Magic Online v3.0 news
It has been a while since the last time I talked about Magic Online 3.0. The development team has worked hard in the last couple months, and I am pleased to announce that we are now approaching the start of the internal beta. I performed a short interview with Justin Ziran, Magic Online’s Brand Manager, so I got some news for you.
For more of the interview by WOTC about Magic Online Version 3.0
Online Tech: Hi Justin! It’s been a while since we’ve heard news here about Magic Online 3.0. What’s the current status?
Justin Ziran: As you may know, based on results from our User Interface (UI) testing, we took the opportunity to redesign the UI from the ground up. The redesign process took several months, but the time was well spent. As for the status on the rest of the project, we are just about to start internal beta testing on MTGO 3. Shortly after the internal beta concludes, we’ll transition into the first phase of the public beta. During each of the planned phases of beta we’ll open testing up to successively larger groups of testers, culminating in period of free play where the doors will open to everyone.
OT: I can certainly understand you didn’t want to release v3 until it reached a satisfactory level of quality. Last time, you told me that the layout of the duel screen was going to be revisited. How has that worked out?
I feel right at home in the new client.
JZ: Like I said earlier, the new duel screen is fantastic. New players and current players alike will find it intuitive and comfortably familiar. Speaking for myself, I feel right at home in the new client. I know many others around the company also feel the same. From a design standpoint, the new UI really captures the “essence” of the Magic world.
From a quality standpoint, the new UI is ready. The development team is putting the finishing touches on before we start internal testing in mid January.
OT: What functionality have you got nailed down, and what functionality are you still working on?
JZ: The following features are complete: Dueling, New Account Creation, Account Management, In-Game Chat, eCom (finding, buying and receiving product), Collection Management (collection browsing, trading, searching, redemption), Deck Management, Communities (Marketplace, Trade Ticker, Hall of Champions), and Draft Queues. One feature is still being debugged: Premier Events & Leagues. These are being reviewed with a fine-toothed comb. The new tournament system is very different from current functionality, and we want to make sure all the new features are working properly before we open them up to testing.
Magic Online 3.0 Collection Manager. You’ll notice improvements such as larger filter controls and dropdowns, larger default card size, and thematic adjustments made during the UI redesign.
OT: Last time you gave me an estimated release of Q1-Q2 2007. Now that we’re getting close to those dates, I’ll ask the question on everyone’s minds. Can you offer a more detailed rollout schedule?
JZ: Our internal beta will begin on January 15th. During this phase of testing, the program will be released to internal testers from all functional areas of the company. Our goal is to document and squash as many bugs as possible before the first phase of the public beta, tentatively scheduled for February. Once we wrap up our internal testing, I’ll be able to get more specific on the public beta and release date. Until then, we’re sticking to the first half of 2007.
Oh, I almost forgot. We will be taking signups for the public beta in the near future. We’ll announce specifics in-game, on magicthegathering.com, and on the message boards.
OT: Will MTGO 3 be available on a Mac platform?
JZ: We’re focused on the PC version of Magic Online 3 at this time. Once we launch, we’ll revisit the Mac question with the team. I know there are a lot of Mac users itching to play Magic Online on their machines. I would very much like to give them a Mac native version in the future. No promises, but we will look at it carefully.
OT: What’s going on with the current MTGO v2 between now and the v3 launch? Are there going to be any special events or surprises?
JZ: For the most part, v2 operations will be “business as usual”, including the release of Planar Chaos online in late February. However, as a promotion we’re finalizing plans to run a series of sponsored events (special events with special prizes) sometime in the first quarter of this year. More details will be announced about the events as those plans gel.
OT: Thanks for your time Justin, looking forward to it.