Well since I posted a book about Battleforge on OO I might as well cross post it here since some are interested. I will really emphasize the price model is the biggest deal to over come, if that doesnt scare you, its pretty solid. Also as others have said, it seems like the uncommons are the biggest deals with a few rares. Ultra Rares are fun for the “wow factor”, but really are not only not needed to be competitive, a lot of them would make you not competitive if you are using/ trying to get one in play).
Also the game has an auction like WoW so you basically have a world wide instant singles purchasing option if you really want something.
Anyway, cross post time:
I played the beta a bit (it was open and just ended). In short, I enjoyed it for its unique offering and have already pre-ordered it for release tomorrow. The pre-order gives you some pretty nice fully upgraded cards and the best pre-order spot is either D2D or EA store as far as the cards offered. I have no idea if there is an NDA, I would think not since most of what I am about to say can be read in open forums, seen in videos, or could have been experienced in the open beta.
The biggest downside to the game is the price. For the retail box you get 4 “starter” decks which are pre-made decks for each of the 4 colors and give you a descent representation of what each color has to offer (Fire is Offense/Direct damage, Nature is healing/ mind control, Frost is defensive, and shadow is funky combo stuff that generally involves hurting yourself for some gain). You also get 3000 Battle Forge Points with the retail box. These points are used to buy boosters. Yeah you can see where this is going… Each booster has 1 Rare or Ultra-rare, 2 or 3 uncommon (I cant remember) and the rest are common cards. Generally speaking the best way to spend the retail box points is 2 “tomes” (buy 5 get 1 free) and 2 boosters for a total of 14 boosters to get you your initial cards. You also get a tutorial deck. All this for $49. Which is okay. But if you want more cards you need to spend $19.99 for 2000 BF points. So… Oh there is also an auction similar to WoW where you can bid or put up cards. Auctions are done using BF points. So auction sniping can increase your collection or can allow you to get pretty much any card you really want without hitting the booster slot machine over and over.
There are 200 cards I think in the initial set and the 3000 points gives your a pretty good taste of what is out there. I don’t think you need to get billions of boosters to get most cards. Some beta players said they had a near full collection with around 14,000 points (retail box plus 6 BF buys= $170ish- who knows). Scary by PC game standards, seriously cheap by CCG standards-- and these cards don’t fill closets and have animation and sound! Heh. It is a matter of perspective I think.
That is the biggest downside, if that turns you off, you might as well hit the back button and move on. If you are still with me well, here we go:
It’s not so much a card game in the way you usually think of CCGs. There are not a lot of combo manipulation type deals (at least not yet) by CCG standards. Most of the cards are Monsters/Summons and the others are “instants” (fireball, heal, insta kill to nuke for remaining HP, etc) or short term “enchantments”. A lot of cards do have special abilities so there are interesting deck building tinkering to do. If the game makes it off the ground (mostly worried about the pricing model and EA likelihood to ditch anything that is not a cash cow) this game could be VERY interesting as new sets come along to expand the core game. Cards are played sort of like magic though. There are two types of resources: Energy and Orbs. You build a building on pre-determined spots to get energy and you build a specific color orb on monolith sites so that later you could play a card that might cost say, 200 energy but require you to have 2 Red Orbs and 1 more of any other color in play. So this creates a deck building mechanic of Orb/ Color planning while having an RTS element of increasing resources/ teching. I hope that makes sense.
You build your “deck” out of any 20 cards you own. As long as you have the resources to play the card, you click the card icon (you have your entire deck displayed at all times) then click on the visible play field. If you summon near a building you own (resource building or one of your card/buildings) the card comes in at full HP with all abilities ready, but if not it comes in at half HP and can’t use abilities for a short while. Obviously you will want a mix of low and high Orb costing cards. Otherwise the game plays a lot like most RTSs (control groups, packs of units, right click here right click there…). There is not really base building. The only buildings are resources or your summoned card buildings.
Graphically the game is very much like WoW and has that cartoony look. Personally I like it. There are a lot of effects and the larger creatures are pretty epic feeling.
The game takes a nod from MMOs as well and there is a pretty substantial PvE element to it. Now this is not “comp stomp vs skirmish AI” (there is no such thing in this game) it is mission based scenarios that are played with 1, 2, 4, or 12 people (yes 12) that you open up as you progress through the map. The missions are pretty hard and each one has difficulty three settings. Each setting has a set of rewards that are given out as “loot” for beating the mission and each win does not get you all the loot for that difficulty. Loot comes in the form of Gold (spent for in game mail or actually applying your upgrades) or Upgrades (more on this in a second). In a sense it is a bit like Guild Wars PvE or maybe a dungeon raid in a MMO, but done as a co-op missions. They can be pretty tough though. My buddy and I had a lot of fun with this in the beta and was ultimately what led us to pre-order. You will be going back over and over trying to get that upgrade to “drop” off the boss/ mission. Its fun as a co-op experience.
So what are these “upgrades” you get as loot? Well, each card can be upgraded to add to its stats. Each card has 2 main upgrades (gotten as loot) and 2 other upgrades that simply effect the cooldown of recasting a card which is obtained through having multiples of the same card. It is pretty cool hunting for upgrades of your cards (it might have been cooler to get just new cards, but hey its EA). Here is the big downside to upgrading though. Once you upgrade a card you cant trade or auction it. So, think about what you upgrade if you are a super trader guy.
The other side of the game is PvP which I didn’t do any of. I do know it is very fast paced and combat starts early and games go pretty fast. All fire seems to be the FotM with an emphasis on rushing monoliths with flyers and using cheap tier 1 direct damage. From reading forums, this will probably evolve as there is less newbness going around. Also you win tokens in PvP which help in upgrading the second step on cards. I don’t know much about this, sorry.
So that is the gist of it. Its not really like anything out there. Its an RTS at its core, but with pretty big card and MMO influences. I am not sure if this helps, but try to imagine Rise of Legends mashed together with Guild Wars, Magic the Gathering, and a dash of WoW meta elements (auction, grouping, etc).
For those still reading, I like it and feel it should get more than the ziltch buzz its getting now, but be warned of the pricing. I hope that helps.