Blimey, It’s The: Battleforge Open Beta

By Jim Rossignol on March 11th, 2009 at 8:48 am.


The open beta of EA’s card-trading fantasy RTS is now awake and ready for you, with all units – including the special retail purchase ones – available to all gamers who participate. Battleforge had been completely off my radar until yesterday and I have to say I’m unexpectedly impressed. The card-deck idea is indeed compelling, and – from some brief early impressions – it’s looking like it’s actually not a bad RTS either. I’ve posted the “Nature” faction trailer after the jump so that you can get an idea of the game in action. Go sign up at the slightly cranky website, I think the full install is about 2gb.

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20 Comments »

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  1. VPeric says:

    I was in the closed beta, the installed game is around 10gb, so unless they’ve changed something drastically…

    In any case, I was fairly impressed at the start, but then I realized the game isn’t really what I expected: I was hoping for a “Ground Control”-like experiance, where you’ve got a limited amount of cards/units and you have to do the best you can. Instead, it’s pretty much a classic RTS with a cards mechanic – you do start with a few “copies” of a card, but you’re bound to spend them fast and then it’s all about waiting for the right card to finish recharging. Of course, you still have to balance your power (=the resource) consumption and build a good deck.

    On the other hand, the available scenarios (both single and two/four player ones) were generally interesting and difficult enough. Final verdict? Good to try out, probably not worth actually playing (and paying for cards) once its out.

  2. NuZZ says:

    Anybody know how long the open beta will last exactly? Not a very comforting amount of info on the website at first glance.

  3. Wacky says:

    Does this Open Beta have the same slow update speeds and 6 gb update as the closed beta?If so I’ll pass thank you.

  4. Heliocentric says:

    I cant wait til I’m defeated by a unit i cant counter without buying extra cards.

    The character designs are sacrifice vs pokemon, not a bad thing, just saying :)

  5. Lorc says:

    I played the closed beta. Unimpressed. For all the differences, it plays very much like a traditional RTS. You’re not building bases and working up tech trees, but you do have to defend resource points and balance rate of expansion against vulnerability to attack. Incredibly micro-heavy and makes no effort to make the experience any more user friendly than it has to.

    Of course if you like that kind of thing then that’s fine. I know there’s plenty of people who think that fighting an antique control paradigm is an important skill-testing aspect of the genre.

    Units were… kind of boring actually. Despite the lovely visual style and nice designs, there’s so many to choose from and you have so many cards in your deck that they all seem to blend together and do roughly the same kind of thing. Too many “An archers” and “A more good archers”. Even with the special abilities, I felt like I was picking units randomly than with any grander purpose in mind. And with so many different varieties, they’re not as distinct visually as they could be, which makes picking out anything particular a pain during a scrum.

    The collectible aspect is just another straw on the camel’s back – the prices are way above what I’d consider to be reasonable considering the proportion of duplicate commons you’re opening.
    There’s some kind of poorly explained upgrade thing you can do with duplicate cards, but because it relies on rarer “upgrade” cards you’ll be opening yet more duplicate commons looking for the vital catalyst card.

    I couldn’t in good conscience call it a bad game – it’s just that for all its idiosyncrasies its still yet another game catering to the hardcore RTS crowd of people who aren’t me.
    I’m sure it’ll find a small but dedicated fanbase. Though I suspect that the collectible aspect’s barrier to entry will keep it smaller than it might have been.

    The titular BattleForge is really fun though – a big arena where you can spawn hostile enemies and then use any and all of your cards for free. Lets you test out spells/units in a controlled environment, or just “ooh” and “aah” at the pretties. I probably spent more time there pissing about than I did actually playing.

  6. Okami says:

    @Lorc: The BattleForge really is a blast. I spent more time with it than with the actual game as well. This is one part of the game that every RTS should copy from now on. It’s a great way to get to know a game’s units and special abilities.

  7. Sp4rkR4t says:

    The unpacked installed size of the game is around the 9.5Gb mark but to install it you will need about 12Gb of free space.

  8. Jujo says:

    Was really excited, till I saw you’d have to pay for extra cards, with a high chance of doubles and no chance to get them through actual skill. Awesome if you want to buy your way to the top, though!

  9. Tei says:

    I am on the beta. Is a good game. Is a *wide* game. It only hats a few weaknes:
    – Publisher is EA, tht is money hungry. Poor EA, give money to EA!. Microtransactions ahoy!.
    – As all RTS games, rushing is a good idea. On this game theres a concept of energy (void power) that make static units (or everything that you don’t use) a bad idea. This game has lots and lots of defensive good units. But is Exuberance vs Economy, and the winner will be economy.
    – Is somewhat PvP oriented. Has strong PVE and Coop side, but the “endgame” and “midgame” is PVP. There are a limited set of maps (maybe 18?) to play PVE.

    This game has a few strong points:
    – Is economy, stupid!. Economy is just fun. Trading cards is bussines, mate. If you are too bored to play, you can stick check the auction house, maybe make a few bids, sell something.
    – It has lots and lots and lots of units, with interesting gameplay mechanism (But still classic). Theres a whole “side” that is very hard to master (the shadow one). Theres a whole side almos/maybe/somewhat devoted to turling (Frost).
    – Eyecandy and the forge. My 2 first hours with this game where playing with the eyecandy in a “sandboix”-ish arena that then call “The Forge”. Is almost a RTS laboratory.

    A game to have in your radar because
    EPIC RTS FANTASY COOP + TCG

  10. Lorc says:

    At the risk of contradicting myself, I feel I ought to defend the collectible aspect a little. It’s not as bad as it could have been.

    Firstly you get a good pile of virtual currency “free” with the initial game, which turns into a fairly nice heap of boosters on top of your starting cards.

    Secondly, you’re rewarded with cards for completing single player or coop “PvE” scenarios. The rewards are, I believe, scenario specific, so you can only get certain cards this way. But it’s still a pool of cards you have access to without spending money.

    Thirdly, they’ve been sensible with which cards are which rarity. Broadly, the more expensive a card is, the rarer it is. Being big, splashy units/spells, having lots of rares is more about having more options when deckbuilding than having strictly better cards. You might just roll with the rares you open and use commons and uncommons to build decks to support them.

    Finally, the game is receiving incremental balance patches like any RTS. They’re at least putting up the appearance of keeping every card competitive – ideally emergent trash cards will be buffed and chase rares toned down. Though of course only time will tell whether they’re doing a proper job of this.

    So, yeah. Not as dumb and evil as they might have been. The price for trying to expand beyond your starting pool is exorbitant for what you’ll be getting, but it certainly /looked/ to me like you could be competitive with just your starting and free cards. You’d just have limited options as to /how/ you could be competitive.

  11. Dodomaster says:

    I freaking love this game, great music, fun gameplay (coop, not pvp) and nice artstyle. However, I dont really like the money system. But then again, this is a trading card game too and those are money pullers by default. I’ll probably buy some boosters eventually, just to support phenomic to make more maps and cards.

    @Sp4rkR4t
    They released a patch which made the game 6.2gb installed (a 2.6gb download), which is great.

  12. Zeno says:

    The cards would be a neat idea if they behaved like cards – i.e, you draw from a randomized deck. As is, it’s basically just like choosing a roster, as you have access to everything from the beginning, resource requirements aside.

  13. Dodomaster says:

    @Zeno

    Then it would be more luck rather then strategy and tactics.
    Maybe as a different pvp gamemode or something.

  14. Tei says:

    “Secondly, you’re rewarded with cards for completing single player or coop “PvE” scenarios. The rewards are, I believe, scenario specific, so you can only get certain cards this way. But it’s still a pool of cards you have access to without spending money.”

    That has been modified:
    Now you just get “upgrades” for units. Cards to make a card stronger, don’t work as cards separatelly.

  15. Lorc says:

    Ooh – that might help fix some of the problem with duplicate commons too if you don’t have to open packs in pursuit of upgrade cards any more.

    Are the reward cards always the same stuff, or totally random or relative to your collection, or what?

  16. Tei says:

    Well.. the looting code is a hot topic in the forusm. Random looting mean very random, as in maybe one guy can get all 4 upgrades, end everybody else nothing. Leader mean the guy that created the game may get all stuff and run. And need&greed mean everybody may click need anyway. I have no bad experiences, but most people is not really happy with that options, I think is more a thing about build a list of friends, people that is fair and cool, and play with these people. Much like L4D.

  17. Scandalon says:

    Question/Suggestion for everyone who’s posted that’s been in the beta(s) – have you sent in these observations/reports to the company that’s actually making the game, or just on random blogs when you want to complain about it?

  18. Severian says:

    Anyone else having problems getting this thing to run? Downloaded, logged in, but keeps yelling “Update failed!” at me. Like I need more exclamation marks in my life.

  19. Saul says:

    @Scandalon: Are you calling RPS random? Watch it.

  20. Tei says:

    @Scandalon: Well.. read the forums. People more wise than me, and more smart, post there his opinions. And theres nothing on this thread that ha not been posted on that forum.

    Anyway making a videogame is hard and slow. Any change, even small ones, may take lots of work and time. The dev’s have state on the forums that only changes on prices, etc.. will be feasible soonish.