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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 2:44 am 
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Whilst the best place to go to find out about the new game is via the content providers and in particular the NGA Covert go Blue and Nighthawk channels for those playing the beta wanting to feedback and muse I suggest we can post here.

I waited for the reset and picked up playing again. Here goes on some initial thoughts.

Game Inferface

Since the reset the interface and look and feel have improved. I like the blue / orange phase button. There is no real change to the card display in hand or battlefield. The animations / sounds which are either new or improved are pretty neat.

As I use a touch pad rather than mouse so at times selecting cards at end of the rows can be tricky. It’s decent though you can pick and put back.

One aspect on selection though eg for selecting cards from deck for tutor effects etc it uses a slider to scan deck. At times though you can mis pick, it does seem to confirm selection but does not let you go back if it’s wrong. It’s also on a timer but seems reasonable to allow you to scan and pick.

Playing cards and selecting targets and blocks with visual clues is good and similar to Duels. Overall graphically it’s closer to Duels and a decent improvement after the update.

The Grind / Economy

After the update and wipe its decent they provide a basic 12 deck dual colour archetype set. On top you have 3 booster packs from each of the 4 sets so that’s 12 packs and 12 mythic / rares as a starter to change standard decks. This is similar to the Duels starter box so let’s you get to a good start. Decent deck builders can probably assemble a good Tier 2 deck arguably.

However it’s important to note, the card pool is much bigger as there is no rarity restrictions and we have the full pool of cards in each set. To an extent the introduction of wildcards can make a targeted deck easier. Wildcards are available for all rarity types and have to assume (for now) it’s has the same percentage chance to turn up in each booster pack (chance of common, uncommon, rare, mythic mix). I would assume too there would only ever be one wildcard of any type in a single booster and quite often non at all. I can however confirm it is possible to net a mythic wildcard in a booster pack as I did (but believe that may have been pre wipe).

You have to win to earn cards (understandable) and there is also the Duels notion of coins when playing certain types of decks but for casual players or even more serious it is probably more rewarding to ply with decks you know and can believe in. There are modest gold awards for the quests but each win does net you a random single - this is not actually restricted to any rarity either (ie commons only) as again I netted a mythic would you believe from a single card award. The card was Overwhelming Splendor! A nice ‘build around’ card for sure. I kid you not!

On the downside however you can only earn a max of 3 full booster packs a week max. You get a booster pack for 5 wins but this maxes out at 15 for a total of 3 packs a week. A far cry from what you could grind in Magic Duels even with the daily coin limit!!!

I’ll just let that sink in and leave you with my current count of mythics / rares so far. I think like Duels you can count how many packs you have grinder from the 1 mythic or rare per booster pack. Given you have 12 anyway from the free packs you start with.

My current count is :-

Mythics - 15 (I have 2 copies of Elenda, the Dusk Rose)
Rares - 72 (I have a few duplicates of rares e.g. Hour of Devastation, Sanctum Seeker, Champion of Dusk, Regal Caracal).

87!!!

Some of these are also from redeemed wildcards. From memory you get 1 mythic and 2 rares in addition to the 12 booster packs. There are also a higher count (can’t remember total) for uncommon and uncommon wildcards on top.

Blimey. I think quite a number of these must be from the default decks provided! A nice boost from Duels to get Mythics / Rares in effect a starter box set.

A big caveat though I guess. There are no guarantees that the game will launch with these same initial selections.

I hope that gives a decent indication of what you get and what you can achieve in a short time. Arguably the basis of trying to build a deck from the elite rare / mythics. Sadly no Planeswalkers or Gods yet.

I just read the latest Economy thread posts and tend to agree with Nighthawk. It will be tough and yes worse for content providers who would like to show good diversity with Tier 1 decks.

(As an aside I know LVD transitioned to MTGO and has a bi weekly series where he shows decks, I guess his revenue however from his channel and probably sideline can fund this for him - back in the early Duels days content providers like Hakeem used to purchase the Origin set and then grind thereafter. Yes a different product and a different Era sadly).

The Meta

In the early days with just Ixalan it was Dinosaurs and Pirates or Merefolk. Rivals moved the diversity on. Even prior to the last wipe I think there was a wider diversity but still some defined meta themes like lifelink vampires. There was still dinosaurs. There were fewer pure control decks (running blue counter magic) but they did exist.

After the wipe I would say the diverty is wider. Merefolk are still strong, Dinosaurs less so. But probably due to both the new sets and the fact that (at the starting ranks) there is a wider diversity. The same type of decks appear as before but I have noticed a bigger shift to blue control decks and in particular builds that can continually resupply a hand via multiple draw engines. One downside to that in particular when trying to just win to build a collection is long, long matches.

Game Modes

The latest wipe just appears to have made it clear the game will be just constructed one on one matches. Even display the best of 3 disappears. So despite being able to build a sideboard there is no way to try and prove its worth. If it’s supposed to reflect ‘real magic’ other than providing the potential for full standard decks they need to provide as a minimum best of 3 matches.

Currently no casual versus. This may never happen but for me is a big strategic mistake potentially. I have no real way to test a deck in Arena against a gauntlet without a casual versus mode. It also puts paid to any organised tournaments of the likes of fight club in Duels gone bye. No king of the hill either. From a collective group experience of like minded players as gather on NGA it’s also a big backwards step.

Finally no AI Play. I am okay with this as it would just take ages to program to any decent level. It does mean though without internet connectivity there can be no Arena games. As bad as the Duels AI is, if I want to knock up a quick Jank build and test it I could. Duels never provided a practice option, I can understand why but it would have at least given an opportunity to play test against the clinical but at times dumb AI For at least well made decks.

Probably play modes for me after the economy are the biggest missed opportunity to have made Arena more play more than it may become.

Game Play

I do like Arena as a game to play and apart from a few ‘get used to’ aspects of the phases (a particular annoyance is activated abilities are active at pre combat e.g. give haste, sacrifice, etc. The number of times I go to click to attack and instead activate abilities is annoying. I guess I will learn to click attack as active before long. Another thing I have not worked out to do properly is to select Exert only when you want it. It is supposed to be optional (may) ability but often playing Ahn-Crop Crasher it will exert even when I don’t want it to, conversely if I wanted to Exert it’s not clear how.

EDIT: okay exert is via the 2 different attack options you get (attack arrows) for creatures with exert! Easy when you know how.

The usual spectre of RNgesus can arise re mana screw / flood. The number of times I have a 2 land hand and do not draw land 3 for 3 or more turns makes things difficult to say the least. Tonight I had a 1 lander, mulligan to no land, no land, no land, 2 lander (yes mulling to 3) and no land draws for my next 3 turns. I quit. Likewise land flood can happen, usually mid game. Just when you want your win con to show up - it’s land after land after land. Often I end up in a top card battle with opponent where we can three or four straight turns both drawing land. I guess they do have to have a RNG but at times it can just wreck you.

CGB also made a perinent point that your mana base is likely to be difficult due to the lack of decent dual lands. It’s fine if you run mana dorks but a lot of builds do not want to use a slot for that or do not run the colour. Evolving Wilds is only part of the fix (if you have any). So twixt mana screw and an iffy mana base games can be a challenge at times.

By the same token an on curve play which can in effect end the game by turn 3 or 4 (not a kill but winning on board). I do like black for it’s cheap early opportunities to Duress or Freebooter to get a good ‘heads up’ on what your opponent is playing with. However seeing a hand of counter spells and card draw and removal means you need to be sure if your turn 3 and 4 plays are going to be enough to in effect ignore the counter war. Decent deck builds pack spot removal so even relying on an early creature beat down can come unstuck.

EDIT: the game and grind just became blindingly obvious as not being much fun anymore. It seems with each new wipe and new set I am tending to hit the point much earlier which for me it just ends up being a frustration rather than fun and enjoyable. I know a significant part may be showing up both my playing (piloting skills) but I am nowhere in trying to compete with some obvious half decent deck builders that are around, that and the fact that some do rely on consistency or at least building for a vary varied meta. I have tried various strategies like, removal, life gain, tokens etc probably always with sub optimal use of the cards I do have. But it’s time to lose the frustration which means putting the game behind me for some time, if not for good. Even the Arena content whilst good in some ways is a reminder that you can’t play like that or will not have the cards. I still enjoy the Magic Duels content beacuse I can at least know that I can build and try and Pilot the decks that others build. It’s just not possible IMHO with Arena.

SD

Platforms

I read a recent article (probably in Edge) which made the point the development costs on IOS in particular with changes in phone specs (iPhone X latest case) poses a huge cost restriction for indie development. Sadly I doubt we will ever see Arena on a mobile platform. You heard it here first!

As for consoles you would expect so. But the layout and interface is built around the PC architecture with not even the possibility to play via a joypad. This is probably not that big a deal and as long as the underlying code is portable I would expect Arena to make it to the core consoles. How long though before the core platform may be up to a year. Certainly not for launch, but before the next block is released it may start to get further away to code the complete set fully to a new platform.

Assuming Arena surivives long enough after launch I may expect when they start to introduce standard rotation this could be the correct time to roll out the console launches.

I will come back and edit this OP from time to time but for now that ‘s my current take on the current release.

SD

_________________
"Don't Compromise Yourself For Anyone!"

quo plus habent,
eo plus cupiunt.



Check Out my You Tube Channel - Cube Draft and Random versus for AER. NGA iOS KOH matches. iOS Trials of the Elder Dragon tournament videos.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC29hO5 ... 71kNpJmjKg


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