Battleborn PvP preview: 'Meltdown' Sequence Initiated

Battleborn is going to be good for more than its Campaign mode. 2K and Gearbox have offered up a first hands-on with the game's 5v5 competitive multiplayer modes, while also revealing the first details on the game's loot and gear system.


Since Battleborn was first revealed, there's been an ample amount of information revealed about the game's campaign. There's been plenty revealed about the game's story. But the MOBA-inspired first-person shooter will also have its own competitive multiplayer element, one that mixes together some classic multiplayer ideas with some wild new concepts. Shacknews recently had an opportunity to take a look at two of the new Battleborn 5v5 multiplayer modes in action.

Battleborn's first multiplayer mode will look familiar to anyone that's played competitive modes in similar games. Capture is a basic control point mode, which sees teams ward off their opponents and try to control one of three objectives on a map. This mode took place on the Outback map, an outdoor desert environment with a pair of control points along the level ground and a central point elevated in a higher location. There were few chokepoints to be found along this map, with most of the conflicts taking place on the control points themselves. Just as before, I took Marquis for a run, but couldn't find many ideal sniping spots. Fortunately, I could take a number of long-range shots while teammates and opponents fought in close-quarters for the point.

Battleborn's second multiplayer mode is something more unique. This one's called Meltdown and it mixes together the concepts of horde, deathmatch, tower defense, and Lemmings. Each team has an assembly line of minions that are just aching to sacrifice themselves to a powerful force. Teams score points for each minion successfully sent to their doom, so the object is not only to guide them to their designated incinerator, but also to destroy any opposing minions before they reach their own. This game mode was played on a lush, forest-type map called Paradise, which had a couple of more chokepoints than Outback, mostly to help feed into the tower defense idea. Each team's side is bolstered with a variety of powerful defenses to help prevent spawn camping, keeping combat honest and focused on the center areas.

The MOBA inspiration reaches out further in competitive multiplayer. Players gradually leveling up to 10 as sessions go along, just as they do in Campaign levels. However, the curve here isn't quite perfected. At no point did any of the players in my session reach level 10 before the multiplayer session concluded. This will be one of the subjects of the upcoming closed beta. Beyond that, the MOBA ideas stretch to Meltdown, where the marching minions will mount their own defenses and fire upon the opposing team. Teams can also use their resources to construct turrets in certain spots to fire upon approaching minions.

2K and Gearbox also took the day to introduce the idea of gear packs, keeping with the loot tradition of previous efforts like Borderlands. Players can find loot packs over the course of the Campaign, but they can also purchase them using credits earned by completing story missions or competitive multiplayer matches. Opening the loot packs will reveal gear of varying rarities that can be equipped onto a specific character's loadouts. Gear can be good for both PvE and PvP scenarios and can help shape those sessions in a variety of ways, whether it's taking less damage from certain attacks or earning extra credits for kills.

Competitive multiplayer appears to be no mere afterthought in Battleborn, with Capture and Meltdown modes both providing an ample amount of fun, thanks greatly to the variety provided by the 25 playable Battleborn characters. Yes, some characters will be seen in more multiplayer sessions than others. The burly Montana and his minigun will be seen frequently, as will the well-rounded super soldier Oscar Mike, who has added a cloaking ability to his arsenal since the last time I saw him. But the mixture of offensive, defensive, and support characters gives Battleborn's competitive multiplayer the kind of MOBA-level depth that should make it worth more than a couple of sessions. A third multiplayer mode is also on the way, called Incursion, but 2K and Gearbox are keeping the details of this game mode under wraps for now.

Look for more on Battleborn as the game approaches its closed beta, set to launch on October 29.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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