The Curious Case of Scrolls

I have some fond memories of recovering from a grueling fall semester while laying about in pajamas crafting decks and playing matches online in Scrolls. I’ve been thinking about that time a lot lately, and consequently have been digging up old hobbies (like this blog). So I decided to look up what was new with Scrolls.

A cursory search on the internet revealed the sad truth that, almost a full 2 years ago, PCGamer declared the death of Scrolls. The last update on Mojong’s Scrolls site is dated just 3 months after PC Gamer’s: September 30th, 2015. I cursorily browsed the page, and found this statement repeated several times: “…when the servers shut down on or after July 1st, 2016.” But no definite date for shutdown was given anywhere. So was it…alive?!

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Undead, undead, undead.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Scrolls, it’s a CCG that was launched by Mojang (the Minecraft people!) back in 2014–but it was in beta long before then. CCG is a tough arena to break into. Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone really dominate. But I’ve always had the same gripe with  both of those games.To a certain degree, they are pay-to-win. Can you do reasonably well at both without investing tons of cash? Sure. But can you play competitively at the upper echelon? Well, probably not.

I did pretty well in Magic with a nasty, inexpensive Black and Blue control deck. (Put that back in your hand, ah, no–I’m countering that spell too…etc.) And I assembled a raucous Murloc Pally deck  in Hearthstone that resulted in my muting many an adversary. (THAT’S INCREDIBLE!) But realistically, no matter how hard I theorycrafted or learned all possible moves my opponents could play, the best cards were just locked behind big firewalls. Of course a game needs to make money to be a sustainable venture. But Magic is so, so expensive to keep up with, and I had 0 interest in playing Hearthstone’s “expansions” to basically just get some cards. (Stop blowing smoke up my ass about a “story,” Blizzard, and just sell the damn cards individually if that’s what you mean to do. I played WOW for years and still have no idea what the story was supposed to be about.)

Scrolls was a refreshing answer to this kind of tiresome dynamic, and I relished the chance to try it out. Sure, there were balancing issues throughout. But it was a good game. The question is, was it good enough that people were still necro’ing it (I’m looking at you FFXI)?

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YES!
Just, amaze.

YES!!!! HELL YES!!!!

20 people were playing Scrolls at 6:30 on a Friday night! A full 163 people were online within the last 24 hours.

Scrolls is dead! Long live Scrolls!

 

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