The concept of a digital card game is cool because I never really got into them in the non-digital form, but I have always appreciated them from afar. I was turned off on buying card packs back when I collected sports cards and Overwatch solidified the digital form for me in their Loot Boxes. I hate the use of purchased RNG even though I understand it’s implementation from a business stand-point. Hearthstone was neat. I love the Witcher franchise, but I wasn’t willing to play Gwent. Steam’s addition to the fight (Artifact) sounded interesting as well, but then it launched and it didn’t end up looking that appealing to me. There are plenty of options is the point I’m trying to get across. (There’s also something fundamentally different from these games and games like Race For The Galaxy (which I loved) in my mind.) I was excited to hear about Faeria if only for one main feature: an actual single-player mode (as a bonus, you get all of the cards over time). “Seriously?” you may be thinking. Turns out, people want different things from their gaming times. So is this game worth your time? Is it any fun? Is it Pay-2-Win? Let me break it down for you.
First, let me set up my reasons for “avoiding” competitive games: Metas. I don’t mind a good (generic) first person shooter because I don’t tend to see unbreakable metas in those (I loved Rekoil and Goldeneye/Perfect Dark). In almost everything else though (Star Craft 2, Gems of War, Raid: Shadow Legends, Minion Masters, character shooters like Overwatch (R.I.P. GOATS) and… well that’s enough) there comes a composition that everyone copies and if you don’t play it, it’s more difficult to win. It’s boring. Sure, you can build other comps to try to break the meta, but it usually takes tweaking from the dev to break it or make it “not the best option” with additions to the gameplay or gameplay mechanics. In an ideal world there would be a lot of options that would all be equally valid to keep the gameplay interesting, but where the human element is involved, someone is going to find the one build that rules them all and that’s that for a while.
With a single-player campaign mode intentionally designed by the developers, you run up against a variety of different opponents that will test your deck building skills. Faeria’s campaign also has puzzles where you are handed a situation that you have to defeat in a single turn with the given abilities on the cards. Also, I had a run in with a frog boss guy who caught me off-gaurd with his swimming and puddle-placement tactics. It took me three tries, but I won in the end. At the completion of the dailies and leveling up I receive new cards and head back to build multiple deck ideas that sound fun (in my head) and that could possibly win against the next setup they’ll throw at me. The Steam page says that there are 100+ hours of single player content… that makes me happy.
Speaking of getting new cards, you can get all of the cards in the game simply by playing. No card packs to buy! Hurray! This is where one of the main complaints I read in the reviews comes in. When expansions come out, reviewers tend to either lean on the “wow, these new cards are really cool” base or “if you don’t buy them you’re screwed because they are stronger than the original cards” (essentially nullifying their “you never have to buy card packs”… technically). When you buy the expansions, the new cards are added into the shuffle of cards handed out in the reward boxes. I can see where some people, who got into the game for free, would feel slighted, but a company’s got to make money somehow and new expansions don’t just fall off of the new expansion tree. It’s nice to have Free-To-Play games be completely free, but not every company can pull that off. The expansions tend to cost around $14 each and from launch they’ve dropped three expansions including their most recent. (They also dropped a puzzle pack and a “support the devs/double XP” pack as well.) At the price of everything, you’re looking at ~$85 over two years or ~$42.50 a year. How many games do you buy a year that cost $60? If you really enjoy the game, that’s not too bad. This also comes back to how I enjoy the game. With my focus being on the single-player half, I don’t come up against people with different packs when I haven’t purchased the newest expansion. I can see how this could be frustrating though.
Another aspect of the game that I rather enjoy over the other options is the game’s board. You start with a mostly empty board and on your turn you pick what land you want to place and where, if you want to draw another card or if you want to receive one more bit of energy to help in your next hand. You don’t have a maximum amount of energy either as your energy carries over from the previous rounds and lets you build up the ability to drop a load of expensive units in one turn. If you can hold on until then that is. Your units, unless they are flying or swimming units need to be initially placed on land that you have personally placed. Some units require a specific number of a specific type of land (like trees or desert) to be laid before they can be played. You shape the battlefield as you see fit around what your opponent is doing. Yes, that also means you can block your opponent in on their side and vise versa. Getting trapped is more annoying that getting defeated, but doesn’t means that you will lose. It’s just harder to win.
Since I jumped into Faeria with only the base game and the Chronicles of Gagana DLC (which keeps coming up as Gungan in my head) I’m not sure how my views would have changed had I played through the previous two expansions. What I do know is that the “Discover” feature was rather fun when it worked in my favor. I like picking a random card and having it cost two less or getting a card that would normally require a specific amount of land of a different type and getting to play it anyway because they get drawn as Wild. The Mecha units were also neat, but in all honesty, I really only tried using a bunch of the Fragmenters to spawn little Mechas along with them and then use a move called Eruption (I believe) and have all the Mecha units do AOE. I like flashy stuff; what can I say? What I enjoy more is starving the opponent of land and the grass type cards work the best for me at this point since I don’t have many cards. Some of the grass cards spawn a new grass land in a random location which gives me more to my grass tile count and gives the enemy less room. With the time I put into Faeria, I was able to start crafting cards I was missing up to a certain rarity. I just need more levels now. All in good time. That is, unless I feel like supporting the devs with that double XP bundle…