29 comments on “CCGs for Casuals Part 1: Hearthstone, Duel of Champions, SolForge, and Infinity Wars

  1. You seem very biased against DoC here.

    You downgrade for competitive progression, and then talk about how hard open cards are to acquire, when that’s the whole reason standard format was created. And standard format is the competitive format, not open.

    Later you talk about how shallow the card pool is for DoC standard format, yet there are easily more good standard decks in DoC than there are good decks in hearthstone.

    You also talk about boosters like all boosters are somehow equal when the reality is, they’re not. Hearthstone has 5 cards to a booster, DoC has 12 (or is it 15? I don’t remember ATM). Also, the rewards come much faster in DoC thanks to the boosts and achievements.

  2. You miss one important factor: the strategic depth of the gameplay; you know the thing that keeps even casual gamers coming back for more. Also the phrase “Closing (not an average)” is very telling. Why isn’t it an average? It smacks of hidden agendas.

  3. I have no reason to be biased for or against any game. I play Infinity Wars most often, but other than having more people to trade with I don’t see any benefits out of a biased opinion.

    I don’t feel the right response to “cards are hard to acquire” is simply to split the community. The problem the community will encounter is the current standard cards will eventually go to open. And once again, new cards will be difficult to acquire. What’s more, standard players DO have to interact with open players in jackpot/swiss tournaments (which I believe rotate between the two for deck validation).

    Saying that Hearthstone gives you 5 cards and DoC gives you 12 cards without context is misleading. Decks are smaller in Hearthstone, requiring exactly 30 cards, and maxing out at 2 of each non-legendary card per deck, In effect, each individual card is more valuable. DoC rewards come faster early on but taper off quickly and again, require more cards to be competitive.

    I don’t disagree that DoC has more complexities but if anything, strategic depth would be a negative for casual rating. Finally, the closing is not an average because each one of these four components is not equal with one another. They’re also not to be taken as purely individual components but also must be considered how they interact with one another.

  4. After playing hearthstone and mmDoC for hours on end, I feel that DoC is far and away the best of the two. The daily rewards system is very rewarding, and a fix is coming soon to allow for dropping out of a daily that you don’t want to complete. It’s not that hard to get several worthwhile decks in the standard format, to get a “T1″ calibur deck takes longer. That is how it should be! I wouldn’t be a hardcore fan of mmDoC without having been a casual fan first, and i simply could not get into infinity wars or hearthstone. The reason more people don’t play DoC is ubisoft does not advertise it, not because it’s inferior.

    • DoC doesn’t have a limited environment (draft/arena/rift runs) which is a big problem IMO. It means there’s no environment where people can play on equal footing.

  5. Different formats are how it is done in CCGs, they keep the card pool from becoming too large and provide new players a point of entry. That’s a best practice, not a draw back.

    And if you have no reason to be biased, why are you?

  6. lol at all those butthurt DoC fanboys who cannot admit their precious game is deeply flawed…

    • Bob, those “butthurt fanboys” are at least posting reasonable points and making sense. Your post on the other hand makes you sound like a moron with a stick up his ass.

    • I think that, being as this article has only a dozen replies and they’re mostly DoC fans saying DoC is a good(if not better game than hearthstone), it isn’t DoC fans being “butt hurt”… But rather that the author’s viewpoint is not universal. Ubisoft does have a deep flaw, they’re ubisoft and not blizzard. If DoC had half the marketing that hearthstone has then DoC would have a much larger fanbase than most CCGs. Are there things that could be changed in Doc? Yes! Does that make it worse than the other games mentioned? No. I reiterate my point: Marketing, not game play, is DoC’s problem.

      • I strongly disagree that all DoC needs is marketing, but I’m happy to see differing view points.

        DoC has a good base combat system. However, there are some serious flaws with their reward system and upper end card acquisition, especially since the changes a few months ago.

        Please don’t take this article as me ‘bashing’ on DoC for fun. I want them to make changes. I want them to improve. More competition for Hearthstone is good for us all. As is though, they are way behind in appealing to the mass market and casuals.

        • I saw this and it made me laugh.. Explain how marketing will help a game that is just being greedy and trying to bleed its users of money? Before the patch it wasn’t as bad.. Heck you can go back in the development cycle and see how slowly they have been cutting out the FTP users over time. It alienates all but the most hard core users by several decisions they wanted to implement. First because of crap rewards it gives for even the most grinding. Second the still broken parts of their game, third no user feedback at all other then them wanting to add more content to the broken system they already have, and finally (Though I could go on) the rapidly depleting user base as most people have seen them as the thieves they are trying to cash in by charging for all but a couple things (Which btw.. you can only use in specific places) everyone.. Then having the balls to go back and call it FTP. Marketing may help it (very) short term, but the new people won’t stay and then they are just back in the same boat as they were before.

          It is a fun game.. I actually like it, and think it is way too bad that Ubisoft had to ruin it to the point where it just isn’t fun to play. They had a good thing, and could of made a lot of money out of it if they made better decisions, but they want to get as much money out of it as fast as possible before they shut it down (Which… btw.. if this game lasts another year.. that would be surprising.. so for those who are still playing it, enjoy it while it lasts)

          Ubisoft has truly held up to their name as the French EA

          • Oh… also.. since I can’t seem to find an edit (Sorry for the typos)… the reason why your getting so many “FanBoys” is because they went to the source (mmdoc forums, and linked them here for some weird reason to “Defend the game” since anyone actually defending it on the forums themselves have be drowned out by the numerous people who have pointed out their errors every time they do so.

      • I don’t understand your logic, maybe the Author’s viewpoint is not universal, but the example you gave only says that the author’s viewpoint is different to DoC fans.

        I play extensive amount of Solforge and DoC, and recently just started hearthstone. It’s not that DoC has less marketing, it’s that the marketing team is extremely incompetent and several fuck-ups has hurt the game a lot. The steam release was a huge step in the right direction but the follow up and slow reaction to resulting issues (Redeem code was closed for steam users for 2 weeks if I recall right) has caused the game to be where it’s at now. The communication from devs are abysmal too, and the economy changes just screams to have the game fail. With the 5T release and how they ‘compensated’ the wrong audience, there is a huge difference between that and how the solforge team managed their fuck-ups by automatically refunding people who bought cards at a higher price where they’re available in pre-made decks for cheaper.

        Doesn’t matter if DoC has the deepest and most enjoyable gameplay, because that’s another topic. I think this article is spot on in regards to Casual play.

  7. Hey, about infinity wars, you might want to add that rift runs(Infinity Wars) guarantee you a rare card if you finish a draft at 9+ wins/3 losses, and can be bought at 29+ wins/3 losses.

    • That’s true, but while somewhat relevant I feel that it is outside of the scope of this article. Much more appropriate for an article comparing the draft modes of each game.

  8. I haven’t played infinity wars so I have no say in how that one ranks, but I find the relative ranking of the other three to be spot on for casual gamers. Solforge is my favourite game of the three but Hearthstone clearly has a much more polished interface and a better progression system for acquiring cards. The monthly rank reset and the draft mode makes it easy for anyone to play and succeed without needing to spend lots of time.
    I do hope the Solforge developers take notice and pay attention because the game could definitely do with improvements in the progression department.

  9. The tittle of this (awesome) blog entry says all “ccgs for CASUALS”.

    Doc is not for casuals, that’s all ;)

    Newbies will discover the genre thanks to HS, and then, perhaps, start looking for a more challenging tittles.

  10. As said by trupiciel, I do not believe that DoC can enter within the “ccgs for CASUALS” label, it’s a very complex game; much more than HS, weather someone likes the complexity of DoC or not it’s up to them so by qualifying it’s complexity as negative it’s a bit bias, of course DoC has it’s flaws but they are being taken care off (For e.g in the next patch you’ll be able to drop you daily quests if you feel you just not up to them).
    Anyhow I recommend playing DoC for more than a few days and see ;)

  11. I’ve posted this comment on DoC’s official forum:

    The author’s conclusions are logical based on the article’s premise but the premises are heavily biased against DoC. In addition, some of his statements are simply not based on the facts.
    His first criteria relates to the quantity of rewards per given hour of game play. I don’t think that’s at all a valid criteria for ranking F2P games. No one would argue that DotA is a better game than LoL for players (and particularly casuals) simply because players don’t have to grind the heroes. Furthermore, I’m surprised that he only compared the quests between DoC and Hearthstone even though you can get a lot more packs from regular play and “free” code than through quests. In Hearthstone you get 10 gold (a pack costs 100 gold) for every three wins, whereas in DoC you get on average (depending on game length) 1000 gold per game (not just wins). In other words, outside of quests, you have to play almost 60 games (assuming you have a 50% win-loss ratio) to get a pack in Hearthstone whereas in DoC you only have to play 15 to 25 (depending on the pack). Although quests are the huge part of the reward system, the reviewer is clearly biased when he ignores rewards from regular play.

    I find his criteria regarding the speed to which a casual can accumulate the top cards to be valid, but he barely touches the cost of top decks in DoC Standard. Again, that suggests bias or ignorance toward DoC. In addition, while he has covered the “disenchanting” of cards in Hearthstone, he did not mention the equivalent in DoC.

    I don’t understand his complaint regarding tournaments in DoC. “Casuals” would not need to compete in tournaments. Thus, arguing that it’s too expensive for casuals to enter tournaments is completely off point. Furthermore, the whole point of the Open / Standard dichotomy is to protect casuals who are unable to make the decks possible in Open due to their lack of cards. In other words, it’s much easier to make a good deck out of a set of 300 cards than a set of 1000 cards because in the latter it’s much harder to get specific cards. Furthermore, the author did not give Hearthstone any negative points for LACKING competitive tournaments. If it’s so bad for casuals to not be able to afford tournaments in DoC why isn’t it bad for Hearthstone to not even have tournaments? He also neglected to mention the lack of campaigns and puzzles in Hearthstone.

    • First thing to say – i have combined level around 350 in Hearthstone (every character over 30, some over 40) and was legend rank last season and around level 80 in DoC, my highest ELO was 1450 – sorry, not too familiar with current champion rank, because i did not played much after last expansion. That was just to establish my credentials.

      Hearthstone is a better game than DoC not in everything, but when looking at it from complex point of view. Most points it would earn based of stability and available play modes. DoC is on the market far longer so it has rather important advantage in simple card count. It is certainly more complex – but it is different discussion, it doesn’t make it better/worse, just different. There is no dedicated card graveyard and interaction with it in HS, there are no schools of magic.

      Let’s discus points you made:
      1. Hearthstone giving less rewards than DoC.
      Hearthstone is much more rewarding. From the start, you get many basic cards, that are very usable. Only thing to do to get more basic cards is to level heroes to level 10, which is very easy. In DoC you get one chosen deck – and you don’t know which you should choose when starting. I did Haven – not a great choice, but i got by mainly by not being that much of F2P player.

      Next, packs. Yes, you do get more gold from merely playing ranked DoC than HS. But quests are usable in HS. Ofc. they basically copied HS system, but forgotten availability of different faction when you are starting. While it is pretty normal for HS to have couple playable decks with majority of the heroes, it is much harder in DoC, and even more for casual players. Winning Swisses, lol, i worked rather hard at achievement to win 25 Swisses and to win them with all factions. Good luck with that being your quest.

      More importantly, pack structure. Argument from earlier comments that DoC gives 12 cards and HS only 5 is laughable. Because in HS, that can be 5 legendaries. Yes, you could get in HS pack like Time Jump, Prison, Zefiria, Time of Need and Banshee. No, in DoC, you get 1 card that is great, 3 that are probably good, but you maybe have them already, and 8 you definitely already have.

      Crafting and disenchanting is much better in HS, because it is based of same resource. Disenchanting in DoC is cool, but you only get gold from it (and sometimes usable card – i used it to finish all “foiled” deck for achievement), which we already talked about will get you only packs, that have probably maybe one card you need. And lets talk prices – unique will get you 2000 gold, which is like 1/10 of price of pack. Disenchanting legendary in HS will get you 1/4 of dust needed for other legendary. Disenchanting golden legendary will get you any legendary you want.

      2. Tournaments
      Cool DoC has them right in system, great. HS every day has community and sponsor run tournaments – in fact, many of them. Yes, not all are for casual players, but some surely are. i.e. common cards only, etc. Tournament scene in HS is so much more than in DoC. Great, you have road to Paris for couple of top lucky players – there are weekly tournaments like that in HS…

      What we did not mentioned at all is Arena. Arena is true difference maker between these games. You get rewards every time you play it based on your skill. And it is ultimate no p2w, because everyone hhas same chance to get decks Arena is played with. Swisses and jackpots are played with same meta decks as ranked in DoC, that depends on size of your card collection. Casual players can and do play Arena. Ok, so they don’t even have 50% win rate – still, they are getting pack at the end of each, pay with gold, not with tickets that are rather limited now, if you don’t buy them for real money…

      3. Campaigns
      We are like month away from Curse of Naxxaramus.

      To finish this wall of text / TLDR:
      HS is less complex, but much more rewarding and accessible game than DoC. Even more so for casual players. Which i gathered was point of this article…

      • I would like to touch on the reward structure of DoC, of what I experienced as a casual player of DoC. I am very avid gamer in general, started playing in July 2013, I found it an interesting lane combat game and quite a ways better than Scrolls in terms of gameplay. But the game did hold me to play for more than 3 weeks. Deck building at the time was extremely limited to what hero you were lucky enough to get. Had cards for different school of magic to use only if I had the right champion to use them. When I earn up enough to try my chances at the hero booster pack, and hitting exactly nothing new at all… well that was when I decided I rather play something else. Personally I didn’t like the idea that I had to basically gamble on the chance to be able to play cards I already own, but missing that one card to actually be allowed to use it. Hope it got better now, but that is an example of how the reward structure of DoC isn’t friendly to casuals or newer players.

    • Really. i wont to take your reply as seriours. i only consider 2 options.

      1-You are joking.
      2-Ubisoft pay you.

      Good luck man.

  12. I just spendt time to say, Duel of champions gets lower notations, but anyway, the game is the best. More depth, better game mechanics. After many years to play Magic the gathering, it’s the only virtual TCG I really want to play. I tried hearstone, but gameplay is too poor. Standard format is Ok and new players can easely get the cards.

  13. This is a Great comparison between all of these games. I would be very interested if you would also include Hex tcg as well. Thanks!

    • I’d like to, but that will have to wait until Hex at least adds their PvE content. That’s the only way for players to earn rewards, which is a big basis for this article.

  14. Pingback: Socializing and Interaction Comparison of Online CCGs | CCG Wars

  15. I understand your point and I appreciate the work you put into the article.

    1) DOC does suffer from the rich get richer design flaw.
    2) It is still an extremely fun game because the frustration of # 1 above makes you work all that much harder. Sadly the top ranked players are probably not enjoying the game as much as those struggling to catch them.

    With the latest patch they are giving out a lot more Wild Cards for quest completion. I got 6 WC today for 5 Haven / 5 Necropolis wins.

  16. Nice review. However, even though I agree with the general assessment regarding Might and Magic: Duel of Champions (MMDOC), the score may have been a little too harsh.

    Also, could you please consider updating this review by taking into account the changes made to MMDOC with the release of the new Griffin Bane expansion? I’m sure it should increase the score, but I’m not sure if it is enough to move it from the last position. What do you (and everyone else that reads this comment) think?

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