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Author Topic: Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy  (Read 4951 times)

Sailor Vulcan

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Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« on: February 15, 2016, 08:26:26 AM »
1. Mage Wars Academy is just "Arena-lite"

Not true. If that were the case, then skill in Arena would translate well into skill in Academy. It translates to some extent, but not that much. You can be a great Arena player and still not be very good at Academy. I've already seen several examples, myself included.

Sure, Mage Wars Academy is simpler and has a less steep learning curve than Mage Wars Arena, but their learning curves don't have all that much overlap. If you're highly skilled in one of them and you switch to the other, you won't be completely starting over as a total newb, but you'll still be a beginner. It just takes longer to become a good Arena player than it does to become a good Academy player.

Mage Wars Academy both is and is not the Mage Wars game Arena players are already familiar with. It's too different from Arena to be considered an alternate variant, but not different enough to be an entirely different and separate game.

2. Mage Wars Academy decks "autobuild" and coming up with ideas for decks in Mage Wars Academy is basically just a "word search"

As a veteran of Mage Wars Arena this was my first impression too. However it's totally not true. Once you have a bit of experience with the gameplay you will actually have to think more and make harder decisions in deck building. You'll be surprised just how many viable options you'll be able to come up with once you've played at least a few games. While it will be even more awesome to have a bigger card pool because it will give us even more possibilities for customization, once you have a bit more experience with the game the small card pool no longer seems like such a constraint.

3. Mage Wars Academy has less tactical depth than other customizable strategy card games

This is just plain wrong. Mage Wars Academy actually is more tactical than probably the majority of CCGs. The theory behind the misconception here is that Arena is so tactically deep because of its planning phase and lack of random shuffling, and maybe to a smaller extent, the quickcast action phases, and therefore Academy, which lacks two out of these three things, must not be very tactically deep.

As they say, what works in theory doesn't always work in practice. No matter how certain of an assertion you might be, if you don't actually test that assertion than it is just educated guesswork. I suspect a lot of people who are saying that Academy is lacking in tactical depth are people who haven't actually played Academy more than once, if at all.

Something I'd like to point out here is that most CCGs don't have a planning phase, they DO use random shuffling and they only give you a starting hand of 5-7 cards or so. Mage Wars Academy does not use random shuffling and gives you a starting hand of...your whole deck.

I've played Yugioh, Magic, Mage Wars Arena and Mage Wars Academy, and I can assure you that Mage Wars Academy has the second-most tactical depth of the games on that list and probably by a fairly large margin to boot.

4. Mage Wars Academy is not balanced/(insert Mage here) is overpowered.

I've both played and played against both mages at least several times, and I have yet to see evidence of this. If you're losing that badly to (insert Mage here) maybe there's something in your play or deck building that you can improve? As far as I can tell, Academy is a VERY balanced game.

And to be perfectly honest, aside from a few issues with the Arena Wizard, Arcane Wonders has done an amazing job balancing Arena. Academy has only two mages and a cardpool of less than 60 cards. If they couldn't balance that I would wonder if they were even trying.




Hope that cleared things up for people. Are there any other misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy that you think need explaining? What are your thoughts on this?
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 06:27:45 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Re: Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2016, 05:16:42 PM »
1. Arena has a lot more board game mechanics that Academy does not, in fact Academy only has 2 of the listed mechanics listed for Arena. This does indeed make it arena lite. Your argument against this is flawed. Academy lacks grid movement thus the skills of arena do not hold true in the lighter game. Also honestly are you telling me that the concepts of armour, damage levels, buffs, debuffs, defence vs armour, etc; do not have a place in Academy? if the there was not overlap in the card strategies then the cards would be a nightmare to design. You would have to design a card that was balanced in one game and then take it and rebalance it for the other, and in rebalancing it juggle carefully. Are you telling me that AW opened this can of worms for themselves?

2. with soo few spell book points the books will autobuild. Everything will be a core card and there will be little room to make it a rounded toolbox.

3. I am sorry but this is just wrong. You seriously cannot tel me that Academy can take on magic. This game has had 25 years of design and has a card pool of over 10,000 cards. I am not saying there is no point to make a card game in the current ccg/lcg market, jsut do not make grand claims that are just not true.

4. is just whining.

Sailor Vulcan

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Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2016, 06:23:27 PM »
1. There's a significant amount of overlap in the core mechanics, yes, but the gameplay not so.
Academy skills are somewhat different from Arena skills. I've been a pretty good Arena player for a while now but I'm still at a beginner level in Academy.

When I hear people use the term "Arena-lite" to refer to Academy I assume people are saying that Academy is just watered down Arena, which is NOT true as a question of fact. If your criteria for determining whether Academy is just "Arena-lite" is something other than the ACTUAL gameplay, then I wonder if maybe you mean something entirely different when you say "Arena-lite"?

There's something that prevents the nightmare you're taking about: Academy cards tend to be much less powerful in Arena than Academy, so it's unlikely there will be Academy cards that are broken in Arena, and Arena cards aren't allowed.

2. Academy decks actually don't autobuild. They look that way when you're first starting out, but if you tried using that autobuilt deck against a good opponent who actually put some thought and testing into his deck design, you would most probably lose. I know this from playing a decent number of Academy games already.

3. You're confusing tactics with strategy. Magic has more strategies because it has a MUCH larger card pool, but Mage Wars Academy has more tactical depth. I played Magic for at least several years, and the same with Mage Wars Arena, and I've been playing Academy for at least the past couple of weeks.

I'm not making grand claims that aren't true. I said exactly what I meant and it is the truth. Are you saying that I'm lying?

4. Care to elaborate and be civil about it instead of trying to insult me?

How much have you actually played Academy?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2016, 06:34:16 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Re: Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2016, 02:08:11 AM »
Well, issues 2) and 4) are largely irrelevant in the longer term because they'll be easily fixed by releasing more cards.

I definitely agree about 1). Dismissing the lack of a spatial element as a minor difference makes me wonder if anyone making that claim has ever actually played MW:Arena. It's also why I don't consider MW:Academy a good entry point for players interested in MW:Arena.

And regarding issue 3), I've already stated my opinion elsewhere. I agree that MW:Academy likely has more tactical depth than MtG. But that's true for several LCGs out there.

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Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2016, 09:25:18 AM »
Well, issues 2) and 4) are largely irrelevant in the longer term because they'll be easily fixed by releasing more cards.

I definitely agree about 1). Dismissing the lack of a spatial element as a minor difference makes me wonder if anyone making that claim has ever actually played MW:Arena. It's also why I don't consider MW:Academy a good entry point for players interested in MW:Arena.

And regarding issue 3), I've already stated my opinion elsewhere. I agree that MW:Academy likely has more tactical depth than MtG. But that's true for several LCGs out there.

Yeah. Maybe there's just something about LCGs that make them more likely to be balanced and tactically deep compared to CCGs? I keep hearing people who play CCGs complain about how games like yugioh and mtg are SO broken and unbalanced and expensive to play, especially at the competitive level. People who love a game who are stuck with bad unfair design decisions and prices. But the LCGs that I've seen and heard of sound more balanced, less expensive, and I've heard people say that they're a LOT of fun. LCGs seem like they tend to just be better all around compared to CCGs.
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Re: Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2016, 10:46:19 AM »
Well, issues 2) and 4) are largely irrelevant in the longer term because they'll be easily fixed by releasing more cards.

I definitely agree about 1). Dismissing the lack of a spatial element as a minor difference makes me wonder if anyone making that claim has ever actually played MW:Arena. It's also why I don't consider MW:Academy a good entry point for players interested in MW:Arena.

And regarding issue 3), I've already stated my opinion elsewhere. I agree that MW:Academy likely has more tactical depth than MtG. But that's true for several LCGs out there.

Yeah. Maybe there's just something about LCGs that make them more likely to be balanced and tactically deep compared to CCGs? I keep hearing people who play CCGs complain about how games like yugioh and mtg are SO broken and unbalanced and expensive to play, especially at the competitive level. People who love a game who are stuck with bad unfair design decisions and prices. But the LCGs that I've seen and heard of sound more balanced, less expensive, and I've heard people say that they're a LOT of fun. LCGs seem like they tend to just be better all around compared to CCGs.

I don't think CCGs are inherently unbalanced.  I think it's just the "blind buy" collectible aspect that's the problem.  For instance, if Battle Forge or Wizard's Tower were "rare cards" that you had to open several hundred packs in hopes of cracking one, or buy one on the secondary market from someone who was lucky enough (or had enough buying power) to open one, then they too would go for astronomical prices on eBay based on supply and demand and someone might say Mage Wars was unbalanced/broken/ridiculously expensive to play. 

Meanwhile, back in the "Jace, The Mindsculptor" era (Zendikar block / Scars of Mirrodin) of MtG, if I could go buy a $25 expansion that included 4 copies of that card along with dozens of others, I might have played Standard.  But instead, the card was "Mythic Rare" with an astronomically low probability of cracking one from a pack, so you generally had to pay $100 each, and your competitive deck might cost you $800 (4 Jaces at $100 each, 8 dual lands at $25 each, and 48 other cards that might average $4 each).

But LCGs don't have a blind buy model, so they're comparatively inexpensive for anyone to play since you know exactly what you're getting in each expansion and the expansions are generally kept in print to allow anyone to buy them.  Need a Wizard's Tower? Buy a Kumanjaro expansion.  Need a Devouring Jelly or some Acid Balls?  Buy a Druid vs Necromancer expansion.

As much as we'd like to say Mage Wars isn't unbalanced, there are certainly cards that are very good/competitive - and others that are not.  Of all the cards available in Mage Wars, I'd guess that I've never considered putting about half of them in a spell book because they simply aren't good enough to play (or there's a better use of my sbp's or whatever).

OK, back to Academy...
« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 10:50:47 AM by iNano78 »
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Re: Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2016, 05:34:49 PM »
1. Mage Wars Academy is just "Arena-lite"
I agree with your 3rd and 4th points (undecided on #2), but I completely disagree with #1.  Pretty much everything, including the design of the game and developer interviews from Arcane Wonders employees, points to Academy actually being Arena-lite.  The devs were given feedback from multiple sources (including this forum) that people wanted a shorter, more portable, and possibly more beginner-friendly version of Mage Wars without sacrificing the soul of the game.  Academy was the result.  This is also why the Academy cards are compatible with Arena, but not vice-versa.  The devs are hoping to get a larger playerbase by having people learn Academy first, then transition into Arena.  So Academy is pretty clearly Arena-lite, in a certain sense.  I'm more confused as to why you seem to consider that a bad thing.  The game is well-designed (if a bit light on cards at the moment) and can appeal to players who would never jump straight into Arena. 

Sailor Vulcan

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Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2016, 08:07:23 PM »
1. Mage Wars Academy is just "Arena-lite"
I agree with your 3rd and 4th points (undecided on #2), but I completely disagree with #1.  Pretty much everything, including the design of the game and developer interviews from Arcane Wonders employees, points to Academy actually being Arena-lite.  The devs were given feedback from multiple sources (including this forum) that people wanted a shorter, more portable, and possibly more beginner-friendly version of Mage Wars without sacrificing the soul of the game.  Academy was the result.  This is also why the Academy cards are compatible with Arena, but not vice-versa.  The devs are hoping to get a larger playerbase by having people learn Academy first, then transition into Arena.  So Academy is pretty clearly Arena-lite, in a certain sense.  I'm more confused as to why you seem to consider that a bad thing.  The game is well-designed (if a bit light on cards at the moment) and can appeal to players who would never jump straight into Arena. 

I think we're defining "Arena-lite" differently here. When I hear "Arena-lite" I think "watered-down version of Arena which is not as good". The soul of the original game wasn't sacrificed per se, but it was transformed. The soul of the game isn't quite the same, although there are some significant things they have in common. Like I said earlier, it's too different from Arena to be considered an alternate variant of Arena, but it's too similar to be an entirely different and separate game.

Academy isn't a "teaching mode" for Arena. It's just as much it's own thing as Arena is, it just happens to be simpler and easier to learn first than Arena, and therefore is a better jumping off point for getting into Mage Wars in general, not just Arena. This would probably be the case even if there were ten Mage Wars games rather than just two, if Academy was still the simplest one.

(The Mage Wars cards and mechanics have the potential to be VERY modular. They could probably be used to make more Mage Wars games than just Academy and Arena, in theory.)

I suspect that if Academy had been released first, the situation would be reversed. There would be misconceptions about Arena, such as "Arena is basically just Academy but with movement!" and no one would have believed any of these wrong things people in real life are saying about Academy.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 06:24:27 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Sailor Vulcan

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Re: Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2016, 02:42:29 PM »
This should be moved to Academy section.
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Re: Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2016, 08:49:29 AM »
Must say I enjoy Academy immensely.  Have played Arena for about 3 years now and love both.  To me they are both very different.  A boardgame and a cardgame.   An immersive experience of movement, strategy, planning and tactics vs a showdown cardgame.   Why worry about the similarities and differences.  Enjoy both

Sailor Vulcan

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Re: Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2016, 09:02:39 AM »
Must say I enjoy Academy immensely.  Have played Arena for about 3 years now and love both.  To me they are both very different.  A boardgame and a cardgame.   An immersive experience of movement, strategy, planning and tactics vs a showdown cardgame.   Why worry about the similarities and differences.  Enjoy both

Because if everybody thinks that Academy is just watered-down arena rather than its own thing, then no one will want to play Academy.
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Re: Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2016, 11:06:39 AM »
I enjoy both a lot too. The only thing I really miss are the first and last quick casts.
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Re: Common Misconceptions about Mage Wars Academy
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2016, 01:47:24 PM »
I enjoy both a lot too. The only thing I really miss are the first and last quick casts.

I'm honestly thinking about house-ruling those back in. More interactive and simultaneously reduces the potential for huge burst damage. This is an instance where I think simplicity hurt the game play.