I spent most of the the morning doing a few of the one player PvE maps, I have reached Rank 4 in PvE (so now I have a full account and can trade cards rather than just being able to buy boosters) and the world map now looks like this:
The scenarios are quite varied from attack missions like the tutorial (but harder and with a full deck of cards) to defence where you have to keep an area safe for a certain period of time and escort missions where you have to protect a unit as it tries to get to the other side of the map. Most seem to have hero units who, while powerful, are mission critical. Most of the time you also have AI allies working with you. Completing these scenarios also gives you upgrade cards, these cards cannot be traded but can be used to upgrade stats on cards in your collection. For example the first upgrade card for the Master Archers increases their damage slightly.
I have also played about with the rest of the cards in the starter deck. Based on the 8 cards I have of each colour I would say that Fire focuses on attack, and has very good aggressive cards, Frost is more suited to defence, with many of the units becoming better when stationary (some are unable to attack at all when the haven’t been locked in position with their special power), Shadow has lots of spells, mostly drawing from corpses on the battlefield, even some of the Shadow units can do this and Nature has lots of healing, be it in the form of spells or just units that naturally regenerate.
My first experiments with deck building were a disaster. Rather than using the suggested decks of Nature/Shadow and Frost/Fire I decided to combine Fire with Shadow, this wouldn’t have been a problem except in the 16 cards I have of those two types there is only a single card that requires one Orb. Even that wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t an immovable unit that only has the ability to self destruct. I’ll stick to the suggested decks for the time being though Nature and Frost should work fine with the Play 4 Free cards.
The Forge is important for learning how your cards work and which ones work well together. I like Master Archers and I like Tremor, they are both good, but which is best? There’s only one way to find out!
It turns out that Tremor wins. Hardly surprising when you consider the cost of each though, but this is exactly what the forge is there to find out. What if you spend the same amount on Archers as you do on Tremor? Who wins then? Well Tremor can still take out most of them, particularly if they are close together and he uses his ground slam power to knock them over, but they will get him in the end if the person controlling them is not stupid.
OK, I have learnt the ropes, but I’m not going to go back to the cooperative campaign just yet, time for a bit of PvP.
Selecting Sparing Grounds on the map shows you any open games you can join or allows you to create a new game. There is one 2v2 game open so I join it. The next screen shows you the players in the lobby, their rank and their deck (though not the actual cards), I only noticed afterwards looking at the screenshot just how one-sided this is. The map on the other hand is completely symmetrical, much like you would expect in the skirmish mode of any RTS.
The game starts off with an initial rush to capture monuments and Power wells, I took a bit longer than I possibly should have as I was building up a defence at the same time, but base building is not always the best strategy in this game it seems, (at least not with my deck, I am sure that with the right deck it would be viable) as it was not long before I had a Juggernaut banging at my gates…
And then at my next defensive spot… by this point I have less Orbs so the creatures I can summon are not very good. I try making lots of them to make up for it but they are no match for the tier 4 creatures that stomping on them.
Finally (it hasn’t been that long really) they turn up at my starting base, I desperately try to reinforce it with towers but it is too late, most of the towers are destroyed without firing a single shot due to the time they take to build.
So do I suck at PvP? Or is it because my opponents, unlike me, had spent some money on the cards? That Juggernaut and several of the others are certainly not in the Play 4 Free decks. Is PvP only fun if you have at least spent some money on cards? I shall be sure to tell you when I have had another go…