Battlerite – A Powerhouse MOBA
Stunlock Studios, an indie game studio out of Sweden, has released without a doubt their best game yet. With laser focus on the MOBA genre, they’re behind titles such as Bloodline Champions and Dead Island: Epidemic. They boast short, intense player vs player brawls in a relatively small arena. There’s no leveling and no items, just team-based fights to the death. While those games did not flourish in popularity, the 85% positive review rate on Steam shows that loyal fans were nothing but pleased. After a taste of success, Stunlock Studios continued their journey toward building a powerhouse MOBA. And they’ve delivered with their most recent title, known as Battlerite.
Similar to past titles, Battlerite drops players into a small circular battle arena designed for one thing – an adrenaline packed fight to the death. There’s no objectives, no items, and no leveling or in-game progression. Players choose their champion and have their whole kit at the outset. However, before the game starts you do get several options to upgrade your abilities for extra effects. Some are simply increased damage or duration but others have awesome effects such as an added stun if knocked into a wall. These modest but important upgrades let you initially have a unique edge unknown to your opponent, especially if they’re someone that knows the champions inside and out.
There are 3 types of champions – melee, ranged, and support. Each do a great job of fitting the typical characteristics you’d expect. But because the maximum team size is 3v3, some characters have attributes of multiple roles. In the end this works out well though to create more cohesive and synergistic team comps.
Abilities are basically all skill shots and of the 6 abilities per champion, most have at least 1-2 counter/dodge moves. Matches are best of 5 rounds with 2v2 or 3v3 playlists available. Inevitably, the game centers around micro-strategy, lightning fast responses, and accuracy. Even support champions use skill shots making all elements important to master. While missing abilities isn’t necessarily detrimental, the game can be unforgiving. Luckily there’s multiple rounds to combat that.
There’s roughly 21 champions currently though more will continue to be released. Compared to popular games like Dota 2 and League of Legends, the champion pool may seem small but Battlerite is still relatively new. And since there’s six abilities including dodge/counter moves for each champion, there’s no doubt plenty to learn.
Battlerite brings a refreshing experience to the MOBA landscape. Stunlock Studios extracted their strengths from their previous titles and continued to refine their vision. The playstyle and mechanics may be different than other popular MOBA’s but that’s precisely what makes it so great. Fresh content and a unique experience is what innovation is all about. And it’s evident by the positive Steam reviews that fans agree. Currently, Battlerite’s review rate on Steam is at 86%. That’s incredible. For comparison, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is at 88% and Dota 2 is at 87%.
High Steam reviews aren’t everything though with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds as a great example. They’ve had enormous success but their Steam review rate is at a low 53%. Nonetheless, with the right steps toward spreading awareness and maximizing growth, Battlerite absolutely has the potential to be a leader in the MOBA space. Excitingly, one of those steps is already happening. Earlier this month, a partnership with Twitch and Nexon was announced, paving the way for Battlerite’s entry into esports.
Battlerite Esports Leagues
Battlerite developers are on track to expand awareness and spread the game’s reach with the entry into esports. Through the partnership with Twitch and Nexon, they’ve established both the Battlerite Pro League and Rising Stars.
Battlerite Pro League
The Battlerite Pro League (BPL) is the official tournament circuit for professional competition. There are four regions initially participating – North America, South America, Europe, and South Korea. The tournament will run five weeks with the top two teams in each region earning a spot at a global LAN event this summer. The league officially kicks off April 29th with the group stage.
North America and Europe viewers can watch the livestream at twitch.tv/battlerite while South America viewers can watch at twitch.tv/battleriteSA.
Rising Stars will be a recurring tournament related to BPL. Participants will compete regionally like BPL but with a points-based system to determine who moves on to the Rising Stars Finals. The winning team in Rising Stars will be guaranteed to participate in BPL the next season. The second and third place teams in Rising Stars will compete against current BPL teams in a relegation match at the end of the season. Whoever loses will be knocked down into Rising Stars and the winner will be guaranteed to compete in the next season of BPL.
With one team in Rising Stars guaranteed to move to the BPL and another having the potential, Battlerite developers clearly want to give everyone willing to put the work in the opportunity to compete at the highest level.
For complete details on BPL and Rising Stars, please visit the latest dev update.
Battlerite’s entrance into esports is nothing less than incredible. An early access version of the games was released in September 2016 but the official release wasn’t until November 7th, 2017. In less than five months from official release, developers have been able to establish the beginnings of a professional scene and take Battlerite to the next level. The game will also be launched on Xbox One sometime in 2018 furthering the reach through increased accessibility.
The Battlerite Experience
Overall Battlerite is fluid and well-made. The game is still building a player base but with the entrance into esports, their foothold in the MOBA space should start to pick up. If you’re a MOBA fan or into micro-strategy or even RTS type games, Battlerite is worth checking out. There’s good tutorials and practice available including bot games to feel out the champions you’ll want to dominate on.
When it comes down to it, there’s not many titles offering the experience Battlerite does. Popular MOBA’s like Dota 2 and League of Legends are much different since they’re progression based and have larger maps with objective driven gameplay. In those games, teamfights typically don’t happen before 10-15 minutes in. Battlerite takes you right to the team fight. Right to the epic battle that’s as intense as ever. Zero down time, no walking to lane, no sitting comfortably in your base buying items. Psychological warfare and clean micro-strategy are critical to outsmart your opponent. You must be on your game. Honestly, this may be the most immersive MOBA yet.
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Also published on Medium.