Interview: HEX Lead Developer Dan Clark talks about the first MMO Trading Card Game

The very concept of a massively multiplayer online trading card game (MMOTGC) blows my mind. A game that keeps all the traditional aspect of an MMO that we love and know but throws a TCG rubric on top of it? PvP that is fought with cards and strategy and not just gear and healers? This is exactly what Cryptozoic Entertainment’s HEX: Shards of Fate is. This concept is so simple that I’m amazed it has never been done, yet it's so deep when you get down to the bells and whistles.

This TCG will be 100% digital. You’ll build your own decks, trade, have power ups, and participate in raids. Champion characters, talent trees, and leveling are all present in HEX, and you can play with complete strangers or with friends only. You’ll be able to collect cards and upgrade them in unique manners to fine-tune your deck to be exactly how you want it. Why not build experimental decks and test them out on your friends? Maybe you've got something there.

HEX is currently on Kickstarter with a modest initial goal of $300,000 to get it going. This thing took off though. Like, REALLY took off. With 14 days left, HEX almost has a million more than what they were looking at the start. Talk about snowballing.

I got to opportunity to interview HEX’s lead developer, Dan Clark, about this momentous title. I promise there is talk about ice cream sandwiches. Also, check out the official Kickstarter page and fund it if you like what you see.

GameZone: What exactly is HEX?

Dan Clark: HEX is a MMOTCG. Taking some of the best parts of both worlds and adapting them to be interesting and exciting for people that would enjoy one or the other and allowing every player to tailor their experience into whatever they will enjoy the most. HEX is immensely customizable; one of the favorite parts for players in both MMOs and TCGs is having a feeling of ownership over their game and what they create. From champion selection to talent trees to being able to make you own card with socketing, there are many ways that HEX is really giving players the chance to feel ownership over their creations and improving the experience for the players.

GZ: Where did the idea for HEX stem from? How long have you had a project like this in mind?

DC: Cory Jones originally conceptualized this project 3+ years ago as the game he would love to play. Once he had the initial concept, Cory and our team thought of all the features we would love to have, why they appealed to us, and how to best make them work, all the time keeping in mind the core concept of “would we love to play this game or feature?” The amount of passion everyone on this team has for games, whether it be video, board, card, RPG, or miniature games, helps us bring those disparate experiences and mold them together into something that has broad appeal. We think players are really going to love it.

GZ: What games inspired you for this project? 

DC: I have played TCGs for a large portion of my life. I started in the 3rd grade playing Star Wars: Customizable Card Game, which is probably one of the most complicated card games that have existed. Learning the most complex games as a start made other games afterwards quite easy to catch on to. Jumping around from game to game allowed me to pick up on different interactions and the effects it has for players experience and learn lessons to carry forward in ways to execute the best parts of gaming and avoid the negative.

GZ: Can you explain how PvE will work in a TCG? 

DC: PvE will be the perfect place to hone your skills or just enjoy the game and the story. PvE is divided up into dungeons that you can explore and experience multiple encounters per dungeon. You will have 3 lives per dungeon to make it to the end, where if you lose three times you will have to start over. But how you go about each dungeon with your deck and champion will vary wildly. Each card has equipment that allows you to modify the card in different ways; your champion can be equipped with 6 different equipment to enhance your cards. You can also choose different talent trees for your champion to have games play out in varying ways.

HEX - Stages of Levels

GZ: Will there be guild vs. guild PvP?

DC: Yes, we want to promote the community as much as possible, and having feuding guilds is definitely a good way for players to feel a sense of community and be able to compete against other groups that want to support their guild as much as you want to support yours!

GZ: Could you further explain the ‘Champion Character’ and the customization for it?

DC: I touched on this a bit on PvE gameplay, but champions will be another place where you decide how your experience will get to play out. You can choose faction and then race (male or female), then class, and a talent tree is available for each class. After that, you can collect equipment from playing through PvE and equip them to your character to enhance the power of cards in your deck.

GZ: What role will factions play in HEX?

DC: The factions allow players to choose a side for the war that has been occurring on the world of Entrath. You can choose to use the cruel and mysterious Underworld, or fight for the Ardent who look to stop the attacks of the underworld. Each troop that is a member of either faction is tagged as such and will be used by other cards that reference Ardent or Underworld troops that will be something that will be featured more and more as sets go on.

HEX - Armor Card

GZ: How will the auction house work?

DC: Players will be able to list their cards, packs, equipment, and anything else they have that is tradable in-game via our robust Auction House. A series of filters will allow players to quickly find what they are looking for. Things can either be listed for Gold (or in-game currency) or Platinum (our premium currency).

GZ: Do you foresee/have interest in making HEX a competitive eSport game?

DC: Yes, absolutely. This will be the perfect game to be streamed and cast for others to enjoy and get into. This is another way that we feel will be great for the community and driving of the game.

GZ: The fans and community really seem to want HEX, and it's been picking up a ton of steam. Any idea what the stretch goals are beyond the current ones?  

DC: Ice cream sandwiches? I kid.

We have many ideas for where we want to take HEX and add in as additional features in the future. Some we are unveiling now, others will be once the game takes off. There is a lot of content for players to experience at launch and the following months, so we want to give them a chance to experience those and then add as the game continues. We are so happy to see how excited people are for the release of the game and cannot give enough thanks to everyone spreading the word and backing us on Kickstarter. This game and the extra features we are adding wouldn’t be possible without the people and the community that are rallying behind this game.