【Warlords of Terra】Deep Into Mechanics ~ Hero System ~

WOT has a hero system like Shadow Era, HEX or Hearthstone.  But it’s not the same.  So what makes WOT’s hero system different from other games?

Warning!! This article includes world first exclusive spoiler card from WOT!

What is the hero?

In an event you have never played a dTCG/dCCG with hero/champion system, it is basically a representation of player but a difference is the hero has their ability/special power.

Another way to think is basically, you have a card with specific ability on the board every game you play from the start.  So you can rely on it without worrying about a chance you may actually not draw the card.  Basically, these system can form or define a foundation of deck type you play.

The actual power/impact of the ability depends on the game because some are extremely strong and may only be able to use once in a game or other games allows multiple use but the relative impact is minimal.  So these are general statement about hero system in dTCG/dCCG.  But let’s take a look specifically at how this system is implemented in WOT.

What’s the hero in WOT?

Here is an example of Hero from recent Kickstarter Update.

What’s same here compared to other above mentioned dTCG, which are essentially based on World of Warcraft TCG, are that you choose hero at the time of deck building and you have these abilities ready to use throughout the game as long as you have enough mana/cost to pay.

Hero in this game cannot be destroyed as the player himself takes damage not hero; therefore, hero does not have a health parameter.  This is how developer describes it.

YOU are who has 20 life points, hero is your commander and troop supporter.

For now, I see this just as a conceptual thing rather than real game mechanics difference.  But there is theoretical benefit with this separation when compared to games that assign damage to hero/champion directly.  That is in this game you can potentially have an ability to destroy hero, which is needless to say a very strong ability/effect BUT not as strong as to say you end the game. There are however couple more theoretical benefit if developer decides to implement in the future (see potential section).

Passive abilities

Terra & Hellscions Hero Cards

Heroes in WOT has passive abilities i.e. does not cost anything to use them and they are essentially always active.  What it really does is basically providing a ground to change some fundamental game rule.  One thing I liked about HEX is this potential.  Though due to game balance, HEX (so far) elected to keep this flexibility limited to PvE mode.  But imagine a hero that says “Player starts with +5 health.”  You have basically changed fundamental game rule, which is hard to do in game like Magic unless you use special format.  HEX does this a lot in PvE mode (only applying to AI but shows its potential).

Let’s look at a real example in WOT.

Q. Can you use hero’s ability more than once per turn so long as you have enough ccharge on it?
NO. At least if that hero says another thing (like Rexor does). You’ll see that soon.
I don’t know who the Rexor is… but Look at Nadrya and Ariadna.  It reads as “You may play 2 skills of Nadarya and Ariadna eeach turn (or twice the same skills, and you may play them in Sudden Skills)”.
Basically, this hero is changing a fundamental rule of the game as she can use her ability twice per turn where basic rule is one per turn.  Furthermore, Sudden Skill in this game is basically instant or quick action, so I assume generally hero abilities can be executed during your own turn but that has also changed by use of this hero as she can make it to instant speed.

Multiple abilities

All the heroes in this game has multiple active abilities.  What it does is it gives player another layer of tactical challenge.  Even if you use same hero, you can play differently from other players or just simply between different games depending on what the board situation is.  It basically keeps your hero relevant almost all the time throughout the game as long as you play it strategically.

Powerful enough to be play style definer

Q. Do you anticipate Hero cards to be most valuable cards in the game?
Not exactly. It’d be better saying “because they are the most valuable”, for two main reasons:
a) Value: they all are EPIC cards and so, the hardest to get. Combinig this with “b” we find why they are so valuable.
b) They are NEEDED to develop some specific tactics with our decks. For example, an object-deck based will need Stromhammer to be effective in a maximum degree. Heroes will condition our deck strategy, as they’ll be the pillar of it.
So yes, they are KEY cards to develop strategies, and so KEY cards in the game.

It is probably a personal preference, but I’d rather like to see Heroes to be game changer or play style definer.  This is because the core of the fun from dTCG/dCCG comes from variation in game style.  One game I play I see someone playing style A, and next game I feel I played totally different game because their style of play is totally different.  That’s when I truly enjoy the fact I am playing dTCG.  This is basically beyond the simple division of Aggro vs. Control vs. Combo.  It is more of subdivision of game style.

In this sense, I liked Shadow Era because heroes in Shadow Era generally defines the types of game one can play as choice of hero resulted in type of class card you can include in that game.  Some may argue and say but that’s restrict actual play style when you pick a specific hero.  That is a true statement but imagine having 20 heroes, that’s already 20 different style of play.  However, what happened in Shadow Era (at least during first set when I was actively playing) was as soon as you start the game and see a hero, you kind knew what he does in the rest of game.  This may still be the same in WOT, but I am bit more optimistic here because hero in WOT has multiple abilities so one can play different ways even with a given hero.

Second thing about here is actual impact of hero’s power.  Here I take example of HEX PvP champions.  If one look deeply into it, each heroes have ability that can affect the game in someway, but it is hard to say generally a game changer because they are simply have too weak of impact.  Now don’t get me wrong here.  Good players do use champion’s ability at full potential and that takes the person to winning path, but it is not to the point I feel like “I want to play this champion and make some fun deck.” (Though some champions are like that).  This is because of the design decision of the game.  Champions are their to help/guide a deck but not to the point defines play style or change the whole game.  It is basically opposite approach to the Shadow Era.  As a consequence, seeing new champion in the game does not excites me as much as seeing new hero in Shadow Era.

So what WOT does is more of Shadow Era style but even to more extreme.  In this article, you see 3 revealed heroes in the game.  They are fundamentally different and each are powerful enough to define your play style.  Izual makes you think of playing equipment based deck.  Nadrya and Ariadna allows you to play defensively with even a hero’s ability synergy i.e. Use Target energy troop’s ATK becomes 0 followed by Destroy target enemy troop with ATK 2 or less to even take down the biggest and strongest opponent’s troop.    Inashka is great example of what I define as Aggro Archetype Burn Deck Type play.  You essentially have direct magic attack spell card in your hand anytime you want to play.  Three heroes with totally 3 different style of plays.  I am really excited to see more hero gets revealed in WOT as individual abilities shows me different potential of deck types I can play.

How to charge hero?

Hearthstone allows use of regular mana to activate once per turn hero ability i.e. easy to use, but relatively weak and hard to call innovative/game changer.  Shadow Era uses automatic charge of hero’s power per turn.  HEX uses similar but slightly different in sense that the charging hero is tied to resource cards.  So which system does the WOT use?

Somewhat similar to Shadow Era, but there is little twist, which result gives another level of player tactical decision choice. Normal rule is at the beginning of player’s turn, player gets to choose to divert a mana to hero’s power count or not.  So it is totally possibly to add 1 charge per turn to your hero just like Shadow Era, but if you decide it is more important to have the mana for something else, you can do so by skipping this.

So why don’t we just allow player to use regular mana for hero’s power like Hearthstone?  With that approach, hero’s ability becomes too easy to use and therefore forces developer to keep down the power of the hero’s ability.  So it goes back to the argument of whether hero’s power should be powerful enough to define a deck or should remain a little nice addition.  Obviously, WOT chose former and therefore, I think how they implemented is perfect.

Obviously as in any other games using similar charge system, there is always alternative ways to boost charge your hero.  Inashka actually has that built into her passive ability.  But don’t be surprise there is a card that specifically does that and here is world first spoiler of WOT card on fan site!

 

Potential

Master Hero

I have to be honest here.  I’ve never played WOW TCG but its concept always intrigues me and wished I had known the game before it closed out.  One of the main concept caught my attention is the idea of ascending your hero. In fact the latest set in HEX has one card does such.

Can WOT have it?  I absolutely think so.  The game design is there to cover such potential.  In fact, separating hero and player may potentially be beneficial to support this mechanics because one don’t have to worry about what to do with hero’s health when ascended.

Hero equipment

For those of you played Shadow Era may ask what about equipping hero. This one I have to say unlikely in this game as hero has no direct health.  However, I won’t totally shut this idea down as a concept.  Because once again, hero and YOU (Player) are separated, in theory there can be a card that gives Hero a life point, attack power, and speed and allow him to start moving and acts like a regular troop.  So at that point you can use all equipment in this game.  It is risky but not to the point you are damaging yourself.

Having said that, I don’t see much benefit of this and personally feels equipment system is already robust enough in this game (in fact deeper than Shadow Era).

Multi-kingdom Hero

This was confirmed point by developer.  Basically, the game at least will start with mono-kingdom for a deck.  As time goes by, draft will allow 3 kingdom mixing deck, but PvP will remain mono-kingdom for a while.  But I doubt the game will remain mono-kingdom design.  This is because the game has colors in mana and that won’t make sense if single kingdom is permanent design restriction.  It is certainly true stronger card is e.g. hero in this case, it is more likely chance some unexpected combo can break the game balance.  So initially restricting to single kingdom i.e. ensuring no balance breaker is a great design approach, but with different color of mana, developers can build a hero with specific restriction e.g. you can only combine color X & Y or make the requirement so strict other combination becomes too hard to use.  So what’s my point?  Multi-kingdom hero is just going to matter of time.

Additional Q&A with developer

Q. Anything interesting you can share about hero system in WOT?

Well, I’ll only say that KS special hero will have a very special condition. It’ll be the first of its kind in an interesting sense.

Conclusion

At its core Hero system of WOT is not a new compared to World of Warcraft TCG, Shadow Era, Hearthstone and HEX but there are enough differences that in WOT, heroes can be a game defining element of the deck rather than a little optional thing, which I believe many will find a positive thing.  However, this system tends to be a double edge sword.  A hero defining play style may result in restrictive game play once you choose a hero.  However, WOT may have came up with a solution here with the use of multiple active abilities along with giving a player to decide whether to charge the power or not every turn.  One thing I can say for sure right now is, every hero in this game I see so far gets me extremely excited because of their abilities.

Kickstarter

 

 

 

 

 

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