When your Magic opponent is Logan.

Magic Duels on life support

iPad, PC •

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t give Magic Duels a lot of love. If you don’t remember, Magic Duels was released in 2015 as the successor to Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers, which was an annual release from Wizards each summer from 2009-2014. It was slated to be THE final release of Magic on your iPad, and would be updated when new sets were released rather than scuttled and re-released each year. From everything I can gather, it worked rather well; I just realized that playing Magic wasn’t really my thing. Didn’t hate it, but couldn’t justify the amount of time to really learn and understand the complexities of the game, so, it’s really my fault that we didn’t give it its due here at Stately Play. That said, it’s now dead, so I guess we’re off the hook.

When I say “dead” I mean it in the most Pythonesque way in that it’s not quite dead. It’s not getting better, but it doesn’t want to go on the cart, if you catch my drift. The servers for the game will remain active (for now), but the last set launched for the game, Amonkhet, will be the last set ever released for the game. No new cards will be coming to Duels in the future.

Instead, it sounds like they have bigger plans for digital Magic: The Gathering:

We have also partnered with Cryptic Studios—creators of games like City of Heroes and Neverwinter—to produce a Magic: The Gathering massively multiplayer online game. The partnership is new, so we can’t tell you when you’ll be able to start roaming the Multiverse, but that day is coming!

Great! Except, maybe not great if you’re a fan of just playing Magic with, you know, cards. From an interview with the Cryptic Studios CEO over on gamesindustry.biz, it sounds less like a card game and more like a traditional MMO in which you play the part of a Planeswalker.

“My intent is to go forward with a Magic game that is not about the card game,” D’Angelo said. “It’s about jumping into the world and the fiction of Magic: The Gathering…”

It also doesn’t sound like the kind of game that will be phone/tablet friendly. So, what happens to mobile users who want to keep playing Magic on their tablets? It sounds like there are other titles in the works, but nothing concrete yet:

To that end, if you’re a Magic Duels player—or any player—who wants to be involved in the next generation of Magic digital gaming, make sure you sign up for a Wizards Account if you do not already have one. We’ll be using that system as a way to integrate our Magic Digital Next products, so it’s the best way to stay involved with our digital future!

You can read the entire post from Wizards of the Coast here. There’s a lot of words there, but not a lot of info, however, especially concerning the future of Magic on mobile devices.

Hat tip: Jason Walker

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Notable Replies

  1. I think it is kind of sad that they can't seem to get their act together regarding Magic. It could be the biggest tabletop IP in the world (I have no stats to back that up, but it single-handedly keeps some stores afloat), but they continue to miss the boat with mobile.

    I personally liked the Plansewalker titles - instead of collecting and deck building, they were more about puzzling through the campaign. I can see how that might rub a diehard min/maxer the wrong way, but I thought it was a refreshing way to make the game work on mobile.

    I also didn't mind Duels. Yes, the game had technical issues, but it also worked well as a mobile platform for Magic. It just wasn't as quick and streamlined as its competitors (like Hearthstone), but then again, Magic is a more complicated game.

    Sadly, I feel like they dilute the brand with so many releases. How many times are players going to want to pay money for a M:TG game that gets abandoned? This will be the 4th on iOS, not counting Puzzle Quest.

    Edit: I also have to say that the Developer (Stainless, I think) has done a disservice to the brand. Maybe Wizards needs to find a new partner for digital.

  2. Wizards of the Coast simply are to Cardboard (and digital stuff) what Games Workshop is to Metal and Plastic (and digital stuff)...

  3. Jules says:

    I tried the digital versions of magic. Also the later but the buggy release did it certainly no good. I quit playing. Intended to go back someday, but didn't.

    Too bad. It is a good game.

    I get my card kick with The Elder Scrolls: Legends.
    It is deep enough. Fun and perfect for digital. Steam, tablets and soon on phones.

  4. Kind of a bummer, I invested a bit of money in Duels on their claim that it would be their new forever platform. Forever isn't what it used to be.

  5. Wizards is so utterly clueless when it comes to digital.

    Magic:Online still looks like it was made on Geocities in 1998. And it should have had a Mac client at least five years ago.

    The annual Planeswalkers releases were clearly not what anyone wanted. Buying essentially the same game every year? That's a tough sell.

    And now they kill a portal that, with a steady hand and a little bit of vision, could have served them for years and years.

    As far as a Magic MMO goes? I literally can't think of anything I'd want to play less.

    Morons. Top to bottom. They've definitely received my last dollar.

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