Scheduled Maintenance

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Hi,

How do we know when Scheduled Maintenance takes place (in BETA, if this makes a difference).

I can't login now and don't know if it is a technical problem or due to scheduled maintenancce.  How can I know?

Thanks 
I only found out about it from complaining on the forum. Apparently it's weekly. No idea when it starts though. They really need to put a sticky up so people know.
The wide beta and the live client have the same downtimes.

You can read about it here:

community.wizards.com/magiconline/blog/?...
I didn't know they even had a blog. I don't see a link to it on either the main WOTC site or on the MTG/MTGO pages. Someone at WOTC fails at the internet. No information about it on the forum or the main website, only on a secret blog they've done their best not to even hint at the existence of.

From the mouths of babes...

WotC web people, take note!

Many of the people who have been around here for a while know the obscure places and obtuse navigation. But as this poster testifies, it ain't easy.

I do not wish to participate in this Community Site.

As an amateur programmer, if I ever HAD to have maintenance, I would have an "error code" for maintenance that, in the user's program, tells the user "Server unavailable due to maintenance from [expected start time (+ date)] to [expected end time (+ date)]".

But then again, the entire 3.0 MTGO thing looks and plays more like a Microsoft Access mod than an actual game.
Which is fine, for a turn based card game that in it's basic nature is just simple changes in numbers and states.

I won't even go into the fact that it took me more than an hour to find the release date for Gatecrash on MTGO -- and I'm still not even sure when I can expect to actually play with Gatecrash-cards on MTGO, even after reading the release date schedules.

============

Spending 5 minutes on that blog, even searching for the tag Downtime -- and I still have not found an article describing when and for how long the downtime today is going to be.

Finding the downtime, under the headline:
Cube Starts Tomorrow!

I learn:

Store and trades will shut off at approximately 2:45 AM.
The system will be down from 3:00 AM to 10:00 AM.
This downtime is expected to last approximately 7 hours.

This downtime contains a major deployment for Wide Beta



Great.
Which time zone are we talking about here?

Googling MTGO timezone, I get to the MTGSalvation forums, which tell me that MTGO is running on the PST clock.

For simplicity's sake, I just search for PST current time, and find a random online clock telling me it's now 8 AM PST. 
I didn't know they even had a blog. I don't see a link to it on either the main WOTC site or on the MTG/MTGO pages. Someone at WOTC fails at the internet. No information about it on the forum or the main website, only on a secret blog they've done their best not to even hint at the existence of.

From the mouths of babes...

WotC web people, take note!

Many of the people who have been around here for a while know the obscure places and obtuse navigation. But as this poster testifies, it ain't easy.




I am not sure what VorpalSpork means by main website, but the main MTGO web page (www.mtgonline.com), otherwise known as the What's Happening page, has the following links and downtime info: 


    
In addtion, there is always a link from Home Scene in Magic Online to both the blog and the What's Happening page, though that is less useful when there is a downtime.  In addition, the home scene will have announcements about the other major evetns in MTGO. 

While I will admit that text links may be a bit harder to notice than buttons, they do exist and in the places MTGO players should naturally be looking.  Now if there are additional places players expect to find links like this (other than in a dialog when they launch the client while we are down), I would be open to suggestions. 
Articles and blogs will either call out hte time zone near the time when it is listed, or have a disclaimer at the bottom of the article.  For the blog, it is at the bottom of every week's announcement, and yes we are currently in PST. 
Is there any thought to put this information inside the client?  Also to adjust the timezone to the users computer time zone?

While yes it is available, having it outside the client makes it more like a help file which you know how much people look into those.  Could just have a general information section where it has calander of upcoming formats.  Maybe also have a list of current and upcoming rewards you can earn, and maybe even a monitor on how close you are to earning them.

I guess I should really try and use the beta again as suggestions for changes would probably be better if I could be more specific on where to put these things.

For the current version (if the beta is close to this), have some graphics of what is coming up and the current reward cards on the main screen.  That way its visual and people can see a change.  So have a small icon of the reward cards, have small icon of upcoming sets to draft.  For cube I am sure could find something for a set symbol.  Maybe just a 3-d graphic of a cube.  This way it would be a lot more visual and people would notice it a lot.  Could then click on the visual and there would be a modal dialog come up with a larger picture and explaining what is going on and some details.
Magic Online group != Magic Online blog. I had no idea what this "group" thing was supposed to be. Mislabeled links are functionally identical to nonexistent links.

Articles and blogs will either call out hte time zone near the time when it is listed, or have a disclaimer at the bottom of the article.  For the blog, it is at the bottom of every week's announcement, and yes we are currently in PST. 


Even after someone gave the link I nearly still didn't know what time maintenance ended. It's only due to accidentally scolling down a bit that I even saw the time zone part. Why would you put the time zone in a completely different place than the time it refers to? How does that make any sense?

Edit: And I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure the front page didn't say anything about it the first time I looked. Even if I'm wrong and it did, telling me about maintenance after said maintenance has started and with no indication of when it will be over isn't exactly helpful.
The simplest and most elegant solution is to have this notice inside the client, displayed on the front page when one tries to login.  Problem solved! Smile
Just compare this to other games out there. I play SWTOR, Guild Wars, WOW, Diablo 3 and SC2. All of these games (from 3 diff companies) use a launcher that shows me:



  • The current version.

  • The release notes for that version. Not a link, the actual text.

  • Important notices, such as "there will be downtime [at this time], [approx. until]", not behind a link, right there.

  • Direct links to basic tasks and places: "create account", "company site", "game site", "forum"

  • When the server is down, this is clearly marked with a reason and expected duration

  • All times are localized


This is not rocket science. It's not revolutionary. Users expect this. So why isn't it done for MTGO? the arguments are usually two-fold, both defensive in nature:


  1. It's supposedly not easy to change anything about MTGO v3. Well, the beta client ALSO doesn't do any of this stuff. Plus, players don't care that it's hard. You, the entertainer, get paid to deal with this complexity. Yes, I know it's not that black and white, but I learned this well when I was still consulting: "the customer doesn't want to hear YOUR problems, he wants you to fix THEIRS".

  2. "It's not that hard to click a link, or visit this and that page". No, it isn't. The point here is that this is a PR thing. The message you should send to your players is "we want to make it as easy and painless as possible for you". It just makes sense from a business point of view to make your customers feel spoiled. But the message you currently send is "we don't do more than we absolutely have to".

Free Speech
Free speech is the right to speak your mind without government censorship and without fear of extralegal retaliation like harassment or violence. That’s all! Free speech doesn’t include the right to speak your mind on any forum anywhere. The government may not prevent you from speaking, but private parties, like blog owners or corporations, aren’t required to let you use their property as your platform. Free speech doesn’t include the right to be believed or to be taken seriously. People may mock, ridicule or laugh at what you say, or they may reject it outright. Free speech doesn’t include the right to be listened to. People who don’t desire to hear your opinion can hang up on you, block you on social media, change the channel, close the browser tab. Free speech doesn’t give you the right to bombard people with harassing messages or otherwise force them to pay attention to you against their will. And free speech doesn’t include the right to suffer no consequences whatsoever for your expressed opinions.
Today I was booted from the client for "lost connection". I tried to relog and it just sat there.
I then searched the site for "server status" which took me to a page that showed server status - round green button, server is online. Maybe it was cached, but this is another fail in my eyes.

wotc isn't working

But there IS an alert inside the client.
Just compare this to other games out there. I play SWTOR, Guild Wars, WOW, Diablo 3 and SC2. All of these games (from 3 diff companies) use a launcher that shows me:



  • The current version.

  • The release notes for that version. Not a link, the actual text.

  • Important notices, such as "there will be downtime [at this time], [approx. until]", not behind a link, right there.

  • Direct links to basic tasks and places: "create account", "company site", "game site", "forum"

  • When the server is down, this is clearly marked with a reason and expected duration

  • All times are localized


This is not rocket science. It's not revolutionary. Users expect this. So why isn't it done for MTGO? the arguments are usually two-fold, both defensive in nature:


  1. It's supposedly not easy to change anything about MTGO v3. Well, the beta client ALSO doesn't do any of this stuff. Plus, players don't care that it's hard. You, the entertainer, get paid to deal with this complexity. Yes, I know it's not that black and white, but I learned this well when I was still consulting: "the customer doesn't want to hear YOUR problems, he wants you to fix THEIRS".

  2. "It's not that hard to click a link, or visit this and that page". No, it isn't. The point here is that this is a PR thing. The message you should send to your players is "we want to make it as easy and painless as possible for you". It just makes sense from a business point of view to make your customers feel spoiled. But the message you currently send is "we don't do more than we absolutely have to".




Agreed. Totally.

Go draft, young man, go draft!

By alert you refer to the "warning" box which comes up every 15 minutes or so.

Usually I would have caught that, but circumstances today meant I was logged on, but actually busy doing something else. I was alerted to what looked like a system crash by an audible "bzzzzt" and the only alert in the client was "lost connection". This alert was probably superimposed over the earlier alert's that you refer too and were thus invisible.

Check cat hasn't chewed ethernet cable
Check browser works
Check server status - Reported as Online
Assume crash, seems likeliest given the history.
Attempt re-log at various intervals for the next few hours thinking wow this must be a serious crash.

Gah!
I didn't know they even had a blog. I don't see a link to it on either the main WOTC site or on the MTG/MTGO pages. Someone at WOTC fails at the internet. No information about it on the forum or the main website, only on a secret blog they've done their best not to even hint at the existence of.

From the mouths of babes...

WotC web people, take note!

Many of the people who have been around here for a while know the obscure places and obtuse navigation. But as this poster testifies, it ain't easy.




I am not sure what VorpalSpork means by main website, but the main MTGO web page (www.mtgonline.com), otherwise known as the What's Happening page, has the following links and downtime info: 


    
In addtion, there is always a link from Home Scene in Magic Online to both the blog and the What's Happening page, though that is less useful when there is a downtime.  In addition, the home scene will have announcements about the other major evetns in MTGO. 

While I will admit that text links may be a bit harder to notice than buttons, they do exist and in the places MTGO players should naturally be looking.  Now if there are additional places players expect to find links like this (other than in a dialog when they launch the client while we are down), I would be open to suggestions. 



For me, the main Magic web site is here. And, unless I'm very much mistaken, that's where Wizards want me to go when I feel the urge to go to a Magic webpage. So, whenever I want to find out something about Magic, I go there. Then, sometimes, I swear a bit and go to the page you featured in your post. Which, incidentially, is not linked to directly from daily MtGO.

Go draft, young man, go draft!

I didn't know they even had a blog. I don't see a link to it on either the main WOTC site or on the MTG/MTGO pages. Someone at WOTC fails at the internet. No information about it on the forum or the main website, only on a secret blog they've done their best not to even hint at the existence of.

From the mouths of babes...

WotC web people, take note!

Many of the people who have been around here for a while know the obscure places and obtuse navigation. But as this poster testifies, it ain't easy.




I've been lurking around forever and I only learned of the blog today in the pauper ban thread.
I would also love it if there was some way to choose a timezone when looking at the calendar so I cold check ahead of time (without logging in) when certain events were on without having to do timezone subtraction voodoo to work this out.

As it is I have a random city on one side of the US (don't remember offhand) on my iPhone that I look at to try to work out what time I should be looking at on the calendar, but once you get to the weekend, it's really painful to read the MTGO event calendar and try to modify what time I am looking at to work out when things are on.

It might not be a big thing (I assume most people are in the US as far as MTGO is concerned) but it must still be a minor pain for people in other parts of the US when you have to add/subtract X hours to read the calendar. 
I would also love it if there was some way to choose a timezone when looking at the calendar so I cold check ahead of time (without logging in) when certain events were on without having to do timezone subtraction voodoo to work this out. 



This is for me too. PST times don't tell me anything, I know I'm usually 8-9 hrs off, but can never tell in which direction. I once figured it all out and saved it in a document somewhere, which I promptly lost. The way I figure out whether events I like are scheduled is by looking in the client, even though I sometimes stare at the schedule, notice that there are like twice daily events that I like, then glaze over and click it away without learning when they are.

But there IS an alert inside the client.



Do you suggest putting a sign "warning, deep pit" on the bottom of every pit as well?

If you happen to be logged in in the 2-3 hours before a downtime, you get an in-client notice that it's about to happen. Awesome. What about ppl that try to log in while it is down? What about a heads-up on Monday or Tuesday, or, since it is so structural, continuously, so I know I might as well see a movie on wednesday? Cast your net as wide as possible so you catch more fish: they won't go out of their way to be caught.

Realise that every single week there are new players for who this downtime comes as a total surprise. They are not yet experienced enough to know there are a few places that have extra information about their game. But this is not just about new players! It is completely counterintuitive to not be shown this information right where you try to log in, but elsewhere.

Those other places are ok as an additional source, but the primary source should be the launcher and client themselves. One stop shopping. the basic rule of thumb here is that a question should ideally be answered right where it pops up. Think of it this way - if you go to a restaurant, you expect the menu on your table. Right where you are most likely to (realise that) you need it.
Free Speech
Free speech is the right to speak your mind without government censorship and without fear of extralegal retaliation like harassment or violence. That’s all! Free speech doesn’t include the right to speak your mind on any forum anywhere. The government may not prevent you from speaking, but private parties, like blog owners or corporations, aren’t required to let you use their property as your platform. Free speech doesn’t include the right to be believed or to be taken seriously. People may mock, ridicule or laugh at what you say, or they may reject it outright. Free speech doesn’t include the right to be listened to. People who don’t desire to hear your opinion can hang up on you, block you on social media, change the channel, close the browser tab. Free speech doesn’t give you the right to bombard people with harassing messages or otherwise force them to pay attention to you against their will. And free speech doesn’t include the right to suffer no consequences whatsoever for your expressed opinions.
But there IS an alert inside the client.



Those other places are ok as an additional source, but the primary source should be the launcher and client themselves. One stop shopping. the basic rule of thumb here is that a question should ideally be answered right where it pops up. Think of it this way - if you go to a restaurant, you expect the menu on your table. Right where you are most likely to (realise that) you need it.



I agree 100%.  It stuns me that the alert is not at the login screen!  The very reason we are having this discussion is because there are people like me who did not know that you needed to look somewhere else to realise that there was maintenance (and no, I was not in the client a couple of hours before it went down - why should I be?).  It also stuns me that the players have to point out the most basic and obvious things. 
+1 to so many things on this thread.


The client should have a link to all useful info.

Info should be available in one place - not some on twitter, some on wizards.com, some on MTGOnline.com, some in the blog, some in threads, and probably some in a locked file cabinet in a unlit basement with a sign saying beware the tiger....   


The client should tell you when it is down for maintenance - not that you should check your internet connection.

The client should have easy links to how to play, how to trade, how to get cards, etc. videos.
 
And the client should not disconnect you without warning, then continue to wind the opponent's clock.  

and so on, and on, and on.      
       

PRJ - "one million words" on MTGO

I write the State of the Program series on PureMTGO.com, appearing every Friday.

Check cat hasn't chewed ethernet cable


I too have a cat that likes to eat my important wires. That's why they're all covered in dried hotsauce. ;) 
I didn't know they even had a blog. I don't see a link to it on either the main WOTC site or on the MTG/MTGO pages. Someone at WOTC fails at the internet. No information about it on the forum or the main website, only on a secret blog they've done their best not to even hint at the existence of.

From the mouths of babes...

WotC web people, take note!

Many of the people who have been around here for a while know the obscure places and obtuse navigation. But as this poster testifies, it ain't easy.




I am not sure what VorpalSpork means by main website, but the main MTGO web page (www.mtgonline.com), otherwise known as the What's Happening page, has the following links and downtime info: 


    
In addtion, there is always a link from Home Scene in Magic Online to both the blog and the What's Happening page, though that is less useful when there is a downtime.  In addition, the home scene will have announcements about the other major evetns in MTGO. 

While I will admit that text links may be a bit harder to notice than buttons, they do exist and in the places MTGO players should naturally be looking.  Now if there are additional places players expect to find links like this (other than in a dialog when they launch the client while we are down), I would be open to suggestions. 







I agree times a million that all of this info should be in the client.  Any external website should only be for additional unnecessary information, like the current weekly article about MTGO on dailymtg that goes over decklists. 

If this is not possible, I strongly urge you to delete that Magic Online Group.  It does not need to exist.  It is hard to find, difficult to find, and extremely difficult to find - even when you know what you are looking for.  Mtgonline.com is hard enough to find as it is, there shouldn't be a deeper link we have to search for.  Mtgonline.com should contain all of the "blog"-style announcements we need.  No other links or groups or tweeters or faceplaces or anything.  If something is tweeted or facebooked, it should be repeated on mtgonline.com.  Everything right there in blog format (that you already have set up!) on mtgonline.com.  All of it.

But a better solution would be to have it in-client!
 

+1 to so many things on this thread.


The client should have a link to all useful info.

Info should be available in one place - not some on twitter, some on wizards.com, some on MTGOnline.com, some in the blog, some in threads, and probably some in a locked file cabinet in a unlit basement with a sign saying beware the tiger....   


The client should tell you when it is down for maintenance - not that you should check your internet connection.

The client should have easy links to how to play, how to trade, how to get cards, etc. videos.
 
And the client should not disconnect you without warning, then continue to wind the opponent's clock.  

and so on, and on, and on.      
       



Thank you for writing up everything I wanted to say, almost word for word, and saving me 20 minutes of work.