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Legends of Norrath Release Date News - 8/31/07
Article - 8/31/2007 4:30 PDT
Article - 8/31/2007 4:30 PDT
Legends of Norrath™: Oathbound is releasing live in EverQuest® and EverQuest II® on September 5th, 2007!
Legends of Norrath is an online-only trading card game, based on the richly-detailed sword-and-sorcery world of Norrath from the massively multiplayer online role-playing games EverQuest and EverQuest II. Playable from within the two MMOs, Oathbound, the first set for Legends of Norrath features over 375 digital cards and is available in both a 55-card digital starter deck and 15-card digital booster packs. Play as one of many Oathbound avatars and decide your own fate as you choose between the paths of good or evil. Features Include:
EverQuest® and EverQuest®II Interactivity: Legends of Norrath works both with and within your existing EQ and EQ®II games. Launching directly from your in-game menu, players can challenge others from either game. Also included are randomly inserted reward cards from potions to mounts that will enhance your EQ and EQII MMO game.
Complimentary Starter Packs: EQ and EQII players will be awarded a complimentary random Oathbound digital starter deck.
Single-Player Campaigns or PVP: Test your skills against a sophisticated, re-playable AI system and earn special reward cards by completing campaigns... or challenge players all over the world in online game lobbies where you can play both casual games and high-level tournaments.
Sophisticated Online Play: Legends of Norrath provides you with all the tools needed for the complete online TCG experience. Featuring tools perfected through five previous collectable trading games, utilize the Deck Builder, Collection Manager, Trade Lobby, Tournament Lobby and numerous Casual Games Lobbies where you can find opponents any time of the day or night.
Multiple Ways to Win: Win by completing a series of four quests or reduce the health of your opponent's avatar to zero. Be the best ultimate strategic mastermind as you choose your path towards victory.
Original Fantasy Artwork: Featuring original interpretations by experienced fantasy artists, players of EverQuest and EverQuest II will find themselves reacquainted with legendary EverQuest and EverQuest II characters, creatures, locations, and items. In addition, witness new avatars and minions introduced for the very first time.
Get great rewards in EverQuest® and EverQuest II®: With each booster pack of Legends of Norrath cards, you will have the chance of receiving special cards that grant you actual in-game items that can be claimed by one of your characters.
If you would like to find out more about the EverQuest in-game items please visit this link. Also, if you would like more information on the EverQuest II in game items feel free to visit this link.


Who Is Good at What?
Article - 8/29/2007 3:10 PDT
Article - 8/29/2007 3:10 PDT
Who Is Good at What?
by Chuck Kallenbach, Game Designer

When we came up with the plan to provide four archetypes for Legends of Norrath, the next step was to divide up the various actions and effects between them. What does each archetype do well? What does each archetype do poorly? Who is second-best at each?

There are lots of 'fours' in the game. Four archetypes, and four icons on the left side of your avatar card. Perhaps the simplest division was to assign each of those icons to an archetype.

Fighters provide defense. Mages have lots of attack. Priests specialize in health. Scouts like damage bonuses. Of course, these assignments fit well with the MMO concepts of Fighters as tanks, Mages as casters, Priests as healers, and Scouts as melee support.

Another set of four was found in card types. Excluding your avatar and your quests, there are four card types that you use to make your deck. You'll find a correlation between Fighters and items, Mages and units (pets), Priests and abilities, and Scouts and tactics. Each archetype has more cards available in the card type it's associated with.

Some concepts are too universal to be limited to one archetype. We decided that Scouts and Fighters would be best at beginning combat with the opponent's avatar, but later we found this to be too important to limit to those two archetypes. You'll find cards that allow avatar attacks in every archetype, although those two are still the best at it.

What about the more undefined concepts like drawing cards and gaining power? We decided that drawing cards represented intellect, so Priests and Mages were best at that. We also gave those classes the most power-gaining effects, to illustrate Priestly prayer and the Mage's mastery of elemental forces.

If you look carefully, you'll see cards that represent haste, pickpocketing, levitation, disarming, mind control, and raising the dead. All of these effects are designed to represent the vast array of spells and skills from the MMOs.

Discuss this article in the forums.


Legends of Norrath Preview: Eluviel the Priest Starter Deck
Article - 8/23/2007 3:30 PDT
Article - 8/23/2007 3:30 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Eluviel the Priest Starter Deck
by Chuck Kallenbach, Game Designer

 

 


Our Priest archetype includes several kinds of healer classes. Priests are most concerned with healing and readying units. Their revitalizing effects allow you to use and reuse abilities and keep your units healthy for another raid next turn. The key characteristic of Priests is health. (While health isn't really an attribute since you don't have to exert to use it, it's obviously an important stat for all avatars and units.)

Eluviel's deck includes many light cards, illustrating a deck build that is more Templar than Inquisitor (to use examples from EverQuest II). As with the other archetypes, Oathbound includes both light and shadow Priest cards for you to explore both factions when building your own deck.

 

 


Priests have great abilities, and often their decks are good for questing. You'll find three copies of the excellent Forge Ahead in this deck, which has three levels and is great for completing quests.

One of the best defensive abilities in the game is the Priest's Holy Armor. For a cost of only 1 power, you can exert this ability for its defense of 1 and then, in the same combat, use its game text to destroy it for 2 more defense. That's 3 defense in one combat for only 1 power, a great bargain.

 

 
When you play this ability, you may take a unit card from your discard pile, play it to a quest for no cost, and exert that unit.


One of the signature Priest abilities, especially for light deck builds, is the card Resurrection. Playing a unit from your discard pile at no cost is a terrific way to hold on for a quest win or reinforce for another raid. Combo this with the many ways to ready a unit in this deck, such as Restoration or Rod of Faith, and you've got a unit to use right away for free!

 

 


When you play the fifteen single-player scenarios, you'll find a couple of burly Barbarians as key figures in our unique Oathbound storyline. Barbarian units are well-represented in your Priest starter deck, with no less than 5 different kinds.

The Barbarian Warrior and Wild Barbarian have the Frenzy keyword. Whenever you play another card, your unit that has Frenzy gets +1 attack until the end of the turn. It's important to take an extra second to plan your turn to make best use of Frenzy. If you're going to play an item, an ability, and a Frenzy unit, make sure you play the unit first; that way, he'll get +2 attack from the other two cards you played afterward.

The 'fattie' unit in your Priest starter deck is the Howling Frost Giant. This guy reduces the defense of all opposing units, avatars, and abilities on the turn you play him. He's also got Frenzy, so include him in your plans along with the frenzied Barbarians in your deck.

We haven't even mentioned the items and tactics in this starter, but let's just say they help reinforce the themes of readying cards and provide some cool surprises for your opponents. The Eluviel Priest Starter Deck is a solid quester backed up by quality units you can use for defense or frenzy 'em up for an awesome attack.

Discuss this article in the forums.


Legends of Norrath Preview: Cyndra the Scout Starter Deck
Article - 8/22/2007 4:00 PDT
Article - 8/22/2007 4:00 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Cyndra the Scout Starter Deck
by Chuck Kallenbach, Game Designer

 

 


The Scout archetype provides lots of surprises. Clever tactics and comes-into-play effects on abilities simulate stealth. Scouts are all about damage bonuses and mixing it up mano-a-mano. (That's Spanish for 'attacking your opponent's avatar.' Sort of.)

Ruthless, deadly, lovely Cyndra is the avatar in your Scout starter deck. She does lots of nasty things to your opponent. To play this deck well, you'll have to master some main phase combos and combat tricks.

 

 
When you play this ability, you may destroy a damaged unit.


Agonizing Wound is a great ability, destroying an enemy unit with any amount of health if you play it at the right time. Your job is to leave a wake of damaged units behind you -- wounded with your tactics, items, and abilities -- and then finish them off.

Dirty Tricks makes your opponent damage one of his own units, so the coolest combo is following that with Agonizing Wound, playing both abilities on the same turn.

Your opponent's Howling Frost Giant got you down? Poke it with your Darkwood Shortbow or Pick Off and then Agonizing Wound lets the gangrene take effect.

Even your units can damage the enemy, with the activated actions on Gnoll Archer and Gnoll Shaman. Keep in mind that when you're playing this deck, you can quickly turn a damaged unit into a dead unit.

 

 


A simple weapon made powerful by the Hidden keyword, you can play Steel Dagger as a surprise during combat. Let's say your avatar is exerted and you have no abilities. You're rolling into a pile of units in your Quest Phase that have 1 defense. When the combat begins, play the dagger, exert it for 2 attack, and then play Vicious Flurry to ready your avatar. That's a combat win with two damage, and all from surprises you played during combat.

 

 
When you play this ability, choose an opponent. He destroys one of his own abilities.


You'll get most of your wins with this deck by cleaning out units and killing your opponent's avatar. Thief's Vengeance slows down your opponent's questing, but its main virtue is to get rid of abilities that provide defense.

If you're the kind of player that enjoys beatdown decks, designed to mix it up with your opponent, then Cyndra's deck is the deck for you. Abilities that allow avatar combat and cards providing damage bonuses mean that this Scout deck can defeat your opponent's avatar before she can complete four quests.


Discuss this article in the forums.


Four Archetypes, Two Alignments
Article - 8/21/2007 1:45 PDT
Article - 8/21/2007 1:45 PDT
Four Archetypes, Two Alignments
by Chuck Kallenbach, Game Designer

As game designers, it's great for us to get the chance to develop a game for properties like EverQuest and EverQuest II. Of course, our card game can't have all the variety you can find in these two long-standing MMOs.

For Oathbound, our first set, we couldn't include all the classes from both games. It's over forty at my last count!

We decided to use umbrella categories called archetypes, as found in EverQuest II, that include groups of classes within them. As development continued, we found ways to provide cards that allow you to customize your deck to fit your character concept.

The most obvious way is to choose either Light or Shadow to build your deck, which provides a way to further customize your character.

 

 


For example, if your main is a Shadowknight, play Fighter cards like Sap Strength and Drain of Blood. If you play a Paladin, stock your Fighter deck with Lay on Hands and Holy Aura.

 

 


Other ways to create a personality for your deck include specializing in fire or cold for Mages, and stealth (Rogues) or archery (Rangers) for Scouts. Evil Priests (Inquisitors) can use cards like Wave of Fear, and good Priests (Templars) will make use of cards like Celestial Strike.

We're also excited about the ability to mix and match in the same deck. You can blend classes that exist under the same archetype to create a new kind of character who walks the line between Light and Shadow.

Those of you arriving here from the MMOs may notice missing classes. Where are the open-hand Fighters like Monks and Bruisers? Looking for shape-shifting Priests like Druids and Furies? How about Necromancers and Magicians, the evil Mages? Or Troubadours and Bards, the singing Scouts?

During the early brainstorming days of development, we wrote cards for these classes. Later, we decided to focus on a more limited set, to create the critical mass of cards needed to play an archetype correctly.

Those of you familiar with trading card games will realize that we'll be adding cards for these classes in future expansions. That way we can give each of the new classes enough cards to make them viable for deck building.

In addition, we're planning to add new races for avatar creation with upcoming sets. Norrath is a vast landscape filled with limitless possibilities for our game, and we're anxious to start including more with each expansion set!

Discuss this article in the forums.


Legends of Norrath Preview: Karlemayn the Mage Starter Deck
Article - 8/20/2007 4:45 PDT
Article - 8/20/2007 4:45 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Karlemayn the Mage Starter Deck
by Chuck Kallenbach, Game Designer

 

 


The Mage archetype's key attribute is attack. Mage cards have many ways to enhance the attack attributes of their avatar and units. Mages are somewhat lacking in defense, but this is the classic 'glass cannon' analogy; pouring out tons of damage before the opponent can overcome their weak defenses.

Pets are another keystone for the Mage archetype. They are the only units that have an archetype in the first set. Mages have ways to heal their pets and fetch them from their decks, and your starter provides many pet units.

The Karlemayn the Mage Starter Deck features Karlemayn as your avatar. The action in her game text exerts a unit, and that's an example of one of the effects of cold magic in the game. There are a couple of fire abilities in this deck as well, and you'll find that fire magic usually does direct damage to units and avatars. There's a little of both kinds of magic in this starter deck to give you samples of what kinds of decks you can build when you add cards.

Along with elemental-based spells, you find an assortment of manipulative abilities to thwart and confuse your opponent. Let's take a closer look at some of the cards in your deck.

 

 


As always, if you don't have a level 2 ability to play on your first turn, redraw your hand. For this deck, that means Column of Ice, Renew Servant, or Decoy. Sure, they all have great effects to use later in the game, but you want to complete a level 2 quest right away.

 

 


Whenever you have a choice as to which of two abilities to apply with this deck, try to leave a cold ability in play. For example, when you're questing and have Decoy and Column of Ice to apply, choose Decoy. You have a tactic called Aqueous Stalkers that gets better for every cold ability you have, and it's free!

Using Assault and extra attack provided by cards like Roaring Flames and Brittle Bone Wand, you should be able win with an avatar kill.

 

 


Even though your abilities have low levels, you have Aery Stalkers to boost the levels of abilities you apply. Keep them alive and win by questing. This deck has ten Pet units, and Renew Servant heals each of them, so spread the damage around.

The advantage of playing a Mage deck is using your extra attack to win combats. You don't have much defense, so use it sparingly. Make your opponent exert an extra card for attack to save yourself from suffering an ugly damage bonus.

This deck is built with lots of cold effects that exert your opponent's cards. Use this 'judo-like' capability to win combats and prevent extra damage against you. Of course, the 'big bomb' in this deck is Lava Storm, one of the best cards in the game for mass unit damage.

Karlemayn's deck is fun, flexible, and a great introduction to the many types of Mage cards available to customize your deck and fit any style of play.

Discuss this article in the forums.


Legends of Norrath Preview: Gnoll Courier
Article - 8/17/2007 3:30 PDT
Article - 8/17/2007 3:30 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Gnoll Courier

 

 


Why does anybody but a Gnoll care what the Gnoll Courier has to say? It's a mystery, but light units seem very interested. In fact, when you use the Courier's activated action, a light unit at the same quest becomes exerted. That's what I call interest; taking the turn off just to hear what he has to say. Even if it is just 'Bark! Bark! Bark!'

This action can be used offensively, to exert your opponent's light units. Of course, this depends upon your opponent actually playing a light unit, which she may not have in her deck. You can add light units to your deck, and that way you're sure to have one available to exert when you need to draw a card.

Discuss this card in the forums.


Legends of Norrath Preview: Cloudsong Maiden
Article - 8/16/2007 2:00 PDT
Article - 8/16/2007 2:00 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Cloudsong Maiden

 

 


The Maidens of Everfrost Peak are one of several groups of light units found in Oathbound. Each Maiden features a different interaction with shadow cards. They are examples of "opposite faction interaction," which is to say they are light units that have game effects based on combat against shadow units.

The Cloudsong Maiden seems to be much hated by all shadow units. When she dies, each shadow unit at the same quest heals itself. That's a strong incentive for your opponent to attack her quest with shadow units.

It's also possible to mix her with shadow units of your own, and then when she dies, all your shadow units will heal. The interactions of light and shadow are designed to provide many possibilities for deck building.

Discuss this card in the forums.


Legends of Norrath Preview: Light and Shadow
Article - 8/15/2007 7:30 PDT
Article - 8/15/2007 7:30 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Light and Shadow
by Chuck Kallenbach, Game Designer

I've designed cards for over a dozen paper TCGs, but I'm fascinated by the possibilities that online games offer. Mechanics in the tabletop world are often simplified to keep the burden of rules manageable by the players. For an online TCG, we can provide more depth by using the computer to do the bookkeeping. A good example is the tracking of faction in Legends of Norrath.

The Oathbound story concept describes the player as an agent of Order, working for The Tribunal on the Plane of Justice. You fight against the forces of Chaos, represented in our ongoing scenarios by Chaos Lord enemies.

Good and evil, however, are tools for you to use as you see fit. As long as you persevere against the Chaos Lords, you are free to use helpful, healing ways as well as life-draining and poison. You can even use some of both!

Light and shadow are factions in the game, as explained in the tutorials. Some cards have the light or shadow trait, and when you play enough of them, your avatar gains that trait as well. Light cards have a predominately white background, while shadow cards are mostly black.

Each time you play a card that has the light or shadow trait, your 'faction meter' changes. The amount of change is equal to the cost of the card. A three-cost shadow card moves you three points toward shadow, for example. When you reach 10 points of either light or shadow, your avatar gains the appropriate trait. When your avatar becomes light or shadow, you can use bonus game text on your cards.

In the simplest implementation, there are light cards that give other light cards bonuses, and the same is true for shadow cards. For example your Gnoll Scout, a shadow unit, gets +2 health when your avatar becomes shadow.


This unit gets -1 damage bonus.
This unit gets -1 health.
Cards that have neither the light trait nor the shadow trait are called 'neutral.' Neutral is not a faction, it is actually the absence of faction. Cards like the Giant Field Rat are happy to exist without either faction, and actually get rather surly when your avatar gains one.


All light units get +1 defense. All shadow units get +1 attack.
Some cards, however, give bonuses to both light and shadow, which is to say it's a drawback to be neutral. Balance is a card that allows players to mix light and shadow units together and provide a bonus for both.


This unit gets +1 attack for each light unit at the same quest.
There are also cards that receive a bonus when with cards of the opposite faction. Many of these are based on your opponent's cards and beyond your control, but the Thought Defiler can get her bonus from your other light units as well.

Each time you build a deck, you'll have to take into consideration the number of light and shadow cards in it. Most decks will choose to include either light or shadow cards, and not both. The starter decks are all constructed with this in mind.

When you become more experienced with deck building, you can include cards from both factions. However, once your avatar becomes light or shadow, you'll take 2 damage for each card of the opposite faction you play. Decks that have both light and shadow cards have to watch out for this penalty.

A balance is the symbol most often seen for The Tribunal, since shadows can't exist without light. Too much of either and the symmetry of the universe suffers. Examine the benefits and penalties for light and shadow cards and you'll become an expert deck builder for Legends of Norrath!

Discuss this article in the forums.


Legends of Norrath Beta Test
General - 8/14/2007 2:30 PDT
General - 8/14/2007 2:30 PDT
Welcome to the Legends of Norrath Beta Test!

Legends of Norrath is a brand new strategy game based on the richly-detailed world of Norrath from the massively multiplayer online role-playing games EverQuest and EverQuest II. The game is mostly done now, but Sony Online Entertainment is offering select players an advanced look at the game via a private beta test. There are still things to be done, and we would love your input in making this the best game possible.

Everyone that attended Fan Faire 2007 has been selected to participate in the Legends of Norrath beta and soft launch roll-out. Starting next week, when you patch your EverQuest or EverQuest II client (We'll announce when this patch will happen.) it will automatically have the game program downloaded and ready to go. This will give you access to the game and allow you to start learning and playing against other players. Your beta account will automatically be credited with some cards for you to open and start building decks, but the first thing you are going to want to do is play through the tutorials – which can be launched from within the MMO by clicking the Legends of Norrath icon.

Each person that participates in the Legends of Norrath beta will instantly be given one of two random starter decks, and two booster packs when you log into Legends of Norrath for the first time. Then, each week, for the duration of the beta test, you will be given two additional booster packs to open and include in your decks. All you need to do is go to your collection and open the packs to see what you get and start constructing decks. After you feel that you have a firm grasp of the rules, head over to the casual games lobby to play against other players, or test your mettle against the computer in skirmish mode or the scenarios. Eventually there will be other features we'll include, like trade and beta sealed deck and constructed tournaments!

To challenge other players you can either launch the game within EverQuest or EverQuest II and head over to the Casual Game lobbies, or you can challenge other players within the MMO by clicking on the challenge button which will automatically launch the game application should they accept your challenge (be sure to have their server and character name handy).

If you find any problems along the way, or have any suggestions for things you would like to see included, please visit our Beta Forumsto post about all things Legends of Norrath beta. At the end of the beta, each player that has helped us test will get to keep all cards or versions of cards that we carry forward to the live game– including any of the highly sought after loot cards they might get in their packs! SOE doesn't design cards with the intent of removing or changing them and our intention is to move all cards forward, but occasionally cards need to be balanced in order to preserve fair game play. These final versions will be automatically transferred to your live account.


Legends of Norrath Preview: Loot Card Overview
Article - 8/14/2007 2:30 PDT
Article - 8/14/2007 2:30 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Loot Card Overview

Legends of Norrath ties the fantastical worlds of EverQuest and EverQuest II together with ground-breaking features! One of these features is a completely integrated loot card system. Randomly distributed in booster packs of Legends of Norrath are special "loot cards" that allow a player to gain new in-game items for EverQuest or EverQuest II. Players can choose whether they want EverQuest or EverQuest II loot to drop from packs, and can change this at any time in the Collection Manager or in Account Preferences.

 

Collection Manager

 


Preferences

 


Loot cards can be found in Legends of Norrath booster packs in approximately one in every eight or nine packs and have multiple rarities. Some items, like health and experience potions, can be easier to find, but extremely powerful or special items like mounts are much harder to get your hands on.

Additionally, some loot cards will be given as rewards to players that compete in certain tournaments. And of course, the first ever Legends of Norrath loot cards will be given away today to Fan Faire 2007 attendees -- Lamp of the Djinn and Noble Dojom's Lamp. Any loot card you receive can be redeemed right away, or can be traded for other loot cards, regular cards, packs and decks, or event passes within the Legends of Norrath client. There are 28 loot cards each for EverQuest and EverQuest II available to be discovered in Oathbound, the first set of Legends of Norrath.

To redeem a loot card, simply right-click on it in the Collection Manager. That will bring up the redemption window. From there, just follow the directions in the redemption window, and you'll have redeemed your loot card.

 

 


Any loot cards you redeem in the Legends of Norrath client will create a "redeemed" version of that loot card that you can view within your Collection Manager for reference. This redeemed card is just a placeholder in your collection to let you keep track of the Legends of Norrath cards you've redeemed.

 

 


The next and last step is to log into your EverQuest or EverQuest II account (or simply minimize Legends of Norrath, if you're already logged in!) and claim the loot item on the character of your choice (associated with the same Station account).

 

 

 

 

The EverQuest, EverQuest II and Legends of Norrath teams have come up with some exciting loot cards. We can't wait to see you running around in-game on your new mounts or wrecking other players disguised as an inconspicuous crate!

Discuss this article in the forums.


Forum Maintenance for August 14, 2007 @ 4:00 AM PDT
General - 8/13/07 4:30 PDT
General - 8/13/07 4:30 PDT
Forum Maintenance for August 14, 2007 @ 4:00 AM PDT

All forums and Players sites will be down on August 14th, 2007 starting at 7am PDT. The downtime will be approximately 7 hours. The forums and players sites should be up again at 11am PDT.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.


Legends of Norrath Preview: Item Card Type
Article - 8/13/2007 3:30 PDT
Article - 8/13/2007 3:30 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Item Card Type


by Paul Dennen, Sr. Game Designer

Today is the last day of Card Type Week -- yeah, I know it's weird ending a week on Monday but the first article of the series was on Tuesday! -- and to celebrate the conclusion, today is a "double-shot" day to finish off the card types.

We finish up with the simplest two of all card types. There are not many new rules to show off here but, at the same time, both of these card types are very important to the game and to competitive decks.

Items

First up, we have items. Like abilities, items are played onto your avatar and provide support in a variety of ways; they can provide extra defense or attack, or grant miscellaneous non-combat effects to bolster a particular strategy. Unlike most abilities, items are not applied to quests. Thus, items are generally permanent and remain in play until destroyed by a card effect. Items represent all sorts of things: armor, weapons, magical baubles, tomes, you name it. Today, we take a look at a scout item. It's technically armor because it has the armor trait, but it doesn't provide protection for your scout avatar. No, these boots were made for walking, stalking, and generally causing a large pain in your opponent's butt. Take a look:

 

 


Take a look at that game text. To players like me who like to play with tricky tactics and strategies as opposed to brute force, that game text is pure gold and I hope you're excited by it.

Just like the other cards, this card has a card type icon in the top left on which is printed the card's cost. The archetype icon in the top right is, in this case, a scout icon. Underneath the name we have a trait: armor, which as we've said before carries no intrinsic value but it is something that other cards can refer to. On that same line, on the right side, is something new. "Feet" is a term that we call a restriction. EQ and EQII players are quite familiar with item slots, and this is basically the same concept: you can only have one item in play for each restriction.

You are allowed to upgrade your items for a particular restriction, however. For example, if you draw Boots of the Slickfinger early in the game but later in the game you draw Journeyman's Boots, another item with the Feet restriction, you are allowed to play the Journeyman's Boots. When you do so, two things happen:

Your old item is destroyed (sent to your discard pile from play).
You draw a card. This bonus card draw is a counterbalance to the fact that you had to lose your old card to play the new card.
These rules mean you can stock multiple copies of your favorite item without feeling that you are going to be stuck with useless extra copies in your hand.

And that's really the only new mechanic related to items.

Tactics

Tactics are even easier to understand. These are simply cards that you stock in your deck to affect key combats during the game. You can only play them during combat. When you do play a tactic, you simply execute its game text and then discard it.

Let's take a look at a tactic card. So the mage players won't feel left out, it's time to show a mage card:

 

 


There are two interesting things to note about this card. First of all, note that it has no printed cost on the tactic icon in the top left corner. That means it's free, no power needed to play! You will find that it is a good idea to stock your deck with some of these no-cost cards because the power resource is a premium commodity: you probably won't be able to generate enough power to play all your cards if they all cost power.

The second thing to point out about this card is the sword icon at the beginning of the game text area. That icon simply means that you can only play this in combat while you are on the attack. This makes sense when you read the rest of the card, because the card is only useful when you are on the attack -- if you could play it while you are defending, it would do you no good anyway.

Swarm of Bats is a solid card for a mage avatar who doesn't want to be afraid of a large group of opposing units during the quest phase. The more defenders there are, the more useful your bats become!

Every Ending is a New Beginning

That wraps up Card Type Week! If you've read along since last Tuesday, you now know just about all there is to know about the cards in the game. We will continue to spoil preview cards as the beta test proceeds, and we do have some interesting twists to reveal, so stick around if you are interested in even more details about Legends of Norrath.

Discuss this article in the forums.


Legends of Norrath Preview: Unit Card Type
Article - 8/10/2007 1:45 PDT
Article - 8/10/2007 1:45 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Unit Card Type
by Paul Dennen, Sr. Game Designer

The last two preview articles described quests, the cards that form the landscape of the game, and then abilities that are used to complete quests. Today, we cover the type of card that essentially lives at quests: a unit card.

Let's take a look at a unit:

 

 


If you've been following along with Card Type Week, you already know what the numbers on Savage Dire Wolf mean. As a quick recap, the "2" on the unit icon in the upper-left corner is the cost, the "2" on the sword icon is its attack attribute, the "2" on the shield icon is its defense attribute, and the "2" on the heart icon represents its health. Wow, for some reason Savage Dire Wolves like the number 2!

Unlike all the other cards that you'll play from your deck, you have a placement decision to make when you play a unit. You can place your unit at the left quest or the right quest.

Wolf Trap

One thing that units can do is make questing difficult for your opponent. By placing a unit at a quest that your opponent wants to complete, your opponent must face a dangerous situation every time he approaches that quest. Make your opponent pay health points for his foolish questing habit! Savage Dire Wolf is not the best unit for this tactic, but with a 2 defense he's no slouch either.

Hounding the Enemy

Setting up defensive ambushes for your opponent's quest phase isn't the only use for units. During your main phase, you can attack with your units - once per quest per turn. When you do initiate this attack, which in technical game terms is called a raid, you check if your opponent has units at the same quest. If he does, your units fight those units. If there are no opposing units at the same quest, then your units fight against your opponent's avatar. It is in these fights that Savage Dire Wolf's ability shines, as it gets +1 attack for each ability on the defending avatar.

Of Mice and Dragons

Units come from all over the world of Norrath. Low-cost units can be simple creatures such as a lowly Giant Field Rat, while high-cost units are powerful bosses with game text that can strike fear into mere mortals. And then there are also personalities (which is really why the card type is called "unit" as opposed to something like "monster" or "creature") such as Firiona Vie and Lucan D'Lere. We'll certainly be taking a look at some more powerful units in the weeks to come, but today is a simple wolf's day to shine.

We'll finish up Card Type Week on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Discuss this article in the forums.


Legends of Norrath Preview: Ability Card Type
Article - 8/09/2007 10:30 PDT
Article - 8/09/2007 10:30 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Ability Card Type
by Paul Dennen, Sr. Game Designer

Yesterday we talked about quests and how they are the heart of what the game is about. Today we'll take a look at ability cards, which are used to complete quests.

Yesterday's article mentioned that each player brings four quests to the game, of various levels: 2, 4, 5, and 6. Those level numbers are critical, as they determine just how hard it is to complete the quest. The higher the number, the harder the quest will be to complete.

Ability cards also have levels. You will use these levels to place level tokens on quests. When you have placed a number of level tokens on a quest equal to or exceeding that quest's level, you complete it. So, for example, a level-2 ability is enough, by itself, to complete a level-2 quest. But that same ability will only get you halfway toward completing a level-4 quest.

Let's take a look at today's preview card, an ability called Firiona's Blessing:

 

 


When you apply this ability at a quest, heal 1 damage on your avatar.

Let's walk through the elements of this card, step by step:

The "4" in the upper-left corner of the card represents the cost to play the card, measured in power. As we discovered yesterday, each player receives at least 3 power at the beginning of his or her turn. As such, 4 power is a relatively-expensive ability; most abilities will cost 2 or 3 power.

As was covered in the fighter preview article, the sword icon in the top-right corner represents that this card falls under the umbrella of the fighter archetype.

We also learned about the shield icon which represents the defense attribute. In the same way that an avatar can exert itself for defense, it can also exert one of its own abilities for defense. (Although note that not all abilities have a defense attribute.) Firiona's Blessing has a "3" for defense, which is really good. Apparently, when Firiona blesses you, she doesn't mess around.

The third number on the card, the "2" represents the level of the ability. It is the same icon that is used on quests.

The game text area, as always, indicates the special rules that the card introduces. In this case, Firiona's Blessing heals 1 damage on your avatar when you do decide to apply it to a quest. Pretty nice stuff. Thanks, Firiona!

Toward the bottom-left of the card is an icon that looks like a rolled up scroll. This is a lore button that you can click to swap back and forth between game text and lore. This button didn't exist on Seek the Adventurer's Stone preview because the game text and lore were short enough to fit together. But Firiona just had too much to say for this card, and rather than suffer the wrath of a misquoted high elf, we decided to include her full statement:

 

 


There are a couple final things to mention about the elements of this card. First of all, the "F" in the collector information represents that this is a "fixed" card. That means you won't find it in a booster pack. You will earn this card by defeating one of the 15 single-player scenarios.

To Quest or not to Quest

Back to game mechanics! The ability card type, like no other card type in the game, best exemplifies what I meant in the introduction article when I said that "LoN is a game of tradeoffs." This is because of how the core questing mechanics work. Let's go over them:

You have one quest phase at the beginning of your turn. It comes before your ready phase which is when all your exerted cards become ready to use again.
You can only quest if you have at least one ready ability with at least one level.
You must quest if you can. (Legendary heroes don't make their names by staying at home.)
When you do quest, you must choose one of your ready abilities to apply to a quest.
When you apply an ability at a quest, you create level tokens at that quest and discard that ability.
One of the most critical ramifications of these rules is that, during a round of play, you can only use an ability for its defense or for its levels. What this means is that you must often make a decision of whether to protect yourself or push forward. If the game was merely about eliminating avatars in combat, the decision would be a trivial one: protect myself. But since the game has two main victory conditions, the decision becomes interesting. You can trade health for quest advancement, or, conversely, trade quest advancement for health.

This decision is further complicated by the following rules:

Both players can attempt the same quest!
When a quest is completed, all opposing level tokens on it are destroyed for no effect.
In other words, just because you put Seek the Adventurer's Stone into your quest pile, doesn't mean you're going to be the player who finishes it. Quests simply provide the landscape for the game; they are not "working for" either player.

I left out these details in yesterday's article about quests because the full ramifications only become clear when you understand how abilities work. Now, you can start to see that the race to finish four quests can be a challenging one, as you and your opponent can apply abilities to the same quest. And just because you are the first player to put level tokens on quest does not mean you'll be the first to finish it!

Join us tomorrow when Card Type Week continues.

Discuss this article in the forums.


Legends of Norrath in the Press
General - 8/9/07 10:30 PDT
General - 8/9/07 10:30 PDT
Legends of Norrath in the Press

Legends of Norrath is featured in the September 2007 issue of InQuest Gamer magazine! Check out the preview article on page 48 of issue #149.


SOE Gen Con Celebration
General - 8/9/07 10:30 PDT
General - 8/9/07 10:30 PDT
Are you ready for one of the best gaming convention around? If you enjoy playing games—tabletop or desktop—we invite you to join us at Gen Con this year in Indianapolis, IN for the time of your life!

As part of the festivities for Gen Con in Indianapolis, Sony Online Entertainment will be hosting a Meet and Greet for those of you in the area. Join us at Jillian's on August 17th from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Food and drinks will be provided, along with entertainment and fun.

Address: 141 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46225
Phone: 317-822-9300
E-mail:ecindianapolis@jilliansbilliards.com
Web Site: Jillian's
Distance from Monument Circle: 0.27 miles

We look forward to seeing you there! If you are going to make it, let us know in the Forums

 

Legends of Norrath Preview: Quest Card Type
Article - 8/08/2007 9:45 PDT
Article - 8/08/2007 9:45 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Quest Card Type
by Paul Dennen, Sr. Game Designer

Questing is at the core of Legends of Norrath. The first player to complete four quests wins the game immediately, so completing quests and thwarting your opponent's quest attempts should be high priority for virtually all LON decks.

Quests are represented by a special card type. Here's an example:

 


When a player completes this quest, he draws two cards.
Like the avatar card type and all other card types for that matter, quests have a title at the top and underneath that a traits line. In this case, the only trait is "Reward." A quick note about traits: traits are simply labels on a card; they have no inherent meaning. But they can be referred to by the game text on other cards.

The lack of an archetype icon, and the fact that this card's template is gray, indicates that this is a generic card that can be put into any play deck.

The icon on the left of the card is the level symbol, indicating that this card is a level-5 quest. I'll explain fully what that means tomorrow but, as you might expect, the higher a quest's level is, the harder it is to complete.

Finally, each quest has a unique piece of game text that distinguishes it from other quests. In this case, Seek the Adventurer's Stone has a piece of game text that is fairly self-explanatory: "When a player completes this quest, he draws two cards." Drawing additional cards is a good bonus effect in LON, so the player who does complete this quest will have a leg up on his opponent.

Quest Piles

A player's quests, unlike his or her other card types, are placed into a special quest pile at the beginning of the game. When building your play deck, you must include four quests in your quest pile, and they must be of four different levels. The quest levels are: 2, 4, 5, and 6.

At the beginning of the game, players reveal their level-2 quests and put them into play. The other three quests remain in the quest piles until quests are completed. This will mean that there are always two quests in play. Each time you complete a quest, you take your next quest from your quest pile and put it into play. You always put the lowest-level quest you have into play. So, when you solve one quest, you put your level-4 quest into play. When you solve a second quest, you put your level-5 quest into play. When you solve a third quest, you put your level-6 quest into play. When you solve a fourth quest, your quest pile is empty but you've won the game!

Keeping Score

Quests perform two critical components of gameplay. The first is that they are one of two methods of keeping score during the game. If you've completed three quests to your opponent's one, then you're ahead in that category. However, the other important score-keeping category is damage on avatars. You might be ahead on questing, but if your avatar card sustains damage equal to its health, your questing was for naught. Remember, you can win the game by completing four quests or defeating your opponent's avatar.

Power Escalation

The other critical component of gameplay that quests influence is the escalation of power. In yesterday's article we talked about Eluviel's special action and how it requires 3 power to activate. Power is the resource system in the game. Unlike many other trading card games, you do not need to include resource cards in your deck. Instead, you start with 3 power at the beginning of the game. And at the beginning of your turn, your power refills, so even if you spend 3 power on your first turn, you'll get a full new tank of power to work with on your second turn.

Furthermore, this power tank goes up as the game goes on. Specifically, each time a quest is completed -- by any player -- each player's power allotment goes up by one. I emphasized that part about any player because it's important. Even if your opponent is winning the quest race, your power still goes up. This ensures that players will get a chance to play their high-powered cards even if they are struggling to complete quests early in the game, and it prevents a rich-get-richer breakdown from occurring.

Card Type Week continues tomorrow when as we reveal the card type that is used to complete quests.

Discuss this article in the forums.


Legends of Norrath Preview: Avatar Card Type
Article - 8/06/2007 4:00 PDT
Article - 8/06/2007 4:00 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Avatar Card Type
by Paul Dennen, Sr. Game Designer

Welcome to Card Type Week! Each day this week, we'll take a look at one of the card types in Legends of Norrath. By the end of the week, you'll know everything about how the game is played.

Today's card is an avatar card. You're not going to see many of these because your play deck needs only one avatar. Unlike the other card types, your avatar card automatically begins the game in play. Let's take a look at an avatar:

 


Exert this avatar and pay 3 power  Choose an opponent. He discards a card at random.
There's a lot going on here, so let's take things one by one. First of all, the yellow template and the archetype symbol in the top right indicate that this avatar is a priest. This piece of information will be used when you are deck-building. Your other cards must either have that same priest symbol (and yellow border), or they must have no archetype symbol at all.

The avatar's name is at the top of the card. This avatar's name is Eluviel. To the left of the name, in the top-left corner, is the card type symbol. This particular symbol is found on all avatar cards.

Right underneath the name is a traits section. The only trait that Eluviel has is "Dark Elf." You probably knew that from looking at his picture.

Combat Attributes

On the left side of the card are Eluviel's combat attributes. Starting from the top, these are:

 
This is the attack attribute. It can be used when it is your turn and Eluviel is attacking his enemies.

 
This is the defense attribute. It can be used when it is your opponent's turn and Eluviel is under attack.

 
This is the damage bonus attribute. It can be used at the end of a combat to deal additional damage to Eluviel's foes, but only if Eluviel wins.


This is the health attribute. Unlike the other attributes, this is a passive attribute, you never explicitly choose to use health. Instead it defines the amount of damage Eluviel can take before he is eliminated.

Finally, like all avatars, Eluviel has a special action, written in the game text area at the bottom of the card. Let's come back to that and first talk about exertion.

Exertion

One of the important game concepts to understand about Legends of Norrath is that you generally have multiple ways to use a card, and that it's up to you to decide when to go ahead and use one. The decision aspect is important, because typically you can only use a card once per round - where a round is defined as each player taking one turn. For example, if you decide to use Eluviel's attack attribute to win a fight, you won't be able to use his damage bonus in that same fight.

When you do decide to use one of Eluviel's active combat attributes, he becomes exerted which means he cannot be exerted for another attribute until you reach the ready phase during your turn. (We'll cover the entire turn sequence in an article next week.)

Special Action

With exertion explained, I think we can go back and tackle Eluviel's special action. It says:
"Exert this avatar and pay 3 power  Choose an opponent. He discards a card at random."
There's a couple things to learn here. First of all, this is an activated action, meaning it is something you must choose to do, rather than a passive action which is happening all the time. You will find out that some avatars have passive actions, but most have activated actions.

The arrow symbol  in the middle of the sentence is a cost-to-effect icon, meaning that the text to the left is the cost and the text to the right is the effect. In other words, in order to trigger Eluviel's special effect, you must pay its cost. The cost in this case is twofold: you must exert Eluvial and pay 3 power. Power is a resource that you will use during the game to both play cards and trigger actions on your cards in play. We'll talk more about power in tomorrow's article.

The final thing to point out about Eluviel's special action is just what that  symbol means at the beginning. All activated actions are preceded by a timing symbol. In this case, that symbol  represents the main phase, meaning that you can only use Eluviel's special power during the main phase on your own turn.

Eluviel's special action is not something you would use at the beginning of the game, for two reasons. First of all, 3 power is a lot to pay at the beginning of the game, as we'll explain tomorrow. Secondly, from what you've learned about the exertion rules, once you exert Eluviel for any purpose, you can't exert him for another reason until your next ready phase. Early in the game, before he's fully equipped and has mustered a sufficient army to his side, you'll be very tempted to use Eluviel for one of his combat attributes.

How Do You Get Avatars?

The last piece of the card to talk about is that information in the lower-left corner. This is called collector information, and is shown in set-rarity-card number form. Eluviel's collector information is "1-F-5" which indicates the following:

1: This simply means that Eluviel is part of set 1 (called Oathbound) of Legends of Norrath. This number will increment as game expansions are released.
F: Indicates that Eluviel is a fixed-rarity card which means it is not found randomly in booster packs. Eluviel is found in the Oathbound Priest Starter Deck.
5: This indicates that Eluviel is the fifth fixed card in the Oathbound set.

There is one last final thing to talk about concerning avatars, and I've saved the best for last. Legends of Norrath avatars are not considered part of the Oathbound card set, and they're never found in booster packs. Instead, as a player, you will have access to an avatar creation tool, which lets you create your own custom avatar cards! Revealing all the details of this process is beyond the scope of this article, but I thought you should know. Eluviel is one of the four story avatar cards that come packaged in starter decks, so you don't have to use the avatar creation tool if you don't want to. But I have a feeling that avatar creation will be something that many players will gravitate toward, so that you can create your own Legend of Norrath -- perhaps named after your favorite EQ or EQII character!

Discuss this article in the forums.


Introduction and Fighter Starter Strategy Overview
Article - 8/03/2007 6:00 PDT
Article - 8/03/2007 6:00 PDT
Legends of Norrath Preview: Introduction and Fighter Starter Strategy Overview
by Paul Dennen, Sr. Game Designer

Greetings,fellow gamers. My name is Paul Dennen, and I'm lead designer for Legends of Norrath. It is my privilege to be able to introduce the game with this article. I'll briefly describe the overall game, and then I'll talk a little about the Terin the Fighter Starter Deck, one of four starter decks in Legends of Norrath's first set, which is called Oathbound .

What Is Legends of Norrath?

There is a What Is It? section on this website, but I'll give you my take on what it is and a little bit of insight into how it was designed. Legends of Norrath (or LoN for short) is a trading card game designed especially for Everquest and Everquest II players. It was designed specifically to make sense as a game that residents of Norrath would play. It's even possible for your EQ or EQII character to find LON cards while adventuring. The material on these cards will make sense from that perspective. For example, you might find a card called "Dain Frostreaver" based on the legendary Lord of Icewell Keep. Conversely, you would not find cards named from out-of-character perspectives such as "Train to Zone".

It is also very easy for your character to challenge an opponent on your server to a quick duel. The same LON server is accessible from any EQ or EQII server, and thus it is possible to play with other gamers who aren't even on the same server.

We designed the game to play quickly, so that it can serve as a distraction during downtimes. But it's not just a minigame that you'll play a few times and get bored with -- it is a full-fledged trading card game with over 350 cards. This translates into many strategies and styles of play, so that you and your friends can explore the game for a long time. We also plan on introducing expansions from time to time to mix things up.

One of the best things about a trading card game is the ability to customize your deck to your own liking. However, your first experience should really be with a starter deck. A starter deck is a deck that is preconfigured specifically for new players. These may not be the most powerful decks in the world, but they are balanced for play against each other and they don't contain any cards that are difficult to understand.

And best of all? If you are an EQ or EQII player, you will receive a free random starter deck when LON launches!

Terin the Fighter Starter Deck Overview

 

Every deck starts with an avatar card. In this case, that avatar card is Terin, as you would suspect from the name of the deck. That's a picture of him on the deck itself, and as one of the featured characters of the Oathbound storyline, he makes an appearance on some of the cards in the game. LON is a game about powerful heroes doing legendary things, and we decided to break up these heroes into four archetypes, encompassing the various flavors of fantasy heroes but in a way that gives players a lot of freedom while building their own decks. In other words, you'll find some cards in the fighter archetype that have paladin-like effects, others that feel have effects you'd expect from a berserker, etc. We're giving you a lot of freedom in customizing a fighter to your liking. Look for an article called "Four Archetypes, Two Alignments" in a couple weeks which will fully explain what I'm getting at.

How Do You Win?

Before talking about what the Terin starter deck is good at, it's worth taking a peek at how you win a game of Legends of Norrath. There are actually two main paths to winning: questing and elimination. To win by questing, you must be the first player to complete four quests. To win by elimination, you must defeat your opponent's avatar in combat.

LON is a game of tradeoffs, and these two victory conditions are at the heart of many of the tradeoff decisions you will make while playing. The most common tradeoff decision is whether you want to put your avatar in harm's way to complete a quest. You'll be trading health for quests. On the other hand, you may decide to give up on a quest in order to protect your avatar. Each game is dynamic, and a good player will learn to be flexible and be willing to win using either method, depending on the game circumstance.

The Fighter's Advantages

As a fighter, Terin has access to cards with particular advantages. First and foremost, fighters have access to heavier armor than the other archetypes. This gives Terin a clear and powerful advantage as his opponents will find it difficult to inflict damage on him. This defensive strength is accented by powerful defensive abilities.

Secondly, fighters have access to powerful weaponry and the Terin deck has two copies of a particular weapon that will put fear into your opponent when it hits the table.

The third advantage that fighters get is leadership-based effects. Leadership is not a game term, but rather a category of cards that we've assigned to fighters. These cards give bonus effects to cards that you'll muster into your avatar's army. The Terin deck actually has very little leadership cards, but the ones it does have can easily win games when played at the right moment.

The Terin deck can sometimes start slowly - you may have to fall behind on questing to give Terin some time to equip his powerful items. But once Terin is equipped, you should be able to create board advantage by clearing out your opponent's cards. This board advantage should translate into your opponent having a difficult time with finishing his final quests, as he'll be flailing to stay alive against your army's attacks as well as Terin's own relentless onslaughts.

Here's a sneak peek at a few of the cards in Terin's deck:

 

 

When you play this ability, choose an opponent. That player's avatar gets -1 damage bonus. Your avatar gets +1 damage bonus.

 

Deal 1 damage to a defending combatant.

Next week is "Card Type Week" here at the LON website. Each day, we'll explain one card type, including what those numbers and icons mean. By the end of the week, you'll understand how all the card types work. This is going to be an exciting few weeks of previews leading up to the game's release.

Discuss this article in the forums.


Legends of Norrath Beta Test
General - 8/03/2007 6:00 PDT
General - 8/03/2007 6:00 PDT
Welcome to the Legends of Norrath Beta Test!

Legends of Norrath is a brand new strategy game based on the richly-detailed world of Norrath from the massively multiplayer online role-playing games EverQuest and EverQuest II. The game is mostly done now, but Sony Online Entertainment is offering select players an advanced look at the game via a private beta test. There are still things to be done, and we would love your input in making this the best game possible.

Everyone that attended Fan Faire 2007 has been selected to participate in the Legends of Norrath beta and soft launch roll-out. Starting next week, when you patch your EverQuest or EverQuest II client (We'll announce when this patch will happen.) it will automatically have the game program downloaded and ready to go. This will give you access to the game and allow you to start learning and playing against other players. Your beta account will automatically be credited with some cards for you to open and start building decks, but the first thing you are going to want to do is play through the tutorials – which can be launched from within the MMO by clicking the Legends of Norrath icon.

Each person that participates in the Legends of Norrath beta will instantly be given one of two random starter decks, and two booster packs when you log into Legends of Norrath for the first time. Then, each week, for the duration of the beta test, you will be given two additional booster packs to open and include in your decks. All you need to do is go to your collection and open the packs to see what you get and start constructing decks. After you feel that you have a firm grasp of the rules, head over to the casual games lobby to play against other players, or test your mettle against the computer in skirmish mode or the scenarios. Eventually there will be other features we'll include, like trade and beta sealed deck and constructed tournaments!

To challenge other players you can either launch the game within EverQuest or EverQuest II and head over to the Casual Game lobbies, or you can challenge other players within the MMO by clicking on the challenge button which will automatically launch the game application should they accept your challenge (be sure to have their server and character name handy).

If you find any problems along the way, or have any suggestions for things you would like to see included, please visit our Beta Forumsto post about all things Legends of Norrath beta. At the end of the beta, each player that has helped us test will get to keep all cards or versions of cards that we carry forward to the live game– including any of the highly sought after loot cards they might get in their packs! SOE doesn't design cards with the intent of removing or changing them and our intention is to move all cards forward, but occasionally cards need to be balanced in order to preserve fair game play. These final versions will be automatically transferred to your live account.

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