On June 7, Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment announced they started working on a free-to-play next generation MMORPG based on the lore of Magic: The Gathering, a famous and rich strategic card game.
Right now, Cryptic Studios is looking for people to work on the project. There are many open positions including game designers and writers, and anyone can apply on the company’s website.
It’s exciting news for a community that counts with dozens of millions of people around the world. However, there’s little to none information about the game. In fact, the only thing we know for sure is it’s going to be free-to-play and that players will be planeswalkers.
What is a planeswalker?
In MTG’s multiverse, a planeswalker is born when a sentient creature ignites something called the “Planeswalker Spark” which resides in unaware recipients until a highly emotional event ignites it. Most of the times, they “ascend” in situations where death is imminent.
In the past, they shared a lot of characteristics with the Greek gods, but after an event called “The Mending,” they lost many of their powers like immortality and shape-shifting. Nowadays, the still have the ability that gives them their name; they can travel in between planes with ease.
Magic: The Gathering takes place in a multiverse, and the canon has been following these beings adventures and misfortunes for a long while. In fact, in the card game, players are supposed to be walkers instead of mere wizards.
What can we expect from Magic: The Gathering On Line?
Allowing players to control planeswalkers give the developers amazing flexibility to create the environment. They can choose whatever background works better for them to make quests, the storyline, weapons, skills, and more because there are infinite universes.
With that in mind, one of the toughest decisions would be whether to pick up the established plot. If they do, it would have to be after the mending, but that still leaves too much content to choose from.
The most intelligent thing would be to start on a never explored universe and use the existing elements to create value. By doing so, they can focus on the MMO elements and then create fun events for the franchise fans. The idea of raiding Phyrexia to defeat Yawgmoth’s forces sounds delightful.
In the realm of mechanics, there is only speculation because the developers again face a huge range of options. As a long-time MTG player, I wish they shook up the formula by adapting abilities and features from the card game, but there are too many differences between the formats.
MTG followers are right to be excited about the game, but a reality check is necessary. It is not going to be an adaptation. Instead, the world they know and love will serve as background for an MMO.
Cryptic Studios described MTGO as a “next-gen MMORPG,” and that might give us an idea of what’s coming. The game maker gave us Neverwinter, and most reviewers say that it is one of the best free-to-play games in the genre.
We can expect decent graphics and an engaging combat system, but it would be great if MTGO would have a more social approach. Moreover, planeswalkers have an enormous impact on the card game storyline, and it would be incredible to be able to leave your mark in the world.
While combat is fun, it would be awesome players had the chance of developing their characters in different ways and still be relevant, something like Log Horizon. After all, Magic’s lore is full of political schemes and love/hate relationships between the different races that inhabit the multiverse.
Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment promised to give more information about the upcoming title in the coming months.