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By: tempesteye, Victor Bloodgood
Apr 10 2008 12:05am
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With the upcoming changeover from the current Magic Online client to a new client known as version 3 (v3 for short), I wanted to create a mini guide for those players that might feel uncomfortable about the transition.

First, let's put your mind at ease: This is only an upgrade to the software you use to access Magic Online, you will not lose any cards. Your collection is still stored safely on Wizards server. Part of the reason that Magic Online will be down for a week before the new client comes up is so that WotC can copy all the user accounts and account information over to the new platform.

So the first thing you need to do is to uninstall the old client. Not a big deal. But before you do let make sure you have everything saved that you want to save. I'm talking about your decklists. The easiest way to do this is to copy the entire folder to your desktop and then once the new version is installed move it to the appropriate directory. Open Windows explorer (or whatever program you use), navigate to your Wizards of the Coast Magic Online directory and look for the folder named decks. While holding down the control key click on it and drag it to your desktop. Now you have it saved and you won't lose all that hard work. As a side not I recommend backing it up every few months or so (more if you build a lot of decks) in case of a computer crash. I've lost several good decks that way. And don't forget any net decks you might have! Load them into your client 1 by 1 and save them as standard .dec files as well.

The new client can load the old .dec files without a problem but will save them in a new default format: .dek

Now go ahead and uninstall the old client. If your computer needs a reboot then go ahead and do that as well.

If you don't already have the new client then download it from Wizards. It's big. REALLY! The compressed installer is named MTGOIII.exe and weighs in at a whopping 686 Megs. WotC has stated they are trying to get it down in size but I'm not sure exactly how small they will be able to make it. Regardless, it's going to take a while. The nice part, though, is that it contains almost everything you need. You will still have to update some of the core files after the client is installed, mainly the executable.
The v3 installer is offered in two flavors; a regular download and a torrent. If you are on a slower connection like dialup then you might want to consider the torrent. Keep in mind that there are going to be a lot of people trying to download the client when v2 is turned off so you might want to get it sooner rather then later

The first thing you download is the MTGOHelper.exe. You can grab it from the Magic Online III Launch page.
This is a tiny download manager (437 KB) that will let you pause and restart the download.

Once that is done, navigate to where you saved it and click on it. The helper it will now prompt you for a location to save the installer to.

After you have chosen a location you will see the checking screen:


What's happening here is that it's looking to see if you already have a portion of the file downloaded (If you do have a partial file from a previous attempt it'll check it to make sure it's not corrupt and that you can resume). Once it's done checking (this is also fairly quick at >1 min), it will start downloading. You can pause and resume the download. You can even stop and exit out completely. Just start MTGOHelper again when you want to resume and you will pick up where you left off.

Time to download (I'm using a broadband Verizon FioS connection with a throughput 1775 KBps): ~ 7 minutes

Important: In order to run the new client you will also need the Microsoft .NET framework. I believe that the installer comes with the .NET Framework but I'm not 100% sure. So to be on the safe side you might want to pre-install it. You can grab that from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads. Click on Development Resources and you should see it.

Once you have downloaded the new client go ahead and launch the MTGOIII.exe installer. It's pretty straightforward.

*Quick MTGO III Windows Vista Primer:

I would recommend that anyone using Windows Vista install to a non-default directory. Many players who use Vista have reported having problems when MTGO v3 is is installed to C:Program Files | Wizards of the Coast | Magic Online III .

Usually these are permission issues due to Vista not allowing write access to the C: | Program Files directory. While not all users have had this issue, you're just better off avoiding the potential altogether and installing to a user created directory. I suggest that when you install you change Program Files to Games or something similar.

You'll also find  that MTGO is not like most other games or programs. It need to to update itself on a very regular basis, and when it does it will overwrite many of it's older files. This does not make Vista happy.

When running MTGO always make sure you are logged into an admin account. And even if you are running your account as an admin, Vista may still run certain processes and programs with normal permissions. It does this as an additional security measure.  So when you launch MTGO right click on the icon and chose "Run as Admin".

The install may take some time as there are a lot of art files and they are much higher resolution then the previous client. After the art is installed you should see the "Unpacking DirectX / Installing DirectX" screen. This will also take a minute or two.

My total time to install was about ~ 5 1/2 minutes.

Once it's installed go ahead and launch the new client (At the end of the install you should have been prompted to put an Icon on your desktop. If you chose "No" you can still launch MTGO via the Start menu.) You will see this screen:

The new client will scan some files and connect to WotC's servers and then you will see "Starting Up" change to this:

The "Launch" button will change to "Update" and become available to click. Clicking it starts the update process

Updating can be slow, as some of the files are large. If you're not on a broadband connection then give it some time.

My update took ~ 23 minutes, which was actually 3 X longer then it took to download the installer. Go figure.

The longest delay between files seemd to be from 900 to right past 1400. After 1450ish it seemed to move a little more briskly. Once the  update is complete you are ready to launch:

Clicking the "Launch" button brings you to the loading screen, also referred to as the "Tree Screen":

This screen shoots by fairly quickly and as soon as the progress bar reaches 100% you will see the home screen. You've got to give WotC credit, we were staring at the same screens for weeks at a time with the previous client so this is quite a change. At least you won't get too bored. And the artwork is pretty too.

Finally, after all this, we get to the Log In screen:

(This is the slightly older version of the login screen. The new version uses one of the Lorwyn Vivbid lands as a background. For some reason I was unable to upload the new screenshot)

And now you are ready to get down to some serious play!

A few quick things to keep in mind:

The store is now integrated into the client, so all purchasing is done in the game. And if you saved your decks from the previous client, don't forget to move them back into the new directory, located in the Wizards of the Coas Magic Online IIIDecks folder.

Bonus Section - 5 things about the v3 Client you may not know about

Pop up chat box
If you close the dock, all chat and the game log information appear in a semi-transparent pop up window. This window will appear and/or disappear as necessary. If you would like the window to persist, you press the forward slash key [ / ] . If you want it to switch back to pop up mode, press [ / ] again. You can move the window, resize it, and even can click through it (the cards behind it can be clicked on).

The Size Slider

At the bottom of the screen, after the last tab (which is labeled HOME when you first log in) is a Icon that looks like a half filled box. This is the Size Slider.
Maximize the client then click, hold and drag the Icon toward the left side of the screen. This will decrease not only card size but many of the other UI elements too.

Chat History

In your [Personal Settings] you now have three options regarding chat history:
You can have the client disregard all chat history (close the window and it's gone).
You can have the client remember everything but hide it (saving it to your HD but without displaying it).
Or the client can save all chat history and have it automatically display (this is the default setting).


To zoom in on a card you can either
1) Middle mouse click (scroll wheel click)
2) Right and left click
3) Put your mouse over the card and press both [Ctrl] + [Shift].

Blocked List Comments

Once you have added a player to your Block list, navigate to the [Personal Settings] tab and you will find a button labeled [Comment]. Highlight the players name and click on the [Commnet] button. This will allow you to leave yourself a reminder as to why you blocked them.

The new interface is quite different from the old client and does takes some getting used to. Take your time, do some exploring and don't be afraid to ask questions

If you have any questions or thought, please feel free to post your comments. I welcome all feedback.


download by bottomdweller(Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 01/09/2009 - 14:29
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I have tried to download mtgo III, but get a "DotNetInstaller" error several times. The game does not seem to load.

Wuz up with that?

Estimating time... by N00b(Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 01/07/2009 - 00:54
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Hi, i'm trying to download MOL III. Unfortunately the download does not start...it remains at the 0,0% "estimnating times for hours... I am not using Vista....

Can anybody help?

hi by Anonymous(Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 12/06/2008 - 20:20
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I am trying to load it...and when it comes to open it ,,, it wont open...why? cause i have vista?

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 05/06/2008 - 12:52
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ok so maybe im an idiot or maybe i just cant change it or something... but it will not let me save the helper as an application, it will only let me save it as a file... kinda annoying... i just wanted to know if you might have any ideas on the subject that could help me out... in the meantime i will keep trying

by andymc1 (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 18:34
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Yeah nice artical. Good to see someone looking out for those less techy than themselves *thumbs up*

The card size was something i had an issue with when using the beta so that slider you mentioned should come in handy. :)

by andymc1 (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 18:30
andymc1 (Unregistered)'s picture

Yeah nice artical. Good to see somone looking out for those less techy than themselves *thumbs up*

The card size was somthing i had an issue with when using the beta so that slider you mentioned should come in handy. :)

by andymc1 (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 04/12/2008 - 18:29
andymc1 (Unregistered)'s picture

Yeah nice artical. Good to see somone looking out for those less techy than themselves *thumbs up*

The card size was somthing i had an issue with when using the beta so that slider you mentioned should come in handy. :)


Nice job by Ernham Djinn (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 04/10/2008 - 15:19
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Maybe you could write an article about some of the features.  I did not know about the zoom and the chatbox thing.  I cant wait to try that. I cant stand the docking station.

Uninstalling v2 by skockie (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 04/10/2008 - 16:34
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What is the value of uninstalling version 2 at this point? 

Uninstalling v2 by tempesteye at Thu, 04/10/2008 - 17:47
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You can still keep v2 on your computer if you like, but to many the extra space may be an issue. Both v2 and v3 eat up about 860 Megs each.

Considering that all the offline functions in v2 are replicated in v3 the only reason to keep v2 would be to deckbuild during the downtime or for an aethetic preference. But since you must use v3 to play, my feeling is you might as well get used to using it.

by Tarmotog at Fri, 04/11/2008 - 10:13
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thanx for the guide.. it's slightly different from v2 so it's really helpful if you can just refer to the guide when installing.. =)

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 04/09/2008 - 03:16
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nicey-an in-game menu tutorial would be apreciated

by The Pink Floyd (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 04/09/2008 - 06:53
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I have no idea who this is supposed to help, it's hardly rocket science is it.

by hamtastic at Wed, 04/09/2008 - 08:40
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Who is this going to help?

Probably the many players who still have no idea this is coming.  They're not all as tech savvy as you are.  I've walked a large number of people through the 2.5 install, and that's even easier.

A good walk through and some good tips, tempest!

There you are by Thomas Protos (not verified) at Fri, 04/24/2009 - 19:16
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Hey good advice.

New player downloaded MTGONIII but it won't run by Tenel (not verified) at Fri, 08/28/2009 - 16:45
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I have never played MTG online and I have a login so I found where I can download the helper file. I did that. I then installed magic, the only problem is it has no file extension. What program should this be running under? What can I do? It saved it as all files instead of associating it with a specific program. I have Windows XP.

Store won't lode by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 08/28/2009 - 16:57
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I can login, but I can't access the store, something about a time stamp at first. It just gets a wait screen, and without a deck I can't see if I can play a game. And I can't access chat.

As for my beta version done by paulsimon at Thu, 10/08/2015 - 11:58
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As for my beta version done by appmerge.com My program works sufficiently for me needs.

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