Tales of full-priced games going free-to-play are plentiful these days – and often an indication that those games aren’t doing too well. So when a game goes the other way, moving from free-to-play to a “premium” model, this is likely to raise a few eyebrows. However, in the case of strategic card game Faeria, this uncommon move makes a lot of sense.
You see, the move away from free-to-play is supposed to level the playing field. No more “pay to win” shenanigans, as booster packs full of cards aren’t exclusively tied to costly microtransactions anymore. This way, the game’s balance isn’t skewed in favor of the players with the deepest pockets. And that’s a good thing, as Faeria really deserves a well-balanced multiplayer part.
The basics of Faeria’s gameplay are similar to well-known card games such as Hearthstone. You summon your units, each of which has a health and attack rating and maybe some extra traits, and then those little creatures trade blows on the battlefield. However, this playing space isn’t just a flat surface where positioning doesn’t matter. Instead, both players build the battlefield, creating paths, and taking over resource-producing nodes.
This allows for several ways of reaching your opponent – you can build a straight pathway and try to overwhelm them with weaker units, or you branch out, take over some nodes, and build up a sizeable army instead. Also, dumping a strong unit in front of your opponent’s doorstep while all of his minions rush towards your hero can turn the tide of battle and lead to some rather exciting situations. The game requires you to adapt, not just go with one strategy and brute-force your way through it.
While Faeria is a multiplayer game with a lively tournament scene, there is a whole lot of single player stuff to keep you busy as well. In fact, playing single player missions and puzzles seems to be the fastest way of unlocking the full set of cards that the base set has to offer. Regular paid expansion content is supposed to deliver an infusion of new cards every few months, keeping the metagame interesting and throwing new game mechanics into the mix. The first of these expansions, Fall of Everlife, was recently released adds 40 new cards to your collection.
I only spent a few hours with Faeria so far and that’s not nearly enough time to evaluate everything it has to offer. Still, it’s already quite apparent that the game sets itself apart from similar games in a good way and, if developers Abrakam manage to keep the balancing right, deserves an enthusiastic audience, enjoying themselves on a level playing field.
You can purchase Faeria from Steam for $24.99 (and the expansion Fall of Everlife for $13.99). More information can be found on the game’s website.