Blood Bowl 3 debuts seasonal 'blood pass', gives away Lizardmen team for free

Despite multiple delays, Blood Bowl 3 launched in a rough state. Like more than one recent live-service game, it went on sale with basic features missing and significant bugs, yet the cosmetics shop was working and well-stocked. Cyanide Studio is giving away the first season pass free to make up for it, which means if you log in now you can claim the "blood pass" and unlock the Lizardmen team. Future season passes will cost 1,000 warpstone, and players on the free track will only be able to unlock each season's team by making it to maximum level.

Fortunately, you can earn experience points toward those levels in singleplayer as well as multiplayer matches. The amount of points earned is affected by how many turns a match lasts as a way of encouraging players to keep going rather than conceding early. A match that ends in the first few turns can earn less than 100 xp, while ones that last the full 16 turns seem to be worth around 800 or 900 points. It costs 1,000 xp to make it to level 2, and each level-up comes with a reward, either a cosmetic unlock or a free bundle of warpstone currency.

Like Blood Bowl 3 itself, this first season had to be delayed, and was released a month later than planned. An accompanying blog post says, "We understand that some of the content you expect in Blood Bowl 3 is not yet available. Season 1 is a first step in adding those important elements, and we will keep working on delivering features and exciting novelties over the next weeks, months, and seasons."

According to that announcement, the much-requested ability to reconnect if you suffer a mid-match dropout is now active for players on PC, and admin tools for running custom leagues are being tested by "selected league administrators" before being rolled out to everyone. Making more post-match stats visible is apparently a priority as well, with the post including the following "non-exhaustive list of what we currently have or are working on."

  • W/D/L (Win/Draw/Loss) records.
  • Skill Rating Points won after a game.
  • Star Player Points won.
  • Opponent's W/D/L (to be added).
  • Opponent's Skill Rating (to be added).
  • Team stats (to be added after Season 1).

The update accompanying the first season has also added manager progression (a persistent level that won't be wiped each season), dugout visual customizations, the official ladder, and a "Distinctive team colors option". The patch notes mention that "various AI issues" have been addressed, and the AI does seem to have stopped doing the thing where it occasionally takes several minutes to make a decision or just walks back and forth between two points. That said, it's still not great at scoring touchdowns and I walked in a 4–0 victory on my lunch break.

The next round of changes include a rework of the pre-match inducement phase, adding the board game's "expensive mistakes" rule (which mean if you have 100,000 gold or more in your treasury there's a chance to lose some), as well as "More readability optimization like selection circles based on role".

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.