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  • Writer's pictureRock

Upgrades & Additions

So, let’s talk cards for a moment, shall we?

Three types, Attack, Skill and Heroic, to choose from and we’ll talk about building decks as we see more and more of the cards at a later date. Today, though, I’d like to talk about Upgrading cards and Additions that it seems you can add. Both can make even a mediocre seeming card a game-changer, and a normal card that seems powerful in its original state into an absolute must-have in your arsenal.

So, Upgrading first. This will boost a card in a variety of ways. It could add to the basic number on the card (whether that is damage, block, turns of an effect - either positive for your team or a negative one for enemies), reduce the cost, make an existing effect more powerful (changing Knockback to Forceful Knockback, for instance) or remove a detrimental effect (such as ‘Exhaust’, which means once you play that card in a combat, it is consumed and can’t be used again). That last one, getting rid of ‘Exhaust’, is perhaps one of the more powerful upgrades you can get, since any card with that particular effect is normally so effective that it’s designed to be used only once per battle. Being able to draw and use it again means you get a battle-changing card over and over again, so watch out for that one!

Additional abilities, especially ‘Quick’ (if you KO an enemy, refund a card play) would also be one to prioritize, as the more cards you play, the less enemies to worry about. I’m not sure how often abilities will be an effect of upgrading, but it’s something to look for as more and more cards and their upgraded versions are revealed.

This is not to disparage number additions for an upgrade choice, either. The difference between one turn of Weak (opponent does half damage) and two turns is far greater than a simple ‘+1’ appears. The same goes for other effects that the cards can give, both positive ones for your team and negative ones for the enemies. Being able to stack buffs and debuffs should not be foreign to anyone that’s played even the simplest of video games in the last 15 - 20 years, and the advantage of having those buffs/debuffs last longer is obvious - not having to worry about/waste another turn/card play next turn in reapplying it. Thus, it’ll give you far more options the turn after and having options in a Turn Based game is more precious than diamonds or jewels. And there is reducing the cost of a card. In Midnight Suns, this will only apply to Heroic cards, but since Heroism is going to be a resource that is meant to be gained and spent every turn, this could be one of the most important upgrades you can get. Being able to play multiple Heroics, which seem to be a sort of ‘finishing move’ play, could clear out a wide swath of enemies or let you complete the goal of the mission exceedingly quickly. And Heroism is also used to interact with the environment, allowing damage and crowd control of your enemies without using any cards at all!

So, Upgrading will be EXCEEDINGLY important, and will have a cost. Whether it is restricted by the ingame resources we’ve seen (the various ‘dusts’ we’ve, one type for each type of card) or if you’ll be limited to how many cards you can upgrade at a time (or only one per day?), be sure that you WILL have to make choices here. And they ain’t going to be easy ones, that’s not how Firaxis builds games. We still don’t know how new cards will be acquired, either, so it might turn out that the cards you find/gather will influence which of the other heroes you begin to choose to take on missions with you. Blade may not be your favourite hero, but if you get an uber-killer card for him, already upgraded… well, maybe he’ll soon become one of your favourite heroes!

Finally, a quick word about Additions to cards. The fundamental difference between Upgrading and Addition (so far as I can see) is that Upgrading will add/subtract to something that is already on the card. Additions will add something extra, which could include an ability or effect, and that can make even the most mediocre card into a must-have in your deck. Just adding ‘Quick’ (refund a card play if you KO an enemy), for example, would make a card that might seem unimpressive into one you include and play every mission. It could add other effects as well, of course, or copy some of the things that an Upgrade will do. But the important difference here is that you will be able to do BOTH to a card. Upgrade it and Add-on to it. Even if both of these do the same thing (increase damage for instance) that one card will become one of the more powerful plays you can have. Make no mistake, this will be one of the deepest parts of the game. Deciding what cards to Upgrade and Add-on to, what ones to prioritize for such treatments, which heroes you’re using and if you’ll need to switch them as the game progresses because you found a new card for a hero you’ve been ignoring… All of these will come into play. It’ll be a nearly infinite variety of choice and sometimes agonizing decision-making, and you’ll find some surprising combinations purely by accident as you play and replay Midnight Suns. It is, honestly, one of the things I am getting more and more excited about as we learn more about what cards will be available, what they’ll do, and what each heroes’ specialties will be. I can’t wait to experiment, and see what all of you come up with as well!

- Rock

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