hamtastic's picture
By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Sep 16 2008 1:23pm
Login to post comments

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.

Week of September 5th:
We finally get
introduced to our UI specialist, Adriana.  She has a lot of good introductory statements.  The real tests are coming though, and that's mostly to do with what end results we get from her input into the UI issues.  We also get another gem from Mike regarding tournament stuff.  And anotherAnd Worth with a follow-up.  Are we sensing a trend yet?  If not, I'll give you hint... it rhymes with "shournament shmagic". 


Week of August 1st:
Some tidbits on MED2 this week.  According to
this post it looks like we'll be getting Dry Spell and



as very likely inclusions into MED2.  The Beta test for Eventide is underway and while I'm not at liberty to discuss exactly what goes on in Beta (confidentiality stuff), I can say that there are some pretty interesting things coming out soon.  We've been beta testing new/improved aspects of the client as well as the cards.  Look for more information as we get closer to the time when they will be released.  I think some people will be happy with the work done.  But to temper expectations, neither of them are Leagues/Redemption (at least not that we're testing, I have no clue what WotC's doing internally for those).



Week of August 8th:
We got a rather large amount of updates, fixes and changes this week.  Enough so that I almost consider it SP 1.1.  I'll detail the changes as well as some large problems introduced in this latest build in the Editorial section this week.  Besides the recent round of changes, things are holding steady with V3 so far.


Week of August 15th:
Things start heating up this week as we start to see more rapid changes to the MTGO Client and the MTGO tournament stuff.  This has long been a sore spot for MTGO players: the slow and sometimes complete lack, of changes to things that need to be changed.  A
couple hefty rounds of bug fixes are



as well. 


Week of August 22nd:
There is a new refund request policy!  This is very important and will be mentioned again later.  Our new Community Outreach Manager (WotC_Mike) introduces himeself.  Most of the important issues this week for V3 are revolving around the tournament scene, and to that end, the entire 'Hey Mike' thread is worth a read.  It can be found





Week of August 29th:
A get some more tournament updates and discussion about what we should be expecting to see going forward.  One of the best posts is



.  It's not a great thread for the outcome (which many would say is subpar), but it's a great thread for the candid and open resposne we've seen from our new outreach manager.


Week of July 4th:
So, the servers seem to be stable again... and the last statement we got from WotC mentions something about
decks being stored and needing to be cleaned up.  Once they finished that up events started firing fine again.  Other than that, nothing much has happened this week.  Although the issue that the developers fought with last week


came at the price of getting work on SP1.i

, and it has been delayed at least a week and will be deployed on July 9th at the earliest.  Other than that, not much V3 news to report, which compared to last week, could be considered a good thing.


Week of July 11th:
No SP1.i this week.  Again.  As a consolation prize we do get a 5 hour downtime and a list of things that should be fixed when we do get SP1.  It seems that a few people figured that the 5 hour downtime was meant to deploy SP1 as a few seperate rants have started up since then.  A great summarization of the announced SP1.i fixes was done by Maxeel here: http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=16305040&postcount=40


Week of July 18th:
SP1!!!  It didn't change the world but it definitely didn't cause it to implode either.  I, among other, had some pretty low expectations in regards to the outcome of SP1.  I'm happy to say that I'm not disappointed with Service Pack 1.  To the contrary, it did everything they said it would, and didn't create any huge new bugs.  There is a very irritating bug in regards to trading that this patch brought us (namely that you have to click 'Reset' to see anything).  We did however get some new functionality that'll I'll be going over in the editorial section below.


Week of July 25th:
A boring week in MTGO land... no crashes, no new events, no news on MED2.  Beta has started though, and that's good for some entertainment.




Thread of the week: 3-2-1 Swiss Constructed: gonna play it? -
There is quite a bit to be said about this thread, so let's get right down to it, shall we?  For those who are of what a 3-2-1 Swiss Tournament is, I'll explain.  A normal 8 man Constructed Queue is a single elimination event so as soon as you lose a match you're out.  If that match just happens to be the first one of the event, you've spent six tickets for a few minutes of losing.  However, if you're one of the 50% that happened to win, you've now broken even, so to speak.  Your winnings should be worth at least enough to join another queue.  If you win the second round, you're 'in the money'.  If you win the last round, you come out a decent ways ahead (by about 9 tickets or so).  That's the way things were last week.  This week, however, they've brought those down for a while and brought up what are known as "Swiss Queues".  The main difference is you play for the entire event, even if you lose in the first round, you are guaranteed to play for two more.  This specific Swiss queue, which is called 3-2-1 Swiss is even more interesting in that each win nets you one pack.  So if you lose the first two matches and win the third you still win a pack of the recent set which you can sell to reduce the cost of the next queue.  So the eventual breakdown is this (thanks to dangerlinto for the graphics):

2-0 Table Results

1-1 Table Results

0-2 Table Results

The bad:

1) Lack of communication PRIOR to the change.
This is a double edged problem.  On the one side, it's fantastic that were are finally able to get things changed in a very quick timeframe.  On the other side, quickly changing things on players right now is not going to be very well received.  The reason is that lately the tournament players have been getting changes to the fundamental aspects of their experiences with no warning and no explanation until they complain loudly enough.  This change wasn't intended to be like those, it was well intentioned and done because of requests.  That doesn't change the perception of the current crop of tournament players that they keep getting hosed.

2) Lack of options during the change.
When they brought up the Swiss queues, they turned off the Single elimination queues.  This came as quite a shock to the established players of the queues.  This change was announced on the WotC message boards prior to it being implemented, however, not all players check that every day, or even every week.  This led to a very shocking experience to the players who have been keeping the queues running for so long.

3) Lack of hype for the change.
This comes down to a lack of official sources of MTGO information.  We used to have a weekly column on magicthegathering.com's homepage that they could use to announce upcoming changes and start to hype them for a new audience.  That's no longer the case and we have no 'voice' on the official homepage to get the attention of potential users of this new queue. 

4) Lower prizes for the top players.
This is another big issue with the format.  The best players are used to coming out pretty far ahead when they win.  Now, they're barely ahead.  If you won an 8 man before you could completely lose your next one and still have enough tickets from the first one to join another.  Now, it's much harder to play off of your winnings.

The good:

1) Guaranteed three rounds of play.
Enough of the bad, let's revisit some of the good things that 3-2-1 Swiss brings to the players.  The first is the guarantee of three rounds of play, even if you get a bad matchup in round one.  Classic is my MTGO love for a lot of reasons.  One of the resons for the love is that the games are usually pretty fast.  However, the problem arises when you've paid six tickets and are out of the event in ten minutes.  Also, Classic has a wide open metagame right now with dozens of decks that have made top 8's in the past.  The ability to practice and sideboard for all of them is extremely hard so there's often a lot of luck in who you get paired against.  If your bad matchup is round 1, swiss takes a lot of the sting out of the losses.

2) Great for new or timid players
One of the biggest hurdles with the previous events was the fear of wasting money.  There's still that potential since an 0-3 performance puts you down six tickets.  However the difference is that for those six tickets, you got to see three real decks of the format.  As such, you get a lot more experience for those tickets than you normally would.  3-2-1 Swiss gives even the bad decks/bad players a lot of time playing against the good decks of the format.

3) Requested format.
This format has been kicked around for years, with WotC usually ignoring it completely.  There are benefits and drawbacks to it, for sure, however, this point is not about the format itself and more to do with an example of WotC hearing a request and implementing it.

4) Weaker players get packs.
Again, a pretty big draw for the many, many players that currently were avoiding the single elim queues.  Instead of losing six tickets in ten minutes they can fight to regain them, or at least make the next queue cheaper to try with a newly modified deck.



3-2-1 Swiss
As I discussed above, the queues have been temporarily changed from Single elimination to 3-2-1 Swiss queues.  The way in which these changes were handled, in conjunction with the consistent removal of 'spike-centered' events has clouded the release of this requested format.

EEE Payout Change
From this point forward, small sets will be allowed to stay after the release events, however, to make the release events more special the small sets will give out mixed packs from the previous sets in its prizes.

Revive Casual Trade!
I have no idea about the viability of this endeavor, but I wish it the best of luck!  Anyone interested in the concept of casual (card for card) trading should check out this thread.

MTGO Constructed Top 8 Decklists! -
This is a really cool new feaure that V3 has allowed us to have.  Decklists from events directly ported out from MTGO onto the magicthegathering.com homepage.  This is one of those things that helps drive interest about events and formats, which is a great thing for MTGO right now.

Lack of Lots on eBay -
Luckily before this all started happening I got some data out for a new section in my price section.  However, that still leaves us with the little problem of OUR LOTS BEING REMOVED FROM EBAY AGAIN.  This happened before, when WoW gold farms were being cracked down on.  That decision magically (heh) reversed and we were allowed to sell lots again.  The first time this happened was back in February of 2007 (over a year and a half ago now... wow).  Anyway, this isn't the first time this has happened.  Unfortunately, we never got any confirmation from WotC about what, if anything, they did to
fix it last time

September Banned and Restricted List -
WOW!  Who saw Sensei's Diving Top on the chopping block for extended?  I sure didn't.  The big surprise for Classic though is the lack of Necropotence and Demonic Consultation on the restricted list.

Happy 5th Birthday, OnlyHellWillFillYourVoid! -
Love 'em or hate 'em they're a known entity and an integral part of the Magic Online experience.  I'd like give my congratulations to NeoNetGen and his clan of players for their dedication and their drive to make Magic a place they want it to become.

Monthly check in: September -
Every month there will be a thread for status updates and discussions regarding them.  This is the September thread.


Unofficial 8/6 Build Discussion AND 8/6 Build Notes-
I've linked this first one about half a dozen times in this article already, and the second one about as much.  Both are very good resources for what happened this week.  Also of note: far, far, far more things were added and fixed than were broken this week.  Yes, we had some things broken due to new changes.  However, many more good things came out of this week's code push than were broken.  A far cry better than two months ago when they couldn't seem to even break even with code changes.  A good step.  A very good step, in my opinion.  We're not fantastic, and we're not in a fairy land of magical four-winged flutterflies or anything.  But we are seeing progress in large batches.

Draft Recorder -
I'm listing this seperate thread since this is a really awesome addition to the basic usage of MTGO.  To have a draft recorder built into the client itself is a great thing.

Worlds Qualifier -
A nebulous statement of more statements to come regarding MTGO and World's interaction.  Whatever it is, it should be interesting.

Sportsmanship concerns -
Do you feel that players concede too quickly on MTGO?  Or that they're not acting very sportsman-like?  Add your thoughts to the thread linked above.  

Secondary Market -
About a month ago I waxed philosophic about the state of MTGO's economy right now.  The above thread has the Cliff's Notes version.

Who Controls MTGO's Secondary Market
Some really insightful discussions regarding the nature of the 'free' market of MTGO.  Since everything originates from WotC, and WotC controls formats, scheduling and potential demand, how free is our free market?

Downtime Announcements going to UTC -
This isn't a huge deal, but it shows that WotC is listening to the posters of the boards when they can.  This has been suggested quite a few times before and looks like it's finally going to be done now that there is an official person who handles announcements for the down time.

MTGO Server Status Link Now Works! -
Many a joke was made about the MTGO server status window and its extremely optimistic views on the term 'up'.  The widget has been remade and actually, really, seems to work this time.  Bookmark
this site for future use!

Set speed too fast? -
A good discussion about the difficulty of keeping up with sets on MTGO as well as MTG in general.


A new League site is in the works


The lack of actual leagues is starting to wear a bit thin, and I've started work on a site that can handle some casual play coordination.  It's still really rough yet and I'm only taking some sign-ups for it by hand right now.  But if you're interested in helping test out the functionality please join in my Preconstructed Deck League in the link above.



Is Casual Classic Dead?


Similar to the Casual Prismatic thread, this question asks about the health and popularity of the Classic Casual format on MTGO.

MED2 Compiled Information -
What do we know about MED2?  Click the link above and find out!



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!)


Some interesting things, some obvious things in this week's movers and shakers chart.

Seismic Assault continues to climb on the backs of some Swans.

Classic cards (Moat, Pox) gain a bit, thanks to Classic interest picking up a bit.

Underworld dreams makes a pretty healthy jump, which is interesting. 

The pain lands lose some value now that we have the Shadowmoor filer lands and some of the original Duals in MED2.

Card name: Amount Changed Percentage Changed Final Price
Cryptic Command 0.98 15.38% 7.35
Seismic Assault 0.92 73.02% 2.18
Darksteel Forge 0.69 12.87% 6.05
Shivan Reef 0.52 19.48% 3.19
Moat 0.49 25.26% 2.43
Pox 0.49 25.26% 2.43
Seismic Assault 0.48 28.24% 2.18
Underworld Dreams 0.4 46.51% 1.26
Underworld Dreams 0.34 30.36% 1.46
Groundbreaker 0.29 29.90% 1.26
Evacuation 0.28 58.33% 0.76
Glorious Anthem 0.26 30.23% 1.12
Early Harvest 0.26 30.23% 1.12
Stillmoon Cavalier 0.25 7.29% 3.68
Talara's Battalion 0.25 11.47% 2.43
Card name: Amount Changed Percentage Changed Final Price
Shivan Reef -1.4 -27.34% 3.72
Llanowar Wastes -1.4 -25.04% 4.19
Tarmogoyf -1.24 -8.95% 12.62
Siege-Gang Commander -1.17 -26.41% 3.26
Underground River -0.98 -20.00% 3.92
Magus of the Moon -0.98 -10.53% 8.33
Llanowar Wastes -0.98 -22.22% 3.43
Underground River -0.98 -22.22% 3.43
Cascade Bluffs -0.76 -23.82% 2.43
Karplusan Forest -0.76 -23.82% 2.43
Figure of Destiny -0.74 -3.79% 18.81
Fetid Heath -0.74 -20.11% 2.94
Flooded Grove -0.74 -15.88% 3.92
Hallowed Burial -0.73 -27.34% 1.94
Bloom Tender -0.72 -33.03%


Which brings us to the Ham Jones average...


The only bright spot is that Classic gained this week.  Other than that, it's a continual slump for Extended and Standard.  Once Shards comes out and the formats can finally setlle back into their routine, I expect to see more stable numbers.


That's it for this week!  I hope you all had a great triple 8 day.  Hopefully the layout looks better now that it descends chronologically in each section.  Thanks again for all the feedback!


Good top see this back by Empty_One (not verified) at Wed, 09/17/2008 - 21:00
Empty_One's picture

Glad to see everything is up and running smoothly, welcome back.

Thanks by Rob Rogers at Wed, 09/17/2008 - 18:24
Rob Rogers's picture

Thanks for the update. It's been a little frustrating not to be getting regular updates on Magic Online--you'd think that they'd at least make these announcements readily availble somehow through the magicthegathering.com web site, but they're not doing that yet for some reason.

Have you seen any new updates on the status of From the Vault: Dragons and/or ME2? I haven't played in about a week (and the server's down now) so if there's some announcement up at login, I've missed it.  

finally by mtgotraders at Wed, 09/17/2008 - 10:27
mtgotraders's picture

It's great to have the SOTP back!  I noticed a few weird spacing errors but other than that is looks good.