In this Magic Legends Preview, Everything We Know About Magic Legends article I’ll be covering all that I have seen in my recent play test session with the Executive Producer of Magic Legends Stephen Ricossa, as well as things I have learned in Q & A with the dev team afterwards. Stephen was even gracious enough to walk me through the entire Magic Legends store, and explain their business model to me, so if you’re looking for information on that as well then you’ve come to the right place. I’ll be publishing my full impressions a few days from now, after I’ve had more time to play the game, so stay tuned for that.
Magic Legends Preview: Everything We Know About Magic Legends
If you have not heard of Magic Legends before it is a Free-2-Play Online Action-RPG set in the Magic the Gathering universe, releasing on PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4 later this year. Magic the Gathering is a popular card game which has been around since 1993 and is owned by Wizards of the Coast. Having played MTG myself since 1995, I have been eagerly awaiting this game since it was first announced. An RPG based on MTG has never been done before to my knowledge, at least not successfully, so Magic Legends has some ground to break. I have a feeling many fans of the card game are dying to know more, so let’s jump into the mechanics that help Magic Legends stand apart from other ARPGs, before we get into the monetization.
Magic Legends Deck Building
Perhaps the most obvious thing that separates Magic Legends from the herd almost immediately is its deck building mechanic. Modeled after the card game, players will construct a deck of 12 cards (Spells) from nearly 200 currently in the game. While that may not seem like a lot compared to MTG, the sheer variety of decks that can be made from them is staggering, and more cards will of course come with time expanding this infinitely.
Presently players can make decks of one color, or they can combine cards of two different colors of their choosing. The decks I was given to play around with in my session were a Boros Deck (Red/White) and a Golgari Deck (Black/Green), but there are of course other combinations as well. I don’t know if they plan to allow tri-color decks eventually, but I get the sense that it may disrupt the game’s balancing, so I feel like this is highly unlikely.
There are some restrictions on what Cards you can place in each deck. For instance, each Creature in the game has a point value and you cannot have more Creatures in your deck than add up to a total of 12 points. This was done to ensure the balancing of the game, otherwise you could put 12 Creatures in your Deck and just have an army at your command all the time.
Additionally, you cannot place the same Card in your deck more than once for an increased chance of gaining that card, and you also cannot have less than 12 Cards in your deck. However, since there are only 12 cards in your deck and no Land Cards, you still have as good or better of a chance to draw a particular Spell as if you were playing MTG itself. So this really shouldn’t be an issue.
Players can change up their deck on the fly, editing it while out on the overworld or in town as they acquire cards etc. However, you cannot change Cards during combat or while participating in a Mission, so planning ahead in some cases is a good idea.
Mana Pool in Magic Legends
Unlike the card game, players don’t have to draw and play lands in order to cast Cards in combat, and Mana is instead generated through just being in combat. There is no need to do anything other than initiate combat and you will generate Mana. Each card has its own Mana Cost, so if you filled your deck with Cards that all cost a lot of Mana then you will have some down time between each Spell used. For this reason, it’s a good idea to place some in there that are also lower in cost, making for a more ideal Mana Curve.
What’s really interesting is that when playing multicolored decks, the game adjusts the amount of each mana type you generate based upon the color composition of your deck, as well as the Mana Curve of each color. That is to say if you play primarily White Cards in your deck, but you have a couple of Red Cards, you will gain far more White Mana in combat than Red. This is important because you must pay all of a Card’s Mana Cost in order to play it, including the right color of Mana.
Your Spell Hand
Players will have a hand size of 4 cards, and these are “drawn” randomly from your 12 card deck. Each time a player casts a Spell, they will draw another card to replace it, which takes 6 seconds of actual game time. Players cannot have more than 4 cards in their hand at a time, though they may have less if they play Spells in rapid succession, before they have completed drawing more. Spells that allow the player to Draw more cards instead allow the next card or cards drawn to be drawn instantly after a Spell is cast, wiping out the 6 second wait.
Knowing when to play cards, and when to hold on to them is a big part of the gameplay of Magic Legends, as all Cards are not created equally. Just like the card game, Cards have different Mana Costs and Rarities, meaning that you may want to hold your best Spells for the toughest enemies. Or you might want to play weaker cards that have no use, in order to draw some that do.
Classes and Customization in Magic Legends
Magic Legends features a ton of customization, allowing you to not only customize the look of your character, but also the Class that you play. During Character Creation players will select the Class they’d like to begin the game with, and this does 2 things. First, it dictates which 12 cards will comprise your first deck. And second, you will start gaining progress with that Class which will unlock its passive and active Abilities.
This makes Class selection an important decision when you are first beginning, because you will be playing cards of that color for many hours before you unlock more Classes and find more Cards. However, since you can swap Classes on the fly once you’ve unlocked them, it ultimately isn’t such a huge deal in the long run. That said, I highly recommend looking over the Wiki to see which Spells you will gain per Class, as this is not made clear to you during Character Creation.
Note that you can play any color of deck while using any Class, and cards are not restricted to Classes. This means you could play a Necromancer, who begins the game with Black Cards, and be using a White Deck instead. However, the bonuses granted by playing a Necromancer may benefit Black Cards more than White Cards, so you’ll have to look over them and decide which is best for your current Deck.
Magic Legends, also has Armor and Accessories, like any other RPG, though there are no weapons. There are 4 Armor slots, and 2 Accessory slots that players can utilize with the Equipment they find from enemies and Quests, and these can be Upgraded with Materials you find. Additionally, bonuses on these items can be swapped out in favor of others that might be better suited for your playstyle or Build.
Although there will be specific Artifact Cards that can be used in an color of deck, there are in fact items in the game called “Artifacts” that are a form of Equipment for the player. There are 3 different rarities: Legendary, Greater and Lesser. Players can equip 1 Legendary Artifact, 2 Greater Artifacts and 3 Lesser Artifacts at once, for a total of 6 Artifacts.
The bonuses on these Artifacts allow further customization, and as they are upgraded their Bonuses get stronger and they unlock further Bonuses as well. A big part of Magic Legends is finding the right Artifacts, Armor and Accessories to match your Class and Deck. But wait there’s more…
Traits are unlocked once you reach Level 30 with any Class, and these are the final “bonuses” provided for each Class. What’s really interesting about Traits is that you can have 3 slotted at once, and they don’t necessarily have to be of the Class you are currently playing. That is to say you can have Heart of Iron (Red Trait), Ward of the Sanctifier (White Trait), and Psychic Prowess (Blue Trait) all equipped, but be playing as a Beastcaller. As time goes on and more Traits are added to the game, this will only make for harder decisions and more customization.
On top of all of that, players will also gain a Planeswalker Level whenever they gain enough experience that will provide them with more Health, Damage, Drop Rates etc, and these function in a similar manner to Paragon Levels from Diablo 3. You will get a small increase to one of these with each Level, ultimately adding up to significant bonuses at the cap, which is currently 320. Note that Planeswalker and Class Levels are separate, and you gain Planeswalker Level no matter which Class you are playing.
Lastly, players will be able to upgrade their Spells using some of the game’s Currency and Spell Pages. Spell Pages are essentially duplicate Cards of those you already possess, and once you’ve obtained enough of them you can upgrade your Spell to be even more powerful. Note that you must acquire the same Spell Pages as the Card you want to upgrade in order to upgrade it.
Magic Legends Monetization & the Store
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Stephen actually ran me through the store himself, even though it wasn’t part of his presentation. I quite bluntly told him I that this one aspect alone might be what potential players are most interested in, and he happily and straightforwardly explained the whole business model to me.
In the Magic Legends Store players can purchase Featured items, the Battlepass, Booster Packs, Classes and cosmetics, as well as other Boosters that increase the speed at which you gain Experience or Currency. You can also purchase more Character Slots, Costume Slots, Loadout Slots, and Character Renaming. I’ve been told that all content in the game is free to play, meaning that you won’t need to pay to play certain Missions or areas of the game.
Should you wish to purchase things in the Store you will need a Currency called ZEN, which can be purchased from the game directly. Each ZEN is worth 1 real world United States penny, so if something costs 1000 ZEN then it costs 10 USD. This makes it very easy to decide if something is worth the money for you or not.
Additionally, players can sell anything they buy from the Store via the in-game auction house, called the Consignment Broker. This allows players to acquire things found in the Store with in-game Currency, if they do not wish to spend real money.
Note that the Beta begins on the 23rd of March, and is really an Early Access that will run up until the full launch of the game, so any progress you make and anything you acquire in-game or via the Store will not be wiped.
The Battlepass works similarly to most Battlepasses, and if you’ve played any other Free-2-Play games with one, then you know what I mean. Players gain rewards as they progress down the track, and there are free rewards, but there are even better ones if you own the Battlepass. Rewards range from Spell Pages, to Artifacts, or Cosmetics, and rewards get better and better as you progress down the track. The Battlepass is 1000 ZEN, or 10 USD, and lasts until the next major Update, which is expected to be every 3 to 4 months.
Players can purchase Booster Packs from the Store, and these come with Spell Cards, Artifacts and sometimes other bonuses. However, unlike Magic the Gathering, you can actually see what comes inside these Packs, and you get the choice of which Spells, Artifacts and Traits you want to choose from specific pools.
The presence of Booster Packs should come as no surprise to MTG players, and I personally don’t mind it too much since I don’t intend to purchase them. Others might call this “Pay-2-Win” and it’s hard to argue against that point of view because you are actually purchasing direct improvements for your character, but in a Free-2-Play business model someone has to spend money for the game to continue to be supported and for the developers to recoup their investment. That said, don’t spend money if you don’t want to.
Players will choose one Class to play at the beginning of the game, and all of the others can be acquired by progressing the game. However, should you wish to speed up this process, you can purchase each Class directly from the Store for 2500 ZEN, or 25 USD each. If that seems like a lot of money to you, then just know that this is optional, and like I mentioned you can unlock all 5 Classes from just playing the game. The character I was playing had them all unlocked during my play session and I was told it was about a 30 hour play time character.
Magic Legends is shaping up to be a solid ARPG in a genre that desperately needs good games. Many recent ARPGs have come and gone quite rapidly, leaving many players with the same options they’ve had for the past decade. Magic Legends looks like it might shake things up a bit, not only because it’s Free-2-Play, but also because Magic the Gathering has a huge fanbase, and they’ve never attempted anything like this before.
Time will tell if Magic Legends ends up being an actual contender that can hang in there with Path of Exile, Diablo 3, and Grim Dawn or if its just another crash grab F2P game that comes and goes in the blink of an eye. But one thing is for sure, it better make its mark in a hurry, because with Diablo 2 Resurrected coming out later this year, it doesn’t have long. I for one, am cautiously optimistic.
If you want to hear my thoughts on the game, stay tuned for my Impressions Article coming in just a few days, and if you’re interested in checking out the game then sign up for the Beta on the official website since it begins on March 23rd. We are also partnering with Perfect World on the Official Wiki for the game, so make sure you bookmark this for all your Beta needs! And if you still have questions, make sure to drop by our Twitch channel on the 22nd, as we’ll be livestreaming the game.
Be sure to drop by our official Fextralife Magic Legends wiki for all the latest info on the game.