Gearbox has announced a series of major changes coming to its team-based FPS Battleborn that it says will constitute the game's "biggest update yet." The Winter Update will incorporate "a new, improved player experience loaded with modes that new players will love, and a load of slick refinements that our veteran players can get behind."
Full details will be revealed during a livestream set for 2 pm PT/5 pm ET on December 8, but big changes include immediate access to all 25 "core characters" for all players, credit boosts in the Story Mode, new Training Modes, and a series of enhancements aimed at bringing back players who have moved on to other things.
Here's the lowdown:
NEW PLAYER EXPERIENCE
- All 25 Core Characters Unlocked! 25 badass playable characters, no waiting! You’re eager to find your favorite, so get to it! With this update, the core 25 characters will be unlocked for all players after completing the Prologue. What about the character unlock challenges? These challenges now award a brand new skin upon completion! We’ve also adjusted several challenges to be more attainable.
- Main Quests – Story Mode: Story Mode missions will have more guides and tools to lead your through various areas of the game. The Credit rewards have also been boosted to help you get an early edge on loot packs.
- Two New Training Modes:
- Incursion Tutorial: Build up your PVP skills and learn the key elements of competitive play in Battleborn. Your first play-through is solo, but this practice mode can be repeated with groups of up to three players.
- Dojo: Take each and every Battleborn hero for a test drive! Learn how to slice, dice, blast, smash, and rocket your way through waves of minions. You’ll even be able to practice with each Battleborn hero offline.
RETURNING PLAYER ENHANCEMENTS
- User Interface Changes: Battleborn’s user interface gets a major facelift. Cleaner, more vibrant, and much easier to find the information you need most. You’ll see UI changes throughout Battleborn, from the starting screen, to the Command center, character select, and even some menu changes.
- Draft Mode: This is one of the most exciting new additions! In Draft Mode, teams and players take turns picking and banning characters trying to find the perfect match-ups and counters for what the other team is choosing.
- Introducing Daily Quests: The action doesn’t end when you take down Rendain. Check back daily for new objectives and rewards across both Story Mode and Competitive Multiplayer Mode.
- Command Rank and Character Rank Increase: Keep on growing your Command and Character ranks! We pushed the cap to 150 for Command Rank, and rank 20 for each character, with all-new rewards!
- Updated In-game Economy: We’ve overhauled the Credits system and how loot packs are made available, particularly in Competitive Multiplayer matches. Credits will now accumulate faster in public PVP matches, making it easier to grab more loot packs from the Marketplace. But not for leavers – they are out of luck and will not receive any rewards. You see, nobody likes a quitter.
- Loot Packs: All loot pack variations will still drop in Story Mode missions, but only one type of loot pack will be available in the Marketplace: The Core Pack. The Core Pack has better odds for higher rarity gear and has a chance to drop any skin or taunt previously available in Faction packs.
- Boosts: A bigger variety of Boosts will become available for Platinum in the marketplace.
- PS4 Pro Support: Battleborn will also support PS4 Pro! PS4 players will be able to choose between 1080p at 60fps or 4K at 30fps.
The announcement comes less than a month after "Battleborn Day," the fan-conceived, Gearbox-supported effort to bring players to, or back to, the game. Unfortunately for Battleborn fans, it doesn't appear to have been a runaway success: The response to the event on Reddit appears lukewarm at best, and today's peak player count on Steam was under 200. Meanwhile, the game is still selling for $60/£40. The update sounds promising, but I strongly suspect that if the livestream doesn't include news about the immediate availability of either a free-to-play mode or the promised trial version, it'll continue to be an uphill struggle for all concerned.