GameSpy: BattleForge Preview

GameSpy writes: "'Crack for D&D players.' This is how an old acquaintance summed up Magic: The Gathering's mass appeal back when it came out in the '90s. Since then, Magic's influence has spread far and wide, aided enormously by a certain cadre of pocket monsters, and the mechanics (and insidious collectability) it's designed around have seeped into all mediums of gaming. Computer games informed by trading card mechanics are nothing new. But it's nonetheless notable whenever we see a major publisher making earnest strides toward amplifying the model's already-staggering appeal.

BattleForge could be viewed as the second prong in EA's advance on the world of alternative commerce models. What it lacks in terms of Battlefield Heroes' cost-free accessibility and name recognition it makes up for with its unabashed adoption of the mechanics and models that have kept gamers addled by mana-addiction for almost 20 years. While Heroes' best-case scenario involves a small fraction of the player base opting in to micropayments in order to keep the whole show running, we suspect that BattleForge's needs will be a bit more modest -- a smaller community overall, perhaps, but one content to drop dollars on booster packs daily. BattleForge was part of EA's "Summer Showcase" press event yesterday, and we took the opportunity to jump in while the going was still free."

+Solid production values, and seemingly-sound play mechanics

-Could easily get too gratuitous with the for-pay expansions and booster packs

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