August has been hectic for me, largely thanks to the amount of gaming I’ve been able to sneak in. I was initially worried about how to fill out this column as I looked upon my summer plans; every single weekend for the past month was booked solid, leaving me AFK quite a bit, but fortunately, Harry Potter: Magic Awakened dropped in and has fully supplanted the other MMOs I’ve been playing.
And that’s largely because it’s fully mobile, something I’ve never been a huge proponent of but is hitting perfectly for me right now. It’s meant that despite being away from home, I’ve been able to play my MMO right from my pocket. I can understand the pushback on a mobile MMO, but… do you guys not have phones? Sometimes it actually makes sense, and this is one of them.
Putting that aside, let’s get back into Magic Awakened one more time before the summer sets on us. If you’ve been keeping up with this column, then you are pre-armed with info about the starting experience’s pluses and minuses and understanding how to play. So this week, we’re ready to dig into some of the fun things we get to do in game.
Dueling Club – Scared? You wish.
My absolute favorite aspect of Magic Awakened is the dueling. It’s just so good. Players can battle it out in solo or duo arenas. It doesn’t matter which House you’re in, either; everyone is fair game. The mode is set up as a quick match, with each fight lasting roughly 1 to 3 minutes, which is the absolute sweet spot for fights like this. Because this is a mobile game, the quick fights make it possible to knock out one or two while waiting in line or just sitting for a moment. The slowest bit is actually opening the game.
As you’re first introduced to dueling, the fights are simple matches against NPCs. However, after only a handful of matches, you’ll be put into the actual league with other players. Fear not, though, as there’s no chat enabled in the fights, so no one can really harass you (although I think you can throw up emojis if you’re insane enough to think you have time for that).
The league appears to be seasonal (in fact, a new season just launched this week). The league system is basically what you see in other PvP games: multiple tiers from Bronze up to Magic Awakened, which is basically the World Championship tier. As a pretty die-hard, try-hard when it comes to PvP (this is our Fight or Kite MMO PvP column, after all), I do at least attempt to rise above where I think an average player might be.
However, in Magic Awakened, I suspect there’s not going to be any way to enter the upper echelons of dueling without committing some cash money to power yourself up. I did achieve my seasonal goal of reaching the Diamond tier, which took a bunch of matches. According to the game’s stats, that’s about 218 matches; the game panel states that cards have a level cap for each of the tiers. Platinum had a cap of level 18. Maybe that’ll make sense after I’ve been playing for a long time. Right now my cards average around level 10, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up the Diamond tier in the future.
If you want a break from the intensity of the ranked matches but still want to duel, the game gives you the option of practicing in unranked bouts, although I can’t imagine that mattering at all unless you’ve reached the absolute highest tier of combat. Typically, winning a match grants you at least 35 league points, while losing deducts only 25, so as long as you can maintain about a 50/50 win rate and are determined enough to spend the time dueling, then you’ll eventually tier up.
One more cool bit from dueling is that you’ll occasionally get to see a highlight video of your match if it was a close one. From what I’ve seen, the videos tend to exaggerate the combat effects and move the camera around a bit. It’s not the best ever, but I kind of dig it.
The Forbidden Forest is full of giant spiders and mental stuff
Next up is the Forbidden Forest. This is where you’ll get your dungeon-ish fix in. There are two different modes available here: one that’s strictly solo and another for three-person teams. But even the group mode can be soloed by simply taking the game’s NPCs as companions instead of queuing up with other players.
The Forbidden Forest in general is where you’ll earn gold, materials for crafting potions, and most importantly, Echoes. I skimmed over the Echoes system in my previous columns because it’s basically just an additional layer of customizing your deck for combat. In the simplest terms, you can choose one famous wizard to act as a base layer to your deck providing passive buffs to build your deck around. For example, if you used Harry Potter as your Echo, then you’ll receive damage and healing buffs to any spells that cost fewer than 3 mana to cast. Others might summon a creature to fight for you or even just buff your summons. There are tiers and bonuses tied to them as well.
The solo mode is simply a boss battle: If you succeed, you can challenge the next level’s boss. As you level through these, you’ll unlock additional time and loot from the Flying Ford Angela, which is just a random chest you can open that collects loot for you passively. However, it can gather loot for only a set period of time before the chest is full and you need to claim it. Around level 20 or so of the solo mode, you’ll have enough time unlocked that you can basically empty the chest once or twice a day without it overflowing.
The group mode takes you through a small gauntlet of challenges culminating in a boss fight. The mode has already changed since the game released, although I’m not sure whether that’s down to being a seasonal challenge or my own changing level. While selecting your challenge here, you can see the potential Echoes and loot you’ll receive for completing it. Knowing that I want to build a Harry Potter deck will have me doing a certain run over others.
The big downside to the group challenges is that you’re basically time gated. Also, they’re limited to collecting 10 attempts before you start to lose them. Every day you gain two more attempts, but being gated means you can’t just grind it out until you get what you’re looking for, and the limit means you need to remember to do at least a couple runs so you don’t limit yourself.
Neither the solo nor group modes take long to complete. I think the group will be about a five-minute challenge or less, and they’re usually easy to win. The solo ones do get difficult, but it’s just a single boss fight, so you’ll be completing those in under two or three minutes.
That’s two of the main activities you’ll play in Magic Awakened. Next time we’ll cut a rug in the dance club and then get schooled attending classes.