Everyone is trying to take the digital CCG genre in different directions lately. There is no hard-and-fast rule as to what makes a great CCG, and that’s the real beauty of this genre – nearly anything goes! What we end up with is a diverse game pool filled with innovations and meaningful gameplay experiences (okay… mostly!).
Warlords of Terra is a new game from developer M2R Games that is pushing the envelope even further with some very interesting ideas under the new self-proposed classification of BCCG (Battlefield Collectible Card Game). Warlords of Terra is currently on Kickstarter looking for backers to help bring the game to PC, Mac, and Linux, with later adaptations for Android and iOS planned.
Does the Alpha build do enough to sway us into backing Warlords of Terra? Read on to find out…
Warlords of Terra is a BCCG apparently, so what does that mean exactly? Well, for starters, your units (cards) can move anywhere across the 25-spaces on the battlefield in either a horizontal or vertical direction. This adds a level of realism to the ‘battlefield tactics’ style of gameplay. It makes positioning more relevant and allows you the ability to plan your tactics several moves in advance.
Gone is the basic two-lane style of card combat where cards trade attacks with one another using basic attack and defense statistics. Instead, your cards do have an attack value, but the defense is swapped with health and they have the addition of a speed value which determines the number of spaces that unit can move each turn.
The unique thing about movement here is that your unit can conduct multiple attacks in a single turn, so long as they survive the previous battles. Damage is dealt by both units at the same time and I argue this should always be the case in any card game with melee units. You can move and attack with as many units as you please — the only limitation is the (rather generous) timer that is given for each phase.
The objective is to win the game by reducing the life points of the opposing hero to zero. You can use your units or spells to accomplish this over the course of the game. Heroes add their own strategic value to the game with built-in abilities that cost Power. The better the ability, the higher its Power cost. I like to think of the Hero almost like a Magic: The Gathering Planeswalker in this regard, as you use mana to increase their power each turn.
The few innovative game mechanics make Warlords of Terra a very exciting prospect. Instead of the incremental resource system used in most CCGs, you are given just one each turn to start. To increase this, you will need to build constructs to increase your resource generation. These are located below the battlefield and can also have other special effects, such as damage or recovery effects.
Warlords of Terra also escapes the pitfalls that are suffered by most CCGs that use any kind of resource system, by allowing you to draw from two different decks. You can draw from the resource-generating Building deck or gain units from the Battle deck. The choice is yours, and with this system comes the promise that you’ll escape the dreaded mana-screw of other games. At the start of the game, you will draw 3 Buildings and 3 Units which you can mulligan if you find yourself with a bad opening hand.
Building the resources needed to invoke units or spells gives the game a slower pace than a traditional CCG, but it’s not too slow of a pace. Buildings cost Gold to construct, whilst units and spells cost Mana in order to invoke them. Balancing the resources is all down to the player, with very little margin for plain old luck to get in the way of a good game, thankfully!
There are plenty of aspects to Warlords of Terra that make for great entertainment. The different Kingdoms that house the varying races, creatures, and tactical advantages make for a diverse pool of cards and lore.
The artwork is quite stunning – even at this early stage. You can see that the battlefield is a little rough around the edges at the moment, but this can be excused as the game is still in Alpha. I’m sure that there will be a lot of clean-up before release and that the final version will look amazing. I’d love to see some clever animations and perhaps some interactive elements, but that’s just a suggestion from me!
There will be plenty of ways to earn and buy the in-game currency of Shields to then spend on booster packs and single cards. The developers also aim to bring us an in-game auction house for players to sell their unwanted cards for more currency. There will be a fee per transaction, of course — you’ll be very used to this if you’ve ever used a certain auction site online!
In addition to the auction house they also aim to (at a later date) bring a true trading system into the game, allowing friends to trade and sell directly to one another. For those of a more generous disposition there will also be a gift feature. I’m sure you’ll all be lining up to give me your most powerful cards, right? 😉
There will be several game modes available for you to play against fellow players. Every CCG features a casual and competitive scene and Warlords of Terra will be no different. Casual matches serve as a great way to spend time with friends and test deck ideas.
There will be a few exciting competitive modes for you to try your hand at upon release. A draft mode is promised with the usual style of knockout gameplay and a rewards system to match. I love drafting so I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out.
There will also be two tournament modes to suit most players. The main tournament is spread over two weeks and each match is played just like any other PvP match, with the difference being that you will earn ELO points. This will enable you to climb a ladder and at the end of the two weeks, if you are in the top 12, you can participate in a final knockout-style tournament.
The Fast Tournament is based on the final stages of the main tournament using the same knockout-style of elimination. Prizes in all modes are suited to your final placing, so the emphasis is on performing well.
There are nods towards a campaign mode. However, this is not a priority for the development team. If they get enough backing then you may well see one implemented as they really do want to tell a great story with Warlords of Terra. I’d love to see this, so hopefully people will back the game and the developers will have the finances needed to work on this.
Warlords of Terra is shaping up to be a great title, by the looks of it. There appears to be plenty of ambition and passion by the developers to make this a game you’ll want to play day after day. The fabulous card art is just one of those reasons.
I love the different approach to combat and allowing free movement across the battlefield, adding a spatial element to combat, and the ability for my units to attack anything along their path. You can make some really clever compound combos using this particular system. Warlords of Terra‘s strategic depth is far beyond the basic tactics seen in casual card battlers.
The real question is, has Warlords of Terra done enough to convince you of backing it on Kickstarter? For me personally, it has. I yearn for different gameplay experiences and I’m convinced that this will deliver exactly what I’m after. The Kickstarter presentation isn’t amazing, and the English is rather broken as they’re a foreign developer, but that shouldn’t deter you. I have every confidence that they’ll handle their English release with the utmost care… We can hope!
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