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Thread: MTG Arena

  1. #1

    MTG Arena

    So I've been in the closed Beta for awhile now and they just dropped the NDA today. There was supposed to be an account wipe and a switch over to the new progression system today, but that hasn't happened yet.

    The old progression system was complete garbage, but it's gone now, so there's not much point in focusing on it. I'll just say that it was bad enough that literally 95% of the posts on the closed beta forums were about how much the progression system sucked. Several of us mathed it out and came up with it being approximately 13x LESS generous than Hearthstones when you factored in the differences between the two games and card pools.

    Fortunately they scrapped that nonsense. The UI of playing is definitely designed to more closely resemble a physical game than MTGO does. Which is good for making things similar, and bad for letting you see all the cards super clearly. There's currently a stupid giant avatar head in the middle of your play area that makes it hard to click on your cards instead of the stupid giant head. This has been brought up frequently and hopefully it gets fixed. Cards are all "half cards" only showing artwork and power/toughness on the battlefield. Taps are at a 30 degree angle, instead of 90 like MTGO, again, I think to simulate paper, but it does make it slightly harder to tell what's tapped and what's not. They are also slightly desaturated which helps a little, but not enough.

    The phases are more clunky than MTGO, and they're not very customizable yet. Like, you can select "full control" which means every possible stop always triggers, or you can click "auto" which means it will automatically skip every phase you don't have a spell to cast in. In other words, you put up with a billion click throughs or you give away a ton of info to your opponent.

    The collection screen is worse than the current one on MTGO which is honestly just fucking impressive at this point. Why they can't/won't bring back the binders from the Leaping Lizards days and simply add a nice selection of filter buttons is beyond me.

    Tapping mana is super annoying right now, dunno if that'll get fixed or not, lots of people are complaining about it, but we'll have to wait and see. Right now your cards reshuffle their order and location when you tap them. This goes for both attacking and blocking creatures and tapping lands. Complex combat/blocking is basically impossible in the game right now because of this.

    If you've seen screenshots, you already know the game borrows HEAVILY from Hearthstone in design. Really wish they'd gone a little lighter on that, because it's not really a layout that works that great for MTG. Your screen just gets really cluttered. Lands are crammed into the bottom left corner, creatures in the center, artifacts and enchantments in the bottom right, and 'walkers go into the far right side of the screen. Emblems are far left. Honestly the play screen in general has an absurdly huge amount of wasted space on it, solely because they so slavishly copied Hearthstone's layout. This means your Graveyard (and your opponent's) basically don't exist as far as information. Same thing with Exile zone. But the use of screen real estate is just criminally bad, I'm playing on a 43" monitor and sometimes I have trouble making out the cards because they're so small. I would say only 1/2 of the screen is actually used to for playing info, and probably 1/4 of that is used for the stupid giant avatar heads and "play bar" idiocy.

    Some of the animations and voice overs are cool, some are just annoying. Having flying creatures actually "fly" above the plane of the battlefield is fucking brilliant and really works.

    I can't see them NOT eventually ditching the MTGO dinosaur, but I have no idea when they'll finally pull the plug on that. Let me know if you have any questions or want to know about anything specific and I'll try to answer.

  2. #2
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    Re: MTG Arena

    I logged in, saw that there were no pre-cons, attempted to build a deck for ten minutes, then closed Arena and played Workshops on MTGO.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dice_Box View Post
    You don't get to play the most powerful cards in the format and then bitch when someone finally says no. You also don't get to bitch that it's not fun when someone finally tells you no instead of voyeuristicly watching you masturbate with Cantrips.

  3. #3

    Re: MTG Arena

    Quote Originally Posted by thecrav View Post
    I logged in, saw that there were no pre-cons, attempted to build a deck for ten minutes, then closed Arena and played Workshops on MTGO.
    Whenever the wipe happens all accounts are supposed to start with 10 precons (they're not great, but they're solid starters for new players) and 3 packs from every legal expansion.

  4. #4
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    Re: MTG Arena

    Quote Originally Posted by morgan_coke View Post
    I can't see them NOT eventually ditching the MTGO dinosaur, but I have no idea when they'll finally pull the plug on that. Let me know if you have any questions or want to know about anything specific and I'll try to answer.
    Thanks for the insightful write-up. It sounds like there isn't much positive to say about Arena (who would have thought? )

    I'm not too sure if they can afford to ditch MTGO soon. The way you describe it sounds like a gigantic clusterfuck that is bound to fail. Valve's Artifact release this year doesn't really help in that regard, either. It wouldn't be suprising if they tried to rush out Arena to get a headstart over it. Wouldn't be the first time they release a completely unfinished product.
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  5. #5

    Re: MTG Arena

    Quote Originally Posted by Barook View Post
    Thanks for the insightful write-up. It sounds like there isn't much positive to say about Arena (who would have thought? )

    I'm not too sure if they can afford to ditch MTGO soon. The way you describe it sounds like a gigantic clusterfuck that is bound to fail. Valve's Artifact release this year doesn't really help in that regard, either. It wouldn't be suprising if they tried to rush out Arena to get a headstart over it. Wouldn't be the first time they release a completely unfinished product.
    I'd say its actually ahead of where MTGO v3 and v4 were when they were released, but it really suffers from copying Hearthstone's gameplay/battlefield design so closely. Just an absolute TON of unused space on the screen right now when you're playing. Not sure if that's something they can actually fix or not.

    But yeah, I have no idea how they think they're going to get around the game not having a trading economy. The problem isn't players. They can buy them off with free product. The problem isn't even the digital shops, they can screw those guys and not pay a huge price for it. The problem is how many large brick and mortar stores ALSO have digital storefronts with $100K's of product on MTGO. They can't screw those guys because it will bounce back on their physical sales and FNM's and whatnot.

  6. #6
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    Re: MTG Arena

    Artifact was designed by Garfield. Maybe Hasbro will buy Valve and release MtG using a similar engine or just buy the engine.

    Concerning MTGO, I think most of the big company who owns card in MTGO will know in advance when to dump their stock. SCG, CF, etc... always had inside information about the future of MtG. That is why they exclude some cards from their buy list. Increase the price of other cards. As an example when I was selling part of my collection I did not use a couple of month ago. they gave me back 2 copies of Food Chain, but bought a ton of other crap cards. I expect it will be reprinted in a future set. They did the same with Rishadan Port.

  7. #7
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    Re: MTG Arena

    Quote Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
    Artifact was designed by Garfield. Maybe Hasbro will buy Valve and release MtG using a similar engine or just buy the engine.

    Concerning MTGO, I think most of the big company who owns card in MTGO will know in advance when to dump their stock. SCG, CF, etc... always had inside information about the future of MtG. That is why they exclude some cards from their buy list. Increase the price of other cards. As an example when I was selling part of my collection I did not use a couple of month ago. they gave me back 2 copies of Food Chain, but bought a ton of other crap cards. I expect it will be reprinted in a future set. They did the same with Rishadan Port.
    I don't think Gabe Newell would sell that easily. Remember, Valve is a private company. And I don't think Hasbro has enough cash in the war chest to buy Valve, even if they wanted to.

    As for MTGO's demise, it's pretty easy to predict how it's going down - they'll slowly make things suck until people don't care anymore. That's their modus operandi. Worked for Extended, the Modern Pro Tour (until it came back due to Modern's popularity), FTV, etc. - and the same thing is already in motion, more or less. The prediction of some people on Twitter that treasure chests are the biggest threat to MTGO collection values might not be even that far off. WotC gains profit at the cost of the collection values and continues to do so as more and more reprints are dumped into the system. For them, it's a win-win situation - cards get cheaper, making it more attractive for more people to play while reducing the fallout once they're going to nuke MTGO for good.

    What really puzzles me is WotC business approach regarding Arena by copying HS. Alot of people already complain how expensive Heartstone is, yet making a copy of this system that is somehow significantly worse and expensive is pants-on-head retarded. What they should have done is integrating an auction house where you can buy and sell your cards while they take a small cut every time. Unless Artifact is going to be a dumpster fire, it's going to make Valve mad dosh simply based on that. Being able to recoup or even gain some money from playing MtG is definitely an aspect which is completely lost with Arena. You can't even cash out. Since Valve has already announced that they're going to use some of the auction house money to feed an Invitational-style event, it's going to blow Arena out of the water in terms of marketing as you can probably win millions while the MtG World Champion gets a "measly" 500k.
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  8. #8
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    Re: MTG Arena

    As a non video game aware person can i get the bullet points on what "Artifact" is?

  9. #9

    Re: MTG Arena

    WotC has had such utter crap in senior leadership for so long, once they finally started getting held accountable, they just copied whatever the new hotness was. And 2-2-3 years ago, about when MTG:A's development would have started, that was Hearthstone. It's such an amazingly blatant rip-off. It's funny, because even HS has realized their monetary model is way too stingy and started upping the amount of free packs and sales they have. MTG:Arena started off at 13x less generous because WotC is still run by idiots who couldn't figure out the differences in cardpool/rotation/starting collection between the two games.

  10. #10

    Re: MTG Arena

    Quote Originally Posted by ReAnimator View Post
    As a non video game aware person can i get the bullet points on what "Artifact" is?
    It's a trading card game based on MOBA's - specifically DOTA 2 - with hero cards and three "lanes" of combat. Sounds pretty cool from most descriptions, just have to wait and see how it plays out.

  11. #11
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    Re: MTG Arena

    Quote Originally Posted by Barook View Post
    As for MTGO's demise, it's pretty easy to predict how it's going down - they'll slowly make things suck until people don't care anymore.
    Wait, Hasbro has been plotting MTGO's demise from the first day it was launched?

  12. #12
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    Re: MTG Arena

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Ignition View Post
    Wait, Hasbro has been plotting MTGO's demise from the first day it was launched?
    Nah, things started to suck pretty fast once WotC started to develop it in-house. It's just harder and slower to increase the suck now due to diminishing returns.

    Edit: Looking at the Arena streams that are up now on Twitch, this looks REALLY bad. I never thought I would miss MTGO's interface.
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  13. #13

    Re: MTG Arena

    Quote Originally Posted by Barook View Post
    Nah, things started to suck pretty fast once WotC started to develop it in-house. It's just harder and slower to increase the suck now due to diminishing returns.

    Edit: Looking at the Arena streams that are up now on Twitch, this looks REALLY bad. I never thought I would miss MTGO's interface.
    Its funny you mention that because that was one of my initial thoughts as well, the ux tries to emulate hearthstone, but the ux works for hearthstone because mechanically it is a lot more streamlined and screen economy isn't such a large issue. I mean you can play hearthstone on your phone, just imagine trying to play arena on your phone. Despite using 'half cards', the screen economy feels worse than mtgo somehow. It may have modern aesthetics but functionally it looks like it preforms worse than mtgo.

    I don't know if it is lag from it being stressed in beta or something, but the game hanged a lot and was not smooth at all. Just watching some of the streams, pretty much every action hangs a bit, and I don't think it is only because of priority. Saw someone try to concede, have it hang for a few seconds, then the game did a bunch of superfluous things like empty the stack and switch phases before the concede actually happened.

  14. #14
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    Re: MTG Arena

    Quote Originally Posted by phonics View Post
    Its funny you mention that because that was one of my initial thoughts as well, the ux tries to emulate hearthstone, but the ux works for hearthstone because mechanically it is a lot more streamlined and screen economy isn't such a large issue. I mean you can play hearthstone on your phone, just imagine trying to play arena on your phone. Despite using 'half cards', the screen economy feels worse than mtgo somehow. It may have modern aesthetics but functionally it looks like it preforms worse than mtgo.
    Hearthstone was designed with a maximum of 7 minions per side. Now compare that to MtG's midrange grindfests. Decks that have alot of permanents are probably going to be hell, especially token decks. That seems to be another failure of WotC not realizing that just copying HS doesn't work.
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  15. #15

    Re: MTG Arena

    It took me awhile to figure out, but it's the way everything is forced into the center of the screen that screws it up. That and the giant playbar and avatar head in the center of both play areas.

    The MTGO interface uses the corners, the sides, the middle, everything. Arena forces itself into a much smaller screenspace for literally no benefit at all. Blows my mind just how much unused space is on that screen. Also, the way they have to search libraries and graveyards sucks.

  16. #16

    Re: MTG Arena

    Quote Originally Posted by Barook View Post
    Hearthstone was designed with a maximum of 7 minions per side. Now compare that to MtG's midrange grindfests. Decks that have alot of permanents are probably going to be hell, especially token decks. That seems to be another failure of WotC not realizing that just copying HS doesn't work.
    I would go further and say that Hearthstone essentially has 7 'permanents' per side, considering arena is going to be draft and standard, games are probably going to get to 7 lands alone not to mention any of the other permanents that will get into play. Hearthstone doesn't have a graveyard and things like mana crystals, secrets and deck are off on the side taking up minimal space. I assume they thought everyone thought mtgo was bad because it looked like it was from the 90s, so they made arena look contemporary, but at the same time sacrificing the functionality for aesthetics.

  17. #17

    Re: MTG Arena

    Quote Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
    Artifact was designed by Garfield. Maybe Hasbro will buy Valve and release MtG using a similar engine or just buy the engine.
    Gabe Newell has stated in the past he's not interested in selling Valve, and even if he did, it'd probably cost several billion dollars to purchase a controlling interest in. Sure, spending that kind of money can be worth it, Disney spent billions to get Star Wars, but the main reason to purchase Valve would be Steam.

  18. #18

    Re: MTG Arena

    After logging in tonight and checking out the latest update, I'll admit it, I'm impressed with the improvements they made. Huge upgrades in the play interface, how to navigate the store and the UI, quest tracking, letting people know about what kind of bonuses they're getting, it's all really good stuff.

    Played several of the pre-con decks that come with the program. They're all bad, but they're also all fairly fun to play against each other. Any of them would get absolutely slaughtered against any kind of FNM deck, which will be an issue later, since all progress in the game is based on wins, but, eh. They're still in Beta. From what the progression is showing right now, they're not there yet on economy balance, still way too stingy, but at least they're up to about 3/4ths of a pack a day in rewards, vs. the previous 1/4 to 1/2 pack. Progress.

    The deck construction screen might have actually gotten worse. FFS people, just go find an old copy of the Leaping Lizards version from 2003 and copy that. It's better than every single one that has come along since.

    Play area still has unbelievably large amounts of unused space. But now, if you click on it, or the fire braziers, you get little graphical effects.. so that's pretty wizard. Also have a total of 2 giant different giant annoying faces to take up space instead of the previous option of just one.

  19. #19
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    Re: MTG Arena

    https://twitter.com/SaffronOlive/sta...53682467209217

    Don't expect economy tweaks before late April.
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  20. #20
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    Re: MTG Arena

    I'd really like Arena to succeed (because try as I might, MTGO just doesn't feel like magic), but this doesn't sound promising. Playing "marginally better than sealed" quality decks is just not gonna do it for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by iatee View Post
    I still have a strong suspicion that if 'Thalia, Heretic Cathar' had been named 'Frank, Heretic Cathar', people would be a lot more skeptical of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Goin Aggro View Post
    Ugh, there he goes again, talking about the girlfriend. We get it dude.

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