Thursday, March 24, 2016

Battlefleet Gothic Armada (Beta) - Review

So let's talk about Battlefleet Gothic Armada which is currently in Beta.

Way back Before Kids I played the table top Battlefleet Gothic and had a sizable Chaos fleet (whose battleship was the namesake for this very blog) and I loved the game. When I heard a computer game of Battlefleet Gothic was being created and was on pre-order on Steam at a discount, I whipped out my wallet so fast that three co-workers were hospitalized.

The Beta started last week and I downloaded the game and gave it a try.

I expected a game like World of Warships where you controlled a single ship in a fleet with other players against another fleet of opposing players. Instead what discovered was that you play an admiral of a fleet that grows from 1 cruiser and some escorts to larger and large proportions via progression of both you (the admiral) and the fleet with new ships and improving ships with upgrades and improved crew stats.

It seems the developers tried to make a port of the table top game into a Real Time Strategy like game, and after I threw off my shock I was able to get into the game and start learning it. Currently they are supporting Imperial and Chaos fleets, with Orks and Eldar being worked on for release.

It has three modes: A single player story/campaign mode which the Beta only allows you to start and do two missions of; a Solo Skirmirsh mode where you level an admiral and ships via random games against the computer player, and a Multiplayer mode that is the same as Solo Skirmish mode except your opponents are other players over the internet.

In solo skirmish your opponent is always the same level with same quality ships available but in multiplayer sometimes you are matched up with a higher level player and it tries to balance this by giving the lower level player more points to pick ships from his fleet with, the number of points based on how many levels higher the opponent is.

When I started I did the two missions of the campaign and then dove right into multiplayer thinking I would fumble around with other newbies while learning but found out that is a bad idea. One reason is because you can be matched up with more experienced players you quickly get out manuevured and killed. The other reason is that the game wants you to consider warping ships out instead of fighting until they are dead so you get a penalty for heavily crippled or destroyed ships, not having them available for 1 or 2 next battles and the crew not getting experience when it does come back; this can lead to a spiral of futility if your core of your fleet gets sidelined and you are forced to use your less leveled ships in ever bigger battles. Oh yeah, you level quickly even if losing so you quickly find yourself facing very experienced players with well constructed fleet doctrines while you are still fumbling around with what ability means what.

After trying twice (i.e. creating an admiral, deleting him, and creating another one) I went over the Solo Skirmish mode and worked up that admiral allowing me to get the hang of the mechanics a lot more and now am trying a third admiral with a better understanding and plan. Wish me luck.

OVERALL: I don't know how deep this game will go as the tech trees such as they are can be run through quickly (unlike World of Warships) and there will be constant balancing issues to address just like the board game, but I'm having fun right now and I'm looking forward to trying out the campaign mode and Eldar fleets.


  1. I'm enjoying Multiplayer most as I'm a natural Ork. Waaagh! is the only skill I bother with. Upgrades don't need brainz!

  2. and I am investing heavily in my preferred escorts

    1. Yeah, nice thing about escorts is that losing them is no big deal.