Greetings duelists, strategists, geeks, and gamers – LTNS!
UPDATE: Shadow Era still has double XP going. May be a glitch but better rank up now. Don’t miss the gold giveaways on Meltdown matchups!
It’s been several months since our last major update here on DPO. I attribute it to my diligent work for Social Prize, where you can score free stuff and awesome deals, and a few choice games on the PC (Steam FTW), Android, and XBox 360. I haven’t had as much time for gaming between projects, work and family but there are a few go-to games I can share with you. There’s League of Legends, Shadow Era, Bad Blood, Air Mech, Hero Academy, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, and Minecraft, just to name a few.
Today, we’ll briefly discuss the foremost: League of Legends and Shadow Era. These are two games that I feel will provide tons of replay value without ending your marriage, getting you fired from work, or anything of the sort. And if you like strategic gaming, these games both have plenty of depth yet they are easy to get into (Shadow Era more than LoL, though).
If you haven’t tried out League of Legends yet, this may entice you.
League Of Legends: A Less Elitist MOBA For Newbies And DotA Veterans Alike
I won’t go too deep into LoL right now because this game has become more popular than World of Warcraft – so you’ve probably heard of it! Studies show that more people are playing LoL now than Warcrack/WoW. This is the new form of digital crack for gamers on the PC (and I think Mac – get a PC). It’s action-packed and can be enjoyed in long marathon sessions or small doses. That’s enough to sell me on any game… And it’s FREE.
League of Legends is one of the newer MOBA out there but it recently hit it’s stride in the past year or so. This is a game of the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) genre. If you are unfamiliar with RTS, RPG, or Hero Combat game mechanics, I would best describe a MOBA as a game where you control one champion or character while leading computer-controlled armies (creeps) into battle.
The object of the game is to establish land control or lane dominance, while collecting resources by killing enemy and neutral creeps and champions. These resources allow you to buy items that give you more of an edge in solo or team battles (or help you escae from ambushes and base raids). A team wins by destroying the enemy base/Nexus (Classic rules) or holding the most capture point (Domination. Either way, controlling lanes ad keep areas is a sure-fire way to win.
League of Legends is a freemium game, which means it is free to play but, really, to get the full experiene you must purchase premium items (with Riot Points) or earn enough points to use in-game currency (Influence Points) to get champions you are better-suited for. If you’d like to join me, sign up on the North American or EU-West servers, then look up Alizher or Yogizilla, respectively. You can use my referral links below to earn us both some extra goodies:
I will warn you: LoL is a highly-competitive game so expect plenty of trolling and trash-talking. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Once you get past the elitism, poor sportsmanship, lack of peer support, and flaming, the game is really fun. I highly recommend using the “/ignore” command link liberally. It also helps to play some private or AI/bot games before you jump into random pubs (public games). Some players would say just jump right into real matches but it’s hard to learn the core mechanics, recipes, items, and champions of the game when you’re in 5v5 matches. There’s just too much going on!
Katarina is one of my personal favorite champions.. She is as deadly as she is sexy, IMHO.
Shadow Era: A Fresh-New TCG Alternative For Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, And Other Strategists
Shadow Era is a free TCG (tradeable card game) for the Android platform. It’s also on the PC but I haven’t played it there ye. I’m sure there is an iOS version too (the Shadow Era web site says it’s available for iPhone) but who REALLY games on an Apple platform? Just saying.
This game offers a refreshing, unique experience for Magic The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and new TCG players alike. Being a card game, decks are built around a unique champion and a minimum of 39 supporting cards. There seems to be no deck limit but I recommend staying under 60 cards as a beginner. Veteran players can build deck between 70 and 100 cards if they balance and tune their decks properly (though be ready for players to offer you advice about trimming down your deck LOL). Remember: the more cards you have, the harder it becomes to predict your draws and establish strategies/combos that will help you win consistently. This holds true for Yu-Gi-Oh!, MTG, Naruto, and just about any TCG.
In my opinion, this game is balanced very well because there are no over-powered or “broken” deck builds, though there are certainly some favorites. Each turn, you are limited on what you can play by the amount of available resources you have. Like Magic the Gathering and other TCGs, your resources are like mana or stamina, so they help keep the pace steady with little possibility of early wins or OTKs (one-turn kills). Resources are stocked by discarding one card each turn so you have to choose carefully and think several moves ahead (yes, just like in chess).
The beauty of Shadow Era is that you heroes have special abilities powered by Shadow Energy. Each turn, you earn one point of Shadow Energy, unless there is a special card in play modifying Shadow Energy build-up. Saving your abilities for the right times is a critical skill you will develop.
My main hero is a female human mage. I call her the frost mage because she can freeze and damage enemy allies. She’s not as popular as it seems most are going human hunter or wolf anything right now. I have noticed more frost mages lately, though, so she may be earning some respect now – w00t!
This game is around a year old and has a physical-card counterpart. I recommend starting with the video game first to get a feel for what you like most. You have the option of playing against AI or human opponents, both of which earn you experience points and gold (if you win).
I highly-recommend you download this game today. There is an event running that gives you double XP and gold through Halloween. This is the perfect opportunity to power level and earn enough cash to buy your favorite cards. Speaking of which, one of the most brilliant features of the game is the merchant. This marketplace allows players to sell cards they don’t need or want (you can only have four of each card in a deck) and buy the ones you DO want. If you want to fast-track your deck-building and win more games early on, you can also buy theme decks and booster packs for Crystal Points. Yes, like League of Legends and any freemium game, real money can be converted into non-refundable, play money. LOL
Now, there’s tons that I love about Shadow Era, especially after the recent October 2012 update (which was very much needed). There is now a friends list so be sure to add me – Alizher – I may change my name to Yogizilla there, if possible.. People keep thinking I’m German. ROFL
Here’s what I DON’T like about Shadow Era. First and foremost, the game has terrible session management. Sync issues can get so bad that you’ll lose half of your games just because you got disconnected. Sometimes, you’ll click on cards and you’re not able to attack or anything. I’ve lost most of my matches this way but there are also some REALLY good players out there, to be fair to them.
Another thing I don’t like is that the new Meltdown mode is mostly unplayable. It’s a great concept and winners can earn part of weekly jackpots, which is awesome, but the mechanics need to be worked out a bit. My biggest gripe is that you are not given nearly enough time to build you deck before matches so you essentially risk 200 gold with little odds of winning.
On a similar note, there’s currently no way of saving recipes. Recipes would be a great way to build decks on-the-fly, especially when facing up against familiar foes in password-protected private games or doing the “sealed booster pack” duels in Meltdown. If you’re one of the developers reading this, check out what Yu-Gi-Oh! has done in their 5D’s games on the DS and XBox 360: very clean an easy-to-use.
I also find that messaging is either lacking or really buggy. In general, interaction is minimal and I think the folks behind Shadow Era would be smart to integrate social media in some way, creating new opportunities to earn in-game currencies via referrals, reviews, sweepstakes, and contests.
With all this in mind, I still wholeheartedly recommend this game to anyone, even if you are not much for TCGs. I’ve been trying to get my best friend Andy to get over his disdain for TCG and supposed lack of “real action” and animation. I get that but there’s something to be said for simplicity and a greater focus on gameplay over fluff like visuals and sounds.
Shadow Era has tons of replay value and the game rewards their most active players with the promise of more events and the risk of losing your ratings thanks to the new decay game mechanic. I applaud their coding work on matchmaking as you’ll rarely face up against someone much better than you. This makes Shadow Era VERY newbie-friendly.
One last wishlist item: fixing sync/lag/drop is an absolute MUST but I know many of us Shadow Era aficionados are hoping for new support items and allies, especially ones to counter wolf/wulven decks. While I stand by the fact that the game is very well-balanced, there’s no doubt that wolf packs are preferred and there’s less incentive to try out new deck builds.
UPDATE: Another thing that really gets me is that, when playing on Android, the game goes to sleep or will even close when you quickly tab to another app. This results in instant losses and severe rating dings. I once dropped from close to a 200 rating to a 67 rating. WTF??
I find that Lone Wolf builds are so effective, that one in four matches (and that’s generous) will pit you against one. There are many unique deck builds out there but most of what we see is tried-and-true, hard-to-counter stuff. Some food for thought there!
Here are some screenshots, though they do not really communicate how awesome this game is:
Aldon The Brave increases the attack of all friendly allies by 1, which can be really effective when swarming.. Sucks to be on the receiving end.
Jasmine Rosecult rocks.. She charms enemy allies and keeps them from attacking.. And she has a nice arse.
Download Shadow Era For PC/Mac, Android, or iOS Here – http://www.shadowera.com/download.php
As the developers, Wulven Game Studios, describe the game…
Shadow Era is a free to play, online collectible trading card game. It features deep strategy, easy gameplay, and gorgeous card art. Create your account now to play on the web right in your browser, or on the iPhone, iPad or Android devices and take your progress with you wherever you go!
It’s a pretty spot-on assessment!
My favorite thing here is that cross-platform really means you can access the same account on any device that is supported!
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