A Return to Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms – Gaming Thoughts

Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms by developer and publisher Codename Entertainment Inc.PC - article by Nick.

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

I last discussed this title a few years ago, in a review I did on console. There’s something oddly comfortable about this game – so much so that I garnered all of the achievements on Xbox and got the Platinum Trophy on PlayStation. However, this is a game that was first released on PC, which oddly was a platform I had never experienced it on.

I’m not really sure what possessed me to just randomly up and install it via Steam recently, but I did and found myself falling very easily back into the routines of this title. Now, this game doesn’t go cross-platform. I was starting from ground zero yet again, but honestly? I’m not sure I’d have it any other way. While there were plenty of familiar elements to this combination idle / strategy game that I was once very well-versed in, a lot had changed in Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms over the last few years, and this allowed me the chance to experience some of those changes and adapt accordingly.

I will start with a quick rundown of what Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is (though you can read my prior review for a much more detail description). Essentially, it’s primarily and idle game. Those can come in a lot of flavors, from ‘mash button repeatedly without looking at the screen’ to ‘set things up and let them run for hours unattended’. Technically, this game is closer to the latter than the former, but it’s not really all that hands off. It’s great for when I’m doing some other things, because it can and will run without intervention for minutes (or sometimes hours at a time, like when I go to bed or work). You are always progressing in some fashion, as your characters meet objectives and move to the next level. At the next level they earn more gold. More gold unlocks higher character levels, which make them stronger so they can continue advancement.

At its heart, Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is a lightweight RPG based on – well, the granddaddy of RPG: Dungeons & Dragons. Specifically Forgotten Realms (though interestingly enough, there’s been more Dragonlance references of late in say, their weekly event that’s taking place – more on that later). So you have well-known characters like Bruenor and Drizzt from established Forgotten Realms lore interspersed with characters popularized in shows like Critical Role. These characters are the core to the game as there’s a ton of them, and they all interact with one another and enemies in various ways to aid in progression.

Now, ‘progression’ could be seen as an odd term to use, because you earn tons of gold in each run, only to have it vanish at the end. Your characters level up, but your next run on a new map starts them off at level zero. When I first played Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, this struck me as a bit odd. After all, most RPGs are founded on a principle of gain experience and find loot to make yourself stronger and stronger. However, there are multiple systems in place that create a true sense of progression. Gold disappears at the end of a run, but it turns into a deity’s ‘favor’, and these points allow you to unlock new perks (like the middle row in your formation can do additional damage), or you can sit on those favor points and they work into the math behind the scenes as a gold-earning multiplier on your next run. This of course allows you more money for further leveling up your characters, even if they did start at level one on your next run.

Additionally, there are a handful of characters who can farm some stats that persist through runs and become a core part of their strength over time. Beyond those, there’s also equipment, which slowly but steadily grows in value and level and boosts the character stats as well. So over time, even if your characters start at level 1 each time and your gold is lost with each new run, they all incrementally improve your odds of future success.

Now, I had always had this notion that Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms was a PC-first game. I would read about it from time-to-time during my times playing it on console, and there were characters and updates on PC that hadn’t been released on console yet. However, I now realize that this title simply works better on PC as well. That’s not to take anything away from the console versions, which I had a lot of fun with, but I think if I had started on PC first and then moved over from mouse to controller? I would have found it a somewhat rough transition.

For one, on the console your ‘clicks’ just target whatever critter is closest to your party. There were absolutely times I wished I could click a specific target, but couldn’t. On PC? Use a mouse to target and click – that functionality is there. Also the various menus and shortcut options for leveling and selecting things is a lot smoother. Every now and then on the consoles, things would get into weird states, like swapping chars out of the active lineup to the bench and they would get hung up and force me to start / stop. Lastly, performance issues really dogged the PlayStation in particular back then, forcing me to restart every now and again, or it would stutter and bog down – or even crash. None of those issues crept up on the Steam version of the game.

But what about the game itself? I had mentioned before that quite a bit had changed in three years. While the core mechanics are the same, the cast of characters has grown a great deal. This leads a great deal more strategy in laying things out. One of my favorite aspects of Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is experimenting with new combinations. Also, many of the prior characters have seen tweaks. Some of those are relatively minor, others have seen some significant reworkings. I also appreciate that there’s greater synergy now. There were a handful of groups like the Champions of the Hall or Force Grey out there, but there seem to be more now with stronger ties into those teams. Heroes of Baldur’s Gate seem better than I remember them being back then. Also with more characters come more classes and races, making some of those abilities that tie into a specific race or class easier to pull off now and creating more rewarding combinations.

There is also just more content in general. Two more large regions with their many smaller zones have been added since I last played. There’s also additional zones. Patron variants were already in existence when I last played, creating new and challenging combinations to test players and now there is one more patron that adds even more replay value to the existing zones. Another feature I didn’t experience on consoles before but happened into the middle of when I started on Steam was the idea of ‘seasons’. These come with a purchasable ‘Battle Pass’ component where you can unlock some items for free by meeting various objectives on a daily and weekly basis, but having the battle pass gives you access to even more rewards. It’s optional, and I didn’t feel pressured into buying it – but I did complete most of the objectives (about 70%) despite coming into things mid-season. I’m looking forward to the next one that I can hit from day one.

Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms has always had a strong community tie-in. I had mentioned how popular D&D shows have played into some of the characters that have been rolled out. There’s frequent Twitch streams that the game makes you aware of in case you want to see the passionate team behind the game talking about strategies and upcoming features. Right now there’s a weeks-long event called Fury of the Black Rose. This is an adventure being roleplayed out and shown on YouTube, but one fun feature is Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms lets players vote on some plot elements to be rolled out. You can see how your votes impact the livestream.

As a lifelong Dragonlance fan, I’m kind of stoked to see that this is taking place on Kyrrn, so having characters like Soth at the heart of it, or a daily vote asking if Miria is going to encounter Dalamar the Dark or Raistlin (sadly, my vote was for Raistlin, but he only got 34% - so Dalamar it is) is pretty entertaining for me. It also gives me a sliver of hope that while this is ‘of the Forgotten Realms’ – maybe we’ll get some proper characters from D&D lore in other worlds to show up in-game in the future? Either way, these votes give you Reward Tokens you can spend to unlock more things in the game, and it all just ties in too neatly to that sense of community that D&D really thrives off of.

It would be easy to take a glance at this title and think it’s some sort of lazy fan service money grab, but I think it’s just the right type of fan service. It features the proper IP, but also pulls in a lot of the community’s creativity along the way. It’s a lot of fun seeing locations or creatures from Dungeons & Dragons, even if the presentation is fairly simple with colorful but basic visuals and enjoyable if limited amounts of music (compared to the many, many levels you’ll traverse). It’s a free game with lots of options to pay to speed things up, but eventually? You can unlock most of what you want just through grinding. If you are going to drop a few bucks (which I’ve done on all three platforms now, to help support the clearly passionate devs behind this title), I usually go for the familiars. That auto-clicking is great for when you turn off your monitor and keep the units grinding away at night. Trust me, your mouse will thank you for it.

How long will I be playing Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms in this, my third go-round with the game? Hard to say. It has some nice long legs on it due to the large amount of content, and it’s not super demanding of me time-wise. Often I have it running on a side screen while watching something or playing a console game on my television, poking at my group as adjustments are needed. As such, it’s a fun, comfortable experience that keeps me entertained without necessarily asking a lot out of me at the same time. I can’t help but think that the PC version of the game is probably the best one, and I’m certainly enjoying my return to the Forgotten Realms.


1 comment:

  1. Superb! Really amazed to see your blog post on idle games. I have also heard of clicker games and would love to learn more...
    Plaese share the Clicker Games List with us!


Random posts

Our Streamers

Susan "Jagtress" N.

S.M. Carrière

Louis aka Esefine



JenEricDesigns – Coffee that ships to the US and Canada

JenEricDesigns – Coffee that ships to the US and Canada
Light, Medium and Dark Roast Coffee available.

Blog Archive