Magic: The Gathering Arena Will Offer a New Way to Play for Beginners and Expert Players
Magic: The Gathering is currently working on its newest area of online gameplay with Magic: The Gathering Arena—a successor to, but not a replacement for, Magic: Online—that will be playable on PC Windows 7/8.1. Right now the game is in online Beta mode, but I got the opportunity to get a close look at the game and what it’s promising to do.
In speaking with Jeffrey Steefel, the vice president of digital game development for Wizards of the Coast and leader behind the Digital Games Studio for the franchises Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons, he talked about their desire to make this the best game it can be for Magic players. Having learned from other attempts to enter the online gaming world, Arena is in still going through these beta phases because it wants to bring the things that make Magic fun (strategy, team building … crushing your enemy with dragons … etc.) to this new incarnation.
MTG Arena will be free to download when it does launch, but if you want to enhance your experience there are in-game purchases for gems, but the developers have said that purchases are not required to get the authentic Magic gameplay. There will be an in-game guide for new players, and in order to get cards, the game offers single-game “Quick Draft” events and best-of-three “Competitive Draft” events. You then gain the cards for your deck by drafting cards from AI 14 boosters and construct a 40-card deck with the cards drafted and basic lands, before playing against other human players.
Arena will not have trading in the game because the developers want to be able to make it easy and efficient to get cards through gameplay, and allowing trading will throw off the balance of allowing players to get in-game rewards at a level that keeps the game fair.
Right now, the more social aspects of Arena are on the backburner because they are so concerned with finding a way to make this version of the game fulfilling in its current format. That’s also why it’s only going to be available on PC at the moment.
One of the things I find compelling about MTGA is that I know a lot of women who really want to learn how to play, but feel intimidated about playing around guys or just dealing with harassment online. The idea of being able to play MTGA without actually needing friends or other people in-person sounds amazing, although for some, that social interaction may be important. Right now, MTGA offers a safe way for new players to engage safely and enjoy Magic on their own terms.
Right now there is no set date for the launch, but as the information comes out, we will share it with you on the site. For those out there who have been wanting to learn how to play Magic, this is a great way to do that, and for those who are already wizards, who want to play the game and give feedback, you can sign up to join the closed beta here.
For those looking to start playing and want some lessons, we, in conjunction with Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, will roll out some related content in that regard later this month, and next week, we’ll have a video of me teaching our social media editor, Rachel, how to set up her Magic: The Gathering deck!
What is your least favorite color combo deck to play within Magic?
(image: Wizards of West Coast)
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