Back in December, Battlerite hit a concurrent player peak of 16,500 players. As of this writing, the 24-hour peak sits at 2,500. This isn’t a post about whether the game is dying or not, but I do want to highlight something peculiar.
When I log onto Battlerite, I feel alone. No matter how many players are logged in, the game feels lifeless. It’s all the same whether there are 16,500 players or 2,500 players or even 100 players online. For all practical purposes, the only “other players” are those on my friends list.
The sad thing is that even if Battlerite was the most played game on Steam right now, it would still feel empty because the social aspect is non-existent. So here are some needed features that could help to fix this dreadful issue.
1. Chat Channels
In order to build a community, individuals need a place where they can interact and exchange thoughts and develop relationships. Matches are terrible for this because there isn’t enough time to do anything except make superficial comments. We need a lounge. A water cooler. Somewhere to talk outside of matches.
Which is why every serious multiplayer game has chat channels. You sign on, you see a bunch of people talking, and you don’t feel alone. Worried about chat spam? Limit the Main channel to 100 people and spill over into Main2 when it gets full, then Main3, Main4, etc. It worked just fine in Bloodline Champions!
There’s really no excuse not to have this feature in 2017 and it would go a long way towards making the game feel more alive.
Even though we often talk about “the community” of Battlerite, the truth is that game communities are actually comprised of hundreds of smaller sub-communities. It’s not like every player interacts with every other player — people tend to hang out in separate cliques. That’s why there are so many different Battlerite Discords.
Humans are tribal and relational beings. We want to identify with like-minded others, right? Guilds are obviously a great way to do that. Not only does this provide an outlet for chatting when bored, but it paves the way for developing relationships. Over time, we start to feel like we belong in a guild. They eventually become our friends, and when that happens, the game has more pull and takes on more meaning.
I think back to Bloodline Champions and how players would have so much pride when repping a certain clan tag, such as [DbH]. Some are still proud to this day. That’s something we should encourage in Battlerite too.
Leaderboards are an excellent social feature. They allow players to establish fame and notoriety with their progress, and they provide a visual goal for players: a ladder that they can climb that’s relative to others rather than an absolute League/Division in isolation, which is boring and has no social value.
I know MasterBattlerite already exists and it’s good enough for now, but it has two drawbacks that show why an in-game leaderboard would be far superior:
- The site breaks every time there’s a major patch.
- The site is not integrated within the game client.
The first issue is more of an inconvenience than anything, but it illustrates the risks of relying on a third party to handle what should be an in-game feature. What if it takes a month to fix the site after a big patch? Or what if they stop updating altogether? We can hope that another site would take its place, but that’s never guaranteed.
The second issue is the real problem. Not everyone knows about MasterBattlerite, and of those who do, not all of them actually use it because it isn’t accessible from within the game client. If players could pull down rankings right within the UI, of course they’d use it. By the way, Bloodline Champions also had this feature so… no excuses.
4. Voice Chat
Voice chat is one of those features that would be fine if it was never implemented, but could greatly improve the social atmosphere of the game if it was done well.
Voice chatting is more personal than text chatting. Often times, a five-minute conversation over mics is more effective at developing bonds than days of instant messaging. With the right people, voice communication is also more entertaining. Obviously there’s room for verbal abuse but this is easily remedied with a mute.
“Why bother when you can just use Discord?” This works for premade teams and inhouses but nobody else. Having an in-game option is the most plausible way to allow solo queue players to voice chat with teammates — and again, this isn’t just good for strategizing and calling targets but for encouraging socialization.
First of all, kudos to Stunlock for improving the Odeum in Patch 0.11 with trending plays, new plays, and a feed. Seeing as how the Odeum is one of the best features in the game so far, I’m glad that they haven’t forgotten about it or abandoned it.
That being said, wouldn’t it be awesome if the Odeum was improved further?
Feature idea: Allow players to mark any play as a Favorite, which would show up on their user profile page. Cap the number at 20 or so if necessary. This way players can highlight certain matches and players with their own private showcase.
Feature idea: Allow players to leave comments on plays. If you receive a comment on a play you created, you’d get a notification so you’re aware. The comment system doesn’t have to be complex or threaded — just enough so that someone could leave compliments, questions, or even advice for better play next time.
Feature idea: One-click sharing to social media. Ideally it would generate a thumbnail of the play with a link that opens Battlerite and starts playing the play when clicked. If this is too technically challenging, a good compromise could be an Export Directly to YouTube feature instead.
What Do You Think?
On the one hand, it’s clear that Battlerite would benefit from some or all of these additional features. But on the other hand, how important are they relative to the other flaws that need addressing? Does a social revamp need to happen within the next month or the next year?
Let’s hear your thoughts! And if you can think of any other social features that should be added, do share those too.