Magic: The Gathering Online Play

Magic: The Gathering has been one of the top collectible card games for over a decade - but can this game make it in the virtual world?

Over a decade ago the popular collectible card game Magic: The Gathering exploded onto the gaming world and hasn't dropped in popularity from those first frantic years. This game, designed by Richard Garfield, revolutionized the concept of gaming and helped create a whole new market for both game designers and consumers. But as the game has grown and matured so have the Internet and the computer technology, making a meeting of these two formats inevitable. And thanks to some futuristic programming, you can experience the enjoyment of this famous card game online at any time of the day and night and from anywhere in the world! Let's take a look and see how you might be interested in expanding your horizons to online gaming.

First, let's do a fast review of Magic: The Gathering to familarize yourself with the game if you haven't played it recently or at all. You take on the role of a spellcaster who is dueling with another wizard for your very life, defending your thirty life points with spells and creatures and enchantments while fighting back. Your deck of cards is made up of an assortment of these creatures and spells along with land cards that will produce mana, a necessary component for you to summon creatures and cast spells. When your life points drop to zero or below from your original thirty, you lose the game. The same holds true for your opponent - if your creatures get past his defenses and take his life points, you win.

But this is a card game that you play with another person or persons at a table, not a computer game. So how can you translate these actions into a virtual form and maintain any semblance of the original game? Well, it takes a bit of original programming and a lot of work, but it's been done and done successfully by the programming experts at Wizards of The Coast, the company that owns and operates Magic: The Gathering Online as well as the successful card franchise.

The first thing you'll find interesting about the online version is that the download is free - there is no cost to play so if you're looking for a chance to try out the game without any financial repercussions, this is definitely the game for you. The download is rather large, however, so be sure to have a good Internet connection or be prepared for a long download time.

Once you have the program you'll have a variety of choices. The online program allows you to go through a tutorial for you to either learn or refresh your memory about Magic: The Gathering through a gentle introduction with a computer tutor. The cards will appear on your screen in the same format as if you were playing with them on the table in front of you with the same beautiful artwork and detail that has made this game famous.

Now that you've either learnt or relearnt the rules, you can choose to play using one of five pre-constructed card decks against a live opponent. Your screen will show a virtual room with a series of table, each showing if an opponent is available to play you courtesy of an avatar or visual representation of another player sitting there. If you want to play that person, just click on the table and you'll go right into the program that will look like your tutorial. Don't fret if you're nervous, online assistance is available around the clock by paid employees and volunteers who will help make your gaming experience a comfortable one.

So you've played a few games and enjoyed yourself - now let's look towards creating your own deck of cards and making your name famous! At this point you will have to make an investment by purchasing the software for a small fee, but this also includes a small amount of free virtual cards from the special website set up for this purpose. You'll create an account with your own nickname as well as the ability to store and display your virtual cards while you're offline. This way you can build your own decks and experiment without clogging up your Internet connection.

Purchasing more virtual cards is simple and secure via the website. These are priced at the same cost as the paper cards you can buy at the local store, but will be stored forever on your account saved at the Wizards of The Coast server. You can trade these cards back and forth if you wish, or just keep them in your account for future use.

One of the biggest advantages of Magic: The Gathering Online is that there is no monthly fee or any further investment than you wish to make. If you want to buy more cards, you can do so via the website. But if you want to stay with the small amount given you at the initial purchase of the program, you can keep on playing and have a good time enjoying this new hobby.

A wonderful option of playing online is the ability to play against people from around the world at all times of the day and night. This is a bonus for those Magic players who may not be in a big city with a lot of paper card players or for those who are shift workers and unable to attend local gaming tournaments. As well, you can end up playing some of the best players from around the world without having to travel to Tokyo or Los Angeles for major gaming events.

There are also plenty of other options for you to look at. Special tournaments are held as well as drafts (choosing cards at random from a new booster pack and building a deck around them) and a variety of formats that will appeal to every Magic player, be you a novice or an experienced gamer.

The biggest problem you will have is that of speed. Having a high speed Internet connection is a major bonus for players who are dependent on having a fast upload and download to make the game go at a reasonable speed. But you can play with just a 56K modem, believe it or not.

Magic: The Gathering Online offers the experience of learning and playing one of the most famous card games in an online atmosphere. From the free download to allow you to experiment with learning this fast-paced game to the secure website to allow you to purchase and upgrade your gaming resources this is the best place to be if you like Magic: The Gathering. Add in opponents from around the world and online assistance at your fingertips and you can't help but be curious as to what this game can offer you - why not hop online and check this famous game out!

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