Rage of Bahamut

Posted by davidludwig
Jul 16 2012

Alright, time for another installment of “My Phone Monday”! You may recall my previous posting on Zombie Jombie, a wretched excuse for an application with addictive qualities. I did in fact end up deleting that one from my phone, as it proved unworthy of time let alone money. Of course, no sooner did I delete Zombie Jombie, than I curiously encountered Mobage‘s Rage of Bahamut.

If you take nothing else away from this post, then remember that Rage of Bahamut is a free game that you can enter the code lrq89881 at the end of the tutorial in order to gain a lot of bonuses including Rupies (in-game currency) and a rare card, while passing similar benefits on to me.

On to a more involved examination of the game however… I was actually shocked to discover that Rage of Bahamut must be everything Zombie Jombie wanted to be, and nothing more. The underlying mechanics are identical, with time based energy (tracked separately for quests versus attacking other players versus defending against other players) limiting the time you can spend in the game and so limited mechanics that it is a bit insulting to gaming to refer to such things as games.

The difference? I despise Zombie Jombie and I am a fan of Rage of Bahamut.

Rage of Bahamut is a collectible card game for the iPhone and Android with a fantasy theme, and gorgeous artwork. Furthermore it’s free, so collecting the cards just for the art is a reasonable excuse to get the game. I would further be remiss if I neglected to mention that much of the artwork in the game is representative of fine fantasy cheesecake and fan-service–and the cards qualifying as such are well distributed across the factions.

There are three factions in the game. You must choose your faction when you first start playing and never get to change that choice–so there’s a lot of pressure there and you want to make the right choice.

First there is the faction of MAN–the humans in the game with such high tier cards as King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. My understanding is that Men play a little better toward Defense–Offense or Defense can be done perfectly well by any faction, but as I understand it Men have an easier time defending. I’ve also noticed a bit of a rocks-paper-scissors effect where Men have an advantage against Demons, but that may just be my experience. Ultimately this is a good faction if you identify strongly with humanity.

Next is the GOD faction–recommended in no uncertain terms by the game designers as being more beginner oriented and easier to progress through. The Gods are the divine beings, elves and spirits and the like, with such high tier cards as Odin or other mythological deities. My understanding is that the God faction is well balanced between Offense and Defense, and I’ve observed a rocks-paper-scissors tendency for Gods to win against Men. If elves and supernatural creatures generally aligned with goodness are your thing you’ll enjoy playing Gods.

Finally is the DEMON faction–the one I chose to play. Demons are definitely Offensively oriented, it’s much easier to build a strong Attack Deck with Demons than a Defense one (the latter being a constant thorn in my side). The demons aren’t just fiends from the lower planes of existence, but also comprise a significant undead presence and other more generic monsters. High tier demons include dragons like the eponymous Bahamut (who I would have placed as a God personally) and Tiamat, or even Satan himself. In my experience Demons have an advantage against Gods in the rocks-paper-scissors mechanic I’ve experienced.

Another consideration when choosing your faction is that the Treasure rewards you gain from missions vary according to your faction–and by higher level Treasure Collections you will not be able to complete the collection by questing alone. Whichever faction you choose, you will need to battle and/or receive presents from the other two in order to complete your Treasure series. Unlike in Zombie Jombie, where the factions seemed quite arbitrary, the factions have clear themes and flavors in Rage of Bahamut–and those themes do seem to translate into noticeable game-play effects.

There are two or three play modes in Rage of Bahamut; Questing, Boss Fights, and Player versus Player matches.

I spend most of my time in the game questing–advancing a pleasantly sufficient storyline, collecting Rupies, Cards and Treasures along the way. Similar to Zombie Jombie you just select a mission and if you have the Energy to advance you do so–but Rage of Bahamut actually features nice quest screens with a variety of enemies for you to tap on when advancing the quest. You select one of your cards to be you ‘Leader’, and that card is actually featured on screen during quests and provides an appropriate attack animation for defeating enemies.

The actual play is identical to Zombie Jombie, but the additional graphics make it feel more like you’re doing something and your choices as a player matter. It’s the minimum effort level for improving the app in my opinion, but at least they made it and the difference is significant.

It’s best to go into quests with enough Energy to complete them 3 times over, as you spend the requisite energy on each opponent and the reward doesn’t come until the 3rd time. Later missions you may need 4 or 5 times the required energy on occasion, but 3 is a good minimum. I’ve posted a chapter based on the Rage of Bahamut Tutorial from my perspective, and am outlining the other chapters as I complete them with some idea of possibly chronicling the whole thing in Flash Fiction.

The next mode that features after every 5 unique quests is Boss Fights, where your Leader does combat with a single powerful enemy. In this fight you can call on up to two Fellows to add their Leader cards to your forces for the fight–something I haven’t done yet because I’m fiercely isolationist, I imagine it’s not a terrible idea though. In this case the Attack strength of your Leader(s) contributes directly to the damage done to the Boss, and I had a powerful enough Leader that the first several Bosses were all one-shots for me.

I’m now on Chapter 24 and only recently started encountering Bosses where it felt like my Leader had to work to defeat them (selecting your strongest card as your Leader is very good for Boss Fights). Then your Leader’s Defense determines how many hits they can survive from the Boss, and can make up for a lack of Attack power and make it a battle of attrition if necessary. You can also use an Item called Holy Powder to heal during Boss Fights, but my impression is this would be a colossal waste of Holy Powder.

Even more so than another Item, Cure Water, Holy Powder is likely to be undervalued by new players–but is considered profoundly valuable to experienced players. My advice is only use Holy Powder for Player versus Player, or for trading to other players (I’ve found 2-3 Holy Powders a common going rate for Rare cards, don’t even bother wasting Holy Powder on anything less than Rare).

Then the final mode is Player versus Player, where your Attack Deck’s total Attack Strength is compared against your chosen opponent’s total Defense Strength (or vice versa if you get Attacked) to determine the winner. This spices up a little compared to Zombie Jombie with things like Faction Bonuses for playing cards from the faction you chose at the beginning, Skills that may or may not be used in a given fight by your cards with them to increase your side’s numbers or decrease your enemy’s, and additional bonuses that come from joining Orders (if you don’t see the bonus for your faction on the Order’s page when you are considering joining that means they don’t grant it).

Ultimately it is still a direct comparison of numbers with minimal skill involved–but at least the construction and development of your deck is in your hands and significant to the outcome. The ability to both level up and evolve cards allows you to really develop the cards you like the most–and done correctly can result in a significantly more powerful card since cards retain a percentage of their previous stats when evolving, and that percentage increases if the card being evolved is at maximum level.

There’s actually a decent amount of depth to the application, with excellent collect-ability and just enough involvement in the development of your resources that it doesn’t feel like a totally mindless waste of time–though the game experience ultimately fakes a lot of its depth and is more like the inch of water you can drown in.

One thing Rage of Bahamut does very well, which I admit to having mixed feelings on, is encouraging its players to market for it. You may have noticed that I plugged my ‘referral code’ lrq89881 at the top of the page–encouraging anyone who downloads the game to enter it at the end of the tutorial.

I don’t normally go for that sort of thing, but Rage of Bahamut rewards players for recruiting new players to the game quite generously–and gives similar recompense to the joining player. It’s an actual win-win situation, and so I buy in. Then on top of that the game offers rewards to promoting them on Twitter daily, through the application and with preset messages so it’s all very easy. The reward is nice, and the price of tweeting is fairly negligible. Though I do recommend making a dedicated Twitter account for Rage of Bahamut–no sense spamming any real Twitter followers you have with it. This can of course wait until you know you are going to be using the application to Tweet a lot.

Then there are all of the fancy in-game bonuses that make starting a game in Rage of Bahamut a really pleasant experience. You get a free card every day, and can ‘purchase’ more free cards using points you can accumulate daily, and/or by posting on Twitter, and/or by encouraging other players in the game–particularly your Fellows.

Then for starting a game you get a free Rare Card (which the card I got immediately became my Leader, and some evolutions later remains so, probably for the rest of the game). You later get more free Rare cards for beating the first Boss and reaching level 20.

The one place Rage of Bahamut falls surprisingly short is the value for money if you want to put real money into the game. It is a free game, so you never have to put any money in, but at the same time you can buy Card Packs and Items with real money that can really give you an edge in the game.

Unfortunately, similar to Arel Wars, I don’t consider the value for the money appropriate. The purchased card packs are supposed to be at least Rare, I think, but you only get one card per pack and have no idea what it’s going to be. They’ve got some a nice introductory rate of 1 pack for 100 Rage Medals (you can get that for $0.99, though the best economy comes at 1100 Rage Medals for $9.99, after that the larger packs start delivering decreasing value).

I’d happily pay $10 for 11 random Rare or better cards–I think the game is worth that and that’d be a good return for the investment given the power of the Rare cards and odds on getting enough duplicates of a card to evolve it. Unfortunately the price after that first pack jumps to 300 Rage Medals per card, then you’re looking at (including the one-time promotion) 4 Rare Cards plus some change only usable for Items for $9.99… And that’s not quite a good enough return for me to be interested. Maybe if I got to pick my cards, but not for a random draw.

Another SERIOUS limitation of this application is it is played entirely over the Internet. You have to load every single screen from the internet, and anywhere you can’t connect you can’t play. This does offend me, as I feel it partially defeats the purpose of having a game downloaded to a portable device–has been immensely inconvenient at times, and means I can pretty much only play when I’ve got a lot of data to spare or am on a Wifi connection.

Additional information can be found on the Rage of Bahamut Wiki, which I find immensely informative and interesting if a little rough around the edges and unfinished.

My final rating of Rage of Bahamut… Is going to be 4 stars out of 5. 3 stars out of 5, demotion on later reflection. It’s a free game with regular updates and absolutely gorgeous collectable artwork, and just enough in the way of graphics, story and so forth to feel like a little more than it is. Things like the internet requirement hurt it a lot, but for the price it delivers a worthwhile experience.

Because it’s a free game there’s no reason not to try it out and form your own opinion, and if you do please consider using my referal code lrq89881 to net yourself 100,000 Rupies, an Angelic Knight and kick some benefits back my way too.

10 Responses

  1. davidludwig says:

    Upon further reflection I would like add that Rage of Bahamut isn’t nearly as bad about fostering an abusive play environment as Zombie Jombie, but it is still pretty bad. Levels aren’t always a good indicator of a player’s strength, if you attack someone too far below your level you auto-lose, and Skills add an element of chance that make it different outcomes possible within identical match-ups–and all of that is good for reducing abusive behavior and feelings of being abused in-game.

    Unfortunately, the underlying mechanic is still just make big numbers, biggest number wins–and that does lead to players finding opponents they can beat and just attacking the same person over and over again with no recourse for the victim of such abuse. Having been on the receiving end of that and observed its effects I can say unequivocally that it sucks, and made me seriously consider only giving the game 3 stars (repeatedly losing when there’s nothing you can do to break the pattern is never fun) but ultimately that problem doesn’t really crop up until higher levels and in spite of Rage of Bahamut delivering more an excellent illusion of a game rather than a true game I still feel that what the app does well it does well enough to merit 4 stars.

    If it weren’t free to play (or even just not feasible to play free) it would absolutely only be 3 stars.

  2. Anon says:

    Yup, it’s as you say. The match-ups in this game are bad. The game really boils down to the strong getting stronger and a large majority just obtaining sub-par cards for the most part (normal and high normal quality). I suppose there’s really not much improvement that the game developers can do due to the competitive nature of the game.

    Another issue I have with the game is it’s poorly suited for the android OS. It just keeps crashing every so often (seemingly randomly) although it does look gorgeous in the iOS.

    My 2 cents.

    • davidludwig says:

      I guess I got lucky with a good Rare card in the free Legend Pack they give you on starting, I never lost a match until sometime after level 30… Then there was a long stretch where I couldn’t win at all, but now I think I’m getting my deck in order again.

      The real problem is the game is defined by the quality cards you have, not by the quality player you are… So in that framework it would be hard for the developers to do much without cheapening the grind some players have already gone through to get their really good cards.

      Good to know about the Android OS issues, thanks for your 2 cents.

  3. Azure Zan says:

    You are spot on with the abusive play enviroment, I think is one of the main things why I am not sure the game is worth spending time with. Getting all your treasures stolen by the same person or by someone with a fully evolved rare card when you are just level 30 feels awful. I would really have preferred if there was some option to do not take part in the player battles. I think the mechanics of this games are sometimes too similar to facebook games for their own good. Anyway as you say, the art is what sets this game apart from others and collecting the cards is my main reason for playing it. I just wish that the orders and such offered more protection against the abussive play.

    • davidludwig says:

      Yeah, I’m debating dropping the game myself–with the abusive play environment it absolutely is not worth money, but I’ve been debating whether it’s worth time since about when I hit level 30.

      And the comparison to the Facebook games is a good one from what I understand of them. I successfully avoided them on Facebook, but they caught me in the forms of Rage of Bahamut, Zombie Jombie, and Legend of the Cryptids on my iPhone. No coincidence the mechanics are so similar–in fact I’d say identical–because it’s the same genre of ‘game’. I find the very existence of the genre an insult to gaming, even casual games should aspire to much better, but at the same time Rage of Bahamut is still such the high point of the ‘social internet’ genre of games such that I keep wanting to forgive it for belonging to the genre in the first place.

      Ultimately the problem is the set-up where only the good really get better, and with no skill involved beyond selecting/evolving your deck (and even that only goes so far before you need to acquire the better cards somehow) then best case scenario becomes “having no influence over your winning is boring” and the more common worst case is “having no influence over your losing sucks”.

      If there were a better way to get my quick, travel-packaged, fantasy gaming fix then I would delete Rage of Bahamut and Legend of the Cryptids and never look back… But for now I keep giving them another chance and hoping that all the suckage is at least leading to eventual induction into the ranks of those “good who keep getting better”. Feel free to look me up in either game though, I’m Radouigi and can definitely relate to the frustrations of repeatedly losing with no opportunity to shore up your defense or do anything about it at all.

  4. MackenzieDixon says:

    Hi im really confused. I love this gane but when i completed my first boss battle it said I should of got a ledgend card. where is it? I checked in presents, nothing. My owned cards, nothing and for a ledgend card pack, nothing :/

    • davidludwig says:

      My only thought would be when checking presents make sure you check both “presents” and “presents that need verification”–both on the present page, but sort of different tabs there. Sometimes presents will show up on one or the other, but generally if it’s from the game and not another player it will be a “present that needs verification”.
      Alternatively if it was a card pack, check to see if you can buy that card back for 0 coins–because that’s also a possibility.

  5. [...] “Legend of the Cryptids”. You can also refer back to my review of Mobage’s “Rage of Bahamut” because they are essentially the same game. The quick version, for those uninterested in the [...]

  6. Xrum says:

    All New Players …Pls Enter my Code after Tutorial : qaq4711 for 100.000 Rupis an a Rare Card.!!!!

  7. [...] my perspective the genre sort of started with Rage of Bahamut, previously reviewed on this site, which was for a long time the high point of the genre–which REALLY isn’t saying much. [...]

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