Magic Legends Preview: A real beta that costs too much for PC

After Neverwinter, the Cryptic studio, to which we also owe City of Heroes / Villains and Star Trek Online, is tackling another cult franchise, that of Magic: The Gathering, and the result is an open beta that is of particular concern to the following is. Magic Legends was first presented in the form of an MMO before moving to a more conventional genre, the cooperative Hack’n’Slash Online. It’s one of the few Magic games, after all, whose base isn’t just a board that you have to put cards on, let’s talk about the story first. The world of magical legends is not the world that fans of the game Wizards of the Coast have in their hands today. Cryptic has made the decision to start with The Age of Destruction, an expansion that was initiated in the summer of 2017, so that the title has enough time to develop and therefore new content will be available in the months leading up to the coming year.

A huge, but very empty universe

The Magic Legends Multiverse currently has five continents, each with its own visual universe. One major act, however, changes your habits and that, at the time of this writing, should keep you going for about thirty hours. All adventures start in Tazeem, a place full of mana and lush jungle, but we can also rely on Shiv and its volcanic landscapes, Tolaria and its landscape as far as the eye can see, Benalia and its dark swamps and finally Gavonie and its villages lost to death and werewolves. The problem is, there is nothing to do. Finally, yes, there is some activity, but we constantly get the impression that Cryptic designed their game differently – like an MMO therefore – and that once they were “simple” cooperative hack’n’Slash, they removed everything, what sparked interest in exploration. No hidden chests to find, no caves to explore … Every now and then there is a lot of random activity, a couple of NPCs giving us a quest, but that’s it. Most of your adventure consists of completing the instanced missions given to you during the three acts of the game and then repeating them – accessible from the map ever since – by changing the difficulty level and enchantments. In processing . These work like gameplay modifiers: they can bring you both a penalty and a bonus, and more interesting rewards are then available. When you complete a mission, the game rewards you with possible new spells, but also with spell pages that were used earlier, upgrade the ones you already have, but also money, equipment, XP, and finally, Aether. Ether is one of the main currencies in the game, but it’s also at the heart of Magic Legends’ business model.

A problematic business model

When you complete a goal, the ether in your inventory is earned and distilled, and with it you can perform various actions. The catch is that there is a limit to the number of Aether earned per day. You can only save 50,000 per day. If this maximum level seems high at the beginning of your adventure, it will be very quickly attainable by the time you reach the final level. So much so that it limits progression significantly, like a power system found in many free games on mobile devices. Why is the level so low? Excellent question. The developers seem to be listening to the players and the release of the final version could change this point, but in the meantime we have to admit that we are faced with a misguided decision. Especially since ether occupies a central place in the economy of the title. Magic Legends is constantly asking us for everything, but also and especially for ZEN, the game’s premium currency. With the help of a “forex market” we can actually exchange Ether for ZEN and avoid spending real money to recover it. The problem is that the economy is being completely ruined by the bigger players. To buy the equivalent of the Combat Pass (900 ZEN) you need to farm several million ethers, make an offer to a player, and get the corresponding ZEN back if accepted. The limit of 50,000 ethers per day logically prevents ZEN from currently being free and available in a relatively short time. We can put Magic Legends in the pay-to-fast category more than we can in that pay-to-fast win category. The game is a bit more generous than Neverwinter on this side, but when you get your hands on the wallet, you can dispose of the best cards much faster, upgrade them much faster, and access significant card bonuses on a more global scale compared to the average player. This is understandable as soon as the final version is published. In a “real” beta like Magic Legends’, having a lot of microtransactions and even a Combat Pass leaves a strange feeling.

A real beta

However, if the characters are not deleted between the open beta and the final version – which is in the company of a new continent – we are facing a real beta. This shows in every minute that is spent on the game. Missing translations, messy bugs, numerous crashes, strawberry and only US servers, incoherent user interface, rather sparse script content … the problems are particularly numerous and undoubtedly no stranger to the change powered by Magic Legends as it went from MMO to cooperative hack ‘n’Slash switched. In addition, there are some rather dramatic optimization problems. In our configuration, which is especially equipped with an RTX 3070, a Ryzen 5 3600 and 16 GB of RAM and all installed on an NVME SSD, the game in ULTRA regularly has problems exceeding 50 FPS when it is not below 30 FPS falls. This is due to a motor that primarily pumps your processor, not the graphics card. It is therefore necessary to play with the possible changes from the settings files in the game folder (or in the chat, if you know the commands), as the developers did not consider it appropriate to offer advanced graphics options directly in the game. When we are ready to offer paid items in a game, including in the open beta, we first try to provide a correct base. And if the game’s graphics don’t show too much of their age, it’s still fair to admit that Magic Legends isn’t very fresh.

A very accessible deck system

But for all its problems, it’s not a bad thing to venture out in Magic Legends: seeing iconic characters from the franchise in the flesh, sharing glorious moments with other players on a mission (who you may or may not know), but also too discover which animations are hidden behind each card, so many elements that you absolutely want to pay a little attention to the title. The animations are also particularly successful. Overall, each class and card has its own effects. Certainly there is little side effect, since during the closest collisions the abundance of effects and characters prevents good visibility, but the care the developers take for the whole is not uncomfortable. However, you could find flaws in the symbols of each spell, sometimes missing small details if you are not familiar with all of the cards in your deck. However, the card deck system is one of the great features of Magic Legends. Each deck can contain 12 cards with a maximum of 12 points (some cards are worth more than others) and up to two different colors of mana. In the game it is indeed possible to play any color of mana, regardless of your class, and just as it is possible to play all available classes – provided you farm intensively – with the same character. In fact, you have to play with the cards that you will win and improve to maximize the damage, effects, and combos. In fact, this is where Magic Legends is putting all of its interest, and it’s especially accessible even if you’re not a seasoned Magic: The Gathering player. We therefore deeply regret that PvP is so anecdotal (a simple 1v1 mode in an arena), but we will appreciate the possibility that the enclosure (called “Kingdom”) allows you to create your spells / cards depending on the game and improve the land you have. Our Impressions Despite its few features, including the deck system, and at this stage of Open Beta, Magic Legends is far from what one would expect from a game of this type, all the more so when it is carried by Cryptic. With its sometimes more than problematic economic system, its disastrous performances and its empty immensity, the studio still has a lot to do to hope that one day its game will become what it promised. Administrator March 28, 2021 at 7:45:57 PM