A clean slate

So, here it is, my first entry as the official “blogger” of the new Warlord design team working under Phoenix Interactive.

Warlord has seen two different environmental resets in the past, Campaign Edition and Epic Edition. When Campaign Edition came along I was on the sidelines, an active AEG Bounty Hunter and a tournament player of budding renown. When the reset for Epic Edition came along I was recently installed as the Technical Editor, so I had a preview of what was to come, but no part in the decisions made that would define the Epic Edition world. Now we are poised to reset the environment once again, and this time I am in a spot to say something about what is to come.

This will be a reset unlike any that have come before though. It is a fundamental flaw of “double bugging” cards prior to a reset – the power level just isn’t quite right. Prior to a reset, a game’s environment is robust, developed, and … crowded. In order for cards to get noticed they need to really stand out, and thus cards designed right before a reset make you stand up and take notice, either for what they do (No Prisoners! or Halo of Fire) or for what problems they help you answer (Rough Road or Infinity’s End). Then these cards became ‘must haves’ in the reset that followed, and the whole subsequent design plan is ramped up to compensate for the set that didn’t entirely have a reset in mind. Fast forward a few years to the Epic reset – this time the reset was being done with two full sets “double bugged”, as well as a set of Warlords (and supporting cast) from the Champions Boxed set.

Mind you, I know that going into the eve of a reset without “double bugged” cards is either a way to dramatically tank sales of a set or enrage your purchasing fan base, but speaking strictly in terms of Design, it is a bad move unless you have the entirety of your reset already mapped out and playtesters dedicated to testing such a “double bugged” set in its new environs.

It is our design intent to bring no such baggage into the reset to come. As such we as designers are being given the freedom to bring you a version of Warlord that will be everything that the property can be – easy to learn, full of strategic depth, and, beyond all else, fun. If you happen to know Oliver, Florian, Jeremiah, Tommy, or myself, then you know that we have a pretty good grasp on fun while supporting a certainly respectable showing in the competitive arena. While it may be hubris to think that we can come up with the most balanced Warlord environment ever, it is certainly a target worthy of aiming for.

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5 Responses to “A clean slate”

  1. Omrac77 Says:

    I do believe I agree with premature planning and how it was done…but what people forgot is that epic edition was to be a power curve upwards in you know…power

    however it still doesnt make up for the abuse and neglect that was to come in the future of the envoirment

    PLEASE MAKE THE DWARVES GOOD…dont hate like aeg did, pwease pwease

  2. EsoMonty Says:

    Great to hear it will be a complete reset. I think one of the reasons you guys are going to be good going into a reset without a double bugged set is that you are changing the overall format of the game.

    A lot of the problems that you are referring to are problems in a collectible game, not something I think would occur in a customizable game.

  3. Aquatic_Temple Says:

    Can we expect to see cards like Exhaustion back in the game? or some cards that are there to counter some events that are going without stop.

    The big problem I had with EE was that as soon as you found a combo that worked, then you can pull it off with next to no problem. Yes I know that people say exhaustion is over powered because a level 1 character can stop a combo, but I think that it brought a little more to the game than to just piss people off. When we play open here in Collinsville, most of us play with exhaustion and we try to think 2-3 moves ahead and always have it in our head that our opponent has an exhaustion. What I am really trying to say is that to me Exhaustion has 2 purposes in the game, 1 is to slow down most decks and the other is to make sure the other player plays better, and he/she now has to think if he can pull the win by rushing things of by planning and biding his time.

  4. Leon Says:

    It is a good thing to start with a clean slate as you say it. ( Especially the No Prisoners! card was a target of trading, for half the CE version of the game )
    Hey since you went with the customizable route this will not be such a problem.

    My only worry is the oversimplification of the game. Deleting so many traits and sub races that will make it dull for the old player. For example a friend of mine quited when they canceled the liches. Now i know that many of them need to go but i thought just to give a heads up

  5. rekz Says:

    Phoenix,

    Congrats on Warlord license. This game has so much potential, I hope you can push it back to it’s former glory.

    I first played this game with some RPG friends in LA that I used to play D&D with. They had 4 pre-made decks and we played a few rounds. I had a blast, and was quickly hooked.
    Now it’s 2 yrs later and I’m still a novice at the game, but now I own some cards (thank you EBay!). I just played (lost?) my second tournament in Berkeley, only to hear about your acquiring the license to make the game. Congratulations!

    So I’m offering you some suggestions on the game b/c it has a mildly difficult learning curve b/c each card can be so unique.

    Have stats showing to player and opponent on the cards!!! SYMBOLS can also show FEATS so OPPONENT can easily which card is doing something (in tournaments, I frequently kill the wrong creature b/c I can’t tell easily which opponent character is the most effective).

    Keep up the unique and yet related characters (ie Squires, Gheds, Lords, Lycanthrope Yscars, Sir Knights, Ladies, etc), particularly Warlords and their dearest underlings.
    Please don’t create too many ridiculously powered rares that really imbalance the game, but have a number of interesting cards for each faction keeps things exciting.
    Remember those obscure cards that made the game so cool (poisons, traps, special arrows, steeds, etc). I’m one of the few people that liked the concept of dungeons — but they aren’t that exciting in Warlord.
    Maybe you want to introduce different ‘level up’ cards that add Subclasses and Feats?
    I really liked the subclasses (Assassin, Barbarian, Monk, Ranger, Illusionist, Druid, Scout, Paladin, Seer) but Cantor I didn’t understand. I like the subcatagories of text that could someday maybe have a card, like “Order of GoldenAxe” and similar. I too am partial to Super Monster catagories, like Liches, Dragons, etc.

    Hint: The emphasis on strategy and spacial relationships seems signficant to Warlord and makes the game unique. You play the cards and build the decks, but playing them ‘on the board’ adds a whole level of strategy.

    Make a consistent rule system. What’s REALLY confusing in Warlord is that a rule may be true for one thing but not another: for instance, I liked the dynamic of Characters adding Rank to Level to gain Items, but never understood why not do that with Actions also? Confusing technicality there.
    The rules make sense as they are now, but could be tighter/smaller.

    Having Order/React/Spend Order/Spend React is confusing enough at first, but then having Orders that allow Melee attacks but aren’t clear about spending or not is very confusing. There must be a simple solution here.

    I’d like to see:
    Different formations than just ‘big 1st rank, and smaller ranks as you move back’.
    Cards that work differently if the character is Good or Evil, or from different Factions.
    How about adding in Neutral as well as Chaotic and Lawful Alignment concepts?

    Maybe Characters flee or need to make morale checks?

    Maybe different saves (ie Magic, Luck, Fear, etc) have ‘in-game effects’ without cards, like (in order) prevent a wound from a spell, prevent a wound from a ranged attack, stop fleeing, etc.
    Maybe some new Saves and Feats are created that more reflect D&D like ‘Bend Bars’, ‘Read Languages’, ‘Pick Pockets’, ‘Craft Item’, ‘Entertainment’, or similar? Maybe Gold (ie money) has a use in the game? No treasure is strangely un-D&D like! But it makes the game much faster.

    Another ‘D&D’ aspect I always wanted to see: faction differences (ie all Nothrog having some ability, like Darkvision) and class differences that go beyond simply which card types they can use. For instance: Fighters have PowerAttack. Clerics have Medicine. Wizards have Scribe. Rogues have Steal (or similar). Makes sense.

    I volunteer as a game tester! I speak English, Spanish, and a little German too!

    Best of luck!
    - rekzkarz.com

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