Preview: Magic the Gathering Tactics

Greg Tito | 28 Dec 2010 19:30
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You can buy and sell individual spells on the Auctionhouse. Again, Sony is really trying to figure out how to best set this up, but players will be able to place a spell on the market for a specific price. There will be no bidding, another player can choose to buy the spell at the price you set or not. Obviously, rare spells will garner more value than commons, but it will be up to the marketplace to determine prices. The question is whether smaller denominations of money will be possible; one problem from Magic the Gathering Online is that the smallest form of currency available is equal to $1 in value so that means that the common spell market was virtually non-existent. SOE is trying to avoid that problem.

The single player campaign features chapters of 5 missions each and tells a brief story, but then present you with a set challenge and objective. The missions usually do more than just force you to kill everything, in some battles you need to activate objects on the grid, say, to send a huge ass demon back to the hell from which he came. Not only are the campaigns the best way to get used to the interface and the rules changes, playing through them is also a good way to test out new spells books before entering the fray versus real human opponents.

Competitive multiplayer battles are the focus of MTGT with one-on-one matchmaking, draft and bracket type tournaments. There will be a fee for joining draft tournaments, but you will also get to keep the spells you draft so even if you lose you will get something. SOE promises that there will always be tournaments running and that they will be set to go as soon as the requisite number of players has joined. The community team will even set parameters for competitions, such as the player who wins the most matches with a red spellbook or only flying creatures.

From what I've see, Magic the Gathering Tactics plays just like you might expect. Expert players with access to a lot of spells will easily outplay noobs with starter decks, but it's tons of fun to play. There are enough nods for Magic players, with classics like the Shivan Dragon and Prodigal Pyromancer, and the tactical turn-based combat exercises your brain. It will be interesting to see whether SOE will perfect the economics so that this free-to-play game will resonate with Magic players, collectors, and tactical wargamers alike.

Greg Tito casts Pyroclasm, bitches.

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