Thursday, June 30, 2011

Common Knowledge: Diamonds in the rough


Every set of Magic has it's power rares and mythics, but there are also many commons that can provide you with a good margin if you get them at the right price. When your collection starts running into thousands or tens of thousands of cards, it can be easy to focus on the money rares and forget about all those cards that are worth less than 1 Tix.

With Commander being released next week we can expect to see a surge of interest in older cards which are almost unplayable in any other format and by keeping up with trends you can make good profits by stocking up on these cards and keeping your prices competitive. If you're not an EDH/Commander player, now is the perfect time to start doing some research and advertising some of the less popular cards which will soon be sought after.

Remember your bot allows you to tailor which cards are advertised in your classifieds ad through the CardsForAdvertisement text file so adding random EDH staples to your classifieds ads is a breeze. It's probably a good time to up your buy limits on certain cards as people will be buying the Commander precons and then trading up to tailor the decks to their needs. If you go to the collection tab in the bot you can easily change the sets you wish to purchase and how many of each card you want and don't forget you can specify individual cards in your PersonalPrices text file.

MTGO Library Bot 4.38 is out!

MTGO Library Bot 4.38 is out. It slightly changes the way you set the "Classified" messages. Now you can have a different message for busy/open even without prefixing |BUSY|OPEN|. This is useful if you want to create custom |BUSY|OPEN| prefixes (for instance with symbols or fonts) without using the default ones.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Things to avoid while doing business on Magic Online!

Many  players search the endless lists of bots in Magic Online Classifieds for  a trade. Sometimes, the player gets what he wants and all will end the best way as both customer and bot owner are satisfied. Most of the time though the customer won't be satisfied and will search elsewhere for a better deal, things like this happens in the supposedly free market of the Magic Online Classifieds.
There are times though when the customer won't only be disappointed by the deals offered to him, but more than that he will feel he would be ripped off and totally deceived had he accepted the deals presented to him by that bot-store owner.

Even worse , some customers will be surprised to find that what was advertised by a specific bot has nothing to do with the trade deals that are really offered to him.

The customer of our last example will most likely make a mental note not to use this trader again and will certainly not advice other players to use this trader in their future trades!

The owner of the specific bot has just lost a chance to trade and any potential client that user might have brought to his service.
Here is some advice i would give the future and current bot owners in order to avoid their potential customers from evading their bot on site.
First of all, keep prices updated to some extend. Some costumer might love to buy that Bloodbraid Elf for his collection and will be totally disatisfied if it sees it at a 3 tickets price tag. Many customers need cards that are not currently played but were once staples ,so make the most of it and dont leave those cards at an out of date extravagant price tag.

Furthermore , don't advertise something that is different from what you actually offer! When you claim to offer a card at 5 tickets price at your advertisement on Magic Online Classifieds people will be irritated to find out that your bot is asking for 6 tickets instead. Apart from deceiving them ,your are wasting their time after all.

Finally,there is no point in offering ridiculously low prices on cards that cost more. People aren't stupid and although one or two individuals might be ripped off at some trades for your great profit , most people will notice and learn to avoid your bot at all costs!

Having a profitable bot-trader on Magic Online may prove difficult, that it why you should avoid mistakes that will make your business eventually fail!


Initializing your Website Strategy



Now that you’ve decided to take the next step in promoting your MTGOLibrary Bot to new customers, we are going to look at inexpensive website strategies. As discussed in my previous articled “Starting to realize your Bot’s true Potential”, the Wizard’s Community Blogs is a good place to begin but if you want to realize the full sales potential of your Bot you will want to build a website. With a website, you will be able to centralize your Bot’s marketing strategy as well provide additional services to your clients like highlighting sales or new releases. In the past this may have cost you a minimum of $500 to do but with the Open Source software like Wordpress you can do almost all of it yourself.

One of the great things about Wordpress and other Open Source solutions like it is that you don’t need to know anything about programming code to set it up yourself. Using a web hosting provider that automatically installs Wordpress for you like Dreamhost or GoDaddy will greatly simplify the process. Once installed, from the Administration panel you can use the Plugin’s tab to install third party apps like Akismet for controlling spam, Socialable for adding Social Media links to your posts and WP to Twitter to advertise your articles on your Twitter account.

You can also download one of the many Themes available from Wordpress’s site from within the Administrator panel. Located under the Appearance tab in “Themes”, you can browse through some of the many user submitted designs they have available online and Wordpress will automatically install them for you without you having to download anything. Another good resource for custom themes is websites like Themeforest where you can purchase a custom theme that is more your style.

Once you’ve picked a theme that you like and have Wordpress setup we’ll be able to explore unique plugins designed especially for Magic the Gathering and marketing your site. Your website can become the tool that will change the way you do business on the MTGO Market and we will continue to explore this next week.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Server running, MTGO Library Bot 4.37 is out!

Hello to everyone,
the server is now up and running, and the new version, 4.37, has been released. In total we had 18 hours of downtime. Sorry for the issue!

How WotC deals with inflation/deflation.

Last time we concluded our discussion on inflation and deflation. Armed with this background knowledge, we are going to look at how Wizards of the Coast deal with this for Magic the Gathering Online and how it affects those of us who run bots.
First off, Wizards of the Coast is in the business of making money. Now, this may shock some, but they really do care about the health of MTG. They want to make as much money as possible. I can hear some of you screaming now “No wonder they charge $4.29 per pack!” or “Is that why they release four (4) sets a year?” WotC has addressed these concerns on their site.
This may also shock some people but WotC also cares about the secondary market for its cards as well. Why? When it comes to physical Magic playing, the stores that sell booster packs, also sell the cards individually. This is how these card stores and gaming centers can get extra money. They can buy/sell individual cards and sell them on the secondary market. If there are no places to play Magic, then Magic as a game will dwindle and die away.
The same is true for the online market. Having bots buy/sell excess cards from players is a great way to bring in casual players to the scene and a way to get beginners involved without a high entry fee. I can purchase a couple hundred cards for a couple of dollars, experiment with them and can even enter tournaments using said cards and can have a reasonable chance to doing well. This is healthy for Magic, so it is in WotC's best interests to keep the secondary market alive and well.
So what specifically has WotC done to keep card values stable? Back in the early days, Invasion cards were going for a real premium. I've even heard at one point there were only three (3) copies of a certain rare foil in existence in the entire MTGO universe. So what did WotC do? They had events using Invasion cards which would increase the supply of said cards so that those who desired them, can obtain them at a reasonable price.
Deflation is more of a concern. When a set rotates out, the demand of said cards plummets. Since WotC creates this problem by rotating what is acceptable in standard and extended formats, Wizards must also address it in the secondary market as well. Otherwise, people will dump their supply just before they rotate out and the physical card shops and bots get stuck holding the bag.
So, WotC also stops printing boosters. This is done to keep the prices stable. Otherwise, a trickle of cards would enter the market as those boosters would be opened and increase the supply of cards, keeping the prices set low.
In conclusion, WotC really desires a strong secondary market for its cards because that makes their business, selling a tournament experience and booster packs, much strong and that makes them (and us who run bots) stronger in the end.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Server down UPDATE

Hello to everyone,
the mtgolibrary.com server will be up again in 12 hours. In the meanwhile, your bot won't launch and will try to updated to 4.37 in an endless loop 

Winning on a budget! Blue green infect!

"Winning on magic online standard daily events requires a lot of money for a standard legal deck."
This statement is totally False , though many are the players  that think so and will go as far as to spend great amounts of cash in order to win in standard daily tournaments and make amends for the money they spent to build their 400$ plus decks.

Today i bring you a deck list that has won a lot during the last weeks and it has certainly paid more than double the amount of tickets that were needed to create the specific list. The original creator of the list was Pepperlips on Magic the Gathering : Online and has requested that the name of his list was to be Spicy Kisses.

Here is the original list.


Blighted Agent
Glistener Elf
Ichorclaw Myr
Spellskite

Creatures [13]
Apostle's Blessing
Distortion Strike
Giant Growth
Gitaxian Probe
Groundswell
Livewire Lash
Vines of Vastwood
Spells [24]
10 Forest
Inkmoth Nexus
Island
Misty Rainforest
Lands [23]

SIDEBOARD
Expedition Map
Mental Misstep
Mutagenic Growth
Nature's Claim
Sideboard [15]
Deck Total [60]


Creating the list i just presented to you might cost you 60$ to build. Pepperlips used this list in order to go 4-0 on 5 daily events paying him back 55 booster packs, i guess that's far more than 60$ the list  may cost.

Furthermore , this list was used during the Jace-Mystic era , I guess that it can be even more promising after the departure of Jace and Mystic from standard. The deck is very easy to play and all you have to do is to poison your opponents dead and get those 3 points!
I would also like to mention that some of Wizards of the Coast playtesters mentioned that during their playtests concerning the current era of Magic the Gathering standard environment ,they had fabricated a deck list that was infect-oriented and winning a lot!
So all you have to do is assemble the list and go try it out! Who knows , this might be the list that suits the way you like to swing spells on Magic Online!

Server down

Hello! We are having a server downtime. Don't worry, it will be up very soon!

Possibilities are endless with this bot....

First off I have to say that I think WoTC is particularly amazing with the application of allowing bots to run rampant in their game! I have botted many games in my awesome geek career and have come to realize just how rare an opportunity this is to be accepted as a botter!
Most games will ban you on the spot for just getting reported as a botter let alone actually catching you botting.
From my experience I find that botting is also half the fun of the game for myself. From determining how to create a monopoly and some sick in-game cash, to being able to decide that your bored of endlessly "mining" or sitting on the computer for hours waiting for the one person who wants a card you have.
Which is why this bot makes the game so much more enjoyable. I can draft to my hearts content turn the bot on go to bed and wake up with a nice stack of TIX just waiting to be spent in my next draft!
Major kudos to the developers of MTGOLibrary!

Starting to realize your Bot's true potential

As an avid reader of the MTGOLibrary blog, you are probably an active Bot owner and looking for ways to increase traffic to your Bot. Day to day you put in the time to research prices, modify the PersonalPrices.txt and PersonalPercentages.txt files and give your customers the best deals possible in the MTGO secondary market. These are great tools at your disposal, but they do not necessarily direct new traffic to your Bot. Over the next few weeks I will be exploring some ideas on what you can do to attract and retain new customers to increase your sales potential.

Your Bot is the simplest of e-commerce models. People visit your store, add cards to their shopping cart and trade for store credit or Tix. For good or for bad, Wizards has decided to unofficially support this model for the secondary market including allowing chat rooms for Trades and even an Auction room. It's actually a shame and a bit of a business failure on their part that they don't do more to support trading as their entire business relies on the trading and market valuing of their product. That said, they do provide one very undervalued service that you may not have looked into and that is their Community Blogs.

Wizards maintains one of these blogs for the MTGO community at http://community.wizards.com/magiconline.

Wizard's community blogs are a great place to start to connect with your customers and the best part is that it's free. You can surround a card name with the tag [Card][/Card] and it will automatically link your card to Wizards Gatherer like it does on the Wizards Daily MTG blog. You can also post your Decks from MTGO with their "Import Magic Deck" wizard (it's the in the editor). Unfortunately the site is very limited in terms of marketing abilities and so in my next article I will explore building a simple website for your Bot and some tried and true marketing strategies you can use to support it and ultimately reach your Bot's true potential.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Inflation's Dark Side: Deflation


Last time we concluded our talk of inflation and today we are going to discuss inflation's flip side; deflation.
Deflation can be defined as too many goods seeking too little money.
The concept of deflation sounds good: over time, the prices of goods and services decrease. We've seen this in the electronics market: wait six months and that gadget will be half-price.
But deflation has its dark side as well. If people put off purchasing something today because it will be cheaper next week, then they will. However, businesses will not produce products because of the inventory problem. It also produces a cash problem. If it costs me $1,000 to produce a television set, I am going to have to receive $1,000 just to meet my expenses. I would be a fool to sell that TV set for $900. I would rather stop making TV sets than “flood the market” and lose money with every set I make.
If I am working at this plant which makes television sets, I am not going to be pleased that my plant is shutting down for a month because no one is buying TV sets because they'll be cheaper a month from now. I, as the worker, want to get paid. My bank is going to want the mortgage payment and of course, we all need to eat.
This sort of “waiting to purchase” behavior shuts down an economy.
People waiting to purchase items that they otherwise would desire and could purchase now is not a good thing for anyone. For those interested, Japan's “Lost Decade” is partially due to people “hoarding cash” and not spending it on goods and services.
This concludes our section on inflation and deflation. Next time I am going to veer back into Magic and what Wizards of the Coast does to deal with these issues.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jace the Unthinkable?



Latest rumors of M12 says that there is a new, but not improved Jace being released. Most people will be happy to know that he will most likely not be a wallet buster like Jace TMS, and might not even be as played as Jace Beleren. But on the bright side you will see some balance to the world of blue control.

Jace, Memory Adept, also known as Jace 3.0, being incredibly underpowered compared to Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Jace 3.0 will be as follows, according to a showing on G4's "Attack of the Show".



Jace, Memory Adept
Planeswalker - Jace Mythic Rare
+1: Draw a card. Target player puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
0: Target player puts the top ten cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
-7: Any number of target players draws twenty cards.
Loyalty:4

Jace's new 0 ability allows repeatable "Glimpse the Unthinkable", will that be an option for a win-con, or just another hopeless card for dreamers to attempt to mill their opponents. Personally I feel as though Venser will make a huge showing after Zen block rotates out. Making Venser and Gideon Jura huge names to look at.

Whether this Jace 3.0 is a hit or a dud, remember two things, in limited this card will be a game winner. In constructed no one played traumatize, so is the +1 ability really going to make this 5 CMC card even playable? Personally, I think not. Good Game Jace, nice knowing you..... For now however. That is how Perfection is viewed.

Final war mark events are upon us! Don't miss them!!

Most Magic Online players are familiar with the war marks that have been around our Magic Online accounts since the release of Scars of Mirrodin block. They could be used for various events as an entry fee and have been offered alongside booster prizes of certain tournaments.

As the era of the Scars of Mirrodin block is coming to an end Wizards have announced the last events where those war marks can be used.The most remarkable of these events are the Mirrodin block sealed events that will be held on June 25. The entry fee is 5 war marks of either side and all players will be given 1 booster of  Mirrodin,Darksteel, 5th Dawn,Scars of Mirrodin, Mirrodin Besieged and New Phyrexia in order to create a sealed deck for the 3 rounds of this swiss sealed event. Additionally any participant of these events a ristine talisman and a suture priest promo card!Players with nine points at the end of the tournament will receive a signal pest promo card ,Scars of Mirrodin booster pack, 1 Mirrodin Besieged booster pack and 1 New Phyrexia booster pack!

There will be four tournaments of this kind held on the 25 of June on the premier events room, though the fact that they will run on a 256 players maximum means they will fill up pretty fast as it is in fact a free sealed tournament in terms of ticket or product cost.Players have requested  more war mark sealed event and Wizards has given this reply:


Jun 13, 2011 -- 6:42PM, WotC_K wrote:

Our goal is to make sure that players can enter these events, so we will either increase the maximum number of players or create additional events.


Thanks,
Chris


Editor's note:They eventually created 12 sealed events instead of 4 initially announced!
So you should watch out for even more of those events and try to join as many as your war marks allow you, it will be your last chance to put them to good use after all!Try and make the most of this one shot complete Mirrodin booster sealed tournament,who knows, you might get your Sword of Fire and Ice or Archbound Ravager!
Good luck at these tourneys!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What's in a Name?

Juliet:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
Good question; Does the name of your Bot make a difference to your customers? I would argue that "Yes it does" and I hope to persuade you to reconsider your naming choice and what you use to advertise yourself with.

I'm a web developer and I have been building websites for longer than I care to admit. The same problem plagues me today as it did when I first began and that is: What do I call it? Arguably the most important and least important decision you will ever make when starting a new site. Most important because it defines how your future site will look, feel and make that impression on your clients and least important because people will never go to your site directly but instead find it from search engines like Google or Bing. And yet I have spent hours and hours mulling over different ideas for clever names, using name generators to give me ideas, even thumbing through a thesaurus in the hopes of finding a cool sounding synonym for something I could just have easily said with simpler words. It all comes down to the simple dilemma of; do you choose something short and easy to remember or long and clever to impress.

The same applies to your Bot's MTGO user name. Fortunately for us, there are still many good choices available to pick from. Unfortunately for our clients, we are notorious for choosing really really bad names. Ok I know that you could argue that by choosing a name with a underscore "_" at the beginning, thus spoofing the alphabetical sort, you win on two fronts; first your name will sort with other underscores and therefore be simpler to pick out and second it will be on the top of your client's buddy list. STOP right there! This is where you may be mistaken and instead are pushing away your loyal clients.

You need to consider several factors here. The first is that thanks to great Bot engines like MTGOLibrary.com, you can keep credits for your clients that have not fulfilled a full tix in purchases and therefore your client will want to remember where their left over credits are kept. For us Bot owners, it makes sense to go to the MTOGLibrary.com Control Panel and use the "User Credit" button to see who we have credits with. But for our customer, they will more than likely add us to their buddy list. Being at the top of their list may be good for exposure, but if your name starts with _________1__ then rest assured you will be removed and forgotten as soon as possible to get rid of the eye sore. By choosing a name that looks appealing like "Aboshan" or "CardBotStore" you will see that your customer does not mind having your Bot name on his buddy list.

This also applies to the MTGO Search function in the Classifieds scene, our default Google search. If you choose a name they can easily type, then they can easily retype your name in search but if they have to count a bunch of underscores to input your name into the search, you will possibly loose them like a long domain name would a web user. Do I still need to type the "http://"?

The key to a great Bot that makes you money is the same for a website. Create a name that reflect's your identity and product and you will see your repeat customers make your Bot a preferred vender and ultimately a long term Buddy.

MTGO Library Bot 4.36 is out!

 MTGO Library Bot version 4.36 makes the handshake system for the ''Autotransfer'' mode more robust.

Won't have to wait until Innistrad for a new Standard


Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic became the first cards to be banned in the Standard environment since Affinity had the rug pulled out from under it in 2005. For official announcement: http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/feature/148

Caw-What? If they would have banned only Jace or only Stoneforge, perhaps the deck could have hobbled around on a peg leg until Standard rotates again in October, but now the entire engine is gone! Turn 3 Batterskulls? Not as easy as you'd think anymore. Establish a board position and bury your opponent in card advantage? Maybe, but you'll only be Brainstorming in Legacy.

What does this mean? Primeval Titan you're starting again. You too Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas! Koth of the Hammer get in there! Even Venser or Elspeth might see some minutes. Jace wasn't the only powerful planeswalker in Standard. He was just the MOST powerful. Oppressively so.

I'm not saying it was a good or bad thing because these decks happen. Millions of players and thousands of Pros worldwide are working on a format 24/7 and eventually any format will find itself strangled by the 'best deck'. The post-Scars Standard format just proved to be too easy of a nut to crack. Especially when Mirrodin Besieged so conveniently windmill slammed that last puzzle piece into place.

I'm excited for the first time since Scars was released! Here's to hoping this Standard provides a challenging format and that we spend all summer trying to figure it out before finding another Caw-Blade type deck (hopefully that deck won't present itself until the month Innistrad releases). Change is definitely good in this case!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

MTGO Library Bot 4.35 is out!


MTGOLibrary Bot version 4.35 features a better handshake system for the "Autotransfer" mode. The fix regards the handshake between a fast bot and a slow one, sometimes not working properly

Inflation and Debt

Last time we discussed the topic of inflation. In games like Monopoly, the inflation is experienced by everyone at the same relativistic rate, so there is no change in the purchasing power. In MMO games, we've seen how gold-farming can induce an inflationary effect by creating too much money for too few goods. This discourages the casual player from playing the game, and disincentives the beginning player from taking up the game. From the standpoint of the overall health of the game, such gold-farming is bad by reducing the number of players in a game and the more players which play a game, the healthier the game is going to be.
Today, I am going to touch upon inflation from a nationalistic level and why inflation is considered a bad thing.
From a country's standpoint, inflation appears to solve problems. For instance, if I have credit card debt of $10,000, this can be trouble for me. Nations too carry debt. At the time of this writing, the United States National Debt is around $14,000,000,000,000. How is the United States going to deal with this debt?
One way of dealing with this is to simply “print money”. Just turn on the printing press and pay off the debts that way. As you can imagine, it does seem like it would solve this issue.
But individuals are not permitted to print their own money and while nations CAN print their own money, nations SHOULD NOT print money to pay off debts. Why? Remember “too much money chasing too few goods?” If I sell X to a government that I know is printing money, am I going to charge the same for item X or will I “inflate” the price so that I can obtain the same fair value exchange I had before? Of course I will. Workers will demand more money just to keep up with others charging more. And this trend continues. For those interested, research the Wiemar Republic and how inflation destroyed Germany and brought about the Third Reich.
Inflation hurts those with fixed incomes and those living in poverty. If the value of what little they have decreases because of inflation, their standard of living also decreases and thus, further the poverty trap. How can these people escape the poverty trap?
Let me conclude this lesson with some common sense: printing money to deal with debt never solved a country's problem. If it did, wouldn't every country do it?
Next time we are going to discuss inflation's opposite, deflation, and why it too is not a good thing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Advanced Administrator Tab


Give/get tixs in the Administrator Tab are useful if you need to couple a solo buyer bot with a solo seller, or a solo buyer with a buyer+seller.

·         Get cards whose selling price is less than transfer only cards whose selling price is less than a certain threshold.
·         Get cards whose buying price is less than works analogously to the former, except for the price check performed on the buying price rather than the selling one.
·         Get cards whose selling price is more than, Get cards whose buying price is more than work as the two above, except that the price has to be higher than the threshold.
For each of these 4 modes, you can also specify rarity and type (regular/foil) of the items involved.

If you want to trade with more than 4 bots, you can use TransferCollection.txt, a textual file located in the bot folder. Each line of TransferCollection.txt is an entry like the one above mentioned, save for it has to be inserted textually.

// Use TransferCollection.txt to extend the Administrator Tab and transfer collections between more than 4 bots
// Enter a new line for each  bot. Do not break a line until you finish the entire command
// Compose a line as it should be read in the Administrator Tab, respecting the same blank spaces. For instance:
//
// Accept trades from BotA
// Open trades with BotB from 1am to 3am on every day Transfer entire collection (get cards)
// Open trades with BotC from 3pm to 4pm on Mon,Wed Balance (give cards) - collection oblivious Equilibrium at: 8x
// Open trades with BotD from 3pm to 4pm on Mon,Wed Balance (get and give cards) - collection aware Equilibrium at: 4x
// Open trades with BotE from 3pm to 4pm on Mon,Wed Refill (get cards) - collection aware Equilibrium at: 4x
// Open trades with BotF from 3pm to 4pm on Fri Get tixs from, but leave there at least some tixs At least: 150x
// Open trades with BotG from 5am to 11am on Mo,We,Fr Give tixs to, until the other has: Until 300x
// Open trades with BotH from 7am to 9am on Mo,We,Fr Get cards whose selling price is more than: Foil Rares More than: 1.100
// Open trades with BotI from 2pm to 3pm on Mo,We,Fr Get cards whose buying price is less than: Reg Any More than: 8.550

The 4 modes Get cards whose selling price is less than, Get cards whose buying price is less than, Get cards whose selling price is more than, Get cards whose buying price is more than work as usual, but they have an additional option. You can add, such as the example below, an “Until x” threshold:

// Open trades with H from 7am to 9am on Mo,We,Fr Get cards whose selling price is more than: Foil Rares Until 4x More than: 1.1
// Open trades with I from 2pm to 3pm on Mo,We,Fr Get cards whose buying price is less than: Reg Any Until 10x More than: 8.5

If you don’t specify the “Until x” option, the bot will simply ignore it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Opportunities


When I was young I used to play Magic the Gathering “paper” version. At the time Mox was a powerful and expensive card. When Force of Will came out, it was a powerful yet “normal” card. I had a blue control deck and had 6 of them (4 in the deck and 2 in the collection).

Now Force of Will is “comparable” (somehow) to a Mox. What could have I done if I would have knew that thus? I would have bought a hundred of them. Well, at the time I didn't care, and I missed the change.

Keep your eyes open. New opportunities open every day, but most of them are stealth.... we have to look carefully.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trading with tickets



There are quite alot people out there trading tickets for e-currency, What i have seen PayPal, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are the most commonly used e-currency holders.
I have been buying and selling tickets for a while using PayPal, some months ago i used Full Tilt and Pokerstars also, but i think PayPal is safer and easier to use, so now I only use PayPal. PayPal take some fees which the poker rooms doesn't but is very userfriendly and transfers are instant.

Prices on tickets varies pretty much for me,
depending on the demand and supply. Usually I keep my buying rate at $0.85 for each ticket, but when I'm low on tickets the price can go up to $0.90 each. My selling prices usually vary from $0.97 - $1.00, also depending on supply and demand.
If you don't have a very large stock of tickets it's more important to change prices based on supply and demand than if you would have a lot. Because you always want to have tickets in stock to keep a steady business going. Me for instance don't have so much tickets since i'm using alot of my bots profit for me being able to not take loans for my studies.

The best thing of trading tickets is that it actually don't take a lot of time, if you want to get started selling tickets using PayPal, simply register at PayPal.com. When you have got a PayPal account, write in the classified board that you are selling tickets, also write the price of the tickets.
When you have got your classifieds message up all you can do is wait, and maybe studie while waiting? The main key of running bots or any online service is to offer a good service and be available as much as possible.

When selling tickets the full trade should not take any more then 5 minutes if everything works as it should. Keep it as simple as possible for the people buying tickets, a fast and safe service is the best. When using PayPal a user can be verified or non-verified. Being verified is when you have in one way or another proven yourself to be who you sais you are.

I only trade tickets with people who are verified. I use a small checklist for what things to do in a trade to keep everything safe.
1. Ask for the users PayPal adress.
2. Check the PayPal adress on https://www.paypal.com/us/verified/pal=email so that it is verified (Need to be signed in).
3. Ask the user to send you $x.xx PayPal funds and to what mail you want the funds.
4. Check PayPal so you recieved the money.
5. Open trade with the user and give him/her the tickets.

I try to keep a balance between PayPal funds and tickets using different prices, but sometimes all my tickets gets sold or my PayPal funds run out, causing me to only being able to offer 50% of my ticket trading service.
If you want to buy or sell tickets, ask me! Klixxer at MTGO. I also sell credits for my bots Swebot.

How much time will I spend?


One of the first questions coming to mind when starting a bot is “How much time will I spend on it”? For newcomers this is an hard-to-answer question, since the Magic Online business is so peculiar that it cannot be modeled on another business' shape.

Luckly, the bot is mostly self-sufficient, and furthermore you can control it from remote via the Online Control Panel. This saves a huge amount of time. If you want to run the bot for a week without even touching it, you can. The bot will automatically update the prices and handle the downtimes and all the dirt stuff for you.

If you are willing to invest a bit more time, then you can set prices for hot cards using PersonalPrices.txt. This works well and will take one or two hours every couple of days. In fact setting prices manually is probably the most time consuming task behind running a bot. Thus, you can have it totally automated and spend zero time on your bot, or -at the very opposite- update prices manually every day and spend a couple of hours per day.

The tradeoff is up to you, there is no a priori “good” or “bad” strategy :-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Monopoly and Gold Farming


Last time I gave an introduction to inflation. Today I am going to expand on that theme using the classic game Monopoly and gold farming.

Many of you remember playing the game Monopoly. You run around a board purchasing properties, trying to get all the properties of a certain color.

There are some alternative rules of Monopoly. One of them is that when a player declares bankruptcy, all the properties that player owns is placed up for auction. If one has participated in one of these auctions later on in the game, the going price for each property is substantially higher than its initial selling value. Why does this occur? Too much money chasing too few goods. The amount of money introduced in the game goes up $200 per person per trip past GO! The amount of land never increases.

In the game of Monopoly, this relativistic inflation is the same for everybody. In other situations, it is not and that can bring trouble, such as in the case of gold-farming.

Classically defined, gold-farming is where one obtains virtual currency in an online game and exchanges said virtual currency for real world cash. This is against the terms of service in all online games; because this encourages people to hire other people to play the game cheaply, or create 'bots' that will play the game and gather the loot which will then be sold.

This is bad because it encourages people who have the cash to purchase virtual currency, and thus, purchase elite items instead of playing the game and obtaining the items either as quest rewards, random drops or trading with other players. In first person shooter games, if one spends $10 on a more accurate and powerful weapon, this will be an advantage over equally skilled players who are unable to, or chooses not to, spend $10 on said weapon. Many people have ranted over this practice.


In Guild Wars or World of Warcraft, this gold-farming disincentives the casual player from either taking up the game or to continue playing the game. This is not good for the casual players and over time, is not good for the game as a whole as fewer and fewer people play the game.

Next time I will conclude this lesson on inflation by discussing inflation on a national level.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The world moves fast

The world moves fast nowadays. What does it happen in 60 seconds on the web? Here you are a short draft :-)

60 seconds on the web:
    - 12,000+ new ads posted on Craigslist
    - 370,000+ minutes of voice calls on Skype
    - 98,000+ tweets
    - 320+ new twitter accounts
    - and of course 4000+ cards traded on Magic Online thanks to mtgolibrary.com :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

MTGO Library Bot 4.33 is out!

MTGO Library Bot 4.33 fixes a problem with the visualization of the ''Lite'' licenses in the ''Store and Account'' tab. 4.33 extends also the maximum time for collection reading to 5 minutes (from 2 minutes).

Purchasing Credit

One of the things I would like to recommend -especially to new bot users that do not know *every* single aspect of the bot- is to take a look at the "Store and Account" tab (that's the final tab of the user interface).

Here you can find a summary of the account: licenses, fee, and shortcuts to purchase licenses or tixs. The most important thing to know here is that renting fee credit costs 0.88 usd, much less than tixs (0.95 or 0.96 usd). In a nutshell, you can purchase renting fee credit in advance at 0.88 usd, rather than trade away an equivalent number of tixs that for 0.95 / 0.96 usd. If you decide to purchase renting credit, your renting fee will became negative: this is ok, this mean that you are in credit.

Finally, note that in Buying Mode the bot does not buy cards if your *budget* (amount of tixs you have in collection - "minus" renting fee) is negative. Having a negative renting fee means that you budget will be always positive, and thus your bot will buy all the time.

I know the post is technical and involves some math: if you have questions, please write me at staff@mtgolibrary.com

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

MTGO Library Bot 4.32 is out!

 ML Bot 4.32 is out!

Inflation

Last time we started a series on basics economics and discussed Supply and Demand. Today, I am going to discuss inflation and why it is not really a good thing.

Inflation can be defined as “too much money chasing too few goods.” There is a good explanation from the South African Bank here: http://www.resbank.co.za/AboutUs/Documents/Why is Inflation Bad.pdf

But one doesn't need a technical explanation of inflation. One can see it. In addition to Magic the Gathering, I also play Guild Wars. It is an MMO that has no monthly fees and thus has become quite popular as a viable alternative to World of Warcraft. The team which makes Guild Wars is concentrating most of their time on Guild Wars 2. While there is new content for Guild Wars, the team isn't spending much time on it. After all, one man-year spent on Guild Wars content delays the release of Guild Wars 2 by one man-year.

One will be able to transfer 'leet' items and achievements into GW2 and thus, people have been playing GW trying to get such loot and getting achievements.. There are also daily missions which reward characters by quite some gold as well.

Some items though can only be obtained by an accumulation of daily quests, Zeishan coins. Such coins can not be traded and certain items can only be purchased with Zeishan coins. An example. One Zeishan Key can be purchased for one Zeishan Gold coin. Since Z-keys can be traded, the price stabilized initially at 4K gold. Now that some time has passed, the going rate for Z-keys is about 7½ K gold each. Why is that? The amount of gold that is created in the game is much more than the rate of Z-keys.

You might inquire if this is a global in-game phenomenon. It is not. Lock picks can be purchased from a merchant for 1½ K gold, which fixes their supply. Since lock picks also drop as loot, players sell their excesses for about 1.1K gold. This price has held steady.

Next time we'll look into more examples of inflation and why gold farming is a bad thing for online games.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Trade options

I have seen alot bots out there with only buy and sell mode activated, but i really don't know why they don't have the trade option turned on.
If your bot can buy and sell cards, the customers can still trade cards for cards because of the credit system. So why have trading diasbled? The trade option is awesome for the customers, it makes them save time and can do a trade in one trade and not two. And makes your bots more available to others.

When setting the options for what cards the bot should trade with, some bots only trade standard or extended. If you should only trade standard cards you will loose alot of trades because of users wanting to trade older cards.

Under the collection tab in the bot setting window you can easily set your bot to trade with all cards. If you put the same settings as I have in the image and press submit your bot will mark all sets and all cards tradable for the bot. This is the settings I use.


If you don't set any personal prices, under the corrections tab you can set your prices very easy.
Just select what corrections you want in the drop down list and it's done! I have all my selling corrections at -30% and my buying corrections at -50%. With these settings my bots wont handle the most expensive cards, but keeps the cheaper cards very cheap! If a card is worth 10 tickets accoring to the pricelist my bots will sell the card for 7 tickets and buy it for 3.5 tickets.

This is going to be the last article i post here, I wont have time for the upcoming months to write any articles, needing the time for my studies. But I will be back some day hopefully :-) If you want to contact me you can send me a mail to mtgoswebot@gmail.com.