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Fighting Friends and Foes
Hex ScreenCompetitive players want a few things from their card games: they need to be interesting, have creative cards, be balanced, and simply be fun to play. With years of experience on the World of Warcraft TCG, Cory is confident that Cryptozoic can put a finely-tuned edge on things, adding, "In PvP, you can only use PvP cards, which are the cards that come out of the packs. [For PvP], you're not actually collecting the gems, so we're just giving you all of the gems. We're very good at making balanced TCG sets — that's really our competency: making a TCG."

Like the PvE modes, PvP cards get a bonus from not actually existing in real space. Combos can chain off of cards inside decks, opponent's decks, and anywhere in-between. Even if you start off with a mere 60 cards, certain cards might spawn more, something that could never happen with a 63mmx88mm piece of cardboard. Still, the PvP cards will be focused more on balance than the PvE cards, which Jones admits will feel much more "wacky" than their competitive counterparts.

Hex ScreenMost of the modes in Hex's PvP arena will be familiar to TCG fans; limited play, drafts, and constructed play will all be available from the get-go for a small fee. Here's where Cryptozoic intends to monetize Hex: the same way every other TCG does, buying packs. However, unlike a game such as Magic: The Gathering, whose online variant has a physical game to match pricing up with, Hex packs come at a much lower price point: $2 apiece, while tournaments will run as low as $1. As a current MTGO player, if Cryptozoic lives up to their promise and provides a better quality game at a lower price, there's no doubt that I'll spend the same amount of money to draft twice as much.

The most intriguing tournament structure introduced with Hex, though, is the Marathon mode. If you've ever been to a TCG tournament, you know that they can be slow and plodding — win your match in the first ten minutes and you'll be waiting another forty for the round to end. However, what happens if you give all of your players several hours to play their hearts out? You get a mode like Marathon. Using an ELO-style ranking system and six packs to build a deck, it's up to you to decide when to fight and when to stop — and if you end up in the top percentiles, the prizes will be quite good for larger tournaments.

Now, balance is important to competitive players, but when the concept of balance is let go, you get Hex's PvE/PvP mode. Jones describes it as a digital Wild West, where players will be able to put together all of their cards for a single deck and be able to run with them. "As long as everyone goes into it knowing they're just making these crazy, over-the-top powerful decks, then it becomes this rock-paper-scissors about what beats what. As long as everyone knows what they're getting into, I think it'll be a ton of fun," Jones says.

Putting It Together - Page 5 -->







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