Battlerite is an original multiplayer online battle arena game, designed as a team brawler action videogame. It is inspired by the resounding success of Bloodline Champions and developed by the same company that produced that hit. Stunlock Studios released the game back in 2016 and it proved to be a huge hit right from the start, selling hundreds of thousands of copies.
Gameplay of Battlerite
The gameplay of Battlerite is similar to the standard MOBA game and begins with players choosing one of the champions from the available roster. Ideally, the team composition should include damage dealers, support characters and tanks. After a 60 second preparation, the game begins and the goal is to deplete the hit points of enemy teams. The winner of each round is the term who eliminates all opponents and draws are also possible.
Most series consist of up to five matches, so there effectively played in a best of five format. What makes the Battlerite gameplay exciting is that at the beginning of each round heroes have five unique abilities. On top of these skills, they receive four more which require energy to be usable. Players try to amass enough energy to cast abilities such as petrifies, roots, snares and stuns. The ultimate is the most powerful ability and when used it automatically depletes the entire energy pool.
To move faster across the battlefield, players can use mounts which significantly increase the movement speed. When players take damage, they are automatically dismounted and can engage in active combat. During the match, players are presented with the chance to grab some of the energy and health orbs that appear on the map. These are randomly spawned, but they always appear at designated locations and grant various boosts to the players claiming them.
The name of this multiplayer online battle arena game is given by the battlerites assigned to each hero available. These act as catalysts that enhance the abilities of all champions throughout the course of individual matches. Compared to other games, this doesn’t have a system of persistent upgrades, so players can’t unlock or purchase artifacts that endure after the end of each round. However, players can spend real currency to acquire purely cosmetic items, such as skins and mounts.
Battlerite Heroes and Abilities
Multiplayer online battle arena fans are used to the idea of having to choose from a pool of hundreds of characters. When playing Battlerite they have significantly fewer options, but in exchange get to pick original heroes. The idea of giving each of them a total of nine abilities further enhances the fun factor and grants more depth to its gameplay. The average duration of a game is less than 10 minutes, which means that players have a narrow window of opportunity to cast all these abilities.
Battlerite heroes have the uncanny ability of making the shortest games fun and fast paced. At a first glance, these heroes are defined by simplicity, but players still need to cast the skills available at the optimal moment. Gameplay is particularly important because of the short duration of matches, yet the main challenge is to thoroughly understand how champions work. Players are provided with the impetus to spend more time in game, to master their hero of choice and try out other characters as well.
Mastering the core abilities of all the heroes available doesn’t take long and the learning curve is rather smooth. There are a total of five maps available, each with its own particularities and objectives. The layouts however don’t differ much, so it’s easy to make the transition from one set piece to the other. One of the elements that spice things up is the Middle Orb, which just as the name suggests appears in the center of the map. The Battlerite heroes that pick it up and their entire team receive bonus health points.
Battlerite Multiplayer and eSports Potential
Battlerite brought in the spotlight some unique concepts and a game format that helped it stand out from the crowd of MOBAs. This is a free to play game with no single player, so the only way to enjoy it is by playing with your peers. Multiplayer is immensely entertaining and even though the game relies on micro-transactions, paying players don’t get an advantage. Stunlock allows players to earn a high number of crates during the games, but all they contain are cosmetic items and accessories.
The game developers were pleasantly surprised to discover that the game quickly met the high expectations as an innovative MOBA. However, as a prime candidate for eSports it never managed to get competitive and challenge the dominance of flagship games. The short length of matches and the fact that draws can occur under the right circumstances have prevented Battlerite from becoming an eSport. Even the number of games broadcasted on streaming platforms is small and reflects the lack of interest.
Popular and Critical Reception
Battlerite have the merit of bringing something truly new to the multiplayer online battle arena industry. Players and critics alike were quick to acknowledge the innovative elements and praised the developers for creating a fast-paced team brawler. Its uncanny ability of making team fights accessible to amateurs ensured short term success, but eventually came back to bite it.
The roster of 24 playable characters was deemed insufficient for a fully fledged MOBA and drew some criticism. This was only partially offset by the fact that each hero has a unique skill kit and that casting abilities is done in an original manner. Loot crates have also produced mixed reactions, with some players criticizing the excessive grinding. Some unique tokens and skins can only be acquired by spending a lot of time in-game. Players were hoping for the possibility of purchasing all of them straight out.
In regard to monetization, players were offered the possibility of purchasing chests during the beta phase. This continued throughout the early access stage and players can still unlock weapon and armor skins as well as mounts. All the items and accessories available to buy with real money serve purely decorative purpose and don’t affect the gameplay or balance. Developers made the transition to the free to play model in late 2017.
Key facts about Battlerite
- Battlerite is a team brawler game that has tweaked the gameplay of classic MOBAs.
- The roster of characters includes only 24 heroes, but each has a unique set of skills and abilities.
- Battlerite games are significantly shorter than standard MOBAs and complete in 10 minutes.
- Players can purchase skins and cosmetic items with real money without impacting the balance.
The Bottom Line
Battlerite had to walk down the less traveled paths to distinguish itself from the established and already popular MOBAs. Its gameplay is fluid, fast-paced and truly innovative, but at the same time these traits make it less suitable for eSports. Essentially a multiplayer game, it proposes a new approach to team combat that is fun yet challenging. The subpar randomized progression system and the excessive grinding prevent it from reaching its full potential, but the game is otherwise fun to play.