Magic the Gathering Online
Magic Online is software provided by Wizards of the Coast to allow Magic players to play Magic the Gathering over the internet against their friends or strangers. There are other options for playing Magic online, but none of them are able to enforce the rules of Magic as Magic online does, two examples of alternatives are Apprentice and Magic Workstation.
While Magic the Gathering Online itself is free, when you go to initially create an account it will cost you $20 (USD) to pay for your first digital cards for your online collection. You can make this payment using a credit card, via Paypal or via gift cards.
The cards provided in Magic Online are not able to be directly converted to physical cards. The exception is the conversion of full sets. If you collect a full set of cards (one of every card in that expansion set) then you are able to exchange them for a physical copy of that set; there are however some limitations based on geographic location.
FAQ for Magic the Gathering Online
Q) What is the ESRB rating for this game?
A) It is rated 'Teen'
Q) Where do I get Magic Online?
A) You can download it from the Wizards.com website by going to this location: Download here
Q) What does Magic the gathering Online cost?
A) The software download itself is free, but to create your initial account with the system will cost you $20 (USD)
Q) Where can I see some videos to help familiarize myself with the software?
A) The website www.PureMTGO.com has a great series of videos that you can check out.
Q) What are the system requirements for Magic the Gathering Online?
A) See below
OS: Windows 2000
CPU: PIII 700 mhz
Video Card: DX9 Compatible, 8mb video ram (software rendering)
OS: Windows XP or newer
CPU: P4 1ghz or faster
RAM: 512mb or more
Video Card: DX9 Compatible, 128mb video ram
1024x768 resolution or more
Broadband Internet Connection
Q) When did Magic Online start?
A) It went live in June, 2002. It has since been upgraded to version 3.0 and has added cards from numerous sets spread out across the history of Magic.
Q) What are 'tickets' in Magic Online?
A) Tickets are the in-game currency which are bought for cash. These allow them to cross international boundaries as well as avoid possible gambling issues as users are not using dollars to enter tournaments which may be seen as tournaments of chance by the local authorities.
Q) What are clans?
A) Clans are the in game groups which players build, either as their circle of friends or for devoted development and competition. There is no cost or requirement for joining a guild instituted by Magic the Gathering Online, though guilds may require something for membership such as a required level of rating.
Q) How does the rating of my play online work?
A) It's calculated the same as physical play is, using an adaptation of competitive Chess' ELO rating system. You can read more about it at the Wikipedia page for the ELO Rating System.