We are moving closer to July and I wanted to let everyone know that we'll be turning off access to the current Magic Online client (aka V3) on July 16.
As mentioned in a previous announcement, we are moving closer to July and I wanted to let everyone know that we'll be turning off access to the current Magic Online client (aka V3) on July 16. Things have gone well with development on the new client in the past few months, and we've made some great progress (more on this below).
Turning off the current client means that, as of July 16, we will remove the beta tag, and that client will become the only way to play Magic Online. More importantly, it also sets us up a more cohesive, focused approach as we combine our client-development team resources. The biggest upside here is that it will allow us to more quickly deliver better experiences to our customers.
We understand that every aspect of the beta client is not perfect, and we understand (and take very seriously) your feedback in the areas where we have the most opportunity to improve. In places that we are not yet meeting your expectations, we are driven and committed to improving your Magic Online experience.
In places that we are not yet meeting your expectations, we are driven and committed to improving your Magic Online experience...
We also acknowledge that change is hard, that we still have work to do, and that some players simply do not want to get used to a new Magic Online look and feel. We sincerely hope that these players will see that mid and long term benefits will be much greater than the short term adjustment phase.
To show our appreciation for your immense patience, true desire to help, and constructive feedback, during the downtime before the Magic 2015 Prereleases begin, we will be granting every account that has logged in to Magic Online since April 2008 one each of the five M15 Prerelease objects and 35 phantom points. We will be setting up special Sealed Deck Prerelease queues over M15's first weekend that will accept one Prerelease object and 35 phantom points as entry, but which are played with real packs (you keep what you open/draft) and pay out in real prizes. So whether you'd like to take us up on an M15 Prerelease on the house, or if you want to save those phantom points for later use (Holiday Cube returns July 16, for example!), that's entirely up to you.
A Countdown to Launch
Last Wednesday, June 18, we released an update to the beta client that focused on delivering new functionality and features. That update included opening trades in their own window, adding a trade binder search tool, improving how deck imports work, updates to chat, and more. The Magic Online blog has more details on what was released.
The next and final update before we turn off V3 is slated for July 9. In that build we will be pushing stability improvements, fixes to some known memory leak issues, and more feature work. Things to look for include clarifying the player info box in the Duel Scene, improved filtering in trades, streamlining/simplifying workflows around event dropping, starting work on an updated help section, and further work on chat notifications.
On June 25 we removed the download links for the current client from the account-creation portion of the Magic Online new account webpages. The link to download the current client will stay live through July 16, and ORCs in-game, as well as our Game Support teams, will be able to give players that link up to July 16 if they need it. On and after July 16, anyone who opens the current client to log in will be prompted with messaging that points to a download of the new client, and users will just need to click on the link in the message provided to start the download of the new client.
Again, I want to be very clear that we hear your feedback. We have a lot of plans for continued client development before the end of the year, and as we analyze and act on feedback (including the responses we got from the last spotlight), you will be able to see your direct feedback making a difference from build to build.
It is a little far out yet to be too specific about what will follow in the weeks and months after the client transition, but we'll be diving further into things like: Ensuring replays work correctly, updating how zones (such as the graveyard) work in the Duel Scene, exploring ways to improve card size and presentation on the battlefield, and further improving chat functionality. And Leagues, of course!
As I mentioned above, we are always working to improve Magic Online. One of the decisions we recently made that will help us deliver a better and more performant user experience is the elimination of support for Windows XP at our minimum spec level. Like Microsoft, we have decided to discontinue support for the nearly 13-year-old OS in order to make better use of the upgrades provided by more recent operating systems. As of late August, XP users should not expect to be able to access Magic Online. We don't make decisions like this lightly, but after some thoughtful analysis around actual hard data pulled from what systems our players are actually using (the vast majority are on Win7, incidentally), we made the decision to focus on operating systems from Windows Vista forward.
Thank you all again for all your continued patience and valuable feedback. I am looking forward to a fantastic summer with the new client, a clear focus, and some pretty exciting things yet to come for Magic Online.