By Adam Smith on behalf of Gaming Australia
Battlerite is a team based MOBA game developed by Stunlock Studios officially released on late 2017. When most people think MOBA, they think DOTA 2 or League of Legends, but this game is definitely different to these titles in a way. Firstly there are no towers, no minions, and no jungles. Matches are usually 2v2 or 3v3 also, as opposed to 5v5.
Other elements are similar though, such as having unique champions all with unique skills and abilities, and with consistent key bindings to unleash them. Light attack, heavy attack, parry, and ultimate abilities that build up over time and through active combat. Actually, Battlerite is much more deserving of the title ‘battle arena’ than the others. This game is a more pure, skill-based action game which is also contained in quick 10 minute battles, meaning you won’t get stuck in exhausting, drawn-out fights. Timing and aiming is everything, and the player that can pull off more skill shots usually comes out on top.
The game has 28 champions for you to choose from, and these are put into classes such as melee, ranged and support. There are some freebies, as well as some champions that are on a weekly free rotation schedule, so there is always some different champions to play with. You can complete quests (daily and weekly challenges) to earn in game currency, which is then used to unlock more champions. Of course, you can dish out some real world dollars to unlock the complete champions pack (and support the developers).
The game does have a tutorial to cover the basics, as well as a training ground to practise the hero abilities and movements, although in honesty it could probably be fleshed out more as there are still things that will take many hours of playing to understand how it all works. Not only is it about knowing what the abilities are, it’s also when best to use them, and how to combo them to have a greater effect. It can be.
Each match has multiple rounds, and when a player gets eliminated during a round it continues on (there are no respawns) until all players from one team are eliminated, the surviving team wins that round. The game is at its best when both teams are down to one player, as they dance around each other while the arena closes in, ala Battle Royale, and the fate of the game could be decided by a single clutch move. The intensity of the game grows more and more as the match goes due to the way the health system works. When taking certain types of damage, there is a window of opportunity where a support hero can restore your health up to where it originally was, but if they’re not quick enough, there is a permanent (for the remainder of the round) health reduction which basically is a penalty for not getting healed quick enough. This puts you at a disadvantage as your total health points is now lower than others. This game mechanic further intensifies the match as even support players need to be constantly on their toes and watching out for their teammates.
The player population is hovering around 500 concurrent players at the present time, which is still healthy since it only takes 4 or 6 players for a match to form. In quiet times, the game will set fill in with bots so you will always be able to play in any case. Something that may have lowered this is the spinoff game, Battlerite Royale which as you probably have guessed already, is a battle royale game mode. There was quite a bit of outrage at the time from the community, who wanted this original game to be the main focus and get updates and further development, but the temptation to jump on the battle royale bandwagon was too much for Stunlock Studios. The BR spinoff game is not as popular as the original but the general consensus is that many players felt alienated, and if they did like the spinoff it meant a direct loss of players from the original Battlerite, effectively splitting up the player base into two camps.
I believe Battlerite is an amazing and polished game that seems to just not have been able to draw attention away from the other big MOBAs, and thus had to try anything they could, including a battle royale mode just to get some eyes on it. Unfortunately neither one is a big hit, although due the pure quality of the game, it is retaining a regular core player base that keeps it going. It is definitely a challenging game that requires a lot of fast thinking and precision movements to succeed, so I would highly recommend it to any gamer that likes to challenge themselves.