With Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and the upcoming Chronicle: Runescape Legends, it seems like every western fantasy game franchise is trying to get in on the digital CCG market. Now it’s The Elder Scrolls’ turn. The closed beta of their upcoming collectible card video game, The Elder Scrolls Legends, was just announced—after the game was announced at last year’s E3. Check out the trailer below.
Here’s our breakdown of the trailer:
TES: Legends is a game about collecting cards, building a deck, and playing head-to-head against opponents’ decks online. Just like Magic: the Gathering and Hearthstone before it, the game is based around placing minions—styled after your favorite Elder Scrolls creatures and characters—on the board and using spells to protect them or combo your opponent to death.
One of the first things the trailer reveals is how the cards look. Each minion has an attack score and a health score and use these values to attack other minions or the enemy hero. Presumably the game is mechanically closer to Hearthstone, where minions’ health can be worn down gradually, rather than regaining all health at the end of the turn, like in Magic.
All cards have a mana cost—excuse me, “magicka” cost—and, much like Hearthstone, you can one magicka at the beginning of each turn. The minions we’ve seen so far all have special effects in addition to their attack and health. The Deathless Draugr minion has an ability called Last Gasp (probably similar to Hearthstone’s Deathrattle effect) that summons a 1/1 creature when it dies.
Your minions and spells can target other minions or the enemy hero itself. Both heroes begin play with 30 health, and the game ends when one hero is reduced to 0. This is where the similarities to Hearthstone and similar CCGs end, though. Your hero’s portrait is surrounded by five glowing runes, which seem to shatter whenever you take sufficient damage (probably the first rune at 25 health, the second at 20, the final at 5, and death at 0), after which you draw a card and can immediately play it, allowing players who are behind to start catching up.
Also unlike Magic and Hearthstone, the game board is divided into two lanes, similar to MOBAs like League of Legends and DOTA 2. Minions can be played into one lane or the other, and can only attack minions in that lane, but minions in any lane can attack the enemy hero.
We also have seen that there are three different classes to choose from, Crusader, Warrior, and Archer, and that they’re aligned with certain colors of cards (?), but no clear indication what the classes do beyond that. The quick bite of gameplay footage in the beginning shows two characters unrelated to these three classes, so this mystery remains unsolved.
Beyond that, there are many mysteries left to discover. The game apparently has a full campaign Story Mode, in addition to its standard Versus mode and Arena mode. The prominence that the Story Mode gets on the main menu (it’s front and center!) suggests that solo play may be a large part of this game. Also tantalizing is the claim that you can “train your cards to increase their power.” Deck-building in The Elder Scrolls: Legends may be a bit more strategic and complex than you’re used to.
And never fear; TES: Legends isn’t delaying the much-awaited Elder Scrolls VI. It’s a totally different dev team, just like the Hearthstone team wasn’t being pulled away from World of Warcraft. Currently, we have many more questions than we do answers, but it’s clear that fans of both The Elder Scrolls and collectible card games will enjoy Bethesda’s first venture into the digital CCG market.
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Image Credit and Featured Image Credit: Bethesda Softworks