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CardShark Content - Earl Burbridge (2/4/2002)

Hello, my name's Earl Burbridge, and I'm a Magic Addict.

There, I said it. It feels good to admit it.

But, why should anyone care about that. Anyone reading this is probably an addict, or at least well on their way to addiction. What makes me different?

Not much. I'm old for a Magic player. I'm a single dad, with custody of my two kids. I don't have time to play every waking hour. I drive an hour to play at the nearest gaming store, and drive an hour and forty five minutes to play at the second nearest gaming store. Yes, I'm a player in the middle of nowhere. The target audience for Magic Online. But guess what? I probably won't play it.

There's been numerous rants about the pricing of Magic Online, and I probably wouldn't add much original to the rant. It's too expensive, what happens to the cards if Magic Online ends, there's no cards older than Invasion, and many other objections. On the plus side, it reportedly plays well, looks good, and may just be everything it's advertised as.

The pricing. Ah, there's the sticking point. Wizards wants us to pay full price for electronic cards. Cards that aren't real in any sense of the word. Cards that, if Magic Online ceases to exist, cease to exist as well. Cards that have less worth than a piece of cardboard. I know, I know. Those of you who are Magic Online supporters are already firing up your e-mail programs, to remind me of the redemption program. The redemption program is a carrot held out in front of the gaming public, to try to mask the fact that virtual cards have no real value. The ability to trade in a whole set of virtual cards for a set of real cards makes a virtual Shadowmage Infiltrator
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Shadowmage InfiltratorSet: Odyssey
Sub Type:
Rick Farrell
Shadowmage Infiltrator can't be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or black creatures. Whenever Shadowmage Infiltrator deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card.
equal in value to a virtual Dwarven Shrine
Dwarven Shrine
Dwarven ShrineSet: Odyssey
Matt Cavatto
Whenever a player plays a spell, Dwarven Shrine deals X damage to that player, where X is twice the number of cards in all graveyards with the same name as that spell.
. Does that make any sense to you? It doesn't to me, that's for certain.

Then, there's the revelation that Magic Online will not support any cards released before Invasion. No Extended. No Type One. No Block Party. With the large Type One community on the net, and with the Extended being the format for at least one qualifying season each year, there's no excuse to not support earlier sets. Type Two, and Block Constructed are fine, but what happens when the Invasion block rotates out next fall? What will happen to the Invasion block cards on Magic Online? They'll be worthless, unless there is a new tournament type on Magic Online, consisting of all cards supported by it. That tournament format would not be played, however, unless it was supported by the DCI, in real tournaments. Is that going to happen? It might, but I would doubt it.

I would have used Magic Online to practice drafting. I play limited, almost exclusively. I enjoy the challenge of building a viable deck out of crap, and then being able to outplay my opponent. I enjoy playing a format where Mr. Suitcase doesn't have an advantage. I also don't mind not having to lug around a binder of cards to trade, whenever I leave town, just in case I see a card shop.

Sure, I can play Netdraft, but Netdrafts have the tendancy to fall apart often. It's very rare that a draft gets played out. If I'm lucky, I get one game after a draft. NEVER two. Ever. I'd rather play it out, to get a feel for how well I *DID* draft. It's how to figure out what was done wrong, and what was done correctly during the draft. I would suspect that Magic Online drafts would stay together, if only because they would be for credit. It would be a GREAT way for someone like me to practice for the two or three drafts that I can make it to a month.

But, this is just rambling. I love the game of Magic, and I want the online version of it to thrive. I don't think that it will, at it's current price structure. If I don't want to play it at the current price, and I'm in the target audience, how is Wizards going to get a more casual player to play Magic Online? Or a player with a gaming store within walking distance? It would be a much tougher sell to them, let alone someone who has never heard of Magic before.

*sigh* Why do I bother?

Because I love the game. That's why I've decided to write columns. Because I love the game, and want to give a little back to it. Next time, I'll probably talk a little bit about a tourney, maybe think aloud a bit about Odyssey Constructed, and probably grouch a bit about loud, annoying players.

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