Earlier this week, Sony Online Entertainment released the first expansion for their tactical take on Wizard of the Coast's longest running collectable card game, Magic: the Gathering - Tactics. Titled Secrets of Terisiare, this expansion looks to expand the tactical game significantly, basically doubling the size of content less than a year after the original game was released. RPGamer had an opportunity to talk with Mark Tuttle, Executive Producer for SOE's Denver studio, allowing us to learn even more about this expansion.
Unlike the Magic: the Gathering card game, there are no lands to generate mana in order to use spells. Instead, these energies come from the natural progression of the battle, allowing the focus of the items to be on creatures and spells. When the game launched, it had only 165 of these, which was a good start, but players have been asking repeatedly for more. Secrets of Terisiare doubles this through two additional chapters, as well as two new avatars. Each chapter consists of five missions with rewards as well. These missions are not just kill or be killed, but can be escorts, evading an overpowered monster, or even a timed objective.
In addition to the new content, the expansion also gives SOE a chance to respond to player trends and bring more balance to the five colors of mana. With over three million matches played, there seems to be a preference of playing the blue and black magics over the other three. Hence, changes have been made to the other three colors to make them more appealing for players. All colors will also have a new fast paced army. This would be Goblins for the red deck, for example, where having more of them in play makes each one stronger. Mana growth is also slowed after several turns, allowing players to obtain cards that SOE considers to be game-ending abilities, without feeling rushed into it.
New abilities have been added to old cards as well. Two examples would be Charge and Cloak. A creature with the Charge ability can attack anything on the board, as long as it has line of sight. Meanwhile, a creature with Cloak will vanish from the other player's sight. They can still try and find it with targeting, or moving into the same square as the cloaked creature, but otherwise its location is completely masked. The Royal Assassin actually has been changed so that any successful attack while cloaked will instantly kill the creature.
To encourage players to get back into the game, there are more tournaments, bigger prizes and more until and including all day Sunday, December 18. For those waiting for more content, or curious about playing Magic: the Gathering in a tactical way, head to www.magicthegatheringtactics.com and sign up, or use your Station ID if you already enjoy other SOE products. It's free to play with the intent that paying players simply have more options, not necessarily better ones, when playing.