While we were over at the mammoth Ubisoft area of PAX East I had a chance to see all the new entries in the Might and Magic franchise that they are offering. Among these I got a hands on demo of the newly released online CCG Might & Magic: Duel of Champions that is tossing its hat into the highly competitive online card game arena.
The game uses the popular free-to-play model with a dual-currency system, but all cards are available by earning the free currency, so no purchases are needed to have a complete collection. Duel of Champions also made a wise choice not to split its player base, and people can collect and compete using the same sync’d account and same friends list across multiple platforms such as PC and iOS.
Mechanics revolve around selecting a hero card from one of the five main factions in the M&M universe and then building a deck of more common cards to raise an “army” for that hero. Game play focuses on attacking your opponents hero by gaining line-of-sight to them, and utilizing different formations of your deck’s ancillary army cards to strategically attack and defend based on their powers such as flight, extra defense, etc.
You deploy cards based on levels of resources such as “might”, “magic”, and “destiny” which is a familiar system across a majority of popular CCG’s. While the game play was quick to pick up, the line-of-sight combat along with the wide range of card powers looks to create a deep level of strategy that requires forethought and planning a few moves ahead based on physical card placement, similar to games like chess and Stratego.
The online card game market is highly competitive, and getting new entries all the time, but Duel of Champions has enough of a solid hook and a stable model that doesn’t promote a “pay to win” atmosphere. It could provide some solid competition to current frontrunners like Duels of The Planeswalkers and the newly announced 800 lb gorilla Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft that was just announced by Blizzard at PAX East. Duel of Champions is available now to download and play for free.