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Cory Jones Interview with PC Gamer

Tonight we experienced an awesome interview by the PC Gamer Show of Hex’s Creative CEO Cory Jones. Jones filled the guest spot for the entire Twitch Cast covering topics such as ESPN and Esports, the phenomenon of Twitch Plays and providing some industry perspective on the rise of digital card games. That was only the first hour as Cory took the second half of the show to introduce Hex to hosts Tom Marks and James Davenport. This second hour has some great new info, impromptu card spoilers and caps off with a great Q&A for the last several minutes. Without further ado, let us dissect the details unveiled about PvE!

What We Should Expect from the Campaign Patch

Hex will no longer be in Beta once the campaign is released. This is a general milestone and has been a gripe about the brand since the in-game store opened. HXE believes that with the PvE experience in place it will serve new players well enough in combination to an updated new player experience to no longer be considered a beta. Also: updated new player experience!

To the heart of the matter, the twitch cast showed off working PvE components such as character creation, zone traversal, and PvE deckbuilding. Character creation itself is similar to classic RPG selection screens where the player chooses faction, gender, race and class. Through that selection you will see the various racial, class and combo talents available your character. Each race/class combo has background information for the lore buffs as well as ability descriptions for how each class will play. You will have the option to give your character a custom name but not a custom look.

characterCreation1

Importantly PvE will launch with three classes: Mage, Warrior and Cleric. The three remaining classes will release at a later date. Talents are grouped into three tiers and in this patch the first tier is available with the two remaining tiers coming later. We did get several glimpses into the race/class talents for vennen and humans. A basic mage talent, featured on the vennen male is Replenish Spell Power: BASIC 3 – Gain 3-5 SP at random. SP stands for spell power and is a new mage mechanic for casting spells. Spells do not appear to be actions. We have not yet seen how spells are performed but this spell power resource looks very interesting. Vennen specifically have the race/class combo talent of Learn Spell Weakness: 2 SP – Target troop gets -1 ATK.

We can contrast this to the human race/class combo talent of “Learn Spell Polymorph Beast: 7 SP Revert and transform target troop into a random beast with cost 2. Using a spell increases its cost by 1 SP.

characterCreation2

This shows that even though both races can be mages their styles will be different flavors. We may see quite a few human players in the future as we caught a glimpse of the Intellectual Pursuits talent where you earn 10% additional experience and Earn 2% gold at max level, which is sure to appeal to grinders everywhere..

Creating our champions is going to be awesome but the deck building is where the bulk of PvE-customization will lie. Each race/class combination is going to have a certain shard affinity and a level of power available to them based on the character’s level. As the character levels up, more powerful cards from a wider number of shards become available for use. The grid below appears to function as a limitation identifier. If you have want to add Star Spheres in your dwarf warrior deck you will be limited in the number you can use to start since it is a shardless rare. Rarity and shard types define the grid spaces while the numbers tell you how many copies can be played. We will need to get our hands on the system to know all of its limitations but we do know that the purpose of this grid system is to have each race/class combo fit into a certain array of card choices and power limits. HXE uses this to tune content in a way—to be challenging while still letting players have a degree of customization. Luckily for us the game will pre-filter your collection when in deck building to show you only the cards you may include.

affinity

 

While scoping out Mulder the Dwarf Warrior we did catch a glimpse of some of the Dwarf Warrior talents. One talent says “If you battle a champion, that champion can’t replenish their resources next turn.” Very spicy. We also spied the talent: “Utility Belt race/class combo talent: You have +1 consumable slot.” In Entrath, Batman must be considerably shorter than we expected.

Traversing Entrath

After showing off character creation and deck building, Cory dove into Mulder’s campaign and showed us part of the Mesa. Here we saw movement on predetermined paths to various nodes. Most of these paths were completed so we still must learn how exploration works but a player can travel over some nodes consecutively or stop at them one at a time. At the Crescent Mesa we encountered Pale Moon who sported a fancy new mechanic Wane: Basic Diamond 2 – Target opposing troop without Defensive gets defensive and Basic 2 Exhaust revert this. The Mesa battle board was gorgeous with animation in the trees and dust. After that fight we visit the Dwarven Cave-In to feature panoramas. These spectacular views will host quest-givers, vendors, and all sorts of elements you would expect in a city.

nodes

desertBoard

So far the PvE campaign is looking beautiful and character creation has quite a bit of content to explore. After showing off the panoramas, Cory launches into information about mercenaries and dungeons. Mercenaries will be “build-around” champions who provide extra lives within dungeons as well as passive buffs. You can a maximum of three with you into any dungeon, though listening to the details of Cory’s phrasing we do not expect them to be available immediately after patch.

Within a day of this article going live, more information about dungeons should be made available on www.hextcg.com but little new information was mentioned about dungeons specifically. We did get a taste of Fort Romor recently if you need a quick dungeon fix and for Lore buffs The Usurper Dungeon adds great flavor to the dungeon hype train.

Twitch Chat Asks

After the dungeon comments, Cory and PC Gamer opened the floor briefly for questions. Topics of note were PvP battle fields, 2v2 battles, spectator mode and double-backs.

Cory has stated that themed PvE battle boards are not coming to PvP but they are saving those for a “more exciting execution” method for PvP playmat customization.

Progress on 2v2? “Not at all.” Core Systems seem to be shared between raids and 2v2, but 2v2 experiences specific hurdles raids can ignore. 2v2 battles have several development hurdles to cross that keep them being bogged down with chain priority issues “that become super unfun super fast”. Raids could experience some of this but the responsiveness of the AI mitigates the effect. 2v2s are “something that is a little ways away.”

Spectator mode is “Definitely one of the things we want to do.” In the priority timeline it falls into relatively soon as will the player ranking feature.

Double-backs are being “thought through” and the per-card achievement is showing itself to be something “un-fun” with the team searching for ways to make it fun. Double -acks are “in process still but not launching with this PvE patch.” The first 12 IQ winners won’t be able to lord their decks over we spectators with their elite pro trophy cases just yet.

Last but not least we have a small status update on set 4. The set is complete, the art is complete and equipment is being completed. While that finishes, additional testing is being done internally. “It is sitting in the can almost.”

 

That covers the major details from the interview. To see the replay in full, visit the PC Gamer Twitch archive.

 

Mokog can often be found streaming limited and constructed play on Twitch. Known for his Hexonomics videos Mokog helps new and experienced players make the most of their Hex investments. Find him on twitter as @HexHunterMokog, on Twitch at www.twitch.tv/hexhuntermokog, or on YouTube www.youtube.com/user/HexHunterMokog

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