Wilson, Refined Grizzly
6, Sep, 22

MTG Players Are Campaigning to Keep Arena Broken

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Article at a Glance

As a digital client for Magic: the Gathering, bugs are, sadly, to be expected in MTG Arena. This isn’t because Wizards of the Coast are bad developers; far from it, in fact. Bugs are just an almost unavoidable part of digital games. Usually, following an update, developers are hard at work stamping out all the bugs that have arisen. Wizards of the Coast may be in a different situation, however. This is thanks to MTG Arena players remarkably requesting that one bug brought in by Dominaria United not be fixed.

Blessed Be Bjorn

Following the launch of Dominaria United last Thursday, MTG Arena was beset with several bugs. So far, many of these bugs are unresolved, leaving cards including Abundant Harvest not functioning correctly. The format warping Liliana of the Veil is also somewhat buggy, with their ultimate ability not always working. These card-breaking bugs undoubtedly need to be a priority for WotC. However, not all bugs are so problematic. 

First appearing curiously on MTG Arena’s Twitter account, players noticed that the Bjorn pet is going walkabouts on launch day. Rather than sitting in their preordained spot to the side, Bjorn is often seen sitting on the battlefield. Regardless of if it was intentional, this adorable invasion of the battlefield quickly captured the hearts of Arena players. So much so, in fact, that players in the MTG Arena community are even campaigning that this bug stays broken. 

Across multiple Reddit posts, players are just pleading with Wizards to let Bjorn keep his newfound freedom. Whether it’s being called the “most wholesome bug ever” or simply “hilarious,” players are enamored with Bjorn’s antics. Many players are even asking for this feature to be expanded, giving Bjorn and other pets more places to sit. Considering that current pet interactions in MTG Arena are very limited, it’s understandable players may want them to do more. Even suggestions for “cats that randomly walk across the table and mix-up the cards” might not be as far-fetched as first appears. 

Too Much Commotion

Squee, the Immortal
Squee, the Immortal | Dominaria

While MTG Arena’s pets might have a history of being a little basic, that might not be the worst thing. Currently, clicking on a pet has them perform a reasonably basic animation, such as looking around, making a sound, or doing a little flip. This makes pets rather lackluster, considering both their cost and their potential. Recently, we’ve been seeing Wizards of the Coast push what some pets can do. However, not all players are happy. Dominaria United’s Squee pet, for instance, quickly drew the ire of players due to the amount of noise they make. By laughing at every point of damage taken, spell countered, or creature killed, Squee isn’t subtle with their mocking laughter. 

Thankfully, Squee can be muted. However, players are still concerned about their impact on the game. Similar issues have been raised with Bjorn, unfortunately. While Bjorn’s battlefield excursions are adorable, they can be intrusive, with Bjorn ending up on top of cards, Planeswalkers especially. Thankfully, Bjorn sitting on a permanent doesn’t have any mechanical effects, but it’s nevertheless a distraction. One that may stop you from seeing pertinent information. 

As a result of these distractions, players are sensibly stating that while pet interactions and Bjorn’s antics are cool, that’s only “as long as the bear doesn’t get in the way of gameplay.” Instead of being a regular game feature, some have suggested that Magic’s wackier true-to-paper elements could be a unique mode. Saved for April Fools day, for instance, MTG Arena could feasibly feature a mode in which the “game is periodically messed around with because of a giant cat bapping the cards.” While unabashedly silly, this could create a fun and unique limited-time event for players to enjoy. 

A Slippery Slope

Owlbear | Adventures in the Forgotten Realms

As fun as MTG Arena’s Bjorn bug might be, players may need to be cautious when endorsing more intractable pets. As the evolution of microtransactions in gaming has proved, there’s lots of money to be made with weird and wild cosmetics. Wizards of the Coast, therefore, may be tempted to follow a similar trajectory. This may lead to more distracting pets like Squees or bears atop Planeswalkers that cover up vital information. As fun as they might be, this might need to be nipped in the bud, lest things go too far and start getting in the way of the Magic: the Gathering part of MTG Arena. 

Read More: Dominaria United MTG Card May Spike Due to Breaking the Game!

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