Minecraft Creators Reveal New Game: Scrolls

By John Walker on March 2nd, 2011 at 2:01 am.

It already sounds like a game that's been around since 1984.

It’s an RPS ultra-news. There’s a new game from Minecraft creators Mojang, and we can tell you what it’s called: Scrolls. We can tell you what it is: it’s a collectable card game-meets-board game. And more than that, we can tell you a great deal about it. I travelled to Mojang’s headquarters in Stockholm to meet Markus “Notch” Persson and the team behind this new project, including Jacob Porser and Carl Manneh, and below you can read our exclusive coverage. We learn how Mojang’s open development philosophy will apply to Scrolls, quite how strikingly different the project is from Minecraft, how it plays, and some of the more ambitious plans they have in place if it proves to be a success. And we all attempt to avoid attack from Markus and his dangerous collection of Nerf guns.

“It’s not like Minecraft,” says project lead Jacob Porser, who with Markus Persson has wanted to make the game for five years. “It’s very different from Minecraft. It’s more along the lines of a collectable card game. But it’s not just that – we’ve added a lot.”

It’s more collectable card game meets board game meets role playing. The simple name was a temporary placeholder while they tried to think of something else. But it got stuck.

“It’s always been Scrolls to me,” adds Carl Manneh, Mojang’s CEO, who joined the company a few months ago. “I think it’s a great name.” It seems pretty amazing that they managed to get the URLs. I ask if they free? Both laugh, and shake their heads. So how did they get them? Carl explains, “It helps when you’ve got some cash.”

That’s a huge advantage Mojang has going into its second game. Minecraft, the indie phenomenon of 2010, has meant the company is secure to experiment with something completely new. Selling over 1.4 million copies, at €14.95 a time, works out to just shy of twenty-one million euros, and it continues to pour in. That’s slightly more than most indie developers have to hand. It’s meant they can expand to a company with its own offices, and in a couple of days time a total of nine staff. And about half of them will be working on Scrolls, aiming to get it into a purchasable beta by the end of this year.

Set in a traditional fantasy world, players will initially buy a pack of game cards, which are played as units and spells on a game board shared by two opponents. That’s the foundation of an idea that Jacob and Markus have been talking about making for almost five years. Both big fans of collectable card games (CCGs), they frequently played each other, but they always wanted to tweak the games.

“There are certain gaming mechanics in most CCGs that are kind of annoying, so we started talking about what features we’d like to add to the game,” Jacob tells me. “And before you know it we were designing and developing this game. It’s been an ongoing project, discussing it, pitching ideas, laughing at it and having fun with it.”

Last Autumn, as they were beginning the discussions for putting their company together, both realised they could finally do the game. Because Persson is working on Minecraft full time, Jacob Porser is in charge of Scrolls. He says that the process began with summing up five years worth of ideas. But what exactly is it?

“At the core it’s a collectable card game, but it’s also a board game,” says Jacob. “It’s combining the two. As you place your units or your buildings, or your siege weapons, you place it on the game board to play against your opponent. It’s not only about designing a proper collection of scrolls [cards], and the tactical aspect of that deck, but it’s also about the tactical sense of how to place your units on the game board.”

Players will buy the game, and with that will come a randomised starter deck of scrolls. Should they want more, they can buy additional card packs, as with any other CCG, and of course not know what new cards they’ll receive. And they have many other plans for adding to your deck. “Obviously it’s going to be a multiplayer game,” continues Jacob. “We have a lot of fun ideas for the community. We’re going to let you place your Scrolls in an auction house, trading with other players, and a lot of different multiplayer templates. Ranging from a friendly game, testing out your latest deck, or you may enter a more long-term league, where you get ranked. That can go on for a couple of months. We also plan on having a lot of tournaments. Small ones, and large, like a world championship. We’re talking to some great partners about that.”

Talking about how Scrolls will stand out from other CCG videogames, Jacob explains that it’s because their emphasis is on the videogame. “A lot of the CCGs, they have the analogue version, the paper version, and that prevents certain elements that you’d like to have in the game, because they’re too complicated to keep track of as you play. What if you add poison counters that do damage for five rounds? You have to keep it in mind as you’re playing the game. You can probably keep one of those in your mind, but if you have them all over the game board it’s impossible to keep track of everything. As this is made to be digital, we can add features that other CCGs simply can’t. When a unit comes into the game it will have certain life points, and it won’t heal up every time – again, it’s hard to do that in other CCGs.” And it will all effect the tactics.

“I think also another factor of this is the fact that we have this game board. You won’t be able to be a successful player unless you learn to take advantage of this game board,” he continues. “Maybe I have an imp, and I want to place him, but the board is busy and my opponent has cast spells that prevent me from placing units in certain areas. The game board is dynamic. You need to manage your units constantly, working out how to protect them, heal them, shield them. This will be an almost roleplaying element. You can give creatures items, for instance. So maybe you invest heavily in a unit, give it a sword, you want to keep it alive. You’ll want to make more long-term strategic choices in this game.”

Despite being able to buy additional cards, they promise it won’t be a game you can beat by pouring in money. It’s all about how you put your deck together, they emphasise. “The tactical element is two-fold,” Jacob says. “Creating the deck, and then playing it. Obviously there are going to be some elements of random chance in the game as well, just to keep players on their toes. You won’t be able to have the same strategies every time, because different circumstances will force you to modify your strategy as you play the game.”

Can he give an example of this? “The game has certain space where you can place your units, so perhaps you want to place them in a spearhead to defeat your opponents defence and damage him, you gather them together. But if the opponent has a lot of damaging attacks that do area damage, having that kind of strategy will ruin all your attacks and destroy your units in a couple of strikes. That’s the simplest example I could come up with.” But it gets much more complicated. “Every unit comes with abilities, and apart from these you have spells you can throw out. For instance, maybe you have a unit that’s very powerful against a certain type of unit, and your opponent has this unit but it’s not aligned correctly. You could use spells and abilities so his unit lines up with mine just before I attack. Or maybe I have a siege weapon that does a lot of damage, but as it fires it does damage to everyone surrounding it. So maybe you can’t have your units in front of it to defend it, so how do you cope with that? Maybe there’s a unit that doesn’t take damage from siege weapons? It’s not going to be that this unit is lousy, and this one is great. It’s about finding the synergies in your deck so everything works together.”

What about winning cards from opponents? Well, it turns out that’s an area that’s somewhat complicated. “There are going to be ways of acquiring cards in the game without necessarily paying for them,” says Jacob, with slight hesitation. “Maybe winning them in tournaments, or from opponents?” The issue is, however, what constitutes gambling? “The thing we have to look into is the legal issues – we don’t want to have to get a gambling license and put the servers in Malta to get the game up and running! I don’t want to promise too much, but [winning opponents' cards] is a feature I’d like to have. Not forced, but as an option.”

Of course, this is Mojang, and their open development philosophies apply. In other words, you’ll be able to buy the game before it’s finished. But not quite as early as with Minecraft. “The way we’re planning to release the game is to have a closed alpha first,” says Jacob. “Where we invite a set number of players who can test out the game and help us locate bugs and balance the first edition of the game. The closed alpha will be a test launch to get some feedback. People will eventually be able to sign up for this on scrolls.com.”

After this, when they think they’ve got something balanced, they’ll go into beta and make the game available to all, as it goes through the next stage of its iterative process. “We won’t have every feature in place, but at that point we’ll start treating it as a proper game. Everyone can sign up and purchase items and start to do the things with the game that we intend. At that point the development will be pretty much the same as Minecraft.” This means new content, new scrolls and new environments to do battle in, and new features, will be constantly added as it goes along.

So how different does Jacob think the game will be by the time it’s gone through this process from their initial idea? “The game changes a lot depending on what scrolls we put in the game. I think the content’s going to change quite dramatically,” he tells me. “One thing you learn from Minecraft is exactly how creative people are. I think they’re going to take the content we’ve made, and make horrible, horrible things with it. And we’re going to have to sit back and say, ‘Jesus Christ, this wasn’t balanced!’ I’m sure it’s going to turn out that way. But that’s the point of the closed alpha.”

It’s a carefully thought through process, rather than just an early tradition. “What we saw with Minecraft was that it was unseen to charge for something that was unfinished,” explains Carl. “But when people pay for something they commit to it, so it’s a win-win for the player and the developer. It funds the game, and people are investing into the game. We get so much feedback, and they are more likely to spread it to other friends as they invested in the product. It’s not an evil business mind of ours – it just makes sense.”

At this point Notch opens a door a crack and points the barrel of a nerf gun toward me from the office next door. I brace myself, and look to the others for help.

“That’s my fault,” explains Jacob. “I bought those for him. I’m sorry about that.” He pauses for a moment. “We all are.”

Seeming to be safe for a moment, I ask more about what’s changed since they first came up with Scrolls. “It’s not like we’ve been talking about it every week for five years,” Jacob explains, pointing out that the process hasn’t been formalised until recently. “It’s changed dramatically in the process. Adding things saying, ‘This will be cool!’ and then the next time we talk about it, ‘What were we thinking?’ Most of it has been just me and Markus wanting to do a game together. We’ve had some awesome battles between us with CCGs, rage quitting and throwing cards at each other. He looks up and notices Markus coming into the room again. “I almost always won,” he says to me, glancing at his colleague.

“That’s not the way I remember it,” mutters Markus as he passes by.

Jacob carries on, explaining about how they’re still in the early stages with a lot of ideas. They’re tentative about sharing some of them at this point, not wanting to make promises they aren’t going to keep, or give away all the secrets just yet. Jacob and Carl look at each other, their eyes asking the other if it’s okay to mention one of the larger plans, when the back of Jacob’s head is bombarded by Nerf bullets.

“Okay! He won!” cries Jacob, his arms up in surrender to Notch’s attack. “He won the games almost every time. You can write that!”

Once everyone’s recovered, we get back to that morsel of information. There’s plans, should the development of Scrolls go well, to look at the possibility for a single-player mode. They’ve learned from surveys that about 70% of players prefer to play alone, so it’s a big chunk of the audience. They want to let players explore the dungeons of the game board, have adventures, maybe find cards to play in multiplayer, in a meaningful way that’s not just the same as the multiplayer game with an AI. They’re even in the process of talking to some fantasy authors with regards to creating a story for a single player version of the game. While they weren’t willing to name anyone at this stage, it was clear that both were excited by the people they were talking to. However, they have revealed that Penny Arcade’s Jerry Holkins will be contributing to the back story.

Their philosophy remains the same, despite the investment going into this: if the players don’t like it, and they can’t iterate it to a point where they do, they’ll give up on a game. It’s a bold stance, and one they acknowledge would be tough to do. “We talked about that,” explains Jacob. “If it doesn’t work, if it doesn’t make any money, then we have to cut our losses and step away. It would be hard, because it’s something we’ve talked about for so long. But we like the game!” Neither expects it to come to that, but everyone is aware that a brand new direction with a brand new IP is always a risk.

“We’re in a fortunate position where we’re going to have a lot of eyes on this project,” says Carl. “We know that a lot of people are at least going to try this game.” Mojang have a lot of people following them online – hundreds of thousands on Facebook and Twitter, and the company’s philosophy to be open means they get a lot of reaction to everything they do. “And also what we don’t do,” adds Carl.

“You lazy European fucks, get back to work!” interjects Jacob, quoting a favourite catchphrase in the office at the moment, from a comment they’d recently received. “The negative comments are usually the loudest,” Jacob explains. “We try to see past that. Overall it’s a very positive experience. The community really has been great. And launching this new game – it can be a bit stressful. What if people hate it? We want people to love it.”

They’re not expecting anything close to the same sort of viral impact that Minecraft has. Scrolls isn’t the sort of game where you can record some novel creation and share it on YouTube. “It’s not a sandbox game in that way,” says Carl. “We’re going to have other mechanisms that will be interesting to share with, maybe your closer friends. You can challenge friends, create small tournaments, invite people to play.”

“If I were playing a game like this,” adds Jacob, “I would love to have a community to discuss things with. ‘This card is broken! It’s too powerful!’ Stuff like that. And a profile page people can visit, see that someone has a particular rare card.”

There’s also a desire to let the game be hosted on other sites. It’s not finalized, but the idea being that a site can host the game and its own tournaments. There’s also plans for it to go multi-platform, eventually reaching smartphones and similar. But the initial development will be PC and Mac, working both as a download and browser-based. And that’s something they’ll stick to? “We’ll never abandon the PC!” laughs Jacob.

At this stage it’s still a little tricky to completely understand how Scrolls will play. We know there are the cards, and the dynamic game board, and we know that the real focus is on layers and layers of tactics. Mojang are hoping to create a highly competitive game, something that will spin off into large-scale tournaments for the very best players. What’s most interesting is just how much it has nothing to do with Minecraft. There’s no attempt to piggyback its success on anything other than reputation and a pre-built audience, not even with the artwork. Their resident artist, Markus “Jnkboy” Toivonen, is bringing a Western-cartoon style that’s entirely dissimilar to Steve’s blocky world. And it’s cartoon for a reason. “We’re going to have a lot of cards,” explains Carl. “A lot of graphics, so we need it to be this cartoon style so it’s not too cumbersome to produce.”

Apparently it’s already in a playable form, even if it’s only with a prototype design they didn’t want to show. The closed alpha sounds like it could be happening by the summer, with a plan to see the beta on sale around November or December. And it’s a clever plan. If it works, they’ll once again have a game their audience will refine for them, testing out new cards, new units, new tactics to a vast audience who will certainly make their feelings known. And while Minecraft is currently a one-off purchase (although check out our forthcoming feature with Notch for rumours of some news about that), Scrolls will have the option for people to keep on spending, buying packs of new scrolls to change their deck. But, they stress, it’s not essential. Along with other potential ways to increase your arsenal, the initial deck should be enough to get on with.

“If people find the game fun they’re going to spend money on it,” says Carl. “That’s the way I work, anyway. We’re going to be good guys here, and give people something they can use to get going with when they buy the game.”

Tune in soon to hear of my adventures at Mojang, along with some big juicy secrets when I interview Markus. Meanwhile, take a look at the art work for Scrolls.

, , , , , .

203 Comments »

  1. citricsquid says:

    Hehe, I was about to comment on the “ultra-exclusive” saying you were too late, but seems you changed that now!
    The game looks interesting, I expect the backlash from “why can’t you make Minecraft stable!” and “I paid for Minecraft not this!” people will be something they have fun dealing with, but I hope this is successful!

    • John Walker says:

      Well, the level of coverage we got was, but it didn’t read like it was saying that.

    • Dozer says:

      “I paid for Minceraft, not this!” – who could say that, since they’ve paid for Minceraft and received a lot of Minceraft for their money?

      I bought a Volkswagen Polo (well, to be accurate, a near-stranger bought it in 2000 and gave it to me in 2007 for free). If I were to be outraged that VW used that money to design the Touareg, a car I’ll never use, people would just laugh.

      I don’t doubt that you’re right and people will make this complaint, but those people should also be laughed at…

    • Bhazor says:

      That is because we are PC gamers the drama queen’s of videogaming. I mean did you read the thread for the Crysis demo? Jesus christ.

    • DuckSauce says:

      “I paid for Minceraft, not this!”
      Mince… raft?

      Heh.

  2. Hardtarget says:

    this is neat and all but I’d love for them to finish minecraft before they start releasing new product

    edit – in fact before they do anythign else they need to completely revamp their login server to minecraft. It was fine when a few thousand people had the game but it doens’t cut it anymore.

    • citricsquid says:

      They’re different teams. The team behind Minecraft and the team behind Scrolls were never the same, Jakob was (if I remember my history specifically) even announced as an employee at the same time as the new game under the title as developer of this game. I don’t think this will effect Minecraft in any way, Minecraft now has Jeb who will at least maintain the same work speed as Notch did, this game is more than Notch now so even if Notch does drift into the developing this new game more than Minecraft I don’t think it will be too much of a problem, but I don’t see why it’s assumed he will.

      This game has been known about (under a cryptic coming soon title) for many months now, the only surprised is the type of game.

  3. mwoody says:

    Wow, could not be more disappointed. And I love CCGs.

    I know that’s a typically Angry Internet Man response, but I have reason: I got really into a game called Star Chamber a few years back. Spent an obscene amount of money, set up a special account for pooling common cards, etc. Then went away for several months, came back, and found they’d been bought out. My account had expired, my login no longer worked, and all my cards had been deleted: vanished into the ether, all $100+ of ‘em. Soured me on the entire deal.

    Make it work like Culdcept (mmmm Culdceeeept), where it’s a single-price game that you can unlock cards inside a campaign, and I’m there, credit card in hand. But paying money to gamble on a virtual item? No. No no no. It’s silly enough when it’s real, physical cards, but when it’s data on a server somewhere, not even a little bit.

    • Hardtarget says:

      holy cow, SoE bought Star Chamber but then cancelled/revoked all your cards?! Are you sure that’s right.. sony is a pretty huge company, you’d think there would have been massive backlash.

    • malkav11 says:

      I doubt it. My account transferred over just fine and I hadn’t played in ages. Methinks there’s more to that story.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, I used to (and still occasionally) play PoxNora, which is a CCG/Turn-Based-Strategy hybrid (and a a very good one, massively overlooked by most), which was indie at first, bought up by Sony later, etc. And all my stuff transferred over completely fine.

  4. Inigo says:

    purchasable beta

    Oh god not again.

    • SirDimos says:

      I’m fine w/ a purchasable beta.

      I’ve had more fun in the Minecraft Beta than I’ve had from many games i’ve bought upon release. At this point I really don’t care if Minecraft is ever officially released.

    • TuesdayExpress says:

      @SirDimos: Agreed. I’ve gotten more hours of fun out of the Minecraft beta per cent invested in it than I get out of most gold releases per dollar. Both it and Mount & Blade sold me on well-crafted paid betas.

    • MultiVaC says:

      Except as far as pricing and gameplay value go, this sounds like the polar opposite of Minecraft. With Minecraft you pay once and get a game that is re-playable to infinity; as long as you have ideas, you’ll have more game to play. Collectible card games are based on the premise of you repeatedly paying money for the most minimal of content. I wouldn’t mind the concept of this game if the process of getting the cards was something that didn’t involve money, but they are expecting us to pay money for a random selection of images and stats? That’s as cynical a business model as I can imagine. I know some people find CCGs worthwhile and this will probably be a damn good one, but after Minecraft this sort of pricing seems really hard to swallow. Especially when it’s being financed by the millions made from a game that showed the world the you can hit it big in this industry and still be the antithesis of the Horse Armor and yearly sequel crazed rip-off mania of the major publishers.

    • zimbabwe says:

      Have to agree… whatever Notch may call it, MC is _today_ really an alpha-quality product. For a tiny developer to start a new project before their smash hit is finished doesn’t bode well for the finished state of their new project OR their smash hit…

    • Urthman says:

      zimbabwe, unless you just bought Minecraft in the last few months, you paid a tiny amount of money for a game being developed by one person.

      That one person now works for Mojang, a company which also makes other games, and has more than doubled the number of people working on Minecraft.

      Just because lots of people bought it doesn’t mean Minecraft is no longer a tiny indie game being mostly developed by one person. That’s what it is. If you think it would be a better game at some company like Ubisoft with a team of 80 people working on it, I think you’re completely wrong.

    • etho says:

      Also, you think it’s just now at alpha stage? It has fewer bugs than New Vegas did at release! If they stopped development on it right now and called it done, I would be more than satisfied with the game I got for what I paid.

      But of course, they aren’t doing that. Exactly the same number of people are working on it now as were doing two weeks ago.

      As for Scrolls…. I dunno. I like boardgames, and Culdcept is absurdly fun, but I just don’t know enough about this to really judge. One thing that will probably keep me from ever really playing it much is that I won’t pay for collectible cards, be they digital or otherwise. Not with real money. But it’s Mojang, so I wish them well!

  5. pakoito says:

    This is EXACTLY my kind of game, scratching both the TCG and the TBS itch. If it’s well designed it’ll be a long-time keeper.

    I tried with Guardians of Graxia but there are just too few characters. Also boardgames need a lot of space, money or time and aren’t as dynamic as a PC can make them get.

    • icupnimpn2 says:

      A lot of people are thinking “Guardians of Graxia” right now. And while I wanna give Mojang the benefit of the doubt, that game is a mess. Like Mojang wants with their game, Guardians of Graxia allows for complexity of counters and crap and spell effects that need to be kept track of by the computer – that would be very hard for a player to keep in their head for a table-top game.

      It just makes the game hard to play. It’s hard to remember what each card can or can’t do and under what circumstances. Maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s the game design, but I felt it a chore to play.

      Here’s to hoping Mojang can build their complexity in a way that doesn’t involve repeatedly clicking on each card and area of the board to see what modifiers are in play.

      Also, hope they cave in and add some means of earning more cards within the game aside from buying packs, wagering, or large tournaments. I am done with that part of my life. MtG burnt me out on that in 1996. Either that, or let us buy some competitive pre-assembled decks so we can enjoy learning and playing,

  6. Bamboo says:

    Isn’t this game already available? It’s called Culdcept Saga.

    • pakoito says:

      Why can’t I find proper info on that game?

    • malkav11 says:

      It’s an Xbox 360 sequel to a PS2 game, both of which are kind of a CCG/Monopoly hybrid with some JRPG thrown in.

    • Dominic White says:

      The 360 one came out in Japan and America only, and Microsoft saw fit to region-lock the system so that nobody can play it in Europe. Ever.

    • Archonsod says:

      Sounds identical to Guardians of Graxia to me.

    • pakoito says:

      I cannot play the 360 version but I’ve seen there’s some old PSX/DC versions. Do you know if they were fan translated? I only found one for DS -.-

  7. MrEvilGuy says:

    GAHHH SCROLLS ARE MEANT TO BE READ NOT PLAYED!

    it should be called “Notchcraft”.

    What is this world coming to!?!?

  8. Premium User Badge

    Diziet Sma says:

    *cough*Eye of Judgement*cough*. Good luck to them though.

    • 3lbFlax says:

      I think Eye of Judgement would have been a lot better with some kind of digital card system – having to use the poxy camera was the only real problem I had with the game. But at the same time I really enjoyed playing it face-to-face against another human, and that would have been tricky less interesting without the cards. Of course the answer to all this is to play actual card games… I don’t know if I fancy playing this kind of game over the internet, but I’d definitely be interested in single player.

      But at the end of the day, considering the amount of enjoyment I’ve had from Minecraft, I’d be an idiot not to give Scrolls a chance.

  9. Premium User Badge

    MajorManiac says:

    I’m not really into card-based games on the computer as I prefer real-life cards. But I look forward to what they will make of this.

  10. The Army of None says:

    I wish ‘em the best of luck. This type of game can really go either way towards something I enjoy or not, so I’ll just have to wait at this point. Props to the minecraft folks for choosing RPS for all the coverage and Jerry Holkins, the penny arcade guy, (also smart on their part, given how instrumental both sites were in popularizing minecraft.)

  11. MikoSquiz says:

    “There’s a new game”
    Interest level: 43%
    “from Minecraft creators Mojang”
    Interest: 98%
    “..it’s a collectable card game meets board game”
    11%
    “..buy additional card packs..”
    2%
    “..auction house..”
    1%
    “..long-term league..”
    0% SYSTEM FAILING ABORT ABORT
    “..look at the possibility of a single-player mode..”
    70% System restored

    • Mattressi says:

      I had a similar reaction. Saw that it was the new Mojang game and thought “AWESOME!”. Then I saw it was a CCG and I thought “that sucks”. I read a little more about how it will involve tactics and a board and thought “this might actually be decent; I enjoy turn based strategy games”. Then I saw that it would cost real money to buy random packs of cards and thought “no way in hell would I even consider joining a free alpha or beta” (well, admittedly I actually initially assumed they meant in-game money, because the notion of paying for virtual card decks is so preposterous). Then I saw it might potentially have a single player component and thought “I might eventually try the demo, if I’m really bored”.

      They say that only 30% of their audience play multiplayer mostly; but how many of those 30% play CCGs (especially virtual CCGs, where you pay as if they were real cards, but you don’t actually own them!)? I’d say it’d be a very small percentage.

      Who knows, they might decide on a different business model for the game and they might actually (somehow) make CCGs (especially virtual CCGs) remotely interesting. I’d pay a one off amount for a turn-based strategy game by Mojang, but this, well…

      At least I still have Minecraft. Even if they never update it again, I will still feel like I’ve got more than my money’s worth.

    • d32 says:

      My reaction was similar, except: I love card games and I love board games. So my excitement was spiking, until I’ve read about inevitable additional payments to get extra in-game cards. There are many games like this, no need for one more. What the market lacks is quality SINGLE player CCG experience with additional cards bought with un-real in-game money.
      Game models like this were invented only to suck as much money, as possible.
      Fuck them, I say. No love and no money from me.

    • Pani says:

      Very similar reaction here too, except after the final quote, my interest really didn’t get past 30% by that time.

    • Reapy says:

      Yeah pretty much the same reaction curve minus the 70% jump at the end. Despite possibly having an interest in ‘collectible’ hobbies my sensibilities tell me that a game in which my ability to play it effectivly is determined by random chance of getting xyz cards that I need, further improved by adding $$ to the equitation is just a losing prospect. At least with a physical card I get ‘something’ but paying cash online for images, bah, total bs.

      What I have been waiting for is a game in which the collectible card thing exists but you don’t pay $$ for it. I like the idea of you being able to skim out a card or something from someones deck when they lose. All that CGC idea where your deck and/or cards available to you is volatile can be fun, just that what you have shouldn’t relate to REAL WORLD $$, but instead some sort of fake currency, and I don’t mean fake currency you can buy with $$, but just an in game way to earn cards. Even something as simple as when you win you can poach a card from the other person, or after 10 losses you can draw a new pack of random cards. I mean something where you have that risk of losing a card, and you have that WOO HOO feeling when acquiring a new card, but just not tied to your wallet.

      It’s online and virtual why has no one taken advantage of that yet?

  12. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    I hope they will find a decent middleground between current DLC crazyness and Minecraft, which is pretty much the opposite of any game with DLC, get an early, cheap version and get a weekly update, and all future versions and features, for free.

    I don’t want to go on a rant about DLC right now – been done plenty – but especially CCGs, the games as in real life, have always been obvious money making machines to me. I like having a game to play and explore thoroughly after paying for it once. CCGs are not based on that premise.

  13. Casimir's Blake says:

    Oh bollocks. Another card game (albeit with EXCELLENT art) to add to the pile (ho ho)… I guess a dungeon crawler was too much to ask for. Good luck to Mojang, but I’m holding out for Minecraft’s adventure mode and – if he ever gets the chance – Notch’s attempt to make a space trading / Elite-style game.

  14. Tokamak says:

    Paying for extra virtual card packs, you say? Look how well that worked for BattleForge!
    Oh wait.

    • Premium User Badge

      Arathain says:

      I think the key will be pricing. It all needs to be priced at impulse levels. If the game itself costs too much or comes with too few starter cards people will feel like they’re being had. The booster packs need to be cheap, because you’re not giving people real cards to collect. Sort of a an “ah go on then’ price, pitched not to induce too much guilt.

      Balance this with trying to make some actual profit and it’ll be fine.

      I’m inclined to say Battleforge didn’t really work out for several reasons, all of which Scrolls can avoid. Mixing the careful, considered, chin-scratching deck building with a fast, clicky RTS seemed incongruous and odd. The price was, I think, a little high.

    • Premium User Badge

      Okami says:

      As far as I know, Battleforge turned out to be a financial success for EA in the long run, especially after they went free to play. When it comes to “average amount of money spent by player on microtransactions” it’s actually one of the more succesfull free to play titles out there.

    • Dominic White says:

      Battleforge seems to be chugging along quite happily. Apparently it got a new expansion just last week. The perceptions of hardcore gamers very seldom match up to reality.

    • caesarbear says:

      Yet doesn’t it irk you guys that one of the most well endowed Indies is thinking about a game design where “money” and “repeat buy” is the fundamental core? The only reason for giving random draws upon purchase is to sucker players to gamble and buy more. Great card management games like Dominion or Race for the Galaxy don’t pressure fans into gambling away money in the hopes of catching a “rare” card, to say nothing of the bizarreness of digital cards being rare. There’s plenty of ways to add randomness to a game, why in the name of the Nether’s flaming region is Majong looking to maximize buying potential? Prove you can make a worthy card game first, rather than float on the fame of Minecraft to sell “collectable” ones and zeros.

    • Dominic White says:

      Doesn’t bother me one bit, because I semi-regularly play and enjoy two similar games already, and have (over the years) probably paid under £40 between the two. Now, if this new game is good, balanced and offers anywhere near the value for money, I’m in. We’ll just have to wait and see, though. Nothing is set in stone yet – for all we know, it could be a trainwreck filled with poor design decisions, bugs and bad balance.

      But as a concept, I have no problem with it whatsoever. PoxNora was by a small indie startup, until they got big enough for Sony to publish them.

    • Urthman says:

      Yet doesn’t it irk you guys that one of the most well endowed Indies is thinking about a game design where “money” and “repeat buy” is the fundamental core?

      Unless they’re straight-up lying, they’re using their cash to make the game that they’ve always wanted to play themselves. Which is exactly what an indie sitting on piles of cash should be doing.

      Sucks that it’s not a game that I personally have any interest in, but frankly I’d be disappointed if they came out with some lowest-common-denominator game that’s instantly appealing to everyone.

    • Hallgrim says:

      @caesarbear:
      Two things: A) How much money has Notch made from Minecraft so far? Is he really still an “indie dev”? And B) Since when are the terms “indie” and “money focused” contradictory? Since anything worth playing is worth buying to the majority of gamers out there, I don’t get why you can’t fight the man and make money at the same time.
      That said, collectible card games suck ass. The “living card games” by Fantasy Flight are all I can be bothered to play anymore. I have been selling old MTG cards this past year, and after getting 80 bucks a pop for ultra rare cards that are 14 years old, I’m happy to avoid games where having “the best” means forking out hundreds of dollars.

    • caesarbear says:

      I’d certainly consider them Indie as they aren’t answerable to any other entity and don’t fullfill obligations to other companies (ala Valve). And it’s not that I think they should continue to be poor and small, but why can’t the game be designed without the built-in gambling? It’s as if they decided to make a Facebook Poker game. Randomness and collection can be put into the game without the micro-transactions.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Arathain says:

    Hmm, this does sound a bit interesting. They’re spot on about computers being able to administrate more complexity, and I think this could make for a deep game, if they get it right. Not easy to do, but I’ll be paying attention to the attempt.

    Reminds me of the disappointment that was Baiten Kaitos on the Gamecube. The concept was combining a JRPG with a CCG, which I thought sounded brilliant. Lots of interesting buff cards and cards allowing you to mess with your foes, I imagined. Nope, most of the cards were attack, defense or heals. Really quite dull.

  16. realityflaw says:

    Yeah, just wanted to chime in with a +1 on the “not buying virtual card packs.”

    • Hallgrim says:

      I’m not opposed to buying mini-expansions… but only if I know exactly what I’m going to get before I buy them.

  17. Hybrid says:

    Sounds like a great idea and one that I would definitely play. It’d also be pretty awesome if we saw some of the stuff on the cards appear in Minecraft.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Bahumat says:

    I love Minecraft, but I would sooner french a leper than pay into a business model like that. Good god.

    Mojang, beware becoming the one-hit wonder. It’s not that your idea is terrible; it’s that it is niche, and that niche is going to be very, very small. As in, “disastrously unprofitably small”.

    • randomnine says:

      Work out their burn rate.
      With that 20 million euros in the bank and a team of 10, Mojang is funded for the next 30-40 years. They can afford to experiment.

    • Urthman says:

      Isn’t experimenting with a niche exactly what an indie sitting on piles of cash should be doing?

      Would you rather they used that cash to make a gritty realistic WW2 first-person-shooter? That wouldn’t be niche.

  19. vexis58 says:

    “Players will buy the game, and with that will come a randomized starter deck of scrolls.”

    Isn’t that like trying to get started in Magic the Gathering by buying a handful of booster packs? What happens if the randomized starting cards you get are completely useless, or simply don’t work well together? I learned back in college that collectible card games are a waste of my money, and I doubt I’d be paying for additional booster packs, so if the random deck I start out with when I buy the game isn’t any good, I basically just spent money on a game I’m not going to play.

    I have some vague interest in an online collectible card game (as long as there’s a way to get cards in-game), but I’m not a fan of complicated strategy games. I was still slightly interested (because it’s by Mojang) until they said that they would only make a single-player version IF the multiplayer version is successful. What? Okay, not even slightly interested now.

    • Premium User Badge

      ropable says:

      I suspect that the “randomised” deck wouldn’t be truly random in this case, to prevent a genuinely useless combination of cards. They’ll have an algorithm in place (x% resources, x% characters, x% rares, etc).

      Also maybe you’ll be able to tailor the deck a little, or otherwise add some preferences – stuff that you can’t do with physically packaged booster packs.

    • Tacroy says:

      Yeah – just because it’s randomized doesn’t mean it’s totally random. For instance, I could see a system where you pick out a couple of cards that look interesting (like, “choose one of wizard, warrior, paladin, thief”, “choose one of fireball, heal, entangle”), it gives you a few cards that synergize well with those choices and fills out the rest of your deck at random.

  20. Consumatopia says:

    I’m sure this new game will be awesome. Glad to see Notch and his team fulfilling their dreams. But I’m still a bit disappointed. Not disappointed in an angry way, not even in a sad way, more like I’m happy but not as happy as I was hoping I would be.

    Not that I expect Minecraft to be developed forever. Even if Mojang just fixed remaining bugs without adding any new features and finally released it, no one would have any legitimate reason to complain.

    But I can’t help but think that the design space that Minecraft inhabits–procedurally generated worlds fit for exploration, experimentation, creation, and competition–is one that holds incredible promise. I hope someday gamers will talk about minecraftlikes the way we talk about roguelikes. If Mojang is going to go off and do something else, which they certainly should if that’s where their creative drive pushes them, then I hope someone else takes up the torch where they left off.

    • DD says:

      I feel pretty much the same here. Happy that they are making what they want to make, but disappointed it isn’t something greater.

      Honestly I am not much into card games but it seems to me that this has been done many, many times before. Something like minecraft had not been done and I really see that as the future.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Perhaps, should Notch ever finish Minecraft, he’ll put that team on a similar project, given he’s got an entirely different team running Scrolls.

    • Urthman says:

      Notch claims he’s going to open-source Minecraft when he’s done working it.

    • Consumatopia says:

      He does? [checks Minecraft about page] Oh! He does! That’s awesome! “Once sales start dying and a minimum time has passed, I will release the game source code as some kind of open source. ” Quick, everyone stop buying it! :-P

  21. Davie says:

    .___.
    I am vaguely disappointed, if only because I expected something different and/or crazier from these guys.

  22. malkav11 says:

    I love CCGs as a concept, as a style of game, but there’s already a couple of major red flags of “do not want” here for me. One of them is buying randomized packs of cards. It’s not the “buying packs of cards” that’s an issue for me. I really feel like a computerized CCG doesn’t -need- to go with that model and it’d be a lot more Minecraft-ish if the new cards were just a steady trickle of free patched content, but it’s not a dealbreaker. It’s the “randomized” part. FUCK buying random anything, especially in a CCG. It’s a deliberate cash sink asshole move that makes it more about the “collectible” than the “card game”. Secondly, it seems pretty backwards to focus on the content that, by their own numbers, 70% of their customers prefer, only after the stuff that the 30% want. That is, there’s minimal chance of me ever playing multiplayer, especially competitive multiplayer, so there goes any interest at all until they introduce the singleplayer content. If ever.

    • d32 says:

      Sign me under this. Not interested in multiplayer, not interested in paying real money for virtual shit.
      I will happily pay 40€ once if the game is any good and off-line playable.

  23. megazver says:

    Oh hell no. What are you thinking, Notch?

  24. Kilrathi says:

    It would maybe do well as a physical CCG but digital? Whoa there. Fixed decks for the win. Buying boosters for a chance to get that one rare card won’t cut it on a video game. “Yeaaaassssss I got the gold caaaard after buying 20 boosters!! Nao imma put it in a card protecter to preserve it… *tries to scrape card from monitor* ffffffffffffuuuuuuu.”

  25. Dorako says:

    Well, I personally find this disappointing. I personally think that if I’m going to be reading a bunch of numbers and comparing them, I may as well do it on physical paper cards. And I really don’t see where the appeal of buying virtual cards is… ah well. I would also prefer if Minecraft had a bit more focus, but before you jump on me for entitlement and whatnot, I hold nothing against Notch for this, nor do I feel that I deserve something. I simply wish that either more focus would be put on the game I like, or on a game I feel I will like.

  26. zeekthegeek says:

    Not sure what to think. Mojang has the kind of money that they can afford to experiment with something like this. CCGs aren’t really my thing though. I would hope there’s a Creeper card though. And that it is hella overpowered and awesome.

    Jerry Holkins involved? inb4 Dickwolves

    • Bhazor says:

      Dickwolves… are the future!

      I actually think the dick wolves fallout might be one of the best things to happen to penny arcade, along with Child’s Play and PAX, in that theres been a real drop in shock humour and using scary words to get an easy joke in the past year or so. They just seem to be putting more structure into their writing rather than sticking a naughty word on the end.

      I still don’t think they’re that good a comic but still.

  27. geldonyetich says:

    So, Minecraft investment begets more Poxnora, hmm?

    Well, I’ll reserve judgment until I get to play the game. If they nail a really good implementation then I’ve no regrets.

  28. malkav11 says:

    1) There’s actually a lot of mechanics physical CCGs wouldn’t be able to implement easily or at all. For example, Legends of Norrath has cards that under certain specified circumstances “level up” into a completely different card with different stats and abilities. You could, I guess, sort of implement something like that physically, but it would be hellishly awkward. Or Star Chamber, which is both a CCG and a light turn-based space strategy game with planet control and certain basic types of construction possible without the use of cards. Again, you might conceivably be able to implement this in the real world, but it’d have definite limitations versus the virtual world. And of course. as the folks at Mojang note, there’s stuff that a computer can handle easily, but requires far too much bookkeeping, mental math, and time to manually implement in a physical game.

    2) I should note that despite the caveats above, this has the potential to interest me a lot more than the current directionless sandbox that is Minecraft. (Though I still hope that one will go somewhere that’s more game and less toy, at least in some mode or other.)

    • finbikkifin says:

      MtG had levellers a while back. They didn’t change that much, but they could get new abilities as well as stat boosts.

      Zendikar/Worldwake/Eldrazi was fun. Levellers! Traps! Cthulhu!

  29. Jason Lutes says:

    The online CCG seems like a pretty saturated gamespace. There are tons of free ones out there already, and It’s hard to imagine how they will really distinguish themselves from the likes of Pox Nora, although a really solid, engaging single player mode might do the trick. No way am I even dipping my toe in that kind of money pit, though.

  30. bill says:

    Seems like a niche game, where there are already many similar games. That said, it’s of course all in the implementation.

    I’m sure it’ll be great, but i can’t see myself trying it. I haven’t even tried the CCGs where the initial starting pack is free. I was vaguely hoping that they’d do something more innovative.

    Fingers crossed it’s super addictive and innovative.

  31. Minim says:

    There’s another game out right now that I tried last year which is vaguely similar to this as well. Poxnora is an online CCG game where you collect monsters, equipment, spells (bought in packs, and furthermore it’s divided up by factions so you can’t use just any random cards you get). It’s played like a turn-based RTS though on a grid board you move around, though there aren’t terrain types or anything, I think it boiled down to just being barriers to block ground units. It was kind of interesting as I like strategy games and the idea of building a personalized army is enticing, but it became clear pretty quick that to be competitive you had to drop some major coin and time into it, as your monster cards also leveled up with use and you really wanted them buffed up which could take a long while.

    • Dominic White says:

      There are terrain types in Poxnora – a lot of them. Hell, there’s a ton of spells dedicated to changing terrain type in order to give your units more of an advantage.

      It recently got a lot cheaper, too – you earn Gold through regular play, which you can use to buy (older) card-sets and quick-levelling tokens at a respectable rate.

  32. pupsikaso says:

    Wait, how many of you went to Mojang anyway? Cause there’s another guy at indiegames.com claiming that he also went to Mojang and has the exclusive reveal of Scrolls =/

  33. pkt-zer0 says:

    Ugh. Really not fond of the CCG pricing model.

  34. Yosharian says:

    Not really too excited about this.

    Btw it’s ‘affect’ not ‘effect’.

    • mondomau says:

      Thank you. That wad really bugging me but I didn’t want to be too much of a pedant…

  35. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    I enjoyed the story, but I’ve got no interest in the game. I can see the potential market which probably won’t be huge but even a subset of the WotC audience can make money.

  36. apa says:

    Well, at least they are not doing Minecraft 2.

  37. Bassism says:

    I have to say this sounds very, very cool. I’ve been a M:TG player for nearly as long as I’ve been a PC gamer, and, not having too many other friends into CCGs or enough to play with those who are, I’ve long wanted a great digital implementation. (None of the others I’ve tried have grabbed me, but I think if anybody can do it, Mojang can. The cards already look awesome).
    My only sticking point is the fact that they’re looking at a cost for the game, plus the cost of booster packs. My friends and I don’t keep up with what’s going on in the M:TG world, since it’s too expensive. We just buy huge boxes of cards from ebay that are no longer legal in tournament play. CCGs are the original form of the DLC/F2P/etc business model, and it’s not one I like terribly, although the sheer variety and constant stream of new content is one of the things that keeps the game exciting for me.
    I expect that they’ve already put a lot of thought into pricing, and it’s not likely to be as bad as we all assume when we hear CCG. Personally, if you let me buy cards for 10 for a dollar, I’d be happy. Or, give me a free card every week I play, and charge slightly more to buy them. Or, maybe a subscription model that includes x cards per month, and let’s me keep if I stop paying the sub. Whatever they do, I hope they look at digital opportunities to revamp the pricing model as well the core game.
    But yeah. I can only think this is going to be incredibly cool. All CCG games I’ve tried on PC have failed in either not having enough content, or being too expensive. Scrolls has the potential to succeed on both those counts, and bring some interesting twists to the table with the board.

  38. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    You should’ve told us you were coming to Stockholm in advance John, I would’ve bought you a beer or two.

  39. terry says:

    Weird, but I guess it makes sense for a second game, and it’s consistent with Mojang’s approach – a niche title that doesn’t have to succeed (at least initially) because of the low cost to entry, a community that acts as an incubator, constant development, lots of room for expansion etc. I must admit my interest in CCGs is almost nil but if they can manage to churn out the TF2 of CCGs it might be worth a look.

  40. Cronstintein says:

    I like the genre, I thought Culdcept Saga was pretty fun, but paying for booster packs is SUCH a money hole. So I will steer well clear of this unless some other way of generating cards is developed. And even then, it creates a huge imbalance between the people who want to blow $100 buying tons of cards, and those who don’t.

    I think Spectromancer came up with a really excellent way to get around this (no $ after initial purchase). And I’ve definitely had my $15′s worth out of that game.

    From a business perspective what he’s doing makes sense as selling virtual cards is basically a printing press for money. But it’s somewhat disappointing and I won’t be taking part.

    • JFS says:

      That’s the problem. Although it says this won’t be a game where you can “buy victory”, you will most surely be able to do so by just blasting tons of money into it and then copy winning strategies from the forum boards. I don’t know if this is too well thought-out, seems they spent some years coming up with it, but I’m still very interested in the actual details and how they plan to avoid the many pitfalls that come with CCGs, especially virtual CCGs. For example, will they “rotate out” older cards as MtG does, in order to avoid all kinds of cheese going on? Will they nerf cards that have already been released, like they do in StarCraft II (no cards, of course)? Is that even legal? And what about the backlash of “I spent two weeks and all my pocket money for this summer on getting Gulbrath the Leet Mage and now you TONE HIM DOWN!”? I’m not too optimistic about that. Although these guys have shown they know how to brew a revolution.

  41. starclaws says:

    Oh joy another card game with purchasable DLC cards… I can already say I won’t be buying this. I’d sooner overlook my hatred of pay2play MMOs and start up playing them again than play this shit.

  42. Tei says:

    I think the card games genre is underserved, and have the potential to become as popular as torret defense games once a dev figure out how to addapt it to computers.
    A attribute of this type of games is that can be fun to play even as a prototype.

    Something I hate is fremiun games, I hope are not planning that. Mostly because turn card games in pay to win games.

  43. thebigJ_A says:

    I can’t help but be disappointed (but perhaps that’s inevitable after something like MC).

    They go from this totally unique entity, unlike anything else out there, to a card game. A collectible card game. I couldn’t be less interested in things like Magic: the Gathering. And adding a board is their big twist.

    I hope it’s successful for them, but unless it somehow revolutionizes collecting cards in such a way that it isn’t utterly boring to me, I won’t be playing.

  44. Premium User Badge

    Mo says:

    I read “CCG” and knew everyone would get mad.

    Honestly, I’m not into CCGs myself, but I think Scrolls sounds really interesting! It’s /very/ PC game … a slow paced, deep strategy game. I reckon we’ll see a fair bit of creative strategies and emergent mechanics emerge out of this game.

    I bet if they made no mention of “CCG” everyone would be all over this. Everyone is worried about getting nickeled and dimed, but I don’t think it’ll pan out. The game will be around $15, and I suspect new packs will be (at most) a couple of dollars. Compared to $60 retail games, that’s not much.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      The problem is not the price, it’s the collectible/random part that makes CCGs inherently objectionable.

      I’d be fairly excited about this if it worked like Fantasy Flight’s “living” card games, where you buy a core set and expansions for fixed prices. None of this randomized “booster pack” nonsense. If they were charging €20 for the game, plus €10 for semi-annual expansions, they’d still make a boatload of money, and everyone would be on even footing.

      As it is, you can’t escape the fact that people who pay more will have more cards and therefore more strategic options. It’s a really sleazy system – there’s *no reason* to do this other than to extract more money from people who are willing to pay, and give them an advantage because they’ve paid more.

  45. fung0 says:

    Of the 1,000,000 fans who were happy to pay for a totally unique open-world, 3D, first-person, creative, sandbox game, just how many do you think will care about a me-too, blandly cartoony, competitive, complex, pay-as-you-go card game? I’ll give you a hint: you won’t need all your fingers to count ‘em.

    Nice going, Mojang. You had my attention, now you’ve totally lost it. While you guys are proceeding on the starry-eyed belief that it’s even easier to win the lottery a second time, I’ll be checking to see if maybe EA or Valve has something interesting for me to buy.

  46. Longrat says:

    Hahahaha really, they want us to buy the game and buy additional card packs?
    Go to hell notch, you greedy son of a whore.

    • Dominic White says:

      PC gamers: Bad, or The Worst? You decide.

    • Longrat says:

      Let’s put it this way, Dominic, I have 0 tolerance for companies that try to take my hard earned money without actually earning it. I bought minecraft and it’s still buggy and incomplete as hell, but I’m not worried because it’s a beta. Now, they’re talking about a new game with mechanics that were designed day one to take away my money. I love Card Games and I’m a big fan of Magic the Gathering, but I’m not going to pay for a game as well as the cards for it, there’s a limit to how money I’m going to spend on virtual commodities.
      Get off your high horse, for god’s sake, and show a little bit of consumer dignity. Stop calling other people self entitled for not wanting to throw away their money at the whims of some obviously greedy developers!

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      >I have 0 tolerance for companies that try to take my hard earned money without actually earning it.

      What, are they holding a gun to your head? They don’t try to take your money any more than anyone else selling anything. Just don’t buy it if you don’t like it.

      If you already are a Magic:TG fan, I think it’s rich that you demand people “stand up for consumer dignity”. Why is it so terrible for them to do digitally what you already eagerly consume in paper form?

      >Stop calling other people self entitled

      Where did Dominic say that?

      >obviously greedy developers!

      We all want to earn money, there is nothing wrong with that. Unlike some others, they aren’t hurting anyone.

    • Longrat says:

      I think you misunderstood me, I don’t actually buy the cards, I like the concept. I do think that they shouldn’t cost as much as they do, same for Game’s Workshops miniatures. From a consumer’s point of view, they are a dreadful waste of money, which is why I don’t get them.

      I got the feeling he was saying that PC gamers are terrible because of my comments, which is why I was assuming he’s taking the predictable road of calling gamers self entitled and asking for more stuff for less money than other forms of media.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’m saying PC gamers are the worst because they can launch straight from adoration to ‘Go to hell, you greedy son of a whore.’ in half a second. From niceness to aggressive dickishness so hard and fast that it gives me whiplash.

    • Longrat says:

      What you’re seeing is the end result of an increasingly agitated me, at the lack of updates to minecraft, while the modders are doing AMAZING things. Notch showed his laziness very early on, with very little beefy content updates for a game that relies extensively on content updates. Go to hell you greedy son of a whore isn’t an instant switch from love to hatred, it’s the result of a loss of respect I had for a developer who I originally saw as a visionary.

      EDIT: On the contrary, valve, who’ve earned my respect and wallet, don’t make me quite so mad when they introduce microtransactions, or rather, don’t warrant my instant hatred, because they’ve consistently shown that they have the benefit of gamers in their minds, as well as their wallets.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mo says:

      Surely if he was “in it for the money”, he’d have taken his tidy profits and lived off it? Instead of making a significant investment into starting a company, hiring staff, and building two games concurrently.

    • Urael says:

      I’ve said time and again, Longrat, that the people who put developers on pedestals are only fooling themselves, and are usually the ones who flip out in spectacular nerd rages when their unrealistic expectations are inevitably shattered. I’ve seen it with Valve, with GoG, with CD Projekt, with a hundred other developers out there and it’s getting a bit much.

      It’s not fair to beat up Notch for failing to match the output of the community, or for not meeting your expectations for what he should be putting into the game – it’s HIS game, and he’ll damned well do with it what he wants. Honestly, I get a little tired of people who think that their time and loyalty entitles them to royal treatment. Did you catch that quip about “Get back to work, you lazy Europeans!” That’s fucking awful right there. So much for the ‘support’ of the community. If that had been said to me I’d have stuck the middle finger right back at you, stopped development of the game and left you spoiled cry-babies to it.

      So he’s making a CCG – Notch has said many times that his other game would be “NOTHING LIKE MINECRAFT”. It’s a game he personally enjoys – he wants to make a digital version of it – I say bloody good on you, sir. You make what YOU want; which is exactly what I’d be doing in his shoes (I’d make that Elite for the 21st century game I’ve been dreaming about…) I won’t be playing it but I don’t have to. That choice is mine to make. Put that lip away and grow up a bit, son.

    • Dozer says:

      Didn’t people say the same sorts of thing about Linus Torvalds when they realised that he didn’t make Linux open-source because he has an idealogical attachment to open-source or free software, but because it was the best way to get Linux to a lot of people and a lot of platforms and to get the support of other programmers to fix the bugs and add features?

    • Longrat says:

      @Urael
      I guess it’s too much to ask for a developer to treat its costumers with the respect they’d get when it comes to other products, then? I loved stardock for their idea to create a gamer’s bill of rights. It showed initiative, if only because gamers are a population that spend more on their media than any other form of media consumers (TV, Movies and music, mostly). A gamer spends more money on a product, expecting more in return. Gamers and developers inherently have more intimate relationships with one another, because developers can decide precisely what to charge a gamer for, if anything. They can also have a direct influence on their product, even after release.

      Sure, notch can make any game he wants, I know I’m not gonna stop him.

      It’s not about growing up, it’s about coming to expect certain standards from games. This standard was upheld up till the mid 2000′s, when microsoft decided to change the game from pleasing costumers to making money. I might be nostalgic, but I remember a time when companies worked HARD to accustom themselves to their clientele. Today it seems like it’s the other way around. I guess I’m a bit archaic, and I should expect nothing more than hatred and spite from the people I pay money. God knows that I get that treatment from every other place I spend my money at.

      PS: Here’s an easy, user friendly way, of pleasing customers as well as completing the whole vision of making a CCG: Earn in game money through playing matches, inviting other players, sharing on facebook, and spend that money on getting new decks. You still get that cool feeling of “randomization”, without actually having to swallow the bitter pill that is paying with your actual money.

    • Dominic White says:

      “I guess it’s too much to ask for a developer to treat its costumers with the respect they’d get when it comes to other products, then?”

      People paid half-price for Minecraft, with the promise of all future updates and expansions for FREE. It looks like there’s a long list of stuff to come yet, too, with no end in sight. How is that *not* treating customers with respect? I didn’t before, but I’ll say it now: You’ve got an entitlement complex. A bad one.

      http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html

      Read. Chew. Digest. Quiet down.

    • Longrat says:

      @Dominic
      Was I talking about minecraft? If you read one of my previous posts, I said I hold nothing at all against minecraft, despite being incomplete and buggy.
      Hell, did my post say anything about scrolls for that matter?
      No, it didn’t. it’s a disgruntlement about the gaming industry as a whole.

      I love how every gaming community has its own little mental illnesses, RPS feels like the entire community is full of “matured folks” who instantly shoot down anyone who complains about this or that, dismissing it as childish or whatever without even attempting to look at the issue being discussed. I don’t know which is worse, this or trolls. At least with trolls I know they’re joking.

      And also, bear this in mind: If people felt a bit more entitled, DLC might never have been thought out. Companies would’ve stuck to the old formula of making expansion packs that actually were expansions, and not just chunks of the game that were surgically removed to be sold later. Entitlement is good because it keeps the developers in check, stops them from taking advantage of their costumers.

    • Dominic White says:

      I immediately assumed Minecraft, because it’s the only thing that Mojang have released and taken money for. They’ve been exceptionally kind to their customers so far. Scrolls isn’t out for quite some time, and they haven’t taken a penny from anyone, so how are they doing wrong by anyone yet?

      You’re getting rather paranoid now. You should probably stop.

      Also… “Entitlement is good because it keeps the developers in check, stops them from taking advantage of their costumers.”

      Yeah. If you don’t want people to accuse you of having an entitlement complex, you probably shouldn’t admit to having one and being proud of it. It makes you sound like a jerk.

      Markus Persson is not your bitch. He made a game. People bought it. People liked it, and he’s continuing to update it. That’s honest, that’s fair, that’s reasonable. To demand anything beyond Minecraft is to fail to understand the difference between a customer and a shareholder. You are not a shareholder.

    • Longrat says:

      @Dominic
      By the words of someone I don’t know: Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get me.

      Just look at how people post in this community, watch it for a bit, and tell me I’m wrong. I’m not being paranoid, so much as speaking from various points where I’ve seen people gang up on someone for saying something like “Bioware shouldn’t charge 60$ for dragon age 2″ or “Why did valve release l4d2 before episode 3″ or whatever.

      I guess at this point you’re too closed off to actually maintain a proper conversation, so just consider the following:

      The foundations of a healthy capitalist system is that people earn money based on how much they deserve. The gaming industry is a ferociously (and somewhat broken) capitalistic system, where developers usually earn money based on the quality of their product, but equally based on luck, past achievements and publicity. When people such as myself complain about developers not treating them right, it boils down to the developers not getting our money.

      Developers don’t have the privilege of making a product they want to make with complete disregard for their audience. Just like a great movie director wouldn’t go and make a movie that he knows the audience will hate, without coming to expect the result. The misconception in your article is that developers don’t work for their costumers. This, while not being entirely incorrect, in that they don’t take commissions from costumers, work their asses off for them expecting nothing in return, or just flat out change games completely because some forum thought it’s not great, is wrong, because if they DIDN’T work for us at all, they wouldn’t be taking our money.

      Or maybe I’m the childish, self absorbed, and paranoid. Who’s to tell, really?

      Maybe entitlement is the wrong word for what I meant, english isn’t my mother tongue, and that was the best thing that I could think of. A better term would probably be consumer dignity. What I mean is: Expecting only the absolute best, and settling for what you can get.

    • Urthman says:

      Developers don’t have the privilege of making a product they want to make with complete disregard for their audience.

      Usually they don’t, but we’d get lots of great games if they did have that freedom. Also lots of games that aren’t great and also lots of games that most people hate but a few people absolutely love.

      Mojang has that freedom. I’m glad they’re using it. Valve and Blizzard sort of have that freedom. I wish more developers had that freedom.

    • Veeskers says:

      (edit): oops, nevermind

    • JFS says:

      PC game developers: Misunderstood, or Even Worse? You decide, again! :)

    • Urael says:

      See, Longrat, you’re still moaning, you’re giving out lectures on Capitalism (which you’ve gotten wrong, by the way – capitalism is purely about selling something for money, without any silly add-ons about value or effort. To pretend there’s some in-built ethical component is to miss the point of it completely) but you’ve failed to address the main point which is: what exactly has Notch done to provoke your ire in such a fashion? By settling on a business model for his next game that asks for more payment up front? How has this personally wronged you? You have the choice not to give him any money so how does this affect you in any way shape or form? Who appointed you the guardian of his business ethics?

      You have no beef with the way he’s run Minecraft so far but this one decision of his – which doesn’t affect you – has you calling him a greedy whore? Disagree with it, sure – I have. But getting personal is completely uncalled for.

      For all your talk of standards and gamer expectation – we pay more so we demand more – you sound more and more like you’ve got entitlement issues. When you paid for Minecraft that wasn’t the start of a solemn, binding relationship between you and the game company. They don’t owe you anything beyond giving you what you paid for – the game. THAT is capitalism. It’s you who have applied ideological weight to this, not them. And yes, this IS a matter of growing up. By all means, respect the development teams and publishers that show you some loyalty, treat you with respect in return, but at the end of the day Gaming is an INDUSTRY, a BUSINESS, and getting all worked up because your heroes have toppled from the pedestals you put them on is just nonsensical.

    • Longrat says:

      Yes, my profanity glands usually react before my logic glands, resulting in mindless profanities. Agreed.

      And about the rest of it, a healthy capitalist society NEEDS values in order to work properly. Once you ditch the values, it eventually becomes unbalanced, and gets blown up.

      At any rate, I’m done with this discussion for today. I may have been wrong when it came to extending my supreme hatred for all things DLC to Mojang this early into the development cycle, but I stand by my statements.

  47. Dinger says:

    It’s their dime. Thumbs up to them for picking a project that won’t take all their resources (which, by the way, are something like 700k*10€ and 700k*15€ – PayPal’s overhead, rent, server costs, and Swedish taxes. I’d say they’ve got about 7-8 million in the bank, probably less with the first-class airfare, suites and parties in Vegas), and that won’t need to sell 1 million copies to break even. The genre may be “overserved” but it is ideal for a team like Mojang, whose strong suits are imagination and community participation. I should explain that last part: those guys are really good at building and maintaining a rabid fan base, which in turn, propels itself. A CCG needs something like that to work.

  48. Kid_A says:

    Random starter deck?
    Random, paid boosters?
    Online, initially multiplayer only CCG?
    Colour me highly skeptical.

  49. Dominic White says:

    Some of the kneejerk reactions to this announcement are very depressing. Completely unsurprising (somehow, Minecraft has fostered a community worse than Counter-Strike and every F2P Korean MMO ever), but depressing. From adoration to immediate rage for some folks.

    Talk about jumping the gun. I mean, whatever happened to waiting until you had something approaching real gameplay footage (let alone a playable build) before passing judgement?

    • Longrat says:

      From past experience, I’ve seldom heard of a game that adopts microtransactions that doesn’t result in a bad system built solely for the developers to get more dosh. Even high overlords valve jumped the shark and showed uncharacteristic greed with the mannconomy update (EDIT: Resulting in, for me, the death of TF2)

    • Dominic White says:

      Reports of the death of TF2 are, as they say, highly exaggerated. While I am mildly irked by the set-bonus stuff, it’s usually a tiny tweak to stats and nothing that a carefully placed pipebomb can’t splatter all over the walls. You’re really pulling some crazy mental acrobatics here in order to justify being outraged and kneejerky. Perhaps you’re just bored and looking for something to be outraged at? I dunno, but you do seem rather disproportionately upset here.

    • Longrat says:

      I didn’t say TF2 is dead, I’m saying mannconomy ruined it for me.
      The filtered out version of what I’m saying is this:
      I don’t want to pay for microtransactions, they are bad, and spending money on digital cards is stretching my comfort zone.
      This is why I will not play this game.
      It’s not so much of an outrage, as it is a general disappointment and frustration. Then again, I recall that all beta purchasers of Minecraft will have to pay for additional content too (probably), and now I’m just sad.

    • Negativeland says:

      For many people, there was no adoration. Minecraft is just a game. A good and addictive one, but still just a game. This new project on the other hand looks like a cynical money-grab. Just like the MTG card game is/was.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mo says:

      @negativeland
      From the article:

      That’s the foundation of an idea that Jacob and Markus have been talking about making for almost five years. Both big fans of collectable card games (CCGs), they frequently played each other, but they always wanted to tweak the games.

      Exactly what part of that screams “cynical money-grab” to you exactly?

    • Consumatopia says:

      You say you find the comments depressing. But honestly, I think this thread is way more reasonable than I would ever have expected an RPS comment thread response to the news that the makers of Minecraft will next focus on making a CCG in which players purchase not only the game itself (in beta, even) but randomized cards in the game as well. Anti-troll zealots such as yourself zeroed in on Longrat’s obnoxious posts, but those posts seem to be outliers.

      In fact, are there ANY posts in this thread in which people claim that they’re entitled to another Minecraft-like game because they bought Minecraft? You keep using this word “entitlement”, but I don’t think you know what it means.

    • Longrat says:

      @Consumatopia
      I’m not a troll, I’m not an entitlement kid, I’m just stating a different point view than that you’d normally hear. Are my posts THAT bad? (Aside from the first profane one)
      Honestly, what is it about my opinions that upsets you so much?

    • Consumatopia says:

      Longrat, let me put it this way, there are many comments in this thread by people who have legitimate reservations about this game’s proposed business model. Most of them managed to stay moderately calm and explained their objections coherently. Your posts, on the other hand, contained generated a lot of heat but very little light. See all those people who replied to you? They didn’t reply to the more reasoned posts. Because your behaviour made things easy for them.

      It’s not your opinions that upset me at all. I’m rather skeptical of Scrolls myself. But you expressed your opinion so poorly that it makes it easy for your interlocutors to dismiss all Scrolls skepticism–or even all PC gamers.

    • Longrat says:

      @Consumatopia
      If there’s one place in the internet where I’d have thought you could have a reasonable conversation, without the battlefield that is mudslinging debate, it’s this.

      If people read anything of my posts beyond the first one, they would have responded totally different, like you said. Regrettably, the first post was bad, but now you go and label me obnoxious, just like people brand me as childish, entitled, jerk, paranoid and so on.

      Again, of all the places, I’d have hoped that RPS was the one place where you could have a legitimate discussion, despite not sharing the same views on subjects, or presenting them poorly. I was proven wrong, sadly.

    • Consumatopia says:

      If people read anything of my posts beyond the first one, they would have responded totally different, like you said.

      That’s not what I said. I said other people did a reasonable job expressing reservations with Scrolls. Your first post was your most obnoxious, but all of them had so much self-righteous posturing that I couldn’t figure what coherent argument you had, if any.

      I want to be clear about this. We are both Scrolls-skeptics. But the way you wrote your post not only invited “mudslinging”, as you lament, it obscured your meaning, even to someone somewhat sympathetic to your viewpoint. That is bad.

      Further, “only my first post was obnoxious” is a terrible way to defend yourself. You’ve admitted that you did something wrong, but you’re mad because everyone isn’t forgiving you fast enough. That is ridiculous.

      EDIT: you say “I’d have hoped that RPS was the one place where you could have a legitimate discussion, despite not sharing the same views on subjects, or presenting them poorly. ”

      If you’re expressing your ideas poorly, you can’t blame other people for discussing them badly. Why should people be gracious towards your poorly expressed ideas when you’re certainly very quick to impugn other people’s character?

    • Wilson says:

      @Longrat – I agree with Consumatopia that your initial comment has the kind of tone that people react badly to. The thing is, that on the internet you obviously get a lot of trolls, so people aren’t usually going to make much effort to find out if you actually are a troll, or if you’ve only taken your opinions and ‘presented them poorly’ as you put it. They’ll just assume you are a troll. If you want to have a reasonable debate about something, you absolutely have to avoid sounding even a bit like a troll, or someone will jump on you (or other, actual trolls will turn up) and the whole thing gets derailed.

    • Longrat says:

      @Consumatopia
      If there’s one thing I don’t do, it’s attack people head on for their opinions.
      I’m not mad, I’m just stating the fact- aw fuck it, I can’t be bothered.

    • Consumatopia says:

      @Longrat, I think we’re misunderstanding each other. Disregard everything I said. Read what Wilson said. He put it a lot better.

  50. Premium User Badge

    danoot says:

    I hate CCGs. Hate them. I will do my best to sign up to the alpha on that justification, because if I like it and think it is good, my terrible CCG-playing friends will have a new form of invincible crack. Seems reasonable to me.

    • zimbabwe says:

      I… what?

    • Negativeland says:

      @zimbabwe:

      Many of us lost our Pen&Paper RPG buddies to Magic: The Gathering. The wounds are over 15 years old, but still linger…

    • Premium User Badge

      danoot says:

      Yeah, basically. Also, I’m not opposed to them in theory, but I’m shithouse at counting off tokens and general housekeeping. A deeper strategy game with similar mechanics + spatial things (where I am excellent and my CCG friends often kind of space out… shit, awful unintended pun, let’s call attention to it instead of deleting! good show!) would be pretty interesting to me. Also it’s hard to get into a CCG which has 10 years of mythology associated with it, which doesn’t help.