Gearbox’s hero shooter Battleborn had its servers go down this week, and when they returned the developer announced the game’s new free-to-play feature. It’s called the Free Trial and offers full access to the competitive multiplayer gameplay modes. The Free Trial is available on PC (Steam), Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. PS Plus and Xbox One are required to play the Free Trial.
Like many MOBAs, the Free Trial will include a free weekly rotation of six heroes from the current roster of 30. Additional heroes, skins, gear, boosters, and co-op missions can be purchased via earned in-game credits or real money.
New players will join the Novice Queue to match them against other newer players, up until they reach Command Rank 20. New training modes are available that allow you to test all 30 heroes.
The full game is still available for purchase and unlocks everything included in the full game. Any character challenges and progress made will carry over from the Free Trial. The full game upgrade currently costs $29.99.
If you already purchased Battleborn in the past you’ll be given Founder Status. You will receive some Legendary Gear, 1,000 Platinum, 50,000 Credits, five Loot Packs, and an exclusive Founder’s Crown item.
Many titles have gone the free-to-play route post-launch with varying degrees of success and failure. Most notably for a non-MMORPG was 2015’s Evolve, which went free-to-play last year after failing to maintain an active player base. A few months after the change, the developer announced that Evolve would no longer be supported or updated.
Battleborn has an even bigger problem with player numbers. It originally launched the same month as Overwatch. With such similar genres, Battleborn was quickly forgotten in favor of Blizzard’s massively marketed and superior title. Battleborn is not a bad game and the free-to-play route could serve it well. I wish it weren’t limited to multiplayer as I had more fun with the co-op missions than the chaotic MOBA matches. It will be interesting to see if this change brings in the player base it desperately needs.