Bloodline Champions, the free and refreshingly blatant online arena combat game, will be released either in late December or early January, Funcom has told Eurogamer.
Those dates are clarified as Bloodlines Champions reaches another beta milestone in player numbers. Latest count: 150,000.
All those people are helping developer Stunlock Studios fine-tune a game that lives or dies on balance.
You see, Bloodline Champions isn't an MMO: it doesn't have levels, it doesn't have monsters, it doesn't have better equipment. Time spent playing does not automatically make your character more powerful. Bloodline Champions doesn't even have chance: there are no critical hits, there are no passive abilities - spells and abilities do set amounts of damage. There is no variation.
There is only skill.
Bloodline Champions breaks 10 people into two teams. Each player picks a bloodline - class - to play as, and each one is furnished with seven unique abilities. That's it. How you use your skills; how quickly you react; how you work with your team; how you control your character - those are the things that determine the winner in Bloodline Champions.
Eurogamer had this to say in August: "Online action title Bloodline Champions doesn't just feel like an eSport, a label which only really means that a game's been developed with a slightly crazed eye for balance and smoothness of play. No, Bloodlines Champions feels like a sport. Every round tells its own little story, every round is an opportunity for glory and every round breeds enmity and bonds between players. And, you know - it's also been developed with a slightly crazed eye for balance and smoothness of play."