Blood Bowl III multiplayer is so faithful to the tabletop version of the game that the developers are concerned it may be broken at launch, according to project manager Gautier Brésard. Leagues in both tabletop Blood Bowl and videogame Blood Bowl II already suffer from runaway leader problems, which Brésard says “may be more prevalent in Blood Bowl III”, particularly the new, global ranked ladder – but the team is working on fixes.
Blood Bowl is a strategy board game of fantasy football between teams of Orcs, Elves, Humans, and weirder things, set in a comedy version of the Warhammer The Old World universe. Part of its appeal is the persistent nature of your teams: players can be injured or killed, and can accrue Star Player Points (SPP) by scoring tries or knocking enemy players out, which they can then spend on new skills. Some playgroups will run multiple league seasons, with teams returning league after league to retain their title.
However, highly skilled teams can be an unstoppable force in persistent leagues, denying weaker teams any opportunity to score SPP, or simply putting them into a coffin. That issue gets worse in online leagues with hundreds or thousands of players. “In Blood Bowl II we had to wipe everything regularly to give everyone a fair chance” Brésard says.
Blood Bowl III uses the Blood Bowl Second Season Edition version of the tabletop rules, which made several changes to the game, most of them strict improvements. One change is in the levelling up system. Players previously earned a random levelling up bonus every six SPP, but now those SPP are a budget that players can spend to buy exactly the skills they need to create sculpted super-footballers. Brésard names the revised levelling up system as a potential problem for ongoing multiplayer.
A flagship feature for Blood Bowl III is a match-made global competitive ladder that will run in three-month seasons. A runaway leader problem could ruin this entirely, even inside a single league, let alone if teams can re-register for multiple seasons.
Brésard says that “the first version of this official competitive environment” won’t be the final one, and its a system that developer Cyanide Studios “still have to work on”, adding that it “will improve for further seasons”. Marketing videos for the game have promised ongoing development support for the game, delivering fixes alongside a new ‘Blood Pass’ season pass for cosmetics and new content.
The first solution the Blood Bowl III team will attempt is the ‘redraft’ rule from the tabletop game, which increases the cost of rehiring experienced players at the start of new seasons. Brésard says the team is prepared to keep looking if that doesn’t provide a solution: “we’ll have to see if it’s suited to the Blood Bowl III digital environment or if we have to do something else”.
You can check out what Wargamer thinks of the upcoming game in our Blood Bowl III preview here, as well as read about some of the changes Brésard and the team have implemented to try and make Blood Bowl III games as short and snappy as possible. Check back here for the full transcript of our interview with Brésard, which should be available soon.