Are you ready for a wall of text? Here's a thorough introduction and explanation of Tales of Ice and Fire!
Tales of Ice and Fire is a new system that lets you participate inside the Game of Thrones story like never before. Lead a party of five Sworn Swords to participate in epic Tales from the Game of Thrones books and series, and win awesome rewards. The Tales system is designed to complement the existing game, giving players something to do while they are waiting for AvA, Adventures, Questing, or Production to finish. Tales is also a competitive system, pitting your best Sworn Swords against each other, in a battle to earn the most renown!
The Philosophy Behind Tales
Feel free to skip this if you’re not interested in why we chose Tales over other game systems!
When the GoTA team discussed game systems for Fire and Blood, we knew we wanted to improve the core game experience. One of the pieces of feedback we receive regularly is that there isn’t enough to do while your Sworn Swords are off on AvA, Quests, or Adventures. We’ve heard that feedback since we launched GoTA. We also knew that the core concept of World Events - everyone having a chance to earn some cool stuff - was important, and we also knew that many players don’t view AvA as something that’s interesting to them.
Keeping that in mind, we designed Tales to be:
- Approachable for all players. To do that, we eliminated CP and timers for Tales, and made sure they could be completed in parallel to normal gameplay.
- Competitive without player combat. Unlike AvA, which is our player vs. player system, Tales would focus on how well you built up your Sworn Swords, and how well they did against the challenges we set up.
- Rewarding based on your effort. The more time and effort you invest in Tales, the more rewards you can earn.
- Easily scalable. One of the issues with World Events was that it took a lot of work to set up. Tales require less work on our end, and deliver a more rewarding experience for everyone. This should let us build out many Tales over time, letting us follow the storyline from the books and HBO’s show.
The Tale System
Before we begin, we should define some terms you'll see in this blog post:
- Renown: Renown are the “points” of the Tales system. Earning Renown places you higher on the leaderboards, and unlocks more threshold rewards for your account. Renown resets after a Tale finishes.
- Vigor: Vigor is what lets you participate in Tales. Each Tale attempt costs a certain amount of Vigor, and Vigor recovers over time. You can also purchase more Vigor using gold, or get it through completing Tale attempts.
- Party: You create a party of five Sworn Swords to participate in a Tale. While your Sworn Swords are in a Tale, they cannot be used for anything else, nor can their equipment be changed. Sworn Swords that are busy must be made idle before they can be put into a Tale Party.
- Challenges: Each Tale has five challenges. These challenges increase in difficulty as you progress through them, but also grant better rewards the harder they get. Each challenge has three stages.
- Stages: There are three stages in a challenge. Each stage asks you to slot two Sworn Swords from your party, and pits those Sworn Swords against a difficulty, a specialty (fight, sabotage, etc.), and an attack or defense.
- Tales Keepsakes: Tales Keepsakes are tokens you can earn during a Tale that persist between Tales. You can turn in Tales Keepsakes at the Great Hall for new Tales items!
You participate in Tales by:
- Starting up a Tale.
- Choosing a party of five Sworn Swords.
- Completing a number of challenges, and earning rewards and renown (or losing rewards and renown if you fail a challenge).
- Completing, retreating, or failing the Tale.
- Redeeming any threshold rewards you may have earned.
- Repeating until your Vigor is exhausted.
- Waiting until your Vigor recovers to attempt a Tale again, and rank higher on the leaderboards.
The core concept behind Tales of Ice and Fire is a “Press Your Luck” system. After completing each challenge, you have a choice: Do you take the rewards you unlocked and end the Tale, or do you push on and earn better rewards with the risk of losing what you have already unlocked? The most skilled players will balance buffs and debuffs on their best Sworn Swords, while pushing as far as they can to earn the most renown possible - while being careful not to push so far that they lose everything for that attempt!
Choosing Your Difficulty
Before you even select your Sworn Swords, you have to choose your difficulty. At first, only normal difficulty is open to you. After you complete all five challenges in normal, you’ll unlock hard, and after completing all five hard challenges, you’ll unlock epic. Harder tales give you greater rewards and more renown, so if you want to compete for a top spot, you’ll have to push yourself to complete harder and harder challenges!
As you complete the challenges inside a Tale, their difficulty increases. Even if you don’t complete the entire Tale, the challenges you do complete will increase in difficulty a little bit. When you redo those challenges the next time, you’ll find they’re a little bit harder, but also give more renown for completion. Challenges, however, will never become more difficult than the next challenge in the Tale. So if my first challenge is a difficulty of 40, and my second challenge is a difficulty of 50, my first challenge can never become more difficult than 50. It’s the same with Tales: a normal Tale can never become more difficult than a hard Tale.
You can check your difficulty by clicking or tapping on the crossed-sword icon on the top-right of the Tales screen.
Selecting Your Sworn Swords
Before you start your Tale, you need to select your Sworn Swords. By default, you can see your idle Sworn Swords, but if you’d like, you can see your busy ones as well. Just remember that a Sworn Sword needs to be idle before you add it to a party. The Party screen also tells you what type of challenges you’ll see in your tale. Some Tales might be 50% Battle and 50% Trade, while others might be 50% Battle, 25% Trade, and 25% Intrigue. Make sure you check what type of challenges you’ll face before slotting Sworn Swords into your party!
After you see what you’re up against, you need to pick five Sworn Swords for your party. Use the filtering and sorting to pick your best Sworn Swords, whether you need more fighters, swindlers, or saboteurs, or whether you want more generalized battle, trade, or intrigue Sworn Swords. Regardless of the Sworn Sword you want, you’ll slot them into the party and get ready to head off on your Tale!
Remember, once you begin your Tale, you’re stuck with the Sworn Swords in your party! You won’t be able to change your party until you retreat, finish, or fail your Tale.
Press Your Luck Through Challenges
After completing a challenge, you unlock rewards and renown. These rewards and renown aren’t granted until you either finish the Tale or retreat from the Tale. Finishing a Tale requires that you complete all five challenges, and will unlock the best items. Renown is given for each stage your complete, so successfully completing all fifteen stages will give you maximum renown. In practice, it’s hard to successfully complete all fifteen stages in a Tale, but it’s definitely possible.
After each challenge, you’re faced with a decision: Do I retreat from the Tale and take the items and renown I have unlocked, or do I risk my items and renown for better rewards after the next challenge? That decision is at the core of the system, and is called a “Press Your Luck” system. Knowing when to quit and when to press on is at the core of Tales.
If you lose your challenge, you lose all of your rewards and renown for that attempt. You can choose to retry that chalelnge again for gold, or start from the beginning with Vigor. Remember that retrying is no guarantee you’ll win - we have failed a challenge plenty of times in our testing, even after retrying!
Buffs and Debuffs
Finishing a stage in a challenge will give you buffs or debuffs. These buffs and debuffs are temporary and only ever last for the duration of your Tale attempt. After you retreat, complete, or lose your attempt, they’re wiped from your party. Some buffs give you bonuses for an action, like a +10% bonus to Aid actions. Some debuffs give you negative bonuses for an action, like a -10% bonus to Fight. The most common debuffs are Weary, Fatigued, and Exhausted.
When you use a Sworn Sword in a stage, they become Weary. If you use them in the next stage, they become Fatigued. If you use them a third time in a row, they become Exhausted and can’t be used until they recover. Every stage you don’t use a Sworn Sword, they rest and remove one level of the debuff. So if I have a Weary Sworn Sword and don’t use them in a stage, Weary is removed. If I have a Fatigued Sworn Sword, they move back to Weary, and if I have an Exhausted Sworn Sword, they move to Fatigued and can be used again - though they’ll become exhausted unless you let them recover a bit more!
It’s important to note that your Sworn Swords can die from debuffs in Tales! If your Sworn Sword gets three of the same overall Battle / Trade / Intrigue debuffs, they will die! For example, if your Sworn Sword get Hot, then Heatstroke, the next debuff of that type will kill them. You need to balance your Sworn Swords so this does not happen, or they’ll be unavailable until you replace them. Killing a Sworn Sword is pretty rare, so we don’t think it will happen often … but it is possible.
You can use buffs to remove debuffs from your Sworn Sword. If you have a debuffs that gives -10% to Aid, getting a buff that gives +10% to Aid will remove that debuff. Managing the buffs and debuffs on your Sworn Swords is an important way to keep your best Sworn Swords hitting during the entire attempt.
And lastly, you can have any number of buffs and debuffs.
When you complete a challenge you’re shown the rewards you’ve unlocked, and the renown you’ve gained. You won’t get your rewards or renown until you either retreat from or complete the Tale, and the rewards and renown improve as you complete the challenges in the Tale.
The short rules for rewards are:
- Rewards and renown are unlocked as you complete the Tale’s challenges.
- Rewards and renown improve as you complete more challenges.
- You only get the highest rewards you unlocked.
- You lose all of your unlocked rewards and renown if you fail any of the challenges.
The kinds of rewards you’ll earn for each challenge could include silver, common resources, uncommon resources, Vigor, and Tales Keepsakes. Tales Keepsakes are items that you can use in your Great Hall, trading them for seals, items, and maybe other things that will help you do better in Tales.
Of course, completing challenges aren’t the only way to earn rewards! You can also earn Threshold Rewards and Ranking Rewards.
Threshold Rewards may be claimed when you reach a certain amount of renown. As you hit these renown milestones, you unlock rewards for that Tales. For example, a Tale may have a Threshold Reward at 500 renown. Once I earn 500 renown for the Tale, I can claim my 500 renown reward. Threshold Rewards could include Tales Keepsakes, Vigor, seals, items, gems - maybe even silver or gold!
Ranking Rewards are what you earn for ranking during a Tale. Ranks can be split into groups - you could be part of the Rank 26-50 group, for example, or you could be Ranked #1. Whatever group you fall into at the end of the Tale, you’ll receive those rewards. Rewards are given out once the Tale is completed, and will be given out in the same way as AvA rewards: you’ll see a pop-up with the rewards when you next log in. Since the ranking is for individuals only, Tales rewards will be much better than our AvA rewards. The downside, of course, it that only a handful of people will win them.
Ranking rewards could even include titles or unique items that you can only currently get from Tales of Ice and Fire!
Leaderboards and Competition
Tales of Ice and Fire comes with a fully-integrated leaderboard. Unlike Alliance vs. Alliance Combat, Tales only rewards your individual achievements. You may be part of an incredible Alliance, but it’s your individual effort and renown that determine your place on the Tales leaderboard. For ranking rewards, your place on the Overall leaderboard is what matters, but you can also filter the leaderboard on your friends or your Alliance, letting you see where you stand compared to friends and allies.
It’s important to us that we not let gold dictate who wins a Tale. That’s why we’re keeping gold costs pretty low - in the single digits for almost everything - and making sure that gold never guarantees a win. Gold will give you chances and attempts, by letting you grab some extra vigor or trying a challenge again, but it never guarantees a victory. We’re also making certain that a lot of Tales gear, Vigor, and Tales Keepsakes can be earned by everyone. Using the Threshold Rewards, the Great Hall, completing Tales, and other systems, you’ll be able to get rare and legendary Tales gear, new Tales seals, earn Vigor, and generally get better at Tales.
Your best bet for victory is a well-equipped group of Sworn Swords, balancing buffs and debuffs throughout the Tale, completing the hardest challenges you can. Sometimes you may want to give a challenge another try, or get a few more runs in, but victory is up to how well you prepare, and how skillfully you use your Sworn Swords. All the Vigor in the world won’t help you, if you use your Sworn Swords poorly.
The End of a Tale
Like World Events and AvA, Tales of Ice and Fire are only around for a limited period of time. Right now, we are looking at week-long Tales after Fire and Blood’s launch, giving players seven days to compete for renown. After the Tale ends, your renown is wiped, and you get your ranking rewards (if any) and any unclaimed threshold rewards. Renown is only valid for the Tale you earn it in. Like VP, it is wiped before each Tale, and everyone starts their Tale with 0 renown.
Tales are coming in late April!
Like we announced last Friday, Tales of Ice and Fire are coming to Game of Thrones Ascent in our Fire and Blood expansion. Fire and Blood is coming in late April, so start leveling up your Sworn Swords now, and prepare for Fire and Blood!