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A Look at Legends of Norrath

Community Manager, Laura Genender was in San Francisco recently, to attend Sony Online Entertainment's "Step Into Fall" event where she had the chance to take a look at Legends of Norrath, the new online trading card game in EverQuest and EverQuest II.

A Look at Legends of Norrath
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Last week at Sony’s “Step into Fall” event I spoke with Kyle Heuer, Associate Producer of SOE’s newest game, Legends of Norrath. For someone who’s never seen or heard of LoN before it’s a tough game to describe – set in Norrath (the world of EverQuest and EverQuest II), Legends of Norrath is an online, electronic trading card game that ties into the two EQ titles.

When you start your LoN experience, you can do so either through a downloadable LoN client from their website or from inside EverQuest or EverQuest II. Players start with one of four starter decks: mage, fighter, scout, or priest. Through the purchase of booster packs, though, players can get more cards and integrate “dark” or “light” cards into their decks.

The game teaches you how to play through a series of 11 tutorials. From there, you can battle against the AI scenarios, currently comprising of three “chapters”, or you can go head to head against other players in casual or tournament play.

The largest tournament so far has been with 1004 participants. The competition is pretty stiff, and very tactical; according to Kyle, the most popular decks have been “shadow” themed, and almost all of the winners have been mages. There are different kinds of tournaments now, too; some are run by actual admins, while others are automated queues: once you have enough entrees, the tournies will start. Some of the tournaments also have an entry fee (of course, these give better rewards to the winners).

So, how does this tie into the MMO world? The boosters include rares, foils, and all the other fun stuff you’d expect. Also in these booster packs, though, are “loot” cards which can be redeemed for in-game goodies in EQ or EQII. These can be cosmetic goodies like self illusions or cosmetic auras, or more useful treats like very fast mounts, potions that give double XP, or familiars.

The MMOs also give back to the card games. LoN starter and booster packs are available as drops throughout the worlds of Norrath; any monster that is a high enough level to earn the killer EXP has a chance to drop the cards. What’s funny is that many card farmers are rolling up newbie characters and using twink gear to plow through lower level monsters! Once a month players can also get special promo cards as drops. This past promo set was a pair of abilities; upcoming promo cards will likely be items (including a snowbunny hat!) and units.

This is having some unpredicted repercussions on the gaming worlds, though. Some players would rather spend platinum than money, and are buying the boosters or loot cards for plat. This allows players to pay 2.50$ for a booster, then sell it for platinum (you can’t do a direct trade between LoN and EQ items, but you can do an insecure one). Effectively, it’s a supported method of plat buying/selling. LoN itself is raking in a lot of money for participants; on eBay, EverQuest mounts are going for over $100. The only servers that are non-LoN are the test servers.

LoN is already working on its first expansion. I asked Kyle if there were any intentions of bringing the electronic card game into the real world; they’ve thought about it, he said, but for now they’re not doing it. There are too many advantages to being online…there’s no difficulty in finding matches, reconstructing decks, sorting cards, etc.