Saturday, August 3, 2013

MTGO Library: Bot Customization

We host a series of articles from our friends blog , a blog dealing with mtg and mtgo economics.

You can read the original article here: 

Previously I introduced the MTGO Library bot and all its advantages for increasing your collection. In this chapter of the series I will roughly explain how you can make the bot customization, so that you can differentiate your digital card shop from the rest at Magic Online.

Before we begin, I remind you that in the MTGO Library home page there is a link to the bot manual in PDF format. This document describes all the required steps to start using the bot, however in this article I will focus on the most important functionalities so you know how to make the bot customization.

MTGO Library versions: Pro and Lite

The first thing to know is that you can install two versions of the bot: Pro and Lite. The Pro one lets you customize the price of each card separately, whereas the Lite one sets prices which mainly depends on rarity. To set these prices, the bot Lite version features an additional tab in your control panel entitled “Prices”.

Which version should you choose? Well, it depends on the sales and marketing strategy you have. Either way, the answer to this question needs a separate article that I have plans to publish soon.

From the bot customization of both versions point of view, almost all features are the same, thus I will comment them indifferently for both cases and I will only clarify the version when an option is only available for such version.

General features

I will assume you’ve installed the software and you are in the control panel, from where you will make all the necessary changes to the bot configuration.

The “General” section includes the information of the user account on MTGO Library as well as the Magic Online one. Besides, from here you can change certain bot behaviors like:
  • Maximum duration and inactivity period of a trade 
  • Automatically reload MTGO price lists 
  • Operating modes of the bot (buy, sell and/or trade) 
  • Management of the screenshots of your trades 
  • Usage of prices and/or percentage changes stated by you on an aside personal price list 
  • Set corrections for the buy prices never exceed sell prices 
  • Also, you can force the bot restarts Magic Online periodically, which is a good practice because the longer MTGO client is running, the easier it stops from receiving new trades.
Finally, it must be said that there is a function that allows the robot to go faster than normal, but requires that the computer also reacts very fast. From my experience, this mode would only be used with an OS that is not run on a virtual machine (VM) neither it runs other VMs, and despite this fast mode the difference in performance is not too high in practice.

Choosing which cards to buy and sell

The “Collection” section introduces all sets that are available at Magic Online. When choosing one of them, you can limit the number of copies for each rarity on both, normal and foil cards. If you want to buy only some specific letters of a set, then you should put those cards on the personal price list instead. You can also choose to buy boosters of collections you want.

But these are not the only options available for customizing the bot regarding to the price list. You can also modify (for all cards and using percentages on the “Limits” section), the prices of all the cards in a certain rarity, as well as limit their minimum/maximum price. One of the benefits of using this option consists of avoiding bugs on the MTGO Library price list. For example, we may want to not buy common cards for more than 2 tickets (although there are some with higher value) to avoid price peak of a card that is not worth that amount. This way, all cards that have a higher price will be bought at a price of 2 tickets instead.

Bot customization on the classifieds

For me, “Messages” sections is one of the most important ones. Here you will be able to customize your store ad and messages sent to a client who is performing a trade.

There are two possible texts for the ad: one is shown when the bot is available for customers, whereas the other one appears when the bot is busy. Also, you can automatically add a text at the beginning to indicate this state (OPEN or BUSY). It is important to maximize the usage of the 255 character limit on each text in order to achieve two main goals:
  1. Users shall find your store on the classified with the search engine. Ask yourself which are the words that someone would use to find a store of cards/boosters/sets… and add them to your ad. 
  2. Shines against the rest. Some people are directly looking for stores by scrolling down the classifieds list, so it is important to highlight from the other ads. For this purpose, you can add special codes that draw typical Magic icons (you can find a list here). 
  3. Clearly state what your store offers. Do not lie or give inaccurate information about the offer on your store. Customers will soon realize and will not return.
To meet these assumptions you have special tools and icon codes I just mentioned above. However, MTGO Library also offers the option of submitting the current prices of your cards, which can be published in your ad. Typically most bots show the most traded cards of the moment because there will be many people looking for them. But you also have many other options, for example:
  • Buy/sell price of a card at random 
  • Price of cards with a minimum/maximum value 
  • Random cards from specific sets 
  • Specific regular/foil cards…
The format to show a card with its current price is found on the bot manual. If you don’t select one specific card, the bot changes it periodically so the ad does not always show the same card. The more you show, the more likely it is that someone will find the price you have for that card. But keep in mind that there are competitors that will do the same. Thus, if your prices are visible they should be one of the best because people can easily compare them.

MTGO Library… Online

Once you have configured your bot, you can track the status and trades performed by your store if you login to your account on MTGO Library site. Full details on what you can do within your personal page will be discussed in the next chapter of this series.

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