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Father Vs. Son - Billy Moreau (11/11/2007)

Welcome, my friends. Today we will explore the topic of Magic the Gathering: Online Vs. Offline. Most of you may enjoy one form of Magic but not often do you find a player who enjoys both versions. I would like to compare the two and show you which one gets my vote as best way to play.

1: Availability

Magic Online does not allow players to purchase booster boxes of cards. When a set first comes out the only way to get any cards is by purchasing the boosters from the Wizards of the Coast store website or by winning a tournament that features boosters from that set. Singles can only be gained by trading or purchasing from other players who have opened packs.

Offline Magic allows players to purchase booster boxes from Retail stores or through many online websites. Singles cannot be purchased from Wizards of the Coast. Players can find many websites along with local stores that sell singles.

Advantage: Offline

2: Cost

Magic Online packs must be purchased through the Wizards website at $3.99 per pack with only Standard packs available. Single card prices vary as time goes on and more packs are opened but in general it seems that online singles are cheaper than offline. Tournaments prices vary and are usually paid in cash.

Offline Magic packs tend to be sold cheaper at online and offline stores because you can purchase booster boxes and even cases. Purchasing them this way allows the cost of each individual pack to be lower while still giving the seller a profit. Singles are typically higher in price. Tournaments are paid for using tix or tickets which cost $1.00 plus tax through the Wizards website while many people sell the tix for $.80 or so.

Advantage: Tie- (Singles- Online, Packs- Offline)

3: Collectability

Magic Online allows you to see the cards you own based on set, in alphabetical order from the moment you open the booster. Completing collections is made easy by the ability to sort cards by set, color, card type, foil or non-foil, number owned, and number for trade. Online also is easier to store large amounts of cards because they take up next to no space at all. Cards are always MINT.

Offline you need to sort your cards on your own. Storing them takes up a lot of space if you have a decent size collection. Cards may become bent, damaged, or even come up missing.

Advantage: Online

4: Accessibility

Magic Online is online 24 hours a day 7 days a week other than a scheduled downtime once a week that is usually no more than a few hours. You can always find someone to play against no matter what time of day or night. You can even play in your underwear or less without the fear of being banned.

Offline you need to drive to a card shop or friends house, or have a friend come over. You can usually only play during daytime or evening hours. Sometimes there won't be anyone to play against at the card shop. Plus you need to dress appropriately unless you are in the mood to get kicked out of the store.

Advantage: Online

5: Tournaments

Magic Online offers single elimination tournaments as soon as 8 people are signed up at a cost of 4 tickets (based on ticket prices could be anywhere from $3.20-$4.00.) You can always find tournaments happening no matter what time of night or day. You have a time limit, which makes it tough to play control or combo decks.

Offline you have to find a store to play at in order to play in a tournament. Just like online you need 8 players to start a tournament in order for it to be sanctioned. Costs vary by store. Times also are set in stone and sometimes they interfere with work schedules. You have a time limit during your match but it is much easier to play combo and control decks because you don't have to repeatedly click on the same combo you just have to state what you are doing.

Advantage: Tie (Online- Anytime Tournaments, Offline- Playing Combo decks)

6: Deckbuilding

Magic Online sorts your cards so you don't have to and finding a card is just a click away. You can also find out if a deck is legal in any format.

Offline you have to search through your collection to find cards and have to sort them on your own. Sometimes you even end up playing illegal decks at tournaments because you didn't know a card was not legal.

Advantage: Online

7: Trading

Magic Online is more compatible with buying and selling cards. Trading cards is difficult because there is a buying and selling room but trading does not happen unless you want to do it with a computer.

Offline you need to know where to trade online or know people interested in trading in real life. Trading is easier because you can find people looking to trade at your local card shop.

Advantage: Online

8: Buying/Selling

Magic Online offers many different sellers and buyers. Prices are very similar due to so many different people having the same cards for sale. To buy or sell you enter a trade and can buy or sell up to 32 cards or items at a time. Many people even have bots (Computer programs) buying or selling at fixed prices, which allows you to not even deal with a person.

Offline you can buy cards from an Online store, or from a local card shop. Selling is usually only done online or outside of card shops as many of them frown upon people selling cards in their shop.

Advantage: Online

9: Addiction

Magic Online can be very addicting. When you enter a draft or tournament and lose fast it is very easy to pick up a credit card and buy into another tournament. Playing games sometimes also get very mindless as the computer does many things for you that you have to do in real life such as untapping cards, changing phases, offering you a chance to respond to spells.

Offline you can do the same as Magic Online but you are less tempted to enter into additional tournaments because there may be longer waits and more product to lug around. Playing games aren't as addicting because you have to do everything such as tapping cards and responding to spells.

Advantage: Offline

10: Dress Code

Magic Online allows you to play tournaments in the nude, without showering for weeks, while eating, talking on the phone, and doing things best left unsaid.

Offline you are required to wear clothing covering all personal areas, showers are recommended, very rarely can you eat while playing, and must remain a civilized person.

Advantage: Online

Overall I feel that Magic Online is the way to go when playing Magic.

Online 6 (Collectibility, Accessibility, Deck Building, Trading, Buying/Selling, Dress Code)
Offline 2 (Availability, Addiction)
Tie 2 (Cost, Tournaments)

While these results are only my opinion you may have a different opinion. Some people may argue that real tournaments won't crash (Untrue since computers run them as well). Some people may say that it doesn't make sense buying something that doesn't exist in your own hands. In regards to that look at other online games such as Everquest. I will continue to play both versions of the game but at this current time I am more of a collector of offline cards. Any tournaments I will play in I will either build a cheap Common/Uncommon deck or borrow from friends. Magic Online fits into my work schedule and I can even play it at work. Let me know your opinion of what you feel is the best way to play and why.

Anyone looking to engage in a friendly game online you can find me: billymoreau in MOTL. Mention you read my article and if you would like to do some casual trading I would be up for that. Also I am taking suggestions for my next article so leave me a post or send me an e-mail.

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