Magic Legends – First Impressions

I’m not even sure I had heard about Magic Legends before, but I heard about it yesterday. The Open Beta has started a few days ago and there’s supposed to be no wipe until the real launch, and it’s Free To Play, that sounds interesting!

A little bit of back story, I learned about Magic: The Gathering in highschool in 1994 or 1995 and quickly became a huge fan. Homelands and 4th Edition were when I started, then came 5th Edition and Ice Age, and I played roughly until the Mirage Cycle (Mirage, Visions, Weatherlight) in 1997, with a bit of Rath Cycle iirc (Tempest, Stronghold, Exodus). Then I didn’t play for many years with new stuff, just grabbing the old decks once in a while and playing. Around ~2014 I tried to play my old stuff against a coworker with current decks (and mechanics) and he blasted me away without a chance. That’s when I stopped playing. Also I really, really dislike card games on the computer so anything Magic was completely uninteresting for me. Magic Legends sounded like a Diablo-like ARPG with cards/spells, but not a card game. So I downloaded it.

First of all you choose one of five Planeswalkers (according to the five colors of mana). While still knowing full well what each color means and what to expect, I was a little let down by the character descriptions, not sure why. In the end I chose a Red Mana Geomancer.

The game looks ok, but I wouldn’t call it overwhelming. I’m usually not one to criticize non-flashy graphics, but it’s a new game and it doesn’t look better than Diablo 3 (which is 8 years old) in any way, which is a little sad. Also the first cutscene/ingame RP was a little janky with the mouth movements and I’m not loving the voice work. Like, not at all. None of them.

Newbie Geomancer, no zoom available

So I’m Level 4 now, after following the story a bit, quests, doing a random event that popped up and a mini dungeon with 3 others. It’s all ARPG stuff like you’d imagine, but it all seems a little… unfinished. I know, I know, Open Beta. But I was trying to walk over some sort of walkway and I couldn’t spamclick because I was rubberbanding a little and pathing wasn’t exactly spot on. When in a town my toon was behind a wall/building with an NPC and I couldn’t see either.

Using Fast Travel isn’t very intuitive, you have to stand on the waypoint and then open the world map to use it. Or maybe you don’t even have to stand on it, but why can’t I interact with the waypoints, anyway?

Actually these are all very superfluous criticisms and I guess I could just ignore them or get used to them, but I think this game is not for me, for a completely subjective reason. The way combat works is like this: Left click is my default attack (in the Geomancer’s case it fills the shield by hitting enemies), Q and W are “unlimited” abilities with a short (5s?) cooldown, so far so good. But where it diverges from Diablo is that you don’t for example choose 4 skills from your “class list” and use those, but you use spells as in playing Magic, with your deck. So for example I use a Fireball and some sort of Pyroclasm (spells are on the digit buttons, 1,2,3,…) but if I used them they’re gone (for now) and after some time (not sure yet) some new cards(spells) are drawn from your deck and put into slots 1,2,3,4. So basically you can’t learn a rotation, but you need to “play the card” that you drew, and I hate it.

Maybe I’m actually terrible at games and need a proportionally long time to get my fingers used to some sort of controls (I am actually surprised I can play so many different classes in MMOs, but I always need a little time to concentrate when I switch), so having different spells on 1,2,3,4 every few seconds completely confuses me and I noticed I’m glancing down (while fighting) and trying to guess which spell exactly it is (they’re all kinda… red-orange-ish, except the creatures) and then hope for the best. Some have cones to target, some have circles, some are instant-cast point-blank AoE. I like the idea, really, it’s something fresh. But this is not something for me in real time, I could totally live with this sort of spell usage in a round-based game, but realtime clickfest and not knowing which spells are available? Difficult for me, very difficult.

I’ll surely try to play a little bit longer and also try another Planeswalker, overall it’s a really well-made game I think and it’s fun to see spells and creatures you know from the card game. But spontaneously it didn’t really click with me, so I don’t have high hopes for me continuing this game. Bummer.