Tobold's Blog
Friday, March 29, 2019
MTG Arena - Second Chance?

While I had a look at MTG Arena during the beta, I at that point considered the game unplayable, because it didn't have a PvE option. Magic the Gathering basically invented the Pay2Win principle a quarter of a century ago, long before anybody even thought of the use of that principle in computer and mobile games. Any online version of Magic that only offers competitive play against other humans is just a gigantic trap, which will lead to you either spending lots of money, or giving up in disgust after being continually trounced by people who spent more on the game than you did. And of course in any online PvP game you will have to deal with other people who are more likely than in the real world to be willing to show you the bad side of their characters, feeling protected by distance and anonymity.

Since then, MTG Arena was officially released. I have no information how successful the game is, but I remained skeptical, especially when they tried to lure players with a $1 million prize pool for competitive online play. So I never installed the release client. But I still remained on their mailing list. And now MTG Arena is announcing, among other stuff in their March update, "expanded early player progression" and "Practice Matches" against an AI. With my two biggest concerns about the game thus being addressed in some way, it is time for me to install the game and see what they did.

I haven't gotten far yet. As I haven't played the release version previously, the game really considered me as a new player, and I was put directly in a tutorial game that explained me how mana and creatures worked. As the new player experience is something I consider important, I will play through the rest of the tutorial, and see in how far it is now possible to play MTG Arena without playing against other human beings.

Voice of Admiral Ackbar:

I've played Arena and several other ccg online free to play games without feeling they're a trap.

I usually play them for free, then if I decide I like the game I'll make a purchase because I feel I should pay them something if I'm going to play their game for hundreds of hours.

If you're fine with the routine of doing their daily quests you get enough resources to be competitive. I have a cookie cutter red deck for when I just want to blast through opponents.
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