Spotlight On - Bloodline Champions

We take a look at this upcoming free-to-play real-time arena combat game. (Spoiler warning: It may look like DOTA, but brother, it ain't DOTA.)

By now, we're all familiar with the house that DOTA (Defense of the Ancients, the tactical Warcraft III mod) built. And while Bloodline Champions may look like DOTA, it really is not. This student-project-turned-free-to-play game with teams of up to five versus five in arenas in fully real-time combat isn't determined by hit-or-miss dice rolls or by your character's level because there won't be any character levels. The developer is focusing on building an easy-to-jump-into competitive game that's a lot more welcoming to beginners but still has enough depth to reward skillful, organized play.

This team-based multiplayer game will focus on competition, but it will be easier to get into than DOTA.

Bloodline Champions includes an overhead view, team-based multiplayer, and a focus on controlling a single, tiny character from one of 16 different "bloodlines." These are the game's different character classes, which include frontline fighters, melee damage dealers, ranged damaged dealers, and healers. (Stunlock plans to introduce eight more between now and the game's launch.) And once you've chosen your bloodline, you do, in fact, control that single character as it sprints around an arena, much like DOTA, using a handful of special powers in battle--but there are very key differences here. One, there are no experience points or levels and absolutely no persistent advancement aside from some accoutrements you can get for your account profile (such as badges and achievements you can earn). This solves the seemingly age-old problem of having momentum swing against you in a game of DOTA (or similar game where experience levels come into play).

In those games, even though everyone begins with a level-one character, all players gain experience points from killing off characters from the opposing team. If the opposing team gets the upper hand, it generally ends up being at a higher experience level than your team and has a strong momentum advantage that often carries through the rest of the match…making the rest of the match seem frustrating (and occasionally pointless) for the losing team. In Bloodline Champions, no characters ever gain any levels, which means that even if you're killed off and respawning for the fifth time, your character is no more or less powerful than any other character in the game, and you can still make a difference.

The other major gameplay difference in the DOTA formula has to do with combat; it takes place in real time and is based on your mouse-based aiming skills. This means there isn't any random dice rolling to determine whether or not your hero dodges an incoming attack. You aim your attacks using your mouse cursor (while moving your character using the W, A, S, and D keys), and it's up to your enemies to dodge out of the way (in real time, frantically pounding their own W, A, S, or D keys) or get whacked. All characters have seven abilities, including a single ultimate power, which can be activated once you've scored enough hits in battle to fill up a power meter. And as it turns out, the typical game of Bloodline Champions isn't a long, grueling battle either; many matches take just 10 to 15 minutes or less. In fact, sessions of the game's standard mode, Arena (a straightforward head-to-head match mode), often last closer to five minutes. The game also has two other modes, Conquest (a node-capture mode, just like the one made popular by the Battlefield series) and Capture the Flag.

Bloodline Champions is already in beta and will launch in just a few months."

Stunlock intends to keep the game updated over time with a steady stream of free map updates, a rotating list of available heroes for free play, and additional perks available for those players that kick in some money, such as access to off-season bloodlines, and some cosmetic options, such as apparel for bloodlines. However, the developer points out that everything that can be purchased for real money can also be purchased with blood coins, in-game currency you can earn from playing. In other words, no one will ever need to pay real money to access any in-game content. In any case, the game has gone into open beta and is planned to launch either this December or January.

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Discussion

10 comments
_DeadlyFred_
_DeadlyFred_

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

twistyanddark
twistyanddark

Played a few games in the beta this last weekend. The idea is good, graphics are way too outdated, team cooperation is a nice element, lore is just right, skill required is mostly based on fingers and not in strategy. You just have to use basic common sense and learn how to strafe while shooting at the place where your opponent is going to be in a split of a second. Other than that get a good team and you are good to go. In any case Diablo's 3 arena based PvP will put all these games on the selves once and for all.

tarzan909
tarzan909

@TheArabianHero Did you even read the article, it's not DotA, it's a new genre leaning against DotA. I would describe it as a WoW Arena and DotA fusion, the game is fast paced, fun and competetive.

doctorsleem
doctorsleem

Got in the beta, played for several hours last night. I had a blast. This game is promising. Easy to learn, tough to master. The graphical style is cool and the gameplay seems balanced. Way faster and more frantic than DotA / related clones, though as a result, it does occasionally lack the epicness of a LoL game. I'll certainly be playing this more.

Niksunorz
Niksunorz

Yeah.. well.. I just tried this game and it pretty much sucks. But it's free and in beta so it could get better, or at least I hope so. This gets some points for being fast-paced, but it's no use when almost all players are like 10 years old. :/ Thumbs still up for trying to make a game!

marcopolo426
marcopolo426

Hmm... Interesting formula. Balancing would be a real pain the way I see it. I hope Stunlock pulls it off.

TheArabianHero
TheArabianHero

its probably gonna be very similar to league of legends

blackfray
blackfray

Interesting but i think i'm gonna stick with Warcraft

Agerkvist
Agerkvist

BLC is essentially WoW arenas refined. The game offers no gear, so the fight is always even - save for any class balances, which I can comment on whether or not exist. It's much faster paced and more twitchy, with games that often end within no more than two minutes. I think it falls very well in to the category of "easy to learn, difficult to master."