The game aims to combine Elder scroll’s signature decision making with the strategy card game formula to bring a “competitive card game like no other”
The Elder Scrolls: Legends, is Bethesda’s first shot at the TCG market. With more than 20 years of fantasy-world lore to take from, Tamriel has become a world rich fantasy and magic and as a player, now you can build a deck based on your favorite classes from the main games. Choose an avatar and compete with other players, drawing spells, units and weapons from all across the Elder Scrolls’ history.
Learning from the competition
With mechanics like “direct damage” and the “automatic mana” system, both Hearthstone and TES:L try to become fast-paced games, and divert from TCGs like Magic: The Gathering (where the pace is slower as players have to deal with the opponents monsters and worry about producing mana, among other things), while still maintaining the basics of resource systems or units battling other units.
Making it stand out
Since its inception on 1994, The Elder Scrolls has become a classic among rpg fans thanks to its unique lore, settings, but most of all, the array of choices it gives players – Skyrim, its most recent and famous title, has its handful of people completing the main quests while other decide to be anything from pacifist NPCs to… serial killers.
So, when porting the franchise to card game form, the developers pinpoint 3 main mechanics designed to best represent the importance of decision-making in a card game setting:
- Lanes: Exactly what it sounds like. When deploying your units, you can decide between 2 or more lanes to place them. Units in a any lane can attack the opponent directly, but can only fight units in their same lane.
Each lane can have multiple special effects (from hiding newly deployed units in a fog, to giving them special items after entering, or resurrecting them as undead upon dying).Will you deploy on an empty lane to try and steal a win or just secure an unit’s survival? Or do you need to beef your defenses on a crowded lane? Taking into consideration how the lanes affects your units and what is already on them is crucial for victory.
- Ability types and card training: Strength, Agility, Intelligence, Endurance and Willpower. As soon as you step in the game, your first task is to choose 2 attributes to define your character (and thus, your deck). Every combination is linked to different strategies, so you can always get decks in tune to whatever you want to accomplish.
- Runes and Prophecies: During a battle, players got 30 life and 5 runes (the little blue gems on your avatar’s portrait). One rune will break for every 5 points of damage received, and upon breaking, every rune will immediately draw a card from your deck to aid you in recovering.
“Prophecy” is an attribute of certain cards that can apply their effects inmediately, for free, when drawn by a rune’s effect.
Since they can act in the middle of your opponent’s onslaught, Prophecies posses the power to interrupt your opponent’s turn and outright flip the tables, so choosing adequate Prophecy cards can change how you build both your offense and defense (will you include Guard or Heal cards to help you survive incoming attacks? Or are you sure you can survive a couple hits if it means your own Prophecies will be able to squeeze some extra damage?).
In any case, players can get additional bonuses from breaking their opponent’s runes, so you get chances to counterattack, but also rewards for outplaying your foe. Also, even when not a Prophecy, extra cards are extra cards, and the more beating you get, the more you can come back with next turn.
All in all, The Elder Scrolls: Legends is learning from many successful TCG’s and adding just enough twists to honor its own legacy (after all, Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim have all won the Game of the Year distinction). It doesn’t look strikingly different from others, but it’s still in beta phase and barely any info about the specific cards and abilities has been revealed, so we have a long way to go before giving verdicts.