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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Jun 06 2008 1:27am
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Table of Contents
Editorial Section
MTGO Discussion Items
Card Prices

V3's First Month can be found here.  I'm going to cover the progress week to week, then break them into months so as to keep this section somewhat manageable.
V3 Month of May  Again, I will be shortening up the V3 section now that we're hitting our stride.


The scent of V3 in June reminds me of my childhood.  I spent countless hours sitting on the banks of a river.... blowing things up.

So far the first patch of June has not gone over well.  It didn't fix everything that it was supposed to fix (the art for the cards), and the card merge broke currently working cards (like Cabal Coffers, and the "Wish" style cards, and some of the "Enhanced" spells from the Ravnica block).  Also with this patch we get the information that there may be no progress in the backlog of bugs and fixes next week because of the events and not wanting to risk breaking things.  I can understand that trepidation, however, each week of pushing back fixes pushes back the time when we can start to get NEW things into the system, as well as return some of our old missing functionality as well.  On the plus side though, we did get Commander (aka Elder Dragon Highlander) back as a multiplayer format.  That alone almost balances out the issues that they caused with this latest patch.  Almost.




 Poll - Should Intentional Draws be added back to Premier Events?

The MTGO boards discussion can be found here, and the poll is here.  Rock on!


As I mentioned in my article blurb, there are some returning topics and sections this week.  Not because I'm lazy.. (well, not JUST because I'm lazy) but because they are once again applicable to our world.  First up is the world of Banning and Restrictions.  You may recall about three months ago I posted this:


No Bannings in Prisma... LOOK, A UNICORN!!!!
... Sorry, I guess it was just a regular horse. -Chester

I feel like Prismatic has been overlooked after the latest round of March 1st bannings.  Namely two cards: Primal Command and Lilana Vess.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm happy that they're allowed in the format, as I personally think that Prismatic could use more tutors to let the non-aggro deck types have a chance.  In fact I went so far as to request a lot of un-bannings before.  No, my concern isn't predicated upon a lack of actions.  My concerns are actually based upon a lack of actions followed by no information about those actions.  These latest non-bannings make all sorts of questions go off in my head, like a bag full of microwave popcorn.  *pop* Were these cards missed? *pop* If so, will they get them next time? *pop*  If not, will they keep leaving cards in the format?  *pop* If so, will they start supporting the format via events so they can see the impacts? *pop* If not, how will they tell if it's broken? *pop* If they can tell, what will they do? *pop*  Or, if it wasn't just a mistake, are there going to be unbannings of older, weaker tutors? *pop*  If so, which ones? *pop*  If not, why not?  *pop* *pop* *pop* *ding*

I've been thinking about the impacts of these two cards and how important they are to the format.  Right now, I haven't seen them in many deck lists (although I'll admit that the sporadic replay status has been hampering my information collection skillz).  I don't think that Vess alone will make a Black-ish control deck strong enough to fight back against aggro decks. Nor will she miraculously open the door to combo decks, yet.  Since the aggro player will be swinging for the win by turn five/six I don't see Vess turning the tide.  I do however see the power of Primal Command turning around more than a game or two soon.  Gaining an extra turn of life, and choosing to set back your opponents creatures, or searching up a removal creature to help turn things back around seems like it will be worth running.  Will it alone be able to turn the tide in the format?  I can't see it happening with just this card, but it sure is a powerful weapon in the fight for a control deck.  But their uses are only secondary to my concerns about Prismatic right now.

My largest concern though, is about communication about the format's future.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who is wondering what the plans are for Prismatic, and if this latest round of bannings is heralding a new plan for the format.  I know that there's been a much bigger backlash regarding the change to the Extended rotation, and that Wizards' focus is justified in handling that situation.  However, there has been no follow up as of yet regarding the very interesting omissions to the ban list of Prismatic.  Not even a blurb in last week's Latest Developments article as to why nothing was done in Prismatic.  

UPDATE: 06-08-08
So here we are again!  June 1st came and went, and while Vintage got a root canal NOTHING HAPPENED TO PRISMATIC!!!  AGAIN!!!!  We're past the point of ignorance because I personally contacted Devin Low after the last omission of Prismatic bannings.  And guess what?  They've missed them again.  And to make it worse, they've not thought ahead at all about this topic.  Beseech the Queen from Shadowmoor is just days away from MTGO, and yet, not a peep.  Do they just not care about Prismatic?  If so, please, stop trying to pretend to support it with a banned/restricted list.  It's just insulting now.  Or, if you ARE going to support it work on your consistency and start moving the format in the direction you want it to go.  This is extremely ridiculous now and I think we've been patient enough to warrant an explanation about the long term health of the format.


Breaking news: "Casual" PE's for Shadowmoor!
Here's the skinny on a new PE structure for Shadowmoor:
  • K-Value will be 0k (Writers note: this means you don't lose or gain ratings)
  • Deck build time will be 30 minutes (Writers note: +10 minutes over a regular PE.)
  • Players will each receive 45 minutes on their play clocks (Writers note: +15 minutes per match over a regular PE).
  • A flatter prize structure
So what's the flatter prize structure?  I'm glad you asked! 
"As there is no top 8, prizes are based on total match points at the end of the tournament. Each match win awards 3 points and each loss awards 0 points."













So, if my math is correct the top 78.12% of the field will get prizes (everyone but the five 1-4 players and the one 0-5 player).  Also, the tickets to packs conversion is 2.031, meaning that for every 2.031 tickets used a pack comes out.  And this even supports a 'losing' record of two wins and three losses (to end up at six points).  Yes, the payout for winning the whole thing isn't as amazing as others, however, the ability for lower win players to come out with some prizes is a good compromise, and hopefully it will appeal to those players who are a bit more timid about joining the PE's.
Some other things to note, the deck building is longer so those that don't know the cards shouldn't feel as pressured to hurry and submit a deck.  Also, the round times are longer than normal PE's.  This should also help with the new/unfamiliar players as well.  A little more time to think about the game state is a good thing for what this PE is trying to attempt, which is a bridge between PE's and Leagues since the leagues are not done right now.
I'd like to thank Scott Larabee for making this happen!  Look for me to be playing a couple of these while I get my feet wet with Shadowmoor!


V3 UI Design Contests:
I've written about client modifications before, and it seems like more people are getting into it now.  There was a player 'bragging rights' competition, and now there's a fully funded UI skin competition with about $1,000 going to the winner.  You can get more details here.  I've already dedicated a full section to this before, so I won't repeat it all here.  But I will say this: there is a lot of room for modifications to the client through just the images available.  I've made the client much more palatable to myself and others with only a few hours of work, and I'm a scrubbly amateur when it comes to this UI stuff.  I look forward to what some people with real talent for it can accomplish.

League Discussion -
Leagues, and the lack thereof.  Also, format fixes as well as discussion of shortcomings of the previous league system.  Unfortunately, there's been no official WotC communication about what is in store for V3 leagues as of yet.

No Drawing in PE's? -
Wow.  This topic exploded from last week.  One of the best discussions I've seen lately actually.  It's heated in many places but a really good back and forth without name calling. 

Taking a break + Mailing Lists -
When yet another poster mentioned that they were leaving until <insert reason to play here> I decided to step up and make something happen.  Rather than waiting for them to come back I've created mailing lists to which interested people can subscribe.  Instead of letting them go away and hope they check back peridiocally I wanted to be proactive about letting them know when their favorite format is back.  Leagues List, Multiplayer List

Shadowmoor release event plans -
Shadowmoor's MTGO release is just around the corner and as always, there's a lot of goodies in there for the good MTGO girls and boys. I'm really excited about a lot of the Commons and some of the stranger Rares and Uncommons.  Discuss your plans in the link above!

Redemption Concerns -
Another general concern thread created for discussion of some of the top issues in V3.

General Magic III Concerns -
Another general concern thread created for discussion of some of the top issues in V3.

Communication from WotC -
A great thread maintained by Algona.  This thread has a compilation of the statements that various WotC staff have made for the past few weeks.  A must read for anyone interested in what WotC has been up to arouind the boards.

Why a profanity filter?
Someone recently got in trouble for typing profanity in the Casual/Casual room.  Which started a rather long debate about what the Profanity filter really means, what it applies to and how it works with the Code of Conduct.  Essentially, it boils down the to Code of Conduct hasn't changed.  Typing vulgarity anywhere is still prohibited.  Which makes the ability to toggle the option for seeing it seem strange to have.  However, it exists, but it doesn't change the fact that you can still be reported for swearing.  -Bumping since it seems to have come up again, 05-16-08-

Infobot returns -
If you like to trade, or just want to know how much a certain card would cost you, then this is the service for you.  Infobot was a frequently used bot in V2 for getting quick price checks, and seeing what different dealers were charging for the card.  I look forward to seeing it in action on V3, but for now, it's a web service.

 Go back to V2?
A topic that's been brought up a couple of times has been going back to Version 2 of MTGO (Along with the crashes, the lag..)

Redemption Concerns
What are your concerns about the redemption setup for MTGO.  What would you like to see done with it?

Top 5 Magic Online Concerns
Use this thread to vote for your top five concerns.

Free stuff?
What would YOU like to see WotC do for a 'phree' stuff event/gesture?

Spending habits, post V3?
Some interesting discussion about the spending habits of posters since V3 launched.

Which card describes V3?
A fun contest about what card summarizes V3.  Give it a whirl!

Card economy in V3
Worth posted a statement in this thread that I feel should be read from top to bottom.  Good information for those worried about MTGO right now.

New Trade bugs
This hurts a lot.  Not just the dealers and bot owners, but the casual trading as well.  And even more so, trading at the release event will be majorly impacted.  They're running out of time to get this functionality squared away.


The Thrifty Djinn!

DonTheMage has started a blog that was inspired by his desire to play MTGO on a "World of Warcaft" budget (which for those not used to the game is $30.00 up front and $15.00 dollars a month.  His blog is linked from the thread I've linked and looks to be a fantastic endeavor.


Bugs: Client

04-20-08 Can't /join rooms Closed
05-02-08 Trades don't update Collections properly Mostly Closed

Bugs: Card Related

A great thread has been started here that has a lot of bugs in V3 listed and validated.  If you've seen any card bugs in V3, I'd love to see them posted (after they're submitted via the http://wizards.custhelp.com web form, of course!)


Drafts/hour per Day

So here we have a full week of regular numbers to compare to last week's Nix Tix Holiday weekend (which is attached below for reference).  The verdict?  Steady drafting with a weekend spike which is to be expected.  We should have one more week of semi-regular numbers and then a couple of weeks of release events.  I can't wait to see what happens!


 Nix Tix:

You may have noticed that I don't have the user usage stats, and kudos to you, observant readers!  It turns out I was duplicating the efforts of the infamous infobot (which is now back online again, woo!).  So, for anyone who's interested in the up to date user stats, please check out the infobot site here, and feel free to take a look at the user usage chart here

So what happened this week?

Stuff got broken, we got a new format, Shadowmoor is almost here.  People kept playing, people kept complaining.  Hopefully by next week I'll have a juicy new interview and some Shadowmoor card prices!  Have a great weekend!



resolution by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 06/08/2008 - 14:13
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

This article was too large for my screen resolution.  Any chance of making all the pure MTGO articles fit in 1024x768?  I'd like to read Ham's articles, but doing so right now is inconvienent.

by hamtastic at Fri, 06/06/2008 - 09:08
hamtastic's picture

I'll make a write up for how to change skins (I have a pretty easy way of flipping between skins right now actually).

Changing Skins by khirareq at Fri, 06/06/2008 - 09:20
khirareq's picture

SypherSun posted a how-to on Skins over at the MTGO III discussion on the www.pdcmagic.com forums, along with links to some of his favorite skins.  Sadly I have visted PDCMagic too often, and now my workplace has blocked it, so I can't provide a link.

Great article Hammy!  Casual events do sound exciting...

Skins by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 06/06/2008 - 08:21
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

Can someone please provide an easy-to-follow link on how to change skins?  How about a link to how to create them from a digital photo?