With Scalebound having been canceled by Microsoft recently, it's up to exclusive games like Halo Wars 2 to give people reasons to buy an Xbox One. A multiplayer beta featuring the new Blitz Mode just ran for 10 days and we have some dispatches from people who played the fascinating new approach to real-time strategy gameplay.
Halo Wars 2 Beta: How Blitz Mode changes the game
In a normal RTS game, you collect resources on the map to build up a base and churn out units until you can overcome the enemy player's units. It's as much about managing numbers as it is about grand tactical maneuvers. Blitz Mode in Halo Wars 2 is more akin to Hearthstone, as resource collection and base building are replaced by a deck of cards.
Build a deck of 12 cards at the start of the match, with cards representing different units and abilities. Cards have different energy costs, so you have to balance powerful and weak cards in your deck in order to overcome your opponent.
According to VG247, this mode can be both fun and annoying. Players apparently relied a bit too heavily on fast units to just capture objectives early on without engaging the enemy at all, allowing them to generate energy and eventually spawn powerful units. This, according to VG247, turns the typical RTS gameplay loop into more of a race to the finish.
Cards can also be bought with real money, which sounds potentially troublesome.
I should also mention another potentially poor design decision made with Blitz. Your cards level up each time you get duplicates. Leveling up a card increases its effectiveness, and although you get card packs at a fairly decent pace, the idea that someone can purchase $20 worth of cards to either buff their existing decks or expand the number of cards they have is scary.
Thankfully, Blitz Mode is merely a new mode rather than the focus of the game. Halo Wars 2 will still have a single player campaign and several traditional multiplayer modes to choose from. The game launches on Xbox One and PC on Feb. 21.