Magic Legends taps out: PWE and Cryptic are shutting it down before it even fully launched

Yes, refunds are incoming

    
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Bad news for fans of Magic Legends: PWE and Cryptic announced this afternoon that they’re sunsetting the game in October. Steve Ricossa broke the news to players on the official site today.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce Magic: Legends will be shutting down on October 31, 2021. All players who spent money in-game across Arc and the Epic Games Store during the Open Beta will be refunded their full purchase amounts. Servers will remain open for play until closing day, however we will be closing the Zen Shop effective immediately. Later this week, all items will instead be purchasable using Aether, our free in-game currency. Our vision for Magic: Legends missed the mark, but we are proud of what we achieved. Thanks to Wizards of the Coast, we got to bring the expansive Magic: The Gathering Multiverse to a wide audience and explore new angles within the established ARPG genre. We learned several valuable lessons along the way, and we will use them to improve Cryptic’s future development efforts.”

Magic Legends was originally pitched to gamers in 2017 as a “free-to-play, action MMORPG” and a “next generation MMORPG,” but by last year, PWE had downgraded it to merely a multiplayer RPG, a move MMORPG players were naturally pretty peeved about. Delays and monetization woes plagued its initial open beta launch on PC; full launch and console launch had been planned for later this year. Most recently, players had lamented a lack of communication from the team and worried over a missing CM. Now, the last day for the game is October 31st, 2021, and it won’t be launching on console or Steam. The company is at least fully refunding players for all purchases (and then some).

“Yes there will be 100% refunds for all purchases, including both the Planeswalker Bundle and all Virtual Currency denominations. For purchases made through Arc Games using credit cards, refunds will be applied automatically to the respective credit card – we expect processing time of these refunds to take approximately 4 weeks. For purchases made through Arc Games using prepaid cards, refunds will be applied automatically in the form of Arc credit to the respective Arc account – plus an additional $10 credit – which can then be used within other games on the Arc client – we expect processing time of these refunds to take approximately 4 weeks. For purchases made through the Epic Games Store, refunds will be applied automatically via the pay gateway that was used to make purchases. Refunds are expected to process by July 14, but may take approximately 4 weeks to complete.”

The game was well-liked by our own Not So Massively columnist Tyler, though even he thought it needed a lot more work. Our sympathies extend to the rank-and-file developers and the players.

MMO players will recall that PWE’s other new game, Torchlight III, has suffered problems of its own; after similarly shifting from an MMORPG (Torchlight Frontiers) into a multiplayer-optional title, the game stumbled to launch last fall, and then Zynga bought out Echtra, the studio that had built the game for PWE, sending the game in-house. TL3, at least for now, is still up, albeit with low player pop, and just saw its spring update.

Update
Sounds like there were layoffs to compound the bad news.

One staffer puts the number at 44 people laid off.

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J

It really sucks to see the layoffs, but they poisoned the water themselves early on this one. Both with game design and cash shop design. I only spent a few hours in the game, but that was more than enough to see that it was shallow.

Reader
traja

What killed the game for me is how quickly the gameplay devolved into running the same easy world events over and over. Controls being rough and a steady 60fps being impossible to reach on a 3060Ti didn’t help either. It was far too beta to be monetized.

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Ben Stone

Wasn’t a bad game, just a bloated market and a cash shop model that didn’t really suit that type of game.

Reader
Skoryy

This all reminds me too much of the Cryptic/Marvel attempt at partnership. I feel like Cryptic had one idea of what the game would be like, WotC had another, and the latter pulled the rug when a viable product wasn’t built in time.

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Bruno Brito

It’s amazing how Cryptic/PWE managed to fuck up one of the most loved franchises by downgrading it into a pretty bad ARPG.

Reader
Skoryy

Given this isn’t PWE’s IP, I’m not sold the fuck up is entirely on them.

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Bruno Brito

I am. I don’t consider Cryptic a good developer at all, and if you see most of the comments you’ll see people saying the game just wasn’t good.

It would be a passable game if they made a MMO, because they have three already in their curriculum. They downgraded to an ARPG and it was just unfun.

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Captain Blood

44 people were laid off, very likely including devs from STO who moved over:

Dantos
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Dantos

I was kinda shocked at just how meh it was. I was able to enjoy Neverwinter and STO for at least a little bit, while magic just felt so boring and bland. It didnt feel like it had any identity beyond ‘An ARPG’.

Reader
louisacoffin

Why do you have a “producer” from a different studio as the SOLE source for supposed layoffs?

Reader
_a4

The game wasn’t fun at all. Even if it wasn’t an MMORPG but just an online ARPG like Path of Exile, it still wasn’t fun.

– the controls were bad, especially mouse movement
– optimization was bad even on lowest
– graphics and visuals looked boring and ugly
– free camera rotation made navigating very confusing
– playable classes were very limited and not exciting
– combat with abilities that come and go on random is not fun at all – you are left at the mercy of RNG

I’m not surprised this is happening, no wonder Cryptic also plans to kill Neverwinter with the upcoming update with level cap reduced to 20 and most of the game zones removed from the game, instead of making it better, they are making the game worse.

Reader
kelvar

This game really was awful. I don’t get how games get this far without the company knowing as much, or maybe they do and they’re just hoping for the best.

I played an earlier version and just knew immediately it wouldn’t make it.