Warstrom offers an enjoyable online simulation of a physical collectible card game with one significant difference.
Warstorm battle strategy is akin to sending off a jumbo jet with autopilot alone – once it’s in the air, there’s no way to make any changes mid-flight.
Basics of Warstorm Cards
Warstorm is played with virtual “cards” which represent heroes, units, spells and artifacts. The game is customizable by selecting one hero to lead a squad of between four and six units.
Fewer units mean that the hero also has slots for the spell cards (which represent a special event) or artifact cards (enhancement cards representing a particular item).
Each unit also has an attack value, which represents the amount of damage they can deal out every turn; and a life value, which represents the amount of damage each unit can take before it is sent to the “dead” pile.
Finally, like most card games, the cards have a way of representing relative “cost.” In the case of Warstorm, cost is represented by wait time. Expensive cards have a high wait time, meaning they sit on the sidelines for turn upon turn doing nothing, but are powerful when they arrive. While cheap cards have a low wait time, but are usually more easily defeated.
Also, most cards have a variety of keywords which lend themselves to particular Warstorm strategies.
Basics of Warstorm Gameplay
All the strategy of Warstorm takes place before even taking the battlefield and consists of putting together a squad or a number of squads that work well with each other. Each unit in the squad must match the affiliation of the hero: human, elf, orc, demon or undead.
When preparing for battle, the player selects between one and four squads to go to war. The program automatically matches the player with an opponent fielding the same number of squads.
After hitting the start button, everything else happens without any action on the player’s part.
One card is drawn every turn, and then is put out on the battlefield after the wait time is over. The units face off in the order they took the battlefield from left to right. As units are destroyed, they cards scoot left to fill the empty slot. If a unit is facing off without an opponent, the attack goes to cut down a large blue bar at the left.
The winner is the player who either eliminates the opponent’s blue bar or leaves their opponent with no more cards to draw.
Reasons to Play and Reasons to Avoid Warstorm
The “autopilot” nature of Warstorm means that it is possible to play games in the background without paying it a lot of attention while working on other projects. A lot of players will certainly find this a positive aspect of the game, and it suits the nature of Facebook. It allows for a large player base without the necessity of all players being online at the same time. And the option to increase the play speed means a player can get through games even faster.
But probably just as many will find “autopilot” Warstorm’s most significant drawback. It completely eliminates any skill and adaptation in the midst of a hard-fought game. And while it has a sort of hypnotizing addictiveness, it doesn’t have the adrenaline rush of winning through wits.
It also has the annoying tendency to tie up valuable units in a slot where they’re worthless, attach artifacts to units that are quickly destroyed or create a rare situation where the battle is unwinnable by either side (for example, one unit on each side doing a point of damage to each other, then turning around and regenerating that point of damage).
Warstorm also does not have a robust card trading area, which is one of the most enjoyable aspects of a collectible card game.
But perhaps the most significant reason for avoiding Warstorm is the awful programming that pops up one window after another if the player trying to exit the program by merely closing out the active Facebook window. It’s like Warstorm isn’t willing to let the player go until they have bought something from the store.
What Real Money Will Buy in Warstorm
Players can purchase “Challenge Coin” with real world money, which can be used to purchase certain in-game benefits. Among these are card packs and high-powered individual cards that may only be purchased with challenge coins (most can be purchased either with challenge coins or in-game silver). The challenge coin can also be used to purchase campaigns unavailable otherwise.
Players may also “earn” challenge coin, but let the gamer beware, many of the “free” offers involve giving up personal information which is sure to be sold.
Despite weaknesses, Warstorm is a good way to kill a few hours on Facebook – as long as the player can overlook pressure to spend and put up with the annoyances.