First Impressions: BATTLEBORN Brings More Than Competition To MOBA's

When it was first announced, Gearbox had a real hard on for not calling their latest Battleborn a MOBA. At the time, I felt like that was a stupid decision. MOBA's are the rage, Gearbox is well loved...AND YOU'RE MAKING A MOBA. Seriously not many game companies can stand toe to toe in quality with a Blizzard title (trust me, this game can and will compete well against Overwatch), so why go and confuse your audience calling it something it's not.

I finally got it playing the beta...but we'll get back to that.

For PvP, STFU Gearbox it's a MOBA. Both game modes (beta only showcased 2 of the 3 Incursion and Meltdown) are guiding minions to aide you in destroying the other team while you level and upgrade special abilities to better help you fight. That is, quite literally, the definition of a MOBA. Labeling aside,  both modes got high marks (although not perfect) in my book.


Incursion is about as classic MOBA as you can get. Teams guide minions in an attempt to destroy the other teams two sentries, whilst protecting their own sentries with the purchase of defense turrets and the like. Of course, you can always defeat camps of mercenaries for additional support, thus capping the similarities between the two. With really only two corridors for teams to travel through you don't spend a lot of time waiting on the action to come to you. 

As far as characters go you have your snipers, attackers (ranged, melee), defenders, and support. A lot of people played Oscar Mike and Whisky Foxtrot declaring their OP ability, but honestly, I never saw anyone playing who was OP. Oscar Mike became a fan favorite after that trailer and Whisky Foxtrot is the zombie incarnation of Oscar Mike and only unlockable by playing the beta a lot so it's a given people who played him would be skilled. 

I think what I really liked about Incursion was the lack of anyone really being able to go rogue. If you think you can single player run through the map and pick people off in a corner you will die quick. Unfortunately this is what 90% of the people playing the beta thought the first couple of days.

Incursion is about team work. The team that sticks together and wins the big encounters will win the game, and there is absolutely no exception to that. Once again, you're playing a MOBA even if it feels like a FPS. Going Rogue will only hurt your score and your team. If you're headed somewhere that isn't a merc camp, at least be two deep if you want success.

Overall I loved Incursion. The characters are well balanced, the controls are easy, and it's a pretty damn fun mode! On the negative side, games get pretty unbalanced pretty quick, and can drag out. Out of a dozen games played I believe I only played one that ended in a fairly close score. Once someone gets the first sentry destroyed of the other team it's an almost insurmountable hill to climb for the losing team.

One thing that causes this is disconnects. Gearbox is going to need a punishment system because it's unbelievably frustrating when you're down only 20 points and 16-year-old Tom just doesn't have time for N00bs and drops out with his 0-7 K/D all for naught. It happens A LOT and turns otherwise close games into incredibly lopsided 0-80 losses.

Another thing that's frustrating is it's incredibly hard as the losing team to fully lose in the late game, but nearly impossible to win as well. With two people on our team...we managed to hold off a full team of five for nearly 15 minutes until time ran out. This makes the late game incredibly tedious when you're slowly heading towards a finish that everyone knows the outcome of. Of course, the option is always there to surrender, but we all know the community is too proud for that.


I really liked Incursion, but Meltdown was honestly my favorite mode of the beta. The mode is basically Smite's conquest mode without awarding points for killing opposing team members. This means all points are scored by the sacrifice of minions into the goal. It's quick, it's straightforward, and it leaves players to fight without too much collaboration to make it happen. Really no negatives on this mode minus the fact it won't be the game's main draw!

Story Mode

This is why Gearbox doesn't want you to call it "just a MOBA"! This is the Borderlands experience on steroids. You aren't just playing the MOBA in story mode, you are taking on hordes of enemies and awesome bosses with a group of friends or solo. While solo is an option, you're gonna want to play with a full party via matchmaking every time. It's so unbelievably hard, chaotic, and intense it's amazing!

You'll be fighting dozens of enemies at one time all while the boss is talking s*** and characters are yelling dumb stuff back and forth. It's fantastic and an experience only Gearbox can deliver.

To be honest the story mode is what legitimately had me wondering if I was going to get this game or Overwatch. Prior to beta, I was 100% going I'm not sure. A few minor tweaks and I can easily see this game becoming my console MOBA.