Thursday, November 29, 2012

Faster than ever TradeLog

We delivered a new and faster version of the Tradelog in the Online Control Panel.

You can now search among your bots and your customers in a fraction of the time. For example,  queries that usually took 10-15 seconds are now processed in real-time and immediately rendered on screen.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 5.42 is out

ML Bot 5.42 is a small improvement over 5.41, containing a couple of bug fixes.

The final part of the trade is now faster.

Future-Proofing: Intellectual Property (Part 3 of 3)

I began this series with an introduction to patent law and last time I discussed the nuisance of patent trolls, companies which exist solely to get patents and sue anyone else who makes a work which violates their monopolistic idea that they are just squatting on.

MtgoSoS did a post about Wildcat’s suit against WotC and makes the claim that nothing major is going to come from it.  Let’s analyze that claim.

Wildcat has a patent for online electronic card games.  So this would mean that WotC could easily have MTG in paper form, but could not have it in online form.

But doesn’t having a patent imply you actually have to do something with it?  Wildcat has had this patent for over a decade now and has no products or services to show for it.  Shouldn’t a court take that into consideration and toss out this lawsuit over revoke the applicable patent?

Sadly though, Wildcat will simply make the claim that they are “still in development” of their Ultimate Electronic Card Game.  They’ll say, look at Diablo 3.  That took over eight years to make that.  How long was Starcraft 2 in development?  This is not just limited to Blizzard either.  Duke Nuk’em Forever was in development for fifteen years. 

Now, to many of us, we can see the flaws in that logic.  But to a judge who is not well versed in technology or the subtleties and nuances of game development, those arguments will not hold much weight.

So what normally does happen in these cases?  It depends on the target.  Smaller companies or those with inexperienced legal representation tend to be forced to pay, which usually means bankruptcy.  Since it typically costs at least $1,500,000 to defend such a suit, some companies will negotiate a settlement.  Larger companies with some backbone in management will fight these suits.  They figure that you can always negotiate a settlement based on how the trial goes.  Plus, larger companies can hire better legal representation which helps their cause in court.

So what is the long term prognosis?  WotC may win in a trial.  Wildcat may win in a trial.  Other card game makers may join this suit as this patent is the only reason why they have not made such a game.  (Did you ever wonder why there are no other card games online?)  But typically a settlement is reached.  Terms of such agreements are confidential.  If WotC has to pay a substantial amount to Wildcat, players may have to pay extra for their booster packs. 

But the bottom line, it is unlikely that MTGO is going to be shut down because of this lawsuit; and that is good news for us bot owners.  Knowing that MTGO is going to be around and alive and kicking makes it easier to do what we do.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 5.40 and 5.41 are out

The newest versions of ML Bot are out. Version 5.40 and 5.41 fixes a crash of version of 5.39 (again at the final confirm window - but totally uncorrelated to the previous issues).

Monday, November 26, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 5.39 is out

ML Bot 5.39 has been just released. It fixes the problem of the withdraws at the end of trades, sometimes occurring on specific usernames.

16:9 Aspect Ratio and Botting Issues

As you may know from reading the MTGO Library Manual, the bot requires a minimum of 1280 x 1024 screen resolution to function properly.  1280 x 1024 correponds to as 5:4 aspect ratio, which is a thing of the past as most all new laptops are now a whopping 16:9 (widescreen).  The same thing has happened in the land of televisions, as you see all new flatscreens conforming to these new dimensions. 

The important thing to consider here if you are botting is the minimum height the bot requires (1024 pixels).  The bot needs to be able to see the entire MTGO window, which is why on smaller monitors you need to hide your dock to get a few more pixels of space available.

Here is the problem.  Newer laptops with their 16:9 screens will usually have a top resolution of 1280 x 720 or 1366 x 768.  That 720 or 768 height is not enough for the bot to run.  Even higher end laptops with 1920 × 1080 resolution barely meet the 1024 height requirement.

So if you were planning to run your bot on a cheap, newer laptop, it may require a workaround, such as attaching an extra monitor.  Post your other ideas on how to circumvent this problem in the comments section.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 5.38 is out

We recently suspended the updates to the "Collection History". ML Bot v. 5.38 now restores the functionality back again!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 5.37 is out

We have just released a new version of ML Bot, (5.37), containing a couple of minor fixes and improvements "here and there"

Friday, November 23, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 5.36 is out

ML Bot 5.36 eases the problem of the withdraws at the end of the trades. Now it is very unlikely for the bot to abort the trades at the final confirm window

Thursday, November 22, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 5.35 is out

There are about 100 users in Magic Online that are not able to trade with the ML Bots.

Version 3.53 fixes the issue so they will be able to trade again. 
Since some of these users has credits left on the bots, my suggestion is to upgrade as soon as possible.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 5.33 and 5.34

Today we released in a short amount of time the version 5.33 and 5.34, fixing some minor issues.

Among the others, we are currently addressing an issue at the of the trade. Occasionally the bot detects the Magic Online client as "frozen" and restart it, de facto aborting the trade.

MTGO Library Bot 5.32 is out

The new version of ML Bot, 5.32 is out! It fixes a couple of minor issues, among the other some random withdraws at the end of the trades.

The issue may still not be fixed completely. If you are a customer of the ML Bots and experience it, please write me at


Future-Proofing: Intellectual Property (Part 2 of 3)

Last time I gave an introduction to copyrights and patents.  It is through this mechanism that many advances in technology and culture are made because through this encourages people to take risks and profit from ideas which prove beneficial to mankind.

But patents are not as objective as other laws, like theft and murder, which are much more objective.  There exists a lot of “wiggle room” when it comes to defining what is a violation of a patent and what is not.  Here is where the lawyers and law-makers work their magic.

In the United States, patent law and intellectual property laws in general, are considered too strict.  What I mean by this is that it is considered too easy to sue a company for violations.  This has created a cottage industry where companies exist, which never make a product or offer a service.  But these companies will rent out a small office space, put a name plate on the door, but are “never open for business”.  They hire no employees.  But they are extremely willing to sue someone else for alleged patent violations.  As one of their slogans puts it, “Look at many ideas.  Pick an outstanding one.  Patent it.  Commercialize it.  Reap the rewards.”  They are known as Patent Trolls.

Note that making a product or making significant improvements to an existing product is never mentioned.  Just patent an idea, and wait until someone else independently does something with this idea , the patent troll will sue.

This has led to some pretty silly lawsuits over the years, but because patent law is this way, these suits have merit.  Namco has a patent which prevents playing mini-games during a loading screen.  Simpson’s Road Rage had to change an arrow which points where you should go in a driving game to a finger because the arrow violated a patent.

Clearly, this kind of patent abuse is not what Thomas Jefferson and others had in mind when they founded the patent laws.  Next time, I’ll wrap up by going into the Wildcat lawsuit against WotC in detail.

Monday, November 19, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 5.31 is out

ML Bot version 5.31 is out with a couple of fine-tunings over 5.30.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 5.30 is out

MTGO Library Bot will be up again in few hours and version 5.30 is out.

The new version is able to communicate with the new server structure, whereas previous version are no more able due to a number of internal changes performed during the downtime.

We hope you will enjoy 5.30 and that you are ready to get back into the bot world!


Tomorrow, server will be up again. These several days without botting made me wonder. I reached a conclusion how I'm addicted to MTGO. How big part of my life botting is. As well, I have realized how time-consuming setting prices is. How much spare time I have without bots and so on. I could catch up with all home duties, which I have all the time postponed to 'later' and this 'later' usually have never come until the day the server stood still. So, it looks like MTGO is a pain in the ass, nothing further from the truth. Indeed, it takes a lot of time, BUT remember we are not doing it for fun. We do botting because it generates extra money. In fact, easy money. It is the goose that lays the golden eggs. Take a look, full-time job requires from us at least 40 hours weekly, excluding overtime. Whereas, botting is merely circa 14 hours weekly and it may bring similar wage to this one from regular job. These are the two core advantages and it is not my aim to point others. You know them very well. I just want to remind you to:

Set alarm clock on 6:00 AM GMT +0 and get back to work, comrades ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Schedule for restart !

Hi all,

we finished the work on the server, and we are ready to restart :-) Still, we want to run the last tests and be totally sure that everything works as intended.

Since the weekend is in the middle, we scheduled the restart on:

Monday 19th , 6:00 GMT+0 

All the licenses will be automatically extended of 10 days.
Thank you again for you patience during these days! This has been the longest downtime in the history of!
Feel free to contact me at


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Future-Proofing: Intellectual Property (Part 1 of 3)

As we continue our series on Future-proofing, I thought I would take this opportunity to look into the recent blog post by about WotC being sued by Wildcat Intellectual Property Holdings and do a little research and throw in what little I know about such topics.

First off, the name of company is a little weird. “Intellectual Property Holdings”.  A quick internet search revealed a plethora of lawsuits that this company has filed against other companies, not just WotC.

But first, we need a little background.  When normal people think of copyrights and patents, we think of artists and inventors who make something and want protection from vultures who simply want to copy their work.  For example, MGM/United Artists holds the rights for the James Bond series.  What copyright law is intended to do is to prevent me from making a Single-O 9, who works for Special Branch in Scotland Yard or Interpol.  This makes sense to most people.

The same thing applies for products.  If I make a device that turns sludge into potable water, I should be allowed to profit from it.  This is an important point The reason that patents were permitted was to give incentive for people to create new products that over time will improve all of mankind.  This is one of the main reasons why the United States went from a fledgling nation to a Superpower in a century and a half.  Contrary to what many people and world leaders believe, profits are not evil.

Generally speaking, countries respect patents from other countries.  So that smartphone I create and patent in the United States will be respected in Europe.  However, not all countries respect patents and copyrights.  When Mitt Romney stated that he would get tough on China, he was referring to the well-known fact that China routinely ignores other countries’ patents.  Basically whenever a new product is introduced, you can find a clone of that same product, made by a Chinese company, on the streets of China for pennies on the dollar within weeks of the product’s release.  Even sooner if that product was made in China.

So how does this affect us?  I’ll get into those details next time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Downtime quick UPDATE


just a quick update regarding the downtime. The work is proceeding and tomorrow or at worst on Thursday you will be able to launch the bot again.

Thank you again for the patience. If you want to talk to me, feel free to contact me on these boards or at


ML Bot for MTGO v4 and downtime - under the hood


considering the larger than usual downtime of the service, I would like to explain what we are doing "under the hood".

As the majority of you will probably now, the bot for Magic Online v4 is currently under development, and will fix a series of bottlenecks of the current bot. This unfortunately requires some extra work server-side, to adjust the code and to change parts of it.
It's an intensive work we prefer to accomplish with all the bots down, just to be totally sure things are ok and have all the time to run the tests.

We could have waited some weeks, but recently the server has been very slow and thus we took the change to halt it and work on it.

Next months you will also see a restyle of the website, in order to make it clear and responsive on tablet and mobile devices!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Server down for maintenance (*UPDATE)

Hello to everybody,

the server is currently down for maintenance. We are having some performance issue and we are working on the it. It will be up as soon as possible


12-11 4pm:
the server is still down. Nothing particular has happened, we are just changing some portions of the code and this is requiring a little more time than extimate.

I apologize for the issue, tomorrow morning everything should be running fine as usual.

WotC sued for Magic: The Gathering Online

I found a quite interesting information and I would like to share it with you all.

"Wildcat Intellectual Property Holdings of Dallas, Texas has sued Wizards of the Coast in Federal Court claiming that the Hasbro subsidiary has violated its electronic trading-card patent by publishing "Magic: The Gathering Online." While Wildcat is suing Wizards of the Coast, it does not name Hasbro in its lawsuit.

Wildcat claims the popular online collectible trading card game infringes on at least seven aspects of its Electronic Trading Card patent. Those infringements include "making, using, selling, hosting, and/or providing access to within the United States, and/or importing into the United States, at least Wizards' 'Magic: The Gathering Online' game, infringing one or more claims of the '216 Patent."

Wildcat says it uses the patent on its own game Unit Commander which it calls "the ultimate mercenary trading card game." The company is asking the court for "injunctive relief to stop the alleged infringing activity."

The only thing they are suing about is that Wildcat have a patent that says they have the exclusive right to make  Electronic Trading Card games, and MTGO fits the definition given in the patent, so they believe they can get WotC to pay money for their 'idea'. The suit will cost Hasbro hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend it and Hasbro would have to prove that the suit is frivolous. The patent was granted in 2001. and MTGO started in 2002. I have seen no litigation for ten years against WotC from this firm. What's interesting the Wildcat's game is still in the beta process according to it's website. That is almost 11 years after the patent was granted. For better or worse, WotC probably will be looking for a settlement. 

Don't panic. This suit is almost certainly not a big deal : )

Thursday, November 8, 2012

MTGO Library Bot 5.27 is out

ML Bot 5.26 is out, fixing a minor issue with formatting the trading interface on slow computers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

MTGO Library BOT 5.25 and 5.26 are out

We have just released ML Bot v 5.25 and immediately after ML Bot v.5.26 , containing some minor fixes and a better interface of connection with the webserver server down for maintenance

Hello everybody,

we took down the server for maintenance.
It will be up again right after the usual Wednesday downtime :-)


Future-Proofing: Windows 8

With the release of Windows 8, I thought I would step back from the day to day grind of botting and take a look at a long view of what we do.  Businesses and countries talk about five year plans; why can’t us botters have a five year plan?

For this part of the series, I thought I would look at Windows 8 and see how the latest release of the Microsoft operating system affects us.  For my study, I went to a Big Box store and looked at a couple of laptops which had Windows 8 installed.  So what are the takeaways?

As you may know, Windows 8 was designed for the tablet and phone markets.  Microsoft will say that Windows 8 was designed for touch screens.  The reality is that none of this is going to matter when it comes to botting.  Since the bot runs automated, there is no human interaction or touch needed.  So the main selling feature of Windows 8 is useless for us botters.

Windows 8 also has one interesting feature designed to save memory: if a task has been unattended for too long, Windows 8 will auto-close the application.  This feature is also enabled by default.  Even though this feature can be disabled, it is not something we would desire as botters.  Can you imagine our transaction logs if Windows 8 is shutting down Magic Online or the bot program?

So what is the bottom line?  While we may be forced to run the bot on Windows 8 in the future, we should avoid it as long as possible and when we do, remember to turn off the auto-termination of idle programs.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Commanders Arsenal

The Commanders Arsenal goes on sale in paper Magic today - Nov. 2, 2012. There is no word on the online date. The MSRP is $74.99 and for this money we get: 18 premium foil cards, 10 oversized premium foil cards, 120 Ultra PRO foil card sleeves, 20 double-sided Battle Marks (+ and –), a life counter that goes up to 99. Premium foil cards are: Kaalia of the Vast, The Mimeoplasm, Edric Spymaster of Trest, Maelstrom Wanderer, Vela the Night-Clad, Diaochan, Artful Beauty, Loyal Retainers, Duplicant, Dragonlair Spider, Decree of Pain, Chaos Warp, Desertion, Mirari's Wake, Sylvan Library, Rhystic Study, Scroll Rack, Mind's Eye, Command Tower. Oversized premium foil cards are: Sliver Queen, Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund, Mayael the Anima, Zur the Enchanter, Grimgrin, Corpse-born, Brion Stoutarm, Glissa, the Traitor, Godo, Bandit Warlord, Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Karn, Silver Golem.

I have checked the SCG prices on the Commanders Arsenal and no suprise here. It is going to cost much more than MSRP. Take a look here and do a little study. There are only 18 premium foil cards listed, excluding all other things inserted to box and it is over 300 USD. It looks incredible if we could get it for MSRP price what is totally unrealistic. However the very same 18 cards in MTGO cost definitely less than MSRP. For instance card which in paper is 79.99 USD (Loyal Retainers) basing on SCG is merely 0.10 Event Ticket in MTGO! I think WotC should decrease the price on this product in MTGO if they want to introduce it online. Otherwise they sell many Arsenals.

I would like to mention that there will be a commander product every year and Premium Deck Series has been cancelled.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Other side of the world (Part 2)

 Other side of the world

Most Magic the Gathering Online bot owners and Customers are in the US and this is something that can affect bot owners living in a different timezone. In these series  I'll talk about ways of "shortening" the distance and on how you can provide great Customer Support, Sell/Buy Collections and other services without needing to be awake from 1:00AM to 7:00AM.

 Today I will talk about the advantages of having a website dedicated to your bots. A form of comunication, such as a webform is only one them. You can also attract more Customers by having a strong MTGO Community visiting your website, forums, deck discussion, webcasts and so on. Having a website also opens doors to a another whole new business model, instead of automated trades within MTGO you now have the chance of working just like a normal MTG Cards Store. You might ask yourself: "yes we all know that but what is that to do with being on the other side of the world?", the answer is very simple, being on the other side of the world you will need a method of delivering online orders and although MTGO Library bots weren't exactly designed to be used as delivery bots they can do the task without much time and effort into setting it all up.
 In a few days I will show you how to do this, step by step.