Bloodline Champions is calling all gamers, hardcore and casual alike! This, now, free to play Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game will straight up rock your world. If you’re tired of having to commit yourself to hours of tutorials, and time spent just getting your feet wet, you’re going to love this game. When creating this one, the developers bottled action, excitement, fun, and danger—in their most potent forms—then poured it into a free-to-play MMO that is unlike any other.
Outside the Box
The fun started when Stunlock Studios decided to think outside the box. The end result was the development of a phenomenal MOBA FTP which is now published by Funcom. Stunlock got together with Funcom and released Bloodline Champions on January 31st, 2011. Lead Designer Peter Ilves says that Bloodline Champions is, “…the result of a group of gamers coming together with a burning desire to create the greatest online arena PvP game ever.”
Commitment phoibcs need not fear, signing into Bloodline Champions doesn’t mean hours upon hours of learning, building characters and skills, or leveling up. In fact, a match lasts about one to two minutes on average. The best part, there is no grind… there is no room for grind. Bloodline Champions is a powerhouse of action; intense, unrelenting action.
At the heart of Bloodline Champions are tribal themed characters that face off in hardcore PvP matches with one-on-one to matches of up to ten players—teams of five on five. As a player, you may choose from over a dozen bloodlines that each have seven distinct skills. Bloodlines are created to complement each other in battle. The maps are just as diverse as the characters. Each map is unique in design which requires the utilization of different approaches and strategies. Add to that diversity and the unique take on traditional game modes and you’ve got yourself some wild and crazy gameplay!
Teamwork is essential in Bloodline Champions which is a characteristic that every MMO gamer has come to expect. The opportunity to master advanced skills is nonexistent in Bloodline Champions. And while this strikes a nice balance between opponents, many players may find it disappointing. Instead of traditional skill trees found in most MMOs, each character is equipped with seven predefined skill sets. Those skill sets do not require experience points because there are no levels for which to master and thus, are unchanging. While you won’t be working to further your characters status on a skill tree, your goal will be to improve your gameplay talent by analyzing your statistics while pursuing rewards and even playing in competitive tournaments.
Don’t Eat Me!
To compensate for the inability to pursue particular skill trees, the developers have created several very unique and vastly different champions. These characters aren’t quite what you expect when you visualize a “champion”. There are no capes, no spandex or tights. These characters are inspired by the people of indigenous societies. Johan Aronson, Art Director for Bloodline Champions says, “The game’s visual expression is distinctly tribal.” With that being said, I’m not going to lie—my first impression of this game was cannibalism. I think that my initial thought was a result of the slew of skulls, and even complete skeletons, hanging in various locations. The maps are beautifully done with divine use of color. So, quite frankly, the skulls and skeletons are a bit of a shock—though it should be expected. There is a lot of blood—hence the name Bloodline Champions—so if you are the parent of a young child, I would use discretion.
Bloodline Champions currently contains three different gameplay modes. The Arena mode is straight forward team on team battle. In Conquest mode, each team fights to dominate specified locations on the map. The third game mode is called Capture the Artifact where your team works together to capture an artifact. But there’s a catch, you have to make certain that your opponents don’t capture your artifact first.
Gameplay is fast, furious, and action packed as players battle in real-time. The controls are simple employing the W, A, S, and D keys as well as the mouse. Victory is obtained by accurately aiming your weaponry, being quick to pull the trigger, and possessing even quicker reflexes to dodge the attacks of your enemies. The controls may be straightforward, but don’t let that fool you. Gameplay is rough and chances are, as a beginner, you’ll spend a lot of time pushing up daisies. Keep in mind, the learning curve is steep and as a newbie you’re likely to get your butt handed to you while you negotiate your way around the arena. I, for one, appreciate the challenge.
Combat of Champions
Bloodlines consist of four Archetypes: Healing, Ranged Damage, Tank, and Melee Damage. Below, I’ve spotlighted a few champions from each Archetype.
Psychopomp- If you’re looking for a robust and innovative character, the Psychopomp is for you. They are known for their effective healing modus operandi and deft crippling powers. Having originated from a culture adapt to life on a mountain, the Psychopomps are very a very malleable breed.
Herald of Insight- Well-known for their wisdom and possession of ancient knowledge, the Herald of Insights magically travel upon their floating drums. These champions obtain great magical power and are capable of warping time and space causing chaos among their enemies.
Igniter- These champions are easy to spot; they’re small, ugly, and always dancing a tribal jig. What makes the Igniters so dangerous is their innate telepathic proficiency. The Igniters are also well seasoned in complex magic and create confusion in the arena by promptly teleporting themselves out of harm’s way.
Engineer- This character is technologically advanced, inventive and intelligent. Engineers are quite inquisitive and very dangerous. They come to battle equipped with homemade gadgets such as jetpacks and shrink rays, just to name a few. On a lighter note, an Engineer looks like a cross between Darth Vader and a Viking.
Inhibitor- Faithful to religion and law, the Inhibitors are greatly feared. They are ruthless, forceful, and cunning as well as possess the ability to catch objects that are hurled in their direction; where they then retaliate against their foes with their own weapon.
Vanguard- Breed for war, the Vanguards live and breathe combat. While they don’t do much damage from afar, up close, the Vanguards are deadly and pack a brutal punch.
Harbinger- Entering the arena with a fierce rage that cannot be tamed, the Harbingers are a formidable opponent. Harbingers use dark magic and rituals to attack their enemies with nasty curses. The more they attack, the more they are able to heal themselves.
Stalker- Trained in stealth combat from their youth, the Stalkers are especially dangerous in close quarters where they lurk in the shadows. They are a lawless and deadly opponent who is not easily evaded. With a dark history and talent in attaining victims for blood rituals, Stalkers should be feared.
These champions possess many powerful skills however; those skills are limited to individually specified cool-down times of a handful seconds. While this doesn’t seem like a long time, in a combat of only two minutes, two seconds can seem like a lifetime. Another thing to note in regard to the speed of gameplay is the queue which was developed for Bloodline Champions. This queue system is advanced and straight forward. It creates matches with virtually no waiting—this is just another positive characteristic of this MMO.
The Final Word
This FTPMMO is unprecedented. If I had to pick a beverage to best describe this game, it would be Red Bull. The developers took every good aspect of a MMO and packed them all together in a game called Bloodline Champions. The gameplay is fast and hardcore. The graphics are first-rate. While there is no character customization—which MMO gamers have grown accustomed to—the selection of champion Archetypes and skill sets are huge.
There are a few hang-ups that some gamers may have with this particular FTP. Obviously, most gamers like to customize their characters—you can’t do that here. The skills are set and there is no progression. The matches are short. Honestly, I think that even those gamers who say initially that the short matches are a turn off will come to like the fast paced design of this game. It’s impossible to become bored.
I’ll end by saying this… You cannot complain about being outranked. It’s just not going to happen here. No matter what Archetype you choose or what champion you pick, everyone is on the same level. I love it. Not only is Bloodline Champions is easy to pick up and play, the UI is very user friendly. No need to stop and ask for directions in this one.
So if you’re looking for some amazing gameplay and you need some Saturday afternoon entertainment, or just have a few minutes to kill, jump on in and try out Bloodline Champions. Until next time, game on!