I’ve liked Magic The Gathering for quite a time. I’ve got some friends that like it so I had to get into it as well… and then we never talked about it again since they only play the physical card game and since I don’t have the funds to get a deck like that together and since I don’t see why people hate MTG: Arena so much… but either way, it’s fun and the systems are interesting and just recently I found out about Magic Legends, which just launched in the open beta. Hence, I wanted to write a bit about my first impressions of it and my general thoughts and concerns. Enjoy!
So, Magic Legends was initially announced as an MMO in the MTG universe but eventually got published as an ARPG in that universe. You play as a Plainwalker and… and… I honestly don’t know what the plot is about. The plot is a clear weak point. I found it a bit cringy and the voice acting is bad and really, who cares anyway? I get to play as a Necromancer, so that’s cool. There are also five other classes. One of them has to be unlocked through different mechanics in the game… or through the shop. It’s quite interesting. When you play the game, you’ll basically have a normal attack available to you, two spells tied to your class and your deck. Since it’s based on MTG, you’ve got a card-based battle system in there with twelve cards from all elements. These can be classified as either Creature cards, Enchantment cards, or Spells. Based on your class you may summon more enemies or enchant your attacks more or you heal allies while smiting enemies and that sort of stuff. It’s interesting and I like it in a lot of ways but I have one core problem with it at the same time… It’s incredibly slow.
The story is lame but the implementation of the card-mechanics is even worse, in my opinion, as combat just sucks. It’s kind of fun since I get to summon a lot of creatures as a Necromancer and I love the way they implemented that class and the Black Spell Type and all of that,… but it’s really just “spam one button to get mana” and “spend mana on your cards to deal more damage”. There isn’t really much depth, in my opinion, but that’s not really important, I guess… It’s quite satisfying in a way since you can watch a show while playing the game with your attention split. Diablo 3 required more focus than this. Torchlight 2 did… Hence, being able to do literally anything else while playing the game on the other screen is quite refreshing, I guess.
So, it’s more of a chill experience where you grind runs to get better gear and then you eventually run dungeons and stuff. I haven’t gotten to that point yet, sadly, since I’ve had my difficulties with the game and the motivation to start up the game… but I’m quite sure that it’s going to be something like that later on.
My biggest issue with the game isn’t the lacklustre gameplay or the boring and empty world but mostly that the progression feels so incredibly slow… It took a friend of mine two hours to get to the good part (aka when you have 12 cards). It took me longer than that since I took longer breaks from the game between play-sessions and even dreaded the story and missions during the play-sessions. But I really want to get to the later missions that I can play with my friends… alas, I’ve got to pull through this.
Currently, I have 11 cards unlocked. Those include a Voracious Thrull that’s looking incredibly disgusting and I love it… as well as a Drudge Skeleton and Scathe Zombies and token monsters and the Bone-tip Archer. I can also summon other undead monsters and cast different spells to impale, burn down or shoot enemies. I also some spells that deal more damage to low-health targets or snare them. I feel like the Necromancer is quite a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to adding cards from other elements into my deck and creating synergies between different elements. I feel like that could be quite cool.
Throughout the fights, you’re able to find loot and spell cards as well as materials to upgrade your cards with. It’s quite nice to see frequent drops, although I’d like it even more if it would actually tell you which equipment pieces had the better stats or what equipment is suited more for your character, especially at the beginning. Magic Legends has a tutorial for everything, which is quite frustrating and annoying… At the same time, it doesn’t give a fuck about explaining stats to you… because everyone obviously knows what +2/+1 means or what it means to pick up Spark Globes or what CRT stands for. I would love it if the game had fewer tutorial windows pop up at times to speed up the pacing a bit more. Similarly, I’d love it if you could look all the information up again somewhere else or if you could look up terminology. I know people that haven’t played ARPGs before and hence wouldn’t know what certain terms would mean.
At the same time, I’d also like it if you could zoom into the world. You can turn the camera around quite well (especially with the gamepad controls that work really well actually) but you cannot zoom in, which is kind of weird. At times the world looks quite pretty but it’s missing NPCs or enemies or any interactables or breakable urns, crates and that sort of thing. The game definitely needs some polishing in my opinion. The Voice Acting is garbage, the storyline is boring, the world feels empty and the pacing is incredibly slow… but once you get to 12 cards, it actually is quite chill and rather fun.
Although, I’d imagine that the end game is probably super grindy and annoying. The publisher for this game is Perfect World after all, so… it’s quite heavily monetized and despite being free-to-play and despite having the option to grind gold, I’d imagine that the grinding in the later stages of the game is going to be horrible to the point where it’s really just “pay up or go home”. I at first figured that this game sounds quite good to me with the MTG universe and it being an ARPG… and then I saw that it was hard to get to the good part… and when I heard that it’s published by Perfect World it all just kind of made sense to me… There is a shop for the game where you can get booster packs and extra deck-slots for real money. At the same time you can get a battle pass for ten bucks and 25 bucks, if you want more rewards. They did have a whole class locked after lootboxes but I think they got rid of that completely now and made it unlockable for free… still, all those practises make it hard to enjoy playing games for free really. And I don’t want to shit on people for trying to make a living off games and for having to feed their families and hence resorting to these types of things… but I think I’d rather enjoy paying a subscription fee every month or paying one price upfront for a great game than playing a mediocre game for free only to realise that you kind of have to cash in to make some progress in it.
And yeah, Magic: Legends is mediocre at best. Overall, if you get through the boring part and just rush through everything and skip the mediocre story, you may get to the good part quite fast… The Necromancer class is a lot of fun actually… but it’s an issue if you have to get through at least an hour or maybe even two hours worth of boring content in order to have fun in the game. It’s an issue for me and if I hadn’t had friends that started playing it, I would’ve stopped super early and just uninstalled it completely. Pair all of those issues with the fact that there are no European servers apparently and that all European players get redirected to the American servers… Yeah, I don’t know. It just kind of sucks, to be honest, when you cast a spell five or six times before it actually gets cast…
Hope you enjoyed my first impressions. Have you played Magic: Legends yet? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know!