developed Published by Funcom and developed by Stunlock Studios, is a PvP arena game currently in some form of mass-invite beta stage. It plays in a WarCraft 3 almost isometric view where you control a character that looks like a standard hero from what you would see in a DoTA-like setup. There are four character types: Tank, Healer, Melee, Ranged. Each champion has a unique set of abilities, but for the most part they play very similar.
The actual gameplay is essentially like what you would expect when you hear the word arena. Teams start on opposite sides and the goal is to kill each other. Utilizing your champion’s strengths is obviously important, but it’s also important to find some synergy between all the champions on your team. Certain combinations of abilities between heroes can have devastating results, such as a well placed stun with an AoE or silence. One champion that I enjoy playing is Vanguard (tank) who can leap great distances to stun the area where he lands. I follow that stun up with a reflect shield which stuns the enemies once again when they try to hit me. If my team pays attention, the damage dealers should have a lot of time to deal damage to stationary targets.
The fights can get very hectic and if you’re not yet familiar with the game you might get frustrated. The good news is that you can only get better the more you play since each character shares the same hotkeys and it’s essentially the same style of controls for every character. At the same time, it’s diverse enough with abilities that you can have your beefy tank that soaks up damage and stuns people or your caster dps that aims to kill people from afar.
Controlling the champions is simple. You move with WASD and activate abilities with Left/Right mouseclicks and Q E R F Spacebar. For example, to cast a fireball you mouse over an enemy and left click (line of sight mechanics used). You can also point your mouse over an area and use an ability that might teleport you to that area. Essentially, every character requires mouse-pointing finesse. The camera can be locked on your character or you can use a mode that allows you to move your mouse to the edge of the screen and extend your view beyond where your character is to aim ranged abilities further.
Bloodline Champions is like the WoW arenas without the issues of gear or spec balance. The only two issues you’ll run into are team composition and player skill. Assuming equal skill on both sides, certain champion combinations will beat others. If your healer doesn’t heal well (a skill problem) or your dps doesn’t know how to focus fire then you’ll run into the same types of skill disparity you do in any of these DotA/Arena style games.
I see a solid future for the game if they increase the number of heroes, ensure balance, and try to carve out a niche in competitive gaming. Although they’re different, I already enjoy Bloodline Champs more then League of Legends. Whether or not decide to purchase the game might depend greatly upon whether or not it stands up to Valve’s DotA. While I said they’re different, you can’t ignore that they are similar enough. It’s not like we’re comparing Counter Strike to EverQuest. This is a game clearly inspired by the Warcraft 3 custom map era like the rest. If someone has money to spend on one game, how do they decide which to buy? It’s what pushes someone over the edge that I’m looking for and still can’t quite identify in Bloodline Champions. I’m anxious to find out where they end up after beta.
Watch a recorded livestream of a match I played this morning after the jump –> [Read more…]