hamtastic's picture
By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Apr 24 2008 11:12pm
Login to post comments

V3's been out for about a week now and things are starting to mellow out.  Less techincal support issues are popping up on the boards and the V3 hate threads are dying down now.  Whew.  That was a pretty rough week but things are looking up!

The biggest topic in the MTGO world right now is V3.  There is a LOT to talk about in regards to V3, so I'm going to give it its own section for a while.  This section will compile the guides, FAQ's, How to's, technical help, and discussion items that have been covered so far.

I write this article throughout the week, which means that it's possible that I'll grab something that is either obsoleted or changed by the time this goes to print.  So I'll make this into a travel log so you can see how things progress throughout this week and hopefully provide a frame of reference for when information was added.  Feel free to bookmark this article for a synopsis of the first week of V3's life. 

Prior to Monday April 13th 2008-
The servers went down Wednesday morning at about 3 minutes after the hour.  Guler got the last word in the /join BBS room which was quite appropriate: "{y}".  The Cas/Cas room was complete chaos and had to be muted by a WotC.  And now we wait...

In regards to the boards... things have been quieter than I expected.  There was a bit of backlash from the seemingly lack of warning of the servers being shut down.  Although, once you started to enumerate the ways that it was attempted to be communicated it didn't seem so bad.  It's possible that a mass email in addition to the in game announcement, the login announcement and the Adepts warning people may not have been a bad idea at all.  Once that was covered things died down with only a few reports of installation issues.   So far we've had a few complete attacks on WotC, other members but they subsided quite quickly. 

Monday, April 14th 2008 -
There seems to be some issue with the .Net installer or version being installed for some people.  One of the most frequent fixes for the players has been to upgrade their .Net framework.  Section 3.7 of this post describes how to do so.  I'm not sure what's the deal with these errors.  If they're a problem with the installer or possibly something on people's machines, or likely a combination.  It's certainly strange though.  On the plus side though this will mean that everyone will have .Net and will be able to run the League Exporter without any excess installation requirements.  So that's good.

Tuesday, April 15th 2008 -
Another update by Worth and an update compilation thread.  Updates have been compiled here.  It seems as if some unexpected troubles popped up but were handled by the development team.  Latest update says that the earliest it will be up is late Wednesday night but more likely Thursday some time.  Emotions are running high and it sure seems like patience is wearing thing on both sides.  More and more snapping seems to be happening from both sides of every discussion.  The MTGO boards also got a couple more VCL's to help during the expected rush of complaints once V3 is actually live.  bubba0077 and SkullOnAStick have been named VCL's for the time being, and I certainly welcome the help and experience these two bring to the table... even if one is just a skull on a stick and doesn't know about such things.

Wednesday, April 16th 2008 -
The earliest that V3 could be up is later tonight, with a much more likely possibility of tomorrow.  There's more activity on the MTGO boards than I've ever seen, and not just in the V3 threads but everywhere and in every discussion.  I'm very happy for that.  I've seen some pretty interesting debates lately because of this influx of posters and I hope that some of them stay. 

Well, the servers went up early today.  About 11:45am PDT actually.  The servers were up and there were a lot of questions from the players in the rooms.  Where are my decks?  What's with the font?  etc, etc, etc... things that many of us have been trying to prepare people for for quite some time.  Seems like it didn't help a lot, but then again, maybe it'd be worse if we didn't do anything.  Hard to say, but whatever, V3 is up!  Well, it WAS up until about an hour ago now... looks like a bug kicked some users and WotC kicked the rest, just to even things up or something.  But they're pushing a new 'quick' release candidate.  I'm not optimistic about it staying up either, honestly.  But maybe I'm wrong.  I hope so.  I'm done requesting forum locks, merges and stuff for a little while and things seem to be slowing down again on the boards.  Here's hoping V3.0.7.2 fares better than its predecessor. 

And, my hopes have been dashed as this newest version is kicking people out randomly.  Time to head to bed.

Thursday, April 17th 2008 -
And we are still down from last night, and the boards are finally doing what I expected, which in a word: a'splodin'.  Anger, frustration, complaints and attacks are flying around like spaghetti in a food-fight.  WotC really, really, REALLY needed the release to go somewhat smoothly to hope to save some face and start to build up some credibility with software deployement.  Sadly, that hasn't happened yet.  They correctly kept the launch yesterday as a low key event, and even still, that has caused a lot of backlash against the program and the company.  I think this was a good thing for them to do, but even this stuttered start has hurt them a bit.  V3 is scheduled to be back up later today, and I'll keep my fingers crossed for WotC.  They really need to start racking up wins.

Update #1
The boards are mellowing a little bit, still a lot of complaints though, and many of them are completely legit.  Of course.. some are not so legit... like wanting to charge WotC for smashing their mouse in anger.  Not so much.  We're still down, but that's to be expected I guess since the earliest we were looking at the servers being brought up was 'after lunch' in WotC land.

Update #2

So now we've been up for a few hours.  No crash, no lag (for me) lots of complaints about the text and UI, etc in the game itself.. yet 1100+ people in the casual room and a lot of games being played despite the complaints.  If this build works out maybe we can start to look at getting some fixes in with these fix packs.  I still have the issue of not being able to join /join bbs or /join puremtgo though, and from what I've seen, I'm not alone.  I'll do one more update Friday morning before this article goes live, hopefully V3 will stay up all night and I'll have good things to report!  I would classify this as a 'win'.  A good recovery from yesterdays 'not a crash' that kicked the users out.

Friday, April 18th 2008 -We've been up for over 12 hours, no crashes and no actual lag.  I just read that they're going to do a 'draft lottery' today to test the drafts before they think about turning them on for real.  This will certainly be interesting.  I also read that the fix to the font size will very likely be done this next week.  Something nice that I didn't notice up front but is now evident: they removed the idle timeout disconnect.  I've been in V3, doing nothing for 12 hours straight.  Just like I used to do long long ago...   Also, there's good news for you multiplayer folks.  According to Dhuse, there will be a lot of improvements in the first service pack that address the Multiplayer issues.  Maybe you can bribe a beta tester to let you know what they look like if they are shown to the beta testers next week.  *grin*

Saturday & April, 19th & 20th 2008 -
A new change is pushed through on Saturday to fix the settings not remembering what you've changed.  There servers are down for a couple of hours for this change but seem to be brought back up on time and without issues.  So far, there have been no crashes at all.  Sure, we're only a few days into V3, but I think it's safe to say that many people expected V3 to crash and burn once it was turned on to real users.  Thankfully that has yet to happen.  It's perhaps one of the most encouraging signs of the whole V3 launch that the servers have indeed remained solid and lag free since Thursday morning when they turned them on.

Monday, April 21st 2008 -
S. o. l. i. d.  What's that spell?  V3!  (well, so far anyway).  Seriously though, we're still moving along well as far as the servers are concerned.  Worth has posted some updates on what to expect in the very near future and two of the biggest items are coming up quickly.  First, the text being too small.  That's being fixed this week.  Wednesday should show us the results of this change.  The second is optimization that should help people with machines closer to the minimum requirements.  Beta should also be starting this week, which will also have more information about what tweaks we can expect to see in the near future.

Tuesday, April 22nd 2008 -
This is more like it.  I like having a day when there's nothing really important to report.  A few more like that and I can bring this section back to a regular column again!

Wednesday, April 23rd 2008 -
Downtime today, and it went a little longer than expected.  However, we did get the chat font size fix (yay!) and with it a lot easier to read text than before.  Especially if you've modified your client to have a white background. I've already detailed how to do this here.  However, I'll add some more recent updates in the editorial section.  Anyway, back to what happened in the V3 world today...  The Shadowmoor beta invites went out and boy is that a fun set.  I'm happy to see that it's pretty far along already with very few card bugs to be seen.  There are a few, which alway happens in the first few weeks of beta, but overall, things are progressing well.

Thursday, April 24th 2008 -
V3 Beta is still going and more people are figuring out how to get into the new beta boards.  It makes sense that it's now under the Gleemax umbrella, as it's a Gleemax service and all.  So far so good.  The WotC boards are down today to fix an issue with threads opening 'blank'.  Weird.  Still no real crash to report on, which has left quite a few people stunned.  Including me.  I had fully expected a big crash where something was overlooked or some item was not thought of... and yet, I've been disappointed.  But in a good way.  I'm happy that my fears were wrong, since that would have incited anarchy on the boards... for sure.

Important V3 Tip:

One of the most difficult to utilize, yet most important to use enhacements to the UI is the creation of the In Game Chat window.  To bring this up and make it persistent do the following:

  • Start a game
  • Minimize the dock
  • While in the game, type '/' and press enter
  • The small window will appear and stay open.  You can resize and move this window around.
  • To get rid of it, click out of the window in the game area and again type '/' and press enter
  • Click back in the game area

This is illustrated in the video above.  My apologies for the lack of audio, I'm still getting my computers set back up from a recent move.  Hopefully between the video and the description you can recreate the feature.

 V3 UI Design Contests:

I've written about client modifcations 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 $400 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 palettable to myself and others with only a few hours of work, and I'm a scrubbly amatuer when it comes to UI stuff.  I look forward to what some people with real talent for it can accomplish. 

I know that I keep promising to have my latest updates here but things keep coming up that take priority.  I'll for sure (maybe, probably) get my latest works up next week.

I've also seen a lot (LOT) of complaints about V3.  Shock!  There are a lot of real concerns and things that need to be fixed.  However, there are still people who seem to have missed a lot of the ways to make things look 'better'.  Soooooo, I wanted to take a moment and compile meta list of guides, how to's, feature items, and what not. 

Make MTGO Look Better -
This guide provides step by step instructions for setting up MTGO to get the best graphical experience for your display type.  A great resource for those confused about why things look so blurry.

Troubleshooting FAQ -
Have a problem?  Check this first!  Many of the common problems you see with MTGO can be solved by following the instructions listed here.

MTGO FAQ: V3 Edition -
Essentially, a  list of the most frequent questions regarding V3 and MTGO in general.

V3 Feature List -
Before you create a thread to lament a lost feature, check this list!  There's a lot of good things that V3 CAN do, if you know to do them.

Show High Quality Art -
If your card can handle it, the 'quality' settings are a good thing to change.

Chat Codes -
We all know you're interested in typing in purple on the right side of the window, so there's no use denying it... check out this link for all the whacky ways to irritate your clanmates!


Shadowmoor "Quick Hits"

It seems with every new set release members of each community write an article about their respective format and what decks are improviing and deck ideas for new cards.  I like to dabble in a lot of formats and therefore I like to dedicate a small section of an article to discussion of various cards that interest me and what format they 'plug into'.

First up: The wither mechanic.  It gives a way to make chump blocking into a bad proposition.  Sure, you can block my 3/3 with your 4/4, but it won't be happy about it... One of my favorite 'casual' cards of the set is Blight Sickle, which incidently is the worst flavored popsicle EVER.  Not even Bill Cosby could sell those 'sickles!


Rite of Consumption

A 'fling' for Mono Black Affinity in PDC/Classic, AND buffs your life total.  I like this card.  Fling is an instant and much more flexible because of that, however, this is still a powerful common for certain decks.

Faerie Macabre

This little common has started to raise some eyebrows.  Probably because it's an instant speed colorless graveyard hoser that's only counterable by Stifle.  Or maybe the art.

Devoted Druid

Having one of this guy out makes Giant Growth into a Elvish Ritual.  There are also +4/+4 options for G as well, making this guy a very powerful enabler for.... something.  A lot of people seem to want to power out fatties with  this.  And I guess that's okay... I'm thinking more along the lines of a storm deck though.  You have Harmonize to draw cards and Manamorphose to convert mana into your colors... I dunno maybe I'm just barking up the crazy tree, but I like the options I see with this guy.

Puncture Bolt

A cheap way to deal with Stuffy Doll's in Standard, while also taking out slightly bigger threats if needed. 

Ballynock Cohort

3/3 First strike for 3?  As a common?  Yeah baby.

Last Breath

Carte blanche removal for 1W?  Often it's the 2 power or less that I have trouble removing in White since they don't often swing in for Condemn removal.

Scarscale Ritual

I like this drawing in a black aggro PDC deck or some such.  I don't know where I'll use it yet, but I know I will.  It's not as powerful as Night's Whisper, but it's up there.

Traitor's Roar

It's the Conspire keyword that makes me like this common.  Late in the game you get to tap down + extra damage two creatures of your choice on each side of the board.  I expect to be running this in Elder Dragon Highlander decks once they're back online.


I mentioned this little guy earlier, and I still like him.  Wowza for a common.  Sure it's "just" mono green/Mono red fitering + cantrip but.... hey, wait.. that's pretty good actually!


A shoo-in for my Lion King theme deck that I just pulled out of my hat.  I like the thought behind this card, and again, stuffy doll removal in Standard is something to consider for this card.

Elsewhere Flask

So you play it, and get your card back, then it fixes your mana.  An inclusion in some decks somewhere I imagine... or maybe I'm over rating it.  It just *feels* impressive.

The Common Scarecrow Cycle

I like them a lot for some casual PDC.  They're not overpowered, but they provide a good colorless source of damage for a few decks that tend to get color hated (like the black and red decks).


Beseech the Queen

or BtQ as it was called on the MTGSalvation.com forums.  I called this card a 'lance' card and thought I was kind of clever.  The logic flows thusly: It's not 'bad', it's 'balanced'.  You can't spell 'balanced' without 'bad', well, you COULD, but you'd wind up with 'Lance'.  Ergo, cards that aren't bad, just balanced versions of old cards shall henceforth be called 'lance' by me.  Take that!  Anyway, back BtQ.  I like the balance of this card a lot.  It keep it from being broken in older formats where it's cast off a first turn Dark Ritual, but still is about as good as Diabolic Tutor on turn four, and is much better after that.  A solidly designed card, in my opinion.

Leech Bonder

Get used to seeing this guy's name for a while.  While he won't be the cornerstone of any tournament deck, but a lot of decks are going to start: 4x Leech Bonder 4x Utopia Sprawl and do something crazy with counters from there.

Flame Javelin

I don't expect to see anyone run this for the 6 colorless, although I guess someone might... Nope, my love of this card is that it completely outshines Char for a burn spell.  Not only does it not have a drawback that Char had, it also converts to a converted mana cost of six for a good anti-countertop measure.

Prison Term

This is a fun card.  It makes your opponent feel like they're always behind the curve when it comes to catching up with your creatures.  Either they drop an equal or lesser creature and you don't move this, or they drop a progressively better creatures and you keep locking them down.  Good fun.

Murderous Redcap

Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Pinky?.  I think so Brain.  But how are we gonna get Redcap + (Oona's Backguard) + Conspiracy + a sacrifice outlet all into play at the same time?

Honorable Mentions:

The non-basic basic lands, namely Sapseed Forest and Leechridden Swamp.  Those two have the best two actual impacts on the game.  Next would have to be the Madblind Mountain just because it combos with Sensei's Divining Top, Sylvan Library, and possibly Countryside Crusher (to shuffle your library after you milled the lands, you might get a land instead).


Dusk Urchins

Something about this guy just screams "BREAK ME PUNY MORTALS!!".  I think it's his eyes.  Beating down then drawing cards is fun.  Especially if you do it first turn off of a ritual.

Plague of Vermin

A great card for casual since there are ways to really make someone regret this.  Like following it with a Children of Korliss, or something....  Not that anyone would do that or anything.

Savor the Moment

Another 'lance' card.  Sure you get a cheap turn, but you now have to figure out what to do with it.  Nice design here.

Woodfall Primus

A tasty reanimation target to be sure.  Getting him into play early means denying your opponent some much needed land.  And I think we can all see how much fun that will be in the casual room.

Prismatic Omen

For, um, Prismatic I guess.  Since it has the name right there in the title.  Or even in a 60 card deck, this + Joiner Adpet = pretty much guaranteed turn three color-palooza.  I don't know what I'd do with that yet, but I like that I have the option.

Honorable Mentions:

The Liege Cycle, and the Avatar Cycle


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.

Shadowmoor beta, check you email!
The Shadowmoor beta is under way and starting to take off.  So far it's going pretty well.  There's a lot of fun interactions and so far very few 'broken' cards, and the ones that are broken seem pretty easy to fix.  I'm still waiting to see what SP1 brings into the client, in fact, that's perhaps my most awaited item of this beta!

Leagues not starting for a while...
There's good news and bad news about Leagues right now.  The bad news: they probably won't be ready for beta testing for at least three months.  The good news?  A (hopefully) better pairing system.  Not too many people like to play their five counting matches against camping sharks, like the one caught on camera below... so hopefully this new method will minimize that experience!

1x Every MTGO Foil?
Someone is selling 1x of every MTGO foil online for about $10,000.  This brought up the topic of collecting versus acquiring.  Some say the thrill of collecting comes from  tracking down the items that you want (aka The Hereo's Quest), others say it's the destination that matters.  What do you think?

DCI Sanctioning for MTGO?
This topic comes up from time to time and usually winds up somewhere in the realm of account security and validation.  Apparently this time is no different... some good points are discussed if you haven't discussed the topic before or for a while.

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.

V3 on Linux
There's been a call to arms to vote for MTGO V3 compatiability on Linux.  Anything that can help get MTGO to more users can't be bad, so show your support for MTGO by following the easy directions in the link above!

AI vs. Player: MTGO
I imagine we've all wondered how an MTGO AI would do at some point or another.  Some good discussion about past games and AI endeavors has popped up in the thread.  Good stuff!

V3 and Multiplayer, revisted
I'm not sure what else is to be said about this topic, but you're welcome to read the thread and add your voice as you feel is necessary.

Bugs: Client

4-20-08 Can't /join rooms Closed

Bugs: Cards

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!)

Technically there are no new card prices this week which may leave you wondering why I've added this section back into the artice.  And that's a fine question indeed.  The reason for the return of this section is to document and track the current nightmare-world that is 'trading'.  There are a few major things, and a lot of minor things that really need to be taken care of before we even get back to where we were in regards to trading.

Major issues:

  • Memory Leak
  • CSV's not showing Foils properly
  • Lag for large collections

Minor Issues:

  • Can't leave the 'Trading' scene
  • Chat window's automatically close after trade

And there are quite a few others that are impacting the trading market right now.  If you're wondering why there aren't many bots up yet, it's not because they don't exist.  It's because they're not able to function with the current issues we have.  Also being impacted are the dealers' abilities to buy collection due to the second major item listed above.  There's just no way to accurately quote a price when you can't see what cards are foil.  I really hope that most of these are addressed in SP1 since it really hurts trading to have the market so cumbersome like this.

Hopefully by next week we'll have a sneak peak at V3 SP1 and the changes that it has in store for us all!  Until then, keep on keepin' on!



SP1 by Ragingbill (Unregistered) (not verified) at Mon, 04/28/2008 - 06:46
Ragingbill (Unregistered)'s picture

Hello again Hamtastic. I guess I'll be following you around for all the latest *useful* information about what is going on with MTGO. I could spend a week sifting through all the stuff on the gleemox board, and not even come close to having all the info you've got here. I dunno if you remember me, but I wrote something about the "functionality of V.3" on your April 18th post. I guess I am writing because I've just about had it with V.3. I spent about 20+ hours a week playing magic 2.5 for 5+ years, and now it is so frustrating playing ONE game with this new version. To boot, whenever I try and load up one of my decks from the previous version, the game freezes. I opened up the task manager, and I saw that while the game was frozen, it was using 258,000 K of my system memory. Windows itself, and all of the background apps don't even come close to that. This is a virtual representation of a card game. Why in the hell does this new version even remotely need that much of my system resources? I then tried to make a deck from scratch, spent an hour making it, then when I was adding basic land, I clicked on the "#" to sort it by the number of cards, and I got an "Unrecoverable Error" with an unintelligible statement as to why that was, then I was asked to "write what I was doing when this occurred" in a text box. I then logged back into magic, and the deck I spent an hour on was *poof* gone. This is beyond frustration. I feel like hitting something. I can say I will not be logging into magic until this is fixed. Any information on when SP1 with an improvement for "...machines closer to the minimum requirements..." as you put it is coming out would be of the utmost importance to anyone with similar problems with the new client as myself. 5 years of acquiring magic cards... and now I can't even play the game anymore. Any info you can get on this would be very much appreciated. The state of the game right now is beyond unacceptable. Thank you for your time...


by MasterOGA (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 04/26/2008 - 16:52
MasterOGA (Unregistered)'s picture

I didn't see any mention of the day when trading didn't work at all (you couldn't view anyones collection, they eventually turned on No Pay mode too), or the day before when it took 20+ minutes to confirm a trade.  I think these events happened on the 20th and 21st.

by hamtastic at Sat, 04/26/2008 - 19:29
hamtastic's picture

I'll have to check this out, hopefully it works! Thanks!

by hamtastic at Sat, 04/26/2008 - 19:30
hamtastic's picture

Good points, I'll add that in. I forget the exacts as well, but I'll probably add it in under the first day (wed) since that was easily the worst day for most of this stuff.

by JXClaytor at Fri, 04/25/2008 - 14:47
JXClaytor's picture

I have heard if you move from the trading room to like another room (Say, Tournament practice) that will close it.   

by hamtastic at Fri, 04/25/2008 - 07:58
hamtastic's picture

Classifieds can indeed be closed, however, once you start a trade you get the 'trading' chat that doesn't correlate to a tab on the bottom of the screen
 (at least, I've not found a way to close that specific chat)

by hamtastic at Fri, 04/25/2008 - 07:56
hamtastic's picture

Don't forget the Psychic Purge (in Med) and all the "Tims" in Classic.  A mono Blue Burn deck is completely possible.  :)

Trading by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 04/25/2008 - 07:51
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

To leave the admittadly horrible Classifieds section, move to a different section, and right click on the Classifieds tab, it'll close. 

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 04/25/2008 - 00:25
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

I am all over 6 mana Flame Javelin  : )


Mono Blue Burn Deck here I come

Psi  Blast

Flame Javelin


ummm .... Aladin's Ring???    : )