BattleForge Updated Impressions: The Sandbox and Super Units

EA Phenomic stacks the deck in this unique real time strategy game.

In the upcoming real-time strategy game BattleForge, you will purchase packs of virtual cards that can be unleashed in the game at any time. Developer EA Phenomic is hoping that collecting rare and powerful cards will be as addictive for players of BattleForge as it has been for fans of Magic: The Gathering, the collectible fantasy card game that has upward of 6 million players. Booster packs of eight cards will contain common, uncommon, rare, and ultrarare cards, and EA estimates that the packs will cost less than $5 each.

And if your pack contains a bunch of duds, head online and trade them away or sell them to the highest bidder in the auction house. Over time, as new packs and cards become available, you can amass a very sizable collection. And don't worry if your most powerful units die in battle--you will never have any of your cards taken away from you.

Fire breathing demon dragons? Check.

EA Phenomic stopped by recently to give us a look at the sandbox, the pregame staging area where you can test out your deck of cards. Here you can mix and match cards from four classes. Fire is a classic attack class; frost specializes in defense; and nature is a good support class and has the ability to heal. The fourth class, shadow, is associated with risk, EA cryptically told us, so details on shadow abilities will remain in, um, shadow. You can carry 20 different cards, and the game will ship with an estimated 200 total cards, with more to come as downloadable content. In the sandbox, you can play any of your cards and group your units together to see how they will fare in a real battle.

To put things to scale, thugs, which are fire-class foot soldiers, have an attack rating of 80 and health of 50. The juggernaut, an ultrarare fire-class unit, has an attack rating of 500 and health of 5,000. As one of the larger units in the game, the juggernaut towers over its enemies, using its special stampede ability to crush everything in its path. It also looks like a demon rhinoceros from a zoo in hell--you might want to hold on to that one.

The overall goal is to build your own personalized army. BattleForge will also feature cooperative play, which is a plus for new players too intimidated to go it alone. The goal is for players to assemble their armies together and battle through intense player-versus-environment scenarios, a sort of RTS game with the feeling of a World of Warcraft group raid. At the end of each mission, a loot master will distribute the spoils of war, which consist of persistent upgrades that can be applied to your units. If you don't play well with others, you can play against them in player-versus-player tournaments.

Crush the competition with the Juggernaut.

The card system is an interesting twist in the RTS genre and has potential for success. Last year, EA's UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 soccer game introduced a playing-card feature in which in-game points were used to purchase packs of gold, silver, and bronze player cards, and it proved to be one of the game's most popular features. Will BattleForge enjoy similar success? We'll find out when the game is released in March. If you can't wait until then, head over to Battleforge.com to register for the beta.

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38 comments
candoitagain
candoitagain

Hah they said 200 cards and 5$ for a pack. Wrong! Now close to release... You get 64 cards ONLY. And 3000 BF points wich let you get another 96 cards for a total of 160 cards. Then you have to spend a minimum of 20$ for 64 new random cards.

Llothos
Llothos

I'm playing the beta right now and I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with the game. It is fun, challenging and best of all it's free (as in no monthly fees). I know this is beta but i'm also refering to when it's released, basically you will purchase the game which will come with a basic deck and from my understanding you will get some where around 3000 battleforge points (ingame currency) to buy boosters or tome deck (5 boosters for price of 4). This is all to start you off, now if you want more cards then it sounds like you will be able to buy 2000 points for about $20, or you can just trade to get different cards. Can't afford it this month then don't buy any points but you can still play the game. The only benefit to buying more cards is of coarse the better you can customize your decks, but it is completely OPTIONAL! Check out the beta for yourself, if you like RTS games I don't think you'll be disappointed!

leoleez
leoleez

good idea, but the there is alot of need in buying the cars, especially the good ones...

Metamorbis
Metamorbis

A brilliant idea I think, but I'm not sure how well it will be received. Combining the addictive nature of trading card games with the action and strategy of an RTS could be epic or just crash and burn. For everybody complaining about the price for booster packs, see it as a monthly fee that you would normally pay for most MMOs. What's even better about it is the fact that you apparently can even make money by selling cards in the auction house. If you play your cards right (pun intended) you can turn a nice profit. I'm very interested to see how this game will turn out and hopefully this idea will catch on.

Creative
Creative

It will be a game of the skill. I play the beta and everyone seems to forget that it's a RTS (REAL TIME). It's not like Magic the Gathering where you sit at table and keeping pulling card from your stacked deck. Here you make decisions in real time and skill would be required. From what I know, there will in-game currency, but it will be hard to collect it, as it would required a lot of your time. I don't mind paying $5 now and then instead of running same instance 20 times to get the armor I want.

Plethora22
Plethora22

I'm pretty convinced that this pricing format COULD succeed and eventually will succeed with the right product, no idea if this is it though. Its been tried numerous times before and in virtually every case its been a small developer with a small budget, resulting in a poor product. If the product itself is worthwhile and fun I wouldn't mind paying a bit every now and again. Just so long as being competative doesn't require more than, say, a booster a week tops...

nikej
nikej

Wait, wait. You are complaining about this while regularly for years now pay 10$ per month to Blizzard for WoW (in addition to the price of the original game and expansions)? At least who will want to can play this without playing a monthly cost. I am sure in the end it will come out cheaper then WoW. And who knows it might be just as fun a group of people.

itachi100
itachi100

EA, your starting to become terrible, not dead terrible, cartoon network terrible. your making yourselves look stupid on purpose!

-annihilator-
-annihilator-

This game looked really good to me... until I saw that you have to BUY cards to progress. If it was in-game currency, that would be great. But not real money. That's just greedy and ridiculous.

KPAC77
KPAC77

Pay $100 then get a half game and to get the full experience you have to pay $5 every so often?? Half the problem with games being so expensive is that mummy and daddy give too much cash to their kids. Hopefully iwth the 'economic crisis' games will have to be very good value for money or people are just not going to buy them

jazilla
jazilla

LOL charging peeps 5 bucks for cards that are essentially skills in an online RTS is asking for trouble. You are basically telling all players who either dont have the cash to spend, or think that it is ludicrous to have to spend money for individual skills that they shouldn't play this game. Why would I get a game that does this? this is pure rubbish and price gouging in a time of economic hardship. if you want to move product at this time, give the players free DLC and I guarantee you will move more units.

dymo123
dymo123

[quote]"You can carry 20 different cards, and the game will ship with an estimated 200 total cards, with more to come as downloadable content."[/quote] Who said you had to BUY cards after the game? If your 200+ don't hold you over the Newb stage then just move on. If your going to trash the game before release at least read the provided article properly...

GRoss_1
GRoss_1

OMG!!!! What a rip-off! No way I'm wasting my money on this 'piece of art'. I am very disappointed in EA, again..

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

Money making and that's it. Google a game called '7th Legion' a PC game that came out about 10 years ago. It was a real-time strategy game with this card option within the game - not $5 a pop! It was very original, made the tactics very exciting. (If the enemy got the 'immolation' card, he could wipe out any 'organised set of units'. I.e if you send a big wad of an army - they'd be cooked, lots of little armies would be better - but what if the enemy doesn't have that card?!!) This is the horse armor mod all over again. not for me.

linhlh
linhlh

It is the same like many Asian MMORPG when you spend lots of real life money to buy gold and items to be "top", rather than by being skilled at the game. No, thanks.

wolfienigma
wolfienigma

Oh look its a game to see how much real money someone can spend to be the most dominate person in a video game. Great idea EA you will surely lure the group of gamers that are unable to play games based on skill or ability.

Falru
Falru

Eh, neat concept but I'd prefer they left the collectible card play to...the collectible card games. I am a great fan of MTG (when I first learned how to play MTG, it blew me away, I'd NEVER liked card-battle games before it, the strategy involved is amazing; go slivers! (go ahead and flame me for that)), and I play MTGO a lot, but I'd prefer a card game card game, not an rts card game.

X3Warrior
X3Warrior

There is already a game like this. It is called Saga, and it is a pretty interesting game. It's an MMORTS, where you build up a fortress and use and army to attack any enemies that threaten you. However, you buy the booster cards at game stores. The website is www.playsaga.com. Check it out. Ten minutes wont hurt.

baoketian
baoketian

This game has the basic to be one of the most expansive games. I dont like it but i am pretty sure it will work out. take a look at Magic Gathering Online.

adihalo
adihalo

looked good until the card thing came into play...

Mafney
Mafney

The employees who are producing and developing this game must realise, as I would assume that they are all gamers themselves, that nobody is going to like a game were you have to pay for practically each time you want to play or advance in the game with new cards etc. Personally if I wanted to pay every time I play something, I would either go down my local arcade and shoot things on House of the Dead 4 or subscribe myself to an MMO again.

betty_lim1979
betty_lim1979

poxnora also in this type of game. 1 card ppl even can sell $50 to $200 1 match need 20 card to play.

Neonivek
Neonivek

Wow you know what? This is EXACTLY why I buy the Yu-Gi-Oh games... so can have somewhere to store all the cards I buy in a fragile electronic format... Ohh wait... My mistake... I forgot I buy the Yu-Gi-Oh games so I don't HAVE to spend thousands making a good deck. Honestly EA... I know you have a bad rep and all... but now it is like your doing it on purpose

lucebuce
lucebuce

hmm wow . pay 50 dollars to get the game now spend 5 dollars just to get a pack of cards so u can play spend even more so u can have enough cards to get a good enough experience heres a better suggestion , just upgrade ur PC and buy a REAL game

Waza19
Waza19

seems like EA is starting to realy like spitting on our faces

HufflePuff-TLH
HufflePuff-TLH

Lame, the game looked oki i think, but not gonna buy damm viatual card packs, to get the units, well bye bye BattleForge.

Helloiseeu
Helloiseeu

Wow, this is the most typical EA thing I've seen out there. 5 bucks a deck of cards. Virtual cards. Just Wow.

Adam_the_Nerd
Adam_the_Nerd

unique premise, but terrrible execution. Paying 5$ for a deck of virtual cards? what do they think this is, 3rd grade?

StoweMobile
StoweMobile

Anyone who spends money on "Virtual Cards" might as well flush their money down the toilet...hmm lets charge $50 for a game, and then make people spend $100+ more dollars just to enjoy it....screw you EA

Zatto-1
Zatto-1

Just reading this: "EA Phenomic stacks the deck in this unique real time strategy game." made me go from interesting to insta-fail and do-not-want, just like RA3 is. EA should take their FAIL somewhere else.

LysanderNaFaile
LysanderNaFaile

Oh look. EA trying to rip poeple off. Who'd have thought they'd stoop this low. Oh wait, EA are famous for offering inferior content at full prices. That they'd try something this crappy shouldnt surprise anyone.

tundra_no_caps
tundra_no_caps

Micro-payments work when you have a choice, when they're additional content. When the whole game is all about it, and you can't really play it otherwise, then it doesn't seem to work. Heck, I'd just return to playing Magic, or Magic online.

Wezker619
Wezker619

They already have a game like this called SAGA. If you haven't heard about it, search it. The game didn't do well, what makes you think this game will.

Gruug
Gruug

No thank you. Not going to "pay" additional money for virtual cards.