by Cody "Micajah" Bye
For the last few days I've been wiping sweat out of my eyes, trying to
devise a winning strategy for my newest game of choice. The game has a
number of tricks and twists, with tactics and strategies that could
make the common person's head spin. I squint at the computer screen,
reading all the details of my latest procurement. Should I opt for the
Blackburrow Gnolls or the Elementals? Should I be a Mage or a Priest?
Fighters get a ton of weapons, perhaps I should take a look at their
line-up. Should I trade Fippy's Paw for the Journeyman Boots? Or do I
just wait to see if I can get them to drop?
Here's a screenshot
of your actual gameplay area. The two sections are where your quests
While it may sound like I was playing either Everquest or Everquest 2,
delving through the Gnoll infested depths of the Blackburrow or
summoning pets to add me in my hunting as a Mage, but it truly isn't
the case. In truth, I'm actually putting together a deck for the
Legends of Norrath Trading Card Game, the latest use of the still
incredibly powerful Everquest intellectual property. Featuring over 350
digital cards, Legends of Norrath is an incredibly deep stand-alone
card game that brings the lore of Everquest into the forefront in epic
confrontations between players that are represented by the "Oathbound"
- digital avatars of the various Everquest-ian races that the player
can choose from in the game.
Following a format similar to any of the various trading card games,
Legends of Norrath runs on a back and forth, turn-based system that
allows players to complete certain actions in their turn before calling
an end of turn and giving control to the next player. To win, players
must either complete four quests or kill the opposing combatant.
Typically players focus on one of those two goals, but there are times
when a player tries to do both, often to his rather quick, unfortunate
At the start of the game, each player draws six cards. Then the first
player to go (a decision that is randomly executed by the computer)
begins his turn. Each players' turn is then divided into four phases:
the draw phase, the quest phase, the ready phase, and the main phase.
Each of these phases is enacted in that order (unless you're the first
player to go at the beginning of the game, then you don't get a draw
phase due to the obvious advantage of going first). Some phases, like
the draw phase, are pretty self-explanatory; you draw two cards. On the
ready phase, the computer automatically "makes ready" any cards that
have been "exerted" in your - and your opponent's - last set of
actions, which basically means that you are allowed to use cards that
were used last turn. .
However, many of you may be wonder what exactly the quest phase and the
main phase entail. In essence, these two phases are the most important
in the entire game, and offer you several opportunities to beat your
enemy. Although the quest phase comes first, we'll discuss the main
phase before moving onto the final phase that needs explaining. The
main phase of Legends of Norrath constitutes the phase of the game that
you're allowed to play the majority of your cards. To play cards, you
use your avatar's power (which is the same no matter what race/class
you choose), which automatically increases as you progress through the
game. You'll have six different types of cards that will make up your
play deck, which consists of an avatar, abilities, items, quests,
tactics, and units.
Your avatar has his
own health, attack, and defense values.
You'll only have one avatar who represents your presence in the game
world and acts as your commander on the battlefront. In one of the most
intricate moves I've ever seen in a trading card game of any kind, the
developers at SOE Denver actually allowed players to create their own
avatars, having them choose between various races and classes to
develop a character that truly works with the deck a player has
created. Upon first entering the game, players simply create an avatar
that represents them, but eventually they'll create specific avatars
that allow them to create specific kinds of decks based around a
certain theme. For those unfamiliar with trading card games, you'll
often see the term "meta-game" tossed about, which describes how
different cards become more or less valuable as different expansion
packs are released. I anticipate that the customizable avatars will
become a fairly integral part of the meta-gaming scene as expansions
are released and players attempt to create ways to destroy particular
types of decks.
Ability cards are like particular powers that you might play with in an
MMORPG; they give you specific powers that can be used once or are an
ongoing part of your particular deck strategy. One of my favorite
abilities continues to be "Enduring Breath" a priest-only ability that
allows players to draw a card every time they play it. Mix this in with
a draw-heavy deck and you've got yourself an interesting strategy. I'm
particular to the draw decks, as I enjoy having a pretty firm control
on what I'm playing, so that I can manipulate the game how I see fit.
Abilities also function as your means to complete quests, and have
different "levels" associated with them.