Legends of Runeterra Preview – Overwhelming the Competition

Could Riot Games be too late to the party with its take on the digital card game? Legends of Runeterra by and large missed the peak of the genre, which hit its stride with the release of Blizzard’s Hearthstone in 2014. Being bolstered by the unwavering League of Legends star power may not be enough to achieve its lofty goal; is there time to make up for the delay and convince players that Legends of Runeterra is the TCG they have been waiting for?

The answer to this last question is a resounding yes. Riot Games’ mediocre timing may turn out to be Legends of Runeterra’s greatest strength, as they didn’t have to enter a colossal and potentially destructive clash with Hearthstone. This also served another purpose, which was to see where Magic: The Gathering Arena would fit as a potential big-name competitor. The jury is out on this as well, declaring that the latest MTG card game poses no massive threat.

Legends of Runeterra Preview Card Combat

The World in Your Deck | Legends of Runeterra Preview

Riot Games clearly took a long, hard look at the competition and settled for what makes a first-rate digital card game. Legends of Runeterra is a fun game to watch, with a crisp and clean starting board with exactly the right amount of bells and whistles to look good without encumbering the screen. This is the kind of game that is likely to appeal to those who have stayed away from CCGs until now, since everything about it seems poised for perfection. League of Legends fans are in for a treat, as the Champions that they know and love come to life in new and innovative ways, often with a little bit of clever showboating, and they are joined by several new characters. It may be far from original, but this is fan service at its best.

Sure, there are some balance issues that the betas will hopefully iron out, and the in-game menus look simple but are somewhat bland and overcomplicated, when they should go straight to the point – why do I have to go to Collections to delete a deck, instead of having that option in Play as well?

When you and a challenger are facing each other over the board, the slightly warped perspective may take some getting used to, but a few minutes should do the trick. Furthermore, the way that the Legends of Runeterra decks are portrayed is beyond criticism, with crispy clean design and perfectly visible stats that never get into the way of your strategy. I would like to be able to instantly see the attack and health points for the cards that I’m holding, but this is a minor concern that can also be directed at Hearthstone.

Legends of Runeterra Preview Fast Spell

The cornerstone of Legends of Runeterra is the use of Champions, faces that you know and love from the MOBA. Prepare yourself to meet Jinx, Braum, Darius, Zed, Lux, Lucian, and others, coming from six regions of Runeterra: Shadow Isles, Ionia, Piltover & Zaun, Demacia, Noxus, and Freljord. You can have up to six Champion cards in your 40-card deck, with the rest being comprised of follower and spell cards. Champions should always be your focus in every match, as they come with valuable stats; furthermore, they can level up by fulfilling a special condition, turning them into devastating gamechangers – for Jinx, having a empty hand is the requirement, while Braum levels up by taking 10 damage. Never ignore Champion cards, as their damage dealing ability and resourcefulness is vital in the hands of a skilled player.

The catch is that Legends of Runeterra gives you a myriad of choices and tactical options, and them callously slaps you on the wrist for being greedy. All those beautiful units and spells are yours for the taking, but under one very succinct condition – you are limited to choosing cards from two regions, and no more than that. Experimenting with Champions and spells is going to take a long time, as every opponent that you face seems to take a different yet effective approach to decks. When you begin to feel comfortable with your selection, another rival comes by and obliterates the masterful strategy that you thought would be effective against every single player in the world. Matches are mostly about skill, but luck also plays a small role in the outcome as the right cards are drawn in the nick of time, especially the all-important fast spells that can turn the tide of a clash.

Legends of Runeterra Preview Decks

Elusive Is as Elusive Does | Legends of Runeterra Preview

Ignore the tutorials at your own peril. They may seem intimidating and a couple of them may even stump you, but this is where you’ll get useful info that is otherwise coming at the cost of many defeats. Besides, this is where you earn your first significant set of cards, getting closer to a proper deck. Legends of Runeterra seems fairly generous with its reward track, handing card after card during the tutorial, but also as you face other players. However, there’s a catch – you can only have one active region reward track. This means that the sooner you settle for a consistent and reliable deck, the better you’re going to be at earning new cards from your two preferred regions.

Your goal is to destroy the enemy Nexus using your cards to hit it, providing they aren’t blocked by rival cards. Such a simple approach develops into several layers of complexity, as you learn to deal with the intricacies of card effects such as Overwhelm and Elusive. The latter is particularly worrying, as these cards can only be blocked by another Elusive unit, paving the way for some unflinching Nexus takedowns in case you are not duly prepared.

Legends of Runeterra Preview Burst Spell

While it has a lot of catching up to do in terms of player base and content to properly rival Hearthstone, Legends of Runeterra seems to be on the right path. This is a game that is both entertaining to play and to watch, sporting an ambitious competitive tone while remaining within reach for those who have never tried a digital card game before. Riot Games is determined to prove that there’s more to it than League of Legends, and Legends of Runeterra is just the first of many cards that it has up its sleeve.

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Magic: ManaStrike Interview: Producer Kay Kim on the Origins and Future of the Game

Magic: ManaStrike is a new way to play Magic: The Gathering on Android and iOS, offering a take on the card game that pushes it closer to games such as Clash Royale and Minion Masters. Following our review and the addicting gameplay that it boasts, we had the opportunity to speak with Kay Kim, the Netmarble US Producer for this game.

In our interview, Kim will talk about how the opportunity to develop Magic: ManaStrike came up, how players are reacting to the game, what is planned for the future, and discusses the possibility of taking the game into eSports territory.

Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

I’m Kay Kim, the Netmarble US producer for Magic: ManaStrike.

How would you describe Magic: ManaStrike to new players?

Magic: ManaStrike takes the Magic: The Gathering franchise and places it in a whole new genre—real-time PVP strategy. Players take the role of a Planeswalker, a powerful character who can summon monsters and spells from their deck to win the battle on a 3D real-time battlefield. Additionally, the Planeswalkers themselves can enter the battlefield. They come equipped with unique special skills which, if used strategically, can turn the tide of battle.

When did you acquire the Magic: The Gathering license, and did you immediately feel that it would be a good fit for the real-time PvP genre, or were other game concepts studied as well?

The original Magic: The Gathering game is a great strategy game with a 26-year history so, when we were approached by Wizards of the Coast to come up with a new gameplay experience for Magic on mobile platforms, we were excited. We realized it would be great to blend the strategy of the core card game with the fun and depth of a Player vs. Player (PvP) battler. We really wanted to bring the characters, creatures, and spells of Magic rendered in full 3D models on mobile.

From there, we worked closely with Wizards of the Coast to make sure it lined up with the rich history of the constantly-expanding Magic multiverse. We believe that the game will appeal to strategy gamers worldwide. It’s easy to pick up, but with a depth of strategy that will pose a challenge to master, all with the incredible characters and lore that Magic: The Gathering offers as a fantasy brand.

Magic ManaStrike Interview Planeswalker

How would you convince non-Magic: The Gathering fans to give Magic: ManaStrike a go?

This game is a combination of a fantastic IP with a lot of story behind it, and fun, rewarding gameplay. If you’re new to the Magic: The Gathering franchise, don’t worry! Magic: ManaStrike uses a new gameplay style that will be enjoyable for all players, but stays true to Magic: The Gathering’s roots. You can learn about the different monsters and spells as you play the game, and you can experiment with different Planeswalkers to discover which one is the best fit for you. And along the way, you’ll learn a little bit about their history and personalities.

And of course, you’ll be winning matches, leveling up cards, and getting more and more great rewards.

Many players are comparing the game with Clash Royale. However, I would say that it looks more like Minion Masters. Are you a fan of these games, and if so, how does Magic: ManaStrike improves on them?

At Netmarble, we are gamers first. We play many games across many platforms so we make games we want to play because then we know players will love them too. Magic: ManaStrike allows players to come in and learn the mechanics of the game. As their experience grows, players start to strategize more and become more engrossed in the game. Seasoned players can also come in and enjoy it right away. We feel we’ve created a game nearly anyone can love.

Magic ManaStrike Interview Nissa Revane

Can you tell us which one is your favorite Planeswalker in Magic: ManaStrike, and why?

Tezzeret is my favorite because of his high versatility in attacks. His basic attack is a huge AoE damage to ground units; when deployed, he summons an additional aerial unit which does an AoE attack as well. Tezzeret’s Gravity Sphere skill is great because it will pull enemies close to an area and stun them for a second. And his funky reggae hairstyle and general appearance look awesome in my opinion.

How is the overall player reaction to game balance, including the game-changing Planeswalker abilities?

Of course, players always have opinions about what is and isn’t working in the game. We have a discord where players actively discuss what they think. And we relay that feedback to the developers. Also, what might seem over- or under-powered early on might be viewed differently later. Regarding Planeswalkers specifically, some powers are more situational than others. Finding the best times and ways to use them can often turn a match around but will often require more strategic thinking.

That being said, we are carefully monitoring the game and will adjust things as necessary to ensure balanced gameplay.

Clearly a lot of work went into the presentation of the game, particularly the Planeswalkers. Was it an arduous task making all these stunning artworks come to life in the arena, given the small size of the units?

Using the Unity engine and working closely with the Wizards of the Coast team, we took our time to ensure the artwork stayed true to what Magic players have come to love while still putting our spin on it and bringing our expertise in mobile gaming.

Magic ManaStrike Interview Jace Beleren

Do you plan on adding new Planeswalkers and cards in the future? What kind of timeframe can we expect for content updates?

We are always adding new content to our games and looking for fun ways to keep our games fresh. As you know, we have just launched the game so right now we are focused on providing a great experience and ensuring players enjoy the game. There will be updates coming soon though, so stay tuned.

Do you have plans to take the game into eSports territory?

We aim to make our games as fun as possible for players. There is always a possibility for future esports plans if the demand is there from fans.

Anything else that you would like to add about Magic: ManaStrike?

We are very proud of what we’ve built for players and hope they continue to enjoy the game. And keep in touch. There’s more Magic: ManaStrike to come!

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The Elder Scrolls: Legends – Moons of Elsweyr Exclusive Reveal

It definitely seems like Sparkypants Studios really kicked The Elder Scrolls: Legends into high gear. It wasn’t too long ago that the Alliance War expansion was released and Moons of Elsweyr is right around the corner. Once again, we’ve partnered with the studio to bring you an exclusive card release: Reanimate!

The Elder Scrolls: Legends – Moons of ElsweyrWhile it might seem a bit expensive for its effect, Reanimate could definitely swing a game in favor of control heavy decks. Not only does it unconditionally bring a creature back to life but ‘Summon’ effects will also trigger. This could mean a second Miraak or Kaalgrontiid. Scarier yet, with the right strategy these could even be played a few turns early.

Here’s some additional commentary from Community Manager Christian Van Hoose:

Reanimate is a simple card with a big effect. While nine magicka is an incredibly high cost for an Action, this card’s effect can be worth a lot more – you can have your choice of any creature in your discard pile and summon it to the board immediately. Endurance cards have been able to summon creatures from the discard pile before, but rarely with no restrictions like Reanimate. Players will even be able to “cheat” huge creatures to the board by discarding them from their hand or deck earlier in the game. If you have an Alduin (whose cost starts at 20) in your discard pile by the time you can play Reanimate, it’s not going to matter that you don’t have 20 magicka – you’ll be able to play it right then and there!

The Elder Scrolls: Legends – Moons of Elsweyr

Moons of Elsweyr will bring more than 75 new cards to The Elder Scrolls: Legends on June 27!

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A Look at The Elder Scrolls: Legends Alliance War

With the official release of The Elder Scrolls: Legends Alliance War, Sparkypants Studios has released its first full-fledged expansions since taking over the digital CCG from Dire Wolf Digital. Earlier this year, Sparkypants also released the Isle of Madness story chapter, which featured an interactive story (similar to how Hearthstone used to do Adventures) and a specific amount of cards at a set price. This was a great addition to the game, as it added a bit of flavor while granting players access to a set of 55 cards for a fair price that managed to supplement the previous card sets while adding the new ‘double card’ mechanic.

However, Alliance War is an entire expansion that introduces more than 100 cards (104 to be exact), four new game mechanics, and five new triple-attribute factions representing the Aldmeri Dominion, Daggerfall Covenant, Ebonheart Pact, Empire of Cyrodiil, and Guildsword. Surely this will shake up the meta!

The Elder Scrolls Legends Alliance War


The Perfect Combination

With the introduction of the 5 new factions, it’s now possible for players to make every 3-color attribute combination currently in the game. This leads to a lot of new creative combinations and lets players easily build decks around the strengths and weakness present in each attribute. However, the downside, similar to the Houses of Morrowind, is that 3-color decks require a minimum of 75 cards instead of the standard 50. When it comes to pulling out complex combos, or top decking the winning card, more is not better.

In order to compensate for an increased deck size, new triple attribute cards have been introduced and many of which are incredibly powerful or offer excellent value. For Example, Jorunn the Skald-King is a 5-cost Ebonheart Pact Legendary who is a 5/5, immune to silence, reduces friendly creature costs by 1, and makes enemy non-creatures cost 1 more. That’s an incredible value, especially if he can stick around for more than 1 turn. However, even the lowly 2-cost Guildsworn Apprentice is a great 1/2 that has Prophecy, Guard, and draws a card.

All in all, each of the new factions comes with a set of complementary triple attribute cards that either carry excellent value or have powerful mechanics. Some of the cards do require proper setup, such as Ayrenn’s Chosen, but many will likely become deck staples.

The Elder Scrolls Legends Alliance War


A Plethora of Abilities

Usually, new card keywords are introduced one or two at a time, but in Alliance War there are a total of four new mechanics to play with: Veteran, Empower, Expertise, and Mobilize. Veteran grants creatures a new ability after their first attack, Empower boosts a card in your hand when an opponent is damaged, Expertise buffs a card on the battlefield after playing an item, support or action, and Mobilize allows you to play an item to an empty lane attached to a 1/1 recruit.

While it’s nice to have new toys to play with, a few of these mechanics are quite clunky while others require high rolling to be effective. We’ll start by looking at Mobilize. In theory, it’s nice to have an option to play an item without requiring a creature. However, this keyword limits an item’s power in favor of flexibility because if it was too strong then mobilize items would be auto include in every deck. Most of the Mobilize items wouldn’t be great played on the curve, either on a creature or attached to a recruit.

However, there are a couple that stand out, such as the Ebonthread Cloak that can be useful at all stages in the game by providing action immunity to important creatures. Cruel Axe could also see uses against aggressive decks either to trade early or pump up a guard creature. Unfortunately, the rest of the items just seem too costly to use, especially the shiny Covenant Masterpiece that does just about everything but isn’t good enough in one area.

The Elder Scrolls Legends Alliance War

Veteran seems to be in a slightly better place than mobilize but is still a little awkward to play with. It gives creatures a bonus if they survive their initial attack, which means they’re typically weak if played on the curve. There are some interesting options, however, such as the Pact Shieldbearer that increases the opponent’s action costs by 4 the next turn. It doesn’t have charge so your opponent has one turn to play around it by either killing it, or dumping actions that round, so its effectiveness can be marginalized by a good player. Then there’s Invoker of the Hist, which completely restores your magicka after its first attack; definitely a high-roller’s dream.

Then there’s Expertise, which seems to be a little more conservative with its value swings. Most of the cards with Expertise are already decent on the curve and the bonuses are typically smaller such as +1/+1 or 2 damage to your opponent. There are some good value options including the 3-cost 4/3 Vanus’s Scribe that reduces the cost of an action in your hand. Of course, there’s also Vanus Galerion himself at 11-magicka that deals 3 damage, heals you for 3, and lets you draw 3 cards. It might be difficult to pull off, but if you do the game’s probably over at that point.

Finally, we come to Empower. I found this keyword to be the best out of the bunch because it’s attached to some very powerful cards and has even created a new deck archetype. Empower boosts cards in different ways based on how many times an opponent has been damaged. Spoils of War, for example, is a 5-cost action that lets you draw 2 cards. Normally, this would be terrible but its cost is decreased by 1 each time the opponent is damaged; in certain decks it’s not difficult to cast this for free. Entire decks are being constructed around the new Soul Shred card, which mills the opponent’s deck based on how many attributes they’re playing and how much damage they’ve taken in a turn. With the right setup, it’s possible to make your opponent discard their entire deck, and then all that’s left is the cleanup.

The Elder Scrolls Legends Alliance War



Overall, Alliance War has introduced some powerful new cards, play options, and interesting mechanics, but the game itself still has a lot of room to grow. Furthermore, this set has fallen into the same trap as previous Elder Scrolls: Legends sets and has ignored most of the previous archetypes that were setup in past expansions.

This typically wouldn’t be a problem, but each past set felt like it spread itself too thin and didn’t give a lot of deckbuilding options for unique card types. Alliance War didn’t include multi-attribute cards for any of the past combinations, nor was there a single dragon, factotum, double card, or card with exalt, plot, rally or betray keyword. It just feels like a waste to create all of these different card ideas and then only use them for a single set.

Thankfully, Sparkypants is picking up the pace this year and already have 3 more expansions planned out through 2019. Hopefully they’ll start to minimize the amount of new keywords and card types and shift to fleshing out the vast amount that are already available in the game.

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Sneak Peek at Eternal: Defiance Cards

We’ve teamed up with Dire Wolf Digital to reveal 4 of all new Eternal: Defiance cards from their exciting CCG’s newest expansion which drops this week. Below are just 4 of the 278 new cards that are being introduced to the game. Plus, after the cards there’s more on the new Pledge system which is also being introduced in the expansion.

As you can see, most notably on Syl there is the new mechanic called Pledge. Quite simply Pledge cards can be played as a sigil during a player’s first turn. This gives them unique flexibility based on the amount of power vs non-power cards in-hand. If you’re interested in learning even more about how this new system works Dire Wolf has made a blog post about it and given real, in-game examples of how it will work.

Eternal has had a very busy month so far. They’ve already launched on Steam and Xbox One. They also launched their esports program with a $5,000 cash tournament that will ultimately lead to a $100,000 World Championship.

If you haven’t already checked out Eternal you can do so on Steam, iOS, Android, and Xbox One. It is a free to play turn based strategy card game that boasts unlimited choices and infinite possibilities.

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Valve Tweaks the Monetization Model for Artifact

Artifact, the online CCG being launched by Valve, is already making some waves before it even enters beta…and not the good kind. Complaints regarding the “pay for everything” style of the Artifact monetization scheme has prompted backlash from potential players and a bit of adjustment by the game’s publisher.

artifact monetization

As we reported earlier this year, Artifact is a buy-to-play game that requires you to pay additional money for card boosters or to purchase cards from the in-game marketplace. The only in-game way to earn cards would be through winning draft events, which require you to use an Event Ticket — another item that’s bought with real money.

On top of these paywalls, players have expressed their dismay about the fact that cards from said boosters are almost always the same you’d get from the base game, making them ultimately worthless in the marketplace.

In response to at least a few of these concerns, Valve has penned a dev blog post that will introduce some changes in the next beta builds. An option to create a draft event with friends will be included, and a Casual Phantom Draft mode in Casual Play will let players practice the draft style of gameplay without burning an Event Ticket. Additionally, a system will be included that lets players recycle unwanted cards into event tickets.

Nothing in the blog post, however, addressed any of the other paywall complaints.

The draft options will be available with today’s public beta, while the card recycling system will go live over the next week or so along with other beta improvements.

Our Thoughts

The dev blog reads to us like they’re slowly walking back changes to see just how much paywalling they can actually get away with, which probably won’t sit well with fans of online CCGs. Especially when there are other, more freely open and available digital card games out there.

Sources: PC Gamer, official site

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Hearthstone’s New Expansion: Rastakhan’s Rumble!

Let out a Roar you Trollish fans! Hearthstone has unleashed it’s next major expansion at this year’s Blizzcon, unveiling it’s third and final expansion in the Year of the Raven. Anticipated to be the biggest digital card game this year by SuperData, raking in almost $414 Million Globally, Hearthstone releases its new expansion in varying years, rotating out older expansions at the end of the cycle so new players can jump in comfortably with the latest card packs and without needing to buy a sheaf of the older content. Its newly announced expansion, Rastakhan’s Rumble, is poised to honor this tradition with its December 4th global release on PC and Mobile.

For those of you not currently tuned into the World of Warcraft and its sizeable lore, Rastakhan is the king of the Zandalari Tribe, the greatest and most powerful troll empire to ever grace Azeroth. His importance can’t be understated, as he even features in Patch 8.1’s upcoming raid, The Battle of Dazar’alor. Rastakhan makes his mark upon Hearthstone with an event so powerful it, “only occurs once in a generation,” where every troll of every tribe across Azeroth unites in a great event to honor the Loa, their spiritual wild gods. Gathering in Stranglethorn’s Gurubashi Arena, the Loa have selected their teams and are now ready for Rastakhan’s Rumble!

The Class Champions of the Rumble.

Trolls are the name of the game in this Hearthstone expansion, and no toe has been left uncounted in that regard. Alongside a slew of new cards, every class has been drafted onto a Loa’s team and has not only received a Legendary Troll Champion card as their team captain, but the Loa themselves have joined the brawl as Legendary cards designed to act as match closers. We detail the full list below:

Druids have been brought to the forefront by Wardruid Loti and Gonk, the Raptor Loa for Gonk’s Raptors. One of the most savage teams on the battlefield, Druid cards will focus on maximizing their offensive destruction from brambly skin to razored claws of every kind.

Hunters have been summoned by the great Zul’jin of the Amani to serve Halazzi, the wily Lynx Loa. Together, Halazzi’s Lynxes are perhaps one of the most aggressive and cunning teams, building long-reaching plans of strategy to hunt and crush their enemies.

Mages must answer the call of Hex Lord Malacrass and his prayers to Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk Loa. Jan’alai’s Dragonhawks devastate the field with powerful magics and primal spell casts, often playing off of the Mage’s hero powers to weave intricate words of destruction.

Paladins have been bidden by High Priest Thekal, the immortal prophet of Shirvallah. Together, Shirvallah’s Tigers forge an army of zealots, where the most pious become truly immortal through their god’s powers, returning from the battlefield only to be summoned again.

Priests must serve Princess Talanji and the newest patron of the Zandalari, Bwonsamdi, the Loa of Death. Her future sold for the survival of her people, Bwonsamdi’s Zombies revel in the destructive powers of the shadows and necromancy, wreaking terrible destruction only to reap enemies back into their service.

Rogues head the call of the greatest pirate in the south seas, Captain Hooktusk. Bidden by the Shark Loa, Gral’s Sharks look to win the Rumble as slyly as they can, often bending the rules until they break and taken every opportunity to cheat their way to victory.

Shaman have been called to heed Zentimo, the last Witch Doctor of the might Frog Loa. Together, Krag’wa’s Frogs unleash the most potent Hexes that Shaman can weave, blasting the battlefield with one of the more magic-heavy compositions yet seen from a Shaman Hearthstone expansion.

The Warlocks are the most villainous group of the Rumble, aiming to win by any means necessary. Led by High Priestess Jeklik, Hir’eek’s Bats will throw away even the very souls of their own team members if it will secure a victory for their twisted Loa.

Last and certainly not least, Warriors will find a like and violent mind with War Master Voone. Akali’s Rhinos have only one strategy in their mind, and that is to deliver as much punishment with the heaviest armor possible. To them, if the problem can’t be solved by hitting things, its a problem not worth solving.

Rastakhan's Rumble

The Spirit of the Shark, one of the new Spirit cards for the Rogue class.

Things do not simply begin and end with the Champions of the Loa in Rastakhan’s Rumble; while they potentially offer devastating effects such as Hex Lord Malacrass’s battlecry adding your starting hand back into your current one, they are not the crux of strategy. Instead the Loa have gifted their teams with new Spirit cards to do battle with. These new Spirit Cards are based on that particular class’ Loa, and are designed to be a resilient, continuous buff for their team while on the field. Yu-Gi-Oh! players might equate them similar to Field or Continuous Spell Cards. The Warlock Spirit of the Bat card allows the player to sacrifice their creatures, giving a minion in your hand +1/+1 for each friendly minion that perishes on the battlefield.

In addition to new Spirit, Loa and Legendary cards comes a new card type: Overkill. Designed around the idea of truly humiliating an opponent in the gladiatorial combat that the Gurubashi Arena is known for, Overkill allows certain cards to re-enact their effects every time it kills a character. One of the weapons demoed at Blizzcon, Sul’thraze, also possesses Overkill, allowing it to continuously attack if it can kill a minion with a weapon attack. This new Overkill option allows players to create devastating combo effects, chaining cards like the Warlock Hellfire together with Sul’thraze to potentially wipe an entire arena clean of late-game monsters.

With the launch of Rastakhan’s Rumble will also come a new singleplayer mode. Rumble Run will allow you to choose one of the troll champions and climb the ranks of the Gurubashi Arena, slaughtering your way to fame and glory in the name of your Loa. Much like Dungeon Run from Kobolds and Catacombs, you’ll begin with a small deck of cards and receive new ones in succession through each battle. Completing all of the challenges in Rumble Run will reward players with an exclusive card back.

Rastakhan's Rumble

Sul’thraze the Lasher, one of the new Overkill cards for the Rumble.

Prior to its December 4th release, Blizzard is also offering two pre-order bundles for Rastakhan’s Rumble. The first is a 17-card pack entitled the Challenger’s Bundle, packaged with an exclusive cardback. The second, the Rumble Bundle, comes with 50 card packs and includes King Rastakhan himself as an alternate Shaman Hero for players to select.

A new expansion for Hearthstone is desperately need and fully appreciated, especially when looking at the competition Blizzard will soon be facing in the CCG market; Valve’s Artifact sets to debut just later this month and the already highly successful Magic: The Gathering Arena is in beta and quickly approaching its launch state. An expansion now is just what the Witch Doctor ordered, and looks to close out Hearthstone’s Year of the Raven with a true Shirvallan Roar.

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The Elder Scrolls: Legends Interview – Sparkypants

Recently, the development of Bethesda’s CCG, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, changed hands from Dire Wolf Digital to Sparkypants Studios, which is mostly known for its real-time strategy game Dropzone. According to Bethesda, this shift was to better support the players and provide more regular updates to the game. In order to help clear up some confusion regarding the change, we spoke with Sparkypants’ QA manager Gavin Niebel.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends Sparkypants


Hello and thank you for taking the time to speak with MMOGames. Could you please introduce yourself and role with the company?

Hey there, thanks for taking the time to reach out to us. My name is Gavin Niebel and I am the QA Manager here at Sparkypants, but you can also find my hands in production, community management, and some bug fixing.


How long ago did Sparkypants know that it was going to take over development of The Elder Scrolls: Legends and what kind of preparations did you make?

I believe final paperwork was signed in the last week of December 2017, so preparation was a large combination of getting an engine design spun up as well as playing massive amounts of matches using the version of the game that was already live. A lot of us are not only fans of Elder Scrolls lore, but very much into card games and board games, so you could say that everything leading up to this collaboration with Bethesda was unknowingly a form of preparation.


What are some of the key changes that you plan to make to the game?

What you have already seen with our UI and art direction is obviously one of the biggest changes we planned to make. Beyond that, we definitely want to improve upon the frequency of updates for our players; new cards, new stories, new puzzles, as well as more customization options like new playmats, more cardbacks, and customizable avatars.


I heard that you’re working on a new Tournament game mode. What are some of its features and what can players expect from it?

We definitely have some plans in this regard but, as you’ll see in the last question, our first goal is to get the game in great shape and with a platform we can reliably build upon. So, unfortunately, I can’t reveal anything on this just yet.


Previously, players were rewarded with a new card at the end of every season based on their ranking. Will this feature be coming back?

Yes, absolutely. October’s card may be delayed a few days but after that you can expect a normal cadence for the monthlies!


Will there be any new ways in which players can earn in-game currency or unlock cards?

We’ll explore all aspects of the game once we are on a stable footing but there’s not much I say on this right now.


Do you plan to continue to produce story chapters, similar to The Fall of The Dark Brotherhood?

Yes, without a doubt. We have one in the works right now, which Pete mentioned during QuakeCon called, Isle of Madness. And while I have no official announcement about 2019 plans, I can say for sure our intention is to continue to produce more story chapters. We look forward to the response from our players.


We’ve heard that the next expansion will be Isle of Madness. Is there anything that you can tell us about it, such as new cards, archetypes or abilities?

Unfortunately there isn’t anything I can really say at this point, other than what has already been announced. There will be about 40+ new cards and the story will be broken up into three parts. You’ll just have to wait for Bethesda’s own CVH to release more information in the coming weeks.


What does the future look like for The Elder Scrolls: Legends?

Very, very busy! Not only are we working on pushing out more updates to add layers of polish, we have the FrostSpark Collection coming very soon, adding 11 new cards to the game to hopefully shake up the existing meta. Beyond that, we’re working on the next story expansion, Isle of Madness, and more to come in 2019.


Is there anything else that you would our readers to know about the game?

By far our top priority is to continue polishing the game. Legends is a broad game. We completely re-created an excellent game that had been in development for years: client, game servers, backend services, operations, player migration, all of it. Realistically, it will take a few updates to shake out all the systems, to get into some real polish, and to start getting in some much-requested features. Hopefully players are starting to see that with the first couple of updates.

Simply put, all of us at Sparky are here for the players. That’s all we care about. We’re dedicated to making TESL shine brighter than ever before. We read all your comments on reddit and other social media, and really, it’s all about prioritizing. We’re working hard as hell to get as many fixes out the door, as fast as possible, so bear with us if some bugs take longer to fix than others. We’ll get there. Promise.


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Artifact and Valve Clarify Chat Moderation Statements

Judging solely on earlier word about Artifact chat, it’d perhaps be easy to assume the game would be a smoldering landscape of text-based toxicity. After some clarification from both the devs of the CCG and Valve, that doesn’t appear to quite be the case.

artifact chat

According to statements from programmer Jeep Barnett, the chat system being used in-game isn’t being made by Artifact itself but from the Steam devs.

“I don’t want to commit to features that other people at the company are then going to have to do,” said Barnett. “I don’t want to come back to the office and have a bunch of people yell at me like ‘why are you promising to have these things that we’re not planning on doing or are planning on doing?’”

When pressed about the matter, Valve confirmed that the option to entirely shut chat off will be included in the full game – a feature that was then confirmed by Barnett: “If you don’t want to hear what other people are saying, you can turn them off,” he said.

Further details on other chat moderation tools being implemented by Valve are expected to be confirmed at some point later.

Our Thoughts

Hopefully the ability to have digital loudmouths scream mindlessly into the void will alleviate some of the reservations people have about Artifact. As much fun as multiplayer games can be, often hell can be other people as well. It’s an interesting catch-22.

Source: IGN

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Hearthstone’s August Ranked Play Season Offers a Lemony Fresh Card Back

One of the oldest pieces of advice is “when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” And while that can perhaps be more difficult when it comes to the lemons of online multiplayer losses on account of all the salt, the new Hearthstone August ranked season is taking that advice to heart in a fresh and crisp new card back.

hearthstone august ranked season

The prerequisite for getting the Lemonade card back you see above is pretty simple. All you’ve got to do is win five games in any Rank in either Standard or Wild formats and Hearthstone will pour your card decks a refreshing glass of Lemonade at the end of the August season.

This new card back will be a guaranteed reward on top of the usual Ranked Play reward chests players unlock, which are based on the highest rank earned over the length of a season. Chests include other items like seasonal card backs, Arcane Dust, and golden cards.

In other Hearthstone news, the game continues to ramp up excitement for its upcoming Boomsday Project expansion with a number of pre-release events, including livestreams, pre-release parties and Fireside Brawls over the weekend of August 4-5. All of the details for those can be found here.

Our Thoughts

We adore the sentiment of the Lemonade card back, and while the requirements to unlock it aren’t what one would call taxing, the whole thing does strike as a nice bit of sunshine-y fun to what is perhaps the more serious, cloudy experience of Ranked play.

Source: official site

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