While some readers may be disheartened to see an article talking about beginners’ guides and FAQs leading the week, we implore you to read and leave your comments at the end of this piece. Only through community feedback will a project such as this reach the heights that it deserves! And don’t worry- regular content will resume tomorrow!
How often have you been in a game, reading an article or witnessing chat antics when something you’ve never seen before in the client pops up? How many times have you wondered simply how to play the game of Magic like you do around your kitchen table or in a local card store? How hard was it to get acclimated to the MTGO interface- trading, playing, deck building, or even chatting?
Whether you realize it or not, many players are in the dark when it comes to the full potential of Magic: the Gathering Online; even seasoned users, such as the MTGOAcademy staff, do not know all of the ins and outs of this massive program! If you scour the best centralized resource for MTGO, WotC’s new player forum (and associated search function), it can still be a massive undertaking to find the answer to your question. Sometimes, it’s hard to even find the words to describe your desired discovery! And because of this, we at The Academy hope to embark on a daunting journey to conglomerate information about the Magic Online software and the opportunities offered within.
MTGO represents one of the most accessible ways to play all sorts of Magic for many of its users and prospective users, but the sheer complexity of certain aspects of the program can be a deterrent. This information barrier should not bar anyone from gaming on the internet. If you can play Magic, you should be able to play in person or on your computer! What may seem basic to a veteran user can actually be quite difficult to randomly learn without guidance. An “Ultimate Guide” to MTGO (and the assorted tutorials and FAQs that accompany it) would aim to preemptively answer the vast majority of questions and educate all who read as to how to get the most from their MTGO experience.
Topics include (but are not limited to):
- Main features and benefits of Magic Online
- Computer hardware and software requirements
- How to obtain and run MTGO on a Windows computer
- How to run MTGO on a Macintosh
- Compiled info on the MTGO in development (fabled v4)
- How to create a new account (with tips for and information about new accounts)
- Magic‘s rules (and the MTGO rules engine and shuffler)
- Graphic User Interface (GUI) navigation and key area descriptions
- How to change your MTGO‘s skin
- Communication in-client (symbols, linking cards, etc.)
- Helpful links (WotC info, top deck lists, compensation/bug reporting form, etc.)
- Where to find cards (WotC store, finding singles online)
- Using the trading interface (wishlists, etc.)
- Using the deck building interface (importing text decks, Boolean logic, etc.)
- All you care to know about the game play interface
- Information about tournament and non-tournament game play (and PREs!)
- The various formats of Magic: the Gathering (huge, huge list!)
- And much, much more!
Much of the above information is covered in various places on the internet, but this project aims to aggregate it and add videos where pertinent; sometimes only-text descriptions can be confusing! The focus is resource building and creation of a go-to guide for anyone unfamiliar with MTGO (and the communities that come with it), but the creation process would create and imperfect result alone.
The Community’s Role
Enter everyone that has read this (and anyone with insight that you all might point here)! Your experiences with Magic Online can help us immensely, but you must speak (actually, type in this case) to be heard.
For anyone that likes to be prompted, try responding to one of these questions:
- What part of the interface is still confusing or do you find most confusing?
- Which area(s) would you like to know more about?
- Are there any pieces of advice that you feel like a player new to the game (or the program) should know before they plunge into MTGO?
- Where do you go to answer any questions you have about Magic or Magic Online (and please feel free to link them with a brief explanation of what information they were helpful in providing you)?
- What were the most shocking differences in MTGO when compared to paper Magic (if you played paper before playing online)?
Here is a sample anecdote (from ChrisKool’s beginner days… don’t laugh at his misfortune!):
“When I first started playing Magic Online, I did not understand how the marketplace/classifieds/auction room worked at all! I did, however, know a lot about the paper price market. After I had my fill of Limited (losing CHK Block Drafts, mostly), I decided to build a deck and headed to the open market. I had heard a lot about bots, so I entered trade with one that claimed to be selling all of its cards for 3 tickets each. Surely enough, the bot was stocked to the brim with cards and each one was only roughly 3 dollars! I snatched up some cards that were worth easily 5 dollars in paper, and before long, I had spent 21 tickets on what I perceived to be 35 dollars of cards. Well, it turned out that those cards were barely worth a single ticket a piece in the online economy! Once I figured out that MTGO prices do not directly follow paper prices (especially on lower value cards), I spent a lot of time researching costs at different bot chains and through classified advertisements before I made any purchase.”
Don’t feel the need to only use the above as guidance- anything that you think as helpful probably is!
In the end, we want a result similar to our current beginner’s guide (which is a good micro view of what we hope to achieve on a macro level). This can be done with the help of many- thanks in advance for all of your insight and commentary!
-The MTGOAcademy staff