Bloodline Champions doesn't get the attention it deserves, in part due to it's hardcore nature that can be more than a little intimidating to newcomers. With no creeps, levels, or items to speak of, the gameplay is fast and furious—but as Josh and I can attest, this arena game's got it where it counts, with an incredible level of depth that makes learning to own all the more fun. Our illustrious 2v2 team, The Nubfaces, may not win every round, but dang it if we weren't enjoying every down-to-the-wire victory or cringe-inducing defeat versus superior players.
If you still haven't tried this intense free-to-play arena game, there's no better time than the present. With the upcoming patch, major changes are on the way, in the update officially deemed Bloodline Champions 2.0: Dawn of Relics. We've got everything you need to know about what's in store for BLC, including customization from Traits and Medallions, balance changes, and improved readability. You could also win a spiffy Titan account by entering our giveaway here, so you can roll into the 2.0 patch with style. Now, without further ado, let's get a closer look at what Stunlock Studios' Peter Ilves, BLC's lead designer, has to say about the huge changes coming down the Bloodline pipeline.
PC Gamer: How extensive will the Traits system be? What level of customization will players have, to differentiate/specialize their stats to enhance their favorite bloodline?
Players will be able to modify things like damage output, max health, energy cap, movement speed and cooldowns. The actual changes will not be monumental, but still enough so that you can feel that you're specialized. Players will also be able to select between a number of different perks; for example, taking less damage when stunned, or dealing extra damage when you're below 15% health.
Medallions will grant the player extra abilities, but these are balanced around an energy cost (similar to EX abilities) and their usefulness will therefore be situational. It's important to understand that we do not want to change the core of the game with the addition of Traits and Medallions; we want to spice up the existing gameplay and give the player the chance to modify his or her bloodline in a way that suits their play style.
What spurred the decision to make Rated Solo Matchmaking only available to max-level players?
One of the main reasons for the big rework of the interface was to get more players to join the matchmaking system instead of using the current custom game option. We want new players to take part in a less competitive environment when they start out. The rated matchmaking is, by it's very nature, a more hostile environment, since a lot of BLC players are very competitive; we want the player to be ready and know the ins-and-outs of the game before they join rated games. That said, it's not entirely decided if the rated option will be for max level players only; the minimum level might be somewhat lower, as it's still being discussed.
How big of an advantage will a player with specialized Traits/Medallions have over someone who's just started?
They will be a bit stronger, but we're very careful about increasing the power level too much. The perks and bonuses will be quite small: a max-level player vs a level one player might be able to dish out 15-20% more damage, for example. Rest assured, the matchmaking system will make sure that you'll never get matched vs a max level player when you're first starting out.
How will players acquire Gems and Medallions? Will all items be available to players for free (provided they earn enough blood coins), or will you need to pay for some?
Medallions and Gems will be blood coin only, except for the Troll Medallion—that might be sold for Funcom points. Everything that affects gameplay will be blood coin only.
Tell us more about the (new medallion) Troll ability—does it do what I think it does, aka humiliation?
The Troll medallion is more for a laugh and, as you say, humiliation. The troll medallions won't affect gameplay, unlike the other 3 medallion types. One example of a Troll Medallions is “Bubble Heart,” a shield that makes you immune to all damage and after a short duration you teleport away from the Arena and the other team wins. Another one is “Trinket of the Troll God” that replaces the kill effect with a mad face printed in blood.
How many players are intended to battle on The Hanging Gardens of Savir? What's the general layout of the map?
It's a 3v3 medium sized Arena map and has a somewhat similar layout to Dubaku the Fallen Fortress: on one side, it has a more open area, and on the other, a tighter bottleneck with walls and stairs. It's quite hard to describe; you'll soon see the map when it goes live!
Are you confident that the Seeker/Grimrog reworks will do the trick at balancing their power levels? Are you open to adjusting bloodline mechanics as you find any abilities that need rebalancing/tweaking?
It's hard to judge the impact of the changes before the patch goes live, but we gathered a lot of data during the QA, and we listen carefully to our top players regarding balance and suggestions. We've always been open to changing mechanics and rebalancing abilities if we feel that it is necessary. I think people will be surprised by the amount of ability changes that Patch 2.0 will bring. After Patch 2.0, we plan to go back to releasing smaller updates on a more regular basis to better ensure balance.
How often do you plan on adding new bloodlines for this new season?
We will be adding bloodlines from time to time; we've been quite busy with all the content for patch 2.0, but players can expect at least one new bloodline during the next season.
What prompted the switch to increase all damage / healing by a multiple of 10? Is this meant to be a psychological adjustment for players who don't feel like they're doing enough damage, or is it easier to balance larger damage numbers?
With the introduction of Traits and Medallions players will have slightly different stats. For instance, if I'm modifying my Igniter to do more damage, my fireballs might do 175 damage instead of the baseline of 160. With the old numbers, that would mean my Fireball would have done 17.5 instead of 16, and we don't really want to have decimals in tooltips, combat text, and so on; with multiplying by 10, it's easier to spot changes. It also makes it easier for us balance-wise, since we'll have room for smaller tweaks.
Why the change to how healing spells work (no longer an AOE, can only heal the target closest to impact)? Were certain team compositions too powerful with it, and do you expect that they'll be balanced now that heals are single-target only?
This is actually a quite small change, and we don't think that it'll affect gameplay that much. The main reason for removing the additional group heal was that it was just a bonus that made healers stronger, and since (in the current meta-game) healers are already very strong, we felt that this was an unnecessary bonus.
With the new queue system, will players be able to queue up for matches against both European and US players at the same time (increasing the available player pool)?
The current issue is that we have too many queues which make some of them empty. With this change, we get more players into the same system, meaning that players will get better matchups, faster games and a bigger chance to play on preferred region.
How often will you be releasing in-client tutorial videos and guides? What skills will they cover?
We've not really decided on how many and when we will be releasing tutorial content. The main reason we implemented the video tutorial section is because we've had a lot of players from the community creating amazing guides and tutorials, and we want to make sure that they can reach out to more players and also of course getting credit for their work. The tutorial section will mainly be driven by community content.
Sounds like Josh and I will have to go into intensive training, Rocky style, so we can show the world what we're worth when Patch 2.0 goes live this Wednesday, September 14th. If you'd like to read the patch notes in their extensive, highly-detailed entirety, hop on over to the next page to get a sneak preview at the nitty-gritty adjustments to your bloodline of choice.