Sunday, April 23, 2017

SolForge - 20/20 hours

SolForge has the same problem as every other collectable-trading-card-based video game since the old Micropose Magic: the Gathering - not enough cards. I don't necessarily need or even want them all up-front, but as an ultimate goal "obtaining the whole set" should be achievable in a reasonable amount of time.

It's not that way with tabletop cards, sure, but honestly I wish it was. That's why I've been moving away from M:tG and towards expandable but limited games like Sentinels of the Multiverse and Ascension, or buying singles of select rare cards at the game shop. I like the collecting, but the uncertainty bugs the hell out of me.

I suppose SolForge is trying, in its own way, to tap into that tabletop collectable trading card business model, where people keep buying randomized packs of cards, hoping to get the exact one they want, making the best cards scarce, but insuring that any individual pack has a chance to strike gold. I've often called Magic: the Gathering booster packs "scratch tickets for nerds" and that was definitely the vibe I got from SolForge's cash shop.

I'll admit, I was almost tempted. And I had fun enough with the game (despite its mostly terrible single-player mode and competitive scene where every single person was better than me, and not just by a little bit) that tossing the makers a couple of bucks wouldn't have been so bad. However, the main thing that stopped me was the very thing that got me playing this game in the first place - I heard that it was going to shut down soon. My five bucks wasn't going to change that, and as nebulous a form of property as digital simulations of collectable trading cards might be, I'd be upset if they suddenly vanished into the ether.

Overall, I liked SolForge because it's a card game, but I enjoyed in spite of  its presentation. The campaign mode was interesting, but it didn't really teach me how to play the real game. Single player mode was more or less pointless, but I couldn't find multiplayer matches near my skill level. The cards were cool and I liked the art and the interactions between them, but without spending money in the cash shop, I wound up getting new ones at too slow a rate to really engage my curiosity.

So, to sum up, if there was ever a SolForge version of Shandalar, I would snatch that up in a heartbeat, but I don't think I'll ever again play the version I have now. It's just too rough, even for a free-to-play game.

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