I’m a fan of trade card games (Magic the Gathering). I’ve been a fan since I was a child. It’s one reason why I stuck with Hearthstone for as long as I did, despite that game being an online dice-roll simulator in disguise. So I guess it’s not a huge surprise that I’m enjoying The Elder Scrolls Legends. Here is why.
For starters, unlike HS, Legends has far less random elements in its cards and gameplay. It’s still a card game, so luck is still a factor, but its not as over-the-top as in HS, and the game also gives you far more tools to deal with it. For example, certain cards will have a bonus effect if the next card in your deck is of a certain color. Decks can be a combination of two colors, BUT, you can also make a deck out of just one. Knowing that, you could potentially stack a deck to remove that random element, or build a two-color deck heavily favoring one color to at least increase your odds. Again, it’s still some randomness, but its more controllable, which IMO makes a significant difference.
There are also far fewer “hit random creature” type cards, be it with effects or damage. More commonly, the game lets you select a target, or hits every creature in a lane. Speaking of which, a major difference in Legends is that boards have lanes, usually two, where creatures can only attack other creatures in that lane (or the player). On top of that, lanes can have effects, the most common being that all summoned creatures will be hidden for their initial turn, meaning enemy creatures can’t attack them on the next turn (abilities can still hit these creatures however).
Lanes really shine in single player, because they can be tailored for a specific encounter. One example was a lane where each time a creature died, it left behind a 1/1 skeleton. You could ignore that, or you could play a deck that benefits from creature spam, and really have some fun with the encounter (the AI’s deck was of course designed with that lane in mind).
Single player overall is also strong in Legends. In addition to a somewhat short campaign (and additional campaigns you can buy with in-game gold or real money), you can play Arena mode vs the AI, which I’m enjoying. The game understands that the AI isn’t as smart as a player, so gives some of your arena opponents additional boosts, which in addition to the fact that you can’t bring a custom deck into Arena, keeps it challenging. There is also the more traditional PvP Arena mode, but I haven’t tried that yet (saving up gold to buy the campaigns currently).
Between being able to build decks from two colors (and common cards), the more serious tone (I’ve grown very tired of New Blizzard’s over-the-top comedy), and the mechanics that freshen the game up, Legends is very enjoyable, be it on the PC via Steam or on my iPad. It’s rough to play on the iPhone due to the small screen however. Will Legends last for me? We will see, but so far so good.