Fans of Magic: The Gathering will soon have a new play to it online. Wizards of the Coast unveiled a free-to-play digital version of the collectible card game called Magic: The Gathering Arena (MTG Arena), and fans can sign up to check it out in a closed beta session.
Die-hard fans of the franchise will note that not one, but two different digital versions of Magic: The Gathering are already available and widely used: Magic Online and Magic Duels. However, MTG Arena aims to offer a slightly different experience than the other titles. At the start, you’ll only have the upcoming “Ixalan” set, which has 279 cards, to use. As new card sets come out, they will be implemented within the game. MTG Arena will focus on upcoming sets and game modes, so if you want to play older cards or past formats, you’ll have to turn to the other titles.
In its FAQ page, Wizards of the Coast said that the reason it made an entirely new digital game, rather than creating a sequel to its other digital products, was to integrate modern online services to “create a dynamic overall experience and also someday integrate with other aspects of your Magic life.” The company also added that the game was built with the Unity engine, which provides “flexibility for future growth.” The push for modernity was probably spurned by the popularity of other digital card games such as Hearthstone, The Elder Scrolls Legends, and Gwent. Recently, Valve also jumped into the digital card arena with the announcement of its Dota2-based Artifact game.
Perhaps one of the more interesting facets of MTG Arena is the new Games Rules Engine. According to Wizards of the Coast, it uses machine learning technology to read any card description and effects. This allows designers to create complex card mechanics for future sets, and players can use them to create decks of varying play styles. However, the technology requires more development time, hence the introduction of MTG Arena in its closed beta phase.
If you want to try out the game, you can visit its main page on the Magic: The Gathering website. You can also get priority access if you participate in a Prerelease event for the “Ixalan” card set, play in an online version of the event through Magic Online, or link your Magic Duels CSID number to your Wizards account. For now, MTG Arena will be a PC-based title, but the company said that it will “expand to other platforms when it’s ready.”
|Name||Magic: The Gathering Arena|
|Developer||Digital Games Studio (Wizards of the Coast)|
|Publisher||Wizards of the Coast|
|Where To Buy||N/A|