October 16, 2018, 12:19:42 PM

Author Topic: Why does MW Academy get so much hate  (Read 1117 times)

Sailor Vulcan

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Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« on: December 23, 2017, 06:29:41 PM »
I'm kinda curious about this. I keep hearing Arena players complaining about how much they don't like MW Academy and how they think it's a bad game. Some people have called it "watered down Arena" or a ripoff of MtG. (Btw, these last two blatantly contradict each other. Either its watered-down Arena or its a ripoff of MtG. NOT both.)

Personally, I love both Arena and Academy, and I honestly don't understand why Academy is getting all this hate from an audience who I would think would compose a major component of its target demographic. The most likely explanation I've thought of is that people don't understand how academy is different from and similar to arena, try to play it like an arena player and they make a bunch of play mistakes and think that the game is just badly designed when it turns out they're just bad at it and havent practiced very much.

But then one of my friends who helped playtest it and played it about 100 times ALSO says that Academy is a ripoff of MtG. Specifically he said that Academy is MtG with a different skin--same mechanics but in a different thematic setting. Now, this same friend said that yugioh and pokemon tcgs are ALSO ripoffs of MtG, rather than just being in the same genre, so its possible that the entire CCG genre looks like basically the same one game to him for some reason.

I honestly have no clue what's going on here. I played mtg for about three years straight and then played it a bit on and off a couple years after that, and I have played both arena and academy extensively. Academy is NOT the same game as mtg. The differences between MW Academy and MtG run deeper than just having different thematic settings. There ARE major mechanical differences between Academy and MtG. Anyone who disagrees with the last two sentences is wrong as a question of simple fact.

Let's review some of these differences between MW Academy and MtG:

1. Having your entire deck in your hand vs shuffling and drawing
2. Going back and forth with creature actions vs all creatures attacking at once
3. Having your player avatar ALSO be a creature like the ones you summon vs having it be a "planeswalker"
4. guarding rules vs blocking rules
5. the inclusion of a spell point system for building decks vs not using such a system
6. spells having an action cost and a mana cost vs only having a mana cost
7. having a channeling stat vs scaling mana generation via lands
8. being able to reuse mana from previous turns vs all of your leftover mana disappearing at the end of the turn

Also, everything I just mentioned that sets academy apart from mtg are things that it has in common with Arena!

Besides all of that, Arena and Academy also have the same distribution model (basically LCG except that we're not allowed to use that word for any games with that distribution model not made by FFG because dumb censorship). Arena and Academy are also amazingly well-balanced because of the spell point system, and both are possible to play competitively in constructed formats without getting burnt out or being rather wealthy. Unlike MtG.

The main similarities between MW Academy and MtG are:

1. they're both duels between magic users.
2. they're both customizable card games with a short game length
3. they both take place in only one zone with no movement

And the main differences between Academy and Arena are:

1. Academy has 1 zone no movement, Arena has 3x4 zones with movement.
2. Academy takes about 20-30 min to play on average, while Arena takes about 1.5-2 hours to play on average.
3. Arena has higher level spells than Academy
4. Arena mages have a higher spell point stat.
5. In Academy, after being melee attacked by a creature with pest trait, a guarding creature that does not have pest can keep their guard marker if they do not counterstrike. In Arena, the guard marker goes away regardless.
6. Arena has a planning phase and quickcast phases, while Academy does not.


I think it should be extremely obvious from all of this that Academy is NOT MtG stuck into a different thematic skin. I suppose that people who say that it's watered down Arena are closer to being right. However, there is nothing "watered down" about Academy. Academy is not watered-down Arena. If anything, Arena is Academy taken up to 11! The only reason people think otherwise is because Arena just so happened to come out first. If Academy had come out first before Arena, I'm pretty sure no one would be complaining about how Academy is "watered down".

Out of curiosity, how well does Academy sell compared to Arena?
« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 06:34:19 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2017, 07:04:01 PM »
I don't think anybody would dispute your comparisons. However:

Academy uses a subset of the card pool for Arena. This makes it very much an "Arena lite" in various ways. But i don't disagree that there are more differences than simply being a shorter version of Arena.

The biggest issue I have with Academy as a competitive format is that it competes with many other games in the same genre with similar play time that are either better (imo) or have a huge existing player base. Given the opportunity, I'd rather play Ashes: Rise of the Pheonixborn than Academy... except that it doesn't cost me anything to play Academy because I already own and am familiar with all the Academy cards. Thus, for a lot of Arena players, Academy becomes a tool for introducing players to the larger Mage Wars universe (e.g. Arena), rather than being a preferred format.

Arena is more like a miniatures game played with cards, and is/was often compared to Summoner Wars for that reason.  Due to its play length and lack of zones, Academy will inevitably be compared to Ashes, Epic, MtG and other 15-30 minute card duelling games. Academy will always have a difficult time in this space due to market saturation/competition. Communities for CCG's (like MtG) and LCG's (eg half of FFG's roster) are easy to find and since they're already established and growing it can be hard to lure players away from those games unless there's something specific to Academy that they feel is truly lacking in the other games. Getting to choose spells from a book might not be enough for the average Netrunner or AGOT or YuGiOh player.
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Kelanen

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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2017, 07:52:41 PM »
Sailor - you continually misunderstand the viewpoint of anyone that doesn't like Academy. It's like your mind is not open to the possibility, of lots of us, just not wanting to play it. It;s great that you love it, but there are perfectly valid reasons for others not to.

It IS an Arena Lite, there is no arguing that (watered down is much more perjorative, but could be true from a certain angle). That may be good or bad, depending on your POV, but it is very much the case. It's a subset of the rules and content, which then gives a subset of the strategy & tactics, and some of it's own.

Personally, I've never called it a rip off of MtG. What I have said, is if I want to play a quicker 2p duel game, then I'd much rather play MtG, which is quite different. Or half a dozen other CCG/LCG's to be honest.

It's the latter point that's the real killer as far as I am concerned. Academy is not a terrible game, by any stretch. It's an okay game. But I don't care whether I am playing in AW's IP or anyone elses to be honest, and if I want a game that fits that niche, there are better games, with huge pools of local players, and if I'm playing that sort of game, then I'll be picking one of those. I have better games to use my time on than play Academy, not so Arena.

Put another way - Arena is something completely unique. It's the best game that exists of that type, but in truth it has few competitors. It's my favourite game ever. Academy is a competent, but nothing special game in a field swamped by huge numbers of similar games - it's better than some, and not as good as others, but... no... therefore! there's no reason for me to ever want to play it.

As to how well Academy sells versus Arena, you will only ever get very skewed data. All Arena players will buy at least 2 copies of each Academy set, and at least 1 copy of each Arena set, whereas each Academy player will buy at least 1 copy of each Academy set. So taken on a straight unit by unit comparison, if there were equal numbers of each player, Academy would appear to sell 3x the volume of Arena!

Actually, I'm pretty sure that Arena only-players are more common than Academy-only players for the reasons above, and some number will play both. But you can't ever disentangle usage figures from sales figures. The above reason is why Academy is an easier sell commercially though (unfortunately!), which is why AW has shifted focus to it. It's also more expensive (and thus more profitable) on a per card basis.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 07:09:38 AM by Kelanen »

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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2017, 03:19:08 AM »
i used to not like academy (content wise) because many of the cards it provides are obsolete for arena, but then, i actually saw how many new exciting and interesting cards it provided for arena, not really worth the money per card ratio, but you do get another new game aswell.

i still dont like that you have to buy two copies to get playsets though,(for arena) feels kind of rip offy, spoiled from the arena distribution i guess..(x2 copies is like a big box of arena)

other than that, i havent really played academy, yeah it does seem like a arena light,especially if you compare it to arena, (no conjurations,the map is tiny,no movement..no quick cast? :/ etc) it feels poor content wise,and it probably is, but i can see how it might need completely new strategies and mindset,and might be a fun game as itself, and a good addition to mage wars ( still dont like the card/money ratio(for arena cards) and x2 copies :P)
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 03:29:27 AM by Grimstringer »

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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2017, 03:38:32 AM »
I'm kinda curious about this. I keep hearing Arena players complaining about how much they don't like MW Academy and how they think it's a bad game. Some people have called it "watered down Arena" or a ripoff of MtG. (Btw, these last two blatantly contradict each other. Either its watered-down Arena or its a ripoff of MtG. NOT both.)

You also have a tendency to misrepresent what is said to you. I know in our conversation, for example, I gave an analogy (Academy is a reskinned mtg) to answer your question of why I like Arena better than Academy. Then you ran off and told me my opinion was objectively wrong. While Academy may not technically fit the definition of "reskin" you totally missed the point. The point was that they felt similar enough to me that Arena appealed to me more

But then one of my friends who helped playtest it and played it about 100 times ALSO says that Academy is a ripoff of MtG. Specifically he said that Academy is MtG with a different skin--same mechanics but in a different thematic setting. Now, this same friend said that yugioh and pokemon tcgs are ALSO ripoffs of MtG, rather than just being in the same genre, so its possible that the entire CCG genre looks like basically the same one game to him for some reason.

Again, misrepresenting what i said. Also, Pokemon definitely borrowed heavily on mechanics from mtg. That's not a slight against it, many/most CCGs alive today have borrowed many of the successful mechanics from mtg.

The biggest issue I have with Academy as a competitive format is that it competes with many other games in the same genre with similar play time that are either better (imo) or have a huge existing player base. Given the opportunity, I'd rather play Ashes: Rise of the Pheonixborn than Academy... except that it doesn't cost me anything to play Academy because I already own and am familiar with all the Academy cards. Thus, for a lot of Arena players, Academy becomes a tool for introducing players to the larger Mage Wars universe (e.g. Arena), rather than being a preferred format.

Arena is more like a miniatures game played with cards, and is/was often compared to Summoner Wars for that reason.  Due to its play length and lack of zones, Academy will inevitably be compared to Ashes, Epic, MtG and other 15-30 minute card duelling games. Academy will always have a difficult time in this space due to market saturation/competition. Communities for CCG's (like MtG) and LCG's (eg half of FFG's roster) are easy to find and since they're already established and growing it can be hard to lure players away from those games unless there's something specific to Academy that they feel is truly lacking in the other games. Getting to choose spells from a book might not be enough for the average Netrunner or AGOT or YuGiOh player.

What I have said, is if I want to play a quicker 2p duel game, then I'd much rather play MtG, which is quite different. Or half a dozen other CCG/LCG's to be honest.

It's the latter point that's the real killer as far as I am concerned. Academy is not a terrible game, by any stretch. It's an okay game. But I don't care whether I am playing in AW's IP or anyone elses to be honest, and if I want a game that fits that niche, there are better games, with huge pools of local players, and if I'm playing that sort of game, then I'll be picking one of those. I have better games to use my time on than play Academy, not so Arena.

Put another way - Arena is something completely unique. It's the best game that exists of that type, but in truth it has few competitors. It's my favourite game ever. Academy is a competent, but nothing special game in a field swamped by huge numbers of similar games - it's better than some, and not as good as others, but... no... therefore! there's no reason for me to ever want to play it.

Quoting the above as they accurately describe why arena players, in general, don't tend to play academy. At least not in the context of being given a choice of which to play. Academy's niche is filled by other games. There is nothing that competes with arena though. They target different audiences despite being in the same universe.


I think you need to take a step back and actually listen before making "THE SKY IS FALLING" type posts about this kind of thing.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 04:37:25 AM by SharkBait »
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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2017, 09:43:25 AM »
Here here Skarky! sailor you're awesome dude but you do tend to do exactly that. Mountains out of
Molehills and the like. The game ain't over, the sky ain't falling, relax. It's gonna be alright
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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2017, 09:47:20 AM »

You also have a tendency to misrepresent what is said to you. I know in our conversation, for example, I gave an analogy (Academy is a reskinned mtg) to answer your question of why I like Arena better than Academy. Then you ran off and told me my opinion was objectively wrong. While Academy may not technically fit the definition of "reskin" you totally missed the point. The point was that they felt similar enough to me that Arena appealed to me more

I suspect this is why I misunderstood you. You said it was a skin of mtg, and I thought you meant exactly what you said. I have never heard anyone use the word "skin" the way you did. When I hear someone say that game x is a skin of game y, what I hear is that game x is the same game as game y just with different theme. And I'm pretty sure that's how the word skin is commonly used in the context of games. Skins are aesthetic changes, not mechanical ones. You even used the phrase "keeping the same mechanics but putting them into a different universe", which sounds like it boils down to "same mechanics, different theme".

Forgive me, but that sounds exactly the same as saying they're basically the same game except for theme. From my perspective, it doesn't look like I'm misrepresenting what you said, it just looks like you didn't say what you meant. And I'm sorry if this sounds a bit rude but I have no idea how else to say this, please keep in mind no offense is meant by the following statement: I'm not a forcemaster in real life, so I can't read minds.


Quote
Again, misrepresenting what i said. Also, Pokemon definitely borrowed heavily on mechanics from mtg. That's not a slight against it, many/most CCGs alive today have borrowed many of the successful mechanics from mtg.

I wasn't disputing that. But there's a huge difference between that and saying they're basically the same game, which is what I thought you were saying about academy and mtg. Yes, other tcgs borrowed a lot of successful mechanics from mtg. It's called a genre, and mtg is the genre codifier. Saying that academy is a skin of mtg is like saying that Sherlock Holmes is a skin of Edgar Allen Poe's detective stories, or that Harry Potter is a skin of Lord of the Rings.
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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2017, 06:12:02 PM »
I think reskin is a perfectly reasonable way of summing it up in a few words (just as Arena-Lite or 'watered down' are). If you want more nuance and paragraphs at length, then yes, this can be done, but they are perfectly adequate turns of phrase to convey the gist in a few words. I don't think that reskin implies anywhere near as exact a copy as you do apparently.

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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2017, 09:29:23 AM »
Along the lines of others posting here, I see Academy as a derivative of MtG, while Arena has more of a unique place in the landscape of game types. Arena as elements of a role playing game by allowing you to customize a mage for a specific situation - arena combat. The addition of a move action with multi-zoned maps gives the game a feeling of a real world setting that is lost in the simpler games like Academy and MtG. The addition of scenarios in Battlegrounds expands on this idea further providing future links to other role-playing elements.

For me, the battle system differences between Academy and Arena come down to a focus on close combat or a combination of close combat, range combat and manuever. So here, Arena has more in common with a miniatures game system recreating fantasy battles.

On a final note the description of this folder seems a bit over the top with the use of the word "hate". I see only people expressing their own impressions of a game, but don't see hateful terms or language being used in these honest expressions. I guess I don't see players with different points of view as "displaying hate". Apparently the OP feels otherwise, but not sharing someone else's passion for something is not the same as hating it.

I buy one copy of each Academy set and use it to play with my 10 year old nephew. However, my regular opponents prefer the added depth and complexity from playing Arena and Battlegrounds.

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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2017, 01:39:11 PM »
Again? You post this topic over and over again. You apparently are not going to get an answer that will satisfy you, so why do it again?
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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2017, 03:29:52 PM »
i just think some folks are just very passionate about certain games and really want others to feel the same. certainly understandable. most everyone here started with aena and feel it is our favorite game and also are very passionate about it. so when we want to play game it will almost always be arena. so academy gets shorted.

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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2017, 03:52:01 PM »
I think you need to take a step back and actually listen before making "THE SKY IS FALLING" type posts about this kind of thing.

This has been said a few times, but you seem to like repetition, so here it is again..

I personally would rather play Academy than any of the games it is a reskin of (MtG, Pokémon, Hearthstone), MW is just better, even in a simplified format. But I will always pick Arena given the choice, assuming I have the time, and I would honestly rather play a ˝ Arena game than 2 Academy matches. Academy's biggest weakness (my humble opinion) is that it feels like an MW game that ends after the opening; short and sweet, but not fulfilling.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2017, 04:30:15 PM by keejchen »
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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2017, 03:57:39 PM »
arena is vastly more complex and nuanced. that is a huge part of its appeal. no matter how competitive academy gets it will never approach arena in nuance and complexity. this is not a slam on academy just a fact due to design.

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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2017, 05:25:32 AM »
If Academy came first perhaps my views would be different but since it didn't and instead I got into Arena first it made me appreciate the complexity of it. Therefore when I play academy it just feels a bit lackluster since I'm missing out on what I like most about Arena.

I'm not saying Academy is bad, I feel like it's a great way to get people into MW that would otherwise be a bit intimidated by the size of Arena and all the different ways to approach it.
But for someone who is already heavily invested in Arena, Academy just doesn't scratch the right spots for me.

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Re: Why does MW Academy get so much hate
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2017, 11:55:02 PM »
Arena is just a more satisfying game than Academy, though Academy is a good casual game, especially for younger players.  I taught my seven year old nephew Academy in half an hour, but it took me six months of playing every day to be good at Arena.  Academy does provide another source of cards for Arena, so I end up buying Academy to get different cards for Arena games.