The idea behind Malkyrs is that you have a hero card which you can level up by winning battles and earning favor to spend on becoming more powerful. I got my hands on one of the starter decks provided by Malkyrs Studio so let's try out the beta!
Setting up Malkyrs: Arenas of Eternity is a bit of a hassle. First, I had to download the game from the Malkyrs website which isn't easy because the site is in French. Next, I had to download the Malkyrs Nomad application from the web store and put my phone onto the same network as my computer. Finally, I had to create an account and log in to the game.
This is all well and good but the confusion started when I had to create a deck as I had to scan the cards with my phone and I was confused for a good 10 minutes because I tried to put the card on the front camera, not the back camera. Also, if you have your phone in a leather phone case like I do, don't expect it to read the cards well. In fact, the phone was so inconsistent that I couldn't play the game. Removing my phone from the case made a night-and-day difference. I wish I had the official card reader because it seems much more convenient. Another problem I had was changing the language from French to English as doing so has no effect until you restart the client but I'm sure that this is a quirk of the beta and will likely be fixed before release.
Every time you play a card, you have to scan it with either your phone or the official card reader. Doing so is annoying and there's a delay of at least a second every time you want to play something. What's even more confusing is how the cards don't actually say what they do on them. If you want to find out what a card does, you have to go to the observatory menu then scan the card and it will show you what it does. You can also look at one of your decks that has that card and click on it but it still doesn't tell you what certain keywords do. I had to scan the cards individually to learn keywords like Burn, Bleed, and Paralyse. It's a terrible system that makes deck building a huge chore. What's even more baffling is that there is no in-game collection manager and I don't know why. A collection manager is honestly something that every online CCG should have. Period. Plus, there is still no friends list which is yet another huge problem.
The rules aren't well explained and even after playing through the tutorial, I had to play it again a couple of times before I had a firm grasp. Basically, decks have 11 cards: your hero plus 10 action cards. You and your opponent take turns playing one card per turn. You can play any of your 11 cards on any of your turns so there's no drawing cards like there is in other collectible card games. Once your hero reaches 0 HP, you lose. On each turn, you gain 2 action points that you can spend to play any of your cards. You also have three attributes: strength, intelligence, and resistance. Strength increases the damage dealt with physical attacks, intelligence increases the damage dealt with magic attacks, and resistance reduces the damage you take. You attack simply by playing attack cards.
However, there are some cool things going on. You can play games differently depending on your hero, how you specialised your hero, and what deck your opponent is playing. Let me say that I haven't played Malkyrs nearly enough to have a good grasp on any strategy. Most of the time so far, I've just been dabbling while trying to figure out how to scan cards and how to build a deck. I've also jumped into 10 PvP matches and had a positive win rate. Woohoo! That being said, I'm skeptical how Malkyrs will remain interesting after a hundred or so games. Considering you don't have to draw cards, there's no randomness which can make games play out the same way since you have the exact same available options. For the sake of Malkyrs' longevity, let's hope I'm wrong about this.
Malkyrs seems like a fun game but having to scan cards with my phone and waiting every time I play a card is keeping it from being fun. There are a lot of other annoying issues that need to be resolved, too, like the absence of a friends list and a collection manager.