Breaking Down the HEX Kickstarter Tiers

ETA:  To see an updated breakdown with the stretch goals, please head here.


Kickstarters, like many things in life, seem to come in threes.   While I’m still on the fence about how much I want to spend on Robotech Tactics, I have already thrown money at Luke Crane’s Torchbearer (if you are a fan of roleplaying games and you don’t know that name, shame on you), I am definitely in for Cryptozooic’s phenomenal looking TCG/MMO crossover game HEX.

With solo PvE play in a variety of dungeons, group PvE play in dungeons and raids, and the standard PvP fare, along with guilds and crafting and creating and leveling your own Champion (or enlisting the aid of mercenary champions when your skillset ain’t quite right), it looks to be incredible.   I stopped playing Magic: The Gathering years ago when the game stopped being about two planeswalker’s dueling – in other words, when it lost its RPG elements.

Reading the details about this game brought all fun crashing back down on me, but with improvements I could only have dreamed of.  Equipment for my Champion, playing with friends in a group setting…we tried (and invented a few) variants to squeeze these things out of M:tG, but it never quite seemed to work.   HEX works in spades, and I’m very interested.   The question as with all things is how much to go in.

Kickstarter is a dicey proposition to me.   I have backed four projects to date.  Three of those projects have promised me delivery of some or all of what I pledged for by now, and only one has delivered, and it delivered only a small slice of what was promised.   And this has been big projects and small alike, so Crypto is not exempt from that.    Even diving in now, I am mortgaging my current gaming allowance for something I won’t get to touch until this Fall, even if they are on schedule.

So, my strategy these days has become to buy in a little bit to help out and keep the project running, but not to overplay my hand – not to invest *too* much in something sight unseen.  So I do a lot of looking for diminishing returns and “bang for buck” deals.   I’ve left out anything at the $250 or above tier for two reasons:  1)  There are a lot of rewards at those levels that are hard to pin a value on, and that are widely varied.  The Pro Player gets 3 free boosters a week for the draft games, but there is some question as to how and where he can use those.  And what if you don’t play one week?  Etc.  2) If you are spending that much money, for the sake of your sanity, don’t listen to my advice.   Except maybe this:  If you’re gonna spend $250, just spend the $500 and get the perks of all five of the $250 level rewards.  That’s some serious value right there.

So basically that leaves us in the price range most of us are used to anyway when picking up a new game or Collector’s Edition.  Anyway here’s how it looks (in my mind’s eye) for HEX:

Squint or click to make it big!
Squint or click to make it big!

The Value Ratio is simply how much money you are spending versus the eventual cost of starter decks and booster packs, and accounting for the fact that all new accounts will receive one starter deck for free.  [ETA:  Just found out from the comment thread that the free starter is not the same as these starters, which must otherwise be paid for.  I adjusted the Value table to account for the new numbers, but the overall conclusions/results are the same]  PVE cards can only be used for PVE, while PVP cards can be used for both, so there is a little breakdown of that as well.  For someone like me, who will mostly be a PVE player, I’m more concerned with the total card count, but YMMV.  I also included as the last line, in italics, those lucky few who got the Early Bird reward tier, which was the King level at a heavily discounted rate.

So as you can see, on a pure card count, your best bets are the Warrior ($35) and King ($120) level.  Warrior has the added bonus of being the first level to give you a Mercenary card (which works a little differently in that they can replace your Champion in PVE contests) and that it gets you exclusive sleeves a nice trophy piece to let players in the future know you were there one Day One.  And the King level finds its real value in the huge number of booster backs assigned to it, particularly for those lucky early birds…

Your worst choices are probably the Champion tier (where you can get more cards, but not at a value rate any greater than the previous tier) and the Squire tier (where you are really only getting bit of value for what you put in).

You could argue the Supporter tier is, but giving a Beta Invite in exchange for a bit of support for the KS is really a smart idea.   I get to help your project and test drive the product before I really commit.  Sounds like a win win.   If Pathfinder Online (or maybe even Camelot Unchained) had offered such a small ante, I might would have taken them up on it.   So if you are on the fence, or just curious, this is the move for you.

Of course, I can’t account for your desire for individual cards.  The Scourge Knight and the pistol-wielding Dwarf Artificer Mercenary are particularly attractive to me, so I may find more value in those tiers ($50 and $65 respectively) than you do.   Or maybe the Digital Art Book is right up your alley and worth the $15 upgrade over the previous tier, with the extra cards just being gracy.  This is just to get a handle on the basics of things and show you my thought process.

Day Two – I Started A Blog Because…

I couldn’t fit everything I wanted to say in the comment box.  Seriously.


I started out reading Genda’s Grouchy Gamer and Wilhelm’s Ancient Gaming Noob, along with Ysharros’ Stylish Corpse and West Karana.   And they had such awesome posts and neat things to say, I often wanted to give my own perspective.   I probably would have been a content reader, but for the perfect storm of Warhammer Online:  Age of Reckoning.


You see the summer before I started this blog my dad and brother and I had attended a Games Workshop Gameday and had a blast.  And we also won a closed beta account in a drawing that day.  I had done EQOA, passed on Vanguard, and settled into WoW.   I had flirted around with Everquest II and City of Heroes, but nothing serious.   Mostly I was looking for a game that I could convince our little gaming group to go for after I had dropped my WoW sub and refused to go back (not the most sporting of things).   WAR looked like it might be the way to go – my brother and I played tabletop and our third party member was a big Blood Bowl aficionado.


My very first posted image and screenshot!


The problem was that we never got the beta account (and the contact info GW gave us ended up being bogus), so I had to go looking for a beta key.  And I had never done a game at launch.  One of the reasons I did not dive into EQ2 despite how much I loved it was I felt so far behind.   So armed with a beta key and the opportunity to get into what looked to be the next big MMO at launch was the perfect setup and gave me the perfect reason to start a blog.


And I wasn’t the only one.   Lots of us started blogs around that time as I recall  (how many of you started around August of 2008?).  Enough that the Casualties of War guild got off the ground with a band and a ton of members.


Turns out I was right, I did have a lot to say.  Here I am nearly five years later and I’m still blabbing on.

Navy Field Closed Beta Keys Available.

For anyone who has been waiting desperately for Wargaming to give us World of Battleships – well, a Korean company has beat them to it, and from what little I’ve heard, it is apparently quite fun.   There will be a closed beta test starting tomorrow and running until April 10th.   If you are interested, Curse has some keys.  I  intend to try it out, because I’m curious like that.


Why do I have nothing to say about TOR?

I have struggled with this thought for some weeks now.  Normally at this point, I’d be writing regularly about my travels and travails, or at least posting progress updates.  But I’m doing none of that.  And I have no desire or impetus to write about TOR, despite the fact that I’m playing it a couple of times a week, much as I was doing with Rift.

Contrast that with my seemingly endless posting about EVE, all of which was happening side by side with my play time.

I’m not sure what to make of all of that, just pointing it out.  It also applies to World of Tanks as well, though I had just assumed it was because a series of PvP matches would seem to leave little to write about, and thus my few posts have been limited to commentary on updates or particular tanks.  But now it strikes me that the disease might be more widespread than that.

Have I lost interest in writing about gaming?  Or is it just that certain games and events lend themselves more readily to blogging?

Coming Up For Air

With a post like that you’d think I’d be about to unveil my level 30 Jedi Guardian or something.  Sadly, no.  I have not had nearly the playtime this week that I had hoped to have had.  Heck, I even took Tuesday off work.  But there’s just too much going on in the holiday season here, I’ve had to lower my expectations.


You and me both, big guy.


(On a side note, I wonder what this means for the player base divide.  The hardcore players will cap even faster with the holidays around, while the casual players will be moving even slower…)

However, I did manage to accomplish my most basic and vague head-start goal:  Dear Emperor, please let me get off the starter planets.  And so it has been.  I have three characters clear of the morass of the first planets and with any luck will have one more done before Tuesday hits.

Just to give you the lay of the land there, I currently have a Sorcerer who will be healing for the little trio of family I play with, an Operative who will be my primary character  for guild activities, and a Sentinel for some casual solo/Republic play.

And of course, I was very excited to learn that my guild, Beskar, had been placed on the same server as the Republic Mercy Corps, meaning I will, by good fortune, be able to cross paths or at least glowsticks with GC and Rowan.

Speaking of expectations, launch has so far been the stable, queue laden thing I thought it would be.  My serious concerns – mostly revolving around graphics, were in fact handled, if in a bit of a minimalistic manner.   We did get a toggle for shadows, which helped, and its obvious that the textures got one final pass before launch.

There though, still a number of bugs revolving around guild chat and the UI, mob quirks, and the one creepy conversation bug where everyone’s eyes disapppear – which is almost as freaky as it is in Event Horizon, only with less nudity involved.


20274-23126.gif (320×240)
Bob, do we need to have another talk about keeping your eye contact above chest level?


Of course there were also some unexpected surprises in that region too.  As it turns out, there is actually such a thing as hot Jedi chicks, and just to help you control the urge to go Google that right now with safe search off, I’ll conclude this post with proof of that.

Basically, she has to keep a droid for a companion. Nobody else can handle the sexual tension.

TOR NDA Lifted.


Let’s talk some TOR shall we?


As of now, the non disclosure portion of our Game Testing Agreement is officially lifted. While all players must still accept the Game Testing Agreement, from this point on testers may now freely talk about their experiences this past weekend in the game, as well as post screenshots and gameplay videos of their testing experiences. We encourage you to come join us on the official Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Forums to share your experiences!

The Star Wars: The Old Republic community site will have a copy of this message on the forums and it will also appear in the Patcher. Players may not talk about nor reprint posts from our testing forums as they are still fully covered by the confidentiality portions of our Game Testing Agreement. And all players who want to participate in the upcoming Beta Test Weekends still have to accept all terms of the Game Testing Agreement. So, other than that, free feel to talk about and share your experiences in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

My thanks go out to everyone who has beta tested and continues to beta test the game. It has been with your help and feedback that Star Wars: The Old Republic is where it is today. We really appreciate your efforts.

May the Force be with you!

Greg Zeschuk
VP, Electronic Arts, BioWare Austin, General Manager

Of course, the NDA expressly forbade the taking of screenshots and video. So nobody has any of those, right?

The Secret World Needs Friends

So I got the email many of you I’m sure have gotten as well, that The Secret War (TM?) has begun.  And gosh, while we got your registration for the Beta, you know we can’t guarantee anything, but hey, if you sign up for this new phase of the process, including linking us on Facebook, you could play our many games and maybe earn yourself Guaranteed Beta Access (TM?)!

So now I’m trying to decide if its worth it or not.  As time has gone on, I have been less and less impressed withe what (little) I’ve seen from TSW releases.  Partner that with the problems that faced Age of Conan (including some questionable design decisions) and I’m both more and less anxious to follow the game.  More because I want to see if Funcom has improved their proverbial “game” any (pun intended, and I think they may have) and less because I’m just not really into using Facebook for games.  I know its like, a billion dollar industry now, but…I think the games are hideous and they bore me greatly.  So there is that stigma to overcome as well.

Anyway, if any of you decide to sign up and give a run, let me know.  I’m interested to see how it works and I’m at least open to the idea.  But I’m also a little irked at the suggestion that my beta access sign up is worth less because I’ve been following the game longer.   But hey, that’s apparently a common trend in the MMO industry right now.