Wizards of the Coast’s most famous card game continues to prepare its newest multiplayer version for public consumption. This Thursday, Magic: The Gathering Arena will update its closed beta to be more public and full-featured.
Thursday’s update will mark the end of the NDA and allow testers to discuss, stream, and share the game with the larger community. Wizards will be sending out 100,000 more players to come try the game out and some of its newer additions, such as preconstructed decks and the recent Amonkhet cards.
Interested participants can sign up to be part of the upcoming stress test over on the Magic: The Gathering Arena site.
“This new phase is an exciting time for us,” Wizards said. “As we’re still in closed beta, we’re still testing many aspects of the game, looking for feedback, and learning a lot along the way. That means there are plenty of areas we want to add more polish and finish to, plus additional functionality and content to be implemented. But we’re very excited to see what discussions and feedback arise out of this new testing period.”
South Korean games publisher Netmarble posted its financial report for the last quarter of 2017, ending the year on a bit of a down note. While revenues were up, net profits and operating profits saw a decline during that period.
The company continues to make inroads around the world with more revenue coming from outside Korea than within. South Korea only accounts for 32% of the revenue right now vs. 69% in the first quarter 2017. Mobile MMORPGs continue to be its biggest seller at 45%, with titles like Lineage 2 Revolution (39% of game revenue) and Tera M (5%) paving the way.
The studio hopes to have a strong 2018 with upcoming titles such as Magic: The Gathering Project M, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery for mobile, and Seven Knights for the Nintendo Switch.
“We want everyone to be able to experience Magic: The Gathering.”
Upon this “simple idea” Wizards of the Coast is building Magic: The Gathering Arena’s business model, which could quickly be summed up as free-to-play that gives players a choice of time or money as a way to progress. By earning gold (in-game currency) or purchasing gems (RMT currency), players can purchase card packs, access events, and open up “The Vault,” a special treasure trove with secret rewards.
Wizards said that it is structuring the game’s economy based on a few principles: “Make our players’ valuable time as fun as possible; players need a variety of cards to have the most fun, so reward them with as many as possible; and make sure players can get the specific cards they want.”
Magic: The Gathering Arena went into beta testing last month with the eventual goal of releasing an online card game that will mirror the physical set releases and be more accessible to the general gaming public.
Magic: The Gathering Arena’s alpha development is apparently going well, as according to a new dev blog and press release today, Wizards of the Coast is due to begin closed beta on December 4th.
“Starting December 4, we will begin inviting the first wave of Magic players to our Closed Beta, including bringing back everyone who has played so far in the Alpha. Whereas the Alpha was focused on a few weekends, the Closed Beta will be up and running every day (barring maintenance, downtime, or pirates storming our servers—it’s more common than you think), giving you even more opportunities to try it out.”
Everyone in the closed beta will be under NDA, but WOTC stresses that “initial invite waves will start small,” so even if you sign up right now, you may not get in until next year.
Out of mana in your life? Magic: The Gathering Arena has a refill for you waiting. The multiplayer card game announced today that it is going to start testing early next month with the advent of a stress test on November 3rd.
“Digital Games Studio has been hard at work building Magic: The Gathering Arena for you,” the studio said, “and now it’s time to show you more with the start of some weekly playtests and the closed beta. Yes, that’s right, the closed beta that so many of you have signed up for is in sight!”
Following the stress test, Magic Arena will run a series of playtests with a “few thousand” players participating using some free packs to give constructed Magic a try. Then, if the studio plays its cards right, the closed beta test is scheduled to begin on November 30th. All of these tests will be on the PC only and will require participants to agree to an NDA.
Go ahead and sign up for a chance at a closed beta spot, and tune in to the official announcement of the testing schedule after the break!
Remember how former Turbine President Jeffrey Steefel was snapped up by Wizards of the Coast this past January to head up a digital games studio for the studio’s IPs? Now we know the big project that his team was making: Magic: The Gathering Arena, a F2P digital card game that’s coming soon.
Made for PC and mobile, Magic: The Gathering Arena is a full-fledged Magic game with “full rules and ongoing content support for new card sets.” It sounds as though Arena might well be a replacement for the creaky and faulty Magic Online, although the studio wasn’t saying if this will be the case.
“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,” said Steefel in a press release. Magic: The Gathering Arena is taking beta signups and will begin testing Constructed play from the Ixalan set later this year.
E3 is drawing to a close, with its reveals over and done with — all that’s left is processing our interviews and hands-on pieces. But in the meantime, we decided to take this week’s Overthinking to consider the field. MMORPGs haven’t shined brightly at E3 in a long time, so our expectations are usually low — the con is interesting to us more for what’s happening on the multiplayer front.
So that’s what we asked our staff: What’s the most interesting or grabby-hands MMO or MMO-ish thing from E3 this year? Which game would get your best in show and why? There’s also an extra bonus section on the con itself courtesy of our writer on the floor.
An RPG based on Magic: the Gathering is one of those things I have both long wanted and long assumed was just never going to happen. Now it’s happening, and it’s happening at the hands of Cryptic and PWE. That doesn’t necessarily make me enthusiastic about the business models, but it does mean (based on the studios’ other games) that it’ll be good solid fun to play just the same.
It makes me especially happy because it’s possible to play a lot of MtG without ever knowing anything about the setting, too. Now you sort of have to.
My time with MtG as an active player is definitely in my rear-view mirror, but it’s possible to have a passing familiarity with the game but not really get what in the world is there to base a non-card game upon. Since I tend to absorb this stuff, though, my mind was immediately set aflame with visions of teleporting between planes, summoning creatures, and collecting artifacts. So let’s take a look at the lore behind the cards and speculate a bit on systems, shall we?
At this point, Cryptic Studios has a stable of games based off of existing IPs, most notably Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, and the upcoming game based on Magic: the Gathering. A new interview on GamesIndustry.biz with CEO Stephen D’Angelo discusses working with the IP and making a successful game out of it, noting that first and foremost it’s a matter of finding the core element of the IP that makes it interesting and designing the game around that.
D’Angelo explains that the studio’s core goal is to expand beyond the existing audience for the IP by exploring new directions, rather than trying to solely cover the same material as the original; he notes that the expansion into Magic: the Gathering made sense due to a strong working relationship with Wizards of the Coast and the desire to not simply make an online version of the same card game. The studio wants to explore the world from another angle, just like Neverwinter doesn’t simply plug the stats of the tabletop game into digital form. If you’re interested in the mechanisms of making an IP-based MMO work, the full interview is worth a read.
One of the largest and longest-running collectible card games is about to become a brand-new role-playing video game, courtesy of Cryptic Studios. Cryptic and Perfect World Entertainment announced today that it is ramping up development on a Magic: The Gathering MMORPG in partnership with Wizards of the Coast.
The untitled game is being made “from the ground up” for both PC and console as a top-tier release and is part of Wizards of the Coast’s Magic Digital Next initiative. According to the press release, the RPG will allow players to “fully immerse themselves in the Multiverse.”
“Everything from the graphics to the gameplay is being targeted for a truly unique AAA game,” said Cryptic CEO Stephen D’Angelo. “We’re thrilled to provide Magic fans with an opportunity to explore the game’s worlds and characters through an entirely new lens. Get ready to embark on a brand new journey.”
For years now, we have been pondering what “top secret” project might be in development over at Cryptic Studios. Well, the studio isn’t talking — yet — but there are indicators that suggest that Cryptic might be working or collaborating on an MMO set in the Magic: The Gathering universe.
PCGamesN connects a few sparse dots to point to such a project, noting that Cryptic ex-devs have gone over to work for Wizards of the Coast and that a new Cryptic job posting for an art director on the unnamed title mentions that the game will be “based on an extremely exciting, well-known fantasy IP.”
“We’re very excited about what we’re working on,” Cryptic has had posted on its top secret project page. “Our top secret work represents our continued commitment to diversify and reach beyond the boundaries of traditional MMORPG gaming.”
You may not play Magic: the Gathering Online, but if you play any sort of free-to-play online card game, you owe some of your history to it. Which is notable, because it’s always been the poor cousin to the classic paper card game, despite being the way to play the game online with others. Traditionally, it’s also gotten its releases of the sets a bit behind the actual hard copy releases, but for the game’s latest set, the digital and cardboard pre-releases happened simultaneously… and a card ban took two days instead of weeks.
How did this happen? Well, normally the delay between the physical release and the online release has been two weeks, but this time they were simultaneous. By having the set immediately available, there was immediate hard data about the prevalence of an infinite damage combo that was more or less everywhere right away. In two days, the designers were able to see, evaluate, and issue a ban to break up the combo, thus preventing it from dominating the game’s environment for more than a two-day stretch. Whether or not that’s a good thing depends on your love of infinite damage on turn four (it’s more lovable when you’re dealing the infinite damage, we should note), but it certainly provides an interesting look at how the online community shaped the environment of the game.
MOP reader Kastaguro sent us an interesting question last month about MMORPGs, board games, and a possible playerbase shift.
“I was wondering if any of you play board games? I have noticed that all the people I know who used to play MMORPG have stopped playing them. We are all older and have been playing MMORPGs since the late ’90s, and they all give the same reason for quitting MMOs: They just don’t like the direction they are going and can’t stand the communities anymore. Instead, they have massive get-togethers with hardcore roleplaying board games, and I have to admit they are really fun. What do you guys think about this? Do you know anyone who quit MMOs for board games that can last for hours at a time?”
MOP’s Andrew proposed that we expand the question to include tabletop pen-and-paper games too, so that’s exactly what we’ll do as we tackle Kastaguro’s Massively Overthinking topic. Do you hardcore MMORPG writers and gamers also play board games or pen-and-paper games? What’s your favorite? Do you think there’s been a shift among online RPG players to more local or personal party games, and if so, is it because of changing lifestyles or something significantly wrong in the MMORPG market itself?