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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2003
I've had a passing fascination with Magic: The Gathering for quite some time. When I first tried the game several years ago, I knew it was my type of game. Sadly though, not a single person I knew played Magic. My attempts to teach others failed horribly, resulting in little to no challenge whatsoever. Finally I gave up and learned to live with the pain of seeing Magic in card shops, books, TV, and everywhere else.
I made attempts at finding other ways to play. I tried most of the previous Magic: The Gathering games only to be disappointed. I even tried Apprentice, only to find it a very poor substitute for the real thing.
Well, finally all my Magic: The Gathering troubles are behind me. With M:TG Online, playing a round of M:TG takes less than a minute to get started. The card art is faithfully reproduced and looks relatively good considering the limited screen space. The feel of the game is exactly like the real thing, in my opinion, better.
Why's it better? Well, from my attempts at playing the card game with newbies, I can tell you that it's highly annoying explaining the rules and why your genius finishing combo isn't cheating. For that matter, even the highly skilled players can still be unclear about certain card combos and their effects from time to time. M:TG Online will never let you make an impossible move, and you never have to wonder if you are in fact making a correct move. Everything is clear and precise, with no annoying popup messages or other time wasting dialogs. If something can't be done, it simply won't be possible to do. And don't think that this will give players an edge by making them able to effectively try everything until something works, it simply won't work that way. Anyone who has to rely on a strategy like that would be stomped in 3 seconds flat by a skilled player.
Some people will unquestionably whine about buying digital cards for full price, but I believe Wizards has made the right choice. If the game simply shipped with all cards for a flat $..., the game would simply lose its lifelike realism. It would become just like Apprentice, where everyone uses only the best cards and all of the lower cards are never even looked at much less played with. When I play, I want to play a round of Magic: The Gathering, not a dream deck building simulation. This is the only way that is actually possible. The people that seem to think M:TG is only lasting as long as you keep spending money on boosters are simply incorrect. At just under $... a deck, you could buy a good 4 or 5 theme decks and still be under the cost of one PC game. As any player knows, each and every card pretty much changes how the game is played. Each deck plays different, and feels different. 4 theme decks would not only give you plenty to keep you playing without getting bored for a very long time, it would also give you plenty of cards to build a custom deck or two with. You don't need to spend a fortune for boosters to build and collect if you don't want to. Your cards and decks never expire.
You deck builders out there will love this one. All of your cards are stored in a central collection you own, a master album. Decks are built only when needed, using cards from your collection. So in other words, you never really need more than 4 of any non-land cards, since your decks are seamlessly disbanded and rebuilt before and after every match. No deciding where to put your best cards, no hording tons of a great card, and plenty of tradable cards! If that's not enough to quell any gripes about the price of the cards, nothing is.
So, with so much right... what's there to complain about? Well, there are a few small gripes. Although the interface is sleek and quick, the avatars aren't. They're slow loading, and quite ugly. The skeleton for example has all the quality of a early 90's dungeon crawler sprite. It's a small gripe, sure... but it's annoying. The play area backgrounds are the same way... somewhat pixilated and just nothing that would make you say wow. These graphics problems thankfully don't get in the way, but they don't compliment the game's incredible art either. In a game known for it's jaw dropping card art, you'd think they would put a little more effort into the avatars and backdrops. They could have at least made it customizable so others could step in where they left off. The sounds are also about as plain and dull as humanly possible, but again not so much so it would force you to turn them off. That's pretty much the worst thing I have to say about M:TG Online.
Well, it should be clear by now I love M:TG Online. It's simply must have for anyone who's always wanted to play M:TG but couldn't do so using the cards. The game is equally rewarding for current players of the card game, if you can get over the fact that you can't use your current cards most likely sitting in shoeboxes and albums.
My advice: Download the software, try the demo decks. If you like that, buy one theme deck and see if it feels right. Stick with just one, buy a handful, or go full on M:TG collector. It's up to you.
- Rirath_com
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2002
This game is fantastic. Especially if you have no one local to play with. It just like the paper card game, allowing you to buy, sell, and trade cards. The card selcetion is what is currently allowed in standard format play, so you won't get to play with a lot of good older cards, but the selection and diversity I have seen online is great. These cards won't wear out or bend!
Several reviewers have stated you don't get any cards with this set. It's not true, you get a certificate good in the online store for one starter deck, which contains 75 cards. After that you have to buy, trade or beg for cards, just like in real life. Or if you want, you can play with that one deck forever and never spend another cent.
The implementation of Magic rules is great, and you don't have to worry about anyone trying to cheat you, or missinterpret the rules. The game looks and plays beautiful. You can join or form clans, that will eventually get to participate in clan only events. Join leagues, play multiplayer games like Three Headed Giant or Emperor. There are online tourneys to enter, with rankings and prizes (but these do cost money, just like real life). But, the best thing about Magic Online, is now I can find an opponent anytime I want to play a game.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2002
Only people with an access to a credit card and a willingness to use it should buy this game. You probably also should be familiar with the game or be willing to spend.
The biggest advantage is that you can play this game anytime you want and there are no longer rules questions since the interface won't let you play a card illegally. ... Unfortunately, you have to pay tax on everything you buy online . With all the good accountants in the world, I don't know how Hasbro could have let this happen.
However, I hear that if you win the tournament, you do get a prize, so it is a bit like gambling.
If you don't want to pay money each time you play, you can go to the casual play area. They even have a setup for multi-player games like emperor and 4 way.
They also have forums for trading cards online.
An excellent interface for playing Magic. You can now play 24x7. With the software, you get a credit for creating an account. After that, you have to buy online card packs.
You can also play some pre-made mono-colored decks in the practice area without buying cards.
To play cheaply in the casual area, you can buy a theme deck that includes a playable deck with land... and add or remove cards.
Great game, but can become very expensive.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2002
I used to play Magic about 5-6 years ago, but I stopped (as did many) due to the lack of normal, sane people to play the game with. Because Magic is a somewhat complicated (and somewhat expensive) strategic game, it was very hard to find a lot of folks to really play good games with. This is now changed. The software that you are buying is the platform used to connect to thousands of other MtG players out there. It is very, VERY well put together regarding the graphic user interface and the artwork. If you know the game already you will have no problem learning the game online. The online gameplay is pretty intuitive. If you are new to the game, the tutorials are perfectly set up to get you in harmony with the software and the game itself.
With this package, you get a $9.99 credit to start an online account with Wizards of the Coast, which you need to play. Now, like the real live game, you do need to buy your own cards and put together your own decks. Wizards have available premade decks for sale to get started with. However, contrary to what some people think, when you set up your account with this software, Wizards DOES send you a credit for a premade deck. You still need a credit card because with the tax a deck will cost like .40 with the credit, but it gets you going. AND, some of the basic decks are even available to you free with the "practice" feature, so without spending any more money you could actually play the game. But, you would be missing out on a lot if you didn't put up some more cash. There are online trading chat rooms, there are online tournaments and much more. Leaping Lizards software has put together the online equivalent of the real Magic world, booster and tournaments packs and all. This, by the way, is a freaking BRILLIANT move on the part of Wizards of the Coast. They are selling cards online with ZERO printing cost. It�s going to make them ZILLIONAIRES!!
With that said, I have to warn you, this game is very addicting and in order to create better decks you do need to spend money. Sometimes a LOT of money. While this software by itself is like $20, within 2 months I've spent close to $200 on cards. Now, I'm an obsessive compulisive player so that may not be the norm, but it can be done so be careful.
Overall, this is a very well done attempt at recreating a very tight knit world. I�ve already experience updates to the game which happen when you load up from time to time, so they seem to be paying close attention to detail. You still run into the occasional over educated, under socialized Magic players that have nothing better to do than make decks and complain about you and yours, but what would Magic be without the hardcores. This is worth the buy if you have the time and love the game. I can see it only getting better with time.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2002
Magic Online is the answer to all of the prayers of those, like me, who love MTG but can't ever find someone to play with. By putting this game into an online community setting, Wizards and Leaping Lizards have made MTG into what is was intended to be. One can trade, play, deck-build and collect online. With the server-side application of the software, you can feel confident that no one is cheating. The singular drawback though, is that those of us with killer physical decks may never get to play those online. Once the game launched on June 24, we all started at square one. Even the best players are scrounging for cards. However, this does make it a great place for newbies to jump on because for a while everyone will be relatively equal.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2002
First let me say I have no problems spending 'real' money for '[not real]' cards. I can play the cards just like physical cards and when I get tired of them I can sell them on online auction services, just like my physical cards. Not only that, Magic Online makes it really easy to sort and categorize cards as well as use cards in multiple decks. In fact, the only real difference between online and physical Magic cards is that I can't take the online cards into the game store with me. Then again, I can't play with the physical cards online, and I find that I do a LOT more of that. Oh, and about the cost issue, I find that I can buy cards from online auction services for a lot less than list price.
Finally, I should mention that I think it's fairly economical to get into Magic Online leagues. You buy a tournament pack and two boosters, then a booster a week for three weeks (plus tickets) and you can play five matches per week for a month. And if you finish in the top 64 (of 256 entrants) you go home with booster prizes. And you keep all the cards you bought. For someone like me who's building an online card collection, this is the way to go. My deck will be as competitive as the next guy's; I don't have to worry about playing people who have spent [a fortune] on a killer deck.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2002
Despite its immense popularity as a collectible card game (CCG), having practically invented the genre, computer game versions and adaptions of Magic: The Gathering have generally been uninspired and disappointing. This poor track record, combined with the controversial decision by Wizards of the Coast to charge players for virtual cards with (almost) no way to ever convert those into physical cards, made it easy to be skeptical about the success of this latest game long before it was ever released. Fortunately, someone has finally gotten it right and designed a computer game that does justice to the original card game.
Before discussing the ample positive aspects, I'll highlight a few of the detractions. Chief among these is the price; it doesn't cost much to get started, even less if you download the game for free (this is legal), but if you want to experience all that the game offers you have to buy virtual packs of cards. These are priced the same as physical packs of cards and, as in the paper game, it can be expensive to be competitive. I also have some concerns about the "digital rights" which one is granted when buying virtual cards. There's no guarantee that the access to the online game will remain free even though it is for now. And should the online game (or worse, the company) fail, one will likely be left with nothing at all.
But I think this game will do just as well as the original card version. First and foremost, the programmers have done a truly remarkable job implementing the rules of magic, including every card from Invastion onward. (This is not just a dumb interface for manipulating card icons-- the software knows the rules of the game and enforces them fully.) "Rules lawyers" like myself will be impressed by the accuracy and efficiency with which the game handles complicated card interactions, and those who are new to the game will learn the rules quickly by playing with a game that already knows them all. (There are also 3 tutorials to get new players started quickly and teach them a little a strategy too.)
The game interface is very nicely done as well. The card illustrations are beautiful, the controls are intutive and thoughtful, and the visual presentation of even complex games is clear and easy to understand. Best of all, at any hour of the day there are hundreds or thousands of other players to challenge. For people like me who don't have many local opponents, this alone makes the game worthwhile.
Active "paper players" may balk at the idea of rebuying digital version of the cards they already own, but there are some nice benefits to this format even if you do sacrifice the tactile experience of paper cards. Not only is the tedious job of sorting and organizing handled automatically, but you can build multiple decks with the same cards and save yourself the trouble of repeatedly dismantling one deck to build another. It's a lot better than the giant cardboard card-boxes I used to use.
Other embellishments to the game include online tournaments with real (and, for the top winners, very generous) prizes, chat rooms and help forums, and facilities for tradings cards with other players.
All in all I am more excited about Magic than I've been in many years. Whether you're a newcomer curious about the "original CCG" or an old-timer looking to get back into it, this game is a great way to do it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2007
First, I was introduced to Magic the Gathering by a High School Student of mine many years ago, I loved the game but didn't like having to go to the back room of a comic book store and listen to some teenager rant about their interpretation of the card text and declare my combo illegal etc etc... so I gave up.

Fast forward 12 years, the online game is up and running, after a few bumps in the road, the software works great, yes it takes along time to download, it is a big install (you can get the CD ROM for free) and yes the cards do cost money... that is the whole point of the game, some cards being more valuable that others, therefore making them more desirable, you don't have to spend a fortune to play... a small, weak deck can beat a powerhouse deck if the cards fall in the right order and the player is paying attention.

If you feel inclined to complain about the cost of "virtual" or online cards look at your real world deck, are they free? How different would the game be if you and every other player were issued 4 copies of every card in print, every player would load up with rares and wollap on each other! The beauty of this game is building a balanced deck that uses commons, uncommons and a few rares to play off of each other, great decks can be built on the cheap.

Finally, I've heard the rant "they want us to pay money for online cards?!?" Exactly how much do you think that your "real" cards are really worth? They cost less than a nickel each to print, and yes, Wizards is making money hand over fist, the only value that cards have is to play the game or to a collector; other than that they might as well be a used Kleenex box, cardboard and print bound to end up in the trash.

Wizards designed a great game and in the process minted a licence to "print their own money" as they create new cards... if any one of you who are complaining could pull this off you would do it all day and all night while laughing all the way to the bank! Any hobby costs money, I got into fishing because it was "cheap" one bass boat, 20 or so rods and reels and countless lures later... well you get the point, I fish and play magic to relax and have a good time.

The pros are, no back rooms filled with annoying teens arguing over rules, (annoying teens take no offense I was one once as well) play anytime with people around the world, if someone gets obnoxious, just concede the game and move on, no haggling over rules or the meaning of the card text, the cons are cards... like anything else of value in this world, costs money, and you can always redeem them for "real" cards if you want.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2004
Many here say that magic Online is a great game, but unfortunatly its too expensive. How ca that be? Finally you can make a living playing magic. Drafting in Boosterdrafts cost you appx. 12$ to get started but if you are anything but a newbie to Magic, you can go a long way by selling the drafted cards, getting you to next booster draft and setting some of the cards aside from every draft. Id say that in comparision to playing Magic in real life, you can come VERY far with an investment of say... 25 $. For my 12$ I still play drafts, you only need to get used to selling the Rares that only takes unwanted space in your collection... GG Magic... Good Game Wizards of the Coast!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2005
I personaly like the Magic: The Gathering card game in general because it's a card game that makes you think, unlike Yu-Gi-O and other card games of that nature because in those, all you need is the biggest, baddest creature in order to win. Magic, on the other hand, can be won even with the weakest creatures. All you need is a deck and a mind for strategy, and the compitition will come as you embark on this virtual oddysee. I also recomend this to anyone who has played the real card game because they will have somewhat of an advantage. If you didn't, the game comes with a pretty good online rulebook. I would have given it five stars if instead of paying cash for new cards, you were able to spend virtual points you win from playing and winning.

Overall, I think this is a great game for those that want to play a good strategy game, or if you are a seasoned Magic veteran who wants to find some compitition.
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