All good card games must come to an end…

World of Warcraft Trading Card Game

It’s a sad day for fans of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game…

Cryptozoic and Blizzard Entertainment have announced that they will be discontinuing the WoW TCG, with the Reign of Fire expansion as being its last.

From Cryptozoic:

We are very grateful to the incredible community of players that have made the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game such an amazing experience. Timewalkers: Reign of Fire, the 21st installment to the World of Warcraft TCG, will be the last. Reign of Fire has been one of the fastest selling sets of all time and has been overwhelmingly well-received by drafters and deck brewers alike. While we are sad to see the World of Warcraft TCG end, we are proud to see it end on such a high note.

We hope that you have enjoyed cracking packs and playing with the most iconic characters in the Warcraft universe as much as we have. From raid and dungeon decks to unique heroes, each with their own deck-defining powers, the World of Warcraft TCG has left an unforgettable mark on the world of trading card games. Darkmoon Faires have long been a place for the most friendly and welcoming gaming community on the planet to come together and share their enthusiasm in a competitive, yet friendly, environment.

It has truly been an honor to be a part of such a passionate community that continues to grow year after year. The World of Warcraft TCG holds a special place in our hearts here and we are thankful to Blizzard for allowing us to be part of it.

And from Blizzard Entertainment:

We wanted to take a moment to thank all of you World of Warcraft Trading Card Game players out there for your support of the game for close to seven years.

We’ve had a blast working on it, and we knew that Set 21, Timewalkers: Reign of Fire would really grab everyone’s attention. In addition to delivering original and fun gameplay mechanics and giving players a new way to explore the story of Warcraft III, it’s stuffed with every single one of the much-sought-after Loot cards from each of the previous sets.

Set 21 represents something else as well: it’s the climactic last set for the WoW TCG. We are grateful for being able to collaborate with the artists and everyone else who helped make this game a reality all these years. We’re also thankful for all the players and retailers who’ve participated in the community globally. You made ripping open booster packs, discovering the wonders they held, and then building decks and taking them into battle a truly awesome experience.

Thank you all again for your support in making the WoW TCG one of the most epic trading card games of all time.

I kind of had a feeling that the end to the TCG was imminent, but I didn’t want to believe my assumptions.  Here are a couple of the signs I saw that the game was going to come to an end:

  1. The Reign of Fire expansion contained no new loot cards.
    • Since the very first expansion, Heroes of Azeroth, every set since has always had a new set of loot cards to obtain.  There were some datamined items from the PTR that I thought could be candidates for new loot, like the Iron Hitching Post (which more looks to be an item that will be purchasable from the Blizzard Store) and there are always pets and mounts they could make available.
  2. The loot cards from the Reign of Fire expansion could come from any of the prior expansions, including the rare mounts, like the Spectral Tiger and X-51 Rocket.
    • Related to #1 and probably as a result of it, this was Cryptozoic’s/Blizz’s way to “clean house” with any remaining loot cards that they had lying around.
  3. Cryptozoic has a new online TCG coming out, Hex: Shards of Fate.Hex: Shards of Fate
    • With several online TCG games already out there, I’m guessing Cryptozoic wanted a piece of that pie and came up with their own.  The game is not Warcraft-related and is all brand new.  Maintaining the WoW TCG game at the same time would have probably been too much for Cryptozoic to handle.
  4. Blizzard Entertainment also has a new online TCG coming out, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

    • From the very first day that the online TCG was announced, I had a big gut feeling that the physical card game was soon coming to an end.  A lot of the artwork for Hearthstone came from the WoW TCG and some elements of the game are similar.

It’s sad to see the game go, but of course, nothing lasts forever.  I’ve played/collected the WoW TCG since the very beginning and this is what introduced me to the Warcraft universe, even before I got into the MMO.  I will miss opening new booster packs and the smell of fresh-cut cards, lol.

There is a little part of me that hopes one day they’ll revive the game, along with the loot cards.  They did it before when Upper Deck Entertainment gave up on the franchise, could there be another developer that takes it from Cryptozoic?  /crossesfingers

I guess I’ll have to resort to Hearthstone for my Warcraft card game needs, where is my beta invite already? =P

The REAL Darkmoon Faire

Darkmoon Faire Jacksonville 2013

For those who are not familiar with what the REAL Darkmoon Faire is, it’s the monthly World of Warcraft Trading Card Game tournament held around the world to locate the best players.  The winners from each Faire then compete at the end of the year to see who becomes the World Darkmoon Faire Champion for 2013.  There are lots of prizes to be won, including Macbooks, iPads, iPods, rare mount loot cards, travel vouchers, playmats, deck boxes, boxes of cards, card packs and much more.

The first Darkmoon Faire event for 2013 happened this past weekend in Jacksonville, Florida, from Friday, January 11th to Sunday, January 13th.  This is the first time that the Faire has arrived in my city, so I was pretty excited to check it out.

The last TCG event that I attended was a Sneak Preview tournament at a local gaming shop for the Drums of War expansion back in November of 2008.  Back then, the TCG was owned by Upper Deck Entertainment (UDE).

Since that Sneak Preview, that local gaming shop stopped hosting WoW TCG events due to lack of attendance/interest.  The game itself went through a big change and was acquired by Cryptozoic Entertainment (CZE), who has done a really good job with it.

Chewy and I used to play the TCG quite a bit when it first came out, but we couldn’t find others that were interested to try it, so we quit playing.  That hasn’t stopped me from collecting it though, lol.  I have near-complete sets since the first set, Heroes of Azeroth, to the most recent, War of the Ancients.

I asked Chewy if he wanted to check out the Faire and he said sure and we decided to go Saturday afternoon.  We planned on hanging out there for a couple of hours, as it was NFL playoff weekend and our teams were in the hunt (Go Ravens/Niners!).

So Chewy arrived at my house around 1pm and after gathering my stuff, we went outside.  We stood in my driveway for a couple of minutes when Chewy turned to me and said:

Chewy:  What are we waiting for?
Arvash:  I’m waiting for the portal to appear to take us to the Faire.
Chewy:  …
Chewy:  This isn’t Mulgore…
Arvash:  Oh, you’re right…

So instead we hopped into my epic Honda mount and headed towards Downtown Jacksonville, where the Faire was located.  The event was held on the third floor of the Hyatt, with numerous signs directing us to our destination.

Conference Sign

Once we arrived at the front gates, er, doors, we were greeted by some familiar faces, Silas Darkmoon and Burth.

DMF Sign

Inside were other Fairegoers, already competing in events such as Sealed Deck tournaments, Swiss Round Packs and of course, the main Darkmoon Faire event, the pre-constructed deck tournament.

DMF

I wanted to enter into the Beginners Tournament, cause it was a long time since I last played, but we had just missed it and the next one didn’t start until Chewy and I had planned to leave.  Cryptozoic had demos of their other games on hand, including the Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead.  We decided to try their most recent release, the DC Comics Deckbuilding game.

from Cryptozoic

from Cryptozoic

This was our first time trying out a deck building game.  You’re given a small starting deck of 10 cards and you basically “purchase” cards from the playing field using the valor points found on said cards.  These purchased cards then get shuffled into your deck, where they can be later used as you draw more and more cards as the game progresses.  The game ends once all cards on the field has been purchased or all villains have been defeated (purchased).  You play as one of several DC heroes and the object is to earn as many Victory points as you can.  Each card is given a Victory point amount based on the type of card.  Equipment and Allies are worth a moderate amount, whereas Villains give out the highest point value.

We played with a Cryptozoic employee, who explained the rules of the game as we went along and another Fairegoer.  They played The Flash and Wonder Woman, respectively, with Chewy playing Green Lantern and me as Superman.  I ended up winning our demo game, racking up the most Victory points, thanks to all the villains I defeated.  I mean, it’s Superman, who’s gonna really beat him, right?  =)

DC Game 1

DC Game 2

Afterwards, we went around and checked out what else the Faire had to offer.  Lucky for us, we stumbled upon a familiar face, Aegwynn, the Guardian of Tirisfal!

Christina Sims as Aegwynn

Lol, actually, it was Christina Sims in an amazing costume.  You might remember Christina for her other awesome outfits, like Alexstraza and the female Monk from Diablo 3.  She is also a great TCG player, I witnessed her taking out poor, hapless Fairegoers who thought they had a chance of defeating her.  Maybe it was a good thing I didn’t bring my own deck, to save myself the embarrassment, lol.

from Cryptozoic

from Cryptozoic

from WoW Insider

from WoW Insider

from WoW Insider

from WoW Insider

After watching Aegwynn/Christina pound noobs into the ground, I spotted another familiar face, can you guess where this person is?  Hint: It’s the person in the far left in red.

DMF3

Can’t see it, huh?  Well, it’s none other than Michael Sacco of WoW Insider fame!  I believe he was doing press coverage of the tournament, updating the website with results and making additional commentary.  I remember an old article on WoW Insider, where he talked about working with the TCG.  He’s got a pretty good gig going on there, working for two of the biggest WoW-related products that I enjoy.  Here’s a close-up pic from the Cryptozoic website in case you can’t see him in my shot, lol.

from Cryptozoic

from Cryptozoic

And here are some additional photos I took of the event.

DMF2

Gobby Sign

Dranei Sign 1

Dranei Sign 2

DMF Table Sign

One thing I did accomplish while I was at the Faire was to update my league status for future WoW events and tournaments.  Like I said earlier, it was a long time since my last TCG that I was still rocking my UDE membership.

UDE Membership Card

So I went ahead and rejoined the league (for free) and got me a spiffy new card.  Moar dragons!

Cryptozoic Membership Card

Also for signing up, I got a cool new priest deckbox, featuring Dark Pharaoh Tekahn from the Tomb of the Forgotten expansion.

Dark Pharaoh Tekahn Deck Box

And that was pretty much it for the Faire.  I didn’t get to spend as much time there as I wanted to, but I also wasn’t prepared game-wise for it either.  Maybe the next time the Faire roll around here, I will have freshened up my skillz and will finally compete against others for a shot at the World Championship title.  Oh, and also take on Christina Sims in whatever character she shows up as next time, lol.

The next two Darkmoon Faires will be held in Venice, Italy, in February and Dallas, Texas, in March.  Check it out if you live nearby those two areas.

Oh, there is one person I wanted to meet that I didn’t see at the Faire, though.  I wish Jeremy Feasel was there so I could Roshambo him, South Park-style, for that freakin’ Darkmoon Eye!  That bastard!