first_img 1 2 Mojang’s second game, Scrolls, hit open beta yesterday with the same payment model employed by Minecraft’s beta. You can purchase the game for a one-time fee of $20, but since you’re dropping the full-price on a beta, you get the bonus of all future game updates for free.When Minecraft was both an alpha and beta, the game always seemed “complete” due to its do-whatever-you-want nature. Scrolls, though, is more of a traditional game. There’s one ruleset, one mechanic and, unlike Minecraft, it’s an engine that lives inside traditional strategic head-to-head gaming competition. Scrolls will never create generate pretty, easily comprehensible pictures of instantly identifiable structures. Because of that, it’s tough to say if Scrolls will spread around the internet like digital wildfire. A good game is a good game, and disregarding a few outliers, good games spread, but is Scrolls a good game?I, unfortunately, didn’t make it into the alpha, so I’ve only spent a night with my new Mojang mistress. I played a few matches, spent too long creating a male and female character, and absentmindedly mucked about the user interface and store. The game instantly felt more like a beta than Minecraft ever did. This isn’t a bad thing — the game’s a beta, after all — but as mentioned above, Minecraft rarely felt like a work-in-progress. Scrolls doesn’t feel unfinished, but it feels a little bare at the moment.There is something of a single-player campaign, consisting of 25 trials in total, but they’re not quite glued together in any kind of narrative fashion. It’s more of a challenge mode with preset scenarios you must defeat. Since Scrolls is a collectible card game (CCG), albeit digital, it doesn’t really need a campaign — after all, you just play Magic: the Gathering with your friends and not in some kind of linear story. The trials, though, have a bit of narrative flavor text, and hint at some kind of story taking place, but seem to simply be disjointed snippets.The character creator, seen above, is simple, though not unsatisfying. You only have four character portions to customize, not including gender (represented by the Set category). The pre-made character art is pretty and detailed, but currently limited to only a handful of models per body part. You won’t find sliders or color options here, so it’s likely you’ll run into an exact copy of your character at some point. More pre-made body part choices, as well as a color-chooser, would make the character creator perfectly sufficient, though maybe not something you sink MMO-level character creation hours into.As with any CCG, the cards come in different levels of rarities. However, unlike Magic for instance, there doesn’t seem to be an easily identifiable color or symbol that denotes rarity. I had a hunch that the somewhat darker background colors of cards and the somewhat more intricate markings along the borders denoted rarity, but I had to ask in general chat to be sure. The three pre-constructed starter decks also don’t seem to come with a card rarity higher than an uncommon, so there weren’t three kinds of card colors and markings to help me figure this out more easily. If the rare does exist in the pre-constructed deck, then I wasn’t able to notice the difference while specifically looking for that difference.You can earn in-game currency, gold, from the trials and the quick match options, which allow you to purchase more cards — or the two remaining starter decks — from the store. If you don’t like to grind for in-game gold, you can also pony up real cash for shards, the real-money proxy in Scrolls.Thankfully, everything in the game is purchasable with the in-game currency, but in a continuing theme with the game, the store seems a little bare at the moment. You can purchase two of the remaining starter decks, a single random card, a single random card from within one of the game’s three resource types (factions), and a pack of 10 scrolls (two guaranteed uncommons, one guaranteed rare). There is no singles store, but each week, the game will randomize six different cards unique to you (as in, your friend will have a different set of six randomized cards) that you can purchase individually.You can also buy a few more character customization options, but that’s about it. For a CCG, you’ll likely notice it’s missing a way to purchase singles — though you can still trade with players — as well as missing a larger bulk option, such as a booster box.Next page: But does Scrolls’ gameplay feel beta?last_img