Legends of Norrath: A Ten Ton Hammer Close Look
You may have heard of it in passing, stumbled upon it while scouring fan sites, or you may be one of the lucky few in the beta. Regardless of how you know its name, the same question still remains;
“What IS Legends of Norrath”
Legends of Norrath (Here on out known as LoN) is a digital card game based on the many worlds of EverQuest and EverQuest II, the popular MMORPG’s hosted by Sony Online Entertainment.
The game, while digital, is a true representation of the many “physical” card games on the market today. Closely resembling Magic The Gathering in many ways, it manages to break free of the usual card game mold by offering a few surprises that make this game a unique experience.
After purchasing one of the above starter decks for $9.99. Each deck represents a style of playing based on the four well known RPG Archetypes (Mage, Priest, Scout and Fighter), you will be able to build a “deck” based on card strength and playing style.
Decks can also be built by buying “Booster” packs, that contain a random assortment of cards across all four styles of play.
But here is where Legends of Norrath begins to stick out among the other card games you may have seen.
The booster packs which can be bought for $2.99 each (for 15 random cards) can also be found IN GAME. That’s right – that means with enough luck and enough hunting, you’ll be able to build a deck, playable for no additional fee – for free.
These packs can also be traded in game for other items or goods to players who are interested in the card game, by those who are not.
And aside from “finding” free booster packs in game? Each pack contains a chance to win a rare in-game item that can only be found in the card game.
The Lamp of The Djinn pictured above has been “claimed” in game, and is now a real in-game item that offers a small spell buff for the player who claimed it. Other rare items include potions, spells, crafting items, ultra rare armor and weapons, and even unique mounts! But how do you play?
After buying or finding enough cards to initiate game play, (each deck of cards consists of a play set of fifty) you’ll be able to build an in-game avatar via an in-game wizard that helps create a virtual “you” by asking game related questions.
Once your race and class are created, and your Avatar is brought to life, you’ll be able to either play the game with your starter deck, or create a custom deck based on all of the cards that you have in your collection.
Once you have browsed through your cards and made mental note of your gathered strengths and weaknesses, you can use the “deck building wizard” to assist you on building the strongest play deck possible.
With your Avatar created and your deck stacked for battle, you are now ready to step into the game and try your hand at combat.
Your deck is shuffled and your cards are randomly dealt to you at the start of your initial hand. Each card represents either an item, a tactic, a unit, or an ability card.
The Item Card
An item card is an “equipable card” that will help give your Avatar stat boosts that can help in combat. You can have up to three items equipped at once, however each item costs “power” to equip.
At the beginning of the first round you are given three power. This can be used to summon minions, ready some items, or equip abilities. However, three power is not enough to equip stronger items like the above shield.
At the beginning of every new round, you are given one additional power for each quest completed by you and your opponent combined. So if you have three power and you both finish a quest you will have five power – enough to equip this item.
Power usage plays heavily into combat and what cards, items, or abilities you should bring into play.
Ability cards can be used to perform a direct or defensive move by spending power.
For example, by playing this ability card you may deal one damage directly to a unit card in play, or an unprotected avatar.
Ability cards can also be used to dodge incoming attacks, add to parries and strikes, to simply strengthen your units. These cards have one use and are considered “out of play” after that use.
Unit cards represent the virtual army at your command and make up the bulk of your attacks. Your troops will vary in strength, stamina, and ability, and like all other cards, will take power to use or place.
Unit cards are unique as they may contain damage bonuses, defense bonuses for other cards, or special abilities that can strengthen your army or weaken your enemy. The card below is an example of a unit card.
Note the symbols to the left.
The sword represents the ability to land an attack against a target. To an attacker, this unit can dish out two points of damage, requiring that your attacker has a defense of two or higher to not receive damage.
The shield symbol represents the ability to defend against attacks. This card shows that it has a defense of one, requiring all attackers to do “two” or more points of damage in order to damage this card.
The damage bonus symbol represents a units ability to do additional damage if combat is successful. Note however that using a units attack or defense bonuses (called exerting) negates this ability. This shows that if this unit is “added” to combat at the end of a combat phase, it can do an additional 2 points of damage on an attack.
The heart is the unit’s health. This unit can take up to four points of damage before it is destroyed.
Frenzy – Rarely, a unit will have an “keyword’ that allows them to do something unusual. Frenzy means that each time you play a card, this
unit's attack attribute will increase by one until the end of the turn. So, it's a good idea to play cards before attacking with Howling Frost Giant. Using this ability costs nothing, however the unit is now out of play and cannot attack or defend itself if attacked.
Attacking with a card can ensure a quick kill, but it also leaves that card defenseless. Units that have attacked in the beginning of a round cannot defend or be used again until the next round. If they are attacked they get no damage or defense bonuses and will be damaged freely.
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