You will want to maximixe your
skill trees when dueling other players.
Multiplayer in Tactics
requires the accumulation of both a great deal
of cards and a versatile set of strategies. If you want to face other people, you have
two options: you can choose to do a pick up game or you can enter a
tournament. Pick up games are fast and accessible, but if
you’re working with a glorified starter deck,
prepare to get rolled.
As for tournaments, Tactics
have 3 different styles: open, constructed, and booster. For each
tournament, there is an entry fee and prizes. Special cards and booster
packs are the normal rewards. However, the costs of entering a
tournament are pretty high (30 gold for constructed, 20 gold and 3
boosters for a draft, and a gold per game for open – which is
up to 16 games), so unless you’re willing to grind daily
quests and get a large amount of gold from selling that rare on the
auction house, you’ll just be doing one-on-one pick up duels.
I would give Tactics
a high score for multiplayer because it is extremely easy to get a game
going against other people. But I must lower my score because if you
don’t acquire a lot of cards to make some really good decks,
you will be destroyed again and again against other players with highly
tuned decks. There's no getting around it; money matters.
While the initial game is free-to-play, you will find yourself
endlessly frustrated if you don’t spend money on the game.
Booster packs contain 10 cards and cost 399 points, which is $3.99 (the same price as a printed pack of Magic cards, inexplicably). If you buy in serious bulk, you
get a small (11%) discount if you buy 24 packs at a time. While the
campaigns are a reasonable $5 for the gameplay they give, you still
won’t be able to accomplish much of anything without buying
The auction house. You'll be
This might be excusable, except for the fact that trading between players is barred from the game (to discourage the secondary market), and the auction house extracts a 15% fee every time you set up an auction. This makes trusted trading - i.e. posting a card for an outrageous amount of money so that a friend can pick it up and (hopefully) return the money - a losing proposition.
Good cards (rare or better) on the auction house run from 40 to
over a 100 gold. You start the game out with 20 gold and you can grind
out a few gold per day per daily quest. If you're willing to go fairly one-dimensional (sticking with a solid two-color strategy and auctioning off the rest of your purchased deck), it's possible to construct a decent deck with about what you'd spend on a triple-A game at retail.
However, that 20 gold quickly goes
away if you want to play in any kind of tournament. Do badly in a
tournament and you'll end up with nothing to show for it except emptier
pockets. You can buy more gold using station cash at 50 gold per 500
station cash, which equates to ten cents per gold.
In this respect, Tactics
is just like the original trading card game. If you don’t
spend money to accumulate a lot of cards to make a variety of decks,
then you’ll learn how to lose on a regular basis. If
you’re extremely patient, you can keep the costs down by
grinding and using the auction house. If you’re impatient or
want to have killer spellbooks right away, this game can quickly become a money
Top-tier talents will reward level-capped players with some nigh win-button skills, but once you hit level cap there is limited lasting appeal for Tactics
. No monthly subscription and a low hard drive footprint mean that you can jump in occasionally to get your Magic fix, then return to your regularly scheduled programming.
But while you keep the cards that you win or buy for your spellbook, the
fact is that unless you're on the bleeding edge competitively or
don’t mind grinding dailies, I personally don’t see the desire
to play MTGT seriously on a regular basis.
Add to that the fact that you have only a single planeswalker for your
account. While you can create different spellbooks and save them,
you’re unable to change your skill trees without re-speccing
them. While the cost is small to do so (2 gold), it’s a big
hassle if you want to switch from a black-favoring planeswalker to a
blue-favoring one. There is talk of adding the ability to save different
specs in the future or perhaps tying skill trees to spellbooks, but for the time being, you’re stuck
with the hassle.
Pros and ConsPros
- Basic gameplay is fun
- Good graphics and sounds
- Easy-to-use interface
- One Planeswalker per account - switching colors (especially in terms of talents) is a major hassle.
- No cost-free mechanism for card trading.
- When it comes to cash and casual players, MTGT works a swindle that Jace would be proud of.
The Gathering – Tactics
is a mixed bag. The basic gameplay is extremely fun and well designed.
The graphics are vibrant and amusing whilst the sounds add to the game.
The interface is well designed and easy to navigate. However, the fact
that the game requires a good deal of money or a lot of time grinding
to be competitive really hurts the game.
I don’t mind
spending money on good games. Game companies need to
make money to make cool games for me to play. But paying four bucks for 10
virtual cards is a lot, especially when you don't know what you're going to get. You're guaranteed a rare per pack, but the odds are you won't get the color you want. The fact that you’ll have to grind
dailies for at least a week to be able to afford decent cards off the
auction house is a catch-22. You need to finish the campaigns to unlock
the daily quest, and to finish the campaigns, you need a really good
spellbook. If the prices were somewhat lower, that might reduce the
sting a bit. Overall, the amount of money you’ll need to
spend overall to be competitive in this game mirrors the real world
trading card game, and unlike the TCG, you can't even trade cards with friends without a hefty auction fee.
- Game Name: Magic: The Gathering - Tactics
- Review Date: February 3rd, 2011