Competition and the desire to win is something that I think is ingrained into most people who play video games. Whether it's playing head-to-head against another person or trying to get around a track as fast as possible, winning makes us feel good and often times provides us with a sense of accomplishment. Back in the day, I used to spend a lot of time in arcades and the games I use to play all had one thing in common: high score tables. I use to love the challenge of finding new ways to get more points, climbing the list and just trying to get my initials above those of the person ahead of me. Heck, putting your initials in was a game in itself to see how clever you could be. Even today, you still see high score tables or leaderboards in most online games. People need competition to validate their skills and watching your name move up a leaderboard is one way to fulfill that competitive need.
NFL Blitz, with its arcade roots, is of course no different. Although Blitz has always had a high score table, the feeling of competition really shows up in the gameplay. When you're trying to keep your opponent from getting that first down, or pitching the ball to that receiver in the backfield for the double pass before you get sacked or just scoring a lot of points for the simple reason of devastating the person next to you, the competitive juices really start to bubble up. Fostering that competition is exactly what we've aimed to accomplish with this new version of NFL Blitz. Traditionally, that's always required people to be in the same room together. In the new version of Blitz, one of our main goals was to bring all of that fun, aggressive competition into the online space so everyone can play regardless of whether they're in your living room or in another state.
Blitz Battles is our first attempt at bringing that competitive atmosphere online. In Blitz Battles, you have two different ways to compete, either head-to-head or on a team with a friend. Head-to-head games are pretty much what you'd expect; they can be played either against random players or a friend you've invited. The Blitz Team game type has a bit more depth, but I'll go over that and cooperative features more in our next blog.
The Blitz Battles mode is driven by Battle Boards and Ranking Points. Battle Boards track your progress as you compete against other Blitz Battles players. Ranking Points are earned each time you play a Blitz Battles game. These points are then used to move you up and down the Battle Boards against your fellow competitors. Ranking Points are earned based on how well you perform in Blitz Battle games.
Every game has a number of stat categories that are tracked and shown to you at halftime and at the end of the game. The more stat categories in which you can beat your opponent, the more Ranking Points you'll receive. Actually finishing games will give you a pretty substantial Match Bonus as well, so make sure you don't quit out on your opponents.
After each Blitz Battles game, you'll be taken to your current Battle Board so you can see how you stack up against the other people in your board. There are three different Battle Boards that you'll be fighting through: local, regional and national. Each one of the Battle Boards contains four tiers: Rookie, Pro, Veteran and Elite. When you first start playing, we'll ask you for your location and then place you on the Rookie tier of that Battle Board with 24 other people from that location. As you play through games, you'll see yourself and other players from that location move up and down the board as you fight your way up to the top slot in that tier. Once you capture the top slot in your tier, you'll play a Rank Up game to see if you graduate into the next tier above you. Of course this works both ways. if you lose a bunch of games, you might find yourself playing in a Rank Down game where the result of that game determines if you drop down a tier or not.
So what are the perks of making it into a new tier? Well, for starters, you get 1000 Blitz Bucks which you can use to buy cool things in the Blitz Store (we'll talk more about Blitz Bucks and the store later). You'll also get a shiny new badge. Badges appear next to your gamertag or team name and allow other users to quickly see how far along you are on the Battle Boards. There are three different sets of badges you can earn with twelve badges in each set. However, the only way to earn a new set of badges is to make it all the way into the Blitz Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame is the Blitz Battles promise land, coveted by all yet seen by few. As you fight your way through each tier and up each board, you'll eventually make it to the top of the National Elite Battle Board. Once there, you'll have one last Rank Up game to play before you're officially inducted into the Hall of Fame. Assuming you win, you'll be given the choice to either continue playing at the top of the board or retire your team into the Hall of Fame and start over again at the bottom—only this time you'll have a brand new set of badges to show off and to earn along the way.
Well that about sums up the majority of our Blitz Battles mode. Next week I'll show you everything there is to know about creating a Blitz Team and working your way up the Battle Boards. Hopefully you're all following on us on Facebook and Twitter by this point, but if you're not make sure to use #NFLBlitz to get the lowdown on when we post new information as well as give away cool prizes.
NFL Blitz Designer