e3 2014
Bethesda's Battlecry - "Let's Go Free to Play!" - Update

Greg Tito | 12 Jun 2014 12:00
e3 2014 - RSS 2.0
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"We'll be introducing two more classes as we approach beta. The first of these other two classes is our Gadgeteer," Davis said. "Using his powerful magnetic gun and a host of sophisticated gadgets, he makes an excellent support character. Last, but in no way least, our Brawler. With his powerful arm, he's able to get in close, grab warriors, and deliver brutal melee combat."

A simple deathmatch was all that was on offer, and two teams of faced against each other at the event - the Royal Marines versus the Cossack Empire. The faction represent more than just looks, although the designs are evocative, but there may be weapon or ability differences as well. "the Royal Marines represent the majesty and discipline of the British Empire," Davis said. "The Cossack Empire represents the courage and ferocity of this faction. They have wildly different looks and completely different animation styles that really play off the personality of each faction. We've also made dramatic changes to how they use their weapons. The Tech Archer is a great example of this. For the Royal Marines Tech Archer, you saw she wielded a transforming longbow. However the Cossack Tech Archer wields a crossbolt pistol and a crossbow that he's actually able to combine together and transform into a long-range weapon."

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The factions will also compete in an ongoing meta-game called the War Effort. "The War Effort is a persistent game in Battlecry that you can play with yourself, your friends, your guild mates, your factions," said Davis with the accompanying slide showing a map with borders drawn for the Royal Navy and the Cossacks. "By participating in the War Effort, you get to see the tide of battle move back and forth between the factions and you earn rewards based on your participation and the success of your faction."

As with any competitive multiplayer game - from Call of Duty to League of Legends - there will undoubtedly be some verbal abuse or unsportsmanlike conduct. Davis and BattleCry Studios has a novel way to deal with this phenomenon. "With any sort of competitive game it's always hard to keep a positive community," Davis admitted. "When a combat match ends, players a have a few moments to run around the world in a non-combat situation congratulating each other. People who are at the top of the scoreboard are highlighted and you can actually go up and salute them or offer them medals. Moments after this, today's news appears and newspapers fly onto the screen and you actually get to see the character pictures of everyone that did really well in the game today and you will again have the opportunity to salute them on a job well done or offer them medals."

I'm not really certain how saluting will change things. This feature was turned on in the alpha version we played and it felt extremely hokey. A big symbol appears over a player's head, and there's nothing to do except gawk at them or offer a medal. It felt similar to shaking the opponent's hand after a baseball game - maybe the simple virtual handshaking gesture is all that's needed? Time will tell.

Battlecry will playable on PCs soon with a mouse and keyboard, but it will also support a controller. It's in pre-alpha now, and the plan for Bethesda is for the game to enter a lengthy beta period in 2015. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about Battlecry for years to come.

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