The New Magicthegathering.com

Posted in Feature on August 18, 2008

By Scott Johns

It's been a long time coming, but I'm very happy to announce that the new magicthegathering.com is right around the corner. In this article I'll give you some first looks at what the new site will look like, how it's set up, and some of the new tools, activities, and other features we can't wait to set you loose on.

Ready to go? Click here to start it up!

One of the biggest issues with the current site is that the front page is way too busy because it has to accomplish way too many different things. On the new site we've grouped everything into five separate sections to clean things up. The page you see above is from our new flavor-based section, "The Multiverse," as you can see from the lit up button in the navigation across the top. As the screenshot shows, your options on the left will adjust to whichever section of the web site you are reading, plus three resource links that appear on all pages: Gatherer, Forums, and the Magic Locator.

Speaking of screenshots, there are a couple things I should mention. First, these were taken using our development environment, so that means I had to crop them in tighter than normal because any farther out and I'm just distracting you with the tools we use to make and update the pages. So, the edges on the new site aren't truncated the way they'll appear in these shots. Also, I took these while we were still finishing up the new site to give you this early look inside. So some of what you see may go through minor changes or show some placeholder content. For example, the "Publishing" section you see on these shots will actually be called "Books" when you see it live (or shortly thereafter).

Next up is a page from the Trading Card Game section.

Again, remember that the top navigation sets the section and then the left nav lets you pick areas from within that section. Here you see the Shards of Alara product section, which shows how we'll be handling what used to be minisites on the old site. (Same type of content, but now it's part of the site and all in one place.)

Above you see another area in the Trading Card Game section, "New to Magic." This area replaces playmagic.com as the place to send new players. It features resources for players just starting out, and we're developing even more tools for down the road.

Next up is Daily MTG. This section is where we've moved all of the articles and other daily / weekly content. I can't show you this one quite yet, but I can tell you that despite the new look and feel you'll still find all your old favorites (Ask Wizards, Card of the Day, Magic Arcana, all of the current columns, and event coverage) plus new features. And now that we've got major sections for all of the other parts of the website, I think you'll find that this magazine section of the web site is much cleaner.

When you get to see it for yourself one of the more prominent things you'll notice is the Daily Activity, something different to do on each day of the week. One activity we've added is the Booster Draft Simulator.

This new feature lets you try your hand at a simulated booster draft against seven computer drafters complete with an AI that takes card power, previous cards, and previous colors drafted into account. These are duplicate drafts, so when you're done you'll have the chance to record the cards you ended up with and then compare notes to other players that tried drafting with this pool of cards. Each week we'll load in a new draft for you to practice your skills. Initially we'll be offering this using core set packs, but down the road we may open this up to other expansions as well.

Much of the new site is translated for all nine Magic languages. Most of the Daily MTG content is still English-only but sections like The Multiverse and Trading Card Game offer resources and tools for any of the languages currently supported by the game.

Above you see the top of the "White" page of The Multiverse. A quick hint: clicking those arrows will take you through an art gallery. The Multiverse section has a page like this for each of the colors of Magic as well as pages for many of the recent planes the game has visited. Ready for a double sneak peek? Click here.

Sorry it's just a screenshot so you can't click those arrows to see more! For now that's all I can show you, but I hope you've enjoyed this early tour. Many people have been working hard for months to bring this new web site to you, and I can't wait to see it live. And as things stand right now, it looks like that's just under two weeks or so away.

Speaking of soon, I'm also happy to announce that the public beta of the new Gatherer should be going live shortly as well. This completely redesigned version fixes issues with the current Gatherer and adds streamlined simple search, the option for advanced search with a whole menu of options (including Boolean operators), the chance to rate and comment on every Magic card ever made, the ability to view any search as a visual spoiler, and more.

We've got a ton of great new things right around the corner, and I can hardly wait. Now that you've had a first look I hope you feel the same. Even better, this is really just the start. We've got a whole slate of things coming over the next year and beyond that I'm sure you're going to love, so it's a very exciting time to be on the web team. Keep watching the site as all these new things come online, and in the meantime click the message board link below and let us know what you think.

Scott Johns
magicthegathering.com Editor in Chief

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