Sorry for the lapse in posting everyone, I blame CardHunter. If you haven’t seen it, do check it out, it’s a web-based game with a decidedly D&D theme. In fact, all the visuals and shell of the game really emulate old school D&D hard. You may recognize some of the thinly veiled names like the intro level “Raid on Ommlet” and the home base “Keep on the Hinterlands”. Heck, check out the level artwork, made to look like old school D&D modules:
Note the dice, soda, and Cheetos. Yeah, this game is punching hard on the old school vibe. It does stoop a little on some of the nerd jokes (sigh, yes, the nerdy DM character loses all confidence in the face of the pretty pizza delivery girl), but generally I find it rather endearing. On the flip side, the actual gameplay feels pretty new-school. The game itself is just combat between your three person party of characters and some group of enemies. Each character has a deck of cards that are played for everything — movement, attacks, etc. Ultimately though, this is just the format where I enjoy that kind of highly tactical combat. That stuff bogs down real roleplaying games, but is perfect for a casual video game.
The game is sold in freemium format. For those not in the biz, that means the game is completely free to play but offers various in-game purchases to “enhance your experience”. This is always a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the developer can go too far and make the purchases really effective and/or required, thus turning it into a “pay to win” or “money game”. On the other, if there’s no value in the purchases nobody will buy them at all and the developer has just given away all his work for free and it’s not long after that that the servers shut down and the game vanishes.
Personally, I did buy their “basic pack”, but mostly because as a fellow developer I feel like they should reap the rewards for creating something I’m clearly enjoying and spending a lot of time on. That said, I’ve yet to feel like I got something really cool beyond the basic experience of the game for my money. I think you could get a lot of enjoyment out of this game without paying a dime. I hate to encourage people to do that, but perhaps you can go ahead and do what I did – play the game and if you really enjoy it, consider buying something in game even if you’re just going to ignore it.
But definitely play it, it’s really very fun.