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Why Is Cube Available on MTGO so Infrequently?

Are you a Cube enthusiast? Do you find it hard to get a group of six or eight players together to draft? Well, you’re in luck, good sir or madam, for Magic Online has got you covered. As often as you’d like, you can throw down in a good old-fashioned Cube draft on MTGO in as little as three hours.

Sound too good to be true?

Well, I suppose it is. Because much as I would love to be able to draft the MTGO Cube as often as I’d like, it’s unavailable for large portions of the year.

dismalfailure

MTGO’s new Legacy Cube seems to be a solid improvement over the old one, inasmuch as there are fewer dead and bad cards in the list. When it was available a couple weeks ago, I played in over a dozen drafts.

Then Wizards of the Coast took Cube offline. How much MTGO have I played since then? Absolutely none.

The reasoning for the periodic availability is pretty intuitive. By making something infrequent, WOTC is attempting to make it special. In a sense, I agree with the business strategy. After all, whenever Cube is available, I play it virtually non-stop. If it was around all the time, players might become bored or distracted and have no incentive to log on to MTGO.

But as it is, now I tend to log on to Magic Online on a Wednesday, see that Cube is no longer available, log out, and don’t open the program again until Cube is back.

misstep

On top of that, there’s the issue of Holiday Cube. You know what’s awesome? Playing with broken cards. So why have we only been allowed to do so for a scant few weeks during one of the busiest times of the year?

In his article about the Legacy Cube, Randy Buehler indicated that he agreed with this line of thought. On his recent Limited Resources appearance, Buehler said he told WOTC that there is more than one holiday a year, and that the Holiday Cube should reflect that. So now the powered list will be available twice a year instead of once.

I say this isn’t good enough. If customers are willing to pay for a product, especially  a product not subject to production limitations, isn’t it in a company’s best interest to make that product available? And yet WOTC has decided to create an artificial shortage. It just doesn’t make any sense.

The Legacy Cube should be available for drafting 100 percent of the time. I’d love if the Holiday Cube was also available this often, giving drafters an alternative to the non-powered list, but if WOTC wants to create an artificial shortage of its digital products, the powered version seems like a fine thing to implement on an intermittent basis. But only twice a year? No way.

Obvious answer: the Legacy Cube should be available to draft all the time, and the Holiday Cube (which should be renamed to the Vintage Cube for consistency) should be available several times a year—as often as Legacy Cube is available now.

I’ve seen Twitter discussions saying that Cube is the only redeeming quality of Magic Online. Which seems like a better plan: leaning on your biggest strength—or hiding it?

Post categories: Cube, Drafting, Free, MTGO


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Danny Brown

Danny Brown

Danny is a Cube enthusiast and the Director of Content for Quiet Speculation.

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6 thoughts on “Why Is Cube Available on MTGO so Infrequently?

  1. Beyond “make us a bunch of money”, MTGO has no real direction. They don’t have a longterm view and don’t have any real strategies beyond what they’ve done years past.

    They have no idea how to properly manage the card economy and have no actual desire to do things “good for players” unless it falls into their very shortsighted opinion of what’s good for their pockets.

    In many respects, MTGO stands in stark contrast to how the rest of the company is run and continues to make an insulting amount of money in spite itself.

    1. Will never happen without WotC monetizing it which will kill it. There’s no benefit to them creating a product that will let you copy their product card for card and draft it free.

      And once there’s money attached to it, I’m not paying to play someone random’s crappy untested cube.

      1. You would have to own the cards on MTGO. This likely involves buying tickets. Also, they could make it so that it costs tickets to host your cube. And my idea didn’t involve playing with strangers necessarily. You can have entry allow buddies only just like in the casual constructed matches.

        1. The problem becomes you “hosting a draft” — which is an activity that people REALLY enjoy on MTGO and pay a lot of money for. People come out of the woodwork for the limited cube offerings and play the hell out of it. What’s to stop you or someone else from simply copying their cube 1:1?

          In order for it to be enticing for WotC to allow it, they would have to recoup enough from you hosting your own cube to cover what they’d get from their cubes… and I don’t think that would be appealing to most people.

          On top of that game-driven revenue, they would need to recoup the cost of actually developing the functionality… and we can make some guesses that it costs MTGO way more for new features than a normal software department would.

          There’s a lot of things I would change if I had my way with MTGO. Sadly, I think this idea (which I agree would be fun) is one of the many that they will never implement.

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