Hex: Shards of Fate: TCG / MMO From Cryptozoic: Too Many Colons

The discussion of Hex has been monopolizing the last couple pages of the Kickstarter thread, so I’m giving it its own home, since it’s clear that: A) The Kickstarter has more than succeeded, being at 160% of its goal with 23 days still to go; and B) We have a critical mass of interested players here who are going to be interested in talking about it for a while to come.

For anyone who missed the announcement, Hex is a new online TCG from Cryptozoic, the company behind the successful World of Warcraft TCG. Mechanically, it looks to be closely modeled on Magic, but with some interesting differences in the resource system and other mechanics and a heavy dose of cards that are only possible in the digital realm. In addition to strong plans for PvP play (24/7 tournament availability, with an emphasis on drafts), it is slated to have a whole RPG/MMO side, with leveling up, dungeons, loot, factions, crafting, raids, and a parallel card set, among other features. It is free to play, and they’ve stated that the only things they plan to sell are booster packs ($2 each) and tournament entry fees ($1), meaning that it should be possible to play the entire PvE content for free.

For anyone on the fence, the Kickstarter rewards are extremely generous relative to the cost of packs after the game launches, with the biggest highlight being the Pro Player tier, which offers a free draft tournament entry (normally $7 including three boosters) every week for life.

Daily updates can be found at the project’s Kickstarter page, and there is also a selection of articles on Hextcg.com.

I have nothing to add at this point (on top of what I’ve already said in the Kickstarter thread), I just want to do the lazy subscribe so I don’t miss further discussions.

Oh, and I’m in at the Warrior tier (for now)

Man, I hate MMOs but

I love card games, especially computer versions, but most are either not very good or focused all on PVP or forcing you to buy things. So this sounds kind of super awesome.

Jeepers. The amounts of money people are talking about is an awful lot for a game that could turn out to be a dud.

A fairer (but obviously not as effective for raising revenue) model would be some kind of $50 tier that gave you the rewards of the $50 tier, and reserved you the right to spend up to $200 more to upgrade your tier after the game is released and you know its good. I’d be tempted by such a tier. As it is I’ll just pay $0 and see how much fun I can squeeze out of the free PvE.

Not a criticism of anyones choices BTW. We all have hobbies. I’ve spent a fortune on overseas trips.


Oh, I agree. I think I’m taking a terrible risk. If it weren’t such a direct copy of Magic I probably wouldn’t be doing it. I know I like Magic a lot, I just don’t like the meta game of Magic very much. Playing against AI opponents with fixed decks solves a lot of the Magic meta game for me, and I know how well that plays from the Microprose version of Magic.

$250 is a lot for my personal budget and I’m still not entirely sanguine about it, but they’ve already got 260 people at the $500 tier, 29 at the $1000 tier, and 2 at the $10,000 tier, so at least we look like savvy investors in comparison. But, y’know, it’s been a long, long time since a card game offered a really robust singleplayer experience, and nobody else has ever designed one this heavily reliant on the possibilities being digital affords them. Either one of those things would intrigue me. Both in one product has me seriously salivating.

“There are people even dumber than me” isn’t a rallying call I want to get behind.

$250 is surprisingly not that much for my personal budget. I can afford to take a flyer on stuff like this now and then and it won’t kill me. It’s just that I habitually do a cost-effectiveness analysis of every purchase I make, even if it’s a $1 grocery item. Now and then I have to remind myself that some bigger ticket purchases are actually worth it, because I end up getting an awful lot of recreation out of them. I thought I was being crazy, crazy for buying an iPad 3, but that was one of the more effective purchases I’ve made. I’m hoping this will be the same, based on my prior experience with Magic and Ascension.

Wow I am now a savy investor! ;)

Of course how many of us have to hide the cost from their savy spouse, hmmmm?

Yes, I went for the Pro Tier because it is a chance to budget the game over the long haul. The company producing the game has a good reputation so I feel the risk is muted somewhat but the gain is great.

I will also say that most kick starters do not give that much to higher tiers besides naming a character or planet or something. This high tier appears to give something back monetarily at the Pro level.

Thats the most common response to the question “How many hours have you spent playing World of Warcraft?” “Well… mumble mumble… but I know this guy who plays WOW for 25 hours a day. At least I’m not that guy!”

My wife and I are both obsessive like that, and we rely on each other to give us permission to splurge. And the answer is always “For god sake you’re always so careful with your money, and I know you want this badly, just buy the damn thing and enjoy it!”


This is the kind of project that makes me grateful that other people are willing to buy in on the Kickstarter to fund development since I won’t.

It’s an online TCG, so I know that I’ll play it a couple of times and never really get into it enough to make it worthwhile.

But it’s a TCGMMO! Doesn’t that get the blood pumping?

I’m all over Hex based on what I’ve seen, but I’m still curious how the MMO portion is going to work. The “puzzles” aspect sounds really interesting, but it also sounds like it could be like a gussied up version of the “Challenges” in the MTG Planeswalkers digital games (where you’re given a particular situation with particular cards that must be played in a specific way to beat the challenge). And would multiplayer PvE battles work similarly to the MTG Archenemy 2012 mode?

Both of these would be fine; I enjoyed them enough in the MTG games. But all the talk of a groundbreaking mash-up genre with new mechanics has me hoping (perhaps unrealistically) that we’re really going to see some unique uses of TCG gameplay.

Certainly, the way the cards can be adapted/upgraded is new (though transformations is already the tent pole of SolForge), but as others have pointed out, a lot of the other ways that Hex works makes it seem like a polished MTG clone (the colors, “speed,” “quick action,” etc.). Again, nothing wrong with that–unless Wizards of the Coast takes issue with it–but the hype has me looking for more.

Drafting is my favorite format also. However, while trying to decide whether or not to back this game, I remembered why I don’t do Magic Online drafts anymore – they take three hours. I never have three uninterrupted hours to play games at my computer anymore, and certainly not every week.

I might back at $20 – that’s the most I’m willing to throw at a game without a demo or at least some reviews that will let me know if it’s any good, or if I’ll like it. But the $20 level isn’t all that tempting – you theoretically get $40 worth of cards, but of course you get $10 worth when you create a free account after launch; so really you’re getting $30 worth of stuff for $20. Which just makes me think I’ll wait until launch and try it then.

All the people talking about backing for $250… well, more power to you. I’m glad you’re helping to get this game made. And I think you’re crazy.

We probably are crazy. Maybe we’ll back out at the last moment when we realize what a foolish thing we’re doing.

The Raids (Multiplayer PvE battles) aren’t Archenemy. We designed each Raid Deck with all unique cards. (Except the first raid, which is basically a raid tutorial, so we didn’t also introduce new cards there.)

They’re pretty unique as well. The goals aren’t always just ‘Deal X damage to the enemy’. In one you have to force a horrible invincible monster back through a portal, and in another you have to complete a bunch of tasks while the raid boss is trying to murder you.

Anyhow, they’re all hand designed decks down to the card. Each raid boss has a unique deck using cards you won’t ever see anywhere else.

Chris Woods

It helps that beta is supposed to start this year. If it was going to start a year from now I would probably not support at such a high level.

What are the plans for supporting the Raid & PVE battles?

I am thinking that each card set will come with new Raid and PVE content - but will the company also add some new materials for the old content?

Off topic:
What is Paul Dennon up to these days? He is an extremely good guy and I hope he is doing well :)

We will add more content with each set, but the sets and the content aren’t really directly related. If we push a story in set 2 about killer clowns, for example, the PvE associated stuff will also be about those clowns, but it’s not like you have to use set 2 cards or anything. So, there isn’t really “old” and “new” content like that. It’s just “more content”. And yeah, we want to keep adding raids for sure, because raids are really sweet.

Paul is over at Dire Wolf Digital in Denver, Co. A lot of that company is from the previous SoE Denver (in fact, they’re now in the exact same office we were in when it was SoE Denver.)

Chris Woods

So, all this MMO talk has me a bit worried - will there be enough single-player PvE content, or will all the good stuff force me to group up? There is a tendency in MMOs where as a solo player, I am welcome to do all the grinding and boring quests, but the developer has put much more effort and fancier story-telling into dungeons and raids, which I can’t do solo… leaving me with a crippled experience.

I would honestly be more tempted if it was single-player PvE, with competitive multi-player (drafted and constructed) - all this MMO talk worries me, as my past experience as a not very social player in MMOs have been very mixed.

They haven’t given an exact breakdown, but the impression I’ve gotten is that the focus is more on the single-player dungeons than on the three-player raids. For example, this article mentions that “Several dungeons unlock the ability to go on a raid” only as bullet point #5 when discussing dungeons, so I really doubt that they will overwhelm the solo content.

The majority of the dungeons are single player. The only part of the game that require you to party are raids, and they’re not put on the main storyline. I don’t have the numbers (we’re looking to expand dungeons and raids due to the KickStarter), but 90%+ of the game can be done in single player mode. That ratio isn’t going to change.