Category Archives: Review

Hearthstone: First Impression

Hello people, this is Geek Generation. My motherboard died last week, took me quite awhile to get a new one up and running again, but now i’m back.

I managed to get my hands on a Hearthstone beta key and have been trying it out after i got my computer working again. First thing i noticed about the game, read on its news page rather, is that there is a cap on the amount of gold you can earn, from play mode, from playing the game. Incidentally, for free players, this means there’s no point in sitting in front of the computer to play the entire day. But the cap is sufficiently large that players with one to two hours of play time daily would be unlikely to hit it.

The other two modes is practice and arena mode. Practice mode doesn’t earn you gold and is only good for leveling up your hero cards. You need to level up your hero cards to collect free hero specific cards. The arena mode is the tournament mode for Hearthstone and is unlocked by unlocking all ten hero cards. Once unlocked, the first entry is free. Entry fee is 150 gold at time of blogging.

Once entering an Arena tourney, you get to pick a card from three semi-random cards (you don’t keep the cards for your constructed decks). Picking the card, gives you your first card for your arena tourney. Then another three semi-random cards are presented and you pick from it. You pick cards in this way until you have a total of 30 cards which becomes your deck for the Arena tourney. You’re tourney run ends when you’ve accumulated three losses. I think rewards are probabilities calculated based on your number of wins. You can earn gold, arcane dust and even booster packs.

You can leave and return (quit application, reboot computer, reformat hard disk etc) at any time during the drafting process or in between matches. Though if you leave during a match itself, you accumulate a loss.

I think you get a quest every day (not sure if you still get the quest if you do not log in for the day) and can accumulate up to three quests. For most players, quests are the source of income. If, like me, you’re an average player with some experience in CCG competitive tourneys, my advice is to not spend any gold to buy booster packs. Spend it on Arena’s entry fees since you can get boosters and arcane dust from the Arena. You can level up your heroes in the Arena too.

Deck size is 30 cards, not counting the hero card. Maximum number of same-named copies of cards in a deck is two, except legendaries, which is one. The card pool is not huge, but there are ripe possibilities available to Hearthstone. If Blizzard so chooses, they could go the way of their upcoming moba and include lore from their other games like Diablo and Starcraft. Who won’t want to play Sarah Kerrigan as the heroine : D

zergling

First impression of the game is Star_FullStar_FullStar_FullStar_FullStar_Empty.

Duel of Champions: Review

Hello everyone, this is Geek Generation.

Duel of Champions is an online collectible card game that occupies a really neat niche at this point of time. With the advent of Blizzard’s Hearthstone in closed beta, people in forums have been suggesting to others who did not get a key to play Duel of Champions while waiting for Hearthstone’s release. Which is exactly how i came to know about Duel of Champions.

After playing awhile, i found that Duel of Champions is interesting enough to play as more than just a passing fancy, with the potential of serving as a core game for players who like this kind of games. Though the marketing department seems to be a little lacking. Even the website is outdated as there are now six factions instead of four. But the later two factions are more for advanced players as they’re not given as one of the choices for a beginner’s deck.

My choice of beginner’s deck was Inferno. The description of Inferno’s play style was, “Inferno is the ideal faction for players who enjoy an offensive gameplay. This faction relies heavily on destruction, discarding abilities and high damage at the cost of defense.“, which sounded pretty aggressive to me. My suggestion to players new to collectible card games is to pick an aggressive deck. I find that aggressive decks are generally more forgiving to mistakes that you make, which make them a good beginner’s choice, be it you’re new to CCG or familiar with CCG but just new to the game.

Aggressive decks are usually also Also aggressive decks make for fast games, which usually means you get to play more games for the same amount of time, which could be an important factor if you earn rewards for playing games. That is not to say that non-Inferno factions cannot be built to be aggressive. It’s just that with Inferno, the elements required for an aggressive deck is readily available in the beginner’s deck. There is a lesser need for key cards in rare or higher rarity as efficient cards are readily available in the common and uncommon rarities. Or at least until your ELO rating raises to a higher level where you are consistently paired with better players and better decks. By then you would’ve earned a substantial amount of currency to retrofit and improve your deck to handle the more difficult opponents.

Anyway.. when i first played the game, the first thing i noticed was that there was a huge number of play zones, zones where cards go to. More play zones means more complexity, which may be daunting to new players, though i find that the complexity is by no means a barrier. It’s not too difficult to identify the common components. Five lanes, traps in the middle, hero card, enchantments on top of hero card, library, graveyard, events, which together with mana, stats and life, sums up the entire board of the game.

Deck construction is a minimum of 1 hero card + 8 event cards + 50 playing cards. Event cards are the most peculiar aspect of the game which is the first i’ve encountered. Event cards are not shuffled into the library. They’re shuffled together with the opponent’s event cards forming a pool of 16 cards. At the beginning of the game, 2 event cards are drawn and every turn, a new event card is drawn and the oldest event card goes away and disappears. Both players can play any of the event cards if they chose to. Some event cards are ongoing effects that affect game play without needing to be played.

On his turn, a player increases the maximum mana production by 1 and draws a card. All playing cards come with required stats, which the player must build up over the course of the playing turns, in order to play the cards. Each turn, a player can choose to increase power/magic/fate by 1 or draw 1 additional card at the cost of 1 mana or play the hero ability if it has one. Hence a card like Frenzied Maniac, a 3/3/3 creature which costs 2 mana cannot be played on turn 2 (for most heroes) because it has a 3 power requirement, unless your hero begins the game with 2 power.

Which incidentally means that cards that provide additional mana is not as useful when compared to other CCGs. But that’s not to say that we can overlook such cards. An early Campfire -> Crusader Treasurer could easily seal the game if the opponent doesn’t draw any good cards.
– Crusader Treasurer, 2/2/6, costs 4 mana, requires 3 power, 1 fate, Income 2 (As long as this creature is in play, your resource production is increased by 2) (resource being the game’s mana).
– Campfire, costs 3 mana, requires 3 fate, Draw a card, gain 4 resource.

The stats takes some explaining. Radiant Glory is a 3/2/5 creature. Which means it has 5 health, deals 3 damage when it attacks, and deals 2 damage when attacked by an enemy melee/flying creature. Creatures are classed into melee, ranged and flying. Melee creatures can only be played into front column, ranged back column, and flying offers the flexibility of being able to be played into either columns. Rows as defined in the game is any of the horizontal lanes.

All in all, i’ll rate Duel of Champions as follows:

Nightbanes Review

Hello everybody, welcome back to Geek Generation. Today, i’m going to do my first game review. In my game reviews, i’ll generally talk about the game as a whole, the things that i like or do not like, the viability of free to play competitiveness and the hungriness of cash shop.

In this review, i’m going over a collectible card game Nightbanes by Diviad, the company that brought Ghost Trappers to ask via Facebook. Well, i assume it’s by Diviad since it uses the lore from one of Diviad’s games. At some point in the post i might be comparing it with Duel of Champions, also a free to play collectible card game but developed and published by other companies.

The game does not have any form of mana and each turn, the player can play only one card. It appears that the player cannot choose to not play anything in a turn. The speed of different cards are determined by the pips of bloodlust in the top of the card. Each creature fill a pip of bloodlust at end of turn and creatures can attack if they enter combat with all pips filled (meaning creatures cannot attack on the turn they’re summoned unless they do not have bloodlust pips or some other effect fills their pips).

The game complexity is rather simple, there are no lanes in the game. Or rather, there’s only one lane for summoned creatures to queue up in. Creatures attack the enemy hero during combat unless there’s another creature directly opposite of it in the enemy’s queue. In that case, the opposing creature is attacked instead.

Turn order of the game is as follows. Draw 3 cards (initial), play a card/hero ability, enter combat automatically, clean up phase + draw a card if a card was played. It seems that the player cannot choose not to play anything in a turn. Which kind of implies that mechanics like entire board clearing effects and disruption of cards in hands are not present in the game. Actually there might be cards that deal some damage to all enemy creatures, because i saw atleast one card that goes something like heal 2 to all creatures you control.

The mechanics in the game does seem a little limited. I’ve never managed to struggle to a win once the initiative was lost. Perhaps this is not the case in higher levels of gameplay with pools of rarer cards.

The game has a large variety of currency. There’s PVP tokens, blood pearls, blood rubies, blood diamonds. Quests gives pearls when completed and rubies when the quest level ups. You level up a quest by completing it a number of times.

As always, different currencies have different value. By value, i do not mean currency conversion. The shop sells a booster at 15 rubies or 30 diamonds. While this puts the conversion rate at 1 ruby to 2 diamond, diamond is still the more valuable currency since it’s a cash currency (bought with real cash). For some unfathomable reasons, there’s a cap on the amount of PVP tokens and rubies you can have in storage. I guess, possibly at a later stage, that there might be items for sale at a price higher than the cap and a way for players to unlock higher caps with diamonds, thereby generating more sales. I’m not sure if you can still earn rubies once you’ve hit the max levels for all your quests. There’s a daily login bonus that gives rubies though. Rubies are used to purchase boosters. So rubies are kind of the bread and butter currency for free to play players.

I played a PVP match and was paired with someone who’s deck doesn’t look like a starter deck. Perhaps i need to lose ELO rating to get paired with other players with starter decks. I lost the game, and earned a total of zero PVP tokens. Apparently i need to win a match to earn PVP tokens. That effectively puts PVP reward cards out of reach until i get the deck in order through the slow process of accumulating rubies.

Looking at the cash shop, i see the starter deck that i began with on sale for diamonds. You can’t even get other starters for in game money! In another section of the cash shop, labelled premium, i see cards sold for diamonds. And these cards have a logo that’s not part of any of the boosters. Does it mean that free to play players can never hope to own any of these cards?

In the end, comparing Nightbanes’s cash shop to Duel of Champions’s cash shop, Nightbanes has a very hungry cash shop. With exclusive cards and pvp reward cards locked away until later, competitiveness for a free to play player does not look optimistic.

Last but not least, the game has an energy system. A legacy adopted from facebook games. It could be used to limit the players from earning too much in game currency from the quests. This depends on whether rubies can be earned once the quests are at max level. If rubies can’t be earned from max level quests, then the energy system only serves to limit pearls, a currency that is much less valuable compared to rubies.

Edit: The issue of pvp matchmaking could be due to the game not having alot of players. I don’t have the numbers, but it is a possibility.