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MTGO Adds a New Subgame: Random Bannings!

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Beware, MTGO users, there's something new to be afraid of.

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If you've used Magic Online for any significant amount of time, you know that lag, bugs, crashes, and other errors are common. Thankfully, Wizards of the Coast seems to be aware of that fact and has a compensation system worked out for when you might run into a problem.

On average, I file for compensation in one out of every four or five events I play in Magic Online. I don't always file when I think it would be warranted (for example, if I win a match despite a bug, I usually say whatever), and I never file for spurious reasons. To WOTC's credit, the company responds relatively quickly to these requests and virtually always approves them.

However, the above tweets and Maitland Cameron's expanded version of the events are scary. We don't, of course, know for sure that these two individuals were not abusing the system, but if we take what they're saying at face-value, frequent MTGO players have reason to be concerned. Cameron said it well in his response to Magic Online: 

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Basically, this little intimidation tactic has sent the message to MTGO players: "Think twice before you file for compensation. Even if you have a good reason to file, we may decide you're filing too often and suspend or ban you without recourse. You may get compensated for an event, and then two weeks later, when you barely remember it even happening, we'll decide to give you a timeout. Want to avoid that? It may be better to not file for  compensation."

So what's the right way to respond to this situation? Personally, this makes me uneasy to have a large number of tickets or cards in my account, as WOTC may just decide to deny me access to those items on a temporary or permanent basis. And yes, I'll think twice about submitting compensation requests, but I won't be changing my behavior much, because as a rule, I don't submit requests without merit. But now that this is a thing, I'll have that little voice telling me to be afraid of the banhammer every time I experience a problem on MTGO.

It's almost enough to make one want to just avoid the program altogether.

(Right as soon as Legacy Cube ends, seriously. #addict)

Danny Brown

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

View More By Danny Brown

Posted in Free, MTGO

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18 thoughts on “MTGO Adds a New Subgame: Random Bannings!

    1. It’s a giveaway that he qualifies his position with the argument, “even if I am gaming the system and submitting comp requests, if they are valid you have to compensate me.”

      Chances are, he found a minor bug in a card interaction and keeps hitting it while submitting for compensation on the basis that he is technically correct. That’s my prediction.

  1. First- why oh why oh why do people continue to use such a poor program? If MTGO is my only way to play, then I simply will not play; there is plenty of other stuff I can do with my time.

    Having to file for compensation about 1 out of every 4 times? That’s not glitchy or faulty, that’s just flat-out garbage.

    Second- Is it confirmed that these random bannings are targeting people who regularly file for compensation? Is it possible the accounts were hacked and someone started filing spurrious compensation requests? If the account wasn’t hacked and this really is in response to filing X compensation requests in Y amount of time, then I really want to see someone rationalize continuing to use MTGO.

    MTGO is quickly becoming the equivalent of tobacco products; it’s such common knowledge that they’re really bad that, if someone uses them and gets sick, he/she really doesn’t have anyone to blame but themself.

    1. It is bullshit. I played over 350 matches this month and only had problems in one of them and i won it anyway. Mtgo isn’t that bad as people are picturing it to be.

      1. @taste of blood: so personally you don’t experience many problems, so everyone else is probably doing it wrong and/or lying?
        If you’re so ignorant, why bother communicating here in the first place?

        That’s just trolling stupid what you say. Open your eyes and look beyond than your own personal circle.

        1. Because i want to communicate that things are well for me. And probably there’s a bunch of people that are going well too and simply don’t communicate that. It’s much more easier to communicate to complain so at least i can be a voice defending the game that works very well here.

          1. I’ve had no technical issues with MTGO since v3 disappeared, but honestly I only ever draft and play the occasional sealed PPTQ. I play maybe one event a week, so perhaps I just don’t play the volume I need to in order to experience these bugs.

  2. ‘What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.’

    You have taken two isolated incidents and drawn drastic conclusions. Your entire article comes across as ill informed and ignorant. Why would you take such a strong position that you clearly know nothing about? All of us reading the article can see that there is no point in talking about it because we don’t have the whole story.

    I don’t know if you’ve been wronged in the past by MTGO but this article just comes across as some weird fear mongering…

  3. I have a friend who went through this exact same scenario: MTGO screwed up, he filed a claim, it was approved. He did this many, many times because the program is terrible… And then literally for no apparent reason, they issued him a 7 day ban. No reason, and no appeal allowed. The program is garbage and they don’t want to pay anyone to fix it, but players are stupid enough to keep pouring money into it, so WotC keeps getting away with garbage in/garbage out.

  4. MTGO is the technological equivalent of supporting a political candidate – every so often you are lured into a little hope for a better tomorrow; 15 years later nothing has changed except the attitudes of all involved. However, requesting a refund for one out of every three or four events seems unreasonably excessive even by the most pessimistic standards.

  5. I played the beta in 2013. Knowing the client before it launches is a big advantage (I’m convinced I won games this way). I sent them the feedback I had. Compensation is needed to gather feedback from customers.
    In 2014, the beta was done and the client was launched. I did not feel any difference.
    In 2015 I’m stilling experiencing bugs that I reported in 2013 when it was in beta. I still get compensation really fast, which indicates that this happens more or less automatic. At least this explains why nothing is done with a large part of the feedback.
    My conclusion:
    Communication sucks. I don’t get feedback on my feedback. I can understand this because they probably get thousands of feedbacks, but there should be a way to communicate about this.
    If you find someone abusing the system: communicate first. Ask why, how,… And do something about it.
    The let people abuse the system they created and then throw them out.

  6. What can we do about it?
    My actions:
    – Stop spending money on MTGO. Luckily, I’m good with my modern deck, and have some good speculations so I can keep playing with the tix I have left.
    – Avoid bugs. I know what can create certain bugs, I avoid them. That’s not how it should be, but it’s reality. They are missing the feedback, but I’m not sure they care about that.
    PS: I do some software testing in my job, and compared with that, WOTC screws up a lot. I can’t believe

  7. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’ve never encountered any bugs that made me file for compensation. I used to play Magic on an older laptop that had served me well for years and them when the program updated to its current client it began to run like crap. The first couple of drafts that I tried to play, the game seemed horribly laggy and buggy with some of the cards not seeming to work correctly. I, naturally, became very frustrated with this. For a very long time I wouldn’t draft or spend any money on the game as it continued to run horribly for me on even the games that were just for fun.

    I ended up having to buy a new laptop for work and decided to try Magic on my new machine running Windows 8.1 and having plenty of memory (6GB) and now Magic runs beautifully for me. I draft several times a day most weekends and play whenever I can spare a few min for a casual game and haven’t had any issues with the program in over 3 months. I’m actually beginning to think that most people’s problems with the game stem from the fact that it’s a memory hog and people’s computers are trying to run to many things at once for the memory that they have. I could be wrong as I’m not a computer expert or anything like that, but that’s just my experience.

    1. Agreed. We all know MTGO is not a good program, and I am not about to defend it’s flaws. However, if you are having serious issues with more than 20% of the events in which you play, it’s probably time to either a) get a different/better computer or b) stop playing MTGO. My 3 year old cheap laptop rarely has significant issues, and when there is a problem, it’s almost always related to the infamous memory leak and I can deal with it by rebooting. If that wasn’t the case, I’d stop banging my head against the wall (or, maybe it’s nice to have a backdoor way to go infinite???).

  8. Rather than just bashing MTGO, we *should* be providing constructive criticism, especially writers. If they can’t see what the proper course of action should be, maybe we should be helpfully steering them in that direction when they eventually read this (Hi Worth!)

    To wit: Rather than just banning without explanation, I propose that WotC *should* be alerting users to the perceived violation(s), and then helping them find a solution.

    For example, at the v4 switchover, I was probably quite close to getting a ban, as I had connection issues that killed roughly 25% of my drafts. Turns out there was a setting on my modem/router that MTGO really didn’t like. I only figured this out while debugging another problem.

    Had this occurred recently, I’d probably be banned. IF WotC would dedicate a few resources to “repeat reimbursement resolution”, I’m sure this problem could have been ferreted out much sooner, preventing a lot of ire from me towards MTGO.

  9. OK, so computer is important.
    WOTC:
    A) communicate better that we need a perfect PC to be able to use your software
    B) make your software compatible with computers that are not perfect, like everyone else.

    Just an example. If my wireless connection doesn’t work for a short time, and I’m in a draft, it takes a long time to log in again. Why?
    OK, it’s good that my decks are now stored on a server instead of a local map, but if it takes 20 seconds to download 5 decks, you better keep it the old way.
    I logged in but where is my draft? Oh, it needs almost 5 minutes to start that draft again.
    My computer may be not the newest model, but I bought quality.

    If a connection problem occurs in any other game software that needs connections, it never takes so long as MTGO to establish connection again and continue the game. And I can image it’s more difficult for game software to solve that then for MTGO. But these guys at least now the importance for that. You can blame the customer, or you can keep them happy. Customer is king.

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