Tuesday, August 30, 2016
A First Look at Eternal
But about a month ago, I received a beta key from joekewwl for a new digital card game called Eternal. Although it's still in closed beta, already it shows a ton of promise. In fact, I would say it takes the best elements from both Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone and creates something reminiscent of both, but uniquely its own. And now that the Non Disclosure Agreement has been lifted, I'm free to tell you about it.
There were three elements that initially made Hearthstone so attractive to me. First, that it offered, at least in theory, a free-to-play model, where you could enjoy the game at least semi-competitively without investing a dime, essentially investing time rather than money to advance. Second, that it offered some single player experiences, pitting you against AI opponents. And third, that it offered a Limited experience that was asynchronous - i.e., one that didn't rely upon having all the players go through a Limited tournament at the same time. And it is in these three areas that Eternal already shines.
However, it also offers a level of complexity and opportunities for tight play that Hearthstone in the end seems to lack. Like Magic, you have lots of complex card interactions. Like Magic, you have a mana system that requires the right mix and number of different sources. Like Magic, you have the opportunity to interact with your opponent on his or her turn. And like Magic, you have a true Limited environment that involves opening packs, passing them around from player to player, and crafting a deck as you go.
It helps, of course, that Eternal is being designed and developed by some of the best Magic the Gathering pros, including Luis Scott-Vargas, Conley Woods, and Patrick Chapin, along with a few others that I believe have done consulting for the game.
Although the game is still in closed beta, new players are being added to the beta somewhat frequently. If you're interested, I encourage you to check out their website and sign up for a beta key. I would also encourage you to check out this recent vod of LSV playing Eternal on his Twitch channel. Check it out, and if you get into the game, I'd love to hear your thoughts.