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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Apr 01 2008 12:00am
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Hello everyone, and welcome back to another installment of inside information with your host: hamtastic!  This week, I've got a doozy of a scoop for you all.  I've spent some time talking with some developers close to the project, and I can't believe what I've heard.  I've grouped the information into sections so you all can get right to the changes!
V3 Policy Changes:
-Too much 'free product'
According to my sources, the amount of product entering the system through 'refunds' and crashes is extremely detrimental to the secondary market.  Since WotC is extremely concerned about our cards' values they want to protect our investment as much as possible.  So, to help us all maintain account stability they're going to stop giving refunds, and the system will no longer return product used to enter the event.  This 'net loss' for players will make the prices of cards that managed to make it into the system go up.  Which I think we can all agree with that being a good thing.
-Higher fees
They've also noticed that there's a lot of ticket 'float' currently happening.  This concerns them for many reasons so they wanted a way to reduce the amount of tickets in the system.  Instead of buying them back, they're going to increase the costs of the events by 50% for each event.  This should reduce the amount of ticket float in the system and once again, make the value of all the tickets we're all hording rise accordingly.  Prizes will NOT increase to match ticket price increases as I've been assured that this is only a temporary measure until the ticket price is closer to it's actual 'value'.
Below is a chart that represents what is expected to happen to both card prices and ticket prices after these changes.  Although technically the Card Price chart was a little less sloped, it was essentially the same.
-Lower trade cap
I'll admit that this one has me scared.  It's been determined that the 32 trade limit is part of the issue with falling card prices.  Because it's so easy to get and/or liquidate your cards the price of cards has fallen to an all time low.  So, with V3 they're slated to start using CAPTCA to slow down the rate of trades.  Also, they're going to bring the trade limit from 32 to 4.  4 rares for a ticket seems like a much more agreeable number.  They really shouldn't be lower than than anyway.   So, to help keep the market from collapsing, they're going to limit the number of items per trade to four.  And each side HAS to provide something in the trade.
The proposed trade changes are also heralded as a crime prevention tactic.  If you can only take three cards from an account at a time (because you have to have something on both sides, remember) it's estimated that it will take potential thiefs ten times longer to take cards out of your account than it currently does.  That should give players ample time to report the issue and have the fraudsters shut down.
V3 Game Changes:
No Multiplayer Support:
-Mutliplayer Magic is 'Unfun'
I think we can all agree that Magic is best between two players.  The more players you add the more likely you are to see a 'whiner' that ruins the game.  The latest round of surveys on MTG.com has pointed that players really don't like to play multiplayer magic.  Not even the ones who claim to actually.  78% of the people who first said that they enjoyed multiplayer later stated that they only played multiplayer because they wanted to 'keep up appearances'.  Very interesting.
Here we have a chart that illustrates the 'fun factor' of MTG as you add players:
Oddly enough, the line doesn't stop at zero, meaning that as you approach infinity you actually start to have NEGATIVE fun.  Quite an accomplishment, to say the least.  So, based off the support from the recent banning of Sharazad in Vintage they've decided that axing 'unfun' aspects of MTGO should be fine.
-Lots of complaints
According to some sources, the majority of player related complaints come from the multiplayer players.  So by removing them from MTGO the average daily report volume should decrease quite a bit.  This is going to free up more of Customer Service's time to explain the lack or refunds in the new system.  Also, there are quite a few complaints leveled against the multiplayer players every hour, and that should subside once they are no longer an issue.  Lastly, the complaints about cards not working properly in Multiplayer have gotten out of hand, this should fix that issue as well.
-Rules get 'weird'.
Let's face it, Magic R&D it's not like Magic R&D are designing cards for this 'format'.  Cards that shouldn't do stupid things suddenly gain their controller 65 life or something.  So not only do the deveolpers have to CODE these cards, they have to code broken cards.  This wouldn't be such a raw deal if only there weren't more pressing matters like making a commons filter that really to be done.  Not that it will be done, just that it's more important than say, Two Headed Giant.  More like Red Headed Step Giant... or something.
Secret Console Project:
Leaked Console Image:
Below is a screenshot of a leaked console version of the MTGO client, currently in progress.  So far they have finalized the turn indicator, the mana symbols, the life totals and the information screen.  They're still working on fitting the cards in hand and the graveyard window into the interface, but they're hopeful to have that finalized soon as well.  Obviously, they've already prepared it in Japanese so this version is expected to bring the frequently requested multilingual support that we've been hoping for lately.  This project was started while the Dreamcast was a major player, and should be finished shortly.  There are allegedly already plans to port this to the Wii Virtual Console, as well as the XBox Live Arcade for future play.  Look for more information surrounding that to be coming out soon.  Current Dreamcast players should be good to go on launch day though.  Both Sega and Wizards are excited to bring this game to the dozens of users who are going to play it on the Dreamcast. 
There are some pretty crazy things going on in this version, and it may take some time to get used to everything.  I like a lot of what I've seen so far though.  Supposedly WotC is banking on the trimmed down version appealing to many players who don't want to worry  about avatars, collections, trading, etc and just want to play on a TV.  I'm sure that this will open MTGO up to more players than we currently have, hopefully turning them in to long term lovers of the game.
V3 UI Changes:
The old UI was indeed too 'brown'
-New UI is much more pleasant to the eye
I've attached a new screenshot to the end of the article.  I have had no eyestrain while trying to interact with the UI in this latest version.  I think that this is a much more aesthetically pleasing use of colors, and I've not had a headache will trying to read the UI.  All in all, very helpful.
-No more textures
We yelled and they listened!  We told them to get rid of the textures, and lo!  They sure did.  I can barely contain my happyness for this new, non-textured version of the client.  I'm sure that *someone* will still complain, but you can't please everybody.  Amirite?  I think that removing those textures will open the game up to more players.  The previous versions were a bit troublesome for anyone with vision issues.  Thankfully this new version is comletely level for blind players, young players or dead players.
-No more Dock
Again, they've shown that they're listening.  As you'll clearly see, the dock has been removed.  I think it's a good step in the right direction.  I'm cautiously optimistic to see with what they'll replace the vacant area of the dock, but it has to be better.  What more can you ask for from a company, really?  The change to the dock is just one such obvious change that they've made on our behalf.  The more you use this version the more changes you'll notice. 
-Creates a much quicker 'identity' for the application.
What words would you choose to describe the previous version of the client?  Brown?  Swirly?  How can you tell your friends about that, honestty?  No one says: "Dude, you gotta check out this new swirly brown UI I found!".  However, with this new UI I can already hear the conversations:

Jimmy: "Oh man, you've gotta see this new Magic UI!"
Timmy: "Timmaay?"
Jimmy: "Seriously! Wait till you see it!  You'll be all like 'How much more black could this be'.  And the answer is none... None more black.  It's sooooo sweet".
Timmy: "TIMMAYYY!"


So there you have it!   An easily implementable plan for improving V3.  Both in ongoing support and improving the often complained about pieces of the UI.  I'm not 100% on board with all of these decisions yet, but they're starting to grow on me.  Happy April everyone!


by urzishra (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 04/03/2008 - 11:19
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something like this would only be accomplishable from hamtastic... (I pretty much trust whatever Ham has to say.. so i too was fooled).. come to think of it.. next year i may not even log onto a computer on april's fools because of the sillyness.

More info ! by Jetmox (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 04/02/2008 - 20:32
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Hi Hammy, Another great article.

For the techs out there I think we are interested in what design is being used for the BE.

I know that the detailed info cannot be released to protect the security of the design and the servers. But can we find out ie is it a load balanced cluster ? What I want to know is whatever solution they put in is easily scalable so that if they do start getting new performance issues they can just chuck hardware at it until they can run full load performance tuning.

I saw that some stats that they said 100% to 900% improve over 2.5 on some features this was not really elaborated exactly what was 100% and 900% better.  Can you get performance data on what we should be seeing ?




nice! by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 04/02/2008 - 15:35
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I actually only read this today (2nd of april), so I wasn't aware this was an article from yesterday until I was over half finished.

If you could see my face after the first few paragraphs, you could have laid down a rhino with it...


Best april fools joke played on me this year, you actually got me for the most part :). Well done! 


April Fools by MechtaK at Wed, 04/02/2008 - 01:41
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Classic.  I was wondering even before I read it if it was going to be a big joke.  It started off quite serious, but luckily I didn't bite.  Great job Ham, even with me expecting a joke, I almost bought it.  5 stars!

by SypherSun (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 04/02/2008 - 11:55
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Doh, got me untill "Mutliplayer Magic is 'Unfun'"..... *Shame*

by sgt_toasty (not verified) at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 10:52
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He definitely got me =( lol

wow you got me by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 12:39
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I got to about the 4th paragraph and ready to quit Modo until I realized the date.  You got me good. JERK!!

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 19:06
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I actually perfer the last screenshot to the real v3

by Oddpac (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 22:22
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"78% of the people who first said that they enjoyed multiplayer later stated that they only played multiplayer because they wanted to 'keep up appearances'."


Best line. Hands down. 

haha by Pyrosin at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 08:14
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That was funny.  Has everyone checked out the Pirates vs Ninjas announcement on the Wizards site?  You'll get a good laugh out of that too.

by DRAGONDUNG at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 08:02
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I was ready to flip when i figured everything out esp the four limit god that rocks great article.

Hardy Har Har by bubbakush at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 07:50
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 I was like ,who in the heck took these polls. aw this is crap. And then i saw the black V3 screen shot and it was less upsetting. Nice one bro ,lol

Happy Aprils Fools Day by Hollow0n3 at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 07:26
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Nice trick, seems like you got some people =)

If it happens that half of this will become true more then half of us will cringe, cry and curse...  :shfty:

lol by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 07:38
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lol I was starting to get all worked up reading this, then I remembered what today was. Good one.

by plarp (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 06:21
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You had me bloody terrified for a minute there! nice one :)

by DIProgan (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 06:45
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Meh more believable jokes please :P

by MagicStop (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 07:10
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haha, you had me until the trade limit of 4! I was about %*^# a brick, but then I remembered what day it was, and quickly keep scrolling.

Whew! You bastard! :D Good one, mate. 

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 01:52
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I'm prepared to get flamed but thank god for the higher prices!  Tickets should be $1

Hahahaha by MirrorMage at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 01:55
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Hahahahahahahaha. Hamtastic, you really nailed deadpan comedy. Here I was yelling at my computer screen...

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 02:04
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happy apral fools

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 02:28
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I was about to scream when I saw the trade limit reduced to 4, requiring both sides to give an object, and requiring CAPTCHA... good thing I remembered what day it was. :)

I really like the new UI by eotinb at Tue, 04/01/2008 - 02:35
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Is it OK to not joke in this thread? Because joking aside, the mock-up UI looks sweet! Admittedly, the lack of things like life, hand, graveyard, and mana pool pose a slight problem, but we can work with this.