F2P Trading Card Games: What’s Next?
With the likes of Hearthstone coming onto the scene it has, for many people, opened there eyes to just how big the online Trading Card Game (TCG) scene actually is now that the big boys are coming to play. Considerably more accessible than the traditional physical card games, equally as social (well, as social as you can get playing through a screen), and as often as not considerably cheaper due to the fact that so many of the Trading Card Games are free to play.
Between the paragraphs of this article you will find a list of some of our favourites that we highly recommend you check out.
Might and Magic: Duel of Champions
Whilst Hearthstone might be one of the biggest TCGs, even though it’s only in beta, there is a huge community following for many of the other rivals out there and they come in all different flavours, from the classic Fantasy Trading Card Games, to Sci-Fi and even one or two more originally themed ones. Riding the coat tails of Magic: The Gathering™ the majority of the TCGs out there are fantasy based and focus on battling monsters, but games such as Urban Rivals take a slight step away from tradition and adopt a more modern day setting (albeit you’re still fighting mutants, monsters and alien type creatures).
Finding out what works in regards to features is trial and error; whilst some want to redefine the genre and make their game more unique, this comes at a price and as often as not scares off TCG players with systems that break too much from the norm and seem unfamiliar so very few are willing to try something new. Finding the balance between feature heavy client download TCG versus the likes of a more casual browser based Flash Trading Card Game is an art in itself; one that many have tried and failed as their games seemingly appear and disappear overnight.
Hex: Shards of Fate
Ryse of Mythos
So what makes a good TCG? Well it’s hard to say and it’s all personal opinion, for us the key really is keeping it simple but flexible, there are always core elements that players want, typically at the top of the list is wide selections of cards that are more than just cover art.; the more choice a player has the more unique they can make decks and tactics. Secondly we’d say the chance for getting powerful cards, either earned or at random; nothing makes a collector smile more than finally getting that big power card they’ve seen other people use so many times (usually against them!) Finally would be a system that actually works, and with decades of Magic it’s hardly a surprise why so few games try to break the mould (if it ain’t broke don’t try and fix it!).
Outside of that the features can be hit or miss. Some MMO games like to make the Trading Card Game aspect a secondary “feature” of their game, where on the flip side some TCGs take more MMO-esq features and add them as major components. Take a look at the likes of up-and-comer Hex: Shards of Fate, that introduces “dungeon raiding” and the chance to acquire gear that can be attached to your heroes and cards. Some games even allow crafting such as BattleCraft as well as the more in depth system made in Hearthstone and many games create a more PvE centric “story-arc” to their AI combat features as a staple as opposed to it being a simple process of beating up bots.
With more money and funding going into the next generation of Trading Card Games, with more developers trying to push the boundaries and trying out new things, with the line between MMORPG and Trading Card Game becoming more blurred, we feel the next few years are going to be interesting times in the TCG scene and we can’t wait to see what’s next.