CES Report - Legends of Norrath
Carolyn Koh is attending CES in Las Vegas. Today, she files this report on Legends of Norrath, the TCG that serves as a kind of spinoff to EverQuest and EverQuest II.
"Forsworn" the first expansion to Legends of Norrath TCG introduces over 250 new cards including over 40 new loot cards and a multiplayer, tiered aspect to the game. For those unfamiliar with the Legends of Norrath Trading Card Game, it is based on the worlds of EverQuest and EverQuest2, using the scenarios, backstories and NPCs of the games. Created by SoE's Denver studios whose credits include Star Chamber, Pirates the Constructible Strategy Game and the Stargate TCG, the game is integrated into the EQ and EQ2 game interface but also has a stand alone client. Cards packs are purchasable and they also are a common drop off Mobs in the games, and loot cards are cards that can be redeemed for in-game loot by your in-game avatar of choise.
On the eye-candy side, Associate Producer Kyle Heuer was happy to show me the new card art, and they are pretty indeed. On the game-play side, two new races are made available - the High Elf and the Iksar. This expansion also introduces multiplayer raids. There are two at this time. The Goblin Dojo which is a two-player game and Trakanon. The Goblin Dojo throws increasingly tougher waves of units at the players, and players can defeat the AI opponent by completing quests or defeating the units.
Trakanon is the tougher raid and is a two to four player game, although you will require all four players in order to defeat the poison dragon. It is a multi-tiered game consisting of three chapters set in Old Sebilis. In the first, you go up against the Pained Soul and the objective is to complete six quests. In the second, Emperor Chottal is your AI opponent and it's a game of Units. In the third and final, you go up against the boss of that dungeon, Trakanon himself, in "AvA" or Avatar combat.
Trakanon has a number of nasty cards that he can use, and old time EverQuest players will recognize some of them. Poison Breath levies 1 damage on each level token to each player. Trakanon's Call allows him to pick any unit card back out of his discarded pile and Blinding Fear sends all your unit cards away from the field - at least you don't get hit with the teleport bug and end up in the Myconids or Golem rooms.
There is a component of the AI that is somewhat like threat identification, I was told. Based on the cards being played, Trak will attack one player over another in the old "Take out the healers first" tactic. "He hates Abate Death," Kyle told me with a grin. Kyle also reported that the first team to take out Trak was composed of two top rated players coordinating over voice chat, each playing two mages. They took an hour and a half to defeat Trakanon. We watched several matches, commiserating with a team who's healer didn't draw any heal cards from his deck. Some of which total wipes, the players not even advancing beyond the first tier, wincing in sympathy as Trakanon decimated them, and seeing the AI work as intended as Trak chomped on a hapless mage who pulled out Abate Death - a card which does one point of damage to your opponent and at the same time, healed one point of health to each of your allies.
In Forsworn, there are also ten new scenarios, and players that complete all scenarios will gain access to the "Verana" avatar which allows them to play that particular raid boss against a team of two players. Also to come are the Trakanon cards. These cards will drop in the EQ and EQ2 game and a month long program is planned to launch this aspect of the game. The goal here is to activate Trakanon as an avatar, allowing you to play Trakanon against up to four other players. There are a total of 30 different cards in the Trakanon set. Players will have to collect all seven quest cards and enough other cards to make a deck of 58 cards before Trakanon activates.
In this expansion, SoE also started a new program. Ten EQ/EQ2 community members were immortalized in the deck. They submitted pictures and the Denver team characterized them.
The Legends of Norrath TCG is a game that doesn't just appeal to EverQuest players. According to Kyle, more players bought packs of cards rather than rely on in-game card drops, and the top players are players of the genre - players that migrated over from their other online TCGs rather than EQ or EQ2 MMOG players. All in all, the team is pleased with the success of this game. More raids and raid sets are planned, and we foresee a similar pattern in future expansions. That is to say, a card set, raids and raid sets.