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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Oct 07 2014 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  This and last week have been full of Khans of Tarkir Limited with GP Orlando having passed and the PT coming up in a few days.  This format is still in the early stages and a lot of people are still trying to figure it out and it's shaping up to be quite a good format to play.  I find myself wanting to play more and more as I see people draft/build sealed decks and I've felt that way about M15, which was a format I quite liked.

The State Of Magic Online

It's been about 3 months since the transition to V4 and I thought I would talk about my thoughts on the client and what it's been like to play in a world without V3.  From a personal standpoint, I've been playing MTGO far less than I was when V3 was the client, and that's due to problems with the client itself rather than being resistant to change.  V4 takes up a lot of resources on my computer, especially when I'm trying to play and record at the same time. This wasn't a big deal with V3, I could have the client up along with Google Chrome or Windows Media Player and have my system run pretty smoothly with minimal difficulties.  For some reason, V4 takes up a lot of resources and causes my laptop to overheat more frequently, which only causes everything else to run even more slowly than usual.  Because of this, I can't casually play MTGO because I need to dedicate time and performance to MTGO only.  

That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if the program was good enough to warrant such focus, but V4 has been average at best ever since July.  I think that the integrated deckbuilding and collection screen is more trouble than it's worth, and probably lags more than it would if you separated the features (at least in my case there's a lot of lag there).  The deckbuilding aspect of the client is pretty bad in my opinion, it takes a lot longer to make decks and the client auto saving every time you make a change is not a positive and also adds unneeded seconds to deckbuilding.  For me, it's too much of a hassle to make a deck or tweak a deck, which leads me to not use a lot of the cards in my account.  Outside of that, I've still be plagued with a general lag, but I admit that it's several times better than it was a year ago.  The thing is, I'm always cognizant of the fact that there is a lag and there is a possibility that I could time out because of the program and not my own (in)action, and that deters a little bit from truly enjoying the games.

That's not to say that V4 hasn't gotten better, but I don't think it has been a substantial upgrade over V3 overall to make the switch worth it.  In terms of money, I don't know how much money this has cost Wizards, but I know for a fact that public confidence in Wizards as it pertains to Magic Online is at its lowest in the past 3 years.  There's already been a lack of confidence in Magic Online because of persistent bugs and terrible communication from Wizards among other things, but the switch to V4 might have pushed a lot of people over the edge, and that's something that might cost Wizards down the line.  There are still bugs on V4, (as I write this the MTGO PTQ Top 8 has found bugs), the program is generally unwanted and has been pushed out to the public in spite of a lot of harsh criticism.  Half the time the MOCS promos have been either good (Wasteland, LED, Batterskull) or bad (Entomb, Cryptborn Horror, Ratchet Bomb) which leads to a lot of uncertainty in whether or not grinding is even worth it if you don't know if you're going to get adequately rewarded for doing so.  The reimbursement policy is generally pretty poor when it comes to high stakes events (MOCS events, PTQ/PTQQs) and punishes you for doing well in an event even if you have a bad experience (winning a draft while missing picks but getting nothing for example).

What can Wizards do to promote confidence among the players?  While I'd like V3 to come back, I'm going to assume that V4 is a permanent change and we'll have to live with it until a V5 comes into fruition.  The best thing that Wizards can do is be completely transparent when it comes to communicating with the players.  Instead of statements like "things are in the works" "changes are coming" "improvements are on the way", it would do everyone a lot of good if they explicitly say what is coming up and when it will be in effect.  This introducing accountability on the MTGO team and would let us know whether or not they're actually doing what they're saying they'll do.  Among those same lines, improved communication between the Magic Online team and the players would do a lot of help promote confident in Magic Online.  As an "average" player in terms of popularity/importance, I never feel my emails and/or tweets are read.  Part of this comes from no replies, but part of that is also because change doesn't happen.  I think when someone has a problem or a grievance; they expect something to be done about it to help fix the issue.  When this happens, it shows that the problem is valid and worth fixing.  When it doesn't happen or takes a long time to get addressed, it makes you feel like your problem isn't worth dealing with, and to that effect, that your feelings aren't valid.

What do you think?  Am I right in my assertions about Magic Online, or have you had different experiences?  What would you recommend Wizards do to promote confidence in Magic Online/MTGO team?

With all that said, let's open some packs!



Looking back on it, I think I had a pretty good pool that could have gone 4-1 or 5-0 if a few things had gone differently.  The 2 decks I lost to were probably better decks than mine and would have been a struggle to beat, but I do think my pool would have given me a chance to do so.  Flying Crane Technique is a really powerful card and it surprised me how often I wanted to draw it and/or how the game would be over if I just alpha and FCT in combat.  Failing to include the Dismal Backwater in my initial build hurts a little bit, and while I don't think losing the additional black source for Mardu Charm hurts us in theory, there were definitely turns where I couldn't cast it because my only white source was also my black source.  Overall, I was happy with the build and happy with my play in the final round against the opponent with so many pump spells.  That match was scary and I'm glad I was able to win 2 games to 1.

 As always, if you have any comments, questions or concerns, leave them in the comments section below!  I'll be back next week with more KTK Limited and thoughts on the PT drafts.

Thank you for reading/watching!