Updated Wed, May 12, 2010 by Sardu
Having lived a previous life as a competitive Unreal Tournament junkie, I was also pleased to see that the CTF map features multiple paths for both flag carriers as well as teams attempting to infiltrate the enemy flag room. But what would Blood Sports be without a Fallen Earth twist to the tried and true CTF formula? Rather than having the flag strapped to your back as you make your way across the map, you literally carry it in your hands. And as any FE player knows, if you can pick it up it can be used as a weapon which is exactly what the flag becomes in the hands of a player.
I left Icarus Studios thoroughly impressed by what I was shown, but as the saying goes the proof is in the playing. Since players can dive into Blood Sports from the surprising early entry point of level 5, I decided to whip myself up a fresh clone to see if I could put some of the excellent insights gleaned from Cory's walkthrough of the zones to good use.
A quick return trip through Midway later I hit the magical level 5 and hopped on my horse to set out for the nearest NPC who could register me to participate in Blood Sports. I naturally made a few stops to scavenge along the way, and after being slaughtered by a pack of angry Blood Rabbits that apparently weren't all too keen on me butchering their friends to make a new pair of shoes, I was feeling pretty confident with my melee skills. And what better place to put them to work than in some CTF matches?
Once registered, you can queue for Blood Sports matches from anywhere you'd like with a few clicks of your mouse, but rather than roaming too far away from town, instead I opted to scan through the list of available rewards. Needless to say, the devs did a good job of creating gear that certainly makes it worth your time to dive into PvP. At the end of a match you'll be rewarded Deathtoll which is a form of currency that can be used to purchase the available items for your current tier. The amount you gain depends on a number of different factors such as your overall performance during the match, and in the case of CTF a larger amount of DT is awarded to the winning team.
Players can queue for a Blood Sports match from anywhere in the world.
As I tend to keep some pretty nutty hours, I was pleasantly surprised that matches opened up fairly quickly even in the lowest tier in the wee hours of the night. I'm sure the shiny newness played a role in that part of things, though given how enjoyable the overall experience is I expect that Blood Sports will become a staple activity for many players in each bracket. I personally found the hectic nature of my first matches provided an excellent contrast to the much slower pace of the lower level PvE aspects the game. Additionally, I suspect that Blood Sports will ultimately breathe new life into conflict towns once more players become hooked on the experience.
In the coming weeks, I plan on diving headlong into the other various aspects that make up the larger whole of the update. In the meantime, Blood Sports is just what the doctor ordered and is an excellent addition to Fallen Earth. The new content it provides is polished, easy to get into, but most importantly it's fun to play.