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Battlerite Righting Wrongs

In the office we have no shortage of MOBA fans, particularly DOTA2 players. I make no bones about the fact I am not one of them. So when Battlerite hit the scene I was skeptical, but I wanted to confirm a theory I had about why I disliked MOBAs. My theory was it was my intense dislike for creep farming and memorizing complex purchasing and power decisions.

Battlerite, for those that don’t know, distills the MOBA combat formula down to its bare elements. Two teams of 2 or 3 players in one-death elimination rounds. After each round you get a “Battlerite” that slightly changes your chosen character’s playstyle. So the question becomes: Does the elimination of creeps, lanes, defenses, and gear leave enough depth in Battlerite to let it stand toe-to-toe with a traditional MOBA? And more important: Is my theory right and this game will be more fun for those of us who hate lane based creep management?

First, is there enough depth? Absolutely. I expect we’ll see a thriving competitive scene for a long time to come. While the barrier to entry is low, watching a skilled player perfectly counter every enemy move is simply amazing to me. The skill curve is far more newbie friendly in Battlerite than DOTA or League, but at the top level appears to contain just as much nuance as any conflict you’d find in those games. The big difference is a mistake in a traditional MOBA can be recovered over the longer game time. With short game rounds, a single mistake can quickly snowball into a loss, and while you will have 2 more rounds to avoid such mistakes again, I feel that it’s far easier to feel “dominated” in Battlerite. Where a traditional MOBA you may have 1 or 2 “I did something good” moments even in a game you have no hope of winning, in Battlerite you’re far more likely to feel that hopelessness set in after a single round.

And what about my theory? Do I actually finally like a MOBA style game? Not really. Don’t get me wrong, it held my attention far longer than DOTA or League did. I made it to Grade 10 with about 200 matches and a 54% win rate and ~32 hours played. Not impressive or anything, but I clearly gave it a good amount of time. My problem came down to this: I never met a player I could consistently group with and none of my Steam friends were playing regularly. So it was non-stop pickup games where any sense of strategy felt ad-hoc or random. The few times I did manage to meet someone I wanted to group with, we’d tend to rise in rank fairly quickly, but without that synergy I’d quickly lose that rank when I returned to play solo.

I think it’s worth giving a go. I enjoyed my 30 hours with the game, and while I am not a new convert ready to put the next several thousand hours into turning pro, for anyone who thinks they like the concept of MOBAs but has been intimidated by the learning curve, it seems Battlerite is the “rite” place to start.

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