Posts Tagged ‘Epic Edition’

The Forced March rule

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

From a design point of view Warlord is special: Other than other popular games like Magic: The Gathering by Wizards of the Coast or the World of Warcraft TCG by UDE, Warlord doesn’t have a cost for playing characters.

Sure, you cannot play a level 4 character when you don’t have somebody sitting in rank 3, but at a certain point you have stabilized your ranks enough to play level 5 or even higher characters like the ever popular dragons. If you routinely achieve that, you’d always play the feisty lvl 4 and above characters, because once you start stunning them forward, no extra cost accrue.

From the design perspective this means that you have to be either very careful to design no too powerful higher level characters (but hey - this is part of the fun the d20 ties bring us - ultra-powerful monsters like dragons and heroes), give appropriate meta or have the Forced March rule.

For those not familiar with that rule: It states that whenever a stunned character falls forward another rank, it gets a wound. So for example, when a Terrorshard falls to the front (after flying to rank six, spending to five, stunning to four) it already has three wounds on him, making him much easier to handle for the opponent.

When previously dragon (or similar) decks became too powerful, some specific cards against that were introduced: Forced March, which nobody played because its uses were way too narrow, and Cerebrul, who offered a much better alternative, but still was played rather seldomly.

For Epic Edition the Design Team felt this posed too much of a limitation on higher level character options and introduced the Forced March rule and henceforth we saw level 4 characters with 3 hit points, level 5 characters with 4 hit points and so on.

Epic Edition failed. Was the Forced March rule part of the reason?

I’d like to know your opinion - so please vote in the poll to the right, which is going to stay open for two weeks.

A clean slate

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

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.