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Paul’s Perspective
The Problem With Duel’s
June 8, 2010

Magic The Gathering is a multifaceted game, one of the chief joys comes from assembling and collecting cards and the one of the other chief joys comes from building decks. Strategy and plays during the game account for a significant portion of the game of Magic, but take away the ability to customize your decks and you lose the majority of the strategy and the appeal. This is the fundamental problem with the Xbox live game, Duel’s of The Planeswalkers. The chief complaint is the fact that you cannot customize your deck from even the limited card pools provided. You are strictly limited in preconstructed decks based on various Planeswalkers, which you can only modify slightly.

With the news that Planeswalkers would be coming to Valve’s Steam service I took a deep breathe and asked myself one simple question, Why? The fact Magic Online exists at all further reinforces the redundancy of the Planeswalkers game in general. Casual players may be turned off from Magic Online due to the cost of entry, the fact your paying tangible currency for intangible items is still not readily accepted by some gamers although this fact is easily remedied by the various supported free Magic games. The obvious counterpoint to this is to allow only a few sets but full customization of your decks similar to what was explored in the popular Pokemon trading card game for game boy color. This game allowed a few expansion sets and promotional cards obtained in game to be utilized by the player, even this limited formula is far preferred to the one Wizard’s chose to utilize for their Xbox live game. I flaw Wizards substantially for this, instead of making a significant share of money by simply creating a Magic Online program for Xbox live and possibly other systems, they instead chose to create what can only be called a bastardized version of Magic The Gathering.


Soulless and utterly lacking in character, Duel’s holds the players creative instincts at gunpoint forcing them to play with sub par decks that barely illustrate concepts in Magic. I can hear the rebuttal from Wizards and players alike “But this game is meant for beginners who have no access to actual playgroups and is strictly for new players” Touché ignorant masses touché. Labeling a product as for beginners is a solid strategy as newer players are often unable to see the basic flawed concepts in a game like Duel’s. The horribly broken Artificial Intelligence that under performs compared to random players I have introduced to Magic.

The lack of customization and challenge make this a hard game to recommend except for those who literally have no internet and the only conceivable way to play Magic is against the AI in Duel’s, if you have an internet connection your time is quite possibly better spent playing Magic Online or utilizing a program such as Magic Workstation to play for free. Duel’s of The Planeswalkers is not only a substantial failure for the Magic brand but a failure as a video game, the Fact it is actually being released to PC players is a joke in of itself, with better alternatives being presented by the community and Wizard’s, the greater question is why would anyone bother to play Duel’s?

Once again if you agree disagree or just want to type nasty words in all caps to me, the email address is PlatinumFUBU5@hotmail.com


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