Elder Scrolls: Legends is Better Than Hearthstone

I don’t always play CCGs, but when I do, I play Elder Scrolls: Legends.

I recently got a new job (that I like a lot!) that’s far enough away that I can no longer run home for lunch and maybe a little gaming, as I’ve been doing for years now, so I’ve started playing phone games a lot on my lunch breaks. I wanted something I could play in a short time, but something more stimulating than the fluff I normally associate with phone games. Collectible card games seemed to fit the bill. The collectible/trading card game genre isn’t my favorite, but I don’t hate it either. I never got into physical card games, but when they first started coming to PC and mobile I dabbled in them a little. I’ve put the most time into Hearthstone, Blizzard’s Warcraft-themed entry. I enjoyed it for a while (though at first I wasn’t sure) for an occasional game here and there. Then I quit playing because–and this is a dumb reason, I admit–the release cadence was too fast. I know anyone who plays a lot probably loves the constant stream of updates and new cards to mess around with, but I just found it annoying that my cards were being invalidated three or four times a year, either because they weren’t “in season” or because of power creep. Plus I felt like the good cards I was getting were always spread out over multiple classes, so I only ever had one or two good really cards for each, with no good “main” deck. I’m not sure if they do that on purpose to encourage playing a variety of decks or if it was just bad RNG. Either way, I didn’t stick around long.

Then I tried Elder Scrolls: Legends. It was the same concept as Hearthstone, some would say a blatant ripoff (Bethesda claims that they started work on the game before Hearthstone was even announced, so there’s that, but I’d bet that it at least had some influence on later development), but it’s got its own unique twists. The CCG genre is one that I think has plenty of potential for unique iteration, unlike other games whose wannabe competitors pop up like weeds and then shut down a few months later because there’s nothing unique about them, like MOBAs and Battle Royales. Legends’ most obvious difference is that it has two “lanes,” and cards can’t attack across lanes. All cards played in the right lane start out stealthed, so they generally can’t be attacked until a turn later, but cards in the left lane do not. This alone adds a layer of strategy that makes it more fun and interesting than Hearthstone.

Also interesting is that you can create decks from two different “classes,” or stats (three with certain cards from the Morrowind expansion). This allows for much more deck variety, and mitigates the disappointment when you get a good card that’s locked behind a class you don’t like or have nothing else good in. It’s also not as overwhelming as games that have no classes and just dump all of the cards on you with no indication as to which ones synergize well.

Finally, as I talked about earlier, I never liked Hearthstone’s revolving door of deprecated cards. It just feels like they’re trying to get you to constantly buy card packs. In Legends, I’m far from having every card, but I feel like I have plenty of good cards to choose from, but there are enough that I still enjoy getting new ones from doing daily quests and such. So far they haven’t removed any cards from ranked play, though I recognize that that can only last so long.

I wouldn’t say that the game is perfect, however. Probably my biggest annoyance is that arenas cost gold to enter. I played this mode a lot in Hearthstone, because I didn’t need to have good cards, I just had to be lucky enough to pick good random ones. You can win your 150 gold back (and more) fairly quickly, but that’s basically gambling, and I’m sure I’ve lost more gold that way than I’ve won. I also feel like the Warcraft ‘verse makes for a more interesting TCG than Elder Scrolls, even if I’m a little less familiar with it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like either game is reaching for ideas to make cards out of, but the colorful, sometimes goofy characters of Azeroth just feel better to me as cards. Maybe that’s just me.

Bethesda recently announced that they would be switching developers for Elder Scrolls: Legends from Dire Wolf Digital to Sparkypants Studios (with a name like that, you know they’re professionals). It could be great, but will likely mean some kind of a shift in the way the game works, which is always a little worrying. But Bethesda generally knows what they’re doing, so we’ll see. The game definitely has plenty of room for improvement; I’m a pretty casual player, so I can’t speak to balance, but the game takes forever to load, be that on PC or mobile, and if you disconnect for even a moment you have to reload the whole game before you get back into your match, which means you basically lose a whole turn and a lot of time. So if they can fix things like that, I’ll be happy.

So there you have it, that’s why I prefer Elder Scrolls: Legends over Hearthstone. Feel free to tell me why I’m wrong in the comments!

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