Until I see the real PvE game play, it is still hard for me to take the new game category MMO/TCG that HEX claiming to have invented. However, that does not stop other companies to expand the genre. Well in fact, if this game really achieves what it tries to do, I am more convinced that this game is more MMORPG/TCG than HEX appears to be at this point in time. Let’s take a quick look.
- DoH has 4 main Goals:
- Introducing a unique game experience based on fantasy created world, specially designed for Duel of Heroes.
- Offering an easy to play addicting game that suits both the casual and the hardcore gamers.
- Featuring new systems that has not been offered before in any trading card game and fusing them correctly within the game as Guild Wars, Card trading and Capturing bosses.
- Making the game play customizable, to the extent of feeling like each gamer has created his\her own game.
And as our goals stretched we can achieve an ultimate goal of:
- Introducing cross platform TCG online gaming through Facebook, iOS and android offering unbreakable gaming experience anytime everywhere.
As of today, there is no play video or alpha play available so this is not even a first nor pre-impression. It is like a speculative impression. Though it sound like there will be some play video becoming available soon.
Here are my gut feeling about this game from what I can tell.
If anything, this is the first eye catching component of this game. It uses anime style art though being Japanese myself, I would say the anime style art here is a bit more older style like 80’s to 90’s, which is not a bad thing. The art like below reminds me of Macross. I am certain there are quite few people out there like this art style.
Personally, I like the anime style art, but I prefer more recent anime art style like that of used in Carte. But generally speaking, this game does have professional quality arts that are better than many dTCGs out there. Being someone with a collector’s mentality, I certainly feel like these are cards that I want to collect.
The winning condition of this game is similar to that of HEX, Hearthstone, Shadow Era etc. i.e. you have a hero and the goal is to have the opponent’s hero’s health go down to zero.
Slot based board
This game uses slot based approach for the board. You can have only up to 5 creatures, and 2 magic cards on the board simultaneously and obviously, one hero at a time.
Each turn you get X resources where X is the turn number, and unused resources will be carried over to the next turn. So it means you will not have a resource screw with this game as it uses the automatic resource system (ARS). With carrying over system, the designer will need to carefully adjust the overall card pool’s casting cost but it is more likely that we will have higher resource curve based game than other dTCGs like Magic and HEX. By this I mean rather than you would be including many lower cost creatures and limited slot for higher cost creatures i.e. sligh curve based resource curve, this game is likely to have a few lower cost cards and more higher cost cards in a deck.
Obviously as I have previously written about, it will simply create a SCREW in different form. Casting a bigger creatures are part of strategy, so not being able to draw them on appropriate turn will get you behind quickly (potentially) thus ARS may result in NON-RESOURCE SCREW. Though it is true many players may not feel as screwed as resource screw.
Not so shallow
Generally speaking, slot based system and simple resource system (ARS) games are more likely to be focusing on its simplicity than anything else; therefore, they tend to lack some depth for hardcore strategy card game players, or sometimes even for new players the game gets boring too quickly.
DOH had some concern with this potential issue when I first looked at this game’s overall design; however, it looks like they have placed some potential depth in other places. So let’s take a look.
This is not a new concept, but in this game you can have your hero level up and they do participate on the battle themselves. In order to evolve your hero, you need to draw the higher level version of the hero and have enough resource to cast it. The level up is not just simple one up change as in WOW TCG’s master hero, but there will be up to level 5 for each of 10 heroes. This reminds me of the Vangaard.
As for hero level up, you need to do it step by step and cannot jump levels. but you can exchange a hero with another hero in the same level without paying command points, while in order to play a different hero with higher level you can also play it but you will need to pay the command points for it. that is in order to enhance the use of heroes and make the game always interactive where each hero has its different effect and power and health but they are all balanced also at the end.
I actually like the decision of step by step leveling. The deck will consists of 40 cards with minimum 1 level one hero. So rather than level up being the absolute necessary part of the game, it becomes more like the deck type choice i.e. one’s goal may be have a level 5 hero out to the board, and finish the game (assuming its strong enough). Whereas, others can totally forget about hero leveling and go with more creature based strategy.
More the choices players have, more play styles there will be i.e. overall variation in game play broadens, which in the end makes one dTCG sets apart from the others.
They have included element component to the game from the ground i.e. not for particular set, and have total of 8. This means they have a design space to expand just purely based on this mechanics. This is different from the faction where there are only 4 in the game, but those are used in PvE mode to give boost etc.
So to me what it looks like here is that there are basically 8 different colors with 4 affiliation.
Environments can give bonuses and negatives to your deck and are based on or a combination of the elemental categories. In a in a 3 round duel the player who gets to go first will select the environment. In round two the other player will, if it goes to round 3 the player who goes 2nd gets to choose the environment. This will all play into a player’s strategic style. There will be a total of 36 different environments to choose from. Every player will have access to these 36 environments.
This sounds like a global field in some other game. In combination with 8 types of attributes, this will certainly creates interesting design space.
For instance, it is easy to imagine that they can potentially create an option for players to focus on controlling environment i.e. change undesirable environment to their advantage or perhaps create undesirable one on purpose for opponent.
Although they have clumped all together, this card type contains rather broad spectrum of card types in other games.
- Global and local enchantment
- Field card
- Instant spell
- Interrupt spell
Essentially, they seem to cover all the potential card type from the design space point of view. Before the further discussion, here is how the turn takes place in DOH.
- Collect command points.
- Draws Phase: 1 card.
- Evolution phase: if your hero can evolve a level this is the time to do it.
- Play creatures, Enchantments, Equipment, Field cards.
- Attack phase: Declare your attack.
- Defense phase: Opponent declares defense.
- Instant Phase: if either player wishes to play an instant this is the time to do so.
- Damage phase: Calculate the damage and remove the dead to the graveyard.
- 2nd Play phase: play creature, enchantment and equipment cards you wish.
- Discard Phase: if you have more than 7 cards in your hand you must discard down to 7. Discards go into the graveyard.
- End turn.
(Note: Interrupt cards can be played at any time between Attack and damage phase and can only be used by the defender.)
Now from above, you can see instant spell is not a true ANY time instant as in HEX or Magic, but it will still create dynamic interactive play potential. For those of you a bit confused between the difference between the interrupt and instant card, my understanding here is that interrupt card is like a trap card in Yu Gi Oh or Shadow Era. You place them faced down during your own turn, and may be able to use them during opponent’s turn. Whereas, instant card is more like instant card in Magic or quick action in HEX, and you can use them from your hand during instant phase even during opponent’s turn, and they will stack.
I personally believe trap card was originally invented for those game who did not want to deal with, or had capability to deal with the sophistication of instant/any time interruption. However, it turns out trap cards and instant card have slightly different mechanics; hence, have their own potential design spaces. So I am truly glad to see that someone realized such and including both elements into a game.
As for the lack of any time interruption, I am actually not too against it. Certainly having it only during instant phase limits potential counter battle, but it will still provide the experience and with correct card, they can make TRUE permission type deck with this design. Again, here is another potential of this game providing variation in game play from the design perspective.
Single Player Mode
I think currently this is the biggest mistake on the Totally Awsesome Game Inc.. No. it’s not because the single player mode sounds bad, but its the opposite. I think this may be the biggest part of this game that sets apart from any other dTCG. The mistake is when I read the kickstarter, and their website, I did not realize such. It was only after I sent them email to confirm my speculation (in fact it was more of a hope).
Well basically, they talk about this game will have 2D element. What does this mean? It means they will have a real RPG interface as in retro-JRPG e.g. old final fantasy.
When HEX claimed it invented MMO/RPG genre, I first thought it would be like Magic the Gathering Shandalar, or for me more like Yu Gi Oh PSP.
In those games, you control your character who can move around the world like old Final Fantasy, or more recently many RPG on mobile market. You can talk to NPC, go to shop, discover different part of world.
I don’t know how far DOH will take this but at least they have said followings:
We are talking like a retro rpg in 2D like final fantasy where you can actually move and play and not just snapshots with dialogues being said. and this 2D mode will be used in Clan wars as well where your hero and strongest creature will fight together in the clan war.
So for now I am assuming the potential of full blown RPG with their battle uses TCG. Furthermore, as they said above you will be using the same interface for Clan wars. This sounds like true MMO.
It is way too early to say how this game will turn out. But what I see so far is really intriguing. This could be the real first dTCG that can claim the genre of MMORPG/TCG with its real 2D RPG open world interface, and multiplayer mode also utilizing the same interface.
At first, the game may appear somewhat shallow in depth but when we look at the design a bit more carefully, this game has a great potential built into its design for complexity. This includes card types such as instant, which is separate from trap card (called interruption here), step by step level up heroes, environment, attributes etc. From the design perspective, I can easily see making a deck that focused on Heroes, perhaps combo archetype. Instead, one can just have 1 hero and use creatures to try quickly end the game, Aggro Archetype. Or use instant and/or traps to make counter deck i.e. Control Archetype. Perhaps they can even be further subdivided by ones who focus using environment or field to their advantage or opponent’s disadvantage, or equipment and fusion to just boost some creature to their maximum power.
Yes. it will not give you a real resource management play style but we all know there are many out there who hates resource screw. This game won’t have that. The art style looks very promising.
So in conclusion, this game looks extremely intriguing and it is at least worth keeping eyes on for anyone interested in dTCG.