Did Elder Scrolls need a card game? Probably not. There are a few nice ideas here but it is extremely pay-to-win.
Developer: Dire Wolf Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Studios
Release Date: June 29th, 2017
Platforms: PC (Windows and Mac OS), iOS, Android
Platform Reviewed on: PC (Windows)
The Elder Scrolls: Legends is the latest Elder Scrolls game however, it takes a very different turn. Bethesda seems to be taking on Blizzard as they’ve now released a card game to go with the series which also has an MMORPG. This virtual card game has a lot of good qualities however, there are still a few flaws.
Its foundation is strong but there might actually be ‘too many ideas’ here as the game feels a little disjointed at times. It feels like a large blend of different games and as a result, it’s something unique but with a slight identity crisis.
Personally, I found the single-player campaign to be a lot of fun and very different to what most other card games offer. Legends does feature some really neat FMV cutscenes and the single player encourages you to use the lane system in different ways. It’s definitely a great starting point for new players to beginning to learn the game.
However, I didn’t really like the fact that there are permanent choices in the story. There’s no way to undo these choices. Selecting a choice will give you one of two cards and there’s no way to replay the mission once complete. If you don’t like the card, you’ll need to craft it and try to get something that’s actually useful to your deck.
There’s are some interesting RPG elements in the game where cards level up. Most of these cards are low-cost minions at a low curve which will randomly level up when the overall player level increases. So it helps to keep some cards relevant throughout the game. There are two kinds of upgrades, a direct one and one where the player is given more choices about what effect their card gains. Sometimes the cards will also raise in mana cost level and other times there will be no mana cost change. This is rather satisfying to see your in-game progress being rewarded.
While this can be a good thing, there’s also a glaring issue with it. As a result of levelling up cards, you will reduce the amount of lower cost cards in your deck over time. This means you’ll have less cards you can quickly use at the start of matches, to use up the rest of your mana or when making a strategic play. Decks are limited to 50 cards so that could be a very bad thing for some players and decks.
One of the most interesting features about The Elder Scrolls: Legends is the lane system. It’s a really neat addition to the CCG genre but it’s not really completely used. Only the single player content and the arena mode actually feature this system while the casual and ranked matches don’t use lanes at all. It’s a little odd but while there is some good usage of the lane system in places, it’s not very fleshed out and quite weak in others. As a result, it can get a little boring at times.
Ranked is well… tedious right now. The lowest rank is 12 (the starting point) and it takes 7 wins to go up a rank, however, this does change as you get higher up which is a little strange. Legends is relatively well balanced in terms that it does place you against people of the same skill level but it doesn’t take ranking into consideration. Beating a higher level ranked person does not give you extra points or ‘wins’ towards the overall total. It’s nice to have a balanced game but the lack of bonus rewards for defeating someone who is a higher rank is a little disheartening.
My experience with ranked was a little bit well… as a rank 12 I was being paired with rank 8-9’s. It just felt like I was being paired with people who paid money into the game to purchase new cards to improve the basic decks but still weren’t too good at the game. For the most part, people seemed to have very similar decks in the higher ranks. They all seemed to be running a “buff lethal” deck which I was also using because of how the lethal effect works in the game. This effect will destroy any minion regardless of damage so it seemed a little redundant to use anything but lethal cards.
Like all digital card games, the prices are pretty poor. You need around 50 – 70 cards to make a deck yet opening a single card pack will give you 5 cards. Not very good value then. You would need to purchase a large number of card packs which, of course, are not cheap. Especially for what you get in a pack. At least you can buy a single pack using some in-game currency at least. Earning this currency does take quite some time, however.
This might sound a bit picky but the UI for opening card parks is pretty well, scummy. The “buy cards” button is in the centre of the screen while the back button is almost hidden on the screen. It’s actually very small and at the top left of the screen. It’s almost like the developers are trying to force you into buying cards to just get back to the previous screen. How that was intended to work, I have no idea.
For those new to card games, The Elder Scrolls: Legends is probably a very nice game plus the fact it’s connected to TES is a huge selling point. However, for more experienced card game fans it’s not really worth dropping your current game to move to this one. There are some very interesting elements here worth checking out but don’t get too invested here. The card pack system is just awful.
- Very good use of FMV
- Good voice acting
- Interesting ideas for the genre
- Balancing issues, lack of cards
- Confusing additions
- Bad business practices, very pay to play