I’ve got important news for all lovers of Magic: the Gathering and/or deck building video games like Hearthstone. There is a new Magic the Gathering video game coming out! I am a retired MTG (Magic the Gathering) player. I loved building decks but actually didn’t like competing all that much. I tried my hand at a few Friday Night Magic at local game stores. I used to live pretty close to the Star City Game Center for a few years and went there a few weekends. I also traveled with friends to a few big tournaments in other states, but that was mostly as support. As I mentioned, I was never a big fan of actually competing. It gave me sweaty palms. Long stretches of time at home creating a deck was what gave me my thrills.
IMAGE FROM MAGIC: THE GATHERING – WIZARDS OF THE COAST
Anyway, Magic: The Gathering Arena was officially revealed last week. This is going to be available to download and will be free-to-play. The creators of this game are really striving to make it as close to the physical game as possible. The game is actually being developed by Wizards of the Coast’s in house Digital Gaming Studio–with this being their first game. They seem to be very excited about this game and have set high expectations for themselves. The Vice President of the Digital Gaming studio has been quoted saying “We want to create the deepest, richest digital card game on the market, and for it to be as much fun to watch as it is to play.”
Now, I am a little excited, but this isn’t the first Magic: The Gathering video game, not by a long shot. The first was released in 1997, and apparently, Sid Meier (as in Sid Meier’s Civilization) worked on it for a short period during the development. The game was well liked enough by critics, but there was a major flaw in this game: no online play.
Between then and now there has been a list of Magic video games with the latest being Magic Duels. This game was released in July of 2015. This game received mostly positive reviews, however, there has been a sudden uproar. This summer the game was discontinued without previous notice, and this really upset the players of the game who have spent hundreds of hours and real money on this game. When it was announced, the game would no longer be updated they even scrapped an already anticipated update for Magic Duels.
I feel like they could have done a much smoother transition from one game to the other, especially when it’s still going to be a while before the new game comes out. Considering the new game is going to be made in house, I think they are trying to build as much hype and make as much money on possible. That means making sure the old game isn’t making any more money.
That brings us back to this new game, Magic: The Gathering Arena. To create a deep and rich card game, the game will start with the full card sets in Standard as well as be adding around one thousand new cards each year. As mentioned above, they want to make this a fun game to watch as well. The game will be “fast-paced, exciting, and easy to understand,” making it something enjoyable to stream off of Twitch. Wizards of the Coast aren’t shy about trying to create a popular eSport.
The biggest factor for a Magic the Gathering video game is its ability to evolve. Wizards of the Coast is building a new Games Rules Engine (GRE). This is going to be an intelligent program capable of reading any Magic: The Gathering card. The hope is that this will make all types of concepts and in depth game play will be adaptable to the MTG Arena.
Now, this game is going to take a while to be released considering all their lofty goals. However, there are two ways to be able to play before that unknown future date. The first way is the closed beta. Right now you can sign up for the closed beta at here. The invitations will go out in series, with them being able to add more and more people as development moves forward. In the very beginning of the closed beta, the game will focus on casual Constructed play and feature cards from Ixalan. If you want to up your chances of being in the closed beta they offer this option:
You can get priority access to the Closed Beta by participating in an Ixalan Prerelease with a DCI number tied to a Wizards Account, playing in a Magic Online Ixalan Prerelease, or by linking your Magic Duels CSID number to your Wizards Account. Do any of these and we’ll put you in the queue for priority access
The second way to play this game early is through demos being handed out at select events. Hascon, last weekend, was the first opportunity to pick up a demo. We will have to stay tuned to find out where they will be next.
Are you excited for this new deck building video game? I’m pretty excited about the opportunity to compete without having to go face to face with someone. This may be the thing that gets me back into MTG!