Oct 28, 2017

The Elder Scrolls: Legends - Basic review from a casual perspective

The newest (computer/phone) game I have gotten into recently is The Elder Scrolls: Legends.  This is a free-to-play online card game in the same vein as Hearthstone.  

As I have started to play this as my main computer game, I am intending to write a series of posts about some of the aspects of the game from a casual, free-to-play perspective.  There are a lot of great articles, videos, etc. about the game out there, but I find that they tend to be from the perspective of serious players who put a ton of time into them.  While there is nothing wrong with that, there may be others out there who are a lot more casual and wondering if this is a game for them.

TES Legends is an online collectible card game where you build decks and compete against other players.  The game is available both on PC (through Steam) and on the iphone/ipad.  Thankfully your account transfers between all platforms (so you are always using the same collection, etc.).

There are 3 primary play modes; story where you play on of the storylines through, using combinations of pre-made decks and your own decks, arena (both solo and versus) where you draft a deck for the "tournament" and play that through, and play, where you use your constructed decks in the monthly ladder.

The "Home" screen showing various game modes
Some of the "positives" for me:

  • Its free!  Obviously there is some disadvantages for not paying (see below) but playing for free is still a lot of fun and it is totally playable
  • It is based on The Elder Scrolls.  This is a franchise that I have played a lot of, including MorrowindOblivion, and Skyrim.  Although I find this adds a lot to the background story (as you recognize your favourite characters) it does not add directly to the gameplay, so you don't need to have played these games.
  • The intro storyline.  It was a great way to try the game and learn the basics.
  • It is playable and enjoyable on both PC and iphone.  They look different, but both play equally well.  I do find it a little bit harder to build decks on the iphone.
Playing on the PC

Playing on the iphone

  • Multiple game modes keep it interesting.  In addition to the standard modes, there is often a special mode on the weekend that they call "gauntlet" that is a variation on the other modes.
Completed Solo Arena Run
Some of the "negatives" for me:
  • It can be hard to complete the collection free-to-play.  I started after one expansion and one additional storyline, and I am struggling to get all the cards.  This is mitigated somewhat by the game modes (collection is really only used in "play" mode) and you have access to all cards (even ones not in your collection) in the arena mode
Character Screen, note the % of Skyrim expansion (and that is only the first of each card, not the multiple copies)
  • Free-to-play takes time.  It sometimes feels a little bit like a grind to try and ensure I complete the quests, especially when your collection is small and you just get steamrolled on the "play" mode by cards you don't have.  I am a casual gamer, so I don't play every day or spend hours even when I do play
The other obvious question is why Legends vs Hearthstone?
  • I found Hearthstone was feeling very much like a grind as a free-to-play to have any chance of getting a wide collection of cards.  This may happen in Legends too but so far it hasn't felt quite that way.
  • The individual games seem to have more depth.  I find that unlike Hearthstone, you can get behind and still come back depending on your deck type.  This probably has to do with the rune system, and the fact that it is a bigger deck size.
  • Although I have played both sets of games that the card games are based on, I always enjoyed The Elder Scrolls more.