me in it.  There is a fair amount of balance to the cast (unlike most other games these days), and while the company is definitely looking to profit, they don’t seem to be shoving a new pretty outfit in my face every time I log on.  Which is a nice change of pace.

Bloodline Champions is available for download on Steam, free to players.  Supports up to ten combatants simultaneously.

TL;DR:

Pros:

  • Games are quick.  Never more than 10 minutes!
  • No luck based mechanics.  Be good or be dead.
  • Free as fuck.  (Download on Steam!)
  • Generally a helpful, bright playerbase.
Cons:
  • Ugly as sin.
  • Character design leaves a lot to be desired
  • Small playerbase

What do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Tell me about it!  Comment below, and tell me what you think!  And don’t forget to follow!

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7 responses

9 04 2012
TheRealBobMan

No crit mechanic and free on Steam? TAKES LESS THAN 10 MINUTES? I’ll have to give it a shot. Thanks for the recommendation.

10 04 2012
Perennial

Welcome to hell (it’s a good thing).

9 04 2012
thiocyanide

BLC is a really, really great concept. I’d like to see it expanded on a bit more, maybe with fewer abilities per character but a bit less homogenization.

Also, the aesthetic could use a LOT of work.

10 04 2012
Perennial

It was a good read. I’ve been playing this game sinse the beta (on and off mind you) and I never really thought that the energy orb in the middle ‘forced’ some agressive style of tactics. It has always been there, like second nature. Good point.

But I do despair when you say that the design is ugly and that you compare a ‘concept art’ of a LoL character with an in-game Guardian. Put them art to art and in game to in game and you’ll see a diference.

The shamanistic design its BLC swell I think. Like a bunch of wild outcasts from the deepest of the jungle.

Oh well. We can’t think the same. And again, good read.

10 04 2012
James

Aces, enjoying this game

10 04 2012
nscotti1994

Haha, I was about to say this sounds extremely similar to The Hunger Games. Great read! I might try it out.
Also, HUNGER GAMES PVP HYPE.

10 04 2012
JeanPremier

Well written and true as hell. Fast-paced and nonstop action game. Skill makes all the difference. join channel ‘help’ ingame to get advices from better players

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