When I was younger, I played a lot of Magic: The Gathering.  I got in at Revised, just as Legends went out of print.  My first boosters were two packs of Legends, and I got the Elder Dragon Legend Arcades Sabboth, who was utterly unusable but nonetheless awesome.  I was primarily a white and blue player, because I like to suffer and do everything the hard way.  I had two signature decks.  The first was my Meekstone deck, using Zephyr Falcons and Serra Angels to pummel opponents who had trouble defending properly.  This deck was always better in concept than in practice, being slow.  The second was my Army deck, a weenie-white based on banding.  I invented it just before the big weenie-white craze hit, and always felt superior to run of the mill weenie white which used lots of Savanna Lions and White Knights.  Banding was complicated and sophisticated and cool.  Yeah.  As should be obvious by this point, I was never very good, but a lot of that was by choice.  I hated direct damage red, and I hated black removal, which are the two most powerful things in the game, so I was never going to be good at it.  The MTG meta-game always favored removal and sorcery, and rewarded decks very light on creatures.  I didn’t like to play that way, so I didn’t, and I lost.  Oh, poor me.

Last night, I was listening to the Gamers with Jobs podcast, episode 384, and they were talking about Wildstar and MMO’s.  In defending his like of Wildstar and other old-school MMO’s, he cited the sense of place they had.  Different zones felt really different, and were truly distinct, and you always got psyched up when you earned the right to travel to a cool new place.  Something clicked, and I had another idea.

Magic is, in theory, about planeswalkers who summon armies and magics from different planes of existence to do battle.  What a wonderful idea for an MMO.  You have all kinds of different planes, sorted by color and theme.  Here’s the merfolk plane with lots of blue, here’s the dark forest with giant beasts and elves and stuff, etc.  Through the years Magic has already created the look and feel of a hundred different interesting locations – use it!  You can do even more – on different planes, certain cards will work or they won’t, depending on all kinds of arbitrary and fiddly rules.  You could even do this entirely to your expansion – you can’t use that Urza’s Avenger in Icatia, because they’re different sets. As you travel, you’d have to manage your deck or decks accordingly.

On each plane, different cards would be available to get.  I imagine that you collect creatures Pokemon style – hunt them down and defeat them in the proper way.  You could make a mini-game that uses cards in totally non-traditional ways for this – or several different ones, for different planes.  I imagine that you would collect non-creature spells in a totally different way – puzzle-based mini-games where you do “research” would be one way, or doing quests for Great Wizard trainers, or dueling them for access to their secret spells.  A combination of opportunities for standard-game MTG duels, restricted game MTG duels, and mini-game special matches combined with Pokemon-style monster collection and the usual exploration stuff might well make for an interesting game.

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