Duels of the Planeswalkers for XBox, PC, and PS3

Discussion in 'General CPA Stuff' started by Spiderman, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

  2. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

  3. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    It's out now!
  4. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

  5. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Other than Spidey helpfully linking to new developments, this thread has mostly just been discussion about the game being flawed or buggy back when it was new. It's been a while, and I've been seeing Duels of the Planeswalkers pitched with increasing frequency. When the crew at Desert Bus got Aaron Forsythe to call in this year, one of the viewer questions was along the lines of how he'd recommend a newcomer learn to play Magic, and he immediately responded with Duels of the Planeswalkers. All of the Magic players at Desert Bus noted, "That's what we say too!" For a while now, it's been the case that on Gatherer, if one accidentally clicks on the "Magic: the Gathering" above the "Gatherer" logo (they're placed very close together, but they link to different things), it redirects to a page with a big banner for Duels of the Planeswalkers. It also seems like I've been seeing the game promoted more on Steam lately and by Wizards of the Coast employees in general. Basically, they're really shilling for this game now.

    Has anyone played it more recently? I'm assuming they've long since fixed the rather glaring bugs that were mentioned here back in 2009. But how's the game?
  7. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    After quickly glancing back, the only people to have played have been Nightstalkers from last year, and DF and Shabbaman from 2010. Hopefully one of them post with an updated view...
  8. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Well, I downloaded the demo version to see for myself. I was thinking I might want to buy it if it'll only be five bucks, but I probably won't...

    It's sort of a spiritual successor to Shandalar, and the technology has come a long way since then. If the 2009 version was buggy, the 2014 version seems fine. It looks a good and I didn't notice any bugs. Another feature that might be of interest is that it has sealed deck gameplay. I haven't done a sealed deck tournament in over a decade, but I've always thought it was a fun format and a change of pace from constructed formats (without complicating things by adding the extra strategic dimensions that make draft formats so different from the rest of Magic). I can see how it might be a nice product for someone that's new to Magic. For me, it's way too dumbed down for me to think of it as the same game I'm used to, despite all the similarities.

    The beginning phase seems to be completely automated. My stuff untaps on its own and I get a card draw, then it's my main phase. The little indicator that shows which phase it is doesn't even have anything for the beginning phase. I didn't run into any cards that had upkeep interactions or would otherwise require action before the main phase. It's like that whole part of the game has been excised.

    I cast Nature's Lore, expecting to get to see my library, and the game instead showed me all the forests in my library and let me pick one. Assuming one knows the deck perfectly (and I didn't build it, so I don't), that's not really a problem, but technically, that isn't how the card is supposed to function. I ran into the same issue with Pilgrim's Eye. The game doesn't want to actually let players search their libraries. It pulls out the relevant cards for them, and only reveals those.

    In Shandalar, I can set the game to pause automatically at the beginning of any step, so I don't miss opportunities. Duels of the Planewalkers employs a brief timer that can be stopped with the spacebar when one wants to cast instants or use activated abilities. I don't know how optional triggered abilities are supposed to work, as I didn't run into any cards that had them.

    And deck construction does seem to have some pretty severe limitations, which Shabbaman mentioned at one point. It does seem that, outside the demo, the idea is that cards can be unlocked through gameplay and used to modify the deck via the program's deck manager. If decks can be built from scratch out of the cards available to the player, the demo didn't point that out. With the caveat that I haven't bought the full game, deck construction really seems to be based around precons. And I'd rather build my own deck.

    Really, it seems that a lot of aspects of this are too confined for it to be the good game that it could be. I'm left thinking that I'd rather it be more like Magic Online, which is weird, because I don't play Magic Online.
  9. BigBlue Magic Jones

    I have this on my tablet as Magic 2014 - I think it's the same thing. For library searches - you can tell it whether to show the entire library or not in settings. The timer stopping is annoying - I think there is a setting to change that.

    Deck construction is limited to cards from the initial pre-con deck + won cards through game Play (and unlock codes which can be found via google searches - there are like 10-20 cards unlocked via codes and the rest are via winning games).

    It is good for what it is - an intro to the game. I enjoy playing it enough to have unlocked all the cards in all the decks.

    I use it on a Google Nexus 7 - it seems to be pretty battery intensive there. The advantage I found is that if I create an additional profile on my tablet - I get an additional 2 sealed games. :) So, I have limitless sealed games for my $10 investment as long as I don't mind creating more profiles on my tablet. Otherwise they want $ for more than 2 sealed games.

    They have some in app purchases - I haven't paid for any. Extra pre-con decks, more challenges, additional sealed decks, ???.

    I enjoy it - my major beef is the multiplayer is only via Bluetooth so you have to find someone else to play locally versus playing online against someone else.
  10. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Well, I did get it (through Steam). I decided that it's not really fair to treat the game as a virtual translation of Magic. Just thinking of it as a video game that happens to be based on Magic, it's fine. I haven't unlocked all the cards for the decks yet, and I haven't tried game's version of sealed deck play, but I've done just about all the other single-player content, which has taken many hours. I think there's a fair amount of replay value too. Definitely worth the money, at least since it was on sale anyway.

    Some of my misgivings based on the demo version aren't really problematic. Like BigBlue said, there is an option to make library searches more realistic. The full game also has mulligans, although for some reason it allows for a single free mulligan before giving the player the option to Paris mulligan. I also found an option to force the game to pause before concluding my own main and combat phases.

    With the expansion, there are 15 decks. The game doesn't allow one to build one's own decks from a pool of cards, but the precons are unlocked through gameplay and new cards can be unlocked for them. Unlocked cards are added to their decks automatically, which is a bit inconvenient. Basic land count can be adjusted in the deck manager. While I could definitely build better decks with these cards, the precons are actually not that bad. I bought a few physical precons many years ago, from around Urza's Saga to around Invasion. These are much stronger. Even for experienced players, the decks that are available to play with or against probably do have some things to offer that one won't likely have seen before.

    It seems that it isn't possible to float mana in this game, something that I do in Magic a lot, so that's frustrating. The game imposes a limit of 100 on the amount of tokens on player can have. After that, further tokens just don't show up (not a bug, as the game provides a pop-up noting this). I didn't have to go out of my way to run into the limit, so that should say something about how these decks are actually not that bad.

    There are some puzzles called "challenges." The first few are really easy, but they get more interesting later. For anyone who is acquainted with Magic puzzles (some of the old magazines used to run them, and I've seen them on the web too), these are probably a bit on the less challenging side of things. But the last one is a Tendrils of Agony puzzle in which victory against an opponent with 65 life can be achieved by casting spells and using Sneak Attack and Great Whale to maintain mana. Yes! Took me a few tries to work that one out...
  11. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I believe that's a "new" rule in Magic (not sure what edition it came in off-hand though).
  12. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    It's not in the comprehensive rules. Or rather, it isn't for duels...

    Duels of the Planeswalkers treats all games as multiplayer for mulligan purposes.
  13. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    So... isn't 103.4c doing what you said? Giving a free mulligan in a multiplayer game, which Duel treats all games as?
  14. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I guess that's one interpretation. Not sure why the game would be treating one-on-one as multiplayer.

    Well, I made a brief search and haven't seen any official statements of this peculiarity, but there's been speculation that the free mulligan is implemented to make make things easier on new players. WotC obviously has some goal in mind with this change, though: it's been in previous releases of Duels of the Planeswalkers as well.
  15. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Wait, was your statement
    the conclusion of the quoting of the rules or stating what Duels says somewhere in its rules? I thought you were meaning the latter but I can see how you might have been doing the former (i.e. Duels gives a free mulligan, the Comprehensive rules say a free mulligan is in MP games, so Duels must treat its games as MP).

    Can there be MP games in Duels; connect with more than one opponent?

    Since it's in the MP "section", I'm thinking it might have been when the rules were revised/updated with a lot of MP in mind, but again, can't remember when that was edition-wise. If it predated Duels though, that could be why it was in previous releases.
  16. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Yeah, basically the former. I'm not saying that's actually the thought process behind having mulligans work that way in DotP, though. It could easily have nothing to do with the comprehensive rules. It could just be that some of the people working on the game wanted players to have a free mulligan because they didn't want the initial mulligan decision-making to be as stressful as it can be in real tournaments.

    Yes. There's online multiplayer, which I haven't tried yet.

    Well, multiplayer was added to the comprehensive rules back in 2004, I think concurrent with the updates for Champions of Kamigawa, but it didn't modify mulliganing back then. I think that change did occur well before the 2009 DotP video game, but I don't know where to find backdated editions of the comprehensive rules to confirm that (other than maybe the wayback machine). Crystal Keep hasn't updated in a while and would be an easy option for that, but they did manage to update in 2009, after the first DotP was released.

    Edit: Went with my own suggestion and checked an archived version of the DCI site from Octobers of 2007. There was a multiplayer mulligan rule in place back then (it was 101.4a at that time).

    Let's try October of 2004...

    Hm, they didn't include the multiplayer rules in the comprehensive rules right away. They left a note with a link in the comphrensive rules in 2004, but the archived versions of the page from that time show that they were still linking to the transcript of the multiplayer rules from the rulebook that came in the Battle Royale boxed set, which they'd been doing for a few years. So that's no good. And it looks like later versions of the dedicated page for multiplayer rules continued to do that for a while, until the page was eventually redirected to the "rules for casual players" page, which was eventually itself redirected to the main rules page.

    I'll keep looking...

    Further edit: It appears that the multiplayer free mulligan in the comprehensive rules started out as something specific to two-headed giant. 2006 archives of the comprehensive rules have the modified mulligan for two-headed giant, but not for general multiplayer.

    So there you go: the free mulligan for multiplayer in the comprehensive rules started out as a two-headed giant thing, then in 2007, this was extended to all multiplayer.
  17. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    You da lookup man :)

    I'm thinking since you can play more than one opponent, it was just easier to code and treat all games as MP and thus use the MP mulligan rule. But maybe there's a way to send questions to the designers via email or some Duels forum to know for sure :)
  18. BigBlue Magic Jones

    MP Question-

    In the Android Version, there is MP with live players only via Bluetooth and I haven't come close to meeting anyone to play this version with... There is also a Custom mode where you can play Free for All in 3 or 4 player games using random decks or assigning them against the tablet. You can also play 2H Giant using random decks or selecting them. The last game of the campaign is a 2 vs. 1 variant which I enjoy somewhat - though I could probably win it outright without a problem using most of the decks. Not all decks can win all of the campaign without a god draw, but once you beat a deck it is unlocked for all of the decks.

    On the Mulligan rule - it is entirely possible the programmers only knew the one Mulligan rule and implemented it for all games. :) Though I'd wager it was more about wanting to be easy on the newbie. I've always found that 'truly' random doesn't play well for shuffling versus a riffle shuffle for some reason. I didn't usually need to mulligan and ran 33% lands (20 - 60) almost always when I do the just flat out random of online (Excel shuffles), MTG Online when I played in Beta, or DotP, you seem to need more mana to consistently draw enough. I didn't stack my decks or anything, it just seems like a riffle shuffle didn't mana screw me as much.
  19. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Maybe there was some issue with porting the game for that Android version? I don't really know anything about the subject. Is that limitation typical for games on Android, or is this game an exception?

    The last game seems like it's almost supposed to be a sort of archenemy deal. You and your partner (who always plays the same deck) get a pool of 30 life, and the opponent gets 40. But it's definitely not the most challenging part of the game.

    Yeah, if it were something WotC didn't want the game to do, I'd think they would have fixed it in a prior version. My guess is that they wanted it to be easier on newbies.

    I've wondered about this, but haven't seen real data on it. I've seen claims that seven or eight proper riffle shuffles effectively randomizes a 60-card deck, but I haven't verified them. In principal, it would be easy to do. All one would need would a deck, a computer, and a lot of time (most of which would be taken up recording the results of the physically shuffled deck).
  20. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I didn't see a question in BigBlue's post, just statements... :D

    I remember reading that 7 riffle shuffles do it and it was because someone took the time to use a computer and analyze it, but it really has to be proper; i.e. every card has to alternate. Since most people don't do that but do clumps of cards, it's not as effective (although obviously, the closer the clumps are down to one card, the more random it will be).

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