As most Elder Scrolls Legends fans know, the upcoming Clockwork City expansion is set to release on Thursday, November 30. Earlier this week, I had a brief opportunity to play through the expansion and check out all of the new cards. During this preview I’ll only be able to discuss the first chapter of the story campaign. However, I will be showing off all of the cards in the expansion and discussing a few new gameplay mechanics.
Return to Clockwork City: Mini-Spoiler Alert
If you don’t want to know anything about the upcoming expansion or see any of the new cards then please stop reading here. For those who only want to see the cards, simply check out the slideshow gallery below. If you don’t care about spoilers then keep reading. I’ll only be discussing the first chapter and will keep things vague to not ruin all the surprises.
Like the rest of the Elder Scrolls Legends campaigns Return to Clockwork city will be told through a story. After a brief introduction, another tale will begin surrounding the Forgotten Hero where players will be teaming up with an old friend: Swims-at-Night. Long story short, Swims-at-Night heard about an opportunity to get into the Clockwork City of Sotha Sil. In order to gain access, he needs your help to track down a magical ring.
If you’ve played through The Fall of the Dark Brotherhood then there will be no surprises as to how this campaign is laid out. Each chapter will have a cutscene followed by a few mission options that create a ‘choose your own adventure’ type feeling. Sometimes you need to complete all of the missions to advance to the next segment but other times certain portions can be skipped. Obviously, you can go back to complete any challenges that you might have missed and collect the card rewards.
The first act will have you tailing treasure hunters, fighting werewolves, meeting up with the Thieves Guild, and even getting yourself thrown in jail. Some of the quests will also have choices upon completing them that may or may not affect progression. In total there are 3 acts with 35 normal and master missions.
I personally like the way that Elder Scrolls Legends handles these story expansions. They’re very similar to the Adventures in Hearthstone, but being able to choose your path makes things feel more interactive and many of the new cards play into the flavor of the story.
Cards and Mechanics
Each of the five main attributes receives 8 new cards (1 legendary, 1 epic, 2 rare, and 4 common) while the neutral aspect gains 18 cards (2 legendary, 4 epic, 6 rare, and 6 common). Overall, that’s a pretty good deal for 3,000 gold, or $19.99, based on the fact that you get 7 legendary cards alone. For the same price it’s highly unlikely that you would pull the equivalent amount of epics and legendary cards out of 30 packs.
Even though there is a sprinkling of many races and archetypes from the Elder Scrolls, such as goblins and werewolves, the main focus for Return to Clockwork is the neutral attribute and Fabricants. Each main attribute has access to its own Fabricants, hybrid metal and flesh creatures, that gain a bonus if you control a neutral card on the board already. For example, Nix-Hound Fabricant is a 3/3 Agility creature with Drain that shackles an enemy if you have a neutral card in play.
Despite the decent bonuses that many of the fabricants receive, I’m not sure if they’re good enough for any serious play. Sure, getting two 3/3 creatures for four Magicka or an 8/8 for five Magicka sounds nice, but that requires playing a weaker neutral creature in the first place and making sure it lives. However, there could be some synergy with cards like Forsaken Champion. It will definitely be interesting to see what kinds of decks high-level players can put together to see if these actually work.
The Factotum are the really interesting cards of the expansion. They start off extremely weak but the more you play the stronger they get. There are currently five Factotum cards and four of them come with the Assemble ability. Assemble lets you choose one of two abilities and it applies to all Factotums in your hand and deck. For example, if you play Assembled Sentry (1/1 for 2 Magicka) and choose the +0/+2 ability then all Factotums in your deck get +0/+2. Once you’ve played a few of these they start to get very powerful for their cost.
The biggest problem with Factotum is that at max they will only comprise 13/50 of a single deck. That makes drawing them the biggest problem, but there is also zero variety in card options because you essentially have to run them all. For a starting point, this is a cool new mechanic but it would benefit greatly from at least a few more cards. Additionally, the Reflective Automaton is quite interesting on its own because it becomes every creature type. That’s means a 2-cost dragon!
The other new ability is Treasure Hunting, which provides bonuses for drawing certain cards. Overall, treasure hunting feels a bit gimmicky due to the difficult requirements of some cards. Aldora the Daring requires drawing an action, creature, item and support in order to get a +6/+6 buff. She does summon or buff her pet Skywag each time she finds a treasure but it’s fairly unlikely someone will complete the entire quest. On the other hand, simpler cards like Relic Hunter, which gives +1/+1 to items drawn, seem a lot more consistent and useful.
Elder Scrolls Legends: Return to Clockwork City will likely be a fun experience for players who enjoy the game’s lore and the overall value of the expansion is pretty good for the cards given. While I’m not sure if the new mechanics will be strong enough on their own to build a deck around, there are still a few standalone cards that seem quite powerful. Excavate is finally giving Intelligence discard draw. The Mechanical Heart gives Willpower a second life. Hallowed Deathpriest preemptively takes care of your opponent’s big creatures. Mostly, however, I’m hoping that we’ll see more Fabricants and Factotum in future sets so that we can see some really crazy decks.
Elder Scrolls Legends: Return to Clockwork City will be available on Thursday, November 30. There will be three acts that cost 1000 gold or $7.99 each. Alternatively, all three acts can be purchased at one time for $19.99.Related: Bethesda, CCG, Elder Scrolls Legends, Preview, Return to Clockwork City