In a way, Magic: The Gathering packs were the original loot boxes. Their format hasn’t substantially changed since their introduction nearly 27 years ago, and they’ve spawned plenty of imitators in both the physical and digital space — for good or for bad.
With Magic: Legends on the horizon, Executive Producer Stephen Ricossa filled players in on the “high-level monetization details” regarding the game, and how it would be like, and unlike, other video games and the card game upon which it’s based.
The first detail Ricossa emphatically stated in his blog post is that no content will be locked behind a paywall:
“Our goal is for the entire game to be playable and fun from beginning through endgame and beyond without having to spend a dime. Period.”
Magic: Legends will have an in-game currency exchange similar to Cryptic Studios’ other titles, Star Trek Online and Neverwinter, with the ability to exchange a special currency, Aether, with other players for cash shop currency.
Now, onto the big question: How will Magic: Legends handle booster packs? Packs will offer new spells to expand your library, as well as unique Artifacts, unique spells, and a unique class. Ricossa stressed that these are not more powerful game elements “but are different horizontally,” offering more options for how to play.
In addition to the standard classes that come with the game, you’ll also be able to purchase themed Planeswalker classes that Ricossa also said offered more options, not more power. These classes would have their own progression trees, Traits, Spark Powers, and cosmetic options.
Finally, there will be a battle pass, with both free and paid tiers, as well as limited-time events that will offer even more rewards. There will also be the usual convenience purchases, such as loadout slots, deck slots, XP boosts, and more.
Before I submit a verdict on Magic: Legends’ monetization, I’d want to know exactly how those unique, purchase-only classes and spells look in comparison to the free stuff, as well as how easily the alternate currency can be converted into the kind of currency I can use to purchase them. Based on Ricossa’s statements, I’d imagine that if you were pleased or displeased with the monetization of Cryptic’s other games, you’ll have roughly the same opinion of Magic: Legends. Take that for what it’s worth.