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Battle Time!

Brütal Legend is out in the wild now, and people are starting to have fun playing our game’s unique stage battle mode online. Including and especially, ME! (I'm "TimOfLegend" on xbl and psn, by the way. But I only accept friend requests from people playing Brütal Legend. I have to have some sort of standards!)

Here are some tips on how to get the most out of Brütal Legend’s stage battles.

First, one thing to understand right off the bat—Brütal Legend: Brütal Legend is not an RTS game.

(Read the rest after the jump, as the kids say.)It is a historical fact that it began its life as an RTS game, inspired by Herzog Zwei. But then as we worked on it we simplified it, and simplified it, and focused it more and more on the player avatar and the combat. Every time we focused the gameplay on the action, it became more fun. The end result is something much more action-oriented, and I think, totally unique. If you try to play the stage battles in Brütal Legend as an RTS game then you will lose. First you will get mad, then you will scream, and then you will lose. But if you are open to a new kind of action experience, you will have a blast.

First, a note on the differences: In an RTS game you float high above the action, making one split-second strategic decision after another. You often command individual units to position them based on their heath and context. In Brütal Legend, you make strategic choices once in a while, but then you jump into the battle and slug it out in person. You can fly, but it’s mostly for quick scouting and transportation. You will spend a few seconds every once in a while popping into a menu to build troops or pick a guitar solo, but then you should be right back in the action. To play the game most effectively you need to be on the ground with your army most of the time, mixing it up with your axe, and your guitar, but most of all—using your Double Team attacks.

Double Team attacks are critical to your success in Stage Battles. Every friendly unit in your army has a move that they can only perform in conjunction with the player character. These moves are extremely varied, extremely powerful, and extremely fun to perform. Sometimes you might simply gain control that unit’s weapon—for instance, when a Razor Girl jumps up on your shoulders--but when you do so you increase it’s damage significantly. Other units, like the Bride, seem to be just passive, debuffing units most of the time (the Bride slows down enemy units) but when you Double Team with her she has a devastating lighting attack. More complicated Double Teams include the Frightwig, who Ophelia can pick up and throw onto an enemy unit. The Frightwig then wraps itself around the enemy’s head and causes the victim to join Ophelia’s side in the battle. (You can even use this to commandeer the enemy’s Rock Crusher!) The Organist is another passive unit whose Double Team attack allows you to gain direct player control over an enemy unit, giving you command over whatever attacks they normally have.

There are important strategic choices to make in Stage Battles. Should I spend my fans to upgrade my stage and gain access to more powerful units, or should I spend it now on cheap infantry? Which fan geysers should I fight for and which should I concede? What is the right time to block my enemies troop production with a Rock Block solo? Would anti-infantry units be better against the current enemy army, or should I switch to anti-vehicle? But these strategic decisions only take a second, and then you should get right back in the action. You should never be up in the air or away from the battle for too long.

Some people find it hard to split up the army and give individual orders to individual troops. This is kinda true, mostly because you shouldn’t be doing it! That’s how you play an RTS game, not how you should play Brütal Legend. True, there are times where you might want to split your army, but it’s not common. I play complete Stage Battles most of the time without issuing a single Individual order. Your army is most effective when it’s together. The AI automatically groups your warriors into battle formations where the troops support each other. Many of the units buff or heal each other. When they are together they can all be enhanced with a single Battle Cry (or other buffing) solo. And when they are all together and you are in the middle of them, that is when you have the greatest number of options for Double Team attacks.

So to summarize my advice for playing Brütal Legend Stage Battles:

Get in the center of the action!
Use Double Team attacks!
Don’t stay in the air too long!
Use Double Team attacks!!
For the most part, keep your army together!
Use Double Team attacks!!!
Don’t think of it as an RTS game!
Always be building squads and spending your fans! Don't hoard fans!

If you have tried the Stage Battles before reading these tips, and felt overwhelmed by the controls, or frustrated with the lack of detailed troop controls, I’m hoping you will be able to take this info and go back into the fray and be much more successful. We know that the Stage Battles are tons of fun for most players—and for people who are open to new kinds of action gameplay experiences, they are in fact the core of what makes Brütal Legend a fun game experience and unlike any other. I’ll see you online!

Love,

TimOfLegend (that’s my name on both XBL and PSN. Play against me and you’ll get an achievement!)


P.S. Here are some more tips from our Lead Designer, Erik Robson:

General Tips
*Early in the game, low-level troops are vulnerable to enemy Avatar harassment; make sure you watch over them and protect them if necessary.
*USE YOUR DOUBLE TEAMS!
*Don't play timidly. The game is about projecting power and taking control of territory. If you try to play defensively and stay in or near your base, you'll be at a resource disadvantage.
*If you set the beacon on a building, your dudes will attack the building until it's destroyed, ignoring any incoming attacks.
*The right solo played at the right time can be devastating - don't forget you have those tools at your disposal!

Ironheade Tips
*Ironheade is extremely mobile - use this to your advantage.
*Razor Girls' Double Team is great for dealing with early-game Avatar harassment.
*Remember that you can upgrade your level 1 troops once your stage hits level 3. If you've spent the game massing up those small infantry, an upgrade can really pay off.

Drowning Doom Tips
*Gravediggers, while more numerous, have lower health than other basic melee troops. They may need extra support in the early game.
*Use your debuffers (Bride, Organ, and Dirgible). They're powerful, and the Bride and Organ stack their debilitating effects.
*Bride's Double Team is great for dealing with early-game Avatar harassment.
*Remember that you can upgrade your level 1 troops once your stage hits level 3. If you've spent the game massing up those small infantry, an upgrade can really pay off.

Tainted Coil Tips
*Your hierarchy units (Nuns, Warfather, and Overblessers) are extremely vulnerable while alone. They're much safer when they're surrounded by minions, because they get a small stacking healing bonus from each nearby minion.
*Punishing Parties' Double Team is good for dealing with early-game Avatar harassment.
*Remember your Superior and Divine troops - for example, if you build a Warfather, he can then build a Superior Nun, which in turn can produce Superior Soul Kissers and Punishing Parties. Superior and Divine squads are more powerful than the basic troops, but cost the same!

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10/14/2009 - 01:03 PM
10/14/09 - 02:56 PM
Serric:

"Mr. Schafer, I've never been one to follow the development of a game, but something about this struck me when I heard about it the month before it graced the cover of Game Informer. I followed it intently, raged in July of 2008 when it was canceled, held out hope, and celebrated when it was picked up in 2009. During this time, I caught up on Psychonauts (and the other games you made) to get a taste of what it might be like: what can I say. I missed out on gaming from the late 90's til around 2006 or so. As you may have guessed, I'm not just a video game fan, but a metal fan. I fell hard for it a decade back, when I was thirteen, and my love for it--particularly Swedish death--has done nothing but grow. So, needless to say, I had ridiculously high expectations for this game...and you didn't disappoint. Thank you for the laughs, thank you for the metal. Thank you for the fact that, though I'm only four hours into the game, I get that rush every time I jump into the Deuce and hear Saxon or Judas Priest well up. Most of all, thanks for making a game that makes the interminable two and a half year wait WORTH IT. I'm glad to see you finally got the marketing push your games deserve. Hope the wave of success bears you to safe harbors, and rock out. And now back to the Legend. -Josh"
10/14/09 - 03:17 PM
The Tenia:

"I'll see you on the battlefield in 2 days Mr. Schafer! GT - The Tenia Timezone GMT Berlin"
10/14/09 - 03:19 PM
GenoForPrez:

"Hey Tim! I was so looking forward to Brutal Legend that I very deliberately made sure I had no plans for its release day. I picked up the game bright and early and then spent nearly the entire day being brutal and legendary. Amazing artwork, amazing soundtrack, and finally some FRESH gameplay. I am so sick of playing shooters on the 360 at this point that I'm about to scream. I'm really excited for you and the rest of Double Fine and all the marketing and apparent commercial success you're having with this game. You deserved it as much for Psychonauts as you deserve it now, and I'm glad to finally see the headlines giving DF the attention it deserves. More than any other development studio, I want DF to succeed. I can't wait to hear what all of you Double Finers are working on next, so that I can be tortured for two years by how badly I want to play it. In the meantime, you can always count on fanboy-level word-of-mouth advertising from me. DF delivers. It's science."
10/14/09 - 04:56 PM
VoodooRootBeer:

"I had been trying to be overly strategic in the game, and it just frustrated me. Amassing one huge army and jumping into the fray made it a lot more fun."
10/14/09 - 05:01 PM
Hungryfreak:

"Every part of this game makes me smile. Be it from the wall of amplifiers that lines part of the world to one of the headbangers yelling out "No sleep till Battersmith!" Even the battle commands to "Kill Em' All" or "Take No Prisoners" or weapons like the Bolt Thrower make me feel headbanger pride. It exceeds expectation in so many ways. The metal world really comes to life more than I would ever have expected. Even the songs I dislike in there feel so epic when amplified by the world's power. Now I can't enter my car without blasting some Judas Priest and imagining that I'm at the wheel of the Deuce (with less Druid plowing, though). And your advice here brought me to victory in the game's final confrontation. When you're down on the field boosting your troops' abilities and double teaming, you really gain an advantage. Not only that, but it feels so much more immersive. I can tell that therein lies the true essence of the gameplay. Your friend list is full on 360 unfortunately, though :(."
10/15/09 - 05:09 AM
GenoForPrez:

"PS: When I saw the opening cinematic for the first time, I had a sneaking suspicion that told me there was something familiar about the voice of that Kabbage Boy guitarist. I just double checked and was happy to see that it was true: a Richard Steven Horvitz voice cameo! It makes a DF fan feel all warm and fuzzy inside."
10/15/09 - 06:12 AM
Kirinos:

"awesome cant wait to get the game on friday and start doing stage battles some gotta at least practice than whining its frustrating"
10/15/09 - 10:39 AM
Sam Pagan:

"Man, why do they have limitations on how many friends you can have on the 360? In real life, there are no limitations to friends! Especially if one of them could be Tim Schafer!"
10/16/09 - 01:02 AM
Animator22:

"Hey Tim! I saw Ormagoden playing. Is he one of you team members? And Congrats on the success! I've been waiting for a game like this for a long time. Great characters, Awesome story and gameplay. I actually worked hard to prepare for Brutal. Once I get it completed, I'll show it to you! It's a one in a million moment! This is to show you how Awesome Brutal is to me!"
10/16/09 - 06:54 AM
MMaRsu:

"Hey Tim ( or Mr. Schafer if you will )! I will add you, I am a big fan of the game and really hope it does well. I've been telling pretty much all my friends to get it and convinced my little cousin to pick it up with me on day one. I am really loving the game, haven't finished it yet because I like to take my time with something I really love. I am also a big fan of the RTS parts of the game and with that the multiplayer. My gamertag is MMaRsu NL so when you see me adding you, be not afraid to accept ;). I've also been defending your game on Neogaf.com, a site I'm sure you've heard of. Greetings from the Netherlands, MMaRsu"
10/16/09 - 07:15 AM
mthrock:

"thaks, double fine, for making such an awesome game! i enjoyed every minute of it! i was wondering if you guys had plans to release extra playable characters in the multiplayer, like lyonwhite, for example. i was disappointed that you couldn't play as him."
10/16/09 - 04:33 PM
jadedhellspawn:

"Hey all you kick ass folks at Double Fine, thanks for once again delivering an awesome gaming experience. I haven’t even had the chance to hop online and battle yet, having too much fun melting faces with Eddie. The metal gods are please indeed! \m/"
10/17/09 - 03:21 AM
Tikara:

"I am totally adding you to my list, Tim. I'm Tikara-the-Mew on PSN. I'm probably going to suck but hey it'll be fun 8U PS being in alaska I'm an hour ahead of you. IE 4pm alaskan = 5pm sanfran"
10/17/09 - 09:06 AM
neozealot:

"brutal legend multiplayer is sweet beyond dreams."
10/17/09 - 04:32 PM
hamsterbobo:

"Awesome, I got the "Six Degrees of Schafer" achievement on my second online match. Man, such a great game!"
10/17/09 - 06:14 PM
GenoForPrez:

"Hello Tim and Double Finers: I just wanted to say that I was really surprised this week by the posts/comic from Penny Arcade accusing BL of being an RTS pretending not to be an RTS. It seems apparent from Tycho's posts that his knowledge/experience with genre tropes strongly influences him to play the game as either RTS or as hack 'n slash. (Notice that when it was explained that it wasn't an RTS, he automatically jabs that running around on the ground with the Rally Flag in your pocket must be the solution, which is obviously the wrong way to play as well.) It seems like he wants to play it as mere RTS or mere hack 'n slash because he's comfortable with those modes. He either can't or does not want to play with tools from both genres simultaneously. He does say, in fact, that he doesn't want to play a rhythm game while play an RTS while playing a third-person action game. Well, that's okay, but what if I think the very same thing he's complaining about is actually... um... kinda awesome? It's okay if Tycho doesn't like the gameplay for whatever reason his gaming philosophy has provided him, but all that ultimately means is that Tycho as an individual does not like Brutal Legend. His arguments attempt to construe Brutal Legend itself (or at least the stage battles) as poorly conceived, but I think everything he is complaining about is exactly what makes BL special. I love popping into the air, issuing a few orders, falling to the ground, laying on a few double team attacks, following up with a few solo attacks, racing off to claim a fan geyser, jumping into the air again for a few more quick orders, then jumping back down into the action again... No doubt Tycho sees all of these elements on top of each other as clumsy, awkward, a case of too many cooks at the broth. I, on the other hand, see it all as wonderfully hectic. In short, I hope Tycho's ranting was not cause for any frowns over at DF, since he does have a very loud internet voice. At the end of the day, he's just some guy that didn't like the game, just like any other some guy that didn't like it. Your game is rad. Don't fail to learn from any misses, but don't forget to be proud of your awesome, awesome hits. =]"
10/18/09 - 02:20 AM
den.:

"Mr. Schafer i have add'd u in the PSN my name is den247 thanks"
10/18/09 - 05:53 AM
NexPravus:

"Double Fine, prepare for a fan gushing: Psychonauts was my favorite game of the last generation. Its' unique humor, art style, and imagination won me over almost immediately. So of course I picked up Brutal Legend this last Tuesday and played the crap out of it. I am now prepared to say that unless you release Psychonauts 2 in the near future, BL is going to remain my favorite game of this generation. It's unlike anything I've ever experienced. I am going to replay the game on Brutal difficulty, I'm going to take the fight online, and I'm going to download all the content you release for it. Thank you for the experience, I look forward to your next game releasing in 2013."
10/18/09 - 08:50 AM
BenWhatshisname:

"Whenever I smell druid blood, I think of Ophelia. That’s the last sensation I had before I blacked out: that thick smell of druid blood. And the first thing I saw when I woke up was her face. She said she’d fix my Deuce, free, no strings attached. I should have known then that things were never that simple. Yeah. When I think of Ophelia I think of two things: druid blood and BRUTAL LEGEND thank you Tim, for another heavy metal adventure! YOU ROCK!"
10/18/09 - 11:31 AM
Blackwater:

"Dammit, Schafer. Your Friends list is full! I'm probably echoing everyone else here but, thank you for making such an awesome metal game. If you feel like being schooled at your own game shoot me a friend request on Xbox Live. Gamertag: DeicidalHeretic. Emperor, Carcass and Mastodon in one game? Oh my! Also, why only instrumental Mastodon? Blackwater: rocking the hell out of Brutal Legend from Australia."
10/18/09 - 05:36 PM
Psychopomp:

"Tim, while I've not had a chance to play online yet, the single player campaign was stellar. Truly a case of quality over quantity. Not every game needs to be a 60+ hour long tale."
10/19/09 - 02:11 PM
mykalwane:

"Yes it is a RTS. You have to Rock The Show to win. RTS = Rock the show."
10/19/09 - 08:22 PM
TShanks:

"Grah!!! I just finished the Brütal campaign! Unfortunately I had played the game entirely on Brütal mode but I had to switch all the way back to gentle in order to beat the game! I'm sorry Doublefine, I was simply not skilled enough to complete the epic awesomeness that is Brütal Legend on Brütal difficulty. I have shamed you. But it was worth it because the ending was so epic it blew my mind! Can't wait to start multiplayer! Oh and PS: Thanks for puttin' in all those hilarious Grim Fandango and Psychonauts references -- "Clambake!""
10/20/09 - 10:39 PM
shadow_judge:

"Dear Mr Schafer Will there be a PC version for Brutal Legend? I've never missed any of your games (even your Flash mini adventure game!!) , but it's quite pity for me to miss Brutal Legend. To be honest, I planned to buy an Xbox 360 in August to play your game in October, but... well... my parents changed their decision and... well... shuck. Really hope that you will give me a short reply -Do Hoang Son"
10/22/09 - 12:18 PM
NexPravus:

"Gah!! Mr. Schafer, how do you stop the Ironheade Hog rush?! It's so annoying and impossible to counter!! I'm losing every time to those bastards!"
10/22/09 - 06:18 PM
General Balls:

"I absolutely refuse to play this game until there's a PC version! ):< Well...I don't have any consoles, so I can't play it anyway even if I wanted to play an X-Box version, but if I say 'refuse' it makes it seem like I have a choice. That makes me feel better, especially if I yell it. :D"
10/24/09 - 02:15 AM
Adonai:

"Loving BL Tim, having as much fun as I have had with Psychonauts, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango etc. Thanks for making this :) and curse the PSN for limiting the number of friends one can have there...I think everyone has added you in the last week!"
10/24/09 - 06:19 AM
Cantido:

"Thank you for resuurecting a really rare type of action/RTS I've only seen in Battlezone, Natural Selection, and Sacrifice. Yeah it's an RTS...THE ONLY KIND I PLAY! Unfortunately, this whole Fire Baron craze is getting out of hand. Drowning Doom got knocked to bottom-tier, and now Ironheade players can wipe out geysers and stages without any avatar involvement, almost like a regular RTS. Let's hope for a nerf, yes?"
02/23/10 - 10:58 AM
Cantido:

"We don't need no plane tickets or viagra! Thanks for the balance patch! It really worked well. The hot topics now are infinite combos and DCers."
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