Roll Up: Scrolls Public Beta On Sale Next Month

By Alec Meer on March 26th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

I can't see even one scroll there. I'm going to sue.

Mojang’s collectible digital card / turn-based strategy game Scrolls has been fairly quiet, publicly at least, since sort of winning, sort of losing their battle with Bethesda over the right to use a common English word. No longer, though – after an extended private alpha period, they’re going to put the beta on sale late next month. As with Minecraft, it’s a chance to pay less but receive an unfinished game – though it will of course receive all the updates right up to (and presumably beyond) full release.

Mojang’s Jakob Porser told Polygon it’s likely to carry a similar price to Minecraft in its early days, so expect something around the $10 mark, I suppose. Again, projected release date is around the end of April.

There will be a singleplayer morser in the game, with Porser claiming the AI is currently being agreeably tricksy. As for Difficult Second Album Syndrome, “I have no expectation that Scrolls is going to sell way beyond Minecraft, absolutely not. What I would like is for the game to find a core, a bunch of players that actively love the game.” They also aim to stick to a one-off price as much as possible, rather than do the whole microtransaction thing.

Much more over in Polygon’s interview with Porser. I’m really looking forward to playing Scrolls, I must say.

Now, I know there are some people here who’ll take any opportunity to say rude things about Notch, but do remember that today is International Stop Hating Things Day. You’ll be breaking the law if you can’t keep that poison tongue in check, y’hear?

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48 Comments »

  1. MuscleHorse says:

    Whatever happened to that strange looking programming-in-space project thing that Notch was working on? I’m afraid card type games don’t really interest me but zipping about in space does.

    • captainparty says:

      Notch is working on it.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      He decided to be a little quiet about development because people would go mental whenever he said anything about it ever.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        Also personal issues happened that delayed development. I think he’s back on it now, but we’re still a long way from any kind of public release.

        Thanks to some contest/puzzle thingy, I have a 0x10c license sitting in my Mojang account, taunting me with its lack of download button.

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        darkChozo says:

        It was a little sad seeing the comments every time he’d put up a gameplay video about it. Who would’ve guessed that a game that was barely in the prototype stages would look ugly and not terribly fun?

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      I think you must mean Skyrim.

  2. Quatlo says:

    I dont know… I think I’ve liked the Etherlords better.

    • Serpok says:

      Does anyone still play Etherlords 1 or 2 multiplayer anymore?

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        strangeloup says:

        It’s possible; they were fairly recently re-released on GOG, and seemed to be well received. Rather odd games but I liked ‘em.

    • elwood_p says:

      Loved Etherlords 2 – was the first ccg type game I played.
      Although I’ve tried a few others – Magic The Gathering, Shadow Era, etc – I’ve never found them quite as enjoyable.

      Think it was the mix of single-player, story driven campaign with a kind of streamlined MtG deck building that really appealed.

      Hoping this might push some of the same buttons.

      Either that or Nival kickstart Etherlords 3 – and I can happily throw lots of money at them. :)

      • Gothnak says:

        And there you have it, the first kickstarter project i would back!

  3. Phendron says:

    Wasn’t bald man from PA in on this thing too?

  4. TillEulenspiegel says:

    I find myself very interested in an online CCG with no (required) microtransactions. The Polygon article is very light on details, but the official site has some:

    New scrolls will be earned by exploring the world and defeating opponents.

    It will also be possible to spend in-game gold to boost your collection, but we’ll never restrict scrolls to certain players. You can also trade your collection with other players.

    Seems promising. I wonder if you’ll keep the cards/scrolls earned in beta through to the final release.

    • Smarag says:

      This sounds like typical “We are totally not pay to win you can unlock everything ingame!!11! Fosure!” which turns out to be “Haha suck it we made the alternative way of getting these cards so grindy that there is no way you will ever get them in any reasonable amount of time.” a la Tribes / Planetside.

      • malkav11 says:

        Those games aren’t asking for money up front, though. If you get a game for free, it’s reasonable to expect that they will be encouraging money spent through other channels. Conversely, if you pay for the game in the first place, it’s reasonable to expect that that will be the primary funding mechanism. (An expectation which isn’t necessarily going to hold true, but it’s not an unreasonable one to have.)

  5. Blackseraph says:

    You forgot alt text on your Wildstar piece Alec!?!

    This does seem interesting, then again I like card games like urban rivals and such. I just might try this.

  6. Brun says:

    Wait, is this the new Elder Scrolls game?

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      LTK says:

      Congratulations. You have managed to make a joke that is more tired and worn out than ‘arrow in the knee’ references and things involving ‘-FACE’ combined. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

      • Brun says:

        You really think it’s more worn out than “-FACE”?

        • JFS says:

          ARROW-to-the-KNEEFACE. Yeah, take that.

          • Bhazor says:

            Fun fact

            Genghis Khan is believed to have died from an infection following an arrow in the knee.

            Or from having sex with a poisoned vagina.

          • caddyB says:

            Well he did have sex a lot of the time, so I guess statistically speaking some of those would be with poisonous vaginas.

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      DeVadder says:

      I am not getting tired to point out that, despite how Notch worded it and all media outlets copy-pasted it, the lawsuit was never about Mojang beeing forbidden to use the word scrolls. Bethesda did not contesd that.
      In fact it was much more the other way round. Mojang tried to secure the name ‘Scrolls’ for them. If succesfull, they would have had all rights of use of the name ‘Scrolls’ not only in videogames but in all possible media. Including film and books. That overly eager claim may have been due to the use of a standard form, but it was Mojang who tried to reserve the word ‘scrolls’ for themselfes.
      Bethesda could not let that pass, because if they did, Mojang could have forced them to drop the scrolls from ‘Elder Scrolls’. Wether or not they would have done that (and i think we all agree they probably would not) there is no way that a company like Bethesda could take such a risk with a trademark that valuable.
      Afterall, Mojang could close down at some point and someone could just buy their rights and then basically blackmail Bethesda.

      edit: A good write-up and excerpts from Mojangs attempted trademark claims can be found at:
      http://kotaku.com/5846111/mojang-v-bethesda-or-i-hate-it-when-mommy-and-daddy-fight

  7. tormos says:

    could somebody give me a brief explanation of why people (maybe even they) have a problem with Notch? This may come from a place of genuine, bewildering ignorance, but he seems like he made a good thing and is a genuinely nice guy. Plus he challenged Bethesda to settle a legal dispute with a game of Unreal Tournament. That has to give a man some indie cred, right?

    • Brun says:

      He sort of popularized the alphafunding thing with Minecraft and like most staples of modern gaming (Steam) it was highly controversial when it first happened. Now it’s pretty common but like Steam a few of the hardliners could never get over this ghastly idea of charging for a game before it’s finished (in return for early access). Also some people think he didn’t really deliver on all his promises for Minecraft, which compounded the above issue.

      At least that’s how I understand it. I could be wrong though.

      • tormos says:

        If this is true then said haters baffle me just as much as the hardcore steam haters do.

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          darkChozo says:

          I think there may also be some aspects of popularity backlash, largely from the group that sees Minecraft as a casual or non-game. The fact that Minecraft is very nontraditional as a game (ie. it’s very sandbox-y, doesn’t have much direction, doesn’t have much in the way of complex mechanics) turns off a lot of people, and I think that some of that dislike gets reflected on Notch.

          I’ve also seen some accusations of his being stuck up, or something to that effect, but I personally haven’t seen much of that, and that seems to be a common accusation on the Internet to throw at people you don’t like. Grain of salt and all that.

          • tormos says:

            I think my hesitance to assume they’re all talking rot is a result of recently discovering that Orson Scott Card (who was my favorite author for most of my early teens) is such a terrible person IRL that I can’t in good faith give him money anymore

          • TillEulenspiegel says:

            Card has been a very public bigot for a long time. Notch seems like…well, a pretty normal, decent guy.

            People whined about how he handled the Bethesda thing, but meh. I don’t believe he’s done anything in particular to deserve hate. And he’s definitely not OSC.

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      DeVadder says:

      I for once really dislike him for the reasons i stated in the post above you.
      The tl:dr beeing that Bethesda did not try to forbid the name ‘Scrolls’ but that Mojang tried to trademark ‘scrolls’ for all media and Bethesda just contested that to secure their own trademark. If they had let it pass, Mojang could have contested Bethesda use of Scrolls and obviously they could not take such a risk.
      What bothers me is, how he allways forgot to mention that part of the dispute on his blog, making it look like he was the innocent victim, when in fact Mojang was the party trying to secure the rights of a common english word for themselfes, not Bethesda.

      And of course how basically all media followed that heartwarming tale of the small indie dev beeing attacked by the big bad company.

      edit: A good summary of why i am upset with Notch:
      http://kotaku.com/5846111/mojang-v-bethesda-or-i-hate-it-when-mommy-and-daddy-fight

      • tormos says:

        source? Not to sound dismissive but burden of proof is on you here.
        EDIT:
        Having read that article, what seems most likely to me is the following series of events.
        Notch is fairly inexperienced business-wise. He has heard industry legends of devs getting screwed out of money due to not reserving rights correctly. As a result he attempts to make the broadest possible application, thereby accidentally setting himself up to screw Zeni. When he starts getting crap from them, he still does not understand the implications of what he did and how it could screw them, so fairly reasonably (from his understanding of the situation) gets upset. Much shit-talk is had, and the lawyers get involved.
        The reason I think this is logical is because Notch frankly doesn’t need to try to patent troll, the dude is already a multi-zillionaire

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          DeVadder says:

          Yes, and i agree that they probably never intended to use the trademark to fuck over Bethesda. But they could have. And such Bethesda had to get involved. But then Notch talked trash (dragging some Bethesda official through the dirt on his twitter for example) and nourished the tale of Mojang beeing innocent. He also made it appear that it was Bethesda who pretended to own the word scrolls when in fact the whole thing started only when Mojang tried to trademark the word for absolutley every use.
          That is why i dislike him. He did something stupid and proceded to use his indie-superstar aura to make the other side look like the bad guys.
          Also: Bethesdas claim only covers videogames with a fantasy setting. If that is enough for Bethesda, why does Mojang want to trademark ‘Scrolls’ for everything including tv shows and clothes?

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        darkChozo says:

        From what I understand, that’s not true. Bethesda/Zenimax already had a trademark on “The Elder Scrolls”; there would be no way that Mojang could sue for that particular usage of “Scrolls” (successfully, at least). What could happen is that ignoring Scrolls could weaken the “The Elder Scrolls” trademark due to how US trademark laws work (ie. you have to defend your trademark for it to be valid), opening up future clones to legally attempt to copy the Elder Scrolls series. The article you linked to links to a follow up article that supports that (and indicates the first article was speculation by a layman).

        That being said, it definitely was pushed as an underdog story by the media, despite the fact that it was to some degree a legal obligation on Zenimax’s part. There was some justification on that part; Mojang stated that they offered to reconcile out of court and were rejected out of hand, though that might offer an incomplete picture of the situation.

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          DeVadder says:

          You are right, of course.
          However the article also states:
          ‘They might not win, considering Zeni’s ownership of the trademark preceded Mojang’s, but Mojang could force Zenimax to settle or face an injunction which would keep all of those millions of copies of Skyrim off of store shelves and out of the hands of gamers, depriving Zeni of many, many millions of dollars in revenue. Seem unlikely? Think again. Companies do this all the time.’

          Sounds a little far fetched indeed. And i agree: I do not think Mojang tried to screw over Zeni. In my opinion, what happened was that Notch did something stupid. Trying to register a trademark on the word scrolls for every use imaginable. I would even imagine that that only happened because they may have used some standard trademark form they found on the internet or whatever.
          Then Zenimax reacted, as they had to, or at least as was very reasonable on their behalf. And then Notch talked trash on his blog and twitter, called Zeni the offender and even published unfavorable personal information about Zenis CEO on his twitter.
          And did not mention how it was him who tried to own the word scrolls, not Zeni.

          That is my answer to the OP. That is why i dislike Notch.

          • Blackseraph says:

            Zenimax reaction wasn’t reasonable, or is your definition of reasonable about suing first and talking things through after that. That’s why zenimax and bethesda were disliked here at least by me. Or did Bethesda try to explain to Mohjang first why trademarking Scrolls wasn’t acceptable to them?

            I admit that I didn’t follow this particular story all that much, so if they did try to talk first and sue only as a last resort I admit that I was wrong about them.

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            DeVadder says:

            In fact, they did not ‘sue’ anybody.
            Mojang attempted to claim the trademark. Bethesda said ‘No way’ (or send a Cease and Deceit note). Mojang said ‘Yes way’ (or plainly ignored said note). Bethesda challenged Mojangs claim what is done at court. That is basically the kindergarten version.
            Given that Mojang had not sold anything called ‘Scrolls’ so far, how could Bethesda sue them? For what?
            Could Altman have called Notch, maybe have tea and biscuits with him and explain the situation to him? Sure. And that would most likely have worked.
            But Zenimax is a huge company with lots of lawyer who basically are just paid to do that: See if someone claims a trademark that might interfere with Zenis trademarks and if so, ask the claimee to not do it (again: the note) or challenge the claim. They probably do so every week. It is fair to assume that nobody in the management ever got involved with the whole thing at this point.

            It is thanks to Notches presentation of the ordeal that people believe Mojang where somehow charged or sued for something. They were basically just asked to not trademark ‘Scrolls’ for every use ever. And only because they refused to stop attempting that, the case would have gone to court.

            edit: To be fair here: After that part of the story it went on. Apparently, after a few weeks or whatever (or probably after the US authority for trademarks refused their claim), Mojang offered to not get the trademark and even to add a subtitle to scrolls. Basically they asked if Bethesda was okay with that. And apparently, Zeni then said, they would probably challenge that as well. In which case, when Mojang released such a game they might actually sue.
            How likely that would be to suceed cannot be known at this point (depends on the name Mojang would choose, i would assume). And indeed, that might not be very nice of Zeni either.
            But that was not what this thread was about. Zeni challenging the trademark claim of Mojang was reasonable (and i for once do not want anyone to hold trademarks for single words for all media possible) and Notch missrepresenting the story and publishing personal information of Zenis CEO was a dick move and is the reason why i do not like the guy.

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            darkChozo says:

            From what I understand, Zenimax did actually sue. They started with a C&D against Mojang for trademark infringement, which may have been in reaction to Mojang’s filing but was not targeted at the filing itself but at Mojang’s use of “Scrolls”. After Mojang failed to respond, they sued Mojang in order to obtain an injunction against the game and for damages (the fact that Mojang hadn’t sold Scrolls doesn’t matter, trademark infringement causes damages based on brand dilution, basically). The preliminary injunction, which would have prevented Mojang from doing anything with Scrolls while the lawsuit was ongoing, and eventually Zenimax lost the civil case (or it might have been settled, not sure).

            PS. I’m not a lawyer, not that it would help considering I don’t speak Swedish. This is based largely on what gaming sites reported and what I understand about trademark law, which may or may not be accurate.

    • Inzimus says:

      paid for alpha (3 versions) was promised all future iterations, got only the PC one
      Notch promised a modding api long time ago (due to realizing that however much he hated the modding community, mods were and still is the main reason his game is popular), then wants people who create mods to pay him a fee for doing so. that idea gets shut down, the modding api has still (a year later) not been seen
      released ’1.0′, which still is buggy as hell and not near completion
      held a ‘minecon’ in Las Vegas….
      trash-talked Yogscast, even-though they are (yet another) of the main reasons he got popular
      generally acting as an asshole towards his fans

      and it was a game of Quake III that he wanted to play against Bethesda

      • Arkh says:

        Basically, what Inzimus said are the reasons people hate him.
        Promising all future versions for everyone who bought, then backing down and changing this.
        Promising modding API, a lot of features, then handing the project over to Jeb and calling it done.
        Being an asshole to yogocast and his fans.

        I never played Minecraft, so I don’t have an opinion on him, but considering what people generally give as reasons to hate him, seems a justified hate.

        EDIT:
        Also, I remember someone talking about his big ego. That usually attracts hate.

        • Niko says:

          Although people don’t really need a reason to hate, so to speak, a celebrity, e.g. a popular person. Haters and fans just start appearing around anyone relatively popular.

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    dangermouse76 says:

    Bomuboi and carnalizer ….snigger….. that’s what she said… boom !

    Edit: these definitely sound like porn star names.

  9. Lanfranc says:

    There will be a singleplayer morser in the game…

    A singleplayer what?

  10. Njordsk says:

    This game wouldn’t suffer from an open beta.

  11. somnolentsurfer says:

    Hasn’t this got Warcraft in it?

  12. PitfireX says:

    When are we going to stop tossing around the words “Beta test” in non-beta test situations? Why can’t they just call it “early access.” I mean some of these “Betas” dont even let you play for longer than a couple hours or write up any bugs. (Simcity)

  13. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    I like Notch/Mojang, but…I have to be honest, I’m rather underwhelmed by what I’m seeing of this so far.

  14. Gothnak says:

    I want a single player CCG, where you do a one up significant payment and can then play the Ai in adventure mode gradually unlocking cards and tweaking your deck. If you start a new game, you start with a random set of cards and can play again. Expansions can come out which add cards to the card pool but you never open a booster unless it is in game with in game cash.

    However, everything seems to be primarily MULTIPLAYER, PAY MONEY TO GET MORE CARDS, single player unimportant.

    Bring me another Etherlords or even Shandalar from Microprose MTG, and i’ve finished Spectromancer.

    For now, i recommend ‘Forge’ from the slightlymagic.net website.