【Warlords of Terra】Deep into Mechanics ~Resource System~

 

If you are long term follower of this blog, you must know how I feel about resource system.  It essentially defines the level of detail the game supports.  Whether more sophisticated/complex game is better than the games taking simple, quick to play is matter of personal preference, but at least we know which direction the game is going.

Card-based Resource System

Place Cards and their Gold/Mana Cost

Among the four basic types of resource system that the dTCG/dCCG can have, WOT uses the most complex/deepest strategy version, which is card-based resource system (CRS).

*Other three are sacrificial resource system (SRS) like Shadow Era, Automatic resource system (ARS) e.g. Hearthstone, or No resource system (NRS).

CRS provides the potential of most complex resource system in a game as the resource themselves are represented by its own card type.

In WOT, the resource cards are represented by Place cards.  But it’s not as simple as you play a place card, which provides one mana whenever you turn i.e. like Magic.  There is much more too it than that, or in fact substantially different than that.

Double Deck System

In general there is a major draw back with CRS, which is an infamous mana screw.  It’s a condition where you don’t have enough resource card in your hand so you cannot play anything from the hand or alternatively, you draw nothing but resource cards and therefore, you have bunch of resource but no playable card comes to your hand.

Mulligan system tried to take care of this by at least giving a chance to switch starting hand.  Carefully analyzing your deck to balance statistical chance of resource card vs. non-resource card is absolute requirement in playing CRS game.  However, even with these precautions, the mana screw still occurs and its a real entity.  It does not matter if you are pro player.  It can hit anybody and relatively more frequent than you think i.e. it’s not a once in a year deal.  The worst part of mana screw is such that you really have no way to correct it; hence, it’s the problem.

In the past, game like World of Warcraft TCG, Shadow Era, and Carte CCG tried to overcome this issue by a use of sacrifice resource system.  I can talk about this a bit, but it’s not place here.  But basically SRS can be put into a level very close to CRS, but usually may still lack flexibility of true CRS.

WOT separates Place cards and Non-place cards into two separate decks.  Player draws 3 place card and 4 non-place card at the start of the game.  Then subsequently, a player choose which pile to draw from each turn.  Basically, it completely takes care of mana screw here as you have control over whether to draw resource or non-resource each turn.

Cumulative Mana

In this game rather than resetting resource each turn, you can carry over the mana.  What this means is ramping up resource is a real entity in this game.

HEX, Magic, Shadow Era, Carte TCG, Hearthstone, all uses resetting your resource at the beginning of each turn.  This is definitely a standard in dTCG/dCCG.  One of the game I have closely played that used cumulative mana system is Eye of Judgment.  It was quite bit different from WOT because you get only 2 mana each turn, and you have to save them up to cast bigger guys.  But from the experience, one thing I know is it creates resource battle to be more intense one.

Imagine you save up resources, and your opponent steals/takes some of them away.  Alternatively, imagine a card that gains attack of your saved up resource. Yes. It is definitely possible without cumulative mana, but such trade off/strategy become much more realistic with cumulative mana and double deck system as you rely far less on the lack here for your resource accumulation.

Battlefield system equal five place limitation

The battlefield system is back here.  Just like the troops, places take up their own zones/slots in this game, which means you can have only maximum of 5 place cards on the board.  If you want to play another one, you have to replace/discard one already on the board.

So does that mean we are more restricted?  Well, in theory yes we cannot have infinite resource production per turn, but since we can carry over resource, you can still get ridiculously high resource counts if that’s what you are shooting for.

But as a part of little spoiler, developer stated they have plan such that place card is inline with column of the battlefield; therefore, it can give some special effect specifically to the column.

So personally, deciding what five place cards to use in this game is more of a strategical decision/challenge than limitation.

Color Mana

Another approach to reduce mana screw, a specific type called color screw, some dTCG uses single color mana.  HEX kept multicolor resource system but used innovative threshold system to reduce this specific type of resource screw i.e. your resource color does not match with what’s in your hand.  Again, WOT with double deck system, it’s not a concern and if you want to play multicolor deck, that’s where you take some risk of your own but far less risk than other games even HEX with threshold system.

The WOT indeed supports colored mana; however, as of now, the game is intended to be played based on the single Kingdom i.e. unicolor deck.  Later, 3 kingdom draft is planned; hence, color starts to matter.  But for construct PvP, the balance of the game needs to be assessed before they can commit to allow multi-kingdom play.  So for now, we have to assume it’s a unicolor game, but in my opinion, if that’s all they plan there is no reason they created color mana for different kingdom; hence, the system must be designed for multicolor play in mind, so there will be no doubt such theme focused expansion will eventually come.

Followings are some comments about this matter by developer.

Q: Can you mix kingdoms?

That question has a long story behind. But to make long short, the answer is “not when we release the game”. Maybe not during 2-3 new sets. But when all Kingdoms are revealed, we’ll allow Drafts with 3-kingdom decks. About PvP mode, it’s not provided, but I’d never say “never”, at least without studying mechanics and possible combinations in detail.

In draft, first you’ll find 2 heroes from different kingdoms. Choose one and start building deck. About multi-kingdom heroes…that would be for long term, although we’ve some surprise kept we won’t reveal until the game is released.

Double Resource System

In WOT, you have mana and gold.  Somethings you pay with mana and others you pay with gold.  Place cards make one or another or both.  Rather me trying to explain how great this system is, take a look from the words by developer.

Q: One unique component of the system I see is double resource system using gold and mana.  What value this approach provides?
MAIN AND FIRST TARGET OF DOING THAT WAS USING GOLD TO BUY PLACES AND MANA TO INVOKE BATTLE CARDS. HOWEVER, WHILE DEVELOPING, WE DISCOVERED IT HAD MUCH MORE POTENTIAL. FOR EXAMPLE, OBJECTS COST IS PAID WITH GOLD, AND SOME SKILLS. AND SOME THINGS WE’VE THOUGHT FOR FUTURE SETS TOO…
THIS SYSTEM ALLOWS PLAYERS TO ADAPT BETTER THEIR STRATEGIES EVEN FROM THE MOMENT THEY GET RESOURCES. A PLAYER MAY DEVELOP A SLOW MANA RAMP IN FIRST TURNS (DEDICATED TO GOLD GENERATING) BUT BUILDING EVEN 2 PLACES NEXT TURN(S), OR BUILDING BETTER PLACES. ANOTHER OPTION IS FAST MANA RAMP, WHICH WILL ALLOW PLAYERS CURVING 1 ADDITIONAL MANA/TURN AND ACCUMULATING MANA FAST (YES, HERE IN WOT POOL DOESN’T EMPTY AT END OF TURN). THAT WILL DETERMINE THE KIND OF DECK YOU PLAY.

 

1 mana/1 gold per turn

Now this probably isn’t much in terms of this game for actual impact, but basically guarantees at least 1 mana/1 gold per turn from the beginning of game and each turn.  So even a worst case scenario, you can continue to ramp up mana and gold.

Q. The 1 mana 1 gold at the beginning of each of your turn, do these mana have a color/kingdom?
YES. IN FACT YOUR BANNER (CONCEPT BORN IN BOARD GAME) WOULD BE THE CARD THAT REPRESENTS YOUR KINGDOM AND ADDS CONSEQUENTLY MANA OF THAT COLOR (AND GOLD).

Conclusion

Obviously, without actually playing it, it’s hard to say for sure, but at least on the paper and concept wise, I think WOT has found the ideal solution of resource system in a card game.  It’s double deck/double resource system will have fun/challenge part of the card based resource system games like Magic and HEX without necessary evil of mana screw.

Is it perfect? It may be.  The only short term downside, I see right at this moment is the game is restricted to a single kingdom for deck.  It certainly provides easier ground for developers to worry less about unwanted/broken interaction, and perhaps allow more flexibility within the kingdom itself as they are rather closed environment.  Basically, sort of think here as Class cards in Shadow Era or perhaps factions in the same game.  But I have a very strong hope here in this game because rather than them making  a single color mana, they are making individual kingdom to have their own mana, which is only needed in an event where color matters i.e. simple sign of multi-color deck support.

In fact, for a beginners, perhaps separating into colors are more helpful to understand fundamental strategy and over the course, gradually open the potential of mixed color; otherwise, I can see facing 200+ cards at once for the first time may be a bit too much decision to make especially someone new to this genre.

So in conclusion, as in the battlefield system, I am strongly intrigued by WOT’s resource system.   If for any reason, WOT won’t succeed, at least, we should give a credit to them for creating this type of innovative resource system as I am sure in the future some other game will do the similar, but just remember they are not the first one.

Kickstarter

 

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