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By: dangerlinto, Mike Linton
Jun 14 2011 12:52pm
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Perhaps it remains unknown to some, but most readers are probably aware that a new version of the MTGO client will be coming out sometime this year, probably closer to late summer or fall if rumours are true. This momentous event has been long awaited by the current community and possibly many offline-only Magic players because the current client is… well... why mince words… it's crap. Pure unadulterated poop, and it's highly appropriate that that the skin that adorns this frame of windows is likewise smeared with browns. How did we get such a terrible client? Well, the telling of the history of the MTGO could be an article in and of itself, so I'll try and keep it short – but I'll probably fail.

The client before the one we have now, which was labeled version 2.5, was still tied heavily to the server which is operated on. And for those that weren't around, the server that it operated was simply unable to handle the kind of traffic that MTGO was getting. By late 2007, every single release was plagued with server-crashes and the BBOD (Brown-Bar Of Death, which was the color of the bar shown when the client couldn't connect to the server). Most regular days were too. In order to alleviate the problem, WoTC needed to redesign the server architecture. In doing so, though, they were forced to have to redesign the client as well, because of the aforementioned ties to the server.

Now, for all of anyone's complaints, the MTGO server architecture has stood up pretty well to the test of time, but the client did not. There is a lot of confusion of how we arrived with the current client, but the best and most accurate telling I've got of the story is that WOTC invited in some people who were definitely not previous MTGO users and definitely not usability experts, but were actually friends and family of WoTC members, scrapped the design they had for looking too science-fictiony sometime later in the process and hastily put together a new one. (See: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75846/19190054/MTGO_3_UI_vs_Sonys_online_CCG_UI?post_id=326723822) The problem here was two-fold – firstly asking all the wrong people, and secondly taking time to do a redesign later in the project that could have been put to better use (by say, having multiplayer ready on release). However, even in the older design, things were probably going to be bad (it had the dock, still) and the blame falls squarely on WoTC for probably not having the right people in place making the right calls on how to develop a client, or in fact even having the proper staff to do so. These were the same people who brought us Gleemax.

None of those people are at WoTC anymore making those decisions.

This is one of the reasons why I'm very excited about the new version of MTGO (don't call it v4, the WoTC people apparently don't like that). Since the time of just before the v3 release, I've come to know many of the people at WoTC who work with MTGO and straight up to the man in charge, Worth Wollpert, they have always had a “it's not our fault, but it's our problem” attitude to v3. Which is fair – none of them really had any say in how v3 came about, and only Worth had to make the call between having the servers crash what seemed like daily versus releasing the awful v3. I don't blame him for picking the later – you would too if you were in charge of a multi-million dollar operation that was simply not bringing in the money it could due to failing software and hardware. Now, all these people are going to be the ones responsible for the new version of MTGO, and no longer will they be burdened with essentially inheriting v3 – they will be burdened with the success or failure of the new client. As a writer, a player, (and permit me to title myself humbly) a community leader, I find it satisfying that there should be no more excuses from the MTGO team. If the community wants something, there can be no more hiding behind all the terrible decisions that made v3 for the WoTC crew. It's now no longer a game where they maintain the status quo and we happily go on drafting waiting for the day when things will get better. The day when things had better get better are fast upon us.

So without further ado, I would like to point out some of  the ways I believe the new version can get better. I should qualify, that many of these features I don't expect the new version to have right away. WoTC has a big enough job just fixing the ugly beast of v3, but I do expect that not having v3 will mean there is no longer an excuse to not be working toward these features I think MTGO so desperately needs. Also, I expect the community to have many more ideas - feel free to add them in the comment section!

Leagues

Remember these?

I'm leading off with Leagues because they are the part of MTGO that everyone has missed the most since their removal along with the v3 client. I sincerely hope that Leagues are back with the new version, but getting leagues up and running was never solely a matter of the client – it has always been both a matter of the client and server architecture, since it requires a completely different set of UI and server controls than the ones that are built into v3.

The absence of leagues, however, goes beyond coding in my opinion. The constant barrage of complaints that WoTC gets over the disappearance of leagues can't possibly be lost on them – they are ever-present in practically any forum that discusses MTGO. Why then, have Leagues been so maligned in term of their development? Well perhaps an answer to that is to ask another question. Why do people want Leagues back so much? There are two answers: The first, of course, is that leagues provide great value to the consumer. For a small price, you can play as little or as much as you like, and there were prizes at the end for those who finished at the top of the ladder. The other is that leagues are a great introductory and retentive method for people to get involved in Magic. Unlike a draft or sealed queue, the leagues would last a month, which kept people in the game and involved online. Of course, those very reasons is why, for a moment, I'm going to put on my tin foil hat and suggest that maybe Leagues were too good at providing value to the consumer. I think for the newer players, as they were as listed above, leagues are a fine method for newer players to get into and stay involved with MTGO. But Leagues weren't limited to newer players, and I can recall stories of hardcore players playing in dozens of leagues – probably because the value was so good.

My worry is this. People will get their leagues back – but they won't be the same leagues the sharks remember them being. The current administration has cut WAY back on prizes in the time that leagues last ran (actually they started doing so in league's last days, if I remember correctly), and I fear that many people still clamor for leagues because they really want the high value they remember them having, which may never come.

Removal of the Dock/Chat functionality

I can't
believe
we've
dealt
with
having to
chat like
this this
for so

Arrg!
Some
text still
gets cut
 

The dock is like a cancer on MTGO's GUI. I recall during v3 Beta discussing with former WoTC employee Michel Feuell (WotC_Elf) that the dock should be removed, and how he discussed that is would not be removed, despite it's obvious lack of functionality and poor implementation. I have spent many hours of my life involved with GUI implantation, and when you do it enough, you get to recognize those elements that looked like they might have been a good idea, but went completely rotten in their implementation. The dock is one such element – it was bad before v3 was even in Beta and somehow because it so ingrained into the system, it's become like a cancer on a vital organ. You can't just remove it – you need the organ there to live – but the cancer eats at you every time you use it.

With the new client, we can only hope that being able to chat with one another isn't an exercise in frustration. It's hard to begin to say what needs to be changed, because it's pretty much everything. No words getting chopped off in chat. Being able to tell who's messaged me visually in already opened chat windows. Not taking away focus from my current chat window to a chat window opened b/c a user messaged me. Being able to tell when someone has typed in my clan chat. Having certain channels have administration functions (like being able to mute people in a channel I opened or boot/lock out people form that channel). Having a docked spot for chat windows that doesn't shuffle around the windows like a deck of cards… the list goes on. Essentially, there isn't a single part of chat that doesn't need a total rework.

Multiplayer

When v3 was launched, it was launched without a functioning multiplayer duel screen. This is simply a matter of WoTC having to cut bait and release that version, but I fully expect, on launch, that the new version will have a fully functional multiplayer duel screen complete with the rule set that is meant to govern multiplayer games and a design that better allows users to know who is attacking who (rather than having to read it in the game chat window. In addition, it would be good for MTGO to allow for the Archenemy type of games so that they can start selling this product, but I don't expect that on release, and to be perfectly fair, I'm not sure how much longer that product line will last so it's entirely possible MTGO will never include it.

In terms of additional functionality, Multiplayer is one of the few facets of the game I'm not very intimate with – I just recently played my first Multiplayer game on Beta the other day, and I was highly underwhelmed by the interface given. That being said, the couple of games I've played hardly make me the person to suggest any changes, but judging by the fervor with which some WoTC employees play Multiplayer games, I think we can expect that Multiplayer will be ready to go with the launch of the new client.

Buy it Now

The MTGO storefront has it's own inadequacy, but it's worth noting that one thing that v3 did for WoTC that went largely unheralded was to bring the storefront inside the client. For those of you with poorer memories or who are too new to know, this was not the case previously. Before v3, to make your purchases, you actually had to visit a website (magiconlinestore.wizards.com – see this link to see what I mean). You would also purchase accounts through this same link as well. While having the store separate from the client might have had it's advantages (For example, I can't install the client at work, but I could sure buy packs to be ready when I got home on release day!), bringing the store inside the client is far more handy for the less savvy user, and should have brought with it more exciting possibilities. Only it didn't

The most egregious absent functionality is a “buy it now” process. The current version is happy enough to tell you what product you are missing when you try and join an event, but isn't equipped with the ability to skip almost all the annoying steps of actually purchasing the product. There is nothing like making money, right WoTC? How about making it easier for us to give you ours?

Player-run Events

Most of you are aware that PREs are run all the time on Magic online. Enterprising individuals continue to offer player run events as a competitive place to play in a more casual atmosphere in all kinds of formats. Generally, the formats are ones that aren't offered as sanctioned events on, but occasionally they are, and the vast majority of the time they are free to join with a small prize. For some people, these events are the lifeblood of playing online and for others they don't even know they exist. I can tell you from experience that these events are generally limited in scope, due largely to the manual nature in which they have to take place online. This is a bad bad idea. These events (which are almost all constructed events, but could be otherwise) are a much better gateway drug to playing magic all the time for WoTC than practically any other feature they could offer (including Pauper, though it's no surprise the most successful PREs were Pauper-driven up until WoTC sanctioned the format). What needs to be done to bring these events to everyone, is to automate the tournament structure so that the manual labour is gone. What I'm talking about here is a user being able to setup a 0K (unsanctioned), $0 Fee tournament that people can enter. This would remove a lot of the problems that plague current manual process, such as matching, people setting up the wrong games, and removes the possibility of cheating by changing your deck from round to round – these all becoming increasingly important as the stakes for the PRE go up – the bigger the prize, the more temptation there would be to cheat.

Enhanced Clan Features

Some will recall that the version previous to the current pile had clans very similar to the ones you see now. There were three important distinctions. First, clan chat actually worked for the entirety of its length and (gasp!) the client actually alerted you visually when someone typed in there. Secondly, there was an ongoing count of the number of packs your clan had won, which was both neat and useless, since it was a competitive measure that actually brought no acclaim or reward other than bragging rights. The last part, which I think bears mentioning, is that there was a clan limit of 25 people which ridiculously limited the clan's usefulness, since many clans required a larger membership. In v3, we lost all those things, so while we are now able to have larger clans (I believe the limit is 50 - though I could be wrong and it's more), there isn't actually any point to being in one, save the very human feeling of belonging.

This must change.

A Crest upload might
be a nice touch too

If MTGO is going to make any headway in a social aspect, it will be through clans. You may or may not have noticed, but this game attracts a wide variety of personality types – many of which clash when they are stuffed into one of two rooms to play a casual game of magic. It's like playing magic at your kitchen table except anyone can walk in, sit at the table and berate you for being a noob/playing poorly/playing a net deck/ playing expensive cards/hitting on your mother/playing too slow/playing counterspells/playing land destruction/playing with more than 60 cards/playing with less than 200 cards etc…, then getting up in a huff after 15 seconds and leaving. In other words, it's not at all like playing at your kitchen table, unless your kitchen table is frequented by sociopathic malcontents. At this point I'd like in inject that you should be able to block people who aren't online (easily), like /block JerkFaceUser. While I know you can set up games that only your clanmates can join, it's really beside the point, since I can't post in m clan chat “Who wants a game?” and expect anyone to read it. The fact of the matter is that when I do actually meet someone whom I share an interest in actually conversing with online, I'd like to continue doing so. Preferably in a place where several of these people can get together. Clan chat has to be a functional box. It should not only contain chat, but updates, like “Joe clanmate has logged on” and “Bob Clanmate has just won a draft!”. Clanmates stats would be handy too, but I'll get into stats later.

Getting clan chat visibility is just that start – I expect that to work. There are other problems with clans that need to be solved. For example, there is only one relationship in clans – you are either the leader or not. This is not representative of a useful clan membership hierarchy. It would be very nice if clans would allow for a type of “lieutenant”, who could invite players to join and boot players (except other lieutenants and the leader). This way I'm not responsible as a leader for absolutely all recruiting. It would also be nice if those lieutenants had access to other clan functionality. What functionality is that? Well, for starters, how about the ability (just as in the PRE) to make a clan event. You know, an event only your clan can join. Or a clan ladder. Ladder systems might not be great with 10,000 people in the mix, but they would be good fun online with the people in your clan. To be honest, the list goes on for a long while, and though I don't expect the new client to have these functions out of the box, hopefully it has scope enough to include them at some point later on.

Statistics & Achievement

Maybe an achievement more MTGO players should strive for

How many events have you won online? Don't know? Really? I mean, if the answer is one, you might have an accurate count, but for those people who play in a LOT of events, why the heck is it not possible for you to have an accurate count of how many and of which type of events you have played in and won online? Now, statistics themselves are ok, but imagine you coupled them with rewards? You know, once you won your 100th draft with you unlock the “draft master” achievement. Every game nowadays has these, and it gives people something to work towards. Having something to work towards is a powerful tool for a game – and I know – you ought to see me playing PopCap Games (Bejeweled Blitz, Zuma Blitz) on Facebook- the only reason I do it is because there is an achievement section (and of course I enjoy playing). There are so many kinds of achievement possible off of statistic tracking, I would be disappointed not to find any such possibilities in the new client.

Foils

Foils – whether you love them or hate them, they are here to stay. I've had fanciful flights that bandwidth, storage and video RAM would someday make it possible that MTGO reached a truly premium card – the pictures would be animated! Sadly, the amount of work to animate 10,000 images by artists is ridiculously far-fetched, even if you were to neglect the technology required. So I guess we are stuck with some kind of foiling process online to represent premium cards.

If the foils look like this, sign me up!

Opinions on foils seem split. There are some who like the v3 foiling animation (I think it's ok), there are some who like the more static version (I think the v3 static foils are … meh) and there are some who plain don't like foils. Since I highly doubt premium cards are going away anytime soon, the question is whether or not WoTC takes another stab at improving the foiling process online, stick with the current method, or gives up on the process and goes with the static foil image.

Well if the Duels of the Planeswalkers screens are anything to go by in terms of what's possible, it seems the foiling process may go back to a more static foil view. Of course, if DoTP was anything to go by, we'd be getting Mox goodness too. Personally I like the way they look in DoTP and the v3 animation has worn thin over time, so I hope we get those.

Collection Binders & Trading

Some people probably go through MTGO without ever really considering their collection binder and how obtuse it is. If you never really do any trading, you are probably never going to notice how difficult is to trade online the way you want to.

I've use this analogy before – Imagine you are at a paper release event and you've come to do some heavy trading. And you bring a 9,000 card binder, weighing approximately 45 pounds with you. That's how MTGO want's you to trade with a big collection. Of course a sensible person would have their collection split up into many binders – cards they want to trade that people are likely to want, cards they never want to trade (they need them for decks), cards they know are crap but have obtained in the name of limited play or pack cracking. Most people would leave the 3rd binder at home, knowing full well no one needs 12 Eager Cadets, but MTGO doesn't really give you that option. Nope, you can set some cards as untradeable, but that's as far as it extends. The only other option is to buy another account, and lets just say MTGO is not friendly for the average user who hasn't figured out how to launch two version of MTGO at the same time.

The answer, obviously, is to allow for more than one binder (let us label it), and then allow for that binder to be set entirely as tradable or non tradable.. This way, when I head over to a bot that I want to sell all my commons at 250 for a ticket, I can make just the binder I have set aside for such a purpose tradable and all others untradeable so that the 2 extra Lotus Petals I have don't get accidentally get sold for a ha'penny. Then when I head over to the bot that I want to sell some of my good cards, it doesn't need to search through the 500 crap rares I have. It can head straight for the good stuff because I've only let that binder be tradable. This is a far preferable method than to have to constantly turn off each individual card, and even with the shortcuts provided to turn all cards on/off in today's client remains, this multiple binder method would be far preferable.

While we are on the subject of trading/binders, I also think it would be fine idea to give users the option of allowing people to look at their binders while they are in another trade. This would be especially useful for bots if you are just looking to see if they have a card in stock. You'd need to visually queue the user that they are in some no-trade mode, but that shouldn't be difficult.

Dénouement

I have high hopes for the new version of MTGO's client. They are not so high as to expect that everything I detailed here would be included out of the box the first day of release, but I sincerely hope that most if not all of these functions would eventually become part of a full and vibrant Magic experience online. I'm frankly tired of using the current client and ignoring it's many foibles, and I suspect WoTC is tired of ignoring the complaints and being hamstrung by it's lack of functionality. My hope is when the beta for the new client is online (this should be very soon), that then I can come back to this article and check off at least a couple of these points.

 

32 Comments

Strangely I was thinking by Paul Leicht at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 13:51
Paul Leicht's picture
5

Strangely I was thinking about this very subject recently and most of your comments hit right where I would expect and want them to.

Id love to see the way classifieds works changed too. Being able to uprate or downrate an ad or just not see ads from people that are on our blocked list would be wonderful.

In game rooms a more usable interface would be preferred, so as to make find games to watch, replay or join easier. Being able to see your buddies and clannies in games easier would be insane.

In your binders Id love to have presets like wishlists loadable from a text editable file the exact same way wishlists work now in your trade partner's trade screen, this would make organizing the cards much much easier. (Want to trade that deck to your friend? Just load the preset for it and everything else becomes untradable while the cards in it become tradable, which you can then adjust.) Or alternatively have them able to become separate binders.

Being able to have an expanded block list with some color coding for easy identification of why someone was blocked would be great. Also being able to do the same with buddies would make the buddy list much more functional. The buddies list should at least have a notes section for each buddy the way the blocked list does.

In multiplayer if you have a player leave, their screen space should be reoccupied by those players still in the game.

Personally I don't think Foils can be improved much. They will always be not my thing. But if WOTC got rid of them, that would definitely hurt some people a lot who enjoy the difference and the $ factor involved.

RE: Leave the House achievement, yeah I need this for motivation. :p

Probably the most important thing you touched on is the return of Leagues. Not that I would be able to participate in many of them but I have friends with extensive collections and interest who just don't have the time to join Sealed or Draft queues and wait for them to fire who would love being able to join a league and then fit games in between work etc.

Very nice article by JPLiberato at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 14:49
JPLiberato's picture
5

That's a very nice article, congratulations. It's the kind of article we were used to expect from Hamstatic. Now that he is not here anymore, it's good to see that there are other community leaders (I agree with your humble opinion) that can take the mantle and write community articles.

Now, talking about the part of the community you are best known for, I have a quick question. I'll post it in the Penguin TV article, since it's about classic. So, please take a look there when you get some spare time. :)

JP.

Thank you muchly by dangerlinto at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:40
dangerlinto's picture

I don't think I can get a better compliment than that.

The article seems a lot smaller than the 3800 words it is when I look at it now, but honestly I cut it short because I could go on and on about functionality this new client should have, and I wanted to cut bait an go with it. Wish Hammy were here to add what I'm sure would have been even better points.

YAY by howlett23 at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:00
howlett23's picture
5

Number 1=Leagues! It seems Oh so long ago that I was adding a pack at a time to a already built "sealed" deck....sniff, sniff...I whole-heartily agree with all points in this article as well as WW's mention of Classifieds and binders. I also would love your collection binder to add together different prints of cards(even if just in text form rather than visual)..it's irritating to see that I have 4 Apoc Ragers, then 4 X edition, then 4 MBS versions...etc etc..would make putting up extras for trade sooooo much easier. I just hope they have put thought, time and effort into this one...maybe I'll get picked for Beta and let you all know. :-)

Thanks by silverwyvern4 at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 15:24
silverwyvern4's picture
5

Thanks

I agree with all those by this isnt the n... at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:14
this isnt the name i chose's picture

I agree with all those things......

BUT I do not believe wotc is going to be able to make v4 proper. They have a track record of fail after fail. They have shown that they do not care what the players think. I believe v4 will be another disaster. The best I would hope for is a working client that still looks outdated by 5 years.

I understand your cynicism by dangerlinto at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:37
dangerlinto's picture

Like I said in the article, the current group isn't really responsible for anything you see on MTGO in terms of how it works, short of the server architecture that (if I'm correct) Gordon Culp is responsible for, and that's the part that *is* working. That being said, a company's shortfalls are inherited, so I'm giving these guys one shot to get it right. If not, I'm right on the bandwagon.

I suggest holding at least a glimmer of hope that v4 will get it right.

Besides by howlett23 at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 17:38
howlett23's picture

You aren't ever going to make everyone completely happy. If they get a 80% perfect product I'll be elated. Keep in mind my %80 might be your 60 or 90, and that is the point.

Great Job by under_the_hammer at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 16:42
under_the_hammer's picture
5

Thought provoking and interesting read. Nice job sir and thank you.

Thank you for this by moonkhan at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 18:14
moonkhan's picture

Great article. I believe you when you say you can go on and on ... After 9 years we're still playing on this horrid user interface. I'm optimistic because seeing what small Internet start-ups can do with a user interface in a short time, I can only imagine what WOTC has been doing for 3-4 years on v4, especially considering DOTP which looks good. Of course there's also a negative side to v4 - the risk for backlash. I see the launch of v4 as a no-fail option for WOTC. The numbers suggest the community has been accepting of v3's shortcomings and patient for a solution. But if v4 flops I don't know if the community will be able to look the other way a second time. My fingers are crossed.

id like to be able to shred by WNOTC at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 19:04
WNOTC's picture
5

id like to be able to shred some of my cards, and a decent auction channel

think you covered just about everything else tho

leagues by mullaccm at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 19:33
mullaccm's picture
5

Great write up.

The old league payout structure is a minor reason people miss leagues. I think most people miss leagues because it allowed competitive limited play without having to sit down for 2+ hours at one time. Being attached to one limited deck for a month was nice too.

Again, nice article. I am hoping WotC can get a good client for once. I would love to see an iPad app too, but one can only dream.

"Again, nice article. I am by Scartore at Wed, 06/15/2011 - 09:51
Scartore's picture

"Again, nice article. I am hoping WotC can get a good client for once. I would love to see an iPad app too, but one can only dream."
I'm astonished that WotC doesn't at least have an in house App for the ipad. 4th edition D&D would seem to be built for an ipad application

I think an important addition by Cownose at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 19:45
Cownose's picture

I think an important addition would be the ability to sell cards while offline...like pretty much every single other major multiplayer game out there. I understand that this may take some infrastructure to get going, but it really needs to be done.

The ability to buy/sell/trade cards is what I consider a basic functionality for an online CCG. Forcing players to go to expensive and (sometimes) unscrupulous third-party vendors to fill this basic functionality is completely asinine. Even if you just allowed player to list 10 cards in an auction house with a buy-it-now option that would be amazing. Every single MMORPG can do this, so why can't we? And I spend a helluva lot more on MTGO than I do LOTRO, so I don't think this functionality is asking too much.

Hell, to sweeten the deal WOTC could even change a small auction fee for doing so, so they can actually profit from all our buying/selling. I think that have a convenient way to sell cards that does not involve running MTGO in the background while you do other things or spending tons of $ on bots would not only be convenient, but would most likely also result in card prices going down significantly, which might just boost tournament attendance and make WotC some $ in the process.

Excellent suggestions by Clan Magic Eternal at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 20:13
Clan Magic Eternal's picture
5

Hey Danger, nice article.

I agree with all your suggestions for V4.The chat functionality is abysmal and if anything has to change it is that.
Achievements are an interesting idea as well. If they implement your 'win a 100 drafts' suggestion I fear I will never get there. hehe. Seriosly though, this is a great idea.
I have to admit I also miss being able to see my Avatar at the table flicking cards. I remember they were supposed to make the Avatars 3 D for V3, but it never came to fruition. I would be happy to see that feature come back.
I am looking forward to an improved client in V4. Hurry up and get here!

Excellent Ideas by gamemaster32 at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 21:32
gamemaster32's picture
5

Nice job Danger.

The idea of individual 'binders' for trading is the idea that really struck me. It was one of those ideas that never really dawned on me, but as soon as you said it, it made perfect sense.

All the other points are very valid. I personally never really cared for leagues, but I know lots of other people miss them.

I really appreciate that you explained you thought process and logic behind giving the team another chance to impress you with the UI. I lean towards the optimist myself and it's nice to know I am not alone :)

Write more!!

I played an online CCG by mootown2 at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 21:46
mootown2's picture

I played an online CCG roughly TEN YEARS AGO that had a better system (in my opinion) using a 'storage box' and a trade interface that no cards could be seen by the trading partner until 'I put them up' and could let you lock the piles before you traded/confirmed ... then again the card pool there was a few hundred cards not thousands ... I can also vaguely recall beta-testing version 1 of MTGO but not much about it as I didn't actually play once it was released until a few years went by ...

That's actually more or less by Paul Leicht at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 22:15
Paul Leicht's picture

That's actually more or less how the initial beta worked. You could move cards in and out during the trade and refuse cards from your ops piles (If I am not totally misremembering with my early onset senility and all...)

Some more: I hope the memory by Bazaar of Baghdad at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 22:01
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

Some more: I hope the memory leak dies. I want some live audio chat options. I would enjoy some trade automation. I want infinite loop technology. I want better solitaire options for testing. I want a more streamlined tournament room. I want keyboard shortcuts to cycle through the various screens. I want better file management system for decks and past trades (e.g., type in a url in the deck editor and the relevant deck pops up). I want a "cards I'm considering" floating space in the deck editor. I want to be able to upload winning MTGO decklists without leaving the client. I want Card Rulings in the deck editor.

I could go on and on...sigh. Pretty decent roundup of the major highlights though, Danger.

Right on by Atomsk at Wed, 06/15/2011 - 23:34
Atomsk's picture

These are great additions to the article.
Trade automation - ala MMO auction houses.
Infinite loop tech - I hadn't thought of this, but it's a fantastic idea - I won't play looped combos anymore, because they are too time consuming and not fun.
More shortcuts and customisable would be great too.

you forgot about various by Calavera at Tue, 06/14/2011 - 23:05
Calavera's picture

you forgot about various types of notification for things like round starting, trade opened, DISCONNECT etc... This should all be customizable.

Groups in the buddy list! I by GainsBanding at Wed, 06/15/2011 - 01:05
GainsBanding's picture

Groups in the buddy list! I currently only add bots to my buddy list and don't add humans because I don't want to confuse the two. But if I had different categories I could put people under like "bots" or "humans," then I would know. I think AIM has had that technology for oh about 15 years now.

Search functions in the deck editor equivalent to those on Gatherer.

Yeah, Grouping buddies is big by dangerlinto at Wed, 06/15/2011 - 07:49
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Part an parcel of the whole chat/communication system - it's something I really hope to see.

Clans by JMason at Wed, 06/15/2011 - 05:54
JMason's picture

They recently removed the clan limit, my own clan has over 125 members.

Most of all I want a client that's bug free.

I'd like to see a client that supports play with a laptop, with a touchpad, on wifi.

I'd like to see an improved set of social functionality. Better representation of who's on or offline, the ability to appear offline so I can trade or deckbuild without interruptions. User specified groups of friend/bot etc.

>I'd like to see a client by PiDave at Wed, 06/15/2011 - 09:45
PiDave's picture

>I'd like to see a client that supports play with a laptop, with a touchpad, on wifi.

I've been playing with this exact setup for quite some time. :O
What am I missing?

dangerlinto's picture

However, "shadow mode" is limited to admins (WoTC employees).

hm by howlett23 at Wed, 06/15/2011 - 13:05
howlett23's picture

I run on a laptop with touchpad and wifi almost daily...must be something specific with your hardware

Let me be more precise. Yes, by JMason at Thu, 06/16/2011 - 10:22
JMason's picture

Let me be more precise. Yes, you CAN use the current client on a laptop, but there are no specific support features for laptops.

It's well documented that lag and disconnects are more troublesome on wifi. I can't think of any genuine reason why that should be, most other vendors programs involving a client and server seems to function better.

Laptop display area and pixel density are generally worse than desktops. I'd like to see less wasted space and clearer graphics. Why does everything have to be in one window? Chat windows could be floating free of the main window. The client doesn't remember your layout either, it always resets with every new session.

Input is the worst thing for me currently. The touchpad is slow compared to a mouse, and the GUI doesn't lend itself to common operations like clicking on a lot of lands or assigning attackers and blockers. There really need to be more keyboard shortcuts for things like this, e.g. an attack with everything key, a tap any lands to pay for this spell key etc.

Having said that, the current key shortcuts can be flakey at best. On my machine pressing F10 only highlights a 'no' box, I have to press F10 a second time to get it to register. So any additional shortcuts need to be bug free.

Great as always. I have a by greyes3 at Wed, 06/15/2011 - 11:50
greyes3's picture

Great as always. I have a feeling v4 will be another big letdown.

Playing field by DrStrange at Sun, 07/03/2011 - 11:28
DrStrange's picture

Some of the old timers may remember from the Microprose days that we were able to rearrange the cards on the playing field to our liking. I would love to see that again!

excellent article I agree by vaarsuvius at Mon, 07/04/2011 - 14:28
vaarsuvius's picture

excellent article

I agree with everything and with some comments from other readers.

'wait patiently and draft....' that's exactly what I have been doing for years. (well except for the 'patiently bit' ) I won't spend a dime on this game until at least the majority of the sensible features presented here are working. May it means I have to wait till V6. Meanwhile I'll play better online games for fun and draft a bit to get my magic fix.

ItsZach's picture

MTGO for iPad/Mac.

I could give them money when I'm on the go, rather than when I'm just at home.