I still remain somewhat involved in the Elements community. Nevertheless, changes in the Elements gaming community mean that the environment seems to be getting much harder to navigate. Elements seemed easier in the past and early adopters seems to have a lead in the game. Right now, I am rather interested in seeing how MTGO works out.
I have returned to the world of MTG via MTGO. Some people may recall that I attended a Magic panel at Comic-con 2010.
First of all, MTGO requires a bit more money than some games. I am sticking mostly to common/uncommon cards and have not purchased any booster decks. MTG can get quite expensive if you are not careful. When I played MTG (fifth edition), I would often go into stores and purchase cheap, but effective cards, to build decks which could beat players with more expensive decks.
The ability to buy individual cheap cards is not available in MTGO. I was, however, able to purchase many common cards for only $4.99 and trade common cards in excess of 4 with other players. The inception of the 4 card limit means many of the decks I used to play can no longer be played, but it also opens up new avenues for trading. Although I am acquiring a few tickets, I am saving my tickets as reports indicate that ticket trading may not be the best option.
Whether I can prove competitive in MTGO without deep pockets remains to be seen. It would certainly be possible for a person to get a group of friends to play together and agree to spending limits. However, the reason I am playing MTGO is precisely because I cannot play with any of the people I used to play MTG with. MTGO was created and remains popular for people who want to be able to play the game on demand- something online play can do.
My early impressions of the MTGO game are favorable. The interface takes a bit to get used to. Many items are accessed via the right mouse click option and you will find yourself asking a lot of questions from the ORCs who provide customer support. In addition to that, many operations require confirmation. A missed click and you might not properly activate your ability.
The deck building features are fairly straightforward. It took me some time to build a deck which stood a chance of winning. Coming out of the Elements environment, it took me some time to adjust to a “Magic” mindset. Unlike Elements, Magic does not allow Mana to accumulate. There are many differences between the two. You cannot play all your land at once, but play one card at a time. Creatures can block. Spells can be countered. Poision does not do damage, but kills if the counters reach 10. Magic involves much more complicated turn functions and more sophisticated skill combinations. There is something enjoyable about Elements simple and fast game play, but there is also something rewarding about Magic's deep game play.
As I am currently reintroducing myself to Magic, I have been playing in the new player's section. I am not sure what it takes to be a “new” player. Certainly, I played Magic in the past, but it has been a long time and many things have changed. Some of the cards I used to own are not even available in MTGO, like Dwarven Warriors. Many new abilities, cards, and rules have been created. Nor do I have a huge deck of cards from which to build, though I have two supplemental starter decks, this puts my total investment at around $20 so far. It would certainly make sense if the new player category were restricted to to a certain spending limit.
I contacted an ORC with customer support and they indicated there was no actual criteria for new players. You could use any cards you wanted to or have played for any amount of time. This was somewhat disappointing as it leaves new players no real learning environment. The new players option only seems to improve your chances of playing against an actual new player, not guarantee it.
MTGO takes time to get used to, but so far I am enjoying it.