I have this thing for Tabletop gaming, especially for a lot of the "lesser-known" and off-the-wall stuff nowadays (usually cheaper).
Magic Online was indeed fun, and yes, it does cost a pretty penny to "compete" in that game. Funny that you mentioned prize packages, since it was in an online tourney were I decided to leave the game for good, around the Mirrodin cycle. Anyways, yes, there is some awesome prizes for weekly tourneys, but if I remember correctly, they're usually avatars, booster sets, or "tickets", which is the cash-equivalent currency in-game (1 ticket =$1, i think).
As for gaming night to night, you had seperate game rooms/lobbies, which support different card rules (T2 format, Extended, Casual, Highlander, etc), along with the weekly Draft and Constructed tourneys. For that time I played it, the game had a fairly robust trade system, where a young idiotic person like my previous self could easily sink half a teenager's paycheck on virtual cardboard cards. It's a great game to play once in a while, but just like the real world version, it is a money sink.
Nowadays, I tend to pick of games of Fluxx and Apples to Apples. I don't think either could lend themselves to tourney support that easily, but it's fun to play with a bunch of college buddies, or with the future in-laws.
Cool, thanks for the info.
I grew up on DnD, Magic and games of that nature (anyone remember Torg?). My friends and family were STRONG into Magic even after I left it. In the end, around college time for me, we settled on board games like 'Hero's Quest!', Heroclix (we only bought what we liked and never allowed dupes), Yahtzee, Poker, Chess and Zombies!!! Many of them have trunks and trunks of cards from Magic.
I was of the mind that if the habit did not pay for itself, I could not have it. So I left right after the prices of cards were dropping fast and the expansions and banned list were getting crazy (Weatherlight, I think). Lots of great memories and fun times though.
In fact, years later when I was in college, I landed my first high paying IT job over Magic. During the interview, I noticed a black and red deck still in the package on my interviewers desk (later my boss). So during the conversation, I asked him if he played. Turned out he didn't but that his son did and he bought those for him. He then went on to criticize the game and wanted his son to get into sports and stuff...you know manly stuff. So, I then asked him if he knew how to play and did he know the origins of the game...I then tied it to military strategies, art of war and tactics. He opened the pack and ask me to show him. We played a round...after awhile he was like "Damn, this is pretty good...I never knew it was about military...always thought it was like an expensive form of I-declare-war with art." Anyway, I landed the job and it was one of my longest running jobs. I think him and his son got closer because when I would tell them about tournies and stuff his son would show up at the job and I saw them from time to time at different gaming spots. Not sure if he ever won though.