In the rapidly evolving landscape of esports, Battle Royale games have faced a decline in popularity as competitive gaming experiences. In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons behind this decline and explore potential solutions that game developers and publishers could implement to revitalize Battle Royale as a thriving esports genre.
Before we dive in, I want to make something clear. I’m discussing Battle Royale specifically as an esport. Because, in my opinion, for casual play or even in ranked matches, Battle Royale is already enjoyable and fun.
Secondly, I want to clarify that my intention here isn’t to criticize or belittle Battle Royale games. Honestly, I just wish there were other esports genres that could rival MOBAs, which are currently the most popular genre in esports.
Understanding the Decline
Declining Popularity of Battle Royale Esports
Over the past couple of years, Battle Royale esports have witnessed a gradual decline in engagement and interest. Unlike other popular esports genres like MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas), Battle Royale games present inherent challenges that hinder their transition into a successful competitive esports category.
Issues Holding Back Battle Royale as an Esport
1. Fundamentally Defensive Gameplay
The core gameplay of Battle Royale, centered around survival as the ultimate goal, leans heavily toward defensive strategies. Unlike the aggressive, base-destroying nature of MOBAs, Battle Royale’s focus on outlasting opponents creates a defensive-oriented environment, potentially rewarding passive or defensive playstyles.
This is starkly different from MOBAs. Teams that take too long defeating their opponents might face a comeback because the opponents, initially lagging in items, could catch up if the game prolongs.
2. Excessive Dependence on Luck
Luck plays a substantial role in Battle Royale games, often influencing the outcome significantly. Players fortunate enough to acquire powerful loot early on gain a considerable advantage over skillful opponents who might not have the same luck with item drops, skewing the competitive balance.
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Similar to traditional sports, esports should ideally favor hard work and meritocracy rather than luck-based elements like in real life or gacha games. This luck factor makes Battle Royale more entertaining outside of esports, as it can be amusing and enjoyable with friends. However, in the realm of esports, it diminishes competitiveness.
3. Lack of Viewer-Friendly Content
From a spectator’s standpoint, Battle Royale matches might lack initial engagement, often showcasing players primarily engaged in looting at the beginning. This slow-paced start might not captivate viewers’ attention, diminishing the overall entertainment value of Battle Royale esports broadcasts. While playing individually might be enjoyable—roaming around looking for loot—watching it is a different experience.
Implementing a Hero Level System
One effective solution could be the introduction of a hero level system within Battle Royale matches. Drawing inspiration from the level systems in popular MOBAs, this system could incentivize aggressive play and mitigate luck-based advantages.
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In MOBAs, there are two types of levels: account level and hero level. The account level is outside the match, while the hero level resets to zero in each match. In LoL, for instance, the hero level maxes at 18, while in MLBB, it’s 15. This hero level system could be implemented in Battle Royale to address the three issues discussed earlier. Let’s delve into an example for better clarity.
How the Hero Level System Could Work
In this proposed system, each match would have a capped maximum level (e.g., level 20). Players would gain experience by eliminating opponents and dealing damage. With each level-up, players would receive stat boosts (e.g., +2 Damage and +5 Health), promoting an offensive gameplay style from the outset.
Impact of Implementing the Hero Level System
By introducing this system, Battle Royale matches would become more dynamic, fostering an environment that rewards aggressive play. This shift in gameplay dynamics would reduce the influence of luck, making matches more competitive and engaging for both players and viewers.
In conclusion, while Battle Royale games offer thrilling experiences for casual play, their transition into the esports realm has faced significant hurdles. Implementing a hero level system stands as a promising step towards addressing the fundamental challenges hindering Battle Royale’s success as a competitive esport.
The future of Battle Royale in esports relies heavily on the innovation and implementation strategies of game developers and publishers. Sharing this vision and potential solution widely could spark discussions within the gaming industry, driving the evolution of Battle Royale esports into a more vibrant and competitive space.
As the esports landscape continues to evolve, embracing innovative approaches like the hero level system could pave the way for a renaissance in Battle Royale esports, captivating audiences and players alike.