Everyone Hates Duels of the Planeswalkers?

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We're so used to seeing universal acclaim for the simple console version of Magic in Duels of the Planeswalkers, but this year something completely different seems to be in order.

Did Wizards not hunt big enough game?
Did Wizards not hunt big enough game?

I'll be up front that I've played about an hour of DotP in my life, and it was several years ago. I thought it was a nice introduction to the game but no replacement for real-life Magic. I was happy to see how it was doing for Wizards in terms of brining in new players and critical acclaim, and that was sweet.

That's not the case this year.

Reddit has been filling up with complaints about it, including the completely non-sensical removal of Two-Headed Giant. I get that you want to add new features and change up the years, but once you add something in you really can't pull it back out like that in console iteration games. There was no reason to remove something that was already coded last year. That's a big strike to me.

Some of the other complaints include worse art overall and less "tailor-made" deckbuilding. To me, some of that is just typical complaining; art is subjective and some people actually prefer a less busy background when playing, and the deckbuilding thing depends on your preferences. But no matter how you slice it, the reviews aren't coming out well. In fact, I Googled "Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015" and this was at the top of the results list. Seems like a bad sign.

Now some people have come to the defense of the game, and I want to include that, but overall the impression is far different than the universal praise from years past.

What do you think?

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Corbin Hosler

Corbin Hosler is a journalist living in Norman, Oklahoma (also known as the hotbed of Magic). He started playing in Shadowmoor and chased the Pro Tour dream for a few years, culminating in a Star City Games Legacy Open finals appearance in 2011 before deciding to turn to trading and speculation full-time. He writes weekly at and biweekly for LegitMTG. He also cohosts Brainstorm Brewery, the only financial podcast on the net. He can best be reached @Chosler88 on Twitter.

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Posted in Casual, Feature, FreeTagged

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11 thoughts on “Everyone Hates Duels of the Planeswalkers?

  1. I bought it and was really frustrated with how bad my starting deck was. It gets extremely tough when your deck has a bad matchup, since it will take random luck to get your nut draw to beat it. And you can’t switch to another pre-con deck that may have a better matchup since they don’t exist. Also doesn’t help that I didn’t see that you could grind out packs in the “explore this plane” part, but I played for 3-4 hours when I bought it and it has yet to pull me back.

  2. While I haven’t played with the product yet, I do know that fewer people are buying it. The promo support is lacking, thus veteran players are less tempted to purchase it. Newer players will still be interested. But if what you say is the norm amongst the existing player base then the product is doomed

  3. I think it is actually a upgrade over last year’s- in-game performance is way better; it is faster and smoother than 2014. Load times are gross, and the card pool is different, but feels more like ‘real life’, where you get boosters one at time. It definitely could use a load time reduction, but i think the rest is fine.

  4. I bought it and it seems like they tried to change too much stuff at once.

    It has an easy way to get to the deck editor and PvP system. The campaign is short and most of the cards are easy to get.

    But, getting rid of THG and the deck editor isn’t that awesome. Yea, you can make your own deck now, but with only one or two copies of the best cards it really comes out about the same as the other games. There is no online ranking system, so it really is a causal gameplay. There are no Avatar Awards like all the other games, for the Xbox.

    But, I’m talking with the people I play against and am asking how they like it. Most them them enjoy, they like how it “feels more like real Magic”. It really is more causal set, if you want more deck editing and better cards I suggest Modo.

  5. Yeah, car crash. Basically your options are buy a vast number of premium boosters or run Sligh (well, Boros aggro at first, then Sligh). Nothing against Sligh, but that is not as appealing to me as previous versions in which you could play with exciting, synergistic decks that had powerful, eternally-playable cards and interesting interactions. Even the powerful cards that are unlockable by grinding are mostly fairly uninteresting (Brimaz, Stormbreath, Baneslayer) as compared to the kind of build-around cards that were available in 2013 or 2014.

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