E3 2014 Recap – Hex: Shards of Fate
I had the fortune to book a meeting with Cory Jones, President of Cryptozoic, for the second year in a row to see how his monumentally successful Kickstarter MMO TCG Hybrid project, Hex, is working out. Honestly I had a hard time believing the game that is barely a year out from its initial Kickstarter funding has come so far in so little time. It’s amazing what $2 million can do for an online card game!
The concept was present in last year’s presentation but seeing it all functioning with solid UI and responsive controls was still a sight to behold. It’s a bit overwhelming and comes off as being designed for the more hardcore TCG audience ala Infinity Wars rather than Hearthstone. The turns play out in more standard fair but with enough opportunities for traps, power-ups, and other magic counters and activations to make a Yu-Gi-Oh episode proud. The flow is nice as well and seems set to ensure that matches are neither too long nor too short, and almost always end in an epic bang.
My God the cards! There’s so many already. It’s absurd to call this game a beta title when they’re already packing hundreds of top notch cards, both in terms of art as well as variety. There’s factions dedicated to extremist Christianity themes, to holy Native American coyotes, to Bushido samurai bunnies, to grown men riding giant canaries, to undead necromancy cults, to all-out offensive orks, to Steampunk worshipping dwarves, to druidic elves.
And beyond just being well themed, the cards pack special states that offer boons and banes in battle, and can even tell a story while evolving through the course of battle. In essence the imaginative gamer can see the entire ordeal playing out, as monks transcend mortal desires to become omniscient, bunnies spawn armies of hundreds, powerful magi are freed from prison, and great heroes are avenged in glorious battle. All these elements are tactical with counters and necessary goals to enact in the playing field, and add a layer of creative glory that is lost in most other TCGs on the market.
I’m sure that’s just scratching the surface but the wild part is Cory claims they aren’t even binding you to utilizing a single faction in your deck, allowing you to hybrid mix and match tactics so long as you can pack a reasonable number of related resource cards into your bag of tricks to make it viable. And of course the real hat track is the merging of Champion cards into the RPG element that is sure to be a cornerstone of the incoming MMORPG elements.
Putting the MMO in Hex’s TCG
The only disappointment of the demo was not getting to see the MMO elements playing out as of yet. And that’s grasping at straws as I didn’t expect half the features present to be looking so smooth and polished already. Elements of multiplayer team battles are already being tested, and the auction house is in the final passes before being implemented. Got to love a TCG actually offering an auction house! Your champion (basically your RPG representative of yourself) can even be equipped with gear and socketing exists to add specialized elements to cards in your deck to keep even veteran Hex fighters guessing at your tactics.
In Cory’s words, they are concerned with making sure the PvP is solid. Once they know they have a better foundation than any other card game on the market, that’s when they will build it out with the MMORPG elements to truly make their game shine as the world’s #1 card fighter. One of the primary pieces of the puzzle they are working out is making the PvE flow quickly, so players don’t get bored waiting on their PUG to think through a hundred strategies before making a move.
And while I could rattle on and on about our half our meeting with Cory, I would rather spare the effort for one major reason. Cryptozoic caught us entirely off guard and invited JamesBl0nde and ApocaRUFF into the beta this week. So keep an eye out as our best dive into the world of Hex to bring you the full report later this month. Until then, enjoy the eye candy of some of the more epic cards we stumbled upon in the asset pack.
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