EverQuest: Legends of Norrath Trading Card Game
While Staff Writer Carolyn Koh was at the recent SOE Fan Faire, she attended the announcement of the new Legends of Norrath TCG. Expanding the EQ and EQII universe into the realm of the online Trading Card Game, Legends of Norrath should appeal to fans of those games.
Legends of Norrath, the Trading Card Game was announced by Smed (John Smedley) in his FanFaire address on Friday, August 3rd. To be launched September 4th, it is designed by SoE's Denver Studios (of Pirates the Constructible Online TCG and Stargate Online TCG fame) in collaboration with both the EQ and EQ2 team. The first set, titled Oathbound will consist of over 375 digital cards, with a 55 card starter pack and 15 card boosters available.
This game can be played by both EQ and EQ2 players, against each other if they choose, and a stand-alone client is also available if you don't have an account or don't want to log into game. The game is integrated into the EQ and EQ2 User Interface and players will not have to worry about Alt-Tabbing into and out of the game. Similar to building decks, players will build Avatars, choosing between Warrior, Priest, Mage & Scout archetypes and blending them if they choose.
When SoE purchased Worlds Apart last year, I wondered how they had planned to leverage the skills of the Denver development house. Now I know. They are bringing the online TCG into their MMOGs. Currently known simply as SoE Denver, this group is an experienced player in the online TCG arena, having produced the afore mentioned Pirates and Stargate TCG online games as well as Star Chamber and Lord of the Rings Online TCG. SoE Denver brings ten years of experience to the table in the development of Legends of Norrath. Working closely with the EQ and EQ2 team, they have created a game that will appeal to EQ and EQ2 players and probably to other TCG aficionados as well. The cards are accessed per account, not character and will be no trade until a minimum purchase is made. At this time, details on whether the card sets will be time limited, the multi-player game and how cards may be traded are not finalized.
Players will log into a lobby, much like other online trading card games, where they can seek others to play against. The unique features of this game are the ability to obtain the cards as loot drops and in-game reward cards. Starter decks and booster packs will drop off creatures in both the EQ and EQ2 world. The cards are on a separate loot table and will randomly drop across each world. "The drops will be rare enough to be fun," said Scott Hartsman, Executive Producer of EQ2, "and there won't be any camping for cards. All cards that are purchasable will also be available as drops."
Players win the game by either completing a series of four quests or defeating their opponent. What are even more fun are the in-game rewards or loot cards that can be redeemed. "They are more like promo items or veteran rewards in nature. Hardly game unbalancing," said Hartsman, "they are just super cool items." These "cool items" consist of: nifty mounts and cloaks, pets and potions.
"The chance of a loot card drop is about one in eight," Scott Martins, Director of Development at SoE Denver said in response to a question. "There are about 33 items at launch and the plan isn't to make them super rare." When an item is redeemed, it goes on the player account's claimables list and the player can then claim it with any character.
A league and tournament system is also in the works as well as support for guild leagues and leader boards will be available on the official website: http://www.legendsofnorrath.com. The developers shared that there will be some loot that will be created for tournament prizes, and again they are more geared toward promotional items that have a cool factor rather than game unbalancing stats.
A Fan Faire participant asked if there would be in-game rewards such as unique titles for winning tournaments and the like. Hartsman's response was immediate, "We have no plans for it right now, but it's a very cool idea!"
Will it be available on other platforms? A player wanted to know. "God! We hope so!" interjected Smed, much to the amusement of the crowd. He continued to speak, giving the attendees some insight on his decision to purchase the TCG studio and assuring the crowd that the people in the Denver studio were not newcomers to the genre. "I'm a huge Magic: the Gathering fan, and I play both versions. I won't tell you how much I recently spent on a bunch of online cards on Ebay, but I'll tell you the advantage of an online version of a CCG: Your wife doesn't complain about you leaving cards all over the house." Oh snap! I like having the physical cards. But at this time, physical card sets are not planned.
The game is currently in beta and everyone that attended FanFaire 2007 has been selected to participate in the Legends of Norrath beta and soft launch roll-out. Beta testers will receive the starter deck and two booster packs, they will also receive two additional booster packs per week during beta, and four total weeks are planned. Players will be allowed to keep all cards and loot after launch.