Magic Online Announcements July 28, 2015

Posted in Magic Online on July 28, 2015

By David Whitfield

David works on the Magic community team as a content specialist. He spends his days writing about Magic Online and trying to play too many colors at once in Limited.

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An Update from Worth Wollpert

Hi everyone,

As I said back in late February, I wanted to make sure I checked in a few times throughout the year to give you all some information on what we've been up to. . .some things we’ve done, and some stuff you’ll see in the future.

Since then, we have indeed almost doubled the resource pool dedicated to Magic Online at this point compared to last year. Those new folks have spent time tinkering, innovating, fixing, testing, coding, testing again, and generally learning our systems. With the help of many of those new people, we are still committed to our previously stated goal of being as transparent as we can with you all. To that end, we have more Wizards employees than ever engaged in discussions with our community, with the goal of transforming the best parts of those conversations—be they on social media platforms, in the game itself, or in person at events—into the betterment of the game we all know and love.

Here are some specific things we’ve improved this year:

We have significantly lowered crash rates and improved event completion rates compared to last year through a focus on stability and memory/performance enhancements. We are still actively working in this area, but those of you who’ve started with us even as recently as a few months ago should have noticed a lessened load on your machines lately, particularly in CPU and RAM usage. As always, we have delivered the content that makes Magic amazing: the card sets. Work has been put into our processes and structure around card sets to ensure that even though we are delivering more content than ever before, what we release is of the high quality that the Magic brand deserves. Without giving too much away and scooping an upcoming article from Chris Kiritz, folks should expect positive news and a leagues update soon. I know folks can’t wait to play in them, and we can’t wait to give them to you all.

Even with a focus on improving stability and quality, everyone knows that bugs are a part of life in software development. How we communicate when we have those issues—and how quickly we resolve them—was another focus for us this year. A big part of our goal here was to be able to react quickly to critical issues. Earlier this year, we shipped some code that broke two cards that are major players in our Eternal formats. With some big events coming up, we wanted to make sure those cards were available and functioning correctly, so over the course of about 36 hours we got fixes coded, tested, and deployed, ensuring that the quality of the player experience for the events was maintained. This new process was on display just last week again with the quick fix to the Damnable Pact card bug. While a 36-hour turnaround is still not perfect, it represents a significant step forward for us in this area, and we will continue to improve our response times to critical issues.

Some of you told us that you didn’t understand the way that compensation requests were handled through our game support team, and expressed fear about reporting bugs or filing for compensation if an issue warranted it. Many of you also let us know that you wanted a bit more of a personalized experience when dealing with game support, so earlier this year we further tweaked some of our game support and reimbursement policies to be a bit warmer and more informational, with a higher level of personalized support. Players should never feel afraid to contact support for any reason, and our new processes that are delivering two-way troubleshooting information are not only helping you guys, they’re helping us fix those issues for other customers as well.

On the content side, common feedback we received on our Cube offerings was that they didn’t refresh often enough, and they weren’t available for long enough. We have addressed both of these points and will continue with our plan to leverage the digital medium of Magic Online in places like this where a new cube list from R&D—minus all the shuffling and administration required for real-world cubes—can make all the difference. Plus, where else can something like this happen? (h/t to Reddit user /u/iSage, sweet picture and great share!)

Regarding the recent Play Point introduction and Constructed event changes, you've told us that we have an opportunity to deliver a better play experience associated with the way we handle events, entries, and prizes. Because of that, these changes should be the first step in making "playing Magic" the easiest thing you do on Magic Online. As Lee alluded to in his article, not only would we love your feedback, but we will be hyper-vigilant in the coming months as we look at play patterns, retention rates, redemption, in-game economics, and many other core metrics to track actual customer behavior in the new system. We are of course open to making changes based on feedback and behavior when warranted.

You should be hearing from us more frequently in the months ahead. As I said above, we still have a lot of work to do to deliver the experience you all deserve with Magic Online, but I wanted to share some of the recent, tangible progress we’ve made with you and thank you for your feedback, your time, and your passion. Magic really does have the best fans in the world.

Thanks again.

Worth Wollpert
Director of Product—Magic Online

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Magic Origins R&D Feature: Original Intent

Magic Online R&D's Alli Medwin takes players on a tour of the development decisions behind Magic Origins in her latest article.

This time around, Alli talks about the interface design strategy for unusual cards introduced in Magic Origins such as Demonic Pact, about maintaining the balance of showing too much information versus too little, and a whole lot more.

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Magic Origins Release Events Going on Now

Release Events begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific (UTC-7) on Monday, July 27 and run through the Wednesday, August 12, downtime.

For Draft fans, the Pack-per-Win Swiss Draft makes its triumphant return and runs alongside the 8-4 and 4-3-2-2 Single Elimination Drafts in the Limited Queues Room. Try out any of the three and you'll get the Nissa, Vastwood Seer Avatar just for participating. Once you have a feel for the set, raise the stakes with the Magic Origins Release 64-Player Single Elimination Event, and get the Liliana, Heretical Healer Avatar while you're at it.

Prefer Sealed? Try out the Release Swiss Sealed and get the Kytheon, Hero of Akros Avatar—that's the only place you'll be able to earn it throughout Release Events. If you're looking for the biggest Sealed Event with the largest prize pool, mark your calendar for the Release Magic Origins Swiss Sealed. It runs in the Scheduled Events Room, and includes a Top 8 Draft. Participation in that event is one of two ways to get the Liliana, Heretical Healer Avatar.

Get the full Magic Origins Release Event schedule here.

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Constructed Changes Coming to Magic Online

Constructed play on Magic Online is undergoing some pretty big changes that will roll out during the Wednesday, August 12, downtime. In his latest article, Lee Sharpe talked about all of the new uses for the Play Points that replaced Phantom Points in player accounts on Wednesday, July 22.

Get the full details here.

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Prize and Event Rotations

Since Dragons of Tarkir/Fate Reforged is no longer the most recent Limited format, the 6-2-2-2 Swiss Draft Queue has been created for that format, while the 8-4 Single Elimination, 4-3-2-2 Single Elimination, and Pack Per Win Swiss Draft Queues for that format have been removed. Additionally, now that Magic Origins is the current core set, the Magic 2015 6-2-2-2 Swiss Queue has been removed.

Beginning after the Wednesday, July 29, downtime, Constructed Dailies and Constructed Queues that currently award Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir booster packs will begin awarding Magic Origins booster packs. See the below prize tables for a look at how prizes are changing.


Constructed 8-Player Queues

Place Prizes QPs
1st 5 Magic Origins booster packs 2
2nd 3 Magic Origins booster packs 1
3rd-4th 2 Magic Origins booster packs 0

Constructed 2-Player Queues

Place Prizes QPs
1st 1 Magic Origins booster pack 0

Constructed Daily Events

Match Wins Prizes QPs
4 Wins 11 Magic Origins booster packs 3
3 Wins 6 Magic Origins booster packs 1

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Double Pro Tour Qualifier Weekend

Attention all Pro Tour hopefuls, there's a double Pro Tour Qualifier (PTQ) weekend coming up! Standard Pro Tour Qualifier Preliminaries and the Magic Origins Sealed Pro Tour Qualifier Preliminaries begin tomorrow, July 29, and run through the day preceding each Finals Event.

Learn more about PTQs on Magic Online and get the full schedule here.

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Magic Origins Redemption Information

Magic Origins becomes available for redemption on Wednesday, August 26, about one month after its digital release. If you collect the whole set on Magic Online, you can exchange it for a full, paper version! If you're interested in redeeming Magic Origins, don't wait too long—because the set won't be available to redeem forever.

Learn more about Magic Online redemption.

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Redemptions Processed During July 29 Downtime Will Be Slightly Delayed

As a heads up to those of you who are planning to redeem a set sometime soon, we have a slight shipping delay on the horizon. Any redemptions that are processed during the Wednesday, July 29, downtime will not be shipped until Thursday, August, 6.

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Extended Downtime for July 29, 2015

  • All tournaments will close Wednesday, July 29, at 12:00 a.m. Pacific (7:00 UTC)
  • Store and trade activity will be suspended at approximately 2:45 a.m. Pacific (9:45 UTC)
  • The system will be down from 3:00 a.m. Pacific (10:00 UTC) until 1:00 p.m. Pacific (20:00 UTC)

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Build Notes

Magic Origins comes with exciting client updates to improve clarity of game events. A feature has also been added to prevent players from making decisions that would negatively impact them.

Promo Grants

  • The MOCS and MOPR Season 8 Promos will be granted during the downtime.

General

  • Store | Users in Luxembourg are now properly charged 17% VAT tax.

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Magic Origins Known Issues

Gameplay Issues

  • Collection | When zoomed, Magic Origins planeswalkers display the incorrect card symbol.
  • Duel Scene | Casting any red instant or sorcery automatically removes mana generated from Pyromancer's Goggles if the mana is already floating in the user’s mana pool.
  • Duel Scene | Creatures selected for the activated ability granted by Consecrated by Blood do not have a red highlight around the card. The number of creatures remaining to sacrifice is also incorrectly not displayed in the prompt box.
  • Duel Scene | Hallowed Moonlight does not create an ability in the effects zone.
  • Duel Scene | Murder Investigation does not display “X equals” blue rules text on the stack.
  • Duel Scene | The delayed triggered ability of Liliana, Defiant Necromancer incorrectly does not display association arrows with creatures sent to the graveyard.
  • Duel Scene | The first loyalty ability of Gideon, Battle-Forged removes attacking requirements from creatures.
  • Duel Scene | The game log does not list the seven cards revealed by Talent of the Telepath.
  • Duel Scene | The mana ability of Fertile Ground and similar cards incorrectly provides mana when the enchanted permanent is tapped for zero mana.
  • Duel Scene | Using the activated ability of Jace, Vryn's Prodigy when five or fewer cards are in the graveyard displays a placeholder string in the game log.

Client Issues

  • Duel Scene | In some circumstances, users are not allowed to choose the order of multiple replacement effects.
  • Duel Scene | Nissa, Sage Animist's third loyalty ability has an extra apostrophe in the text.
  • Duel Scene | The stack window incorrectly resizes only vertically and not horizontally.
  • Duel Scene | When Sakashima the Imposter copies a Timberpack Wolf, it does not get +1/+1 for other Timberpack Wolves.

Commander Issues

  • Duel Scene | In a Commander game, a Magic Origins planeswalker that is the player’s commander will not return to the battlefield transformed when its owner chooses to send it back to the command zone.
  • Duel Scene | We planned to implement the Commander rule commonly referred to as the “tuck rule” with the Magic Origins release during the July 22 downtime. This rule, which allows a player to put his or her commander in the command zone if it would go the library or hand, is proving more difficult than originally expected to implement. Because of this, the Commander change will not go live at this time. We want to take time to ensure the rule functions correctly in a wide, wide variety of Commander game situations, and that will take more development time.

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Ongoing and Upcoming Events

Now-August 12Magic Origins Release Events

July 29-July 31Standard Pro Tour Qualifier Preliminaries

July 29-August 1Magic Origins Sealed Pro Tour Qualifier Preliminaries

August 1Standard Pro Tour Qualifier Finals 9:00 a.m. Pacific (16:00 UTC)

August 2Magic Origins Sealed Pro Tour Qualifier Finals 7:00 a.m. Pacific (14:00 UTC)

August 5-August 7Season 8 Magic Online Championship Series Preliminaries

August 8Season 8 Magic Online Championship Series Finals 7:00 a.m. Pacific (14:00 UTC)

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