Magic: The Gathering Arena Developer Defends Controversial Mastery Pass Changes

Magic the Gathering

Wizards of the Coast has found itself the unenviable target of criticism recently due to a controversial change made to Magic: The Gathering Arena.

A digital version of the long-running CCG released back in 2018, Arena is a free-to-play title and generates revenue via selling card packs as well as cosmetic items via an in-game store. Similarly to Blizzard’s handling of monetization in Hearthstone, Wizards has come under fire on several occasions for failing to provide enough value for money, despite offering a number of competitive-viable decks free of charge whenever Standard rotation occurs.

As is fast becoming the norm in such games, players are able to purchase access to a season-long ‘Mastery Pass’ that spreads a number of rewards (packs, gems used for crafting, card styles, etc.) across 100 different levels that are unlocked by earning XP through completion of daily and weekly objectives. Fans have quickly discovered, however, that the quantity of rewards on offer for the premium track associated with Ikoria is less than that of previous iterations, despite being the same price.

Addressing said concerns in a recent Reddit post by u/Aitch-Kay that crunches the numbers, a Wizards community team member responded with the following:

Hey all! A couple things to discuss here. First off, the decrease in packs. This was a typo on our part and has been fixed in the article, whoops! You will receive 30 Ikoria packs, not 25. Second, the gem decrease. This is intentional, due to the set duration being a lot shorter. Theros was unintentionally more generous (we meant to give players a Ranked Draft token, instead they received a Traditional Draft, and we rolled with it). Regardless, we intend to keep the average rewards per day in Mastery Pass comparable to Eldraine and Core Set.

Unsurprisingly, the explanation has gone down like a lead balloon with the community, with many pointing to the fact that fewer rewards should mean a lower price to match. The company has yet to comment further on the issue, though while we wait for further developments on that front, feel free to let us know what you make of the situation in the usual place below!

Magic: The Gathering – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is out next week, April 16th, for Arena.