All in the Cards

All in the Cards
Ace in the Hole

Dan Dormer | 3 Oct 2006 08:04
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"And while a lot of the game is based [on] combat, players will instantly see things they recognize. Weapon cards, armor cards, quest cards. When you see a Mortal Strike card, you immediately have a connection to the game. There's a lot things that are meta-flavor connections in the game. For example, the Leeroy Jenkins card would be one of those."

Sounds like the makings of a pretty solid game, but Kibler's words regarding the quest cards really made it sound special. "Then, there are the quest cards. Once per turn, you can play a card face down as a resource. It stays face down, and it's pretty much gone for the [rest of the] game. Quest cards are played face up, and [each] has an objective and a reward. There are fortune ones that you, say, pay three resources to complete the quest, and you draw a card. There are also quests [from the game], like ... 'Tooga's Quest,' where you have to protect this turtle, Tooga. ... We have it where you put a Tooga token into play, and if you can protect it for a turn, you can draw two cards."

"Everything is drawn directly from the game," Mandell said. "All the allies are recognizable and have made up names. Additionally, each class has about 15 abilities, with about 10 being straight from the game. The others are ones we generated. ... For example, there's Smite, which deals Holy damage, but we decided to not do ranks (as characters level, their spells get stronger, rather than just getting newer spells). A, it's boring; and B, it's weird. It seems unattractive. That's why we have a card called Chastise - a baby Smite in addition to the named one."

Of course, as they said, they're trying to appeal to everyone who plays WoW. They wouldn't be able to do that without emulating the raid content that has countless players scheduling their weekends around their guild calendars. "The second release is the Raid deck. We're also planning on doing these three or four times a year," Kibler said. "The PvE version - well, the first one - is versus Onyxia and it's for three or four or five players, with one of the players controlling Onyxia.

"It's sort of weird. We had to look at the constraints first. We had to balance it so players could play through the game in an hour. You could use any deck you want, but there's a little bit of a puzzle solving aspect to it. The first time you do it, you're going to get wrecked. You'll lose, but it will be fine. Then, you'll figure it out and you'll be tuning your decks as a team. You'll do stuff like in the game, having a mage handle the whelps with some AOE (area of effect)."

"It's a 3 vs. 1 or 4 vs. 1 setup, and Onyixa has special rules," Mandell said. "It takes place in three stages. She draws more cards as the game goes on, so it gets harder as you progress through the stages. The Raid deck also comes with a treasure pack, with gear that mostly drops off Onyxia. Future Raid decks will mirror the progress that players actually experience in the game, though raid content in the [online] game comes out a lot faster. We're following up with the second Raid deck being Molten Core with Ragnaros. It'll get shaken up a little bit after that."

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