Maximum Regression: DotP 2015


Let me ask you, dear readers, a question.

What happens when you fundamentally misunderstand your audience? When you think you know what people want… and you’re… just wrong? Or is it not a lack of understanding, but a lack of interest? Is it just that you know one way you can make some money, and you don’t really care what quality your product turns out to be?

Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015 answers pretty much all of these questions, by being one of the fundamentally worst games published yet this year. While I might have spent some energy making fun of Diablo, I didn’t understand how cynical, how shitty, and how worthless a moneygrab could be…. apparently… until I played Magic DotP 2015.

This is ten steps backward – in virtually every way – compared to even DotP 2014, a game which I did not have as much fun with as I would have hoped.

Duels of the Planeswalkers was touted for years as a beginners’ introduction to Magic. Obviously, Wizards would prefer for serious players of its CCG to get invested in Magic The Gathering: Online, instead… if they’re not going to play paper Magic. Speaking from experience, I can say that MTG:O has its own ups and downs. Its interface is shockingly primitive. At the time I last played a Draft tournament on MTG:O (admittedly, at least a year and a half ago), it was more primitive than free, user-generated programs to play cards on the internet. Not exactly a glowing endorsement. I preferred (greatly) to simply log into Xbox Live and fire up a game of Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013.

Nowadays, I’d rather play neither. Regardless of how MTGO might have improved itself, this isn’t an economic climate in which I want to spend money to stay competitive in Standard format Magic; nor is it a format where I would like to regularly pay for draft cards. This makes it all the more egregious, then, when my annual bill of roughly $10 US for Duels of the Planeswalkers is compromised by a ridiculous new microtransaction element. Most of the rare cards available in the game’s card pool are now, quite literally, unavailable unless you’re willing to shell out cash for additional “booster packs” full of rare cards.

Are you serious, Wizards?

Can I get my initial $10 back?

And none of this even addresses the fundamental problems in gameplay. Instead of the (already incredibly grind-y) card unlocking process from previous games, you now must take a limited starter – one you are locked in to! – against fully comprised enemy decks in order to unlock random boosters of around 3 cards – sans the aforementioned rares – which may or may not even improve your deck in any functional way. Hooray?

Beyond that, where are all of the modes? Multiplayer boasts 1v1… and that’s it? Where is 2HG? Where is … anything else? Remember how people complained that 2014 didn’t have cool mutliplayer modes? One of my most favourite things about DotP is the ease of running some low-maintenance 2HG with my friends. Now that’s gone, too? Why did I buy this game? It’s pretty much horse shit. I know that they already have my money, but hopefully I can save you from spending yours.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s basically nothing to like here. This game is a waste of your money, and you should exercise your power as a consumer by not spending it. Don’t fall into the same trap that I did.

2 responses to “Maximum Regression: DotP 2015

  1. Haven’t followed the DotP for a while now, and it wasn’t particularly awesome when I did (probably 2013?) As you stated, I appreciated the low-maintenance and the speed at which I could play in smaller tournaments. The gameplay was addictive in a good way, but ultimately, it felt like a very different game than “paper Magic.” This wasn’t inherently BAD, mind you, but it was different enough that it couldn’t hold my interest beyond what the traditional “addiction to grind” offers.

    Fast forward to a world where other great, simple games have been irreparably ruined by microtransactions (I’m looking squarely at you, Plants vs Zombies) and this comes as no shock at all to me. What’s that? We have a great little game that turns a tidy profit, but isn’t trickling in the kind of money a soul-sucking experience like an MMO or well-designed tablet game would? Let’s make this bad boy pay-to-play with microtransactions!!!

    “Fuck off,” replied the world.


    • If the world replies “fuck off” to this, it likely spells the end of the DotP franchise. Still, I’d rather that, than have another game like DotP 2015.


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