Aug 3 2016 - 5:18 pm

Elder Scrolls: Legends, will it be a hit like Hearthstone?

Elder Scrolls: Legends isn’t doing itself a lot of favors
Luke Winkie
Dot Esports

Elder Scrolls: Legends isn’t doing itself a lot of favors. When the game was first announced at E3 2015 it was in the shadow of the unprecedented success and influence of Hearthstone, and it was easy to be a little cynical about Bethesda’s intentions. The video game industry is notorious for its copycat business model, and if something is working, you can bet developers and publishers around the world will try their best to siphon an audience off the trend.

I was a little pessimistic going in, but I like card games and I like the Elder Scrolls, so when I got a beta key I was at least curious to see what they were cooking up. I’ve got good news and bad news.

The good news is that Elder Scrolls: Legends is a solid, fun, well-designed card game. The choices you face are interesting, the mechanics have a few innovative wrinkles, and the decks you can build muster that trusty, engine-building thrill that head-to-head table games are all about. If you decide to put time towards Elder Scrolls: Legends, you will be rewarded for your effort.

Unfortunately, all your fears about this game riding Hearthstone’s coattails are totally true. The central gameplay is similar, in that you’re dropping minions on the board and casting spells, but that’s in accordance with plenty of card games (like, say, Magic). However, Elder Scrolls rips off Blizzard’s counterpart in some weirdly specific ways too. Here are just a couple things I’ve noticed.

1) In Elder Scrolls: Legends you start with one “magicka,” which is refilled and increased by one exponentially over the course of the game… just like Hearthstone.

2) Cards come in tiers of rarity, marked white, blue, purple, and gold… again, just like Hearthstone.

3) Some of the core mechanics, like say, “Charge,” are exactly the same. Like, even down to the terminology.

It’s not to say the game is a total carbon copy. Far from it! For one, the Elder Scrolls board is divided up into two lanes, and minions aren’t able to attack each other across the dividing line. Sometimes those lanes carry a specific designation; I played games where minions entering the right side of my board gained one-turn stealth, and that adds some extra complexity you can’t find in Hearthstone.

Beyond that, there’s some other stuff like a “rune” system, where after your hero loses certain thresholds of health you automatically draw a card (and certain cards have a keyword called ‘prophecy’ that lets you play them for free if you’re drawing it off a rune). There are also cards that permanently buff your side of the board, which offer some interesting slow-plays for certain decks. But all in all, those are just added mechanical flourishes on a pretty standard group of fundamentals. It certainly seems like Bethesda wants to make sure that people coming to this game from the world’s most popular digital CCG feel at home.

I understand that philosophy. The idea of booting Elder Scrolls and being forced to learn a new, arcane system aligned with, like, Netrunner or Doomtown probably doesn’t make a lot of business sense. Bethesda obviously thinks it’s going to get a lot of runoff from people who first got interested in card games from Hearthstone, and it pays to make them feel at home.

But for me, someone who’s already a Hearthstone fan, it’s hard to find a reason to stake a claim. CCGs are a huge investment of time and money, and while Elder Scrolls: Legends is a smart design, it’s hard to find the willpower to siphon off more of my paycheck towards another hobby that meets the same needs.

However, I don’t think that means that Legends won’t be a success. Blizzard turned a legion of Warcraft fans who didn’t know they liked Magic: The Gathering into Hearthstone lifers, and there’s enough Elder Scrolls devotees out there who are willing to be converted. If this is your first card game, you’ll absolutely enjoy it. For those of us who already have debilitating hobbies, there’s not quite enough here to obsess over. Maybe that’s for the best.

Today - 9:12 pm

Hearthstone's NA vs CN event ends in controversy

The Chinese players were coasting to victory, but their final win provoked minor outrage.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

China's best Hearthstone players turned back a team of the best North America had to offer—but the event did not end without controversy.

In the final game of the event series, China's "Lvge" made a play that seemed to defy logic. He played Dirty Rat on turn two, risking pulling a hugely advantageous early Tomb Pillager or Gadgetzan Auctioneer for his opponent Keaton "Chakki" Gill.

However, according to the American players the Chinese casters and Lvge's teammates were screaming to play the Rat when he picked the card up, and with no white noise in the player headsets Lvge could likely hear the noise and take the cue.

The play promoted a furious series of tweets from Tempo Storm founder and Team NA player Andrey "Reynad" Yanyuk—though the tweets were later deleted.

Chakki and other players have also commented on the controversy, claiming that they raised the issue of players being able to hear the casters. The other members of each team were also watching the stream of the game, meaning they could see the hands of the opposing player.

There was little that could be done to address the controversy unless the admins immediately halted the game in progress, as the game was tournament point for the Chinese side.

Despite the controversial finish, team China had run away with the tournament to get into that position. Thanks to two wins by "OmegaZero" and "Lovelychook" over the two day event, Lvge was left with only Chakki left to beat.

China had also won the first of the three showpiece events, before Canada's Julien “Cydonia” Perrault had single-handedly won the second for team North America.

Today - 9:41 pm

SK Gaming and Na`Vi avoid upset in ELEAGUE bows

Decisive wins saw the legend teams avoid any slip ups early.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Turner Sports

SK Gaming and Natus Vincere picked up wins in their opening matches at the ELEAGUE Major, avoiding potential early banana skins.

The reigning Major champions, aiming to be the first team to win three Majors back to back, knocked back Hellraisers in their opening matchup of the Swiss stage.

Despite being predicted as a potential upset by analyst Duncan "Thorin" Shields, the match proved to be little trouble for the Brazilians. After losing the first round, SK went on a rampage of eight straight rounds with Hellraisers having no answer for their opponents.

The game finished 11-4 at the half. Hellraisers were able to win three of the next five rounds and threaten some kind of late rally, but SK easily shut it down to claim a 16-3 victory.

Things were even easier for Natus Vincere, who claimed the most decisive victory of the day so far. The Columbus Major silver medalists run roughshod over Mousesports, winning five straight rounds to get the game started before Mousesports even got out of the blocks. Mousesports were given very few openings throughout the game, with a 13-2 half ending in a 16-3 win—the biggest victory margin of the opening round so far.

In a meeting of ELEAGUE champions Virtus Pro and OpTic Gaming made it more of a contest, with the Polish side narrowly edging the victory.

OpTic took the early lead 6-1, thanks in part to an insane 1v3 clutch from Keith "NAF" Markovic inside the B bomb site. OpTic ended the half 9-6, but Virtus Pro came out strong in the second period.

The teams traded rounds to bring things level at 13-13, but Virtus Pro had the economic advantage and OpTic could not prevent the Polish veterans from securing the three decisive rounds.