June 13, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Hands On Part 1

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30thAfter a week of prep work and rules research, a pesky bachelor or two, and some inevitable schedule juggling, we finally sat down last night to put the World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Raid Deck [Amazon,Shopzilla] through its paces.

We were eager to see how Upper Deck handled this second raid deck installment -- we had some problems with the Onyxia deck which seemed far too easy for five of our finely tuned veteran solo decks. This time around we decided to switch things up by adding a few alternate characters to the mix . Our classic Fire Mage was benched for an alternate Frost Mage (which seemed more appropriate for running the fiery chasms of the Molten Core, anyway), and our main rogue was swapped out for a Holy Paladin with the in hopes of adding that extra healing oomph that we’d need to survive the upcoming marathon of ten major boss battles.

MCFireLord.jpgWe put Critical Gamer Russ – our WoW expert - in charge of pulling the strings of the Molten Core Bosses. Last night for two hours our flock of Heroes danced around and smacked Russ in the face as we downed the raid’s first five bosses. In the following article he recounts the night’s battle from the eyes of the antagonist, and comments on the Molten Core Raid Deck’s success and failures of adapting the 40-man online raid into a card game for the WoW TCG.

ArrowContinue reading: "WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Hands On Part 1"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 30, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Released

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30thThe day is finally here. The second Raid Deck for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game is shipping from stores, and you could be taking on the Molten Core [Shopzilla, Funagain] with your friends as early as this weekend. And although the Official MC Website still remains somewhat dormant, the feature articles page of the Official WoW TCG site continues to churn out articles particular to this new raid experience.

And we're finally getting some fantastic details about the mechanics of the card game as well. It seems that not all raid decks (Onxyia, Molten Core.. Black Temple?) will be the same. Most of the mechanics of the single raid boss style of the Onyxia Raid Deck are thrown out the window. Instead players of Molten Core can chose to take on an abbreviated raid experience, by downing the first boss Lucifron, three random bosses chosen from random, and then the final boss battle with the Fire Lord Ragnaros. Alternatively, those with a passion for sagas can chose to play the long-game, downing each of the raid's 10 different bosses in order.

RagnarosSmash.jpgHere's a piece from the article:

"The first thing you’ll notice when you crack open your shiny new Molten Core Raid Deck is that there’s a ton of stuff inside. There are three different decks, ten oversize hero cards for the Bosses, a pile of two-sided ally tokens, seven rune cards, and a ten-card treasure pack." -From "Molten Core Walkthrough - Part 1"

There's more great info, too, including a catalog of the different decks and the number of cards in each. Most of the Molten Core bosses share a Main Deck and a Minion deck, but then the game switches a new deck in once Ragnoros has been summoned for your beating pleasure.

FirelordWe're really glad to see that all of the ten MC raid bosses made it into this raid deck - we would have hated if they abbreviated the various characters of the Molten Core cast. Plus, it somewhat validates all of the time and energy we spent in February on our Molten Core Boss Previews [part 1, 2 & 3].

We're also quite happy to see that the game mechanics are flexible and that the experience scales so that those with light equipment can have some fun in an hour, and those to with the uber equipment can try a full clear of the raid with their heroes on a rainy afternoon. Although the various TCG heroes of our collective bunch were in top shape before Onyxia was released, we're not quite sure we're up to a full clear yet. We now have something to grow into, tune for, spend time on, and something that'll be certainly be immensely gratifying once we accomplish it as a team. And really, isn't the essence of World of Warcraft raiding right there?

After the Onyxia Raid Deck [review] we were a bit concerned with the balancing of future raid deck releases. But now we're giddy once again. Expect a full review once we've cured Ragnaros' burning itch.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 25, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Treasure Pack Card Previews

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30th

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

As we reported last week, the WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Official Website kicked off just over a week ago. You would think that with just under a week to go before the game's release on May 30th that the Official Website would be erupting with gobs of info about the title. But nearly a week has passed since the website went live, and they've had absolutely no updates. Zip. Zilch. It's as if the ground opened up and swallowed the webmasters whole.

Thankfully the official website has started to roll out a series of feature articles detailing the cards to be won in the Molten Core Treasure Packs. These serve as the well-deserved reward to those groups who defeat the raid deck (whatever challenges it may contain *hurmph*), and come in a presealed pack - only to be opened once Ragnaros has been laid to rest. Most of the cards fall into the Rare or Epic category (Blue/Purple), and those of you who played the Onxyia Raid Deck can attest that these cards can be pretty darn powerful if used in the correct situations.

The first few articles from this week focus on the weapons in the Molten Core set. And if you were to ask our opinion, they ramp up starting with the solid 'good' equipment in "Core Hound Tooth", eventually leading up to the more drool-worthy "Obsidian Edged Blade". This Friday (today) we see the first pieces of class-specific leg armor in "Tier Two Leggings" starting with the leg pieces for the Warlock and Shaman classes. They're definitely seem to impress us quite a bit more than the class-generic weapon cards that proceeded them, and we can't wait to see what sort of trinkets round off the set next week.

Here are the articles thus far:

As these articles are rolling out, the cards themselves are also being posted at the WoW TCG Database for your easy perusal; through two sets and a raid deck it remains our favorite place to research cards. Now if only Upper Deck could spill some details on the Molten Core Raid Deck gameplay. It's five days before release, and um... Tick Tock.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 16, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck May 30th

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30th

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

It’s May 15th today, which is the original ship date of the Molten Core Raid Deck for the World of Warcraft TCG, but Upper Deck has delayed the release by two weeks. The new date has the epic raid deck shipping just in time to be held by your shaking hands at the turn of the calendar.

Surprisingly Upper Deck hasn’t been very forthcoming with details on the raid deck. Its only two weeks away and there has be virtually no prerelease hype. We’re not quite sure who’s in charge of marketing limited edition product releases over at Upper Deck, but their lunchtime soft drink should be checked for scotch.

But there is some movement in the reeds – Upper Deck has launched the Official WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck website [link]. Currently it hosts some images of card art, but according to this post in the WoW TCG forums, the site should come alive with details by week’s end.

We’ll keep you apprised of the juicy details as Upper Deck’s marketing department sprints to release. Well, at this rate I’ll probably be a slow shuffle.

For now you can preorder the Molten Core Raid Deck [Funagain] at Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 11, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG: Onyxia's Lair Playmat

Onyxia Angry!
Those of you looking to offload the gobs of UDE points you've been hording from all your WoW TCG boosters now have a prize that’s not the standard fare of computer desktop wallpapers, in-game trinkets, and Ogre costumes. The new Onyxia's Lair Playmat has been pushed to the UDE points store, and is now available for purchase at the somewhat reasonable price of 12,000 UDE points.

The playmat has no real in-game functionality, so no - it doesn't help you organize your cards, it doesn’t automatically tap your allies when they run-in to deal pain, nor does it open beer bottles with worn teeth. But despite all these drawbacks we have to admit that the mat does look pretty snazy. Plus, what better way to make your hero look more bad ass than to have him standing above a hellish torrent of fire and brimstone? What’s that behind your opponent? Is that a well worn wood finish of a 1970’s card table? Yeah, real bad ass. Sucka.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 6, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG: Official Podcast Launches

World of Warcraft TCG Through the Dark Portal ships in AprilIt was only a matter of time, really. In a world where a trading card game spawns from a virtual online entity, you should have been scratching your head wondering why this wasn’t started at the game’s original launch last year. But now we’re at the eve of the second set, and Upper Deck is starting to roll out a community friendly underground marketing tool to do things right this time around. And we’re pretty excited, because now we can hear words of wisdom directly from the mouths of the game’s designers. And that’s never anything to shake a stick at.

The inaugural podcast [link] interviews Brian Kibler – Lead Developer of the WoW TCG – about the upcoming release of the WoW TCG Through the Dark Portal expansion. Can’t say that we’re not surprised since the expansion is set to ship Wednesday, April 11th – in 5 days.

Specific Topics include the new paradigm of WoW TCG set releases, which should be released every four months from now on, the adaption of new class abilities like Dual Wield, and their ideology of translating the established content from the MMORPG while keeping it fresh, and new in the TCG.

The hosts also discuss the new Racial Champions that will be in the upcoming release. These guys are powerful ally cards that can only be played by particular races. The goal is to make each race/class combination unique, and bring a bit of story and gaming context to the various races of Warcraft in the TCG. Currently they’re just pretty pictures, so this is a step in the right direction in our opinion.

Also this week: the Upper Deck website has posted new official articles around the new upcoming Through the Dark Portal set:

  • Head of the Class: Rogue Boost: details the new Rogue hero cards, some of their new abilities. More interesting - though - is how the existing abilities from the Heroes of Azeroth block will complement the new cards in Through the Dark Portal.
  • Back to the Future: breaks down how the class/faction specific cards really open up now that the Allies can play Shamans, and now that the Horde can build Paladin decks.

Have a good weekend!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 27, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG "Fires of Outland" Announced

FiresOfOutland.gifUpper Deck has released details on the next set release for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game: "Fires of Outland". And when we say "next", we actually mean the next-next release.

Details are still up in the air about the upcoming release of "The Dark Portal" Expansion, and the upcoming "Molten Core Raid Deck". And now Upper Deck releases teaser news of third upcoming release for the Fall?? That makes us feel a bit hollow on the insides. Upper Deck: Could we lay down some groundwork for the next 2 Spring releases before announcing a third, please?

Anyway, enough squabbling. If these Spring expansions are as good as the game's original Heroes of Azeroth content, then we'll be happy that the publisher has already signed the dotted line to produce more content for the fall.

And here are all of the official details:

"After the opening of the Dark Portal, the battle rages on and Upper Deck Entertainment Introduces….

World of Warcraft "Fires of Outland™" Booster Packs

Rush to war as the conflict is joined in Outland! The armies of Azeroth lay siege to the mysterious world, while the Burning Legion throws its might against the Stair of Destiny.

Prestige and glory await those who are bold enough to join the fray. Let your battle cry be heard as echoes of war engulf the blood-soaked world.

Heed the call!

Fires of Outland™ is the third set in the World of Warcraft® Trading Card Game, which is based upon the award-winning massively multiplayer online role playing game, World of Warcraft®.

Key Features:

  • Uniquely coded rare Loot™ cards feature cosmetic upgrades for your World of Warcraft online character. New Burning Crusade content now available!
  • Collect UDE Points cards with unique codes in every pack of the World of Warcraft® TCG. Enter those codes on your online account and earn special TCG cards, promotional materials, and distinct cosmetic upgrades for your online World of Warcraft® character!
  • Play as your favorite class and race, including the new Draenei and Blood Elf races, and experience all the depth of World of Warcraft® in a TCG!
  • Compete in Darkmoon Faire and other robust World of Warcraft® TCG Organized Play programs and win amazing prizes
  • 15 game cards & 1 UDE Points card per pack
  • 24 packs per display
  • 12 displays per case.
Arrival date: August 2007"

Looks like there aren't any Starter Packs for this expansion, and beyond that - that's all we know. We'll check back in with the WoW TCG when we learn more about the upcoming Into the Dark Portal expansion, and the upcoming Molten Core Raid Deck. Catch ya latah mon.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 16, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Raid Preview Pt 3

World of Warcraft TCG: Molten Core

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

Over the last two weeks we've gone over some of the lesser bosses and trash mobs who inhabit the fiery underworld of Wold of Warcraft known as The Molten Core. Our goal: to get any non World of Warcraft MMORPG players in the know before they dive into the upcoming Molten Core Raid Deck for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game that we all know and love.

So far inside the Molten Core we've seen living flames, giant dogs, magma men and maybe a giant flamewalking salamander or two. This week we finish off the list and get to the final Lord of Fire himself: the magma giant Ragnaros, a guy just found out there is no topical cream for what burns, and he's looking to work out his pissiness on something roughly the size of your face. This guy could melt the paint off your house and given your family a permanent orange afro.

So you, there in the back with the fake tan, yeah: you might want to educate yourself on what Rag might toss your way in the Molten Core TCG Raid Deck before you get all cocky, flipping your collar up and trying to generally hip. A glass of seltzer water isn't going to kill this guy, so listen up.

Anyway, where were we? Ah yes. Chapter the first:

We start off the day with another wyrm of doom, and of course being further down the list he's the most dangerous one so far. Shazzrah does two major things to ruin your day. First he loves to do an Arcane Blast in a radius around his.. feet-things, blasting people for about 1/3 of their health. Most raid groups tend to have a tank deal with him up front, and everyone else form a circle around to stay back as far as possible. The trick in his second act: He loves to teleport himself to the feet of anyone in the raid group, thus pouncing on softy cushy types and blasting them to hell.

Raid Deck Notes: Expect Shazzrah's to be avoid any protectors, and on attack he'll blast the entire party with gobs of damage. Your best bet is to have someone exhaust his wormy butt ahead of time.
ArrowContinue reading: "World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Raid Preview Pt 3"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 9, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Raid Preview Pt 2

World of Warcraft TCG: Molten Core

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

Last week we presented the trash monsters of the Molten Core in our first installmenet of World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Raid Deck preview. But don't let the 'trash' term fool you: each of these guys is literally 40 times toughter than any one whelp from Onxyai's Lair, and eventhough most Core Hounds, Molten Giants and Lava Annihlators would chew-up any normal character in seconds, the real challenge of a Molten Core raid run still slithers deeper in the shadows.

We're speaking of the raid bosses of course. These guys form the first true challenge of a 40-man raid in the World of Warcraft MMORPG. They can take-in and dish-out mammoths amounts of damage, and they require discipline and teamwork on a massive scale in order to defeat.

None of these bosses can be taken-on with the straightforward "tank and spank" tactic (that is, warrior protects while everyone else pumps the boss full of lead). Blizzard designed each of these Guys to have special abilities that will throw a monkey wrench in any standard tactic up until now, and we assume the Molten Core Raid deck from Upper Deck will have the same sort of quirks to keep you on your toes.

It's always been Molten Core's place in the World of Warcraft universe to mix things up. So before your teammate turns into a bomb and blows up your entire raid, or before you're feared into a flaming pile of dog poo and say that we didn't warn yah, be sure to read on.

LucifronLucifron: Right away we hope the upcoming Dark Portal expansion set includes resistance cards, specifically shadow resistance. This guy looks like a giant fire salamander but don't be fooled: he's a master of shadow magic. And aside from spiking you through the head with a giant trident, he also has three pretty sick indirect ways of casting crap that can seriously mess with your day.

First up is a shadow shock that pulses every few seconds hitting anyone standing nearby with some pretty painful stuff. In the raid deck this might be a passive ability of Lucifron, inflicting shadow damage on anyone who engages him in hand to hand combat. Next up is a curse ability that he places on nearby players that increases the cost of spells and abilities by 100% Make sure to get this off your healers and mages fast, or your entire party will flounder, gasping for resources. Finally Lucifron has a damaging curse that lasts 30 seconds (a few turns) at which point it slams the target with 2000 hp of shadow damage. In the MMORPG that's about 1/3 a warrior's health and nearly half the health of any other class.

And if that's not bad, then we should mention that Lucifron is flanked by two guards who can mind control any player in the party. Usually these guys are brought-down first, as they can wreek havoc on your group behind the lines, turning warriors and rogues on clothies, or by pulling healers away from their bandaging duties.

Magmadar.jpgMagmadar: The dog-like pet of the boss Ragnaros (who is the final boss of the raid). Magamadar has behavioral issues, probably due to neglect.

Not only does he spit fire from not just one, but two mouths, he also poos fire, too. We're not talking about jets of hot plasma, but boulders of flaming flatulence that stick to surfaces until they burn themselves out. Anyone running into one of these things becomes burnt toast, and fast.

Oh, and every thirty seconds or so Magmadar throws a fit on a massive scale - tearing into the garbage can, chewing on the couch, etc. This tantrum instills terror into the hearts of even the bravest adventurers, sending them running scared in random directions. And probably, you guessed it, into a flaming pile of doggy poo.

We think this could playout like Onyxia's Lava Cracks ability, which assigns a six-sided die's roll of damage to every hero. This one is a bit more humiliating, however.

ArrowContinue reading: "World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Raid Preview Pt 2"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 2, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Raid Preview Pt 1

World of Warcraft TCG: Molten Core

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

Upper Deck still has it's lips sealed about regarding the contest of the World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Raid Deck set to ship sometime this Spring. As we, too, anxiously await along side you for official details of what will surly obsess over within a few months time, we thought it would be a good moment to share some of our expectations of the expansion.

Most of us here are World of Warcraft players, in some capacity or another. Some of us are casual players, others raiders, and even a few of us help organize raiding guilds up through the content in Naxxaramas (which also means we have no life).

Some of us have literally spent days gaming in the Molten Core, and we thought that we'd take this lull before the storm to tell you what to expect from the Molten Core Raid Deck come Spring. In this multipart series we'll run through the ten bosses that players tackle in a standard Molten Core run - and which Upper Deck has also hinted will exist in the the 2 decks that makeup of the Molten Core raid experience for the WoW TCG.

The Molten Core Overview
Anyone who's had high school Earth Science class knows that the most of the Earth is made up of molten rock, churning and bubbling in the depths thousands of miles below our feet. Its pretty scary to think that we're all floating on molten rock. But then imagine a series of angry Gods living down in it, and how PO'ed they must be not to have Central Air, and how scary that must be and you pretty much get the setting of the Molten Core.

Adventurers trek deeper and deeper into the cavernous earth to fight firey beasties with the ultimate goal of meeting the Fire God Ragnaros, servant of The Old Gods of World of Warcraft. But perhaps we're getting ahead of ourselves. First, you have to fight through his minions, each of which is looking to turn you into fiery poo. Starting with:

Ancient Core HoundAncient Core Hound: Before you even think of taking out one of Rag's captains, you have to fight through what we lovingly call "trash mobs". First on the list are these two headed beasties that stand three-men tall. He breaths fire, stuns opponents, and ignites anyone who touches him (like most things in the core). If your group isn't expecting this guy then he can seriously ruin your picnic.
Attacks: Bites, claws, knocks you on your tucus, then breathes fire on your sorry butt for some area of effect eyebrow singeing fun.
Passives: Every time you hit him, it burns. Oh it burns.
Weakness: Scooby Snacks, but since they don't exist: None.
ArrowContinue reading: "World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Raid Preview Pt 1"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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