A new Magic: Arena update is in town and almost entirely deals with cosmetics. The gist is that cosmetics have come to the game in spades, not by way of a gradual rollout, in the form of card sleeves (backs), stylized cards, new avatars, and expensive bundles that contain a combo of all three.
Sleeves are semi-reasonably priced at 600 gems (less than $5) and two new avatars can be purchased with gold (in-game currency), but the community isn’t quite as happy about forced bundles (the same concept Heroes of the Storm introduced in its 2.0 update), which are roughly $15 and net you an avatar, four cards, and an animated sleeve. Not only is the value in contention, but players are also requesting that the items be available piecemeal: we’ll see where this battle takes us eventually and if Wizards relents.
If you want a taste of it all you can use the code “STARTERSTYLES,” in the upper right hand corner of the store tab, which nets you stylized versions of Luminous Bonds, Divination, Doomed Dissenter, Viashino Pyromancer, Llanowar Elves, and Meteor Golem, as well as a Magic Arena card sleeve. You can also use the code “SuperScry” for Opt, as well as “ShinyGoblinPirate,””ParallaxPotion,” and “FoilFungus.”
From an aesthetic standpoint, while the sleeves are pretty much universally revered, the actual card effects are getting a rather polarized reception. Instead of the classic Hearthstone “animated card” treatment, Wizards has instead opted to make their stylized cards look lenticular, which some users have reported is akin to “car sickness.”
The game is still in beta after all so maybe Wizards will take this feedback to heart before the full launch. As it stands they are selling expensive cosmetics to players now, so the sooner, the better.