Like all great games, Battlerite is simple to learn but hard to master. Its gameplay is nowhere near as elaborate as what you’d find in a game like Dota 2, of course, but whatever it lacks in complexity is made up in its nuance.
Or in other words, Battlerite is a conceptually simple game whose depth is found in the little details. It doesn’t have a massive burden of knowledge, it doesn’t rely on high APM, and it doesn’t require you to be a grand strategist.
The beauty of Battlerite, at least in my opinion, is that the greatest players are those who can best master the fundamentals. You’d be surprised how far a solid foundation can take you in this game — far enough to put you in the Top 20%. The fundamentals are everything in this game.
So let’s start all the way at the very beginning.
If you don’t “get” Battlerite, it’s because you haven’t grasped the game’s most fundamental concept: the fact that Battlerite is a manaless arena. This concept can be hard to grasp at first, especially if you come from a MOBA background, but you absolutely must understand it because it’s the key to unlocking everything else about this game.
Think about every other arena-based PvP game out there. Every time you want to use an ability, there’s always a cost associated with using that ability — and in most cases, the cost is a limited resource that you need to manage.
For example, in Quake and Counter-Strike, ammunition is the cost of using an “ability” (in this case, your weapon is your ability). When you run out of ammo, you can’t use your ability anymore. The same is true for a lot of fantasy games, which use mana instead of ammo. But in both cases, the mechanic is essentially the same: when your resource runs out, you can’t use your abilities anymore.
It’s easy to see why this kind of mechanic exists. If there wasn’t a limiting resource involved, then players could spam their abilities at all times without any consequence. Can you imagine playing Quake with infinite rockets? That might be fun for a few minutes, but it would get old quite fast.
But these kinds of games have trained us into a certain mindset. We’ve learned to conserve our abilities until we absolutely need them, right? After all, if you only have enough mana for 3 Arcane Bolts, then you want to make each one have as much impact as possible. Spamming Arcane Bolts is just a waste of mana.
Battlerite has no mana. No ammo. Or you can think of it as infinite mana and infinite ammo. Instead of artificially limiting how many times you can use your abilities, Battlerite limits how often you can use your abilities, and it does this through the use of cooldown time, also known as ability recovery time.
Yes, mana-based games also have cooldown times, but mana availablity still trumps cooldown time in most of those games. In Battlerite, there is only one cost to using an ability: you can’t use it again for a few seconds. (Forget about EX abilities and ultimates for now.)
This means a huge change in mindset. Instead of juggling mana as a resource, you now have to juggle time as a resource.
For example, you could unload all of your spells on your enemy one right after another if you wanted to, but then you’d be left with no more spells to cast. Until those cooldowns refresh, the only thing you can do is walk around and hope to dodge everything your enemy throws at you.
On the other hand, if you never cast any spells because you’re worried that you might miss or because you want to save it for maximum impact, then you might be screwing yourself. Casting a spell and missing in a mana-based game means wasted mana, so it makes sense to “save” those spells. But if you cast a spell and miss in Battlerite, you’ve essentially wasted nothing.
My point is this: Battlerite abilities are only valuable if you cast them. Every ability you land shifts the round ever so slightly in your favor whereas an ability that you never cast does nothing for you. If you miss, you’ll get another chance soon enough.
Think of it this way. Whether you cast Ashka’s Flamestrike once every 60 seconds with 100% accuracy or once every 12 seconds with 20% accuracy, the result is the same — one hit every minute. But nobody has 100% accuracy, so in reality the second example is actually better because it’s less risky and has a bigger margin for error.
Every second that a spell goes unused on your ability bar is a wasted opportunity. (This is oversimplified. There are exceptions as you get more advanced, particularly between offensive and defensive abilities, but they will be covered in future posts.) Until you get comfortable with Battlerite’s game flow, you should be casting your spells as often as you can. The worst thing that can happen is you miss, and missing isn’t the end of the world.
This post is only talking at the bare fundamental level. Obviously it’s important to save spells for combos and other intentional setups, but that’s a more advanced topic. The gist is that newbies should be more willing to cast spells than reserve them.