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 Post subject: [Informer] Chronicle: RuneScape Legends The Review
PostPosted: November 29th, 2015, 2:48 am 
Newspaper Staff

Joined: December 15th, 2013, 9:33 pm
Posts: 97 us
RS Name: tanis79
RS Status: P2P
Clan Name: Fealty Stars
It's here! The closed Chronicle beta is finally underway. If you're one of the lucky ones and received your key to the beta then you already know what a great game it is. If you haven't received your key yet don't worry one will be arriving in your inbox soon. In the mean time let me take you on a quest to review this much anticipated game. We'll start our journey with a quick and dirty summary of Chronicle: RuneScape Legends.

Chronicle is a strategy card game where you take a RuneScape legend on a quest. The cards you place are either enemies your legend will face on the quest or allies that can help you along your way. Up to four cards can be played per chapter and there are up to five chapters. At the end of the five chapters if both legends are still alive then they will battle to the death. That's the gist of it anyway. Now lets move on to chapter two and breakdown the aesthetics, music, and overall immersion of the game.

The graphics in Chronicle are simply stunning. The animations of the legends have a subtle charm and the maps come to life in a way that leaves you yearning to see more. The artists that have worked on Chronicle are really top notch and some of the best in the industry. The aesthetics of Chronicle has been one of its most acclaimed features thus far. Along with the graphics the music in Chronicle is also very well done. Granted its not new for a RuneScape player nevertheless it adds a great deal to the overall feel of the game. The Chronicle team used the orchestral remakes of the familiar RuneScape tracks that were released with RuneScape 3. The music of RS3 was one of the most under appreciated aspects of RS3, however it has found another platform in which to shine in Chronicle and doesn't disappoint. The look and sound of Chronicle brings the world of RuneScape alive and immerses the player in a familiar landscape but in an entirely new way. Of course we can't fully appreciate how immersive Chronicle is without talking about its game-play and mechanics. Our quest continues onward to chapter three.

Chronicle's game-play is fast paced and engaging. Unlike other strategy card games, in Chronicle you don't merely focus on your opponent. The focus is instead on building a quest for your legend using your deck. Up to four cards per chapter are played so it cuts down the time you have to wait on your rival to place their cards which gives Chronicle very fluid game-play. Since the focus is more on your legend than just battling your opponent it means that you can develop your own play style instead of always trying to react to what cards your opponent has played. The question is, what will your play style be? Do you like to take pod shots at your opponent throughout the game hoping to take them out by an accumulation of damage? Maybe saving up cards, gathering gold, and hoping for one big move just before the end is your style. Another popular style is to build up your legend throughout with weapons and armour becoming more and more powerful anticipating the final battle to the death. None of these play styles would mean anything without the cards though. Follow me as our journey continues to chapter four, deck building.

The most important part of any strategy card game is of course the cards. In Chronicle there are general cards, those in which any legend can use and legend cards, those in which are specific to a certain legend. Within these two categories are two types of cards: enemy and support cards. This makes Chronicle simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, while providing the potential for a competitive player to develop more complex combos and strategies. This aspect of Chronicle is balanced really well. The support cards can provide the legend with gold, weapons, armour, spells or buffs. The enemy cards provide a creature for your legend to encounter and fight which will also give the legend one of the previously mentioned items. Deck building is very easy and one of my favorite parts of the game. The only restrictions are to have a deck with a minimum of thirty cards and a maximum of fifty. Other than that you can't cross legend specific cards. Building a custom deck is rewarding and where your play style can really take shape. The feedback on the cards has been mostly positive, however if there is one aspect of the game players are pointing to that needs some polish it is here.

In the Chronicle forums some players are saying some cards are over powered i.e. earth blast, wizards, mind bomb, etc. While I agree that some minor improvements could be made I caution the Chronicle team from borrowing the Jagex nerf bat from Mod Timbo and start whacking away. Remember the early feedback is coming from long time RuneScape players. I would be more interested in what competitive strategy card players say about it. If there's one thing I know about my RuneScape community, it is they think everything is op. Instead of nerfing the more powerful cards make them available at higher levels or cost more gold. Knowing that a big hit is a possibility adds to the suspense and strategy of the game. Furthermore these cards won't win the game for someone that doesn't know how to use it. If I see my opponent is Ariane I know I could take a hit for twenty life points and I act accordingly. That's not reacting to my opponent as much as it is making me mindful of possible outcomes as I build my own deck. Another way to balance the big cards would be to provide cards that, in Ariane's case, would take a card away from your opponent, or take gold from Ozan, etc. Overall Chronicle is pretty balanced for a closed beta. Unfortunately our story must come to an end as we advance to the final chapter.

Chronicle has done something that every game hopes to do which is live up to the hype. Its a good game and will only become better over the course of the beta. Its still at an early point in the closed beta and there are many things we don't yet know. What will its business model be? Freemium is a good possibility but it could be a subscription model or a purchase model. I hope Jagex stays away from the subscription model and whatever they do I hope they release it on Steam. Overall its amazingly polished for a closed beta and there is no doubt the Chronicle team is very talented. I look forward to watching Chronicle's progression in the coming weeks. One thing that is imperative for Chronicle is to expand beyond the RuneScape base. The RuneScape base will give Chronicle its start but to be truly successful it will have to go beyond this and catch on in the strategy card game genre. It can be done we've seen it with Hearthstone, and Chronicle has the potential to do it as well. It has been stated that Chronicle will be available on tablets and this should be another strong point for the game. Until next time, Happy RuneScaping and Chronicling.

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PostPosted: November 29th, 2015, 2:48 am 
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 Post subject: Re: [Informer] Chronicle: RuneScape Legends The Review
PostPosted: December 10th, 2015, 2:36 pm 
Newspaper Staff

Joined: January 17th, 2015, 11:21 am
Posts: 50
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames, London, UK gb
RS Name: Cireon
RS Status: P2P
Clan Name: Clan Quest
In this post I would like to reply to Tanis’ article about Chronicle: Runescape Legends. I say article, because I think in terms of a review it does not deliver. While I share the enthusiasm of Tanis when it comes to RS Chronicle, I think it is important the imperfections of the game should also be expressed.

The article starts by discussing the graphics of the game. The in-game graphics look amazing and while Runescape and Chronicle are vastly different games, the similarities are easy to spot. However, it is also blatantly obvious that the graphics style is pretty much identical to the other big player in the genre: Hearthstone. From the menu transitions to the card style, from the UI to the in-game effects: they could probably be used interchangeably between the games.
This in general I think shows a major issue I am having with Chronicle as of right now: the game doesn’t distinguish itself sufficiently. Its concept -- building an adventure with cards -- is very original and the gameplay where both players do their move simultaneously (but in secret) also brings something new to the genre as far as I am aware. But then this is all put in a mix that makes it look very much like just another card game based on a major MMO franchise.

The next subject touched upon is the gameplay. As I mentioned before: I think the gameplay Jagex came up with has interesting and unique elements. The point in the article I disagree with on the other hand, is that the game is fast-paced. On the contrary, I think there are some major issues with the pacing: first, you have to rush getting your cards on the board, because when your opponent is finished placing theirs, you have mere seconds to finish placing your own. In combination with the severely limited UI (more on that in a bit), this makes it very easy to make mistakes because you have to rush things, and this has caused me some frustration. Luckily, this was fixed in the 2/12 patch by extending the time you have after your player finishes, and I think the new time limit gives you more than enough time, while not slowing down the game too much if your opponent is slow.
After this the game enters some sort of cinematic mode, where no interaction is possible and the chapter plays out. The animations are cute and represent an interesting table top style, but they are not interesting enough to keep you watching, so only the excitement about seeing the cards uncovered keeps the cinematics interesting. So, all in all, I think the game needs to balance out the pace a bit.

Another gameplay element I think the article fails to discuss is the different heroes. Of course the article was written shortly after the game came out, so I do not expect any in-depth discussion about tactics, but it was obvious to me that each of the heroes had a different gameplay focus. Where the Raptor and Linza focus on the final fight, Ariane and Ozan are all about killing the opponent before that. The Raptor is about building up attack damage, and to stay alive, he uses armour. On the other hand, Linza uses weapons for attack power, and uses those weapons to heal from killing monsters. Ariane’s special cards increase in power as the hand size increases, while for Ozan, gold is everything. Each hero has their own tactics, and during a game you have to use your own strengths, while also disturbing the tactic of the other. Maybe as the game continues on, interesting new ways to use the cards and heroes come up, but for now, their tactics are pretty predictable. The game is therefore also about knowing the heroes, how to use them, and what to expect from them. A nice touch of making the game more interesting than meets the eye.

I haven’t done a lot of deck building myself, so I will hold off on discussing that. In general though, I think the cards are balanced pretty well. There are some interesting balance changes coming up, so hopefully these will improve the game further.

A final subject I want to mention is the in-game UI. Right know I find it still too bothersome to find out what cards do, which slows the game down unnecessarily. Maybe this will grow on players as they continue playing, but I think in general the UI could use some polish to make it just that bit easier to use, especially if mobile devices are going to get involved.

So let me wrap up by returning to the article. I may appear a bit negative about both the game and the article here, but I have found that the article is inadequate when it comes to giving a complete overview of the game. It calls itself a review, but fails to take an honest look at some of the game elements. In this post I just wanted to give some counterweight to the almost exclusive positive feedback from the article, and sketch a more complete image of where the game currently stands. People who know me a bit also probably know that I am really bothered by the ignorance that shows in purely negative flaming, but I think the same ignorance shows in feedback that is purely positive.

I think the article should be considered like a brief first impression. I hope that with this post, I have given a bit more even impression about the game. I also hope that in future articles we can get a more detailed and complete impression of their described subject. In either case, I am completely open to further discussion on this subject with the author of the article and others.

This article was written with the intention of constructive feedback, and also to share my personal opinion on the game, which was not in line with the Informer article. I should clarify that I am still in general positive about Chronicle, and I have confidence that if the points I raised in this points are addressed, Chronicle can become the product Jagex has needed for a long time, which can bring the company back into the picture when it comes to game development.

~ Cireon

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