On February 2016, High Voltage Software has announced a new Oculus exclusive Collectible Card Game (CCG) VR game called Dragon Front. When I first read about the game is has immediately reminded me of the game Hearthstone from Blizzard. Although hearthstone is a 3D game, it is viewed from the top and played like a 2D game. There is some subtle animation for the golden cards, some animation effects now and then, but that's it.
Of course, it doesn't take away from Hearthstone, which is one of my favorite PC games and I played it almost every day. It's also one of the most popular games in the world (2.14%, via statista.com, for November 2015, by shared play time).
It seems like High Voltage Software wants to be the first to build upon this very successful genre and they are the first to bring it to Virtual Reality. Who knows where it will trigger Blizzard to do the same. The thing I did was went to the Oculus YouTube channel and watched the trailer (you can view it below). The atmosphere seems really nice, although you need to watch it in VR to fully appreciate it.
Like in Hearthstone, there are two players fighting against each other. It's a turned-based card game, so in each turn somebody makes a move (can be several moves, depends on the cards use). In Hearthstone, you can only have a total of 7 minions in the battlefield. In Dragon Front, you have a 4x4 where the battle takes place. It's very similar to Hearthstone in a way that you also has cool vibrant graphic effects, each player has a limited amount of "mana" to spend in each move or moves, there are legendary cards and each card has its mana cost, attack and defense power (a numerical value). It's up to you to decide what cards you play first and how you use your mana.
The goal is to destroy the enemy's fortresses. Each player has a 'Champion' that they can unleash that has the potential to deal a lot of damage compared to the other conventional cards. Dragon Front has various ways to slow down and push the enemy lines, include walls, towers and range characters that can deal damage more than one step long.
Dragon Front will ship with around 280 cards, 100 different spells, and 80 encampments. Some of the card play effect are very similar to what Hearthstone offers. For example, one of the screenshots shows a 3 mana 5/5 card of a unit called 'Rats of Rous' that has an effect called 'Death', which is the same as Deathrattle. This means that if the unit is killed, something happens ("When a card has been destroyed, trigger the card's effect). In the case of 'Rats of Rous', when the unit dies, you draw 1 card. The 'Death' effect is signified with a blue skull icon at the right side of the card. Each player has a deck of 30 pre-selected cards which he can play during a single match
Your fortress has a limited number of health points, which once it gets to zero, your fortress is destroyed and you lose, and your goal is to get the enemy's fortress down to zero first.
The game also has legendary cards that like hearthstone, has a golden ornament around the card that signifies it's a premium card. It's very rare to get those legendary cards. If it's like HS, this means that you can get them randomly by buying packs via in-game currency or with real money and hoping you get lucky and get one. The second option is by crafting the cards, which in HS it's called 'Arcane Dust'.
Dragon Front features both single player and 1-vs-1 competitive matches. I like the looks and feel of the game from the trailer, although the card design seems a bit more simplistic and I expected more punch.
Same as HS, you have a deck building tool where you can filter the cards by their type and drag them to your 30-card deck at the right side. You build your deck based on a strategy. Down the road, players will try to understand the meta and see which card combination works best for which specific strategy.
It's interesting to see how the CCG community. The game is more like a tower defense game and the 4 x 4 battlefield should make it play a bit differently than HS. My only problem is that if it's Oculus exclusive, I'm not sure that it will have a very slow start. The popularity of hearthstone is because the game is offered free and can be played on any cheap PC computer.
All in all, I am thankful for the fact that we have our first CCG representative for VR. I think it's going to be a very enjoyable and addicted game.