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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Jul 25 2014 12:00pm
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State of the Program for July 25th 2014

 

In the News:

The Beta isn’t Beta, and MTGO Isn’t Dead:  Okay, Wizards turned off the V3 interface. V4 is all there is. It seems to work for the majority of players playing sanctioned Magic. For the few still having serious memory leaks, failed installs, etc. – I feel for you. For the first 6-10 months the Wide Beta did not work for me, either. Eventually, Wizards fixed it. For those of you who play multiplayer, or large decks, or want 40 life, 10 card hands, please go stand in that queue, behind the leagues players.  Wizards will get around to you sometime, probably.  (Yes, that sucks.)  But for those of you who want to draft or play Standard queues, you can. The client works.
 
More news follows, but I want to make some comments, first.
 

Opinion Section: Time to Sell Out? 

A lot of people are complaining about MTGO right now. V4 is about as popular as liver and onion gruel. Event participation is down– a bit more than usual this time of year. More importantly, the folks over at MTGOTraders.com tell me that far more people than usual are asking for – and accepting – offers to buy out their collections. A lot of people are selling out of MTGO.
 
Should they? Almost certainly not.
 
I have two reasons for saying this. First, the economist side of me thinks selling at the bottom of the cycle is a bad idea. Second, the MTGO historian says that MTGO will survive, and those cards will become a lot more valuable. 
 
The economic argument: selling into a buyers’ market is always a bad idea. When a ton of people are selling, supply is much higher than demand and prices are really low. Selling a month ago might have made sense. That was then. There are only two reasons to sell right now: you absolutely need the cash right now, or you think that prices will continue to drop. Prices will continue to drop only if MTGO is dying, and that brings us to the historical comparison.
 
I started writing for The Dojo late last century, and I have been writing about the game ever since. I started playing online as soon as my telephone company offered me broadband. I remember writing about Magic Online Digital Object back when it was just a proposal and a press release. I remember V1, and V2, and V2.5, and V3, and V3.5. I have lived through a lot of transitions. A lot of these transitions looked like they might kill MTGO. They didn’t – and MTGO came back stronger than ever.
 
Let’s look at some history:
·         V1to V2 transition: serious crashes, all sanctioned play down for months, then Chuck’s Virtual Party (the event intended to thank players for their patience) crashed MTGO again, delaying events even longer.
·         V2 to V3: MTGO went black for a week, then came back offering only casual constructed play. Drafts came back months later.
·         V3 to V4: We had a downtime. A few hours later, everything was up and running. The biggest hiccup was that some Phantom drafts gave out / loaned out real cards. 
 
I’ve seen disastrous transitions. This ain’t one of them. V4 is not pretty, and it isn’t finished, but it runs. If MTGO were a pickup truck, then V4 would be missing the sound system, doors, left front fender, passenger seats and the bed. (The truck bed is the area where you keep cargo / collection.)   It would have nothing but the primer coat, and that primer coat would be an ugly shade. However, that truck would have wheels, a decent engine, frame and drive train, and the controls would work. You could drive it to the store – you just wouldn’t be too happy to about being seen in it.
 
Right now, MTGO missing a bunch of features – enough so that I will be making a new list of ten every week for the foreseeable future – but the core program works.   Last Tuesday I had the day off. I was working around the house, but alternating that with playing MTGO. I kept the program running for hours and entered four drafts. I had no crashes, memory problems or major issues. Considering the problems I was reporting eight months ago, when V4 would not run, period, on my system, that’s great. I can’t say I liked the looks, but the program ran without a hitch.
 
Every time MTGO has been revised or upgraded, a bunch of people panicked and cashed out. A year or two later, the total number of players was much higher than before the transition and the value of the cards had rebounded.   I see no reason to expect anything different this time around – and considerable reasons for optimism.
 
Please don’t take that as any indication that I think V4 is even close to finished.  It needs a ton of tweaks and still has some huge gaps. Sanctioned play pretty much works. Deck construction kind of works, and trading can actually happen, sort of. However the collection screen and multiplayer are completely inadequate, and a ton of additional features (like adjusting the size of cards in hand, and pop-out graveyards) are absolutely critical; but still missing.
 
Now a lot of people have been posting super-negative comments. After all, that’s what the
Interwebs are for: cat photos and hyperbolic rants. My recommendation is to ignore the rants. Occasionally, however, you can find ambergris in all that flotsam and jetsam. (improve your vocabulary – Google it.)  I found two this week.
 
First, Dr. Cat, who has 30 odd years of experience running online gaming companies, wrote a great open letter to Wizards on what Wizards has done wrong – and why – with a lot of their digital products. Very highly recommended.   One of his most telling points is that good software management involves stopping those people who really want to show what they can do from tearing down everything just to rebuild it anew. He recommends a “bapping stick” labeled “if it works, leave it alone.” I recommend taking that bapping stick and whacking whoever changed Alt-U to Ctrl-Z until the stick breaks, then getting another and starting all over. In all seriousness, I hope everyone at Wizards reads that open letter, and that all the managers frame it and hang it on their walls, to be reread at least once a week. Seriously. 
 
The second set of comments come from Jon Loucks. He wrote about why he left Wizards, and also talked about Wizards and MTGO at length in an interview on Limited Resources. I especially recommend the podcast. Jon explains a lot about Wizards, their processes, and what goes into making Magic. He also talks about the difference in designing a computer interface to match an existing card game, and designing the card game with the interface in mind. For example, Hearthstone’s targeting system means that that game cannot ever implement a card like Electrolyze, because it has no way of implementing multiple targets.   I learned a lot from the podcast. Highly recommended.
 
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled news cast.
 

In the News, Part II

M15 Prerelease This Weekend: The M15 prerelease events will let you choose a colored “Hunt pack” which includes a salted booster in that color, plus five normal M15 boosters for your sealed event. Wizards has giving everyone who has played online since 2008 five free Hunt packs (one in each color), and phantom tickets which can be used for free entry into a prerelease event. That means that the hunt packs will not be refundable this time around, so don’t buy any you don’t intend to use (but you have five free packs, and how many prereleases can you play in, anyway?)   Details here. You also get to choose between “Friendly” and “Competitive” events. The difference is in the payouts.
 
Match Wins
Competitive Payout
Friendly Payout
4
11 Boosters, 3 QPs
5 Boosters
3
5 Boosters, 1 QP
3 Boosters
2
1 Booster
2 Boosters
1
-
2 Boosters
Total Prizes
37 Boosters, 7 QPs
37 Boosters
 
Wizards Provides “Getting to Know the Client” Articles: Wizards has finally gotten around to producing some basic explanations of how to navigate and use the new client. The articles / videos are here.
 
Constructed Queues (other than Legacy and Vintage) will Pay Out in M15 Packs: All Modern, Standard, Momir Vig and Pauper queues will begin paying out M15 packs next Wednesday. Legacy and Vintage will continue to pay out in VMA packs.
 
Various Queues Retired: With the arrival of M15 events, a number of queues have been retired as of last Wednesday’s downtime. These include all M14 queues.  (Boo!  I still have 15 packs that I didn’t have time to burn through.) VMA 4-3-2-2 and on demand Sealed Swiss queues have also ended.   In addition, all Theros block constructed events are gone. 
 
Mana Pool Kickstarter Funded: The Mana Pool kickstarter was funded, ending at over $15,000. Cool. Good to see that it is not just LR that can fire one. Details on the kickstarter are here
 
Tom LaPille and Allison Medwin Join the MTGO Team: Tom LaPille has moved from R&D to the digital design to work on card implementation. Allison Medwin has come over to be the chief editor on MTGO.com.   (Note: Allison Medwin has two “l”s. Alison the community manager gets by with just one.)  Allison’s first article is here.  It describes a number of new features and display choices in the client which are possible now that the team is not also programming M15 for V3. 
 
New Player Events Remodeled: Wizards has restructured the new player events. The New Player Queues will now also include constructed events. All new player events will pay out in 5 card boosters. 
 
It Could be Worse: MTGO is in a bit of a rough patch right now, but at least it does not face some of the problems of the paper world.   The Wizards website has two paper-only stories: one explaining that GP Taipei will go ahead despite the typhoon, and an article on protecting yourself from forgeries. #paperworldproblems.
 

The Timeline:

This is a list of things we have been promised, or just want to see coming back.   Another good source for dates and times is the MTGO calendar. Here’s what we know, want or are tracking. I also created another list for notable bugs. If you know of one that has not been fixed (and you or someone has filed a bug report) please let me know.
 
Item (date it will return) and notes
·         Magic 2015 (7/28/2014) M15 Prereleases begin July 25th. Details here.
·         Online PTQs & MOCS: (not before October) Latest update is here.
·         Leagues (2014) Wizards has promised that leagues will return this year. Details here.
·         Duel Decks: Speed vs. Cunning (10/6/2014) Details here.
·         Khans of Tarkir: (October) Prerelease Oct. 3-6. Details here.
 
Bugs Needing a Good Stomping:
A ton of bugs got stomped last downtime. Here’s what I have been told still doesn’t work. Let me know what needs to be added.
·         Gifts Ungiven: choosing just two cards will mean one ends up in your hand. Both should be in the graveyard.
·         (Descendants’ Path) forces you to cast the revealed creature to move the game forward.
·         Athreos, God of Passage prompts opponents to pay 3 life or 3 mana – should only be 3 life. Trying to pay 3 mana will eat 3 mana AND 3 life.
·         Daring Thief inspired trigger is still bugged, but only for certain special cases. In most circumstances, it works.
·         Soul of Shandalar shows too many targets. Clicking an invalid target corrects this.
·         Gather Specimens is bugged. 
·         Mortis Dogs is bugged.
·         Thopter Assembly Is bugged.
·         Cursed Scroll does not show what card was named. (May be fixed now.)
·         Floodtide Serpent was bugged. Reportedly fixed now.
·         Balance is reportedly bugged. Haven’t confirmed.
·         Curse of Misfortunes is bugged
·         Tomorrow, Asura’s Familiar reportedly restarts the game when its ability is activated.
·         Wish lists don’t save correctly in the new client. You may have multiple versions.
·         Dual land text boxes don’t display correctly. (A ton of display issues persist.)

 

Ten Step Program

I am going to be making a list of ten things I want fixed in the new client each week. I will also submit the list each week using the official email link: MagicOnlineFeedback@wizards.com I recommend that everyone who has thoughts about improvements do the same. Wizards wants and needs feedback. Just be polite. Wizards knows people are upset, and shouting about it just makes you look irrational and inane.
 
These are not in any order, and do not represent my highest priority fixes. The fixes I want most are probably the binder view and a better collection system, but I have written about those many times before. I also recognize that multiplayer is totally busted but I’ll let someone else work on that.
 
Ten Things to Fix in MTGO’s New Client
1.      Tabbed Chat: I want to have the option of continuing the chat session with my round one opponent even after round two starts. I also want a better way of chatting with friends and others. 
2.      Control over Deck Editor Saves: The deck editor appears to autosave every time I change anything. This is time consuming. More importantly, sometimes I rework the deck, only to find that I don’t like the result or don’t have the cards. At that point, I want to undo the changes without reversing every change manually. Yes, I know I can create a copy every time I want to edit a deck, edit the copy, then delete whichever I like least, but that’s a pain. I’d prefer a simple save changes button.
3.      Move the turn status bar to the side of the screen. 
4.      Don’t show Employee Only Events: In addition to the Phantom True/False filter, give us a way to hide events we cannot play in.
5.      Watch Games:   I want to watch my friend’s games, especially casual games, as they play them. Please add that ability to the client.
6.      Resize Cards in Hand: The cards on the battlefield change size all the time, but the cards in my hand are a fixed size. This means that when I have seven or more cards in hand, I have to scroll back and forth to see them all. I cannot shrink them to fit, or to create more battlefield space. I should be able to.
7.      Copy and Paste back in Chat: Why can’t I paste things, like decklists, into chat?   
8.      No Icons on the Buddies List: Until the program allows us to use our own icons, like pictures of ourselves, having icons on the buddies list serves no purpose at all except to waste space.
9.      Shrink the Pop-up box for Targeting Effects: The pop-up box is considerably larger than the pseudo-card it contains. This means I have to move it quite a distance before I can click on targets, since most of the targets are behind the box.
10. Show Matches Outstanding in Event Windows: When I am in an event, I want to know roughly when the next round will start. In V3, you could see how many matches were outstanding, and what game they were in. With V3, you would know whether you had enough time to make lunch, or if the round was about to start. With V4, all you have is the clock, which means nothing because rounds often start early. 
 

Cutting Edge Tech:

Standard: With the prereleases over, Star City is back to running opens. Last weekend we were in Baltimore. The Top 8 was devotion-heavy, with both black and blue doing well. The Top 32 decklists are here. M15 was pretty much a no-show. However, it did appear in one deck (at least one featured in the coverage.)
 
Slivers!
Roy Reese, 88th Place, SCG Standard Open Baltimore
Creatures
1 Megantic Sliver
1 Syphon Sliver
1 Sentinel Sliver
1 Striking Sliver
2 Bonescythe Sliver
3 Blur Sliver
4 Predatory Sliver
4 Manaweft Sliver
4 Galerider Sliver
4 Elvish Mystic
1 Thorncaster Sliver
26 cards

Other Spells
1 Constricting Sliver
3 Sliver Hivelord
2 Diffusion Sliver
1 Venom Sliver
4 Sliver Hive
1 Leeching Sliver
1 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
2 Chord of Calling
3 cards
 
Lands
4 Mana Confluence
1 Mutavault
1 Hallowed Fountain
3 Breeding Pool
1 Blood Crypt
2 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Llanowar Wastes
2 Yavimaya Coast
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Battlefield Forge
19 cards

Megantic Sliver
 
Modern: It’s PTQ season. This week’s deck comes from a PTQ in Indianapolis. The Top 8 lists are here. The Top 8 was combo heavy, with Melira-Pod, Kiki-Pod and Scapeshift filling the majority of the slots. The winning deck, though, was more controlling.
 
 
Legacy: With the prereleases over, Star City is back to running opens. Last weekend’s event was in Baltimore, and the Delvers came out to play.   They were everywhere in the Top 32, but not in the winning deck.
 
 
Vintage:  Vintage events have been firing pretty regularly online. Several of the Dailies have been large enough to have multiple 4-0 finishers.
 
Delverless BUG
mlmcc1, 4-0, Vintage Daily #7299766 on 07/22/2014
Creatures
4 Dark Confidant
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Snapcaster Mage
1 True-Name Nemesis
1 Trygon Predator
14 cards

Other Spells
3 Abrupt Decay
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Brainstorm
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Dismember
4 Force of Will
1 Grafdigger's Cage
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Mental Misstep
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Null Rod
2 Spell Pierce
2 Thoughtseize
1 Time Walk
1 Vampiric Tutor
22 cards
 
Lands
2 Bayou
4 Polluted Delta
1 Strip Mine
2 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
3 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland
19 cards

Dark Confidant
 

Card Prices

Note: all my prices come from the fine folks at MTGOTraders.com. These are retail prices, and generally the price of the lowest priced, actively traded version. (Prices for some rare promo versions are not updated when not in stock, so I skip those.)   You can get these cards at MTGOTraders.com web store, or from their bots: MTGOTradersBot(#) (they have bots 1-10), CardCaddy and CardWareHouse, or sell cards to MTGOTradersBuyBot(#) (they have buybots 1-4).
 
Standard staples: Standard prices have recovered a tick, after the great “OMG V4!” selloff. This week, while individual cards moved around a bit, the table as a whole did basically nothing.       
 

Standard & Block Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$9.77
$10.78
($1.01)
-9%
$11.05
$11.62
($0.57)
-5%
$15.17
$13.74
$1.43
10%
$8.26
$8.06
$0.20
2%
$8.48
$6.63
$1.85
28%
$8.91
$10.10
($1.19)
-12%
$14.48
$15.54
($1.06)
-7%
$7.72
$6.42
$1.30
20%
$7.32
$8.44
($1.12)
-13%
$8.97
$8.37
$0.60
7%
$7.87
$7.70
$0.17
2%
$14.32
$15.41
($1.09)
-7%
$8.93
$7.11
$1.82
26%
$5.45
$6.06
($0.61)
-10%
$17.13
$18.78
($1.65)
-9%
$9.68
$10.13
($0.45)
-4%
$5.03
$5.04
($0.01)
0%
$23.50
$22.46
$1.04
5%
$5.13
$5.96
($0.83)
-14%

Modern staples: Modern cards are pretty stable this week. With Modern Masters drafts restarting, I would expect those prices to drop a bit. I’m not sure what is up with Bitterblossom – something seems wrong there.   I’m guessing that I dropped a 1 in last week’s price; it probably should have been $ 17.94. (/me too lazy to check.)
 

Modern Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$12.49
$11.51
$0.98
9%
$37.92
$37.92
$0.00
0%
$11.40
$7.00
$4.40
63%
$20.35
$7.94
$12.41
156%
$14.98
$16.86
($1.88)
-11%
$15.94
$15.33
$0.61
4%
$21.26
$25.21
($3.95)
-16%
$7.87
$8.19
($0.32)
-4%
$31.00
$32.07
($1.07)
-3%
$10.61
$10.65
($0.04)
0%
$24.00
$20.00
$4.00
20%
$14.05
$13.27
$0.78
6%
$53.51
$45.89
$7.62
17%
$33.15
$32.49
$0.66
2%
$90.85
$80.57
$10.28
13%
$29.35
$25.94
$3.41
13%
$66.64
$70.44
($3.80)
-5%
$34.62
$24.99
$9.63
39%
$17.27
$14.74
$2.53
17%
$16.23
$15.70
$0.53
3%
$46.61
$41.43
$5.18
13%
$14.31
$14.31
$0.00
0%
$16.51
$16.51
$0.00
0%
$12.38
$12.38
$0.00
0%
$83.90
$85.75
($1.85)
-2%
$52.44
$54.16
($1.72)
-3%

Pauper: I’m moving Daze and Lotus Petal into Legacy/Vintage and halting coverage of Pauper. Nothing is much over $2, and the changes are only the result of speculators manipulating the market. Prices jump, then return three weeks later. It takes too much time to track that sort of thing.
 
Legacy / Vintage: Legacy and Vintage prices continue to climb. The only cards to show significant dips in price are MOCS promos, or soon-to-be MOCS promos. The exception is True-Name Nemesis, but since the deck that contains it is for sale in the store for $29.99, there was no way a price of $38 was sustainable. 
 

Legacy / Classic Cards
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
$82.74
$73.90
$8.84
12%
$192.45
$185.91
$6.54
4%
$48.23
$47.16
$1.07
2%
$17.86
$15.91
$1.95
12%
$25.29
$24.00
$1.29
5%
$28.60
$25.63
$2.97
12%
$44.03
$51.73
($7.70)
-15%
$58.91
$58.91
$0.00
0%
$25.95
$24.66
$1.29
5%
$17.39
$17.41
($0.02)
0%
$12.70
$14.12
($1.42)
-10%
$13.45
$9.94
$3.51
35%
$84.80
$84.80
$0.00
0%
$9.57
$9.19
$0.38
4%
$61.42
$63.29
($1.87)
-3%
$56.49
$48.89
$7.60
16%
$91.95
$81.88
$10.07
12%
$15.78
$14.96
$0.82
5%
$79.28
$69.15
$10.13
15%
$136.40
$136.40
$0.00
0%
$78.65
$98.16
($19.51)
-20%
$34.51
$33.87
$0.64
2%
$64.73
$59.64
$5.09
9%
$28.12
$38.12
($10.00)
-26%
$22.24
$22.24
$0.00
0%
Underground Sea 
$16.60
$17.11
($0.51)
-3%
$142.08
$121.44
$20.64
17%

 
Set Redemption: You can redeem complete sets on MTGO. You need to purchase a redemption voucher from the store for $25. During the next downtime, Wizards removes a complete set from your account, and sends you the same set in paper.   For those of you who redeem, here are the retail prices of one of everything set currently available in the store.   Journey dropped, but the prices for other sets are pretty stable. 
 

Complete Set
Price
Last Week
Change
% Change
Born of the Gods
$55.11
$52.30
$2.81
5%
Dragon's Maze
$41.01
$38.86
$2.15
6%
Gatecrash
$65.65
$61.33
$4.32
7%
Journey into Nix
$68.45
$74.05
($5.60)
-8%
M14
$80.95
$81.44
($0.49)
-1%
Return to Ravnica
$97.96
$93.50
$4.46
5%
Theros
$98.37
$95.31
$3.06
3%

The Good Stuff:

The following is a list of all the non-promo, non-foil cards on MTGO that retail for more than $25 per card.  These are the big ticket items in the world of MTGO. Black Lotus continues to lead the pack, but Wasteland and Rishadan Port are not that far behind.   Rishadan Port is a weird one, and not that heavily played. Wasteland, on the other hand, is a staple in both Legacy and Vintage. Paper prices are also really, really high. Wizards will reprint it – they have to.   From the Vault Wasteland? Who knows – but right now a Tempest block uncommon is worth more than a pair of Time Walks.  
 

Card
Rarity
Set
Price
Black Lotus
B
VMA
$ 192.45
Wasteland
U
TE
$ 142.08
Rishadan Port
R
MM
$ 136.40
Mox Sapphire
B
VMA
$    91.95
Liliana of the Veil
M
ISD
$    90.85
Misdirection
R
MM
$    84.80
Tarmogoyf
M
MMA
$    84.05
Tarmogoyf
R
FUT
$    83.90
Ancestral Recall
B
VMA
$    82.74
Polluted Delta
R
ONS
$    79.28
Show and Tell
R
UZ
$    78.65
Mox Opal
M
SOM
$    66.64
Time Walk
B
VMA
$    64.73
Mox Jet
B
VMA
$    61.42
Hurkyl's Recall
R
10E
$    58.91
Vendilion Clique
R
MOR
$    58.06
Flooded Strand
R
ONS
$    57.36
Mox Emerald
B
VMA
$    57.12
Mox Pearl
B
VMA
$    56.49
Mox Ruby
B
VMA
$    55.82
Griselbrand
M
AVR
$    53.51
Misty Rainforest
R
ZEN
$    53.48
Vendilion Clique
M
MMA
$    52.44
City of Traitors
R
EX
$    48.23
Scalding Tarn
R
ZEN
$    46.61
Force of Will
R
MED
$    45.76
Gaea's Cradle
R
UZ
$    44.03
Tangle Wire
R
NE
$    39.74
Toxic Deluge
R
C13
$    38.00
Batterskull
M
NPH
$    37.92
Noble Hierarch
R
CON
$    34.62
Sneak Attack
R
UZ
$    34.51
Lion's Eye Diamond
R
MI
$    33.73
Undiscovered Paradise
R
VI
$    33.30
Karn Liberated
M
NPH
$    33.15
Dark Confidant
M
MMA
$    31.76
Dark Confidant
R
RAV
$    31.12
Tundra
R
ME2
$    30.46
Tundra
R
ME4
$    30.15
Infernal Tutor
R
DIS
$    29.71
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
M
ROE
$    29.35
Force of Will
R
VMA
$    28.60
True-Name Nemesis
R
C13
$    28.12
Intuition
R
TE
$    25.95
Dark Depths
R
CSP
$    25.29

The big number is the retail price of a playset (4 copies) of every card available on MTGO. Assuming you bought the least expensive version available, the cost of owning a playset of every card on MTGO you can own is $ 24,425. That’s up about $600 from where we were last week.
 

Weekly Highlights:

The rummage sale is over. It was huge, with a lot of problems that are typical for multi-family sales, and a few that were not. For example, we were going to sell an old (1920’s) refrigerator that was out in the barn. The previous owner had used for storing farm chemicals and so forth, and, I discovered, explosives. The freezer unit contained a box of really old blasting caps. I called the Fire Department to ask what to do – long story short I got a visit from the local bomb squad. 
 
By late Monday I had the rummage sale stuff, and the explosives, all taken care of and managed to squeeze in a couple drafts. MTGO ran fine, but after losing a couple 8-4s in round 2, I am now out of VMA packs. I have done a lot of drafts and sealeds, but have opened no power and just one Force of Will.  I am down over $100, counting the cost of drafts and the first couple sealeds which got me my packs. Not sure if I will be doing any more. 
 
I also got in a number of M14 drafts, trying to draft away my last dozen or so packs. I tried forcing a bunch of strange archetypes, but I ended up with even more packs. Both happy and sad the format is done – I just wish the value of the packs I had left wouldn’t crash quite so hard.    
 
PRJ
 
“one million words” on MTGO
 
This series is an ongoing tribute to Erik “Hamtastic” Friborg.
 
HammyBot Still Running: HammyBot was set up to sell off Erik Friborg’s collection, with all proceeds going to his wife and son. So far, HammyBot has raised over $8,000, but there are over 24,000 cards left in the collection. Those cards are being sold at 10% below retail price. Erik died three years ago, so HammyBot does not include any standard legal sets, but it includes a ton of Masters Edition and Vintage cards, and some nice Modern bargains. 
 

31 Comments

I think you misphrase the by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 12:52
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

I think you misphrase the question. The question isn't whether MTGO is playable, or even whether it is worth the grief, but rather "would I rather do something else with my free time right now?" That's a question each person has to decide for himself, of course. During pre-v.4 life, that was often a negative for most of us - MTGO was the best way to experience the premier game (unless, maybe chess) - but now with all the pain of deckbuilding, bugs, and horrible art, I'm finding lots of other things I'd rather do instead. I'll wait for things to get better and reevaluate then.

I agree with you. People that by doc_brietz at Mon, 07/28/2014 - 11:02
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I agree with you. People that review the client and the makers of it themselves tend to take for granted the whole userbase plus all the new players. This thing is the digital face of Magic:The Gathering. And, while it looks shiny, it takes a while to warm up to it.

The only reason that people like me want the best for it is that we love the game.

This is easily the smoothest by oraymw at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 13:47
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This is easily the smoothest new client transition we've had on MTGO. We all agree that V4 isn't great, but the transitions for other clients were sooooooooooooooooo much worse.

BoB has hit the nail on the by Gabriel Strasburg at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 13:56
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BoB has hit the nail on the head there. Yeah v4 is technically playable. But it isnt fun to play on.

There is also a HUGE percentage of people who cannot run it on their current computers and are just quitting because of that.

Jon's article is both sad and by Paul Leicht at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 15:14
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5

Jon's article is both sad and enlightening. It describes how I imagine working for wizards would be for me (I am not really a team player either and I can really bring the mood down when I am unhappy.) In fact aside from all of the details I found myself identifying with Jon as a person. So good article. I feel like his plea at the end is rather silly. People are going to vent. They are going to storm the gates, demanding the heads of those whom they perceive to be the sources of their unhappiness (designers and programmers). Pitchforks and torches are the order of the day, don't expect that to change just because you shared with us.

Yes I personally get it a little better now how things got so screwed up at WOTC but it doesn't change my personal anger towards the facts. I don't want heads to roll but I find the changes made to be intolerable and can't wait for them to change to something less insulting. That said, I WILL wait, and I never do join the mob seeking the monster because I know there but for fortune go I.

As for your analogy, I mostly agree except for the primer part. Keeping in mind they called it "shiny" for the last few years in an attempt to get us more optimistic about it. They clearly think they painted it some wonderful color that people should love. And clearly instead it is a piccassoesque nightmare to look at. Reskinning it would be at a minimum one way to make things better.

As for your editorial, I think it is a good time to hunker down and wait. Selling out is premature and probably a bad idea. I said as much in my article via the cartoon I drew.

To add to number 10: Also by Rerepete at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 16:58
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To add to number 10: Also show the time remaining on the deck building/sideboarding clock. After you submit your deck you have no idea how long till autostart.

In the Ten Step Program, by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 22:16
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In the Ten Step Program, points 7 and 9 are the highest priority.
Speaking as an event host, not being able to copy & paste is a severe hindrance (other than, you know, absurd). Like, I need people's email so the sponsor can send prize certificates. People write their emails in chat. But I can't copy them, so I have to TYPE THEM BY HAND. This is unacceptable in 2014. It was probably unacceptable in 1999 already. Can't figure out how it's even possible that the chat ended up that way.

5. Watching other people's games. It's already possible. They have to set the games as watchable exactly like it happened in V3. Again, as a host, I would know, because I need to check on my player's games constantly.

CTRL-Z: It's funny, I always used CTRL-Z, which worked in V3 as well. In fact, I've a CTRL-Z shortcut on my mouse side button, which I use for many programs, and it worked on V3 just as well as in V4. I'm not even sure I ever knew ALT-U was a thing. CTRL-Z is the universal undo shortcut.

Also, what about all these supposed multiplayer issues I keep reading about? Once more, I host a Commander event every week. Last week, we used V4 for the first time. People were mostly happy about it, despite the general criticism on V4. We didn't see anything "busted". In fact, I was able to properly watch a multiplayer game for the first time in probably years, because V3 lately (or ever) had severe bugs that prevented for an external viewer to follow a game, as once a player at a multiplayer table would die, the names of the players would jump around, the clock would go crazy, the life total would become mixed up, etc.
There's also useful improvements like the possibility to recycle the battlefield space of a dead player by minimizing their areas, all the "attack with all/tap piles" functions, and so on.

Without cut and paste, I pity by Rerepete at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:32
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Without cut and paste, I pity the ORCs.

you can cut and paste. It by shinsho@gmail.com at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 10:52
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you can cut and paste. It just has to be cut from a different source. So ORCs can still cut and paste.

Couple notes by IYankemDDS at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 03:48
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Also note that The Wiz put the axe on THS Block Constructed this week Didn't see this mentioned.

Jon's interview was actually not part of Limited Resources. It was a separate podcast that Marshall is doing called The 1-for-1.

prices are going up??? by shinsho@gmail.com at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 10:49
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4

I don't get it? Heath from mtgotraders said people are selling their collections left and right so shouldn't the prices be going down? Perhaps there are too many speculators buying them up.

jury out for me by laffyFleur at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 11:20
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having been here from the beginning, i have found every transition to be worse than the last--that is, despite all expectations, each version is worse, not better, than the previous one.

the amazing thing about v4 to me is how awful the cards look. despite all the play, the prices, everything, it is surprising even to me how much the art matters to me and how inexcusable it is that they have rebuilt the program only to make the whole thing look much worse.

then when you look at each screen, at which elements they decided to give more room to and which they decided not to, it's also inexcusable.

i continue to think that there was a platform development change between v3 and v4, and that v4's reliance on .NET suggests something very constraining (provided by Microsoft) under the hood, that is not compatible with many elements that were used in earlier versions.

I agree with BoB: the game has become an actual pain to play. I've stayed off the forums this time, and so on, but I did sell my whole collection two months ago and don't regret it, and I never did that between previous versions. the little bits i saved or re-bought in order to play my favorite formats (draft and commander) don't excite me much, even when I try to play them. I have a nice VMA draft set, have never pulled power, and the thought of possibly opening a Lotus doesn't interest me because it will look like crap. it's not fun, and given how goddamn much more expensive this game is than games that look absolutely beautiful, i'm just not sure why I should do what feels like work for Wizard's sake.

No matter what Loucks says, Hearthstone and DotP show that games like this CAN be made to look and function well. Why Wizards has made such fucked-up decisions is beyond me, but from the # of players online whenever I log in, I am less than convinced that v4 is actually succeeding for them.

It's hard to say whether it's by IYankemDDS at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 13:19
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It's hard to say whether it's succeeding or not when it's only been what everyone has been using for about 2 weeks now.

Jon explained why the comparison does not make any sense.

I removed some comments on by JXClaytor at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 13:52
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I removed some comments on here.

Threats of violence no matter how jokingly made are not something acceptable. We understand that v4 has upset some people, and that's fine. It's upset me, and I've dealt with it accordingly. We do not condone threats against anyone in the Magic community.

Confused by sibot13 at Tue, 07/29/2014 - 22:09
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Violence is never acceptable, and I didn't read the comment (obviously), but then why is the article author allowed to make the extremely ignorant suggest of "taking that bapping stick and whacking whoever changed Alt-U to Ctrl-Z until the stick breaks, then getting another and starting all over"

Ctrl-Z is the universal shortcut for Undo. New players are going to expect Ctrl-Z to work if there is a reason to Undo. And if you don't like it you can change it in the settings.

Yes, censorship is always by ML_Berlin at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 13:58
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Yes, censorship is always better as free speech!

No one infringed on your free by JXClaytor at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 14:10
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No one infringed on your free speech. No one at PureMTGO.com is in the government. It was unwanted and unneeded, and it was removed.

ML_Berlin, I remember not by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 14:40
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ML_Berlin, I remember not agreeing with everything you wrote, but you had a really good car metaphor. Perhaps you could repost that portion.

The car metaphor was fine, by JXClaytor at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 14:45
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The car metaphor was fine, the unwarranted threat not so much.

I missed the actual comment by Paul Leicht at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 16:08
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I missed the actual comment that was deleted but I can guess at it. There are a couple things going on here.

1. Puremtgo.com is owned by MTGOtraders.com which is a store that operates on MTGO. They can't afford even the appearance of tolerating violent threats to anyone they are involved with even peripherally. And even if the threat is totally hyperbole. Which leads us to

2. You as a user/guest of Puremtgo.com are given the privilege of posting comments and articles because MTGOtraders and company want to encourage community discourse. Your rights (wherever you think they may stem from) are not protected from censorship on this private domain, and in fact in this case your speech is not only not protected, it could be used against you, should something happen.

3. The passion which turns into hyperbolic threat is commendable even if the words used are not. We all (well most of us) understand the frustration. We want to change things and many feel strongly. I encourage you to find another way to express your dissatisfaction with the status quo, other than making making threats. Instead perhaps tell us what you want to see happen (in a positive light.)

I wrote almost 2 hours(I'm no by ML_Berlin at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 18:27
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I wrote almost 2 hours(I'm no native speaker) and more than a page, there was 1 sentence which you could see as 'threat', where I talked about my feelings, but I think it was an appreciated gift to delete the whole post, which was not positive to V4.

Instead perhaps tell us what by ML_Berlin at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 18:45
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Instead perhaps tell us what you want to see happen (in a positive light.)

I think that was the problem, I demanded for consequences from this desaster!
"Oh, you were on the designteam for Mtgo!? Sorry, we already have enough employees!"
"Did you really design a chatmodule without copy&paste in 2014!?!"

And to all the people who are talking about the 'smooth or easy transition': I could have a perfect and smooth 'transition' from my house with garden and whirlpool to a 1-room appartment next to a highway, in which way does this effect my living situation after I moved!?!

You don't know what're talking about, really by Dawwy at Sun, 07/27/2014 - 07:55
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1. Being on a design team != being the design team lead. It means that most often you have no influence on what and how is its ever done.
2. Well compare it to that situation then - you lived in a house with a garden and a whirpool but one which contractors refused to work at because it was too old to be deemed maintanable so you had to move to a 1-room apartament next to a highway but wehre you won't die from your roof crashing.
The most important thing in software developing next to building a stable program is to build a maitanable one.
Think about magic when v3 came out and when v4 did. So many things were added to game, some of which probably had to stretch original game engine a lot. Which made it easier to rebuild the game engine from scratch.
About interface - yes we all know it changed and it sucks. But remember that these guys are working in the future. They may know of certain needs for additional interface features that will arise soon because of certain mechanics.
Also between v3 and v4 there was a programming language change, judging from wizards job offers changing so it doesn't help too.

M15 Bugs by TheKidsArentAlright at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 20:21
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4

Tangle Wire and Burning of Xiyne are also confirmed as bugged by Worth on reddit.

"Tangle Wire, Gifts Ungiven, and Burning of Xiyne have choice/selection issues created by yesterday's Magic 2015 cardset build... (We) are already investigating fixes for these issues in a build that would ship on 8/6."

The full thread can be found here: http://www.reddit.com/r/magicTCG/comments/2bmeze/after_months_of_playing...

EDIT: Apparently Ponder is also bugged. Both an opponent from this morning and a longstanding TMD member have reported their libraries shuffling after clicking the "No" button.

Cone of Flame: There needs by Rerepete at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 22:24
Rerepete's picture

Cone of Flame: There needs to be a way to know how what order the targets are (and consequently how much damage each takes) in order to respond correctly to this spell. Currently all you get is 3 cards with outlining and triangle in red and no clue which target gets what damage when priority is passed to you.

It goes in order. 1,2,3 by shinsho@gmail.com at Sun, 07/27/2014 - 21:25
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It goes in order. 1,2,3 dependent what was clicked first, second and third.

I'm aware of that, but there by Rerepete at Mon, 07/28/2014 - 00:12
Rerepete's picture

I'm aware of that, but there is no indicator to the opponent as which order they were targeted.

The collection/trading is by caliban17 at Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:28
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The collection/trading is terrible. As someone who spends a lot of time on their collection, it's really disappointing.

By far the worst bug that I don't see people talking about is the rarity bug.

I want to see if I have all the rares in VMA. So I go to my collection, select VMA and rares.

Guess what I see? Almost 3/4ths of the set. Why? Because when you select "rare" cards, it doesn't actually check to see if you have you know, a rare card. That'd be too easy. No, it checks if any printing of the card (INCLUDING PAPER PRINTINGS LIKE THE PORTAL SETS) ever had a version of that card that they called rare. Goblin General? Rare. Exile? Rare. Soltari Emissary? Rare. More than 30 uncommons? Rare.

This basically makes me completely unable to see what rares I'm missing in sets. And M15 is also bad with its rarity changes and reprints.

Drafting is better on new client. Playing is a mixed bag - some things are better, some worse. But collecting and trading are absolutely worse, and not just by a little. It takes me 4 mins to set the right things tradable that took me 30 secs in V3. I timed it.

For those of us who maintain large collections, this is the worst transition so far.

-caliban

I have just hosted the by ML_Berlin at Sun, 07/27/2014 - 19:10
ML_Berlin's picture

I have just hosted the Heirloom PRE again and it was a mess! One guy had 6 disconnects in 14 min.
we had serious issues in all rounds, even in top8, only the 4th round was issue- free(if u call just 'normal' disconnects as issue -free)

#9 has been getting on my by Procrastination at Sun, 07/27/2014 - 22:06
Procrastination's picture

#9 has been getting on my nerves and I agree they should update that ASAP. That one should be easy to fix at least.

I would like the following minor, yet annoying things, updated:

- Show me what the different levels on Leveling creatures do. When you right click, all it shows is the current level, so I can't see what they can become on the smaller cards.

- Fix the graveyard - make it one of the pop out fields then make it easy to scroll through. Also, tell me how many cards are in it.

I think fixing all of the cards should really be a priority. Especially Gifts Ungiven, that is a card that sees play in my format of choice.

You can resize cards in hand by combolinguo at Sun, 07/27/2014 - 23:28
combolinguo's picture

Just move the line above the turn status bar and below your battlefield.