The lights are on
I had the opportunity to get a preview of the new expansion for Ubisoft's free-to-play Might & Magic card game, Duel of Champions. The Forgotten Wars set adds 146 cards, bringing the total to over 600. More importantly, this third expansion brings a new faction, new strategies, and new mechanics.
Forgotten Wars introduces the Academy faction, which is described as "high risk, high reward." The requirements to play these faction cards are occasionally high, and the creatures come with drawbacks that make them challenging to fit into a deck. This is no faction for beginners.
Some of the new mechanics boost magic level while certain creatures are on the field. These might lead players to ignore boosting that attribute (players can choose to increase might, magic, or destiny, each of which contributes to the ability to play cards) and end up in a bind later.
Forgotten Wars also introduces a "milling" strategy.Milling burns through a player's unused cards, limiting their options and pushing them closer to the end-game. There are counter-strategies to this, as some new cards allow players to pull from their graveyard instead of their decks.
Other new mechanics allow creatures to attack empty spaces and deal splash damage (Shockwave), allow creatures to avoid damage by moving to an adjacent space (Evade), and bounce ranged damage back on the attacker (Range Reflect). One of the more interesting risk/reward mechanics is Phased. This prevents creatures from taking damage from attacks, but also allows enemy assaults to pass through.
Forgotten Wars is out today, and you can download Might & Magic: Duel of Champions on iOS or PC and play on both and cross-platform with a unified account.
Our TakeI've enjoyed Might & Magic: Duel of Champions' mechanics, and the game has a growing following. The mechanics are improving (including a much needed change that will enable a single card to appear in multiple decks), and the expansions are adding a large number of new strategies.
My only concern is that competitive play (which is important for progressing the single-player campaign) is heavily slanted toward those willing to spend money. In my first real player match with my starter deck, I was matched up with someone who had clearly invested (and not a fellow new player).
It's a free-to-play game, and Ubisoft does need to monetize it, but I felt like I hit the paywall early. You can get through the tutorial and first set of missions without having to go online, but you mind find yourself at a disadvantage against some of the harder campaign foes, including the last tutorial opponent. I've recently written about my trepidation surrounding online collectible games, and as much as I like Duel of Champions' gameplay, I'm not confident enough yet to spend money on it.