September 22, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG: Molten Core Raid Deck and Dark Portal Expansion

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The WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck has been released, and is now available from Shopzilla and Funagain Games.

Upper Deck Entertainment started pinging retailers yesterday with product information about two World of Warcraft Trading Card Game releases. The World of Warcraft TCG is still not yet in stores, but set to ship in October of this year.

The first new release coming down the pipe is The Dark Portal Booster expansion, which is set to ship in March 2007.

The Company Line: A storm rages in the Blasted Lands as evil stirs within the Dark Portal. Bloodshed in Azeroth intensifies as the Blood Elves and Draenei join the fray. Already, the great conflict spills over into the other world . . . the Burning Legion looks on and plots its next move. Grab your weapons and make ready, the darkness is upon us!

Heroes will be made. Legends will be written.

Heed the Call! The Dark Portal Expansion includes everything one player will need to join the struggle.

The release of The Dark Portal falls somewhat in line (at least thematically) with the late November release of Burning Crusade expansion, which extends the World of Warcraft Massively Online RPG. In the Burning Crusade players will enter the Dark Portal to travel to new world zones (regions) of high-end content. Their characters will grow more powerful, gain new armor, weapons, spells and equipment as they play through the new content and level up their characters. A Dark Portal TCG tie-in seems like an obvious extension of the WoW TCG, and is well-timed for a few months after both the initial World of Warcraft TCG release the Burning Crusade expansion to the MMORPG.

Shortly after release of the the Dark Portal expansion, Upper Deck will release the second in the series of Raid Decks: The Molten Core Raid Deck.

ArrowContinue reading: "World of Warcraft TCG: Molten Core Raid Deck and Dark Portal Expansion"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 15, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG - FAQ, Hero Builder and Interview

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Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

The release of WoW is shaping up to be one of the biggest things in TCGs this fall, and we thought we'd end the week with some World of Warcraft TCG links that surfaced over the last few days. First up is an unofficial WoW TCG FAQ that an industrious dwarf named 'ripark' put together and then posted in the game's official forums. The FAQ borrows info from company literature, game manuals, and incorporates posts from WoW TCG Designers to create what seems like the most comprehensive guide about the game to date (other than the rules, of course). Here's a bit that we found settles a few questions that we had about the girth of the first release and future expansions for the game:

How many sets a year are going to be released? I can't keep up with 50 sets a year! Good news then, UDE has said that they will be sticking to a 2-3 set release schedule.

How many classes are going to be represented in the initial set?
All of them. There will be one Hero card for each class/faction combo. So, eight classes on Horde side and eight classes on Alliance side in the Hero card variety.

How many cards will be in the first set?
361

How about rarities?
Currently we are looking at 5 different rarities, each color coded based on how items are color coded in the WoW MMO. Common is white, uncommon is green, rare is blue, epic is purple and legendary is orange. There will be a little over 20 epic cards in the first set and will include the Thrall card and about 100 rares. The epics are printed at twice the rarity of a rare so you can expect around 3 epics per booster

Next up is a Hero builder. Those of you with your ear to the ground will recall that the focus of a WoW deck is the a hero. Each hero sports specific traits like race, faction allegience, class, class specializations and trade skills. Now, unlike most cards in the game, the hero cards don't seem to have rarities yet (so we don't think creating your own is that big of a problem). Also each booster will come with at least one hero, so they'll be gobs of heroes spilling out into your collection when the game ships. But due to randomness you might not get the hero card you're looking for. So why not create your own?

Enter The World of Warcraft TCG Database Hero Creator, which lets you customize your own hero card's name, art, specializations, ability text, the works. Don't want to play with Ta'zo the Troll Mage, but instead you want to throw down your Undead Warlock from the online game? No problem!!

Well, actually... slight problem. Not all of the race/class combinations have art assets yet, probably due to the lack of variety in the game's initial run of heroes. Still this tool is a pretty freakin cool way to bring your World of Warcraft MMORPG hero into the World of Warcraft TCG.

If you're still reading this that means you're truly interested in the WoW TCG, and we saved this last bit for you true believers. Fist Full of Comics, a comic book blog with a touch of gaming news, has a podcast interview with a few World of Warcraft TCG desginers. Now, these guys only have two TCG/CCG stories on their website, and they refer to World of Warcraft as "Worlds of Warcraft" in multiple locations, so don't expect this to be a punchy Tim Russert Interview full of hard hitting questions. The interview starts off relatively standard (and if you've seen the WoW TCG session video then some of it may seem repetitive), but there's still plenty of cool info to glean once the designers get going about half of the way through.

Enjoy the weekend!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 5, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG: Downloadable Demo Decks

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Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

The official website of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game has released two 100% complete, printable decks of for your downloading pleasure. The demo decks preview the Protection Warrior Dwarf named Warrax versus the omnipresent World of Warcraft media personality Ta'zo, the Fire Mage Troll.

Here's a the official line from the WoW TCG website:

Following the hugely successful, exclusive demos at Gen Con Indy, many motivated WoW TCG fans put together their own copies of the Ta’zo and Warrax demo decks. Armed with only paper, glue, and a dream, these dedicated players constructed their own makeshift demo decks to try out the WoW TCG themselves, and what they saw was good!

For the benefit of everyone else, however, we decided to make it a bit easier.

On this page, you’ll be able to download the two demo decks and try out the game for yourself. Soon enough, you’ll be burning with Mage abilities, or cracking skulls with Warrax’s Arcanite Reaper. - From "Download WoW TCG Demo Decks Here!"

The decks come in four printable sheets each in full-color PDF formats. They can be played as-is (after some cutting), but we recommend pasting them onto higher-stock, or at least slipping them into card sleeves to avoid the wet noodle feeling of regular paper. Nobody likes a sloppy, floppy, spineless deck.

It's cool to see some of the Warrior ability cards in action, not just warrior armor and weapons. Battle Shout and Demoralizing Shout seem a bit weak, but Cleave leans into an opponent pretty hard - it allows the warrior to hit two targets, dealing each of them weapon damage +1. When you consider the warrior's weapons weigh in at 3-5 damage, Cleave can be some powerful stuff.

Once you've printed your cards, make sure you take a look through the rulebook to figure out what's up and what's down. And, as always, play WoW responsibly.

The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game is scheduled for an October 2006 release.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 25, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG Session Video

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Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

We realize that it was only two weeks ago when we covered a lot of the World of Warcraft TCG for our first TCG It's Friday installment, but we were sucked back in with some cool news that we couldn't just sit on. To be honest, it wasn't hard to go back - we haven't been this excited about a release since Belichick put Brady in for the playoffs and set Bledsoe out to footballer's pasture (sorry Buffalo - the fact that he didn't then take an early retirement was his own doing).

The video (which comes from GamingReport.com) includes about 20 minutes of footage from Gen Con last week. The reporter plays as a Warrior against Upper Deck Entertainment Product Manager David Hewitt, who pulls the strings of a fire tossing Mage. The coverage includes an entire game played from start to finish with open hands, and also contains a few thoughts from David Hewitt about the Onyxia raid deck. The video is free to download, doesn't require any registration or other bueracratic / marketing nonesense, and .. what the heck are you waiting for?

Here are some notes we took while watching the game session so that you can join in the fun even if your computer doesn't have any speakers, or if you're running on a Apple II GS and can't watch those new fangled moving pictures.

ArrowContinue reading: "World of Warcraft TCG Session Video"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 21, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG Official Rules

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Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

The producers of the World of Warcraft TCG website have posted a link to the game's official 48-page rulebook. The rules are very simple to understand, precise, and go into the details of the seven card types that we had covered a week ago. The rulebook also contains new content including a clear description of the game's turn order and multiplayer rules, and includes detailed descriptions of the keywords for the WoW TCG Series-One cards.

We thought we'd include the keywords and definitions here since they're all very much tied into the flavor and presentation of the game. Some of the keywords are your standard TCG notions of Instant abilities and Unique cards, so we've pruned those snoozers out.

A special note about the rules of the "Protector" keyword - in combat it's usually the the attacking player who choses both the attacking and defending hero and ally. The "Protector" ability breaks that rule.

  • Bear Form: Some Druid abilities give your hero bear form. While in bear form, your hero has protector. When you play a non-Feral ability or strike with a weapon, you must destroy any ability cards in play that give your hero bear form.
  • Elusive: An elusive hero or ally can’t be attacked. However, it can still attack as usual. It can also be targeted by abilities as usual.
  • Ferocity: An ally with ferocity can attack on the same turn that it joins a party. However, even an ally with ferocity can’t use activated powers unless it has been in your party since the start of your turn. An ally with ferocity can still use regular payment powers that don’t require an activation.
  • Long-Range: Some weapons give your hero long-range. While a hero with long-range is attacking, defenders deal no combat damage to it.
  • Protector: A hero or ally with protector can defend in place of a proposed defender in combat.
  • Stealth: Some Rogue abilities give your hero stealth. While a stealthed hero is attacking, opposing heroes and allies can’t protect. As soon as your hero deals damage, you lose stealth and must destroy any card that gives you stealth.
  • Totem: A Totem is a special kind of Shaman ongoing ability. A Totem has a health value in its lower right corner. Totems can be attacked in combat or targeted by anything that would normally target an ally.
  • Unlimited: When a card has the “unlimited” keyword, you can put any number of them into your deck. For example, you could have 60 Orgrimmar Grunts cards in your deck instead of the normal maximum of 4.

Links to the online versions of the World of Warcraft TCG rulebook can be found here. We'd also like to make special note about the art of the "Battle of Darrowshire" , a Quest card detailed on the WoW TCG website this last week. The arrows to the neck is a perfect import from the undead models of the MMORPG, and that background is the coolest subtle, yet terrifying, background we've seen of a Trading Card in a long while. Totally fits the game's October release, too.

Can't wait!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 11, 2006

TCG It's Friday: World of Warcraft Card Types

Warchief Thrall

Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

In our first installment of 'TCG Friday' we thought it would be wise to catchup with the World of Warcraft TCG (one of the biggest releases slated for this fall) by reviewing the official websites previews the game's card types. We've already reported on the two official WoW TCG articles which previewed the Hero and Ability cards. Since then the WoW website has continued to turn out the previews, publishing six articles for each of the remaining five card types ( do the math, something doesn't add up...). Together these previews give us a great glimpse at how this game system will ultimately end up.

So uh, if you don't mind, let's start glimpsing.

ArrowContinue reading: "TCG It's Friday: World of Warcraft Card Types"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 3, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG Website Reveals Cards

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Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

Finally, the official World of Warcraft TCG website has started to reveal some of the game's cards. First up on the docket are the game's hero cards. These cement a player's deck, dictating what type of armor, weapon, ally and ability cards that the player can use in any game.

Example: The fugly Troll Mage Ta'zo to the right here. He's a fire mage for the Horde, with enchanting and tailoring skills which allow him to play and use enchanting and tailoring items and abilities. His class (Mage) and race (Troll) dictate the type of spells, abilities, and allies that he can take into a fight. Ta'zo also has a special ability to burn a target for 3 damage - but he can only do it once per game.

When a player uses his hero ability, he flips the hero card over. And in a nice execution of design, the back sides of hero cards have all of the same information as the front, but the design crops-out the special ability (since it's been used) and repositions the rest of the card information into a small heads down display, making room for the card's killer art. Nice. Check out the backside of Ta'zo. Err.. the backside of his card.

There's another post featuring the Ability card "Gouge", which is something for the rouges of the world. The Gouge card lets Rogues exhaust (tap) a target Hero or ally. Other than that, there really isn't much going on here, but the article goes WoWCardGouge.8.3.06.jpg through the anatomy of the ability card type. Also worth mentioning is that this article let's us now know that there are two classifications of Abilities: the standard, and the Instant ability which can be played at any time. Also, we get a look at the WoW TCG card rarity scale works:

"A white number means the card is common. (Gouge is a common.)

A green number means the card is uncommon.

A blue number means the card is rare.

A purple number means the card is epic.

An orange number means the card is legendary. (The legendary cards in the Heroes of Azeroth set are alternate versions of regular cards. They come with a special code you can enter in the WoW online game that gives your character cool new stuff.)"
From "World of Warcraft Trading Card Game Preview: Ability"

The "number" refers to the card's index into the complete block. Gouge is card 99 out of 381 in the Azeroth block.

It looks as though things are shaping up nicely for the WoW TCG. The card art is top notch (as expected), and the information / rules on the cards is concise and easy to read, and they have good flavor text. And what would WoW be without it's insanely deep flavor?

We'll keep you posted when the site reviews the armor, weapon, item, ally and quest card types.

Also see:

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 18, 2006

Official World of Warcraft TCG Website Launches

WoWStarter.7.3.06.jpgThe hub for all things World of Warcraft has launched. The official World of Warcraft Trading Card Game website already has four feature articles from the game's designers. Here's where things kicked off:

"Basically, we want to give you as elegant an introduction to the TCG as possible. We’re going to do this by providing you with designer and developer interviews, art features, and preview articles each and every week until the game hits the shelves. After release, WoW TCG Online will be your hub for everything about the game. We’ll have info about new sets, strategy articles, and tournament reports." ~ From "The World of Warcraft TCG Website is Online!", by Anand Khare

There's more release content alongside Anand's opening pleasantries. A lot has been said about Upper Deck's ability to attract high quality artistic talent for the WoW TCG, and the website celebrates this instead of diving into game mechanics right away. The feature section includes interviews with WoW card artists Matt Dixon, and Jeremy Mohler. Also, the art gallery hosts four images of their card art, including: "Barman Shanker", portraying an orc with a broken bottle shoved in his face; "Vanquished" depicts a human protection warrior / paladin standing on a hillside littered with fallen combatants; "Seal of Wisdom" has s dwarven Paladin shocking the monkey out of a Troll priest; and we want some of what "Lorekeeper" is smoking.

Bringing up the rear, lead designer Brian Kibler has written his inaugural feature article about who he is, where he comes from, and what the plans are for the WoW TCG release.

"We have a tremendous supporting cast helping us out, all of whom are WoW players with a wide range of experience. It’s not just those of us in R&D who are WoW fanatics, either—people at every level of the process play the online game, from our customer service reps, to the product and brand managers, all the way to the head of the game development group. I get as many emails about Hunter talent builds and Raid boss strategies as I do about my actual work, and the morning water cooler conversations lean more toward stories about the previous night’s battleground games than whatever might have been on television."~ From "Welcome to World of Warcraft - TCG!!", by Brian Kibler

Yikes. We thought we were addicts, but imagine playing WoW and calling it your job! We can't decide if that's a blessing or a curse that feeds a ravenous addiction. Hopefully they'll take some time to pop their heads out of the MMORPG goodness to create a high quality and entertaining TCG, too. Our fingers are crossed.

We'll keep you posted of any good updates on the WoW site as they're published.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 11, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG: InQuest Magazine Feature Preview

WoWStarter.7.3.06.jpgWoWcards.org has posted scans of a recent WoW Trading Card Game preview article published in the latest issue of InQuest magazine. The scanned images contain all of the article's images and text from the story on magazine shelves now. There's a ton of content in here, including info on the various character classes, gaining loot, versus combat, expansions, and cooperative raid combat.

This last bit, the raid combat, stands to differentiate the WoW TCG from other popular collectable card games. Beyond the normal One vs One character deck building, players will be able to buy sealed raid decks which will include special challenges and difficult boss fights. One player will pull the strings of the bad guys, while all of the others players in your group work together to defeat the raid. If successful then the players may open a special Loot deck that comes sealed in gold foil with the raid. The loot will includes top of the line equipment to split amongst the group, used to outfit characters to make them even more powerful than before.

The article paints a rather complicated picture of the game -- there's so much content in this system (which closely mimics the World of Warcraft massively online RPG) that the final card game might be too complicated for for the faint of heart. But that's just a generalization; we haven't seen the rules yet, and the appearance of familiar content from the computer game might drive rabid fans right-on up and over any steep learning curves.

We'll keep an eye out for more World of Warcaft TCG news as we get closer to the games' October release.

Also see:

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 3, 2006

World of Warcraft CCG Box Art Released

WoWStarter.7.3.06.jpgA lot has been said about Upper Deck's ability to draw some major artistic talent for their upcoming (October) release of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game. Images of the game's vibrant packaging have began to surface across the Internet in the last few days. The starter box (clickable to the right -->) is looking pretty sweet, and it acts as the basis for the art on the two booster packs. One focuses on the Horde while the other on the Alliance, both are branded with the initial release name "The Heroes of Azeroth".

So there you have it. Looks like they're sparing no expense on materials -- that starter box DVD-like case is looking pretty sturdy. Also, we expected that the WoW CCG would be smothered with cool artwork, and that's what we got. The facial expressions of the two character's is especially good.

Now if we could just see some more of the cards...

For more information on how the WoW TCG game will play (including the cooperative raids), check out our "World of Warcraft TCG Interview" story.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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