Archive for Mobile Trading Card Games

Divine Armaments – Recursive Enhancements

There Must Be A Better Way

So, you’ve been evolving and enhancing your Divine Armaments cards, but you’re beginning to feel a bit like Edward Bear…

Here is Edward Bear, coming down the stairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.
It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs,
but sometimes he feels that there really is another way,
if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.
And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t.

I’ve come across a couple of posts on the Internet and some YouTube videos that discussed some options, I’ve consolidated them into what I call the Recursive Approach to developing my feeder cards.

Working Smarter verses Harder?

This process is the most efficient in terms of the number of cards it requires and the amount of orison you spend doing it. It is NOT the most efficient in terms of the time it takes. You’ll be using the Single Enhancement mode and changing the Enhancement target each time. So, the enhancement process does take more time than the method I shared in earlier posts. However, that may be balanced out by the fact that it takes less time to gather the cards you need and less time to gather the orison to pay the evolution and enhancement fees.

The Goal

To create a fully enhanced Rare character card which will be used to level up one of my “real” cards. Mostly these days my event and battle decks use Super Rare and Super Rare+ character and equipment cards. So it takes a lot of level 40 Rare cards to level those cards up to maximum. To get the most out of a 4, 6, or 8 (gulp) card evolution, it takes a TON of feeders! So being efficient is important.

As I mentioned in my Levelling in Divine Armaments post a while back ago, the best place to gather levelling cards is Palace Corridor 1. So, I’ll be targeting a level 40 Hecate Effy (The Elegant) Rare card with this process.

Ingredients

You’ll need to gather the following cards and orison for this process:

  • 5 Hecate Effy (N+)
  • 5 Tyr N+ armor cards (see note below)
  • 12,423 Orison

Note: The armor cards should all be for the same slot. So you need 5 Banded Armguards or 5 Scale Skirts. While you can cross from arm to skirt slots, the enhancement process is most efficient when you’re using the same card as the target and material.

Process

There is a four-step process to this procedure. Technically creating the rare Hecate Effy can be done either at the beginning or the end. I tend to do her first because I’ve had times when I miscounted, and it is frustrating to get to that last step and realize that I need one more and have to go back to the Palace Corridor to get another one. In my example, I’m using the Banded Armguards for the enhancement armor.

Tip: Don’t forget to turn OFF the enhancement animation. This was a very nice feature that Sakurasoft added to the game recently. When you’re grinding out feeder cards not having to hit the “Skip” button is one extra button press that you can avoid and a few extra seconds saved may not seem like a lot at first, but it adds up over time, believe me!

Step 1 – Create Hecate Effy (The Elegant) (Rare)

This step is pretty straightforward. Just evolve four of the Hecate Effy Normal+ cards into her Rare form.

Target Material Cost Result
Hec. Effy Hec. Effy 2687 Hec. Effy+
Hec. Effy+ Hec. Effy 3741 Hec. Effy++
Hec. Effy++ Hec. Effy 4795 Hec. Effy (Elegant)

Step 2 – Enhance Tyr N+ Material

This is where the “recursive” part comes into play. The first enhancement is just one level 1 enhanced with another level 1. That creates a level 4. But then we use the Change Target button, select another level 1 Banded Armguard and use the level 4 that we just created as the material. That creates a level 8 result. We keep changing target, using the result of the last enhancement as the material, until we get a level 26 result.

Target Material Cost Result
Armguard (1) Armguard (1) 200 Armguard (4)
Armguard (1) Armguard (4) 200 Armguard (8)
Armguard (1) Armguard (8) 200 Armguard (12)
Armguard (1) Armguard (12) 200 Armguard (26)

Note that we could do it one more time and get a level 35 Banded Armguard. The problem is that if we use a level 35 Banded Armguard (which is a Tyr Forest item) to try to level a Rare Hecate Effy (fire) card, we won’t max her out. We’ll get her to level 39. And it will take another level 8 Banded Armguard to get her to level 40. Wasteful. It’s better to just take the Armguard to level 26, and proceed to Step 3.

Step 3 – Enhance Hecate Effy N+

Since the Hecate Effy character card is only Normal+, we can use the level 26 Armguard we created in Step 2 to enhance her up to level 35. Then, since she is the same base card as our Rare Hecate Effy we’re trying to create as our feeder, she’ll max out the card in step 4!

Target Material Cost Result
Hec. Effy (1) Armguard (26) 200 Hec. Effy (35)

Step 4 – Enhance Hecate Effy (The Elegant) [Rare]

Now that we protected ourselves from that inefficiency of changing jobs, card types, and elements by using the Hecate Effy Normal+ as our final enhancement in Step 3, we can max out our Rare Hecate Effy card in one move here.

Target Material Cost Result
Hec. Effy (Elegant) (1) Hec. Effy (35) 200 Hec. Effy (Elegant) (40)

Conclusion

At first this is going to feel frustrating. Changing target for every enhancement doesn’t feel as efficient as the first method I put up where you’re using the multiple enhancement which has fewer steps to it. However, as you begin to realize how many fewer cards you have to farm to get your Rare feeders and how much more quickly you’re getting your Super Rare and Super Rare+* cards maxed out, it starts to sink in that the changing target is a fair trade-off for not taking so many trips back to the Palace Corridor!

*Footnote: Ok, let’s be real. Maxing out a Super Rare+ card is never going to feel fast. But at least it won’t be such a drag building the Rare feeders you need to do it.

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Leveling in Divine Armaments

One of the challenges that new players in DA face is how to best level (enhance) their cards. After a good amount of experimentation, I think I’ve found the most efficient way to approach it, but I’d be willing to hear from others if you think your approach is better.

Preparing

The first step is to make as much room in your card case as possible. It is a pain to have to stop grinding material cards because your case has filled up. Having extra “junk” cards in your case will make the multi-select option in the enhance screen more of a pain. Move any cards you want to keep into your Storage Container.

If everything doesn’t fit into your Storage, put the Normal+ or lower cards in there first. It will make the enhancement process much simpler. Also, if you happen to have any Normal or Normal+ cards that you are keeping in your main Card Case for some reason, do yourself a favor and enhance them once with something cheap. That will automatically exclude them from the multi-select enhancement pool.

Where to Grind

I’ve analyzed the various areas and chapters in the game, and I strongly believe that the best place to grind for materials is the Palace Corridor – Chapter 1. All of the loot drops there are Normal+ cards, the cost to advance is fairly low (4 action points) and the drop rate on potions is high enough that if you have a decent AP pool, you can probably grind there until you get too bored.

Note, this is also a good place to grind for orison (gold) when you’re early in the game and money is an issue. Since you can sell every Normal+ card for 954 orison, you can quickly fill your coffers with cash you need for enhancing and evolving the cards in your deck.

Step 1 – Gathering Cards

Basically, just keep gathering loot cards until you fill your card case. If you run out of AP, greet your friends, pop a recovery potion, etc. until you fill up your deck. You will have several Hecate Effy, Tyr Banded Armguards, and Tyr Scale Skirt cards to use for enhancing.

Which Cards to Use

After quite a bit of testing, it seems that character cards are by far the most efficient to use in leveling the cards you want to keep. So for this process, you’ll be using the Hecate Effy cards to level your gear.

You may be wondering why we didn’t just sell all the Tyr armor that we don’t want if this is the case. The reason is that using a level 1 Hecate Effy card is not NEARLY as effective as using one what has been pre-leveled herself.

Step 2 – Level up Effy

Here are some step-by-step instructions for what I do with each of my Hecate Effy cards…

  1. Go to your Card List and filter it so that you only see the Hecate character cards. I sort them by lowest level first
  2. Select one of your level 1 Hecate Effy cards to Enhance (make sure you’re using the Multiple Enhance mode)
  3. On the Material Card screen, change the filter to display All Arm armor at Normal+ or Lower rarity
  4. Use the Check all displayed link and enhance Effy with 10 arm pieces
  5. Click on the Change Target Card button and pick the next level 1 Hecate Effy and repeat
  6. Once you’ve used all the arm armor you have, change to waist armor
  7. If you have some junk chest armor, you can use that as well
  8. Once I’ve used all my armor, I’ll switch to using Character cards until I don’t have any junk Normal+ or lower cards left in my card case

IMPORTANT: Please notice that I only enhance each Hecate Effy card once. Doing so with 10 Normal+ armor bits should bring her to level 25. You could keep going until you max her out, but doing so requires a lot more armor. You start to quickly see diminishing returns. To be honest, you could probably get by with less than 10 armor pieces per Effy, but since it is so much faster to just click on “Check all displayed” and I can easily replenish my stock of materials, it isn’t worth the extra time to me.

Step 3 – Enhance your main card

The final part of the process is pretty simple as well…

  1. Go back to your card case and find the card that you want to level up.
  2. Choose to enhance that card
  3. You’ll need to have the Enhance Material screen set to the single enhance mode. This may mean that temporarily you have to change the filters to something like All Rare Characters or something to get the link that lets you change the mode.
  4. Change the filter to Hecate Character Normal+
  5. You should see your leveled up Hecate Effy cards there
  6. Choose one to use as the enhancement material and level up your main card
  7. Repeat until you max the card or run out of Effy’s

Analysis

At first I was using the Hecate and Tyr cards in their level 1 form. A full case was leveling my Super Rare+ character cards between 2 and 4 levels at a time. When I changed to this method, I could take an SR+ character from level 1 to level 45 in about 3 or 4 rounds of grinding material. MUCH much faster!

 

Divine Armaments

I’ll flesh out this article in more detail later. For now just wanted to say that my primary MTCG has become Divine Armaments. The most unique feature they have is the ability to choose from different sets of armor and weapons for your cards, allowing you to customize the look of your characters. It is still a fairly new game; so along with the nice features comes some bugs and rough spots, but it is still the 1st game I login to during my gaming time.

I’m going to make some additional posts that cover some tips and tricks I’ve learned with this game as the theorycrafting and experimenting about the optimal way to improve your deck is part of the fun for me.

Related Posts

Leveling in Divine Armaments

Deity Wars

Overview

Deity Wars is the primary game that I play each day. It’s the first one I login to and the last one I check at the end of the day. As you’ll see in the details below, it’s not necessarily the game play is that revolutionary, I think it’s because I really like the cards / artwork design. Also the ways that you can improve your cards are a little more interesting than average.

  • Pros: Artwork, Card Improvements, Free to Play
  • Cons: Framed Browser Client, Stability Issues, Uninspiring Combat

My Referral Code: TJL2537

Technical Information

  • Client Type: Framed Web Browser
  • Client Size: 18.97MB (plus 13.46 MB cached data)
  • Functionality: On both my Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Tab 10.2, the client works ok most of the time, but I have experienced more crashes with this game than most others. On the tablet, the scaling of the client is better than some others that use the framed browser style client, but the main quest and other windows are still tiny.

Lore / Settting

Deity Wars is a fantasy based game where you choose one of three factions as you sign up. You can choose to be a “knight” in service to Heaven, Hell, or Earth. I chose Earth. Don’t remember why any longer. From what I’ve seen, choosing one over another isn’t that big of a deal since you can still acquire cards from any of the 3 realms and use them equally well.

Gameplay

  • Quests: Quests consist of multiple missions which are tied together usually with an interesting story line. They use the standard MTCG quest combat model, though (see below).
  • Action Points: You have a pool of action points which automatically increases with your level. As with most of these types of games, at first you’ll be leveling very quickly, but I’m nearing 100 as of this writing; so it takes a long time for my AP pool to increase. Also, the regeneration rate is pretty slow. If I drain my pool, it takes almost 4 hours to completely fill up again.
  • Player-vs-Player: You can attack players to either steal the collectible items they have gathered during their quests or just for ranking points and gils (the in-game currency). Battle Points are set at 100 and you use a certain number for each attack. BP regenerates faster than the AP, however, so I don’t see this as being as much of a limitation.
  • Events: I’ve been playing Deity Wars for almost 2 months now. In that time, they’ve had 4 events. The events are fun with special quests and boss raids, but 4 in 2 months is getting a bit much. The last 3 happened one after another. As Events are typically used to encourage you to spend some money on special cards or potions to be able to keep playing, it’s getting a bit wearying to keep having this many events in such a short time.

Combat

  • Quest: To be honest, “combat” in Deity Wars is my least favorite aspect. Quest combat in particular is of the standard “tap-tap-tap-Complete!” variety. You can’t lose a combat in a quest, having a more or less powerful leader card doesn’t matter. The only interesting thing about it is anticipating what loot you might get.
  • Player-vs-Player: PvP combat in Deity Wars pits your chosen Attack team against your opponents chosen Defense team. Since various cards have buffs and debuffs against the other factions, in theory you could customize teams for fighting against opponents who have specific factions in their defense. For instance, you could build a team where the cards have abilities which weaken your opponent’s Hell cards which would work well if your opponent has a lot of Hell cards in their Defense team. However, since you don’t really know what most of your opponents are using for their defenses, most people just end up building teams with the best Attack rating they can and hope it’s good enough to beat their opponent’s Defense rating.
  • Bosses: Fighting bosses in the main quests is done by your Leader card. You can also choose one of your Allies from each of the other 2 factions to help you. The three leader cards then attack the boss. Technically, you can choose to attack or use a potion to heal your team, but I’ve never had a boss fight that was anywhere near close enough to worry about healing.
  • Raids: Raid fights tend to be a bit more interesting. For some events you can bring special event teams which ignore the limits normally placed on your team selection. Many of the more rare cards also have special abilities which improve their attack rating against raid boss mobs. Most raid bosses can’t be taken down by yourself. So you can call for aid from those on your Ally list. Since the first attack against an Ally’s raid boss is “free” (i.e. it doesn’t cost Battle Points), my experience has been that people are generally willing to help out. Also everyone involved in a raid boss fight gets some sort of an award with special rewards going to the person who discovered it, the person who did the most damage, and the person who managed to get in the final blow.

Cards & Artwork

  • Artwork / Style: As I mentioned in the Overview section above, the artwork on the cards is probably the main reason I stick with this game. That and some of the special features in terms of enhancements (see below). The artwork is very much classic fantasy style with a bit of anime tossed in now and then. The cards are generally beautiful although I feel like once in a while they “cheat” some by just changing colors when the cards evolve or adding a few meaningless “sparkles”, but in general I think they have the prettiest cards of all the games I’ve played so far.
  • Limits: The number of cards in your Deck is limited, but increases as you achieve the various Archive achievements. While I have reached some points where I had to go sell off some cards to make room in the Deck, I haven’t felt as constrained in this regard as I have in other games.
  • Improving Cards: Deity Wars has several ways to improve your cards. One (Materials) is unique in my experience so far and allows you to further customize your cards for your specific needs / playing style.
    • Evolving: DW uses the standard evolution methodology. Two cards of the same type can be combined to create a new card which is stronger than either of the cards on its own. Cards can be evolved 3 times. Each time you evolve, however, the level of the card is reset to 1. Also Material slots and equipped materials (see below) ONLY are carried over from the Evolving card, not the Evolver. This means that sometimes you need to be careful about which order you pick the two cards or else you can end up losing a 5 Material card by using it to evolve a 1 Material card by accident.
    • Enhancing: Enhancing cards sacrifices one card to give experience to another. One thing I like about DW is they have special cards (called “Kubaja”) which serve no purpose in your Decks/Teams, but give a lot of XP when being used for enhancements. This tends to mean that my “junk” cards that I collect through missions or card packs can be sold for gil instead of having to balance between money or power.
    • Materials: One thing that is unique about improving cards in DW is the use of Materials. Materials can add either Attack or Defense power to your cards. The bonus can range from a few hundred to a few thousand points; so using Materials wisely is part of building your best deck. Cards have from 1 to 5 slots to be able to hold various Materials. This can mean that even a common card which happens to have 5 material slots can become fairly powerful in your attack or defense teams.
    • Optimizing: There are a couple of things to keep in mind when improving your DW cards.
      • First, your cards can actually create Materials themselves. When a card reaches maximum level, it will automatically generate a material to be used either for that card, or any other in your Deck. This can occur at each evolution stage. It may help to give an example…

Let’s say you have an Elven Archer card that is a Normal (N) rarity. Her max level is 20. So you Enhance that card until it reaches level 20. When you do, you get a Material which provides +500 Attack.

Then, you find another Elven Archer card, you use that to evolve the first one, creating a level 1 Elven Archer+ card, which is also Normal rarity. You enhance that card up to level 20, and now she generates a +750 Defense material.

This occurs again at Elven Archer++. When you level her to 20, you get a +1000 Defense Material.

Finally, you get your fourth Elven Archer card, you evolve your Elven Archer++ (Normal) to a [Sureshot] Elven Archer (NN). She has a max level of 30; so you enhance her again up to that level and get another Material which gives a card +1500 Attack.

With that final material, you’ll also get something called a “Composite Material”. The Composite Material is actually part of a collection. Doing this process often enough with your cards eventually earns you some nice rewards like special items, tickets to draw rare cards, etc.

Now, I’m not 100% sure that the rewards are going to be worth it in the long run for all of your cards. After all, in that example you put 90 levels of XP into that one card. But it does give you an optional goal to reach for.

Also, as I mention in the Material section above, the number of material slots per card can vary randomly. This can mean that even once a card has reached its “final form”, you may decide to evolve it further to increase the number of material slots available.

Let’s continue the example from above, say you have your [Sureshot] Elven Archer (NN), but she only has 2 slots to handle materials. Then you find another Elven Archer (N) card that has 5 material slots. You can evolve the new card with the fully evolved one and you’ll end up with a [Sureshot] Elven Archer (NN) card with 5 material slots. Granted, she’ll be back at level 1, but if you haven’t leveled her yet, it would definitely be worth it!

Free to Play?

I consider Deity Wars to be a good example of the Free-to-Play model. So far, I haven’t found very many things that you need to spend money on. Granted, buying card packs or life potions can help. And you may not be very successful in PvP battles without the super rare cards that are easier to find via the purchased card pack tickets, but I have even found a Rare card using the free card packs they give you each day.

Events

The events so far have been really good. The story lines are engaging, the progress is fairly quick, the raid bosses are challenging, but not obscenely so. I have had fun with them for sure. I do think there have been a few too many (as I mentioned above), but I’ve enjoyed them nonetheless.

Social Aspects

  • Allies: You can have a number of Allies in your list constrained by your level in the game. Allies serve a couple of purposes. First, when a Raid boss appears, you can call your allies for assistance. Second, allies can “yell” at each other. Each Yell gives both the person sending it and the person receiving it 100 yell points. For 200 yell points, you get to draw a free card pack. Most Yell point cards are of fairly low rarity / quality level, but it is still nice to get some free cards just by being friendly with your allies.
  • Guilds: Guilds are more closely aligned than allies. Guilds can earn “Guild XP” when guild members take down raid bosses and other in-game achievements. Those GXP can be spent by the guild leader to buy buffs for the guild members. Guilds are limited in size, but that limit can also be raised using GXP. Special events have also occurred where guilds can rank against each other by engaging in guild wars.

Recommendation

Overall, I guess you can tell that I like Deity Wars. It’s not by accident that it’s the first MTCG I’m reviewing. I’d recommend it as a good example of the genre for anyone who is interested. The Quest and combat systems don’t blaze any new trails, but the card style and the way you can enhance them via Materials are a nice twist that keeps things interesting.

MTCG – Definitions

As I started writing my first Mobile Trading Card Game (MTCG) review, I realized that there might need to be some general information to help a new player understand the terminology I’m using. Rather than needing to explain that information multiple times in each review, I decided to create a topic for it instead. Note that most of the terms I use here are the way I think of things, not necessarily the way a specific game refers to them, for instance I may think of the list of cards that I’ve discovered as an Archive, but a particular game may call it Codex or Roster or something else.

Client Types

When I review a new MTCG, one of the first things I notice about it is the type of client that it has. I divide this into two primary types: Framed Web and Full clients.

Framed Web Client

When I say something is a “Framed Web Client”, what I mean is that the program does have client software which is installed on your mobile device. However the reality is that most of the functionality of the game happens within a web browser window housed within the game’s frame. This type of client has an advantage of having less of a storage impact on your mobile device. It also means that the developers can easily deploy new functionality without requring large client update downloads. However, the disadvantage that I’ve found is that you’re also subject to the problems you have with any web browser based game, network latency, overloaded web servers, etc. Also, in my experience, it seems that these types of clients require a great deal more network traffic. I have to make sure that I close and kill these clients when I’m done playing or else I drain my phone’s battery and chew up my data limits quickly.

Full Client

As opposed to the Framed Web Client, the Full Client style games have a more traditional client/server architecture for them. They probably still interact continually with a server on the backend, however the client on the mobile device has more of the game functionality built into it. The benefit I’ve seen to this is that the game normally feels more responsive on whatever device I’m using. It also doesn’t seem to need as much data transfer as the Framed Web Client style since graphics, etc. are kept locally. However, it does mean that this type of client requires more storage on the local device. Also an update to the game means an update to the game client, requiring additional download.

Cards

There are several ways to refer to the cards in the game. My terms mostly come from how I view them, the concepts are usually present in each game, however the terminology of how that game refers to them may use slightly different names.

Deck

When I think of the “Deck”, this is my current collection of cards. Some of them may be actively used in a Team, some of them I may be holding on to for other reasons. Unlike the physical games where “deck” usually refers to the set of cards you’re bringing to a particular game / battle, in this case I use Deck to refer to all of my cards in my collection.

Team

I think of the Team as being the set of cards I’m using for a quest / raid / battle. In standard card games, you might call this a “hand”. Various games have different limits on how many teams you can define and how many cards make up a team.

Archive

I call the record of all the cards I’ve ever collected the Archive. This is probably just because the first MTCG I played called it this. A card listed in the Archive just means that I have seen it at some time. If I sold it or used it for Evolving / Enhancing (see below), it isn’t in my Deck anymore as it’s not available to me, but it would still be in my Archive. Most games have some sort of achievements attached to the numbers of cards you have in your Archive, numbers of max level cards, etc.

Improving Cards

Most of the games I’ve played have one or more ways to improve the cards after they’ve been found. The terms I use for them is based, again, off the first game I played; so it’s how I think of the various improvement methods.

Evolving

Evolving is usually done by combining two cards of the same type to create a new version that is more advanced. For instance, I might combine a card called “Elven Archer” with another “Elven Archer”. When I do this, I lose the two Elven Archer cards, and get an “Elven Archer+” card instead, which probably has better statistics than the Elven Archer. Some games allow this to occur multiple times until the card reaches a “final form”.

Enhancing

Enhancing is similar to Evolving, but when I enhance a card, I’m sacrificing the donor card to give xp to the card being enchanced. In most games the cards don’t have to match types. So I can use an “Orc Fighter” card to level up my “Elven Archer” card. In this case you lose the donor card(s), but the target card remains, just with more xp / level. This typically gives a more minor boost to the card’s abilities than Evolving does.

Other Common Terms

There are some other terms which are fairly common among the various games I’ve played. I’ll define them here so that you can refer to them when I talk about them in the reviews.

Action Points

Action points constrain how many actions you can take within a certain time. Various games call this something different. Some call it Energy or Stamina. Basically any task you take in say a Quest (see below) requires a certain number of Action Points. Once your AP pool is empty, you either have to wait for it to refill or use a potion to refill it automatically.

Battle Points

Some games which allow Player vs Player combat use Battle Points to limit how many times you can attack. Often the BP pool is also used in Raids to control how often or how hard you can attack raid boss characters. Like the AP once the pool is empty, you have to wait for the BP to refill either with time or some consumable item until you can battle again.

Attack/Defense Strength

Teams are often constrained in how they are built by the number of Attack or Defense points you have. For instance, if you have 100 attack points and a particular card has a “cost” of 20 points, then when you add that card to your Attack Team, you have 80 points left for other cards.

Warning about Auto Teams

One thing to note, most games that have this mechanism allow you to build different teams for different purposes. Since calculating the “best” team for a particular purpose can be difficult, they also tend to offer “auto” or “suggested” team buttons. What I have found is that the method they use to calculate this is often flawed. The math behind this gets a bit difficult (probably deserves it’s own post), but suffice to say that if you spend the time building your teams by hand, you can sometimes significantly improve your performance in PvP battles.

Quests

Quests are the typical way that you advance in one of these games. Through quests you’ll find money, items and new cards. Quests usually have multiple stages each of which needs to be completed (sometimes requiring multiple steps for each stage). One thing you’ll see prominently in my reviews is how I feel about the current standard when it comes to MTCG quests … let’s just say I’m not a fan. 😉

Collections

Many games have special items as the reward for completing a quest line. Sometimes these items are random drops which occur during the quests, sometimes they always drop when you complete the final stage. Collecting an entire set of these items usually provides some soft of a tangible bonus in terms of items or cards or money. Collectible items are also typically the target for PvP battles. One frequent “pass time” for MTCG players is to get 4 or 5 of a 6 item collection, then go try to steal the missing items from other players.

Events

Events are special occurances that happen for a limited time in the game. They usually have special quests or raids associated with them. Often they are also used to introduce new card collections. While events are definitely fun and add a lot to the game, keep in mind as well that Events are a primary way to entice you to spend money on the otherwise “free” game. They like to use the “for a limited time only…” tag to get you to buy special cards, etc. which may only be available during the event.

Raids

Raids are fights against special “boss” style monsters. Often taking down these special creatures requires assistance from other players. No matter how advanced your Deck/Team may be, killing a boss with 10,000,000 hit points is probably beyond a single player (at least without spending a lot of real money on potions and other items). The advantage, however, is that there are usually special rewards for helping your friends take down a boss.

Card Packs / Picks

I’ve noticed that MCTG’s have kept the Card Pack nomenclature despite the fact that cards aren’t actually sold in packages wrapped in plastic or anything. Basically getting a Card Pack really means that you can ask the game to give you a random card. There are all sorts of variations on how this works, but the concept is generally similar. You click on a button, watch an animation, and the game gives you a random card. Cards given in this manner usually vary in the rarity of the card, with the more rare cards being restricted (or at least more common) for those who have spent more of their real money on getting the Card Pack. Almost every game claims that you “can” earn a super rare card via the standard card packs, but in reality I’ve found it very difficult to actually achieve.

Login Bonuses

Most games want to encourage you to be loyal to their game. It’s a solid concept. If you’re logging into my game at least once a day, you’re more likely to spend money on my game. So I offer you something to entice you to do that. These rewards usually come in terms of items, card packs, currency, etc.

Social Terms

The social aspect of MTCGs is also important to how they are designed. While they may have various terms for how they refer to them, most of them have very similar concepts.

Friends / Allies

Most games allow you to define a set of other players who are your allies. This is usually limited in number in some way, often tied to your level in the game or some other achievement. These friends typically provide a couple of different benefits. First, they can be sent some sort of support message which earns them (and you) points (see Supporting below) which can be spent in varioius ways. Second, when the game provides raids, you can typically call on your allies to assist you in taking down the raid boss monster.

Guild

Some of the games allow you to go beyond having an allies list and allow you to join guilds or some other similar player-run organization. The usefulness of these guilds varies widely between games. Some games allow the guild leader to spend guild points (earned through the actions of the guild members) on some sort of perk which provides benefits to all of the members. For instance a perk which adds 5% to everyone’s defense strength. Some games also have events designed for guilds to participate as a group. Wars between guilds is a popular option where the guild earns ranking points when its members defeat the members of other guilds.

Ally Points

As mentioned in the Friend / Allies section above, one of the benefits to having allies is being able to earn Ally Points. Games call these wildly different things. Some that I’ve seen include Ally Points, Rally Points, Yell Points, etc. In most cases, accumulating a certain number of points allows you to exchange them for something else in the game. For instance, you may be able to spend 200 Ally Points to get a free Card Pack. In games where there is a significant benefit to doing so, sending (and receiving) these Ally Points to (and from) your allies may be an important part of advancing in the game.

Mobile Trading Card Games

Recently I’ve gotten into playing some of the trading card games on my Android phone and tablet. I figured I’d offer some of my observations here about the various games I’m playing (or that I tried and decided not to continue). I guess you could consider these “reviews”. Hopefully something I have to say helps someone else who is looking for this sort of thing.

Technical Information

I’m only playing the games on my Android devices. I have a Samsung Galaxy 3 phone and a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.2 device that I play on. So anything I say about the performance of the game comes from that standpoint. It also means that I don’t play any games which are exclusive to the iOS platform.

Also, I tend to play games which are published through Mobage. I like the fact that I can spend $10 on some Mobage coins (their version of in-game currency) and be able to use that on any of the 5 or 6 games I’m playing at the time.

That doesn’t mean that I have never tried any other games, but since Mobage is a pretty major player here, you’ll find most of my reviews relate to their games.

Purpose

I’m writing these reviews for a couple of reasons. First when I first got into this hobby, it was hard to find information about the games. Granted the Google Play marketplace has reviews on it, but those are usually fairly limited. Hopefully by talking about some of these style of games that I’m playing it will help others as you make decisions about what you may want to try out.

Second, I have in mind (and have started on the system design) my own TCG. So by reviewing the various games critically, it has helped me think about what features I like and dislike in the games. So I guess by reading this, you’ll get a feel for what I may put into a game of my own.

About the Genre

The grandaddy to these sorts of games are the physical trading card games like Magic the Gathering or Pokemon. In translation to the mobile device, they’ve had to make some adjustments, however. For instance, most of the games don’t really have the back and forth “battling” like you may be used to in the physical games.

However, several features are there. Like the idea of a “rare” card. In a physical game you buy packs of cards hoping to find some rare card in one of them. In the mobile versions there are usually several ways to get cards (see the Free to Play? section below) and the scarcity of certain cards and the thrill of finding a rare one exist there too.

Free to Play?

Most of these games are listed as “Free” in the Google Play marketplace. Now, as you might suspect, some of these games have large studios of artists and developers behind them. So they obviously have to pay those people somehow, right? The standard way is to offer premium items through their in-game shop. For instance you might be able to buy a potion which refreshes your Action Points (allowing you to keep playing longer).

The most common way to get money from you is to offer cards. These typically take the form of some random pick from the pool of available cards. The higher the cost of the card pick, the more likely that you’ll get a rare card in the draw.

One of the parts of my reviews will be to discuss how viable it is to think that you can play the game successfully for free. Most of the games you can play for free. However your ability to be successful in battle, the rate of your progression through the game, however will be more or less limited by how much money you’re willing to spend.

I’ve often said that “Free to Play” is a misnomer. Game companies are in the business to make money. If all they just give away 1000s of hours of work, they won’t be in business very long. I’ve often found that “free” game developers are usually very good at finding ways to entice you to spend money on the game. Mobile TCG’s aren’t the first time that I’ve disocvered that I spent more money on a “free” game than I ever have on subscription based MMOs (for example).

Review Strucutre

So, my plan is to use the following basic structure for each of my TCG reviews…

  • Overview – Explain the concept of the game, the setting, etc. I’ll also provide a Pro/Con list in this section for the attention deprived so you can see at a glance if you want to keep reading or not. 🙂 Note that if the game has a referral system, I’ll also list my referral code here. Most games encourage the players to recruit others. By using a referral code when you sign up for one of the games, it gives you a special card / item and it would also give your referrer something too. There is no difference to you in using my referral code or someone else’s.
  • Gameplay – I’ll review the flow of the game play for the game. How do missions / quests work? Are there other special features that bear discussion?
  • Combat – I’ll spend a bit of time talking how combat works in the game. One thing you’ll find for me is that in general I find the combat in most of these games to be less than engaging. In some cases, I find them to be plain boring.
  • Cards & Artwork – Part of the fun of any TCG is the artwork on the cards. I’ll talk about the style and my personal preferences on whether I like the style or not as well. I’ll also talk about the collection aspect of them as far as quantities of cards available, number you can hold at one time, etc.
  • Free to Play – I’ll talk about how viable it is to play the game without spending real life money. This will talk about some areas where it is obvious the game design is such that it encourages you to spend money. Note, all of the games do this. They are businesses after all! But some are more obvious than others.
  • Events – If I’ve played the game for some time, I’ll offer my views on the special events that they have run.
  • Social Aspects – Almost every game I’ve played has some sort of guild / order structure. They also have Allies or Friends that are seperate from there. I’ll talk about the features of this system and what I like / dislike about it.
  • Recommendation – I’ll wrap up by talking about my overall feeling about the game, who it might appeal to, and whether I would recommend it to a friend.

Moving On…

Ok, that’s enough about my plans for now. I’ll try to add some reviews over the next few days. I’ll create some category tags so it’s easier to find these on the blog. Also, if you have any suggestions on what I might want to try, I’d be willing to hear them. 🙂 My current list of games that I plan to review are:

  • Currently Playing
    • Deity Wars
    • Rage of Bahamut
    • Marvel World of Heroes
    • Hellfire
    • Transformers Legends
    • Fantasica
  • Tried But Not Playing
    • Dark Summoner
    • Legend Cards