Warriors of Waterdeep

As I mentioned in my recent ramble post, I haven’t been gaming as much lately and was in a bit of a funk. Thankfully, blogging about things can be therapeutic, and since then I’ve made more time for gaming and have found some new things that have held my attention, but more on that later. During the time I wasn’t playing much on my PC or my Playstation, I was still spending at least a couple of hours a day on mobile titles. It’s unlikely that I spend more than 30 or so minutes at a time playing any one game, but I have a pretty good roster of games that I’ve settled into a routine with, and I play each for chunks at a time throughout my day. Generally I play a little bit before work, on my lunch break, before I nap in the afternoon and again in the evening before sleeping until work comes back around. With four titles that each have their own things going on it seems like it would get overwhelming, but I have found a balance between titles that share some similarities but still play out in different ways — different enough to keep me engaged. The newest game added to the roster is none other than Warriors of Waterdeep, which is a Dungeons & Dragons licensed title.

What originally caught my attention about this mobile title (besides being a D&D inspired game) was the turn based combat on a small grid. Similar to other games like Stormbound, which I wrote about before, but set in a more familiar universe and done differently enough that I’ve found this to be more enjoyable. You’ll start with a short tutorial that explains the game’s simple yet intuitive mechanics. Each character falls under a particular archetype, and those archetypes work better or worse against the others, in sort of a power wheel. The different classes are traditional D&D flavor, and those classes will determine the character’s abilities, but you can further customize them by changing out equipment to affect the outcome. What is constant among all characters is that each will have an ability that can trigger from movement, has two activated abilities, and then has another ability that will trigger on attack. Let’s take Halbenet, our Cleric, for example:

 

As you can see, Halbenet looks like a Cleric. He’s got a blunt weapon, he’s wearing cleric garb, and he has a healing ability. His movement ability (these trigger randomly) will heal a random ally. He can activate a heal (and later, different kinds of buffs in the third slot), and when he attacks, a random trigger can lower the enemy’s armor class. Of course, each of these abilities will change as you find and upgrade new gear. Some of the abilities are better or worse depending on your playstyle, but you can usually find a balance with the rest of your team to allow for interesting interactions. The combat is simple but satisfying. Upgrading looks to be a pain in the ass as time goes on as you don’t get much experience from actually playing the game, but rather from upgrading your gear. This means spending gold on upgrading items you aren’t even using just so that you can get your character to the next level. This is the only way to upgrade your abilities as well, and the pieces needed to perform said upgrades come in at a fairly rapid clip.

 

To begin with, you’ll only have access to the campaign, which is played out on a 3-D map that is a nice homage to table-top setups. You’ll play through short levels that consist of a few rooms until you reach a boss, at which point you’ll move to a new section of the map. Bosses can be huge, and will take a lot of effort to dispatch compared to the normal monsters, but they aren’t so difficult as to halt progress for very long. Each level will have branching choices where you can choose to fight against various enemy types (some will be easier to deal with for your party than others), find secret areas, and also find doors that require a certain hero of a certain level to access, but give chests for that hero containing a good amount of loot. Other game modes include challenges, where you’ll crawl through an endless dungeon and survive as long as you can — this gives fair rewards as well. Finally, there is a PvP battle mode that appears to be you actually playing against real people (rather than the AI controlled PvP battles I’m seeing in most games). This has a similar ladder system to Clash Royale, in that you gain/lose trophies for wins/losses and ascend arena levels for greater rewards.

I’m unsure about how long the campaign will last, but I have enjoyed all of the modes and intend to see what other hidden gems this game has to offer. I guess I have to be thankful for mobile gaming, as it has been the only form of gaming that is always readily available when life says you don’t have time. I think I’ve come out of my funk though, so I should have something to share about more substantial games soon.

Thoughts on Tomb of Annihilation

Tomb of Annihilation is one of the other games I was gifted around my birthday, and I finally got around to trying it this weekend. It released fairly recently and I recall seeing it in my discovery queue on Steam and adding it to my wishlist. That was all I really knew about the title — it was based on a D&D campaign/board game, and it appeared to be fairly standard isometric RPG faire. It turns out that my original assessment was fairly spot on, but I would add that it is a turn-based strategy game, so I’d compare it more closely to something like Final Fantasy Tactics rather than Baldur’s Gate. Instead of freely roaming or clicking to move, you will be restricted to moving within a tile and then passing turn so that new tiles can be discovered. You move more freely as things begin to open up, but some cramped corridors littered with traps can prove to be time consuming. As you begin the game, you’ll pass through a tutorial as with most games.

This is pretty straight forward, but the tutorial does a good job of explaining the nuance of the game, which includes a set of phases between each characters’ actions. Villains move during their phase. One of your heroes will move per Hero phase. The Exploration phase happens after you end a turn with a hero, at which time if they are standing next to the edge of the current tile, a new adjacent one will be discovered. Lastly, the Encounter phase is a random dice roll after each turn that will either help or harm you. These can be avoided with Adrenaline or certain spells. You can only perform one move and one action per turn, or move twice the normal distance, so you have to think through your strategy as you go, and it becomes a pattern of rhythmic button clicking similar to the likes of Diablo, though much slower paced. Leveling up happens across all four characters, though you don’t have access to them all immediately. As you level you earn chests and materials to craft new gear for the crew. It’s nothing too drastic, and there isn’t any RMT factored in either, though the DLC packs give a nice chunk of gold and a few legendary items to make the beginning of the game pretty easy going.

After the tutorial you’ll head out on new missions. Some are story related, and others a little side quests. All follow the same fashion, you’ll open up the map piece by piece and complete objectives at which point the mission will end and you will return to the map. You’ll fight bosses along the way and things will get messy. If you don’t have the legendary items boost, I imagine you’ll have some difficulties with certain encounters. Each map comes with separate difficulties, so I imagine later on you’ll want to play them again on harder levels to get increased rewards. The map is fairly big, about two times the size of this photo:

The main quest appears to head south in a straight line, with the side quests (in blue) sprinkled about, though they appear to be completely optional. There seems to be quite a bit of area that isn’t being used, but that means one of two things: There will be some sort of additional content added to the game at a later date, or perhaps more is added later on as you progress. I guess there’s a third option too, where it just is what it is and that’s okay too. I feel like you’ll enjoy the game if you like this sort of turn-based endeavor, are a fan of D&D or simply like slower paced RPGs. If taking your time and strolling through this title doesn’t sound appealing, then maybe look elsewhere. Either way for the money being asked ($16, $12 on sale right now) it’s worth taking a look.

What D&D character would you be?

Via Cuppy, a neat-o internet survey for nerds like me (or us). My results:

I Am A: True Neutral Human Sorcerer/Rogue (2nd/2nd Level)

Ability Scores:
Strength-12
Dexterity-16
Constitution-11
Intelligence-16
Wisdom-16
Charisma-13

Alignment:
True Neutral A true neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. He doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most true neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil after all, he would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, he’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Some true neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. However, true neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.

Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Sorcerersare arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Secondary Class:
Rogues have little in common with each other. While some – maybe even the majority – are stealthy thieves, many serve as scouts, spies, investigators, diplomats, and simple thugs. Rogues are versatile, adaptable, and skilled at getting what others don’t want them to get. While not equal to a fighter in combat, a rogue knows how to hit where it hurts, and a sneak attack can dish out a lot of damage. Rogues also seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to avoiding danger. Experienced rogues develop nearly magical powers and skills as they master the arts of stealth, evasion, and sneak attacks. In addition, while not capable of casting spells on their own, a rogue can sometimes ‘fake it’ well enough to cast spells from scrolls, activate wands, and use just about any other magic item.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?