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The Elder Scrolls: Legends – Review

Did Elder Scrolls need a card game? Probably not.

Developer: Dire Wolf Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Studios
Release Date: June 29th, 2017
Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, Android
Platform Reviewed on: PC, game is free to play.

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The Elder Scrolls: Legends is a good try at a virtual card game, but needs more time to improve. It has a lot of good ideas, but all of them together, do not mesh well. It combines elements from Eternal (made by the same developers) and Elder Scrolls, with a touch from MOBAs (for some reason) to make it not just Eternal with a Skyrim skin.

 

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I really enjoy the single player more than the multiplayer cards, because they have really neat FMV cutscenes, and they do more with the lane system. I don’t know too much about Elder Scrolls in itself, so I can’t gauge how effect it is that this game could exist in game world. However, something I did not like was the fact there are choices in the story, those choices give you pretty good cards, but you have to choose between them. You cannot replay the mission again for the other card however, forcing you to craft it, if you felt like you made a mistake.

 

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Also, there are some RPG elements in this game. There are cards that level up. Usually they’re low cost minions at a low curve, that randomly level up when your player level increase. There are two kinds: some cards just get a direct upgrade, and then there are cards that you get a choice to what the card turns into. When cards upgrade, sometimes they turn into a higher mana cost with slightly better stats and/or effects, or just get a direct upgrade for the same, just to make them at mana curve. The fact that some cost more mana wise, means that you’re just reducing the amount of lower cost cards in your deck, and the fact of decks being around 50 cards, you’re making your pool of quick (lower mana cost) minions or spells a lot smaller. With them being the same mana cost, you just have bad cards until randomly the game chooses that one to be upgraded when you level, which also takes quite a bit of time.

 

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The lane system is a neat addition but it does not really feel it fits Elder Scrolls, some of the effects feel fitting for the Elder Scrolls series, it just feels strange to have a lane system. However, they only use them in their singleplayer content and their arena mode, where the lanes are random, which feels strange. Their casual and ranked mode that has one normal lane and one shadow lane, which after a while feels very boring, and it made me not want to climb at all in ranked, I would honestly just want players choose one lane each for casual and no lanes for ranked.

Speaking of ranked, it takes forever for literally no reason other than them being stingy on items (for you to spend more money) compared to other card games. From rank 12 (lowest) to 11 it takes 7 wins, but from 11 to 10 it takes 4 wins, until you hit level 9, you have to win another 7 times to hit 8. Also the game match makes you with people with at your skill level, however this does not matter about what  rank you are, and when you beat a higher level ranked person you don’t get any extra wins from it. I think people would much rather take the easy and fast wins in lower ranks, than be paired with people who are the same skill level, who have just played that game for much longer than you have.

 

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I was rank 12-11 being paired with rank 8-9’s. Being paired with them feels like I’m being paired with people who are my skill but have paid a bit more to make the one basic deck that you get much better. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like past there. People seemed to run a very similar deck most of the time when I was hitting higher ranks; it seems like they’re most all running buff lethal decks, which is what I was also running, because of the mechanics of how lethal works. Lethal will destroy any minion regardless of damage. There are some cards that are say “this minion deals X damage”, that damage carries the lethal status, not risking your minion to flat out kill one for typically a low mana cost.

 

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(Cost in USD, game changes on your country from what I know from the Steam version.)

Now, my biggest issue with most digital card games, the pricing for cards. Now you need between 50-70 cards to make a deck. When you open a single card pack you get 5 cards. That is not a great value considering how many cards that Eternal gives you in context of how many cards you need (75 cards, 40-50+ playable, the rest being mana), for less amount of money, and on top of that the amount of free cards Eternal gives you.  

 

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When you open card packs, the UI is actually very scummy as well. The UI centers the “buy cards” button and hides the back button very small in the upper left corner. It feels like it’s trying to trick me into buying cards to the point, the first time I saw this screen, I didn’t know how to go back to the previous screen.

Elder Scrolls: Legends might be good for Elder Scrolls fans who are new to card games. I personally would not drop any other card games I play for this one. I think the game is all around interesting, but not promising. I feel that the game balance-wise needs to improve, that will probably happen over time. However, I do not think the business practices enforced by Bethesda will ever be fixed.



Pros:

  • Very good use of FMV
  • Good voice acting
  • Interesting ideas

Cons:

  • Balancing issues, lack of cards
  • Confusing additions
  • Bad business practices, very pay to play
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1 Comment »

  1. Great review. I can tell that you thought some of the new mechanics added into ESL, while not being a fan of some.
    It sounds like they have a fairly solid foundation of the game, but need to put more work into it, to refine the game into something that is better for the user to play.
    Maybe they could increase the amount of cards per pack, allow for more custom game types, and maybe rebalance the ranked mode so you are going up against players that you should be, and not players who have cards that will stomp you.

    Like

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