Might & Magic VI | Temple of Baa
Elder Scrolls Legends is a f2p digital collective card game (dccg) that follows some of the usual patterns this genre has while still being its own thing.
I remember getting in on this game quite early on. I myself have had a lot of high hopes for it and it has always had a bit of a neglected feeling when looking at it. With it being a Bethesda game that tends to be the trend these days. I’ve played it on and off again since 2017. It is at least nice to see it having an all be it slow but moving forward trend. Perhaps this one will turn into a true winner year down the road.
Deck And Game Play
The most important element for a game like this is the deck itself and playing it. These decks tend to focus on the player running a mono (single color) or a dual color deck. Over time they have added in the ability to make a bigger deck and add in a third color. Each combination has a theme or class to them. There are also many different modes for the player to play in as well.
There are quite a few different types of cards in the game to play. Some of them are monster that attack and others are items that can be used and consumed. Some creatures can have a charge to attack right away while others might deal with damage or even have to be attacked first since they act as a guard. It cards themselves add a wide range of utility everything from adding damage to a monster to flat out destroying a monster on the board.
I myself for the longest time ran an almost mono-red deck with a focus on around strength and getting things done quite quickly. I would toss in a couple of green agility cards which made my deck an Archer. Such a deck was more about clear speed and not too much thinking. As I would often farm practice mode for Soul Gems. There are however quite a few different playstyles from control decks to having a very tacky setup and a wide range in between. There are after all five different color types to choose from giving the player a very wide range of mixing different types.
What really makes this game stand out is how they use a lane system to change up the gameplay. You have a right and a left lane that you can play cards from. Most of the time the left lane is considered the shadow lane unless there is a special rule set in place changing it. This is where the player can place down the card for a single round and it won’t get attacked. As a result that can create some interesting gameplay even more so when players have special cards to move lanes and reset to save a card in the shadow lane. It also creates an interesting power dynamic of which lanes you even want to place a card down in response or trying to control an individual lane.
Instead of having something like lands you need for card placement you gain a higher amount of Magicka each round as it increases by one. The player who also starts second gets a ring that adds three single-use one Magicka. This, in my opinion, is quite the advantage of playing second and not having the initial board control that player one can have.
There is also a nice little catch up mechanic build into your health. You start off with 30 health and once you run out its game over. When you lose life in increments of five you draw an extra card. This is some instance can even be played during the other players turn while they are attacking you. I have always found this rather handy and sometimes even encourages the player to leave themselves open for the attack to gain the extra card draws.
One of the biggest issues I’ve seen this game face is sometimes the lack of opponent diversity between all the different player very player modes. For instance, like the arena, this has a cost to enter every time in the form of gold or buying an entry ticket. Then you have the more standard ranked and casual where they try and match you against the best available opponent the system can. I recall years ago facing the same guy five times in a row as there were not many players at certain times of the day. While that certainly it is different these days if you play enough you realize it’s not as wide of a pool to play with as you might encounter in other games.
If you happen to face the same opponent over and over without any chance of winning or just get bored of playing against other humans they do have some AI options as well. It was also just a nice way to break up any grind I was in to go into the arena vs AI, run some practice or play in some storyline.
While centrally not all elements are something new I do feel it has enough different stuff to provide a unique playing experience. I really enjoyed the complexity the lanes added. With also a hint of rpg element of having different attributes pertaining to that deck's color with them that your decks make.
A big draw for dccg these days is getting the player to build a habit of coming back daily to collect rewards and get free booster packs and other stuff. The game does this in a number of ways from a daily log in bonus, daily quests, and limits on earning gold and soul gems.
The game does follow the more days you log in during a month the bigger and bigger the reward becomes for doing so. This was not always the case in the past and I’m at least glad to see them trying to build concurrent daily users. In the early days, this was always an issue with there being a very small pool of players.
You also have the daily quest system that rewards the player with gold. This is in the typical fashion of attack, gain, use, and so forth. This is one area I don’t mind games not trying to be out of the box as it gives them all that familiar feeling of you know how this kind of system works.
Gold itself can be used for buying stories, getting into the arena for bigger rewards. Along with the just buying packs or other items out of the in-game store. This is one of the bread and butter elements to the game for the free or budget player to advance.
The other type of currency is called Soul Gems. The game does in fact reward players who just want to play against the AI. I think this is something that makes the game a bit different compared to other dccg where they ignore this kind of player who does not want to fight other players. Soul Gems themselves can be used to flat out buy individual cards; along with, turning unwanted cards into Soul Gems. There is however a daily limit that caps out at 20 wins per day. I think that is more than fare targeting the casual player who's not looking to spend big on the game.
Overall while this part of the game is not groundbreaking it at least provides enough there to keep a returning player feel like they are making forward progress. It can feel rather slow as these type of systems are meant to reward someone playing over many months with a little something every day.
DLC Content And Packs
One of the cooler things about this game is when they roll out a new DLC it comes with new cards as expected. Sometimes as well a story arc forth players to battle through to earn new cards. There also been a number of times players can spend real money or in-game gold to unlock this new content.
It does have some of that Elder Scrolls lore feeling to those story arcs. They also have narrated the cut scene as well for the player to enjoy. These battles sometimes boasting a different and new mechanic that changes lanes with random twists and different rulesets than standard. Where after you beat them you unlock some new cards to play with.
Each of these story arcs is broken into three acts where a budget player could spend a little to unlock each one or even spend in-game gold they have acquired to unlock each one. Sometimes costing around 1k gold or $7.99. With a bigger discount given for someone who can pay $19.99 from the start. I always found this pricing interesting since gold oftentimes takes a while to acquire. This, as a result, allows the player to mix and match.
You can also like most of the games in this genre buy booster packs with real money or in-game gold earned. The rates are rather standard with 100 gold for a single pack or $2.99. There are not as many different sets as you could expect. Which can be a good thing as that tends to be lighter on the wallet to keep up with this game if you choose to buy instead of earn in the game.
I am a little shocked over the years they have not been more aggressive on having more of these. In total there are 4 stories out right now. There are other methods of them selling cards and having a DLC at a much higher price point which I feel misses the market for what other games are more in line with. There is definitely a certain model game like Hearthstone have set to every couple of months have something new at much smaller prices point. Even more traditional games like Magic The Gathering that is getting into the digital space seem to understand the need for constant updates at a more affordable price point.
Somewhere around the 2017’s, there was a lot of hype for dccg games in general for this kind of format of play. While the game did have in-game tournament style of arena players were hoping for a lot more. Eventually, The Elder Scrolls Legends got around to it but it was not as big as other games such as Gwent or Hearthstone. It is still a very developing scene perhaps one that will grow in the future.
I remember as I was one of many wanting to get in early on this game and becoming a professional at it before the actual real tournaments would come around. For most this never happened quickly enough or to the grand scale players were expecting. Most assumed incorrectly such as I did that Bethesda would want to put more power behind it and make it a bigger deal than it ever becomes.
Eventually, Bethesda rolled out Legend Master on a number of attempts to create an e-sports element to this game. Each time the final was to be held at QuakeCon. Where players could enter for free and Earn Master points if they ranked high enough.
The winners would take home a couple of hundred dollars and if they scored enough points could attend QuakeCon where the current final is set to happen on July 26, 2019. Where they then would face off for $50k in prices.
I’m at least glad to see some momentum in this part of the game to pick up. Hopefully next year it will be even bigger. The prize pools for now, however, seem quite small compared to what many other dccg have done in the past. Such as the up and comer like Gods Unchained which already plans to have at a bare minimum $400k worth in their tournament.
While I had always hoped this game would become this huge thing and become well known it’s one of those less known ones out there to play. It was fun to play a few matches again and see how things have been progressing. Perhaps this will end up being one of those slow-burning but always present games that get new content from time to time. Who knows maybe in the future I’ll end up putting in enough hours to try and get into a tournament if that starts to gain more momentum.