Today, we’re going to talk about HEX, baby. We’ll talk about you and me. We’ll talk about all the good things and the bad things that make card games neat.
Okay, with that terrible joke out of the way, let’s get to the point. I’ve never been a big fan of card games. I played or dabbled with Magic back in grade school, and I’ve been enjoying Hearthstone casually on my iPhone these past few weeks. But my problem with CCGs and TCGs has always been that there’s just not quite enough persistence.
One of the main reasons I’ve come to love MMORPGs so much is that there’s always this element of progression and character development that makes me feel like wasting time with a game is actually accomplishing something too. Now, finally, with HEX we’re getting an MMO that blends the addictive and strategic nature of the best card games with the lasting persistence of an MMORPG.
Cory Jones of Cryptozoic and HEX Entertainment sat down virtually on Skype with me last week to give me my first taste of HEX: Shards of Fate. For those unfamiliar, HEX is one of Kickstarter’s first big success stories. Funded by fans and backers for over 2 million dollars back in 2013, now two years later HEX is getting closer and closer to its initial goal of being the first “MMORPGTCG”.
Initially, when the game was released to backers, just the bare bones arena mode and AI opponents were in. Over time, Cory and his team have added features like a fully-functional Auction House (where you can trade cards and gear for in-game gold or real money currency), socketed cards that can be customized with special gems, constantly running tournaments, gear slots for your base heroes, and just recently the Frost Ring Arena: the game’s first real PVE mode.
Frost Ring Arena is essentially a “beat as many AI opponents and bosses as you can before you lose three times” sort of campaign. Each enemy is randomly selected from a pool of opponents themed around the Frost Ring Arena’s lore, with over 20 different champions and 6 unique bosses. You’ll get gold, gear, and unique PVE inspired cards from winning, as the mode brings the total number of cards in HEX to over 600, with over 150 different pieces of gear to equip, which also change the way certain cards work.
You might have a helmet that adds additional benefits or rage to orc minion cards, or gloves that siphon life from enemies, or any number of other benefits. Equipping your gear becomes an integral part of how you build your deck. And later this year, when HEX’s MMO Campaign Mode gets added and we’re all finally allowed to create and customize our own characters with their own skill trees? Well things will fall even deeper down the rabbit hole to make HEX one of the most complex card games available.
And that’s the kicker there, for me: the campaign mode. I’ve been playing Frost Ring Arena every day since Cory introduced me to it last week, but I’m even more excited for the campaign. With a full over-world map, quests, dungeons, AI mercenaries for hire, skill trees, my own character, and an ever expanding set of content to take on, it’s the Campaign Mode that has me most excited. I said at the beginning of this little preview that I’ve never been a fan of CCGs or TCGs… that’s because there’s never been one made for my gaming sensibilities.
HEX: Shards of Fate is that card game. Cory and the team on HEX are making this game for fans of MMORPGs. And when the campaign launches later this year, I suspect there will be more than a few fans on our site who are very happy they backed HEX two years ago. If you’re interested in trying the beta, you can head to their site and give it a go right now, no money needed.