Tuesday, August 28, 2012

MTGO v4 Preview (Part 1 of 2)

If you’re like me, you keep an eye on the trades your bots make.  If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that the number of trades is higher during the weekends than during the weekdays.  If you’re like me, you noticed when Magic Online trotted out their 4.0 Interface.  If you’re like me, you also noticed a substantial drop in the number of trades during that weekend.  Huh?

Why would this happen?  Why would a login interface interfere with trading over MTGO?

You can’t really say that all trading stopped, because it did not.  I had a precious few trades that weekend, but it was not zero.  If it was zero, you could make the argument that all trades stopped that weekend and no botter made any profit that weekend.

I corresponded with Albert and he confirmed my findings that trades were way down but not zero.  This is indeed odd behavior.  What was going on?
I recently wrote that when trying to diagnose life’s problems, that it helps to be articulate and if possible to reproduce the conditions.  Turns out that not only was I able to reproduce this, I was also able to figure out why this was happening in the first place.  It may have been a fluke discovery, but nonetheless, here is what happened:

Even though my bot army was all online and MTGO Library showed all the bots as operating normally. MTGO did not show my bots in each other’s buddy list.  The one bot which did show up in buddy lists was also the only bot that was making trades.  That particular bot is very new so I wasn’t able to make the distinction of why all but one bot was making trades.

So, the reason why trades were down that weekend was because that the bots were not showing up in people’s buddy lists.  If you are not in a buddy list, you are essentially offline.  If you appear offline, no one is going to trade with your bot.  If no one trades with your bot, you make no profits.  Simple, right?  And if you are like me, you noticed a huge increase in trades when the normal interface returned.

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