Hex is spawned from two worlds that have met before: the MMORPG and the TCG. While trading cards and MMOs might not form the most obvious bond, Cory isn't unfamiliar with bringing the two together. A driving force behind the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game at Upper Deck, he knows how to play off synergy, introducing concepts like loot cards and raid decks. Hex takes things one step further — no longer are the worlds of cards and orcs tenuously connected, but they are completely intertwined.
Hex's TCG gameplay should be immediately familiar to anyone who's ever picked up a deck of Magic: The Gathering cards. In their How-to-Play video, it's obvious that most of the surface elements mirror Magic perfectly. Were this a physical card game, wrinkles would be difficult to introduce; perhaps a new keyword or mechanic, new artwork, or a change to the flow of actions. When there's a computer driving things, though, everything can be turned on its head.
Cards can do so much more when they don't have to worry about the player mucking things up. They can permanently modify cards, even when they're discarded or shuffled into the deck. Spells can attach themselves to permanents in their opponents' decks that haven't ever been revealed to either player. Some cards can be socketed with gems to make them better, and even modified by the player's avatar, who levels up and dons different pieces of equipment. Long story short, customization becomes endless compared to the standard TCG.
According to Cory, there's one driving force behind the idea of his "MMOTCG": community. "Aggregating people together to play in the same world is something that both TCGs and MMOs do because it's 100% necessary for the gameplay," notes Jones. Tying these two things together at their core provides some elements that work particularly well; as Cory notes, "MMOs are so good at being sandboxes... I get to go around, collect different things, modify them, and grow my character." Cory then looked at taking those creative elements from MMORPGs and took to merging them with the world of TCGs.
Jones says, "I could have a narrative and single-player experience, and give real relevance to all the things I'm collecting. Then beyond that, all the narrative can be tied back into TCG mechanics that could then be modified ten ways to Sunday to help with storytelling or specific gameplay of whatever piece of the world you're in." So rather than Wizards of the Coast's approach, with novels, artwork, and flavor text making up the canon of the world, Hex players will get to experience the world around them as they play — and build their characters at the same time.
But just how does this get done? Through PvE content, of course.