I’ve been playing a game called Bloodline: Champions, a game that aspires to be DotA/HoN, because Funcom sent me a beta key (I still have a free one to give away! Email me)!
For those of you who don’t know, Funcom’s most recent claim to fame was the Age of Conan MMO, which is a decent enough game. Thus, I figured that Bloodline: Champions would be of the same caliber, right?
How wrong I was.
Okay, jumping the gun, let’s back up. Bloodline plays as a arena-based version of DotA. The game, having ripped out all those silly things like RPG elements and metagaming, it focuses solely on the micro. The games are played in fairly small areas with 3-4 people on the “Cold” and “Warm” teams. The team with the last person standing wins.
If you haven’t guess yet, the game isn’t very deep. While its intellectual fathers had sprawling maps with various elements that needed to be taken and controlled in order to win the relatively long-running skirmishes, Bloodline is just a frantic and short slugfest without a lot of strategy. Really, the strategy in fights rarely gets about the “Kill healer, then everyone else” level unless your team gets together and does some incredibly scripted maneuvers that you practiced extensively beforehand. You can’t stick together because every class has a AoE attack, so it’s not like you can set up a “base” either.
The classes are numerous, but it has the same problem as all competitive games; all that flavor text just gets torn off to get to the raw data. You know that the community will eventually figure out which characters are “top tier”, then every fight will be between those three. Hell, it has already begun, someone played the Thorn character in almost every match I was in.
The game pegs itself as meant for competitions, as every attack needs to be aimed and most can be dodged, there’s no element of random chance, all spells do a set amount of damage, and so on. However, I’m not really seeing the draw of competing in this game. Every round feels meaningless, with victories bringing only mild elation. It’s definitely not like the near-orgasmic feeling of joy you get from beating someone in Starcraft 2, for example, or downing a difficult boss in WoW.
Speaking of WoW, that’s a good comparison. Bloodlines is basically the arena system in WoW, if every class was restricted to seven spells with exact damage amounts and your gear was made unchangeable. While some might get a kick out of it, a lot of us will simply be bored.
Now, I’ve never really gotten into WoW PvP myself, as the entire thing feels like a grind-tastic, balance-based clusterfuck. Call me a carebear if you please, I just don’t see the point in grinding out the same maps over and over and over and over again. Battlegrounds? I’ve done those plenty, but only until they stopped being fun. While I can see how the non-random nature of B:C would appeal to the arena PvPer, it doesn’t make the game any more fun.
So, yeah. That’s Bloodlines. I’ll be curious to see how it sells when it comes out, because it will only really appeal to the hardcore PvP crowd, a group to which I do not subscribe. Perhaps that’s why I don’t like B:C, who knows? More to the point, however: why would anyone buy Bloodlines when they could play HoN, a much better game with a significantly stronger player base?