Magic Online Update: Delve Deeper

Posted in Magic Online on October 6, 2014

Greetings Magic Online players!

Khans of Tarkir is live and release events are up and running I wanted to share what's coming in our next major Magic Online release. Scheduled for delivery on October 22, this update includes some long-awaited Duel Scene improvements, including a redesigned graveyard (spoiler alert, you can pop it out), changes to Collection to better manage items in a trade binder, the return of player ratings, and many bug fixes for issues great and small.

Let's take a look.

Graveyard Matters

Since the release of the new version of Magic Online, one of the most frequent player requests is for more control over how the graveyard is displayed, especially when it matters for spells or abilities (we're looking at you delve, dredge, and flashback). The upcoming release finally gives players that control while also increasing the amount of space dedicated to the battlefield.

For two-player matches, the exiled zone, revealed cards zone, and shields and effects zone have been removed from the right side of the battlefield and join the graveyard on the left side in a new zone control system. Here each zone is represented by a button under each player's profile picture. The buttons display how many cards or effects are in each zone, so you know at a glance if there is something you need to be aware of. In addition, when a card or effect enters a zone, you'll get an alert next to that zone's button.

New zone controls

Clicking the button for each zone opens it docked to the left side of the screen with the contents displayed. Each player's zones is separate, so you can choose exactly what you want to see at any given time—perfect for the Sultai player with a lot of delve spells who doesn't really care about what's in the opponent's graveyard. As with other areas in the client, you can grab and drag the side of the graveyard to widen it or narrow it as necessary.

Both player graveyards have been opened

If you have a larger screen or two monitors and you want to reclaim battlefield space, you can detach each zone into its own window and place it where you like. The windows can be resized and even moved outside of the duel window, much like the chat window. Closing the zone hides it until you open it again. The zones have default sizes, but if you have resized, detached, or moved a zone, Magic Online will remember its size and where you've placed it.

Floating graveyards, either of which could be closed or re-docked

We've also taken this opportunity to move the Options, Chat, and Game Details buttons to the left side of the screen, which frees up more space for your hand when the zones are collapsed. The default hand size has also been reduced slightly to make the starting size of cards on the battlefield bigger, though you can always adjust its size if you like.

In addition to the new zones, we've taken steps to ensure that all temporary windows are smarter. For instance, we'll now be saving three versions of a library window based on how many cards we expect to display: one, two to nine, and ten or more. Each version has its own settings, so you can adjust your full library view without changing your single card view.

One card revealed by Courser of Kruphix

Eight cards revealed by Genesis Hydra

Searching for an Island using a Flooded Strand

You may have also noticed we've adjusted the styling of the windows and icons to help them show up better on a crowded battlefield. We'll be keeping our eyes open for additional opportunities to tweak visuals while working on features.

Binder Filters

The collection provides a robust filter set that allows players to find cards (and other products) and add them to decks and binders easily. Once cards are added, small binders are relatively easy to manage, but once a binder has more than a hundred cards it becomes challenging to make edits, especially when looking for specific cards that don't rise to the top with basic sorting.

To address this, after the October 22 update you'll be able to apply any filters you've set for your collection to your binder, deck, or sideboard. The full suite of filters is available, so you'll be able to hone in on exactly what you're looking for.

Unfiltered collection and binder

When filtered, all the quantity data about your binder will be adjusted to match your filter results. For instance, the example binder shown has 652 objects when unfiltered, but searching for the word "brave" reduces the quantity to the eleven copies of Brave the Elements in the binder.

Filtered collection and binder only shows "brave" cards

We're currently investigating other improvements to this area as well, but the addition of the binder filter provides a much-needed boost to collection management.

Ratings Return

When we switched to the new version of Magic Online, one of the things that didn't make the transition was the ability for players to check their own ratings. From the feedback we've received, we know that many players desire a way to track their progress, so we've decided to bring back the ratings system from the previous client.

Player ratings

After the next update, players will be able to open their Game History (found in the Account screen) and review their Limited, Constructed, and Combined ratings, which will be fully up to date and include all of a player's previous tournament play history.

The ratings use the Elo system and only reflect performance in tournament events, not open play matches. The ratings are provided for informative purposes only, and are not used for prizes or other awards, nor will they be available in the player information box or otherwise be displayed publicly.

Continuous Improvement

In addition to the features above, we've been working fixing outstanding issues, especially around what we call the critical path areas: Duel Scene, Events, Collection, and Trade.

We've taken a major step forward in improving log-in time and fixed a major issue that caused players to occasionally wait on the "Loading Magic Online Files…" window for over ten minutes. While this was not one we could reproduce internally, player reports helped us find this issue and get it taken care of.

Patience of a saint no longer required

We've also addressed two major bugs around sideboarding. First, we've fixed a major bug that visually duplicated cards during sideboarding and prevented deck submission during Constructed and Limited events. Second, we've taken steps to ensure that after players submit their decks during sideboarding they remain connected to their tournament. Combined with the stalled loading issue, these represent a trifecta of issues that I'm sure everyone's glad to see go away.

In game, we've fixed several high-profile bugs, including an issue that prevented triggered abilities from displaying correctly; an issue that caused revealed hands to be shown during the next round of a tournament; and the infamous end of match window display bug, including both "Player A wins the game, Player B wins the match" and "Player A, Player A, Player A wins the match."

In Collection, we've fixed several display problems, including an issue that caused decks to display as though none of the cards were in the player's collection, an issue that could prevent the binder from updating correctly after an item was removed, a bug that was preventing cards in the sideboard from presenting their quantity correctly, and some fixes for the "Add all but 4" functionality. In Trade, we've fixed the issue that could prevent the "Trade Complete" dialog from showing during one-sided trades.

The full list of changes will available in an upcoming announcement on www.mtgo.com.

Next Steps

In the short term, we're continuing to focus on making the client perform better, including continued improvement in collection management, eliminating crashes, and addressing memory leak issues. While we have made many changes to the client, there is still room to grow, and we'll continue to make refinements and additions over the coming weeks and months.

Beyond performance, we'll continue updating previously released features, such as the event details screen; we'll be taking steps to improve the Collection, Play Lobby, and Home screens to better meet player needs; and we'll refresh the multiplayer version of the Duel Scene to incorporate many of the changes that we've made with the standard Duel Scene.

As always, let us know what you think of the changes by hopping on the forums, emailing us at MagicOnlineFeedback@wizards.com, following us on Twitter @MagicOnline, or filling in our feedback form. Also keep on the lookout for our Magic Online Satisfaction survey at the end of the month.

Happy gaming and have fun raising your banner in the Khans of Tarkir events!

Chris Kiritz
Digital Business Manager
Magic: The Gathering

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