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Trials of Frostgate - Official Announcement

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Curious about what is required, the screen shot uses nekrihall tiles?  I guess it's randomized based on your library, but if I am trying to beat my own score I would have expected a static setup.

Overall sounds like a nice way to do single one off game.

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So I ended up buying the DLC mostly to show support for Descent and hopefully encourage FFG to release more physical content.

I also did a 'fake' run through all the modes just to get a feel for it.


For anyone who doesn't mind spoilers I'll just give a quick run down of what this is and what you get for your $5:

*********** WARNING MEGA SPOILERS ****************

 

 

 

 


 

It is essentially four game modes (trial of Bear, Lion, Hawk, Wolf), each of which take place on a single fully revealed map. Each of the trials is an endless game mode which involves working towards a high score by playing until the heroes lose all their morale through KOs.

There appear to be at least 4 or 5 different possible layouts for those who have all the expansion content and they are NOT 'balanced'. There is one layout with tons of sludge or water tiles, which would be much much harder to play through than another layout which has no special terrain at all. If you are really interested in going for a highest possible high score you'll probably want to reload until you get an 'easy' layout. Then you are of course subject to the luck of the random monsters.

Some things in common between modes: There is an automatic transition to Act II after a certain number of rounds have passed or progress has been made (not sure exactly which yet). It doesn't tell you before hand. You also will get 1 XP to start, and gain an additional 1 XP every 4 rounds until around 6 XP, at which point they stop giving it to you forever.

All of the game modes have an 'Enrage' mechanic which starts to happen once they've given out all hero XP and transitioned into Act II. Every round or two it essentially gives an endlessly stacking buff to all active monster groups. It starts at Enrage 1, with +1 damage to all monsters, then moves to Enrage 2, with +1 damage and +1 shield to all monsters, and finally to Enrage III: with +2 damage and +2 shields to all monsters. It never gets any higher than Enrage III, but I doubt any team could survive for too long under those conditions.

It would be fun to try to find a totally broken team composition/loot distribution to go infinite though!

Quick rundown of the modes. Apologies for any errors.. I only had time to rush through the modes and get a sense of what they are. This should give you a good feel for them though.

Trial of the Bear:

Quote

- Goal is to defeat wave after wave of monster groups placed randomly around the map. They seem to spawn in groups of 2 or 3. 1 point is awarded per monster group kill.

- You get a one-time super effect from a bear totem token placed in a unique space on the map as an action. Its either a) 3 damage to all monsters and pushback 3 squares, b) Deal 10 damage to one monster, or c) Full stamina/health for one hero.

- Lieutenants get randomly thrown into the mix later in the run.

- Search tokens give random equipment from the item deck or health/stamina/power potions. You get around 7 search tokens to start, and they refresh once between acts. Once you've got them all again you will never gain any more items for the rest of the run.

Trial of the Lion:

Quote

- Goal is to defeat 'champions'. These are single lieutenants or master Monsters with stun immunity and bonus health. Since you will fight monsters with stun immunity, stun effects have diminished value. First the champion spawns alone, but afterwards it is accompanied by a companion, which seems to be another lone master monster. 1 point is awarded per Champion kill.

- You can find a single relic that is pre-placed on the map, but have to fight a spider-themed monster afterwards. I've seen Fortuna's Dice and Shield of the Black God so far.

- Every time you defeat a  champion, a new one will spawn the next turn.

- You gain loot every time you defeat a champion until a certain point (I think its around 12 champions?), at which point you will never gain any more equipment for the rest of the game.

- Search tokens contain potions and are one-time affairs. Once you've got all the search tokens more never appear. This significantly devalues 'looting' abilities.

- Crystals continuously appear on the map which can spawn random additional monster groups and also give map wide damage and conditions to the team unless they are constantly moving adjacent to them and spending actions to destroy them while fighting the champions. A super mobile hero would be good for this.

- Champions start getting random buffs later on, such as +1 bonus red die per attack, and +1 black defense die per defend. They also get enraged and activate twice if you take too long to kill them (e.g. if you start 'kiting' them to buy time)

Trial of the Hawk:

Quote

- Goal is to defeat 'spirits'. These spirits spawn one at a time on the map. The spirits appear to be guaranteed to be within a few squares of the previous one, but in a random direction. The heroes must move from spirit to spirit, defeating them, while contending with random monster spawns along the way. Spirits have no defense dice and 4 health in Act I (6 in act II iirc). They take half damage rounded up from ranged attacks. 1 point is awarded per spirit kill.

- If a given spirit is not defeated within 2 turns, it will turn into a monster group and another spirit will spawn for the heroes to hunt and kill.

- Heroes have a 'spiritspeaker' accompanying them. She can only move 2 squares every turn as the heroes see fit. In this mode heroes cannot recover Hearts or Stamina unless they are within 3 squares of the spirit speaker, so she essentially tries to tether the party to herself. Gameplay involves positioning her each turn to advance towards the next spirit, and somewhat predicting where they will appear next after they are destroyed. (The players must move the spiritspeaker BEFORE a new spirit appears on the map). In this mode it seems very advantageous to have classes like the Bard and Champion that enhance heroes who clump up all the time... Slow heroes would also suffer.

- Search tokens provide equipment, and refresh once on Act II transition. After that, no more equipment is given out.

Trial of the Wolf:

Quote

- Goal is to escort travelers. The app places a single token to represent the 'escape point' and spawns new travelers at what appears to be a fixed area on the opposite side of the map. The travelers seem to spawn in waves of 1, 2, or 3 at a time when all existing travelers have been removed from the map. They move 3 spaces at the end of every turn, with a bonus 3 squares if they are next to a hero. 1 point is awarded per traveler escorted.

- Travelers are treated like heroes and if defeated they drop a red objective token which becomes a minion zombie at the end of the turn. Monsters spawn endlessly to stop the travelers, but don't seem to have any special 'traveler-specific' activations that I saw.

- Equipment is gained from search tokens which are refreshed once at the Act II transition. After that, no more equipment is given out.

 

Edited by Charmy

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I really was hoping for a new campaign but I appreciate the new content nonetheless. I just purchased it to try it out but I am not sure how often we will play the new mode(s). Please a new campaign/expansion next!

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Thats not bad. They give different playstyles in the game.
Thats an upgrade for me.
Maybe in the future we will see and skirmish in Descent or capture the flag lol.

I love Descent and using the content from everything i have bought makes me happy.
I want to play the more i can with all these expansions (tiles,monster, heroes, lieutenants).

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I've been thinking of some loose theory craft for a good min/max Trials team.

First off, heroes should be picked for the heroic abilities. One-time use heroic feats seem really bad in an infinite mode like this where the feat *never* refreshes.

Attribute tests also take a back seat, since the trials themselves rarely call for them. This makes heroes like Lindel much less useful.

Skills that make attacks never miss seem really good in this mode. It would suck to have a high score ruined by a chain of misses in an endless battle.

Here is what I'm thinking:

Astarra Runemaster: Her movement ability is totally broken and the Runemaster's Blast is great against the clumping AI. A true beast once she has an Act II Rune weapon. With support she should be able to clear full monster groups in a single turn from halfway across the map. I thought about Seer Kel Necromancer with Army of Death as another option but the top-end damage of the Reanimate isn't all that great and will really struggle once monsters hit Enrage III. Runic Knowledge and Rune Mastery make the Runemaster's attacks far more devastating than other Mages.

One Fist Skirmisher: One-Fist for a dual-wielding class? Madness you say? Not with this build. Pick up Unstoppable, Carve a Path, and Born in Battle if possible. Carve a Path with a high speed means another way to clear out full groups in very short order and One Fist's heroic ability means he will deal more damage per attack than pretty much any other warrior in the game with a strong weapon. Born in Battle means he may well have fully recovered stamina after each attack. No need to bother with Dual Strike.

Logan Lashley Monk/Bard: Bard seems really strong in this mode due to many of the trials encouraging sticking together and the fixed map size. Logan has amazing mobility once he gets an Exotic weapon.. but that *does* require a bit of luck to find in the item deck. I think it might be worth the gamble though. The end goal is Vow of Freedom for unerring attacks and becoming tanky by getting Brown defense dice from cloaks and what not. Rehearsal also seems great for mitigating bad luck for the team and dealing with conditions.

Elder Mok Watchman/Shadow Walker: Looting abilities aren't terribly helpful in the trials since the search tokens are finite, so this makes the Treasure Hunter less appealing. The search deck isn't even used, so Delver's utility is cut in half. However,  the Shadow is a nice source of precious extra damage for the entire team. The main benefit however is that a Mok Watchman will be infinitely regenerating the entire team's stamina and health with Quick Recovery and Unity so the party will rarely, if ever, need to rest. This healing will be further augmented by the Bard - all at the cost of no actions dedicated to healing and recovery. And Watchman offers additional free movement too.

Basic aim is that once maxed out these heroes are endlessly healing, recovering stamina, moving around for free, and never missing attacks - i.e. becoming an invincible whirlwind of death.

Any other ideas for fun builds for this mode?

Edited by Charmy

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Very nice!

5$ is really not much (like 1$ per trail, so imo totally worth it even if you play each trail only once) and I'll buy it because of how many hours of fun the RtL app already provided to me while being mostly free.

I appreciate the intention of widening the ways to play the game, yet I always found the draw of Descent being that combat is more like means to a different end and not the center of every action. While RtL so far completely changed this (minus a few stages in the Delve maybe), it had enough story and context to make the expirience richer than "beat up the bad guys", something I don't quite see in this DLC.

Then again it is supposed to be really short, which might be advantagous if you don't have so much time and crave Descent. 

Can anyone with a little expirience elaborate how long these trails take compard to your typical RtL quest?

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I bought this add-on as well but I must say that I'm a bit disappointed by this game-mode. My issues are:

1) Infinity mode means that the party will always loose at the end of the day. There is literally no way to win. A bit meh to hunt for a stupid high score but ok.

2) Very limited XP (6 or so) which means only limited builds. (But this is not my biggest issue)

3) More importantly: very limited loot, especially in all trials except the Trial of the Lion. In these other trials you have to search search tokens and then you get either a potion or 3 items from the current act (and you can keep only one!). This means: only about 3 to 4 items per act if you manage to flip all search tokens. If you cannot loot all act I search tokens, you loose them as they are replaced by new tokes when the transition to act 2 happens. Since the trials challenge you with quite hard (or a lot of) monsters right from the start it is of utmost importance to get loot. This means also that the starting equipment (especially the weapon) is very important. Classes with a weak starting weapon are therefore quite the challenge. Also, classes that require a certain equipment type (i.e. runes) have a serious disadvantage.

4) The design of the trials leads to the problem that you must choose your hero group to match EXACTLY the requirements and anything else brings certain doom (very fast). For example: in the trial of the Lion, you have to fight a so called combatant (a monster with bonus health or a lieutenant ). However you also have to destroy some crystals (tokens) which bring harmful effects if you don't destroy them. 1 to 3 crystals spawn every round, distributed around the map. This means that 2 Heroes fight the combatant while the other 2 run around the map and destroy these stupid crystals. They have basically no time to do anything else. In the other modes (I have tried the Bear), this is more or less the same with the search tokens as these are your only source of loot.

Generally, I like the idea to have a game mode which is much shorter than a complete campaign and provides a faster game progression, but the Delve is so much better with that regards. The game design of the trials simply discourages  you to try out something unusual (or draw random classes/heroes) as the game effects play a dominant role. And I hate being killed by a message that says "A hero suffers X damage" without a monster even moving a claw, just because I wasn't able to get to that stupid token.

So, all in all, a meh expansion even though I thought the arena-Idea would be quite nice.

In conclusion, my feedback for the developers:

1) Make it more about fighting monsters and less about hunting tokens. If hunting for tokens: make it more about positive effects not avoiding negative ones.

2) A bit more loot. Or at least: draw more cards from which to choose from.

3) Some start loot or an easier start to give classes with weak starting gear a chance.

4) Make more use of the relics. 

5) For owners of Chains and/or mists: make use of tainted cards maybe?

6) Fore owners of Labyrinth: use Allys?

 

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