Power Grab the Grinning Reiver Demon by the Horn!

Posted in Feature on July 6, 2004

By Chad Ellis

Community is what makes MTGO special. Sure, it's great knowing you can get a draft or a match at any point of day or night, but it's more than that. It's the friends we make, the whacky decks we find in casual multi-player, the Adepts and experienced players who take the time to answer questions or to hook new players up with some commons or uncommons for their deck.

Communities are about people, but they are also about stories. Stories define a community and the connections of the people within it. Stories make a community come alive. And thus we begin this week's column with a request for your stories about people who have contributed to the MTGO community.

Do you know someone who created an important user room for MTGO? Who helps new players with their decks? Who answers questions so that people get the most out of their time online? Has someone made your MTGO experience better by their generosity, their example, or their kindness? Then tell me. And it's not just being nice. Did someone create a defining deck for a casual format? Is there a trader who consistently impresses you with his or her fairness and good service? Communities are formed by all sorts of interactions, so what matters is that it's important to you.

You can tell me either by posting your nomination in the forum for this column or by emailing me with the subject line “Nomination”. (I read all of my email so it'll work even if you don't use “Nomination” but it'll make my life easier if you do.) In a couple of weeks I'll put up the stories that I think are the most deserving and we'll have a vote for the winner.

Since this is Demon Week, the winner (and by winner I mean the person IN the story, not the person submitting it, although you can certainly nominate yourself) will get a foil version of each of Magic Online’s demon cards (Grinning Demon, Havoc Demon, Reiver Demon, Promise of Power, and Demon’s Horn). Nothing earth-shattering, but the prize isn’t supposed to be the point, just a nice little extra for the winner. (And what more appropriate way to reward such a nice person than with a bunch of demon cards?)

By the way…if you don't have any stories, go make some. Find some players that could use the help and offer up a bunch of your commons. The five or ten minutes you spend letting people reduce the number of Shocks you have from 47 to 22 won't matter to you, but it will matter a lot to them. If you're an experienced player, offer to play deck doctor with someone who could use your advice. It'll feel good, and you could win some rares in the process!

And then there's the fame. Don't forget the fame.

Back before he was stolen from us by Wizards, Alan Comer was an important part of the Pro Tour community. (How's that for a segue?) Anyway, now of course Alan is my man-on-the-inside for MTGO card programming and development. With Fifth Dawn just around the corner, Alan's deadline for sending 5D to quality control for their final pass is, well, today. (Today meaning Tuesday, when this column goes up - as I'm writing this, it's still “Next Tuesday,” and they still have several days to go.) Anyway, it seemed like a good time to talk to Alan and see how things are going. And it turns out that Alan has found a rather unusual way of handling bugs.

“I have decided that Voodoo is the way to go,” explains Alan, at least when it comes to Fifth Dawn's most challenging card, All Suns Dawn. “Every time I find a new bug I stick a pin in the copy of All Suns Dawn that I own. It looks pretty cool.” Just in case the card has any doubts about how Alan feels about it, it is apparently sitting in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus as well.

All Suns Dawn remains the toughest challenge, according to Alan. “Because the code is so complicated in targetting, anything I do there could have complications that I don't realize. As such, any time a targetting bug comes in, it is given the highest priority so that I can get a fix back into beta (testing) to make sure nothing else goes wrong.” Most All Suns Dawn bugs are fixed and sent back for testing within a few hours.

Don't despair, though. Alan and his team are confident of meeting their deadline. “I currently have eight bugs that I need to solve before release, and Rachel Reynolds has seven. There are also a bunch of fixes for old bugs coming in this release.” So while no complex software is ever bug free, MTGO at least looks like it's on an improving path.

Live update: Alan just messaged me…he's down from eight to just two bugs now, one of which is new. Let's wish him luck on meeting today's deadline and get back to work building our community!

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