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Bloodline Champions: a Unique MOBA
Twitch-Based Arena PvP Game
There are many MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games in existence these days, most of them based on the gameplay mechanics of the original DotA mod for Warcraft 3. Bloodline Champions is very different, however: all PvE elements like minions are removed entirely, and there are no random crits or procs. What's left is the fast-paced PvP action that MOBA fans enjoy: just the pure, distilled essence of competetive gaming.
BLC is entirely skill-based; there are no character levels, no autotargeting, and all skills have to be aimed. Rather than a MOBA, perhaps it would be more accurate to call it a twitch-based arena game, although I will keep using the old acronym here for the sake of convenience.
As you've probably guessed, Bloodline Champions is my favorite MOBA game. I've listed the top reasons for playing BLC below. You can also watch some gameplay videos and read up on the game before trying it (hint: it's free to play).
Why BLC is the Best MOBA Ever
MOBA players tend to be judgmental, often claiming that all games except whichever one happens to be their favorite (League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, Dota 2, etc) are terrible. Rather than pointing out the shortcomings of other titles, I'll try to list the best things about Bloodline Champions instead:
Skill based: the outcome of the match depends on whether you can dodge enemy attacks and land yours. Ping under 100 ms really helps in this regard (if you're from the States and playing on the US servers, or from Europe playing on the EU servers you should have no problems). As mentioned before, there are no random procs, no crits, no in-game levels. With the addition of Medallions and Traits, I can't claim it to be 100% skill-based anymore, but more on that later...
Fast-paced gameplay: there is no PvE whatsoever, so it comes as no surprise that all Arena matches are very exciting and take less than 3 minutes to complete (if any players are still alive, Sudden Death takes care of them). Arena is the most popular mode, but Conquest and Capture the Artifact are also available and take slightly longer to play.
Integrated voice chat: don't worry about setting up third-party voice communication software. In BLC, you can always talk to your current teammates using your microphone. Annoying people can be muted easily.
Easy to get into, hard to master: it is tough starting out in BLC as a newbie, but there are some basics shared by all Champions that makes learning them easier. The main attack (ranged or melee) is always bound to M1 (left click). M2 (right click) is a heal for Healer Bloodlines, and a ranged attack for everyone else. Spacebar is a transportation or fast movement ability. Q is an AoE skill, usually ground-targeted, but sometimes PBAoE. Most importantly, dodging enemy projectiles is a skill that is required for anyone who wants to do well in BLC.
It's free: you get access to 4 different Bloodlines (rotated every week) for use in multiplayer, free of charge. All Champions can be tried for free in single-player games against bots, which is good practice for new players. It is possible to buy access to different Champions and purely cosmetic upgrades (weapon and character skins, titles, avatars, emotes) for either real money or Blood Coins, which are earned by winning games. In other words, you can eventually unlock all characters in the game without spending any cash.
And these are only the top reasons for playing Bloodline Champions!
Official Bloodline Champions Trailer
A bit outdated, but still nice introduction to BLC by Stunlock devs:
Medallions and Traits
When Bloodline Champions was released, there was no customization except for different-looking skins and emotes. Any two Alchemists, for example, had exactly the same stats, which made BLC a truly "100% skill-based" game. Few months later, Stunlock Studios decided that they did in fact want customization (supposedly to give some sense of progression for the players), and added a Medallion and Trait system. It was a controversial move that made some players leave. I am not a big fan of it either, but it's not really as bad as it sounds. The core gameplay is still largely the same.
- Medallions: you can pick 4 different medallions. Two are active abilities which you should choose depending on the weaknesses of your champion (for example, if it sorely lacks any CC you might want to pick Frost Shard). One gives you a passive benefit like reduced debuff duration. The last one is called a Troll medallion, and it doesn't affect gameplay but gives you some funny or weird ability to mess with.
Gems: medallions can be slotted with gems which boost different attributes (Power, Speed, Vitality, Expertise, etc). Detailed description of these stats is provided when you mouse-over them in the game.
Traits: these are similar to Talent trees in other games. In BLC, you can unlock them for free, and have several Trait presets for different Bloodlines. Traits allow you to boost your Champion in different ways (by giving him more damage, movement speed, attack speed, health, and so on).
It goes without saying that Gems, Medallions, and Traits can be unlocked and purchased for free (using Blood Coins, which are earned by playing).
Top 3 Tips for Newbies
I'm no pro myself, but this is the best advice I can give to a new BLC player.
- Camera: switch to the free camera mode by clicking the middle mouse button while in game as soon as possible. It allows you to see farther and is really the only way to play the game.
- Dodge: this is one of the most important skills to have in BLC. Not only it will keep you alive for longer, you will also make the enemy waste their abilities and prevent them from building up energy for their Ultimate and EX abilities. You can use your trance and teleport abilities (if your Bloodline has them) to avoid damage as well.
- Practice: if you are just starting out, make sure to try as many different Bloodlines as possible. It really helps to know how the abilities of many different Bloodlines look and what they do, so you can react accordingly when your enemy is using them. Play with bots for an hour or two before joining the rated queue.
8 Reasons to Play Bloodline Champions
This fan-made video which outlines the best aspects of BLC.
Assuming you have or will read the official playguide and the in-game Knowledge Base, here are some more useful links to help you get familiar with Bloodline Champions. The second link is particularly helpful - you might want to bookmark it and come back to it several times as it's a pretty long read.
- Basic guide on Youtube: this unofficial video serves as an introduction to BLC basics and gameplay mechanics. Nice if you don't mind having to read lots of text in the video.
- Baako's Rave: after the disappearance of several fansites, this blog now hosts the majority of BLC guides written by carbonox and others. From generic to class-specific stuff, this resource will be invaluable to anyone starting out in this MOBA.
- Gold in 7 Days: a series of excellent video guides will teach you everything you need to reach the Gold League level.
- Start playing: download the client via Steam, and enjoy the game!
Best MOBA Game Poll
What is your favorite MOBA title?
It has now been more than four years since the release of Bloodline Champions, and although the game is far from popular, it's still alive. After complete separation from the ex-publisher Funcom, Stunlock Studios has taken over the hosting and moved the game entirely to the Steam platform. (You can contact SLS if you'd like to transfer your old Funcom account into Steam). There has even been a balance patch - first in a rather long time - so BLC is getting some attention from the developers, and is here to stay.