Addendum #3: This is a repost of an article I wrote for the original Wide Beta Spotlight. If you haven’t read it yet, now is a good moment to remember why giving feedback on the Beta will be in your interest, as well as Wizards’.
Addendum #2: Now that the Wide Beta Spotlight has been rescheduled for June 12. 2003, (as stated in this article), I implore everyone to take a moment to read over this and then help Wizards with constructive feedback!
Addendum: The Wide Beta Spotlight has been postponed (and you can read about it in this article), but I believe that the points in this article are still relevant. Maybe, when the Spotlight is rescheduled, some tutorial videos will make sense! Also, please feel free to leave your opinions in the comments below; they will make nice discussion points for the reschedule!
Anyone that regularly plays Magic Online is probably at least somewhat aware of “Shiny,” the Magic Online Wide Beta client. As the Wide Beta client will soon be the “only Magic Online client,” it may well be the most important topic in the Magic Online realm today! Luckily (for us and them), Wizards has implemented a feedback tool so that our opinions can be cataloged, aggregated, and absorbed by the Magic Online Wide Beta development team. This short article will detail the Magic Online Wide Beta Spotlight, describe its importance in relation to increasing (or maintaining) functionality within Magic Online, and set forth options that you (the Magic Online player) ought to take over the coming days.
What Is the Wide Beta Spotlight?
You may have read that the Prerelease Events for Dragon’s Maze are starting a day early: tomorrow, Thursday, May 9, 2013! [Editor's Note: These dates have now changed, as per the postponement discussed above. --PlanetWalls] To get access to them (or to get access to Magic Online at all from after the May 8 downtime until May 10, 2013, 10:00 AM Pacific), all interested parties must log on using the Wide Beta client (available for download here). This 30-some hour period is the Magic Online Wide Beta Spotlight, a period that exists solely to get our opinions on the client that is looming (with a launch date forecast for sometime in July 2013).
What Does It Mean to You?
Before we get into why you should take advantage of this opportunity, feedback and bugs on the Wide Beta client can (and should) be communicated to Wizards of the Coast through these handy links:
- Leave feedback on the Wide Beta Client
- Log into your Wizards Account to report bugs via Customer Support Contact Us page
- Log into your Wizards Account to share your opinions on the Magic Online forum
The Wide Beta Spotlight is a big opportunity for all of us to shape the program that we are going to have to use for the foreseeable future. The feedback survey and the Magic Online forum both provide chances to comment on the interface design and the user experience, two foundational components of the program. Also, reporting bugs assists Wizards in strengthening the user experience and stabilizing the program.
Until Wizards feels that these areas are strong, they will not focus as much about improving the user experience through events and new features. What does this entail precisely? We don’t know entirely, but given the current trends during development, we might assume the following:
- Magic Online organized play will remain fairly stagnant until the new client reaches a point where Wizards feels they can shift resources from development of the client itself to development of the experience within the client. (This is related to leagues.)
- New features and important upgrades to existing features that are not critical to the core user experience will not occur until the client has been stabilized. (Major overhauls to multiplayer games and trading fit under this category.)
- Wizards will not pursue an aggressive expansion of the player-base and resources associated with this initiative until the beta client is respectable. (A larger player-base might support new events, such as fringe formats, more frequent out-of-print drafting, leagues and the like. It could also lead to Wizards adding talented individuals to the Magic Online team to help realize goals that seem like only dreams at the moment. Lastly, the news about the Power 9 possilbly being released on Magic Online and other promotions like it most likely will take a backseat to the development of a positively received Magic Online client. In other words, if we help fix it, they will come.)
As users of Magic Online, new features such as those above could benefit us greatly. It makes sense, then, to help Wizards get to a point where they can focus on these initiatives, and providing constructive feedback on the Wide Beta client is one of the best ways for us, the average user, to make a positive difference!
How to Proceed
The best way to provide constructive feedback on the Wide Beta client involves trying all of the features of Magic Online that we regularly use. I suggest opening a text editor and taking notes to later report to Wizards. Here are some examples of things that we might try:
- Add a buddy from the Home screen.
- Message a buddy or clan member from the Home screen
- Create a deck or two in the Collection tab
- Create a Binder for trading in the Collection tab
- Create a Wish List for trading in the Collection tab
- Navigate to different types of Constructed and Limited events in the Play tab
- Play in a Constructed or Limited event, like a Prerelease (remember that we can file for a refund if something related to the Wide Beta client ruins our experience)
- Play a casual game or three in the Play tab
- Challenge a buddy to a game
- Purchase something from the Wizards Store (which will be necessary for anyone playing a Sealed Prerelease)
- Enter a Magic Online Promo Code in the Store tab to get a free card (such as “WBSpotlight”)
- Post a trade message in the Trade tab
- Change your Active Trade Binder
- Make a trade with a buddy or someone that has a message in the Trade tab (many bots, unfortunately including MTGO Academy’s, will be down during the Spotlight; see our announcement for more information)
- Go to the Account tab and explore the different options
- Explore the Help tab (and notice that there is a link to request a reimbursement!)
In addition to these specific tasks, we should also take note of any overall points, including layout, design, and system performance. Then, armed with our notes, we are ready to submit bugs and to provide feedback! Please, remember that we must be respectful, provide suggestions, and offer detailed accounts of our findings (both positive and negative) in order for the feedback to be valuable to Wizards.
Hopefully, everyone that plays Magic Online over the next two days looks at this as an opportunity. Despite the Wide Beta Spotlight being possibly annoying to many users (MTGO Academy included), such a concerted push shows that Wizards wants to have users try the program out and comment as soon as possible so that their feedback can be taken into account as we approach the July deadline when the Wide Beta client becomes simply the “Magic Online client”). Please, seize this chance to shape development of the new client in a positive way and continue to provide feedback whenever Wizards deploys an update! (Updates are tracked in the Magic Online forum’s Wide Beta Changelist thread.)
Thank you for reading,
ChrisKool on Magic Online
2011 Community Cup Participant
@MTGOAcademy on Twitter