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Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links (遊戯王 デュエルリンクス) is a free-to-play, digital collectible card game developed by Konami for the iOS, Android and Microsoft Windows platforms, based on Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game. After an initial beta period, the game was first released in Japan on November 17, 2016, and then released to the rest of the world on January 11, 2017. The Windows version was released worldwide via Steam on November 17, 2017.
Duel Links features characters from the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters anime. Seto Kaiba has created a virtual reality “Duel World” in order to gather the best duelists so they can compete. Players first have the option to play as either Yami Yugi or Seto Kaiba. As they continue to win duels, other characters become unlocked, including the character the player did not choose at the beginning.
The game uses a format known as “Speed Duels” which uses the rules of the trading card game with various modifications. Players have 4000 Life Points, Main Phase 2 is removed, the number of monster zones and spell/trap zone is reduced to 3 from 5, Main Deck size is reduced to 20-30 cards each from 40-60 and the Extra Deck is reduced to 6 from 15, and players start with a 4 card hand instead of 5. Players can also use Skills that affect duels in various ways. These effects include but are not limited to adding cards to the hand or field, increasing monster stats, increasing life points, adding cards to the deck at the start of the duel, changing the player’s starting hand, and revealing the contents of face-down cards. The winner of a duel either reduces their opponent’s life points to 0, allows their opponent to run out of cards, or win under special conditions. Players are rewarded with experience points and various items after a duel, with more items earned from winning.
The game has the player in a hub where they can choose various NPCs to duel against. From here they can also access the Gate which allows them to duel against Legendary Duelists. The current stage the player is on will also be displayed. By completing missions within the stage, players can advance to the next stage which will gradually unlock more difficult opponents and Legendary Duelists at the Gate. Progressing in stages will allow the player to unlock Character Unlock Missions as well.
By completing Character Unlock Missions, players can unlock new Legendary Duelists to play as. Legendary Duelists are based on key characters from the Yu-Gi-Oh series, such as Joey Wheeler, Maximilian Pegasus, Chazz Princeton, and Dr. Vellian Crowler. Each Legendary Duelist comes with their signature card and unique skills.
New cards can be obtained for the player’s decks from either Legendary Duelists, the in-game Card Trader using various items or from card packs. Card packs are purchased from the in-game shop using Gems. Card packs can also be purchased with real money via microtransactions. The possible contents of a card pack can vary depending on which BOX the player chooses to buy from. Each card has a probability of being pulled based on their rarity. Common N and R cards tend to have weaker effects, while rarer SR and UR cards have stronger effects. The card pool released at launch includes many cards recognizable from the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters anime. As more BOXes were added over time, the card pool expanded to include many cards from more modern Yu-Gi-Oh sets.
At launch, the game’s format did not include any cards that would facilitate the original card game’s more modern special summoning effects, including Synchro, XYZ, Pendulum, and Link summoning, making the gameplay closely resemble the original Yu-Gi-Oh anime series. On September 28, 2017, GX World was added to the game, introducing many characters and cards from the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX anime series, as well as a focus on Fusion summoning. As of September 25, 2018, the 3.0 update added 5D’S world to the game, introducing characters and cards from the Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s anime as well as implementing Synchro Summoning in the game. On September 26, 2019, DSOD world based on the movie Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions was added. On September 29, 2020, ZEXAL World from Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL was added with the addition of Xyz summoning.
The game also includes a PvP mode where players can duel in real-time with friends, as well as participate in random matches with players around the world. There is also a ranked ladder where players compete for rank and prizes including tickets which can be used to exchange for certain cards.
Special events often occur for a limited amount of time to provide variety and the opportunity to win rare cards and unlock new Legendary Duelists. These events typically have special opponents with goals and missions that must be completed in order to earn the rewards Cards and characters exclusive to events are usually made available outside of the event at a later date.
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