Friday, March 22, 2013

Warcraft: The Gathering

As a huge fan of Magic: The Gathering back in the day I am going to look forward to the addition of this new game.  It is a cash grab, make no doubt about that, selling packs for a free to play game will get people like me to foolishly spend money for nothing basically, but I'll still give it a shot.

I was an old school magic player.  Started in alpha, still have all the cards. I think the tempest block was the last time I played and I do not even know how long ago that was, which should give you an idea how long that was ago.  I do however remember when magic started to take off and I would go to hobby shops all over the area and tournaments in other states where people would come from all over to play.

I was ranked pretty high when I stopped playing having finished at or near the top in a few sanctioned events and basically destroying everyone in the local hobby shop ones.  What I loved about the game, more then the collecting which I admit was one of the things that originally attracted me to it, was the competition.

I would make a schedule of which events I would be able to attend, even trying to fit in every local event I could get to.  Being in new york that meant that there were always a lot of events to choose from, the biggest of which were usually hosted by neutral ground.  Anyone that has ever played magic competitively or is from new york will surely know where neutral ground is (or was, not even sure if they are still around).

See, that was the attraction of the game for me.  The getting out and meeting people.  The collecting and making decks by hand while I figured out strategies on paper.  The feeling the cards in my hand.  The seeing people I met at one event in another.  Making friendships and enemies. 

Even your rivals, whom you might call enemies, were your friends and some of the best trades I ever orchestrated were with them because they were hard fought trades that made me really think.  Would I be smart to let them build up their blue some knowing I have a counter for them if I run into them and there is someone else around I always have problems with that if I build them up I might be able to hope they can take the other person out for me?  Things like that made for a very cerebral type of environment.

I can go on and on about my times playing magic.  Having to adjust everything I knew when I could no longer use my mox cards, which I was one of few that even had them, and then dealing with them ripping apart my first real world beater deck that worked on the channel fireball theme.

There were many events I went to where I would destroy people as well as others where I saw myself sitting on the sidelines after only one round losing to something I never expected.  I would play side games for fun, or even bet, and still have a great time.  That was part of the excitement even when I lost.  Now I could see another type of deck I never saw before.  I was pretty much having fun in every way win or lose.

One of the largest local events which was held every two weeks I became a geek celebrity because of a win streak like none had ever seen before using different decks each week.  I extended my ultimate geekdom when being challenged by the person that finished second to me three events in a row to make a five color deck and win and then I did.  And I won in glorious fashion coming back from a huge deficit in most rounds because of mana issues, and playing with five colors meant I ran into that a lot.

In one of the last events I ever played in I was designing a new neck based on complete control and really no real way to damage the opponent.  I had great success with it by making it so the opponent could not even play a card, ever.  It would be like you being able to put a three hour stun on a level 90 with your level 1 rogue knowing it might take a while but you will win this.  That was that deck and it was amazing.  I would peck away one at a time while my lock basically kept them from ever being able to do anything.  One problem was that if I could not establish the lock fast enough I was dead.  The person that beat me loved the idea so much he asked me if I minded if he stole my idea, I said, go for it, and he ended up winning the next major event with a modified version of my deck.  That was really cool.

I have a ton of great stories of meeting great people while playing.  I satisfied my collectors urge by having cards in my hand and sorting them and trading them and collecting them.  I got to visit a lot of places I might not have ever went to if it were not for magic.  It was a wonderful experience and while I have fond memories of it I am not sad I stopped playing, I moved on and did other things.

It is those fond memories that makes me look forward to this new warcraft: the gathering game that blizzard is releasing.  But it is also my knowledge that what I love about magic was not so much the game and the competition, which I did like, but the travel, the tournaments, the people and the collection of actual physical items I owned.

I do not think this could ever bring back the amazing feel of fun I had while playing magic back in the day because it will lack every single aspect of magic that I loved about it.  No going to the store to buy packs.  No going to local centers to play and trade with other people.  No spending 1000 on new boxes and getting the excitement of opening the packs, sorry, doing that online just can not compare to them actually being in your hands.

The "real life" part of magic was what I loved about magic and if years of internet gaming and internet friendships has taught me, no matter how good things can be online, they can never replace, or even reach, the level of actual interaction with actual people and actual physical items.

So while I am interested in the new game I am already tainted and leaning toward not liking it, because it can not and will not be able to compare to the memory I have of playing magic even if I try not to compare them.  Plain and simple.  And even if that is not what it is, even if it is not a near knock off of magic, it is what it will feel like in the back of my mind, a cheap imitation of an amazing game that I had many great times playing and meeting people while doing so.

I am actually looking forward to it a lot.  I hope it is something I can play while at work, whereas I can not play WoW.  But I am not expecting all that much from it, how could I?  Nothing can ever compared to how awesome magic was and the memories I have from it.

Just writing this I can remember the smell of the new cards.  They had an extremely distinctive smell when you opened a new pack.  Ah, the memories, thanks for bringing them back with this announcement blizzard, even if that is all I end up getting out if, the memories this announcement bought back makes this a huge announcement to me.


  1. so thats the big secret Blizzard has been working on. Of course they want it digital - it can be controlled better that way and accoridng to the EULA, you wouldn't own the cards - you are just renting them.

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