Command XP goes towards account level and gives players more options (e.g. unlocks the ability to use gear at level 3) and unlocks more characters are certain milestones. Characters can also be unlocked through alternative challenges besides account level (e.g. win 5 matches as a specific faction-aligned character). Character XP unlocks cosmetics (skins and taunts) for that character as well as a few mutations in the Helix tree so they have more options in all their later matches on that character. Coins can be used to purchase gear packs, inventory slots, and gear loadouts. Gear provides perks (e.g. cooldown reduction, sprint speed, attack damage) to specialize a player’s role, but requires shards to activate during a mission. Unlike coins and XP, shards are mission-specific and do not persist after a mission. They are collected during the game and only used to activate gear, build turrets, and complete certain mission-based objectives.
Overall, the co-op seems to have been done well. Enemies scale based on the number of players, so the game does not become trivial with a full 5-person group (if anything, it’s harder). Everything except shards and the power-ups are shared, meaning that if someone picks up a gear piece everyone will get a gear piece at the end of the match. All of the characters have their strengths and there are both characters that shine more when played with others as well as Helix upgrades that can be selected for better team-based play. Miko and Reyna, for example, get healing and shielding abilities that are specifically designed to be used on friends. Galilea can upgrade her aura so it heals allies that are within it. Kelvin can choose a Helix upgrade that passively buffs his health regen when he’s near other friendly players. Also, co-op missions count as “matches,” so the alternate character unlock challenges the specific winning a certain number of matches can be worked towards by beating missions.
So what do I think of Battleborn’s co-op missions? I’m a pretty big fan, but I fully acknowledge that they probably aren’t for everyone. If you’re someone who wants to play a game once for the story, then Battleborn is not a game for you. These missions are meant to be played repeatedly with different characters to try to get higher scores and increase character and command XP. The repetition of doing the same missions is not something that bothers me, because I like the goals the game gives me and the variety of which to attempt them. I want to try to get gold medals on all the missions and then move onto trying to get gold for all the advanced versions. I know that some people would get bored to tears at redoing the same missions over and over. I just happen to be the kind of person that this type of game is really geared towards.In my eyes, Battleborn is a game for people who like account progression and for people who like to experiment with different characters and team compositions.
I’ve really enjoyed unlocking characters through challenges and trying out different combinations of character’s Helix skills. I’m looking forward to leveling up my character level with some of my favorite characters and unlocking new skins, taunts, and mutations for them. For example, I’ve been playing a lot of Ambra lately. She’s one of my favorite characters because she has abilities that can be used both offensively and defensively (her Sunspots act as turrets that can heal friends and harm foes at the cost of their own health). I recently unlocked a Helix mutation that gives me a third option at a certain level to increase my max Sunspots by one, which is pretty nifty. I like these subtle rewards for playing a character more. They don’t usually feel straight-up better, they just offer more options for the experienced player.