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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Dec 07 2007 12:48pm
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Table of contents:
Outstanding Issues
Bug Complaints
MTGO Discussion Items
Server Log In Availability
MTGO Price Movers and Shakers
Editorial Section
Public Hide List


MTGO Announcements:
Rules at a glance:
Same again. 
MTGO Rules, and you!
Single Client Restriction Snuck in One client per person is allowed.
Replay Functionality Replay Functionality Change Certain replays are back up and running.
No spamming in certain channels Buying/Selling adverts in Casual/Auction Don't spam in the auction room or casual room
Lorywn Draft Queues Lorwyn Drafts Queue change Lorwyn draft queues will only run during certain non peak times.
December Bannings Prismatic and Singleton changes Check the MTGO Discussion section here

Call for Beta Testers!:

There is a sweet deal for beta testers going on right now with the Weatherlight beta.  A free vanguard avatar on the live servers if you join and complete five Time Spiral league matches this weekend. Details here
User settings to be reset!:
This week the settings of your stops and other configuration preferences will be reset.  Please make sure you change them to whatever you are used to first thing after the downtime this week.  Announcement here.

Disabled Replays:

Same as last week, with a bit more information regarding the fact that the new default for replays when the server is restarted is 'off'. Meaning that whenever the server crashes or is rebooted it will come back online without replays until one of a handful of people turns them on.
11-30-07:Some replay functionality is back. To quote: 'Replays turned on in limited capacity. You can replay any finished games by clicking the Replay button or right clicking on the game but not double clicking. You also will not be able to replay games in an event that is currently running.'
An attempted pre-fix on the 'My Games' replay functionality caused a large amount of issues this week. More information about that in the downtime section. Needless to say, replays are still not available.
11-16-07:Replays are disabled for this week again since removing them appears to be having a positive impact on the server stability.

11-09-07:Not all ways of requesting replays were disabled.  They have been now.  This seems to have helped prevent the outright crashes, but we still have experienced a lot of lag during draft times.

11-02-07:In a further effort to reduce system stress, replays have been removed from the client's features.  Discussion about the change is below.

Play and Replay were in a boat...

Single Client Restrictions Status:

Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Active.


Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Lifted.

Our current status is: SCR Active.

The single client restriction is per user, not per machine.  Meaning that only one login per person is allowed.  Bots and people breaking this rule have had their accounts banned for 24 hours recently.  Again, leaving this here for reminder slash warning.

How to handle those breaking the rules

Outstanding Issues:

PayPal payments not going through for some users:

Some are still working, others are still not.  No update on this yet.  Still.  Still.

Some are still working, others are still not.  No update on this yet.  Still.

Some are still working, others are still not.  No update on this yet.

Some geographies have magically started to work again, although there hasn't been any official word on this.  More information here.

I have yet to hear that this has been fixed, but it seems that there aren't any complaints about being unable to purchase from PayPal, so this is possibly better.

While there hasn't been an official update yet, reports have come in that some of the previously impacted players have been able to get purchases through.

Still an issue.  I've bumped the thread below to hopefully remind them that we are still needing a status update.


I'm leaving this on the list because it's still an issue and a very big issue at that.

PayPal issues


Bug complaints:

Shielding Plax + Targeting:

No update

11-30-07:Shielding Plax is not granting untargetability correctly.  Link

Colfenor's Plans + extra draw:

No update

Colfenor's Plans is not handling extra draw actions properly. Link

Lignify + Layers:

Even more Lignify complaints this week.  If you see any other bugs, please report them at: http://wizards.custhelp.com

Still an issue as far as we know.

Lignify + Spirit Loop does not appear to follow the correct rules for timestamps and loss of abilities. More information can be found here.

Dredge + other effects:

11-30-07:This appears to be fixed, and this will be the last week for it to be tracked. 

It was reported that there was a Dredge relegated fix that went into the Live server this week.  It has not been tested as of yet.

This week it was discovered that Dregde is broken in certain instances.  Read this thread for more information: Dredge Bug

Sutured Ghoul + Tarmogoyf:

No update

Still no update on this fix.  Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully we'll see some progress made in this arena sooner rather than later.

Still no update on this fix. Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully we'll see some progress made in this arena sooner rather than later.

I had hoped to get an interview with a developer for this week but unfortunately it wasn't ready in time.  Long story short, this is still an issue as well as any other cards that received a functionality change with the Future Sight rules update.

This interaction is still broken.  And based on the latest Pro Tour results, this will be a popular deck in Extended and likely Classic.  This is not the first time that an MTG rules update has lagged far behind on MTGO and thereby invalidated a deck type.  Phyrexian Dreadnought, Flash and suspend cards like Lotus Bloom have had similar issues in the past year.

Sutured Ghoul + Tarmogoyf doesn't pump the Ghoul correctly. And before anyone starts to yell about the Ghoul not caring about the Goyf's dynamic power, look up the Future Sight rules update information.  Or better yet, you can read about this question here and here.

MTGO Discussion Items: 


December Banned and Restricted updates (Re-running from last week):

There has been a thread created for player submitted questions regarding the bannings in Prismatic and Singleton.  The main focus of the questions have been around the banning of three cards in singleton: Upheaval, Umezawa's Jitte and Flash.  These banned cards have been questioned by the Singleton community, as according to them, none of them were warping the format.  The question thread can be found here.

The banned and restricted lists were announced today, and we have some changes in a couple of our MTGO niche formats, namely Prismatic and Singleton.  The following cards will be added to the Prismatic banned list:

Brainspoil is banned
Clutch of the Undercity is banned
Diabolic Intent is banned
Dimir House Guard is banned
Dimir Infiltrator is banned
Dimir Machinations is banned
Dizzy Spell is banned
Drift of Phantasms is banned
Ethereal Usher is banned
Grozoth is banned
Muddle the Mixture is banned
Netherborn Phalanx is banned
Perplex is banned
Shred Memory is banned
Tolaria West is banned

Essentially, all the Transmute card and finally, Diabolic Intent got the ax.  

For Singleton:
Flash is banned
Umezawa's Jitte is banned
Upheaval is banned

I'll admit my ignorance of this format and admit that the banning of Jitte is a bit of a surprise.  The other two I can accept their removal without being a player of the format.

The Future of Prismatic Events:

Leaving this up for one more week so people interested in this format can hopefully see the information.

There has been some discussion on the MTGO boards regarding Prismatic Events, as well as their potential future on MTGO.  I strongly urge anyone interested in this format to check out the thread linked below for more information.  There are a number of 3x Events coming up and will be some 2x Events put into the rotation after that.  Even (and possibly especially) if you are no longer an active player it would be great to get some feedback from you all.

The Future of Prismatic Events

V3 Progress:

Version 164 was released this week with more fixes to the PE's.  It still seem that a lot of people are dropping from the events.  No one's really sure what can be done to stop this behavior.

MTGO V3 Beta version .158 was released this week, and for the first time in a long time we are allowed to log in and play.  jamuraa updated his amazing comparison site already for quick compare and contrast availability.

Jamuraa's Site

Release Notes


Server Log In Availability:
 Here we have my standard day to day average.  We ended the month with decent numbers, much better than the obviously problematic time in the middle of the month.  Also in this chart are the few days of December, and next week I'll just have the December data and won't include the November data.

This chart shows December vs. November with the weekdays being matched up to one another.  Meaning that the first data point is the first Saturday of each month, I'll keep this one updated with the current month and the previous month matching up the days as closely as possible to see if there's any patterns that show up.

Card Price Fluctuations:
Something interesting happened this week.  All Standard legal sets went up in price.  Not huge gains, but still, each set (TSP, LRW, CSP and 10E) all gained in price in the past week.  Which hasn't happened since I've started running these numbers.  I don't have any hard facts on what could have caused the increase.  It could be card prices increasing with the cost of tickets, or possibly something else that's slowly driving the price of the rares up.  


 (Note: Chart updated to reflect the actual sets, sorry!)


Editorial Section:

Ticket Economy - The Rise and Fall of Ticket Prices

The basics:
First I should introduce the concept of 'Ticket Float': which is a description of how many tickets are in the system.  The higher the 'Float' the lower the ticket prices become as more people have the tickets they need.  A recent example of increased ticket float driving the prices down on tickets can be seen here:

http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=921229 and here:

http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?p=14194162, where ticket prices were about $.75 US at the time those threads were started.

Also, we should get some of the basics for the discussion out of the way.  There's only two real things to know about where tickets come from (when a mommy ticket and a daddy ticket love each other a lot and....) and where they go.

Tickets incoming: WotC Store.  This is the only way that new tickets are brought into the market.

Tickets outgoing: WotC Events.  The major way that tickets leave the market (with some leaving the market due to abandoned/banned accounts).

How do we get ticket float?  When there are more tickets being purchased from WotC than are being used in events.  Sustained activity of more tickets coming into the system than are being used is the most logical way for ticket prices to drop.  Although another impact on secondary market prices is the risk involved with leaving the system to acquire tickets.  And there's also the fact that the biggest ticket discounts are done through bulk sales, which many players either can't or won't be able to do. 

So, who buys tickets from WotC? Those unfamiliar with, scared of, or wary of outside sellers.  As well as those who don't have a reason to buy more than two tickets at a time. 

Advanced Ticket Acquisition:
Dealers have tickets for less than $1 US.  So why wouldn't everyone purchase from dealers?  One reason is that there may be risks involved if the ticket seller isn't on the up and up.  For eBay auctions, there's a time delay in purchasing the tickets if you want the best price, and what with MTGO being an instant gratification zone, that doesn't appeal to some of the players.  But the most frequent defenses of purchasing from the store are that it is completely safe, and completely quick.  You buy what you want, no waiting, hunting or anything.  And there are surely benefits to that for many people.  This is almost always the way that new players start buying tickets.  It's simple and it works, 100% of the time.  Although, the more new players that buy tickets from the store to buy single cards on the secondary market, the more tickets there are in circulation.  So when the ticket price declines it shows that one of three things is happening.  Ticket demand is dropping, ticket supply is increasing, or a combination of the two.  One is a good thing for MTGO, one is a bad thing for MTGO and one is about a net equal.  If the ticket supply is increasing without demand dropping it's a sign that more people are buying tickets than usual, and that means that MTGO is growing.  However, if the amount of tickets coming in has remained essentially the same but the demand has dropped, that's a bad thing as it shows that MTGO is declining.  If it's a mix of more tickets and lower demand then it's kind of a wash as it means we have more players buying, but less players playing in sanctioned events.  Not a great scenario, but considering that almost every competitive events player started by playing casually, it's not a bad thing to have a burgeoning casual group.  Some percentage of them will move on to the greener pastures of competitive play.

Where are we now?So that's the history of where we were about three months ago when ticket prices dropped to about $.75 on secondary market.  But where are we now?  Are we still in a slump?

Going over completed eBay auctions and looking at a few dealer's prices we can see ticket prices have bounced back to their previous standard of between $.82 and $.88 US.  And for a while around the end of November 100 ticket lots were closing above $90.  So what's happened to the ticket price?  From what I can ascertain, more people began buying packs/starters from the store and turning those into tix, leading to the increased price of tickets and the decreased price of boosters and starters, since the prices of Lorwyn Starters and packs has dropped as well as the prices of Tenth Edition boosters.  The average price per ticket now is $.88 or higher doing any of the quick methods of turning products into tickets.  You can get a better ticket price if you're willing to wait, but three months ago, you didn't have to wait to get tickets at $.75 easily.

What we are seeing now is the market correcting itself from letting the ticket prices fall so far.  It became worth it for many more players to turn product into tickets instead of buying tickets from WotC.  Now the tickets are lowering in supply while still being in demand leading the price to rebound to their previous levels.  The upshot?  Ticket prices have been climbing for the past few weeks.  Enough so that it was suggested that I do some digging into the cause:effect relationship that ticket prices have on pack prices.

Public Hide List

The same offer as last week: if you want your name off the list email me at erikfriborg at gmail dot com to request it. In the case of false adverts in the selling board I'll verify and remove as applicable.  In the case of evading the buy/sell filter in the marketplace I will remove the offending user and document the removal.  Getting added back into the list afterwards will result in a permanent hide status that will not be removed.

As of this week, this section will be a stand alone section of the weekly article. 

;11-09-07 - false advert

;11-16-07 - false advert

;11-16-07 - Auction adverts
WacKy ZacKy=hide
Gulstaff Sorceror of Light=hide
Sgt. DAMOCLES=hide

;11-23-07 - Auction adverts

;11-30-07 - removed
;1for1 Uncs A=hide

;12-07-07 - false advert

Most of this weeks discussion revolved around a few hot topics: bannings, 'Casual' Debates, and Replays.  There's a lot of pent up frustration with each of those topics with many vehemently defending their sides in the back and forth discussions on the boards.  And as always, if you have something to add to them, or just want to say hello, swing by the MTGO Message boards and get in on the fun.  (http://forums.gleemax.com/forumdisplay.php?f=218)
I'd also like to know what you, the readers, would like to see more of in this article.  If you could be so kind as to vote in our forums for what you want to see I'd greatly appreciate it!  Forum Voting link: vote!



by hamtastic at Sat, 12/08/2007 - 11:07
hamtastic's picture

My apologies Judah, I didn't mean to imply that none of the cards were unquestioned by anyone.  But the fact is that each card is questioned by at least a couple of people and according to the results break down of recent events, none of the cards were warping the format.  One wasn't even in a Top 8 deck yet.  I've not seen any post or statement anywhere where someone was in agreement with all three singleton bans.  There may be someone out there, but I've not seen them say it yet.

To me, that's a sign that something may have gotten miscommunicated along the way.

Thank you for the feedback!     

Re: Std prices by walkerdog at Sat, 12/08/2007 - 05:47
walkerdog's picture

I think that the STD price rises may be related to pre-Worlds practicing and excitement about Worlds by non-pros.  The big tourneys always increase some card prices, and Worlds is the biggest.  Just my thought though.

by Mandiiene (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 12/08/2007 - 06:18
Mandiiene (Unregistered)'s picture

I know i was loving the increase in the Canadian dollar.  For the first time ever i was actually paying less then US prices for MTGO!  It was great and i bought more then normal! 

2 People aren't the entire singleton community by Judah (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 12/08/2007 - 04:11
Judah (Unregistered)'s picture

"These banned cards have been questioned by the Singleton community, as according to them, none of them were warping the format."


The entire online Singleton Community does not consist of IceAge4Life and ArterialDeath.  Every other poster in the threads liked 1-3 of the bannings, and could see the others.  It varied by poster, which tells me the bannings were warranted.  Oddly, those in the Singleton Community were more surprised by the Flash banning than the two others.

Ticket Prices by dangerlinto at Fri, 12/07/2007 - 13:43
dangerlinto's picture

Quite honestly,here is what I think happened in November.

Your Canadian friends up north started buying things for you.  Don't forget that the price of a ticket is also inescapably tied to the price of the US Dollar.  Hence if the dollar goes down, the price of ticket should (paradoxically) go up, since there are so many people in the MTGO marketplace who are not American.  When the Canadian Dollar hit $1.10 recently, it meant that Canadians were buying packs about about $3.70 US.  My guess is enough people took avantage of the tax-free, VAT-free cheap Canadian purchasing power for a lot of packs, especially Lorywn boosters/starters, but NOT tix.  Hence the increase in the price of tix, as the packs sucked up a lot f the availbilty.

It is hilarious to think about the tix economy...if enough people learned not to buy their tix from the store, they'd eventually drive the price up to $1/tix anyway.   

Rare price legend by jamuraa at Fri, 12/07/2007 - 13:46
jamuraa's picture

Another excellent article!  Look forward to these each week.  

The rare price legend seems to be off, I'm certain that the purple line is the Lor prices, and the yellow one is the TSP prices - at least that is if last week's article is to be believed.

Oops! by hamtastic at Fri, 12/07/2007 - 13:57
hamtastic's picture

You're right!  I've updated the article and made a note that I changed the graph.  Thanks jamuraa!


Non-US purchasers by hamtastic at Fri, 12/07/2007 - 14:01
hamtastic's picture

I'll admit that I'm definitely curious about the geographical make up of the MTGO player base.  The weakening dollar could also be a very large impact on tickets if there are enough non-US players taking advantage of that.  Both the Canadian Dollar and the Euro are very strong against us right now.

I guess the biggest test will be if the ticket price starts to stabilize above .90 for bulk purchases.  That would be a big indicator of the cost of 1.00 US being worth less than 1.00 elsewhere.

The ticket economy is such an interesting beast.... 

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dungdung's picture

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