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By: stsung, Jaroslava Stefankova
Jun 30 2017 12:00pm
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Trading on Magic Online is a tricky thing and similarly to trading in paper one needs to learn many things about it to not get ripped off. This usually means knowing where to find out what a card costs, where is the best place to buy it, where to sell it, learn the trends, know when to buy and when to sell etc. On Magic Online though we have to learn one more thing and that is how to operate Magic Online to achieve what we want to do since our communication when trading is limited.

In the past few months there were small and big changes concerning trading in V4. Since the trading got smoother and better I expect there were changes done that we aren't even aware of. One of the visible changes was the addition of the Modify Trade button. The next change was even bigger because it removed active binder. The latest change was adding a full trade binder to the list of binders.

Since these changes have happened I hear only complaints about them. Each time there is a change we just have to deal with, it's either a good thing or not. When it becomes clear that the change wasn't a good idea then it is the time to complain. During the time I started playing on V4 many little things got changed and usually for the better. You may not even know about these changes since they do not concern you the same way many players weren't affected by F8 suddenly not working as intended or Command Tower being bugged for months.

This time around I see a lot of negativity concerning the new approach to trades and I'd like to tell you why these changes helped me.

I've done many trades on Magic Online. I went through selling a complete collection and I wanted to earn money while doing so. I still trade a lot now. I don't know how often players trade, I always expected that without trading, a player cannot play on Magic Online. Lately though, I was often told that I take trading too seriously and that came from players that won't pay 0.1USD more for a card if they don't need to. I was quite surprised by this because Magic players tend to be value-driven so the time spent on something like figuring out what a card costs and whom to sell it seemed natural. When I was building a new highlander deck I was surprised how the changes eased my trading and that is why I evaluated this change as good (I was unwilling to pay a single tix for it). I wasn't thinking much about the changes before but I noticed how it eased trading in my case. That is why I was surprised by being actually in the minority - the content people. While the trading isn't ideal, it does have its pros, not just the cons people complain about. This was a big change though and I suspect that more changes are coming and that the changes will be for the better.

So what changed? Recently 'Modify Trade' was added so we could still modify a trade without the need to cancel it. I'm not sure how many of us use that feature. So far in most of my cases all the 'modifications' to trades went through Cancel and trading again. Also the button is located at a place where the Confirm button used to be which also means that many of us click there and then we wonder what happened since we are taken back to the previous screen. Anyway, we will get used to this. This is probably a good feature that just requires us to change one habit. Remember when you were clicking on the left button to keep? Do you recall how many times you clicked on Mulligan when this was changed? That resulted in many matches lost, unlike this button that just will take some of your time.

 

 

Another change was disabling the 'active binder' feature. That was replaced by a popup window after initiating a trade asking us what trade binder we want to use. What this means is that it adds an extra click (or two if you actually use the feature). There is a downside to this though. Out of curiosity, do you know what I have in mind? Because many players I talked to about this, they didn't even realize this - the reason being they never used what I will describe in the following sentence. We used to be able to right-click a card and put it in the active binder before this. One of the relatively new features in MODO was that we could add an exact number of cards to be put in a trade binder (not just 1, 4, all but 4). Now we can't do it since there is nothing like the 'Active Trade Binder' anymore. We actually have to click on Binders, choose one/create one and put the cards there. If you want to do a quick trade this 'feature' is actually something that makes the trade slower. What I'd like to note though is that the feature allowing us to add an exact amount to the binder wasn't around for a long time which often meant that we still had to click on Binders, choose the active binder and drag the card(s) there. If you trade a lot though, this feature saves a lot of time and that is something I'd like to address.

 

 

Imagine this kind of a situation: you found bots to which you wanted to sell certain cards (different bots because the bots offer different buy prices). If you put the cards in the same binder it became a nightmare to trade with one bot because you need to remove cards from the trade usually by typing a number or number followed by exclamation mark. There was another catch, the bots choose cards based on what they need. If there isn't a card with higher priority they want they won't pick a certain card. If you remove card A from the trade you won't be able to trade card B. For example if you enter a trade with a Amonkhet booster pack, Sphinx of the Final Word, Fevered Visions and Commit/Memory, the bot will take all of them. But if you remove AKH it will keep only the Sphinx in the trade removing Fevered Visions and Commit//Memory. If you enter only with Fevered Visions and Commit/Memory the bot will take both cards. Another trade you wanted to do was selling 8 copies of a card to the same bot. If you give those 8 at once you will right away get a lower price (because the bot has to recalculate the buy price since it doesn't need more copies of the card anymore) or the bot will take just 4 (and then recalculate). If you do 2 trades you will get the normal higher price for the 4 and lesser price for the other 4 but you will be able to sell all 8 cards (usually, within the same family of bots the price won't change for all bots at once, so you can sell for the same price to another bot). So lets say all this means you need to do 5 trades. All the bots work the same way so the best way to do it is to put the only wanted card(s) for one trade in the active trade binder. The other way how to do it is to create different binders, put the cards there separately and change the binders between trades. This way the bot will take only what you offer and you won't need to do anything else except taking tix and confirming the trade. With the former system one had to set the binder to active each time. This required right-clicking the binder, choosing Properties, Set as Active, OK. There was another way to do it and that was choosing the binder under a filter in the Trade tab. Which is something I usually totally forgot about. In most cases (when I use mtgowikiprice, or buy from MTGOTraders) I do not use the Trade tab at all since I initiate the trades from a web browser. This way I couldn't even change the binder in the trade tab (I could but this would require clicking there, waiting for listings to show up, changing the binder and then waiting for the bot to open and initiating the trade). Using the experimental feature on mtgowikiprice is good because it saves time and you can use the time between initiating the trade and accepting the trade anyway you want. When using the trade tab, one needs to wait till the bot is open and click on the Trade button. Often the trade is declined and one needs to wait again. This requires attention and time. Clicking on the Request Trade button though means that you just wait for Magic Online to show you a trade request (if you the notification set as 'show' in the client) and you don't need to stare at MODO attentively all the time. I have two monitors set up, for example, but still I couldn't do something else because I often simply missed the bot being open.

 

 

The paragraph above talked about how things were before the change. Now imagine doing the same in the client today. You just put the cards in 5 different binders and do 5 trades without caring about the 'finding a card, putting it in a binder, trading' or 'switching to another binder and trading again' part. The thing is that the 1 extra click you have to do now saves quite some clicking in these cases. You can just click a bot that is open and choose the right binder. There is no need for your trade to be cancelled because of a wrong binder, or because someone just slipped past you and got in the trade earlier. If you trade a lot this new feature saves you a LOT of work and especially a LOT of time. We all want to play more Magic than staring at our Collection screen or Trade tab, right? I really welcomed this change and don't want to go back.

What Wizards of the Coast did to the trading may not be an ideal thing. I also understand that if you do not trade often this means for you that you have to do few extra clicks each time. The clicks are done at least in one window though, so while it takes time, it's not that much time you lose. It would be nice if by default there would be one binder active and after checking something it would show you the popup window with trade binders - with one still being 'active' for the purposes of adding cards to an active binder (this could be done in a different way, but it would be good to keep the feature). This would solve the issue for those that do not trade often.

Trading a whole deck
There is one more thing that drives me crazy sometimes. Have you ever traded a whole deck to someone? I'm loaning decks to other players and that is where I encountered the most problems. Since there isn't an extensive list of things Magic Online does in a strange way, it took some trial and error and I still didn't figure out how some things work. The first thing is that I usually get a decklist in a text form (that I often have to retype). If I load this to a trade binder it loads some versions of the cards (most recent printing?). If I own the whole deck it will still show half of the cards 'as missing'. So what I have to do is to load the deck as well...as a deck. Then I click on 'Update with cards in collection' (thanks for this feature, because in the past I was seriously FURIOUS when I had to manually look for the cards and put them in a deck, this also used to crash the client if someone wanted to rush things - MainNavigation has stopped working). When you have the deck shown correctly with cards you own you can export it in Magic Online's native format (.dek file, which is just a XML file). This you can import again as a binder. It will load all the cards in their respective versions. This alone took me a while to figure out!

 

 

There is a catch. If you have 2 (Thoughtseiz)e main deck and 1 Thoughtseize in the sideboard as in the example above, it will load only 2 Thoughtseizes. At first I had no idea how it is possible that some cards are missing and spent ages figuring out what was missing. Then I found out that there is a pattern. Binders do not care about the sideboard element and if there is a duplicate entry it won't load it. I often imported decks containing my Force of Wills just to find out that the Judge promo Force of Will was always dropped or shown as missing. I was always like I loaded 75 cards so I should get 75 cards, right? When this wasn't the case I tried to understand but was too blinded by the thing not working as intended. The workaround is either to put the cards there manually after you figure out which cards are missing (faster), or export the deck in two ways - with sideboard in the sideboard pane, and with sideboard main deck. The latter you'd import to your binder and the first you'd send to the player you are loaning the deck. Now you may be reading this and be like 'What? I can export and import decks?'. For some reason there wasn't a single player that actually knew about this when he wanted a deck from me and I'd thought this feature to be actually used a lot. I also need to remind the players that the importing is not always 100 percent right and similarly to me they are unwilling to accept it as a fact. I often have to request not loaded cards separately. Since players are not often aware of this I managed to lose some cards in trades because I didn't notice that too.

Anyway this method is good if you want to pick a larger amount of cards from your collection and trade them. If you do not want to use the Magic Online UI, write the cards in a text file, save it, import it as a deck, update it, export it as .dek, import it as a binder this time and trade. It may seem like a lot of work but it saves huge amount of time.

 

 

As for the full trade binder. This is a certainly weird feature. Wizards of the Coast wrote in their announcement that this should help new players that want to trade do some trading. I highly doubt that this will help in this case, but I believe there might be different uses for this. So far the full trade binder for me has one use. From time to time I export my whole collection and run it through MTGGoldfish. Now, I can do it anytime because I don't need to be adding all cards to a binder resulting often in MODO crashing (unfortunately sorting by rarity doesn't work). It's a fringe use for sure but it probably means that there will be more things changed to trading in MODO and those can be for the better for everyone. For example the size of trade binder was increased which may also mean that in the future we might be able to get rid of the thousands and thousands of commons and uncommons we do not want. At least that is one of the things I'd wish to happen. Even just increasing the number of cards traded would be good.

Magic Online client goes through many changes. We often just see the bugs and issues we encounter but through the years the functionality and performance get better overall. There were features removed, there were builds that suffered from a huge memory leaks but got fixed. The client slowly evolves and since the change in the Digital part of Wizards team things started to evolve more rapidly. Many features we get, we do not even comment on because we just start using them if we find them helpful. We often just take them for granted, often complaining why this wasn't integrated earlier? If the feature is bad though everyone starts commenting on it and I'm not really sure if anyone actually wrote Wizards of the Coast about it. There are several ways what one can do. I usually ranted via 'Report a bug/issue' through customer support which though requires Wizards Account and inputting things like your Magic Online screenname, event ID/match ID etc. But one does not need to go through that, there is also the possibility of sending an email to magiconlinefeedback@wizards.com. You can also tweet to Lee Sharpe. For quite a long time, I was sending emails to Wizards of the Coast so they would add the 'Update with cards in collection' feature because I was often importing and exporting decks (primarily because of my client being bugged in a strange way) and I didn't want to spend ages while updating my deck. It may have been a coincidence but after my complaints about this, the feature was actually added. Half a year later Wizards actually admitted that it wasn't just my client being bugged (problems with loading/saving decks) and the problem was on their side. I have no idea what was wrong but they discovered what was wrong and fixed it for everyone. Several of the issues I talked about that I got a general reply from Wizards of the Coast showed up on known issues list and got fixed. I also send few angry emails about first picks not registering. There was a notice in the client itself about it later. Wizards of the Coast listens and cares. We just need to make an effort and also tell Wizards what we want and how it should work.

I hope you learned something new today and that this article will help you to trade more effectively. Thank you for reading.
S'Tsung (stsung on Magic Online, stsungjp on Twitter)

4 Comments

Extremely insightful and by Paul Leicht at Fri, 06/30/2017 - 13:40
Paul Leicht's picture
5

Extremely insightful and useful article, thanks once again Stsung :D

Thank you, glad it helped. by stsung at Fri, 06/30/2017 - 13:50
stsung's picture

Thank you, glad it helped.

Does the "Update with cards by MichelleWong at Sun, 07/02/2017 - 05:44
MichelleWong's picture

Redundant post

I see only this post, so if by stsung at Sun, 07/02/2017 - 19:48
stsung's picture

I see only this post, so if you posted a question earlier you will have to post it again for me to see it.