I Fell Into The Trap

If you reference an earlier post I made about Legends of Norrath, you’ll recall that I wasn’t too excited about the game. I made my opinion clear, that I believed that the game should be stand-alone, and not included (or accessible) in EQ2.

Now I do still feel the game should be seperate, even if they do let you still play with other people playing SOE games, though my opinion of the game itself differs now, as I’ve actually had the chance to toy with it.

After Fan Faire, people who attended got beta keys to try out the game. I didn’t go to Fan Faire, but shortly thereafter, SOE announced that randomly selected accounts would have access to the beta (they also said that if you were interested, that you could email them and possibly get in). I logged in the day they announced this, and happened to be one of the lucky few to be selected (well I thought it was only a few, but it seems like damn near everyone was included). That particular day I didn’t toy with the game, I just said “hey, that’s cool that I’m in beta” and left it at that.

A few days later, an in-game friend told me about his loot card that he got with the free cards provided in the beta. I realized I hadn’t checked what I received, so I checked that out. I got a potion that gave 50% more AA xp for an hour, and though this is neat, it’s not really useable on my main. It’s going to my Brigand. Anyhow, I decided at that point I might as well see what the fuss was about. So I ran through some of the tutorials, got bored and quit.

I finished off the tutorials last night, all but the last. I couldn’t see to kill the opponent in the final trial, though I tried a few times. I decided to try out the scenarios, and those went down a little easier, but I’m not completely sure I like the game.

I’m used to playing Magic: The Gathering. I played the game quite a bit when I was younger, and fancied myself pretty good. The game was easy to learn, and it was all based around you killing your opponent, and using creatures or spells to do so. It had a large amount of strategy, and I really enjoyed playing it.

LoN provides a similar gameplay experience, though they decided to throw out another option. Instead of just directly attacking your opponent or his creatures, you can opt out of combat so to speak, and try to complete quests. This is an interesting concept, using abilities to complete quests, but at the same time it brings the complexity up, and for someone who’s never played a CCG before, I think it may turn them off. It turned me off initially, until I started to grasp the concept. I think having an avatar is cool, but the limitation of power is a bit annoying. Also, 10 heath pales compared to the 20 health given in M:TG. The ability to equip your avatar with weapons or armor to make him stronger is also a cool idea, and “exerting” them for effects reminds me of the “tapping” that was done in Magic. The part that is different when it comes to creatures, is that their health doesn’t refresh when the round is over. Their health remains at whatever level until they are killed. I assume there are certain spells or abilities that allow healing of units, but I didn’t see one while I played.

The one part about combat that confused me was when I was on the Final Trial Tutorial. When the enemy has units at a quest, and so do you, but their units are “exerted” from previous combat or defense, shouldn’t you be able to directly attack the opponents avatar? In M:TG, if your units were all “tapped” due to previous combat or defense, you were left defenseless, and your opponent’s units could attack you directly. They made some things a little different, so my M:TG trained mind was setting up units using a different strategy, and I was getting smacked down in the process.

Despite the fact that I was getting a little annoyed with some of the aspects of gameplay, I haven’t given up on the game completely. This may end up being the answer to my lack of a gaming group who wants to play M:TG, as many people are going to be playing this game. I’m not spending any money on it though, until I’ve decided whether or not I really enjoy the game.

The only downfall to games like this, and the discussion has gone on among other sites I read about micro-transactions, is that people who spend more money will always have better shit. In EQ, you have to work to have that uber gear (unless you indulge the plat-sellers). In LoN, you will pay to get better shit, and those with a lot of money to burn will have better cards than you. So unless you can find a dedicated group that doesn’t spend any more than you do, you’re going to get your ass handed to you. I will only be purchasing cards if the game really takes off, and people I already play EQ2 with want to play that with me as well. Plus, I need to learn the game better than I know it now.