Anyone playing Magic: The Gathering Online?

So I was bored, and I found the demo disk from Computer Gaming World lying around, and decided for no good reason try this thing out. But the thing that I can’t get past is the buying of cards that are just pictures on your computer screen. You go to the Wizards of the Coast store, and click on a deck, and it’s $10 for a theme deck and $4 for a booster pack. Plus it looks like there are about a million variations (7th Edition, Torment, Odyssey, and a bunch of stuff I don’t even remember). These prices seem kinda high for something you never get to actually touch. Oddly, I would be more willing to pay several hundred dollars for a MMORPG character than I would be to spend several hundred dollars on virtual trading cards. I have to say, the setup they have is really slick, and a breeze to play.

I would have played MtG:O in a heartbeat if they had announced a pricing plan that wasn’t COMPLETELY FUCKING INSANE. The whole reason I stopped playing MtG in the first place was due to the fact that you had to spend several hundred dollars a month just to not be a speedbump, let alone be competitive.

I was in the beta, and as soon as they announced the pricing plan, I deleted the game from my system.

The sad thing is, there are reports of people that have already spent up to $3000 on cards. Catass ahoy!

I was hoping that for about $50 we’d get a generous selection of cards. In fact, I was hoping for a base set of cards that would be identical so that the games would be more decided by deckbuilding and gameplay than the willingness to fork over $$$ for more cards.

That was the nice thing about the Microprose version. Everyone had the same cards.

I downloaded it more to exercise my DSL muscle than out of any real enthusiasm. I’ll probably want the HD space back soon and never actually fire it up. would love to have seen AI opponents and free access to cards for single-player after a registration fee, basically similar to what was in the MicroProse game a few years ago.

Same here. I played in some tournaments and held my own back in the early days. I simply could not keep up with the kids (and adults) with never emptying pockets. Why in the hell would I go back to it for something I cannot even touch? I mean, I guess you can still call it “collectible” if you are collecting bytes, but it certainly is not a CCG anymore.

And wowweee!!! They are going to let you exchange for real cards… if you get a WHOLE SET! They really do care about their customers after all.

The nearly constant release of expansions, I am sure, has nothing to do with gouging customers. It is all about expanding the MtG universe and enriching the player’s experience.

Garfield came up with a great game which has been ruined by the ever present need to bilk folks.

WotC obviously was worried about the online game sucking away revenue from the physical card game if the pricing was different.

It’s a shame they had to treat it like that. I guess you could buy one theme deck a month for $10 and build up a nice collection of cards that way and contain your expense somewhat. I’d be worried I’d have the urge to start buying boosters, though.

Yeah, but there were signs of this problem in the beta, even before the pricing issue. Since all cards were free in the beta, I grabbed some 4000 of them to build my decks.

I still got stomped by people who had built decks out of extremely rare combinations of cards.

I really think they nailed M:tG online. The interface, the cards, the playability is top-notch. I especially enjoyed the multiplayer aspects (more than 2 players). It’s a shame that the card availability issues will prevent me from ever playing it online again.

Yep! I tried to only purchase cards with cash when I was hooked to ensure that I did not go overboard. It will simply be too easy for kids with their parent’s credit cards and me with mine to click “purchase” another five times to get some “good” cards that I did not get in my first ten packs and 3 starters.

I wonder if you can get Fallen Empire boosters for $.50 a pack like in real life. But four bucks a pack! I don’t think I’m about to spend another $1000 on cards, when (a) they’re not even real and (b) they’d pretty much be the same cards I play with my buddies. No, if I’m gonna play cards, I’ll play cards. If I’m going to play online, it’ll be a “real” computer game.

It seems on average I’ve been buying about two games a month, last month it was AOW2 and NWN. This month it’ll probably Warcraft III (as if there was any doubt) and UT 2003 when they come out. Anyone else excited about the new Unreal this month? (Assuming, of course, it doesn’t get pushed back.)

Why does .001 cents worth of cardboard seem so much more valuable to people than .00001 cents worth of diskspace on WOTC’s servers? They’re both about equally worthless. I guess if you bought a million cards, a difference worth noting might emerge. Although the monetary imbalance in that case would clearly be outweighed by how much easier the online version makes it to hide the embarrassing fact that you own so many magic cards.

I think the difference is the feeling kicking around in the back of your head that someday the current version of MtGO will be obsolete or otherwise terminated. Then what have you got? At least with cardboard, you can shove them in a box and look at them years after you stop playing. Even if you could retain the virtual cards on your hard drive, would you find it as interesting to flip through them later on? Would you specifically save those files as you upgraded your home rig or would you not think it worth the trouble? Both cardboard and disk space may be worth a fraction of a cent, but gamers (particularly those who buy a game a month or more) know how transient disk data is.

I started playing Money:The Squandering back in '93, it was just after 3rd ed. was released. My buddies and I played for about two years, then we all got bored. The cards all were packed up. Last year, I come from work and there my roommate and a friend of ours were going the boxes of boosters they had just bought. I sighed.

“You’ve gotta be fuckin’ kidding me.” I said. I resisted, for about a day. Then I went and blew $90 on a box myself. We played for about eight months. We started buying boxes of boosters on Ebay, usually for under $60. Eventually, we stopped playing regularly again. Now it’s sort of a once a month deal.

I imagine there are a lot folks out there with similar situations. Personally, I can’t see the online game doing too well. There’s too much competition from other “real” games. (As opposed to a simulated card game.)

You can also play Magic online via Apprentice. It’s freeware and doesn’t support graphics, as I recall, but if you know your stuff you can play.

We used to sell Fallen Empires boosters for $0.19 or so at EB when they really fell out of favor. Picked up a whole box or so for cheap.

Is Apprentice still going? Always thought WOTC would crush it, way back when. 96 I guess.

Let’s face, this pricing scam of WOTC sucks giant cow teats. Yes, let’s make the player pay the exact same for virtual cards he won’t ever get to hold in his hand. Now if WOTC would send you real versions of the cards you buy online (plus a generous shipping cost so they can make a few extra bucks) now THAT might make it well worth the effort to spend money to play online.

— Alan

Well, I have to eat my words. The more I play Magic the Gathering Online, the more I like it. It took me a little while to get over the hump on the real money/virtual cards thing, the interface, the database (don’t get me wrong–I still like holding real cards), but I’m getting those old-time Magic feelings again. I’m cutting up my credit cards in a preemptive move.

Agreed. The interface is flawless and friendly, and the leagues (and to a lesser extent the sealed deck tourneys that run 24/7) allow people to compete on a fair level without dropping hundreds of dollars. I’ve found myself sucked in like a crack baby, buying more cards without thinking about it because I want to sign up for ‘one more league’ (I am in or have been in a total of 4 in this short time… sigh).

I’ve only played one or two constructed matches and got schooled in them, so leagues do me just fine for now.

Your points are exactly why I am not playing. If I get the notion to start up, I just open up my closet and pull out the dusty binders and boxes with my “real” cards in them. Then I think, “Oh yeah, that is why I quit.”

By the end of my Magic career, our group had pretty much given up on constructed decks. We’d get together ten or so people every couple of weeks, all pitch in fifteen or twenty bucks, buy a box of boosters, and have a sealed deck tourney. Twenty bucks for a long evening of entertainment was a good deal. At the end of the evening, most of us just gave the cards to whoever was still hording them. Sealed deck play creates a spending cap and helps keep the casual players competitive with the hardcore people.

I wish the online version would make some sort of budget-priced sealed deck option. Maybe pay three of four bucks to enter and get your cards, but you don’t get to keep the cards afterwards.

So sealed deck works like it would in the “real” world? You have to buy a new deck each time you want to enter a tourney? With the whole virtual thing, it makes complete sense that I should be able to pay five bucks to play in a tournament but not get the cards to keep when it’s over. That’s how this whole computer thing differs from the real thing. It should be a strength of the online game but instead it sounds like a hinderance?!


If you have restraint and treat Magic Online like an MMOG, you can buy one premade deck each month for $10. After a few months you’ll have a nice selection of cards, and you’ve paid what you’d pay for EQ or another game like that. Of course it’s very difficult not to buy boosters once you’re hooked.