HEX did it! Upcoming Mercenary system will set HEX apart of other dTCG/dCCG. But that’s not where HEX is stopping. With upcoming PvE Set 2, Chronicle of Entrath Chapter 2, HEX will be adding yet another whole new mechanics that gives a whole different feel to card game.
Boat = New Champion
First up let’s talk about your boat. While sailing the seas, you will have a boat that will replace your champion’s charge power, talents, and deck with its own. You will be able to customize your boat before every expedition on the Alachian Sea, including building a deck that is saved to the harbor and thus separate from your campaign deck. You will also select your talents, though at first you will be limited in your options. As you get your sea legs under you, however, you will unlock the abilities necessary to brave the deepest waters and furthest shores on Entrath.
Basically, Boat is essentially a new champion of its own in a big picture. But it does not end there; otherwise, why would they create this system.
Boat =/= Champion: Hull
Unlike when playing with your champion, when captaining your boat you will have a hull instead of health. Hull will persist across encounters, so if you end an encounter at 17 hull, you will have 17 at the start of the next encounter. Cards that gain health, pay health, or lose health will not interact with your hull. If your hull is reduced to zero, don’t worry, you’ll be sent back to port for repairs and you can be back on the seas in no time.
What this does is create a unique “press your luck” style experience where every choice matters on the open sea. Do you sacrifice a troop you might need later to preserve your hull for the future? Or do you go in cannon’s blazing and trust in Kismet to carry you to your destination?
Basically, it sounds like they have created a cumulative encounter health system. Not only stopping there, but health gain effect won’t heal the Hull; therefore, it literally is a brand new parameter, champion gets while you are on the boat.
Build your boat!
The boat talents work much in the same way as your class talent tree except they only build vertically in a column. When you receive your boat, you will have three boat talents points to apply as you choose, though more can be found while sailing the Alachian Sea. It will be up to you to choose the talents that best support your playstyle and your deck.
There are four different trees that each represent a part of your boat – Mast, Crew, Cannons, and Hull.
The Mast provides upgrades to your charge power while your Crew provides guaranteed troops for when the waters get rough. Cannons are somewhat unique in that they offer cheap, consistent abilities that are limited by cooldown. After you fire a cannon, you will need to reload as indicated by the text “Cooldown X.” At the start of each of your turns, one cooldown counter is removed from your cannon. Once there are no more counters, it can be bombs away once again! Finally, as mentioned earlier, Hull keeps you afloat. Talents in this tree will let you venture further and further afield without needing to stop for repairs.
As you progress through the Alachian Sea, you will uncover additional boat talents to further improve your vessel. Each of these trees will help against different challenges you encounter across the sea. Figure out which talents will help the most against different types encounters and soon you will own the water.
Boat talents will be replacing your class talents while you are sailing. The only remaining piece of your character is that you will still have the same Shard Alignment rules for deck building. Since many classes have talents that grant cards and promote synergies for you to build around, we suggest that you try putting together a new deck before sailing out.
I’m truly impressed with design here. Each attribute/talent tree fits so nicely to the part of boat system.
Sail away leading to diverse path
Alachian Sea encounters were set up for players to have a more open experience. Most nodes on the water have 2-4 different paths that they are connected to, so you have a great deal of flexibility when shoving off from shore. We tried out some different variations on how the nodes would interact after your hull was depleted, and after some extensive testing we arrived at a system of soft save points. Sea captains in a hurry have the option of bypassing encounters they have already defeated. This will allow even the most land-lubbary amongst you to continue on your main story quest. However, for those of you with salt-water in your veins, traveling across the Alachian Sea in one trip will yield sunken treasures! You will receive bonus rewards for each encounter you best in a single run. Can you push your luck and conquer every corner of these seas? We can’t wait to find out.
One of the major shortcoming I felt with adventure zone 1 in HEX was rather the whole encounter seemed very linear, and felt relatively minimal feel of adventure. Yes. it felt more than typical one encounter after another classic dTCG/dCCG Campaign mode, but use of world map felt rather visual hype followed by a bit disappointment after play. But this seems to change here.
Chapter 2 will be a game defining update for HEX TCG. It will make HEX different from any other dTCG/dCCG on the market. It is going beyond just adding new cards. They are adding new features/mechanics to card game. This is exactly what most kickstarter backers were looking for in this game.