Episode #3 – Scrubs Like Us

This week on THiRD SHiFT:  Battleplan 12 has dropped and so has Pendles.  Eric and Matt talk about the updates, discuss more PvP and answer questions from the Mailbag.

SHiFT Codes:

BB – Pendles’ “Constrictor Skin – 9C5B3-STJJF-ZCWFJ-6CFT3-ZW6FH

Download the transcript or view below the cut: Episode #3 – Scrubs Like Us

Episode Credits

ERIC: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the third episode of THiRD SHiFT. I’m one of your hosts, Eric, and with me as always is my co-host, Matt. Matt, how was this week?

MATT: It was pretty good. Started off cleaning up a little bit more with the extended Lootpocalypse that ran through this last weekend, and, other than that, got back to a little bit of PvP in Battleborn. And mostly just been planning and prepping for my vacation next week. How about you? How’d this week go?

ERIC: Oh, man. Besides the usual grind at work, pretty darn good. This weekend, little story is, me and the family went out to the local dairy and there were some goats. And I thought it’d be cool to buy a little ice cream cone full of goat feed and give it to my oldest daughter to feed him. Well, she didn’t want no part of it. And so I’m like, “Okay, fine. Well, hand it to me.” So I put my hand up there with this fricking cone and feed, and these goats rip it out of my hand. I’m talking almost took my whole fricking hand with it. So apparently I’m dumber than my daughter who had some kind of instinctual knowledge that these goats were ferocious and ravenous.

MATT: She saw the feral goats. She saw it in their eyes.

ERIC: Yeah, yeah. Apparently. So, yeah, that was a lot of fun. Beyond that, played a bunch of Battleborn, as you said, coming off that Lootpocalypse, just trying to put together some new builds with a lot of the new Legendaries I got. And, yeah, there you go. That was my week.

MATT: So that was this week for us. And this week in Gearbox, there were a couple pretty big announcements. I’ll start off with the small stuff and we’ll work our way up. In the Battleplan, they announced a few hot fixes this week. A couple of nerfs for Marquis and then some buffs for Reyna, Galilea, El Dragón, Ambra, and Boldur. Nothing earthshattering. You can kind of check those out in the patch notes if you’re more interested in that. And then another one of the kind of smaller announcements because it’s not coming up right now, but they’re saying that on Friday, August 5th so not this weekend, but next weekend they’re going to have another double XP weekend, so that’ll be pretty fun.

ERIC: Yeah, looking forward to that. And along with that news came the big drop for those of us who have the Season Pass: Pendles, a new Rogue Battleborn. He’s classified as stealth, assassin and complex to play. So if you’re interested in sneaking around the battlefield, pulling angles and taking advantage of weak solo players, this is the character for you.

MATT: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Like we said before, he’s primarily melee-oriented. He’s got the Dual Kamas as his primary attack, but he does have a little Throwing Star on his secondary, so he’s not completely useless at range. He’s also got a passive ability where he gets out of crowd control, I think, 25% quicker. CC duration’s 25% less on him.

ERIC: Yeah, that is one of his passives.

MATT: And then his other passive, which is probably going to be the main one that everyone’s going to love and/or hate, is it’s called Corner Sneak. Basically, once you break line-of-sight on an enemy, Pendles will cloak, and so they won’t be able to see you, and his movement speed increases as well. So as you’re playing Overgrowth, you round that little corner back to your Sentry and, whoever chases you, you can either double-back and slash him up and do all kinds of nasty stuff to him or you’re just getting out of dodge, running toward that supply station.

ERIC: Not to mention he’s got that Smoke Bomb, so if he is taking damage and getting into a situation that he can’t necessarily get out of, he just pops that. So not only is he then doing damage over time for a few seconds, but it also instantly stealths him and gives him a chance to get the heck out.

MATT: And one of his other major abilities is they call it Injection. He poisons up this Kamas and strikes enemies, gives obviously extra damage and slows them down. And then this ultimate is called Miasma. He shrouds himself in airborne poison, so he’s doing damage over time to you. He’s reducing the cooldown on his Injection, so if you’re caught in there, he can strike you up, poison you up, slow you down, do all kinds of crazy damage to you.

ERIC: Yep. So can’t wait to play him tonight once this is over. And also speaking of that, for those of you who can’t get in there tonight or tomorrow and play him, make sure you’re checking out the stream that’s going on as of this evening.

MATT: It’s yet another stream that’s going on as we’re recording this, so I think Gearbox maybe secretly hates us. “Hey, these guys record on Thursdays. Let’s just stream all the time while they’re trying to do stuff.”

ERIC: Exactly. But, yes. Anyhoos, check out the stream if you have got to wait one extra week and make sure to see what the heck he can and cannot do.

MATT: And one thing they did say in the little blurb they said about the stream, they said they might even drop and exclusive SHiFT Code in there some time, so even if you’re catching it on the replay, I would say give it a watch. Obviously, you’re going to want to know more about Pendles and see him in action. But give it a watch. See what, if anything, they drop because, like we said, we don’t know right now. But could be just Loot Packs, could be skins, could be anything.

ERIC: Yep. Make sure you pick that up. There was one more little piece of news, wasn’t there?

MATT: Oh, yeah, yeah. In addition to dropping Pendles, they also introduced the next character who’s going to be coming, I think, a couple months down the road, is what they said. His name is Ernest. He’s another explosion-heavy bird character in the lines of…

ERIC: Avian character.

MATT: I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be bird-racist. He’s an avian character. He’s got a grenade launcher and it just says he’s a explosive expert. They do make a couple references in the little blurb they released about him being a defensive character, so maybe you’re throwing down proximity mines or timed grenades or something like that to kind of control areas. But like we said, that’s all we really know about him right now.

ERIC: Yeah. From the image, he’s related to the UPR, so, like you were saying, I think it’ll tie in all sorts of different kinds of frags to do different things to control the battlefield and help team players.

MATT: Yep, yep. If you guys haven’t seen the images yet, he looks kind of like a big, round, kind of chicken character.

ERIC: A giant chicken.

MATT: He’s got a little tag on his foot and he’s got a big, giant egg bomb on his back, which I’m guessing is going to be his ultimate, so looks cool. Obviously, I’ll be excited to play him many, many moons from now, but nice to see the next character anyway.

ERIC: Someone’s stream or somewhere today in the news, they also dropped a little bit about the next story maps and they’re going to be covering a lot about Pendles.

MATT: Oh, did they?

ERIC: I don’t know. Was that in a stream? Did you see that?

MATT: I didn’t see it.

ERIC: Okay.

MATT: So that’s all you, man.

ERIC: I think it was a stream with either MentalMars or StealthShampoo. One of those two. If you haven’t checked those out, they both did and Solus also did as you saw in the Battleplan reveals for Pendles. And if you listen to those interviews, I think there was a little bit of a mention of an upcoming story that involves Pendles and how he relates to the Battleborn currently. So that’s something also to look forward to in the future.

MATT: Yeah, it’s cool. That was definitely one of the things that they announced beforehand that I was looking forward to is more single-player/co-op content for each of the new Battleborn and expanding on the story.

ERIC: And speaking of story and PvP, the topic for today I thought we’d go ahead and have a little chat about was, do you think there should be some kind of loot reward in PvP like there is in the PvE? Now, before you give me your opinion on this, Matt, let me go ahead and give you my argument and you can come back with a rebuttal or agreement. So right now in PvP, there are no loot rewards. It’s simply the Character Rank, Command Rank and your credits. Now, I’ve noticed with both PvP and PvE through looking at my own match history, these come out to be a wash. It looks like through all the different matches wins, losses, surrenders, et cetera, completed missions, not-completed missions it looks about the same Command Rank, Character Rank and credits are dropped overall. So that’s not an issue for me. But in PvE, you especially if you get all three of those chests and, of course, complete the story you end up with six-plus pieces of loot, varying anywhere from Common up to Legendary. I would argue that to incentivize people to play more PvP that you, like Destiny for those unfamiliar with the game, Destiny, at the end of every match, PvP/PvE, there are two spots and the dice roll, and you can get anywhere from a Common piece, Uncommon piece, Rare, Legendary, Epic. You don’t know and the dice tell you what you do or don’t get. So basically it’s just like a little gambling at the end of every match and I think it works really, really well. I would say that it would be smart for Gearbox to implement that because then even if you lose a match, at the end of it you know that there’s going to be some kind of small reward for your time put in.

MATT: Or at least the chance of a small reward.

ERIC: Or at least the chance of a small reward, which would ease the pain of getting beat or curb-stomped by a much better group than you.

MATT: True, true. When we were first thinking about discussing this topic, it definitely felt like we had a lot more XP, credits and obviously loot drops, but it seemed like PvE gave us a lot more of everything that we wanted and PvP was really lacking in that. So the research we both did last night where both of those two things credits and XP kind of came out pretty even versus time invested really makes me originally, I was going to disagree with you on this whole topic. But looking at it now, I definitely agree. I think it would be nice if there was a random roll chance of picking up a piece of gear here or there. I mean, I’m not even really 100% sure where some of the bonus credits come from during a PvP match. So if that random chance or random award ability also came with a chance to maybe grab a piece of gear, too, I don’t think that would be bad. I think that’d be pretty interesting.

ERIC: Well, yeah. And here’s what I was thinking. Alls you’d have to do and this would keep people playing fair is when you have, say, those two spots that have a dice roll to get a piece of gear, when it rolls, the winning team has a better percentage chance of getting a piece of gear. And the losing team, obviously, has a lower chance of getting a piece of gear. So just in that, you’re going to keep teams actually competing and trying to win so they have that better chance at an item. Secondly, what you can do is you can make it so if you win, a chance at a Legendary is put in there; whereas, if you lose, you have no chance at a Legendary. You simply go from Epic, below.

MATT: I would definitely agree with where winners get a chance at Legendary. I think you should probably keep the chances of gear piece even just to “Oh, we’re losing. I give up. I don’t even care anymore.” To keep people from just flat-out leaving and just AFK in the base, to keep them from doing that, keep them invested. I at least have a chance at, at least something.

ERIC: I get you. So just basically just go with the general first part of the argument and that just keep the roll higher for the winning team, the roll lower for the losing team.

MATT: Well, I would even say make the roll itself for any kind of gear even, but only the winning team would have a chance to roll a Legendary. Like I said, if they drop the chance down too low, you’re going to have people who just give up anyway because, “Who cares? Who even knows what I’m going to get. I’m probably not going to get anything.”

ERIC: That’s true. That is true. And I was also thinking on top of all that, you could make new Legendaries specifically for PvP and keep the Legendaries that are in Story Modes where they are in Story Modes. And what this would do, this would encourage those in PvP like you already do with the little symbiotic relationship going on is you get PvPers into the PvE stories to get those Legendaries to make them stronger in the PvP world, and it’d do the opposite. You’d get PvEers who don’t generally want to go into the PvP more willing to go because they have a shot at Legendaries that are specific to the PvP side of that. And that would only help because it’d get people going back and forth, trying to get those pieces they want, and playing. And hopefully coming to find out that those who don’t generally do Story Modes, like them; those who generally don’t do the PvP actually like it. It’s a win-win.

MATT: Yeah. I definitely agree with that. Obviously, we’ve played a couple other games that have that PvP area gear, PvE area gear, and sometimes there’s not much crossover in there. So I think that would be a pretty good system just to have PvP Legendaries, PvE Legendaries. Make them unique enough that you’re going to want “I’m going to want that Vitality Link that only drops in the Story missions and I’m also going to want the Hauberk of the Avenger or whatever that drops in the PvP. I think that’s a pretty good idea. I like that.

ERIC: Well, good. And speaking of going head-to-head in a PvP, and winners and losers, I kind of wanted to briefly discuss a little bit, Matt, about the PvP matchmaking and, more specifically, when you’re in a group, the matchmaking.

MATT: Yeah. We touched on this a little bit in it was probably our very first podcast. None of us are 100% sure. We haven’t heard anything from Gearbox about how the matchmaking really works and if this is a thing. But it feels like whenever we’re in a group, that gets weighted so much into the kind of opponents that we face. If we’re grouped in a group of us four buddies and one rando, then it’ll be like, “Oh, that’s a big group and someone else, here’s a whole group of five. Here’s a group of two and a group of three, but they’re all really high-level players.” It seems like being in a group kind of brings on tougher matches than we normally get when we’re solo. Specifically in my case, I’m a 66/68, somewhere around there, and when I roll solo I’ll get paired up with a 33, a 40, a 20, and a 1. And I’ll be up against a team of 40s and 50s, 30s, 20s, a decent range. But whenever we’re in that group and I’m a 60-something, you’re a 60-something, our two buddies we play mostly with are, I think, around 30-something right now, mid-30s, and then whatever rando we get it’s such a higher chance of, “Here’s a group of five, a premade, they’re all 100.” Or there’s four 100s and a 32, but they’re all grouped up. Or it’s two 100s in group, three 60s in a group. It seems like we get stomped every time.

ERIC: I agree. I think it takes the context of the matchmaking way too far and I think they put way too much value on the group. So whenever they’re seeing that there’s four of us, or five of us sometimes, it immediately assumes that we’re a very smart group, a very adequate group. And honestly in this case, we’re just decent at best. But as you said, over and over it’s matching us against high-skilled players, whether they’re in a group or singly, it doesn’t matter. They’re so good at what they’re doing that it results in us getting destroyed every time.

MATT: And I understand it from one aspect of it where these guys are all in a group, they’re probably party-chatting, so it makes sense to think that we’re probably better than our rankings look because we’ll be coordinated, we’ll be on-the-ball. But it just seems like the weighting is just so off. They’re all in a group and their win/losses are kind of whatever. Like I said, we’re only decent. And then here, “We’ll just match them up against a group of five, 100s because it’s two groups, so it should be even.”

ERIC: It’s not at all. It’s just something I think Gearbox honestly needs to take a peek at. I mean, I could be making this all up in my head, but since we all see it, I really don’t think I am.

MATT: Like I said, I wish we knew exactly how it worked, but it doesn’t seem like it could be any other way because, like I’ve always said, whenever I play solo, it’s good matches and it’s always competitive. But once we’re in that group, we’re just getting rolled over. We’re getting just destroyed a lot of the time. We do pull out a few decent games, some wins here and there, but it seems disproportionately higher that we get just that awesome team rocked up against us.

ERIC: Every dog gets its day, right, Matt?

MATT: Exactly.

ERIC: But I think it’s just something they need to take a look at.

MATT: Even scrubs like us.

ERIC: I think, honestly, they need to look at maybe even making a new system in place where most of your MOBAs and stuff incorporate with the ranking systems bronze, silver, gold, platinum that sort of thing just to place some of these players who are obviously in a platinum or gold level where they belong, unless there’s absolutely nobody else to match them against in a reasonable time.

MATT: Yeah. I definitely agree with that. I think the only issue with that and we’ve discussed this before is if you and I were two silvers and we’ve got bronzes with us or if you’re two plats and you’re with your silver buddies how that would be weighted, that would be a question for the analytics department off in Gearbox.

ERIC: That’s a question for the mathematicians in their little departments, making much more money than I do so I don’t have to worry about it. I get to just say things and make it so, right?

MATT: That’s right. I just get to say things on the Internet and hopefully they will grant our wishes and our wishes will come true.

ERIC: Also, let us know if you think there should be loot incorporated into the PvP side of Battleborn. We want to hear back from you, so please email us, send us any kind of answers and/or feedback through Facebook, Twitter, all that good stuff. And seguing on from that, we’re going to go on over to the Mailbag. Matt?

MATT: That’s right. We’ve got a couple pieces of feedback on Reddit and a couple questions, mostly on Facebook, and some from the two people that we’ve grouped up with a lot. So let me grab a couple randos here out of the Mailbag. First question is from Danie, our social media person. She asks, “Do you think there should be some sort of training stage where you can test out different characters rather than be stuck with a character for 30-plus minutes for PvP or Story Mode?” kind of like a fighting game with a combo training area or going up against a training dummy, basically.

ERIC: Yeah. Basically like the old Mortal Kombat system and other fighting games. I think it should be. I mean, you can sort of do that now if you go into the private PvP match and put yourself up against one AI player. So you get kind of the same effect because, if I’m not mistaken, you can set their difficulty level, too.

MATT: Yeah. You can do that, but they still are going to be active. You could even put a little staging area, training area, and just have, “Hey, it’s me and then there’s a Shayne and Aurox on the other side,” or whoever it is. I think games like Bayonetta and Assassin’s Creed have done it in their loading screens where you’re just kind of in a void and you can pull off all the moves and stuff that you can normally do. I think that’d be cool, just, you’re in a void, you see how the moves work, how they play. I mean, you don’t know how you would play against another character, but you’d get the feel for, “This is how he moves around. This is the reach of that ability. This is how far it goes. This is basically what it does and what I have to do to ” I’m thinking of throwing Boldur’s axe. You can see how it throws, how fast he does it, how far you have got to go to go pick it up if you miss on the axe throw, and all kinds of stuff like that.

ERIC: And taking that a bit further, you could up the holodeck, let’s call it, and make it so you can pick different characters as your pretend adversary so that way you can kind of get a context where their hitbox is, where you need to be to pull of criticals and whatnot, especially for your stealth characters and all that. And then take it a step up. Maybe even give you some kind of numbers related to that so you can actually see in a little scrolling textbox the damage you’re putting out, so you can further see where you’re getting that sweet spot at and all that other good stuff.

MATT: It’d be a nice way to test out, well, basically like Danie said, a combo training area. And if I knock them up with this, and then I hit them with that, then I do this, I slow for two seconds here, and then you can see where they’d pop out of the slow, how much your damage stacks, all kinds of stuff like that. Sounds like a good idea to me.

ERIC: If we’re missing something, definitely, guys, let us know. But as far as I’m aware, going into the private PvP match and putting yourself up against one AI or another player is currently the only way to do any sort of testing right now. If you do not have an extra player to play with, you have to go up against that AI. And like you said earlier, the AI’s going to do whatever it wants, so you can’t necessarily actually practice the way you’re hoping to.

MATT: Yeah. You definitely have to fill the teams on both sides with bots. You can’t just go in solo or two-V-one. It’s got to be even on both sides.

ERIC: Yep, exactly.

MATT: All right. Now, the second question from the lovely Mailbag. Let’s see what we got. This one comes courtesy of Brian, our audio editor, on Facebook. He says, “I’m just beginning to master Oscar Mike. What Battleborn should I use next?” Any advice for our good friend, Brian?

ERIC: Coming off of Oscar Mike, I would say I personally would tell him to go with a melee. He’s stuck with a ranged player currently. And not only that, but more of a situational ranged player, so definitely jumping into melee I would say would be his best bet.

MATT: Yeah. I would say just grab any Battleborn that you think looks cool, any character when you read the skills you think, “Oh, that’d be interesting.” There’s so many characters and they’re so diverse I think you can’t really go wrong just grabbing up anyone. Just play him for a match, see how you like him, see how he feels. I’ve been doing that lately and just been having a blast. I mean, certain characters I’m not a big Attikus fan, but I played him and I know how he feels. And now I can better judge where I want to go with the characters that I do play.

ERIC: Well, diversify, diversify, diversify. That’s the other thing I would say is learn to play a tank, learn to play a healer. Learn to play more of a support role. Just get in there and dive in. What’s the worse that’s going to happen? You’re going to play like crap a few rounds and you might lose some matches, but, oh well. You can’t learn if you don’t try.

MATT: And absolutely. Piggybacking on your diversity comment, you start off with, I think, four or five Loadouts, have a Loadout for a healer. Have a Loadout for a tank. Have a Loadout for a skill-damage-based character. Have a Loadout for a melee character. And the way I’ve been doing it a lot recently is if you want to try somebody new, just sit on the character select screen for a while, watch the rest of the team pick, and then whatever you think you’re missing, play that character and you can pop in that Loadout. So if you got healers and you got ranged damage and you got a tank, might as well pick a melee dude. Try your little melee buildout. If you’re missing a tank, try a tank. You might not like it, but at least you’ll know for sure if you do or not.

ERIC: Exactly. Well, we’d like to thank Brian and Danie for sending in those questions and we hope that we hear more from our other listeners out there. Definitely send us back any questions, feedback you guys have. We want to hear it. And speaking of that, we actually did get back some constructive feedback and we definitely took that into account and hope to get better.

MATT: Yep, definitely. Definitely fill up our Mailbag. Definitely give us all the constructive criticism you want. We’ll we taking everything to heart. Obviously, it’s only our third episode, so we’re still getting used to it and we’ll keep growing based on what you guys tell us. So speaking of feedback, if you want to get in touch with us, you can send us an email at info@thirdshift.me. You can find us on Facebook at THiRD SHiFT. On Twitter, we’re THiRDSHiFTme, that’s THiRD SHiFT M-E. You can also, as always, find us on the web at Thirdshift.me. The podcast is obviously now on iTunes, on Stitcher. We’re on PodOmatic, where we’ve always been. We upload to YouTube. I mean, we’re all over the Internet. We’ve been posing on Reddit recently. You can give us feedback there. You can ask questions there. We’re pretty much all over the place. So check out Thirdshift.me for all the details on that.

ERIC: Yep. Thanks, everybody, for listening. And until next time…


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