Digging through the blogs this week, I uncovered user Fansede and his interesting ideas about a card based MMO. With Eye of Judgment hitting the console market, and EverQuest and WoW hitting the card games, Fansede has a point - where is MTG Online?
"When Guild Wars was launched," Fansede begins his first blog entry, "I thought the door was cracked open and it would be a matter of time before we saw a plethora of card type games. Imagine a Magic the Gathering MMO...I was excited to see skills converted successfully into 'cards' for an MMO...so thinking more and more about it, I wondered why hasn't Wizards of the Coast tried to get into the market?"
Fansede admits that he sees drawbacks and obstacles to such a project. For example, card games are traditionally set up for 2 players - how would multiple players engage in combat? "Guild Wars has a reasonable starting point," Fansede states. "Many of those MtG cards can by used as skills that could be used by the avatar. Sorceries, Instants, Enchantments are all spells that can be converted to skill sets."
Another question Fansede brings up is how one would translate turn-based strategy into the MMO world - or take the turn-based strategy game out of the card game world. "Card based games are inherently slow by design. Gives players time to strategize and think through the game." Fansede cites Guild Wars again and suggests that skill cooldowns may be the key, but I'm not sure how that would work with creature combat.
For me, I'd love to see an online card game, but I would like it to stay true to its roots. In the style of Eye of Judgment or - alright, I'll say it - Pokemon, I'd want to see turn-based combat kept in play, and maybe even see the cards being played before they come to life with awesome animations. Fansede brings up the player avatar, and the possibilities of gear - myself, I'd rather keep it to the traditional magic rules of 20 hitpoints, go for the gold.
In his next blog post, though, Fansede gives us an eye into his idea of an online card game MMO. For example, he can see classes being translated into pre-made decks (and for the purpose of this example, he uses mainly MtG terms): Warriors would be mostly Land and Artifact cards, Rogues would have sorceries/instants that involve assassination, stealing opponents cards and evading personal damage, an Illusionist would have a blue deck, and a Magus red. "Obviously the possibilities are limitless," states Fansede. "Shaman (white/red set), Oracle (blue/green),Wizard (Blue/Red), Witch (Black/Blue), Monk (White/Green), etc.
While this is all probably very confusing for non-MtG players, think of the card colors as having basic overall themes - red cards, for example, mostly focus on dealing damge, while blue cards focus on more utilitarian offensive magics - everyone hates Blue decks for their spell interruptions.
Fansede continues by explaining how the personal avatar would play a part in his game. "Why would I play a warrior with little access to other cards [instead of] a magus with access to all red cards? Here is where your personal avatar comes in. As a warrior, your life points is higher. Lets say all players start at 20 life points. A warrior starts at 30 points."
He continues, "The warrior [also] acts as his own permanently summoned card. He can attack anything on the field, including the opponent. He is limited only by his attack cooldown button... And he can wield artifacts to enhance his damage output."
The idea of the player acting as its own permanently summoned card is interesting, and in that capacity I could agree with Fansede that an MMO cardgame could be developed with those properties involved. And honestly, the possibilities are really endless: there are so many variables along the line from card game to MMO that we could see any combination of cards, avatars, world expressions, etc.
I'm curious as to which IP will grab onto this first - will it be MtG, or Pokemon? Will it be a new game altogether? Will WoW take their cardgame to the virtual space, or will Eye of Judgment bring their game to a multiplayer realm?