Beta News, Indie Dev Supershow, and METRIS!
It's been an awesome few days since the beta started! We've handed out over 150 keys, been featured in a few great blogs, and played a ton of War of Omens! A huge thanks to everyone who's played, shared, and given us feedback. We greatly appreciate everyone's participation.
Below you'll find some of the great coverage of War of Omens, but before that, I wanted to mention the Indie Dev Supershow! War of Omens is going to be featured on this awesome weekend-long Twitch stream at 9:00PM PST (12:00AM EST) on Saturday, January 11th. You can find the website for the Supershow here. Please tell your friends and watch us on Saturday! We'll be giving away beta keys and chatting with you guys for as long as we can!
One thing I wanted to mention before I go into Metris is that we added card zooming yesterday. This was by far the most requested addition since we launched the beta, and we were able to turn this into a feature in a matter of days. Working directly with the community, addressing concerns, and making the game you guys want to see is ultimately why we went to Kickstarter in the first place, and it feels great. Thanks so much for the feedback.
... But the video is better.
I also wanted to remind everyone that War of Omens is in early-access beta! If you backed us at $10 or above, request a key in the comments section and jump in!
Now, onto the main event... METRIS!
Metris is the remnant of an ancient society, now scattered across all of Ausonia. The people of Metris live among the other nations and societies of Ausonia in exile, guarding their culture and operating in absolute secrecy. Knowledge of Metris' ancestry and ancient secrets is their most coveted treasure; no one knows they exist, and anyone who stumbles upon their society is quickly and quietly dealt with.
All agents of Metris serve a hidden library, said to house all of Ausonia's knowledge. This ancient library is so secret, and its treasures so valuable, that only a handful of elite Metris know where it is. Most people of Metris will live and die having never seen it. Indeed, those of Metris know little about the culture they so fiercely and fanatically protect. Superiors gift their subordinates with very little knowledge of the plans or grand schemes they're taking part in, and layers upon layers of subterfuge and deception are the norm. Lying is as natural to an agent of Metris as breathing, and they're just as likely to mistrust a stranger as they are one of their own ilk.
At the core of Metris' philosophy is a belief in balance. Because Metris is scattered throughout the nations and societies of Ausonia, they seek to maintain the delicate political and military balance of the world, watching and striking from the shadows wherever and whenever necessary. Ultimately, Metris places Metris above all else, and it is of the utmost importance that no one trace an agent back to any of the crimes they commit. Metris has no armies or castles of its own, so its methods are brutal but efficient: assassin's blades are just as common as hidden bombs, and Metris is not above inciting terror and devastation to achieve its goals.
In-game, Metris functions differently than either of the other two factions: cards are not shuffled into the inventory for re-use. To convey Metris' guerrilla nature and the fact that they control no armies or keeps of their own, Metris does not build strength as the game progresses. Every card you purchase is a single-use only that is destroyed after its effect resolves. In this way, the strategy for Metris is to strike quickly and decisively, decimating their opponents before they have a chance to build strength.
Metris is about control and subversion. Many of its cards are designed to weaken the enemy or use their strength against them. On offense, Metris makes use of bombs for huge explosions of damage, plus poisons and assassin strikes for smaller strikes. For control, Metris can steal resources or even cards from their opponents. They can make troops switch sides or pit troops against one another. On defense, Metris can deflect attacks and even take whole other turns to the detriment of their opponent. Foes of Metris must possess patience and carefully watch the board, keeping track not only of the options available to Metris, but any weaknesses or opportunities they themselves present for exploitation.
Here's what Gabe Jones, creator of War of Omens and designer of Metris, has to say about playing them well:
"The central mechanic of Metris is destroy on play. That means that your inventory is never enriched by your purchases. Your call to action is to defeat your enemy before they can grow, prevent them from growing, and steal their growth by using their cards against them. Playing Metris well is all about careful observation and timing. You need to be very aware of how your opponent's deck works and what cards they have bought so that you can make the right decisions on how to best upset it. Metris also has ways of reversing their race against time. With cards like Arsenic, Ransack, Infiltrate and Misinformation, you can permanently affect the rest of the game."
Each faction in War of Omens has a single, dedicated artist, who designs their style and ensures the aesthetic cohesion of the faction. Jeremy Vinar is in charge of Metris:
"Because the agents of Metris exist hidden within another culture, their clothing decisions had already been made by Colin, the Vespitole artist. The faction really gained its aesthetic from the color and texturing of the illustrations. The lighting was cool blues, purples, and greys, with a cool rimlight, because they carry out their attacks by moonlight and down dark alleys. Over the images is overlaid various scratched metal textures, so that they have a harsh, worn quality, like the blade of a well-used knife."
Now that we know more about Metris, let's take them into a game.
For this game, we're using Valdorian and the starter deck that every new player has access to in the current early-access beta build. Valdorian's power is a 20% chance to steal a card on the start of his turn, which fits perfectly with Metris. On top of that, we're going to take:
- Satchel Bomb
- Curry Favor
This deck is balanced and basic for Metris: there's instant damage, delayed damage, some good control and subversion options, and some defensive options.
This game is actually a great demonstration of both the strengths and weaknesses of Metris. For the first half of the game, I was pretty much in control. I was getting hit, but I was hitting harder, and I had Sofocatro right where I wanted him. At one point I get him down to 3 health with 2 skulls, but... I just wasn't able to finish him off. Metris has to strike quickly and keep their opponent under control at all times, because Metris doesn't grow like the other two factions do. Because I wasn't able to deal with Sofocatro and finish him off, he's able to expand and grow his inventory, and he mounts a pretty surprising comeback. As you can see in the video, I get him close quite a few times, but I'm just not able to deliver a killing blow, and eventually the tables completely turn. At the end, there's just nothing I can do. The end game of this one was brutal for me.
It's also worth noting that I played 4-5 games before this one, and they were all decisive victories. Not a lot separated them from this game; another damage somewhere, or maybe one less mistake. Metris has to strike hard and fast to avoid dealing with unchecked growth, but if they can, they can wrap up games quickly.
That's about it for us today! You'll be hearing from us pretty much every day until the Kickstarter is over, so help us spread the word! Take to Twitter, Facebook, and your favorite gaming websites, and tell the world how awesome War of Omens is! And if you haven't requested your beta key yet, leave us a comment and do so.
- Jace (and the rest of Fifth Column Games)
(...How I feel every time we get a backer)