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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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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Magic: The Gathering Arena Announces its Open Beta Date

If our review whet your appetite for Magic: The Gathering Arena or you’re just looking forward to more people to face off against, then your opportunity is fast approaching. The Magic: The Gathering Arena open beta has gotten its confirmed start date along with some other noteworthy updates.

magic: the gathering arena open beta

MTG Arena already boasts itself as the most complete digital form of the original CCG to date, but open beta a number of new updates including new battlegrounds, new music and new art. The open beta will also see the Guilds of Ravnica card set arrive to the game, along with the new Sealed Events mode.

The digital game is also building a bridge into the real world with some special promotions. Every Guilds of Ravnica Planeswalker deck will also include a code to bring that same deck to Arena, and every prerelease pack will include a code for one entry into a Sealed Event in the digital CCG. Those who buy booster packs in the real world can also get a chance to unlock three free boosters in Arena. Bear in mind, however, that these offers are all limited to one per account.

MTG Arena will make its global arrival to open beta on Thursday, September 27th at 1pm PDT/4pm EST.

Our Thoughts

While the game’s monetization model is still something others will likely rub their chins and ponder, it’s clear that Magic: The Gathering Arena is the most true-to-life representation of the physical CCG in the digital space. That will likely be more than enough for fans of this game to hop in.

Source: press release

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Gwent Confirms Homecoming and Thronebreaker Release Dates

Perhaps now players of Gwent can stop being worried. The delayed Gwent: Homecoming release dates and the Thronebreaker release dates have both been announced, pulling the Witcher CCG out of beta at long last and releasing as a full title along with the game’s standalone single-player experience.

gwent: homecoming release dates

Both the Homecoming launch update and Thronebreaker will arrive to GOG on PC Tuesday, October 23rd, while Xbox One and PS4 players will have to wait until Tuesday, December 4th for the titles to arrive on their platform of choice. The Gwent devs apologize for the delay, but mention that console players can expect complimentary Kegs as recompense for the wait.

For those who haven’t been keeping up, Homecoming is a paradigm shift for Gwent in a number of ways. Most notable is the addition of 3D models to the game, offering more dynamic visuals for both the cards and your chosen leader, who now stands aside the game board. The board has also been narrowed to only two lanes and a number of adjusted mechanics will be in play. A video from earlier in the month offers a more detailed breakdown of how it all works.

Thronebreaker, meanwhile, is offering 30 hours of single-player adventure that tells the story of Meve. The game promises to provide narrative-focused exploration, puzzles and card game battle mechanics in one single package.

A more recent video from the Gwent team confirming the release dates and showing off more of the new visuals was also part of the announcement. That can be seen below.

Our Thoughts

Wow, what a change! It has, admittedly, been a very long time since we’ve taken at peek at Gwent, but now that the game has a full release date confirmed it seems high time to revisit this addictive Witcher mini-game turned CCG.

Sources: official site, Twitter

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Artifact Will Not Have Free Cards or Chat Moderation

Most games are keen to tell you about the features that will be included in a game, but Artifact is perhaps most telling for what it won’t have. Namely, Artifact monetization will currently not include any way to earn free cards and the game’s chat will not include any form of moderation.

artifact monetization

In an interview with programmer Jeep Barnett and lead designer Richard Garfield, it was revealed that Artifact will cost $20 up front, which grants you two starter decks and ten random card packs. The game will not include any way of earning cards through play. Cards can currently be earned in one of two ways; real-world money purchasing of packs, or bartering of individual cards in an in-game marketplace.

According to the interview, this decision was made in order to avoid the “suboptimal experiences” of free play according to Garfield.

“It’s not pay to win. It’s pay to participate. We expect top-tier play to include a lot of common cards. We also make sure that rare cards that are there are not so rare they drag prices up.”

As for chat, Artifact will include one-on-one chat between yourself and your opponent, but once again does not currently have any features that will allow a person to report bad actors or even involve any sort of direct moderation plan. According to Barnett’s response, it appears the devs of the game are hoping that a lack of an audience for someone being a digital a-hole will be moderation enough:

“Psychologically, we find that people misbehave when there is somebody else to observe them misbehaving. When it’s a one-on-one game, what is my motivation for saying something awful? But when you’re in a game with a bunch of other people and you say something, a bunch of other people laugh at you, so something happened. We tend to see people behave very differently in one-on-one situations.”

There also does not appear to be a plan for inclusion and diversity surrounding any esports scene that might spring up around Artifact, with both Barnett and Garfield appearing to hope that the scene would just be inclusive all on its own. “If you look at Magic tournaments, it encourages wide participation from lots of different players. I think Artifact’s tournament will look a little more like that,” remarked Barnett.

It is important to bear in mind that Artifact is still in development and a number of these decisions may not yet be final, particularly in regards to card earnings or other features found in online CCGs like a single-player mode or ranked matches. According to the piece, Barnett did mention that these features may come later depending on community response.

Our Thoughts

Early days or not, these sound like astoundingly poor design choices, particularly in regards to moderation. We definitely hope that the devs of Artifact strongly consider, because right now a number of these missing functions and features mean a pretty hard pass for many of us.

Source: GamesIndustry

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Hearthstone Talks about Puzzle Labs

The Boomsday Project is already underway in Hearthstone, but that doesn’t mean the experiments are going to stop. In Puzzle Labs, players will have to work through increasingly devious situations laid out by Dr. Boom and his team in the CCG’s unique new PvE mode.

puzzle labs

Puzzle Labs are broken up into four different types, each challenging you to complete a specific objective in one turn:

  • Lethal is pretty cut-and-dry: take out the opposing Hero face in one go.
  • Survival is the same but in reverse, challenging your Hero to survive a strike from the opponent.
  • Board Clear requires you to wipe out everything on the board in one shot, including your own minions.
  • Mirror will ask you to copy your opponent’s minion layout precisely, including placement and even health and defense scores.

As one would expect, each type of puzzle starts off simple enough to teach you the basics and then ramps up from there. According to the video posted by the devs, solutions to these puzzles can be numerous and so you’ll perhaps want to consider thinking outside of the box.

Naturally, muddling through these Puzzle Labs will involve some manner of reward. Once you complete every challenge in the Puzzle Labs, you’ll unlock a unique new card back styled after Boom Labs.

Puzzle Labs will be added to The Boomsday Project next week. Until then, the latest Hearthside Chat video offers some more details.

Our Thoughts

Who would have thought that a competitive CCG would be transformed into some form of puzzle game? Certainly not us! We’re definitely on board with such unique PvE experiences in Hearthstone and want to wish those who take on this new challenge the best of luck.

Source: official site

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Ben Brode Introduces the Team Members of Second Dinner

Ben Brode, who you’ll remember as the director of Hearthstone who left Blizzard back in April, has most definitely been busy in his time away from the company. A new video from Brode offers a quick look of the Second Dinner team he has taken on, which include several former Hearthstone devs.

second dinner team

Second Dinner now consists of a total of five developers who are coming together to make games. These names include former Hearthstone production director Yong Woo; former senior client engineer Michael Schweitzer; former executive producer Hamilton Chu; and former Blizzard senior concept artist Jomaro Kindred.

All of the new arrivals look to be taking up the same positions for Second Dinner that they had in their prior jobs at Blizzard in what looks like a smaller but no less comfortable new studio space.

While the announcement video doesn’t give us any firm detail on just what Second Dinner is up to, the number of former Hearthstone devs in employ does seem to suggest a CCG of some sort, or at the very least some manner of online game. You can watch Brode’s happy face and the other faces of his new team in the embed below.

Our Thoughts

The energy and charisma of Mr. Brode is too infectious to ignore and we’re glad to see him in front of a camera and doing what he loves once again. While it’s still clearly early days for whatever’s next for Second Dinner, we are eagerly awaiting word on that front.

Source: Blizzard Watch

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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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Fallout 76 and Doom Eternal to Get Top Billing at QuakeCon 2018

Despite its name, QuakeCon 2018 is no longer just about the game Quake, but is now a big ol’ celebration of many of Bethesda’s games. Case in point; a couple of noteworthy events that directly tie to both the upcoming multiplayer survival-ish title Fallout 76 and whatever Doom Eternal is going to end up being.

quakecon 2018

Friday, August 10th at 12pm EDT/11am CT will be the keynote address for the event, which will be the stage for the gameplay reveal of Doom Eternal with id Software’s Marty Stratton and Hugo Martin. The keynote will also feature word and updates from the likes of the upcoming shooter Rage 2, multiplayer FPS Quake Champions, and the MMORPG The Elder Scrolls Online.

On Saturday, August 11th at 12pm EDT/11am CT, Todd Howard will be hosting a closer look at Fallout 76’s character system and the game’s Perks system, and will also be taking a number of fan questions in a Q&A session.

Finally, QuakeCon this year will once more be the site for a number of esports events centered around Bethesda’s stable of titles, such as The Elder Scrolls: Legends Masters Series on August 9th through the 10th and the QuakeCon Open for Quake Champions from August 10th through the 12th.

Those who are unable to attend any of the events and announcements going down at QuakeCon 2018 are invited to tune in and check things out on Twitch or Mixer, and can take in the esports events mentioned above at the TES Legends or Quake Twitch channels respectively.

Our Thoughts

This certainly looks like a loaded QuakeCon this year, particularly for those in the multiplayer set of gaming fandom. We’re absolutely interested in learning more firm details about Fallout 76 and are immediately curious to know what Doom Eternal ends up being.

Source: press release

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