Free-to-play online action RPG Magic: Legends had a rough open beta launch last week, at least in terms of publicity. It was criticized for performance issues, design issues, and for its microtransactions, with the hard-to-acquire Dimir Assassin class being the biggest grievance. Over the weekend, producer Steve Ricossa explained how Cryptic Studios is responding to that criticism, which includes adding an easier free path to the Dimir Assassin.
Magic: Legends includes five free classes that are unlocked from the start. Currently, only the sixth class, the Dimir Assassin, has to be acquired, and it isn't a starting class. Last week, the Dimir Assassin could only reasonably be unlocked by opening $3 'booster packs,' in which it's the top-tier reward. (It was apparently possible to acquire the class with in-game currency, too, but it took an enormous quantity of the stuff.) There was unhappiness about it, and to smooth things over, Cryptic has made the Dimir Assassin a reward in the game's battle pass, both in the free and premium tiers, so that anyone who plays long enough will get it. No other monetization changes were announced, but Ricossa says the studio is "committed to working with [players] to continue to refine monetization further."
Ricossa also explained why prices in the player marketplace, where in-game currency can be traded for premium currency, were what they were when Magic: Legends launched.
"To account for our earliest players, the Cryptic team does a one time seeding of 1 million Aether into the exchange so that users could immediately use the Currency Exchange," wrote Ricossa. "Without that, the exchange would be all but unavailable until the community built up their own supply. The 1:385 exchange rate was selected because this is ultimately what we gathered from available data in our Closed Alpha tests, and once this supply is exhausted, the exchange will operate entirely on the Aether supplied by the community."
Regarding the framerate issues, Ricossa says the development team has "made data changes to cull some excessive entities that were making the game burn framerate unnecessarily," and has put out two performance updates so far, with more to come. I logged back in briefly today and did experience less stuttering.
In the future, the tutorial will be shortened based on feedback that proper, multi-color deck building doesn't start quickly enough. The intro did seem a little long to me, and I wasn't extremely excited by the deck system, which adds randomness to your spell hotbar. Maybe it does get better, though, and hurrying things along will demonstrate its best qualities before players lose interest. As one effort in that regard, the drop rate for new spells is being doubled.
Ricossa outlined other issues in his State of the Open Beta blog post (opens in new tab), including plans for the end game and chat spam. You can find Magic: Legends on the Epic Games Store, or get it through Perfect World's Arc launcher (opens in new tab).