Wizards of the Coast has announced that Magic: The Gathering Online, the upcoming online version of its incredibly popular collectible-card game Magic: The Gathering, will include a feature that will let players who have collected full sets of online cards redeem them for full sets of physical Magic cards.
GameSpot talked with Wizards' Kyle Murray today about the upcoming game. According to Murray, the online version of Magic will be virtually identical to the real-world version of the game, which currently has more than 6 million active players worldwide. Players will be able to buy sets of online cards for the same price as their real-world counterparts, and they can collect and trade cards online much as they would in real life. Online tournaments will also include prizes consisting of online cards, including full sets of online cards that can, if the player chooses, be redeemed by Wizards for a full set of physical cards.
Magic Online will have no monthly subscription fee. Players will be able to purchase a starter game, which includes the online game CD, a certificate for an online deck, and a rulebook and game manual, for $14.99, or they can choose to download the game for free, play a sample game with a limited number of cards, and then purchase online cards when they are ready. Theme decks of 60 cards will cost $9.99, and 15-card booster packs will cost $3.29.
The online game, which has been in development for about two years and has been in testing since August, is designed to be both easily accessible for new players and appealing to experienced players. The game will include a free play area where people can try the game without having to purchase an online deck. Players will also be able to watch other people's games in order to familiarize themselves with the game's rules or learn new strategies from other players. The online game will also include full tutorials, practice rooms, and a wide variety of game rooms for different levels of players. Casual players can participate in quick pick-up games, while experienced players will be able to participate in a wide variety of competitive tournaments.
Wizards of the Coast expects the game to enter beta testing February, and it plans to include approximately 30,000 players in the beta test. The full game is scheduled to launch this spring with approximately 1,500 available cards, including the Seventh Edition, Invasion, Planeshift, Apocalypse, Odyssey, and Torment card sets. New card sets will be launched simultaneously online and in retail stores approximately three times a year.
Magic Online is in development at Leaping Lizard Software. For more information, take a look at our in-depth preview of the game.