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First Impressions: Bloodline Champions


Bloodline Champions, a new arena-based combat game from Stunlock Studios, asks only one thing of the player: to kill. Unfortunately for me, I am better at balancing bicycles on my nose than I am at pwning noobs, so I was a little hesitant in trying the game. I decided to puff out my chest and hit the download button. What I found was about what I expected, but made with care. The game is "tailored for esport," meaning that it is made to allow players to repeatedly knock the crud out of each other while racking up kills and stats. If you ever ran the World of Warcraft arena over and over in the hopes of filling out your wardrobe with "welfare epics," then you have experienced a game much like Bloodline.

There are several "bloodlines" to pick from, each with its own set of unique abilities, spells and looks. Many of the bloodlines compliment each other, and forming an efficient team of killers requires communication and dedication. During my stint within the arena, I found myself (and my team) being murdered over and over again by much more tightly knit gangs of players. After a match or two, the pattern and strategy of the members of the opposing team quickly became apparent: they actually talked to each other and discussed tactics. What a strange concept to me. I tend to come to fights somewhat randomly.

Well -- very randomly.

Perhaps my aim was off, because accurate blasts of fire and volleys of arrows are based on the actual precision of the player; there is no auto-attack or chance in Bloodline. They call it "skill-based" and I can see why, but I think they might want to include "memory-intensive" in that description. Your fingers memorize what keys to push, and you become attuned to each specific arena -- it becomes a war of knowledge as much as a war of aiming. Almost anyone can fire off special abilities and skills that are wonderfully pre-mapped to the perfect keys, but using those abilities at the right time takes a lot of practice.

After many deadly matches, I decided that I was not cut out for a game like Bloodline. Don't take this as a non-recommendation; you would not want someone like me on your team anyway. Take this as a description of a game that is perfect for you if you enjoy this type of competitive, but repetitious, gameplay. The leaderboards and stats could provide you with the bragging rights you seek, and you might have fun as well. The game looks pretty good, and runs wonderfully. I can see it fitting in perfectly with other e-sports, activities filled with players fighting for the right to call themselves "the best."

But I won't be there. I'm horrible at gaming that requires such dexterity. I might be an experienced drummer and artist, but when it comes to games of slaughter, I always come in last. But, if Bloodline Champions sounds like something you'd like, you can check it out here.

Now get out there and kick some tail -- win one for me.

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