Monday, 9 March 2015

SolForge Campaign

It had been a long time since I loaded up SolForge, but when I heard they finally released campaign mode, I thought I might as well go and see how it was.

I'd almost say it wasn't. Campaign mode is six opponents. Four of them are battled with preset decks and are basically unloseable. The last two allow you to bring your own deck and have absurd special abilities and decks to make them difficult to beat.

I understand it will be expanded further in the future, but honestly a menu of computer opponents isn't that much of a campaign. After all this time I would think they'd be a little embarrassed to call it one.

But anyway, the two hard opponents have seriously unreasonable abilities to overcome. The first one gains a very large amount of life. Normally this wouldn't be a big issue but he plays with the dragon that gets big when you have over 100 life. And big is really big in this case, going from an 8/9 rank 1, to a 16/17 rank 2 to a 100/101 rank 3.

The second one kills any creature that damages her. Fortunately the AI doesn't take full advantage of this by leaving all of your creatures unblocked, but this is still pretty absurd.

Making matters worse, both of them put a level 4 creature on the board when they hit rank four or five. These creatures are the first level 4s in the game, I think, and they are suitably insane. One has attack and health equal to your life total and gains you life equal to the damage it inflicts. The other is 7/40 and not only kills any creature she damages, but also kills any player she damages. And she has mobility 1.

This was kind of neat because I had to use decks that were suited to each opponent. For the first I needed to be very aggressive to make sure I kept his life total low. The second I have to avoid relying on keeping creatures in play. Fortunately among the decks I already had built was a very aggressive Spring Dryad deck and a spells deck that burns opponents out. Using these decks I beat the two challenge encounters pretty easily, earning a copy of the legendary cards that go to level 4 from each.

I was having fun with SolForge so I updated my decks a bit and played some games. I think they've had a lot of cool ideas for cards since I last played. There are cards that you only play once and then get removed from your deck, cards that add other cards to your deck, cards that only have one level but scale in their effect based on what rank you are, and other cool variants.

One problem is that I feel like they somehow broke the AI. The Hard Computer AI used to be able to beat me some of the time using my decks when it got a favourable matchup. Playing against it now it seems bascially impossible for me to lose thanks to it doing things like overwriting an 11/7 Spring Dryad with the copy of an Ether Hound and other absurd moves. In the games I played against the computer I rarely even got to rank 3 because the computer played so badly it lost too fast.

I'm not going to play very much SolForge but I don't regret giving the markers some of my money once upon a time, and I wish them all the best. But for the next few days I'll probably bash a few heads and profit. I'll also likely check in on it once to twice a year just to see what else they have come up with.

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