Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Waiting for LoN

One thing I did this weekend was following the instructions from the official Legends of Norrath forums on how to get into the LoN beta. You just send an e-mail with LoN in the subject and your Station name in the body. Result: Zilch, zero, nada, I didn't get a beta invite yet. I did patch Everquest 2 which apparently downloaded the LoN clien, but when you press the LoN button you just get a window saying that they aren't open yet. Grrrr, I can't wait to play this, and they leave me waiting.

So to pass the time I'm posting a link to Ogrebear's Thoughts, the Legends of Norrath section. He even has a "how to build a balanced deck" post there. I know nothing yet about LoN, and already find myself half-disagreeing with him. He perfectly explains "You need to have 50 card minimum, there is no maximum. But remember the larger the deck is the less likely you are to get a card you want or need. Smaller decks tend to perform better because of this.", but then says "I aim for 65 cards in my deck.". Why? If there is one thing that years of playing with card games like that have taught me is that if 50 is the minimum, you build a 50-card deck. 65 is exactly 15 too much. In MtG even a deck with just one card more than the minimum would be considered not viable. Of course that assumes that you play to win. If you just play to fool around, feel free to put as many cards as you want in your deck.

That is actually a curious thing I observed when watching the Magic the Gathering tournament scene. At it's heart MtG is a game about coping with randomness. You don't always hold the cards that you want, but instead a random card from a selection you made when you built your deck. Having lots of randomness is fun, but if you want to win a tournament, you simply can't afford it. So deckbuilding to win involves minimizing the randomness to the smallest amount possible. Thus you build decks with the smallest number of cards allowed, and you put in cards in multiple, as far as allowed. Many decks in MtG were 60 cards, 4 of each non-land card plus lands. Thus when drawing an initial hand of 7 cards of those 60, chances of holding the cards that you wanted for your first turn were pretty good. But of course if your deck performs reliably like a machine, lots of the fun of having to deal with unforeseen situations is diminished. If you think WoW has a hardcore vs. casual gap, you should have seen the forums discussing MtG!

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