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Columns: Spinoffs

By Robert Lashley on October 20, 2016

Spinoffs

Last month I spent a weekend in London at Jagex’s RuneFest. In case you missed it you can catch up on the previous coverage talking about the experience and the path ahead for RuneScape. While I was there I also had a chance to see Chronicle: RuneScape Legends and hear about RuneScape: Idle Adventures.

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Much like the MOBA craze that swept the world a few years back (you know the one where League and DOTA became so popular anyone with experience coding started creating a MOBA to try and pawn off on the masses and if they didn’t they threw money at people who did) digital collectible card games are becoming the new game de jour. Not to be left out Jagex has taken a stab at the genre too with Chronicles: RuneScape Legends. But this isn’t your typical deck builder. So thankfully they didn’t create a carbon copy of what is already out there.

Chronicles presents a new twist on the card game genre. While you are pitted against another player you have to overcome a PvE board first. You’ll select cards and the order to place them on the board. Your hero will then progress from left to right across the board encountering the cards in order. Some of the cards will reward you with gold, armor, weapons, or other resources that your character can then spend on cards you run into that provide buffs. Some cards can either directly or indirectly attack your opponent. An example of an indirect attack would be by buffing the attack value of an opponent’s card thereby dealing more damage to your competitor. A direct attack would straight deal damage to them. After you make it through a few stages of card battles your avatar will square off with your opponent’s avatar and the last one standing is the winner. The secret to the game is how to line up the cards on your board to your advantage.

Since my trip across the pond Jagex has added in some new features to the game. The first of which is they added a full PvE campaign. In this version instead of taking on a real person for your opponent you’ll take on a NPC. They will also have unique twists to gameplay to add flavor to the specific enemy NPCs. To add replay value to these campaigns they’ve also added different challenges for you to accomplish, such as complete the adventure with 30 armor left, etc. Jagex also realized that the players of this game were more than likely currently RuneScape players, by nature a social group. However, they didn’t’ have a chat function. This has been corrected. Chronicles now has a chat function.

In an effort to grow their audience the game has now made its way to Mac. What is painfully absent, however, is a mobile version. I asked about this and wasn’t really satisfied by the answer. They had the game on display on a large screen with touch controls but it was evident they weren’t final yet. I believe that once this game makes it to iOS and Google Play it could gain some traction. But for now it seems to be struggling for an audience.

That brings us to Idle Adventures. I have to admit. I think the idle RPG genre is one of the dumbest things out there but people seem to love them. Look no further than AdVenture Capitalist to see how successful they can be. Speaking of AdVenture Capitalist Hyper Hippo Games, the team behind that success, stepped in to create Idle Adventures for Jagex. Why recreate the wheel when you can just reskin it? However with early reviews in it looks like they may have missed the mark. The two reps Hyper Hippo had on hand did seem to take their task very serious, however. Both revealed that that were long time RuneScape fans (not that they would admit otherwise if they weren’t) and took great pleasure in this partnership with Jagex. They paid meticulous attention to detail when it came to RuneSacpe’s lore and made sure to treat it with the respect they felt it deserved. If you want to check it out RuneScape: Idle Adventures is out in Early Access on Steam for free now. All it will cost you is a bit of your time and since you don’t really play it anyway it won’t even take that much up either. 

Robert Lashley / Rob Lashley is a Staff Writer and Online host for MMORPG.com and RTSGuru.com. Rob's bald and when he isn't blinding people from the glare on his head talking in front of a camera you can chase him down on twitter @grakulen or find him on PSN @ Grakulen