On MTGO Treasure Chests



  • For the record, I'm not sure the best place for MTGO related news to go.

    Wizards announced the ratios at which "Curated Cards", which include online copies of the Power 9, appear relative to one another and in Treasure Chests as a whole. The link is http://magic.wizards.com/en/MTGO/articles/archive/magic-online/treasure-chest-card-list-info. I did some quick work with a spreadsheet to calculate the odds of opening a curated card. (Not going to calculate EV as that is much, much more work).

    Probability of opening:
    1 Curated Card = 22.62% = 1 in ~4.5 packs
    2 Curated Cards = 1.19% = 1 in ~84 packs
    3 Curated Cards = 0.010% = 1 in ~10526 packs

    On average, each pack will contain 0.250 CC or 1 CC in 4 packs.

    There are 681 CCs that appear at frequencies of 1 through 40 to each other. Notable Vintage cards at each frequency:
    1: Power 9
    6: Bazaars, Crucible, Dack, Doomsday, JTMS, Mana Drain, Zen Fetches, Tarmogoyf, Undiscovered Paradise, Unmask.
    12: Ancient Tomb, Blood Moon, Cavern of Souls, CotV, Engineered Explosives, Force of Will, Golgari Grave-Troll, Grafdigger's Cage, Misdirection, Snapcaster Mage, Tangle Wire, Dual Lands, Expeditions
    20: Masterpieces
    25: Daze, Pyroblast, Snuff Out
    40: Gitaxian Probe, Preordain

    After math, the probability of a curated card being a Black Lotus (or other member of the Power 9) is 1/7655 and you would have to open 30,585 Treasure Chests to find one (on average). While I can't (or won't...seriously, looking up the prices for every modern rare/mythic is bleh) calculate the EV of Treasure Chests or predict with certainty the impact they will have on Vintage or the MTGO economy, I hope this at least combats the view that WotC is flooding the market with Power and gives people more information when deciding whether or not to buy in or sell out of MTGO.

    Please let me know if I mathed wrong. Peace.



  • It's hard to look at a MTGO collection as an investment opportunity. If you sell out now, you might save yourself $50, $100, or $200 but won't be able to play Vintage online.

    The value of being able to play Vintage on MTGO exceeds the max value of all the vintage staples combined. I'd say the value of Vintage on MTGO is = to the value of two real life Vintage decks. ($30,000)



  • I put my money where my mouth is and dropped 164 dollars on a playset of Tarmogoyfs from MTGOTraders.

    @desolutionist You are right in that most people don't look at it as an investment opportunity, but I think most people also expect not to get wiped out financially and that is a fear that some people have with this change. Those are the players I'm trying to reach with this post. Others are selling out as a vote of no confidence in the MTGO management, which I respect. They did not handle this situation and several others well.

    I'm with you in that MTGO is valuable to me in letting me play competitive Magic with rules enforcement on a frequent basis. However, it's up to an individual to figure out whether or not it's worth it to them. Putting a dollar amount not feasible or accurate though.



  • @desolutionist said:

    The value of being able to play Vintage on MTGO exceeds the max value of all the vintage staples combined. I'd say the value of Vintage on MTGO is = to the value of two real life Vintage decks. ($30,000)

    You are stoned! MTGO is an utter pile of shit as far as software goes. Additionally it's a pale substitute for an actual game of Magic face to face with another human. You think database rows are worth 20 year old scarce collectibles? Wow. I have some land to sell you. Let me know when you find somebody willing to swap their set of double power for a SQL Query.



  • https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1KmqPQofilMk_NlVPlo215sXsIuIqDPY3NTLIIzi3LRI/edit?usp=sharing

    The expected value of a curated card is 4.90 tickets. Or in other words, the expected value added of curatted card to that of a treasure chest is 1.22 tickets.

    The expected value of play points is 24.8. Or in other words, the expected value added of play points to that of a treasure chest is 7.4 play points.

    So even if the standard/modern mythics/commons/uncommons are worthless, a treasure chest is worth about 2 tickets. That's really not that bad. Considering Vintage payouts lost 180 play points (18 tickets of value) for approximately 14 treasure chests (28 tickets of value). We gain. If the modern/standard mythics are actually good, we gain A LOT.



  • @nedleeds

    It enforces the game rules and shuffles decks instantaneously all without requiring you to leave your house. And for those who don't want to take a 10 hour plane ride to sit in a game store and shuffle cards, MTGO is far superior to real life game play. That 10 hour trip to a a big tournament is a $20,000 ordeal if you are counting the price of the cards. The competitive experience of a large Vintage tournament is not only replicated on MTGO, but it is enhanced.

    The physical aspect of MTG is the my least favorite attribute of the game. Especially in tournaments, where your top card could flip over or your card sleeves split.


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    @desolutionist said:

    The competitive experience of a large Vintage tournament is not only replicated on MTGO, but it is enhanced.

    I would agree with this. If you discount software bugs on one side, and reading your opponent on the other;

    Magic as a game is much better on MTGO.
    Magic as a hobby is far better in real life.



  • I cant really get behind magic online as an investment vehicle because of the fact that its digital property. It can just vanish overnight. Even if the game as a whole stopped being supported, I could still use my paper decks and cube. I would expect a good chunk of my collection to hold SOME value on the genuine rarity of older stuff coupled with the unique place Magic holds in the annals of gaming. When the end comes online, its all just gone.



  • @desolutionist said:

    @nedleeds

    It enforces the game rules and shuffles decks instantaneously all without requiring you to leave your house. And for those who don't want to take a 10 hour plane ride to sit in a game store and shuffle cards, MTGO is far superior to real life game play. That 10 hour trip to a a big tournament is a $20,000 ordeal if you are counting the price of the cards. The competitive experience of a large Vintage tournament is not only replicated on MTGO, but it is enhanced.

    The physical aspect of MTG is the my least favorite attribute of the game. Especially in tournaments, where your top card could flip over or your card sleeves split.

    Well I have no real financial restrictions, and own two sets of power so I guess that puts us in different worlds. Competing face to face with other humans, bluffing, reading and winning are all parts of the game. MTGO has none of this, and a piece of shit client. I'm also old, 40, and have been playing since 1993 so we probably have vastly different ideas of what constitutes 'real Magic'. I see MTGO as an almost separate game in and of itself. And mostly as a shitty substitute for 'real Magic'. Anyway, at least the software remembers your Leovold triggers for you!


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    Yeah, it's not fair to call MTGO a "better magic", but it's definitely fair to call it a different game, which some people might prefer.

    Bluffs and reading tells are great, but so is not having to worry about cheaters.

    Face-to-face interaction with other players is awesome, but so is the extra face-to-face interaction I get with my friends and family given the huge amount of travel time I can save at home.

    Infinite loops and earlier access to cards like Leovold is nice, but so is never having to worry about illegal slow play.

    Both games have big advantages the other can't really compete with, and different people value those advantages differently. Personally, I'm happy to play both for the time being!



  • I feel this thread has gotten off-topic as it's not about whether MTGO is worth it (that's a complex topic in an of itself) but more about the impact of Treasure Chests and people's reactions to them. I am curious how people feel about Treasure Chests, whether positive, negative nor neutral. If you were considering buying into MTGO, does this make you more or less likely to do so? If you have a MTGO account, are you concerned about the value of your collection and are you considering selling out because of this? If you sold out, what role did the Treasure Chests have in the decision? We could talk about MTGO's deficiencies and benefits all day which I is why I think it's important to have a more narrowed focus.



  • I periodically think about buying into MTGO. Treasure Chests do not aid or hinder my decision process. I still do not intend to buy-in.



  • I also think about buying in to magic online from time to time purely for play opportunities, with no EV consideration. In the end I dont even have the free time to play in all the paper events I have access to so I just use the $ to upgrade and expand my paper collection.



  • @ChubbyRain Hey Matt, I think it's possibly wrong to take the Treasure Chest announcement in isloation - remember it was announced along with a curtailing of the redemption possibilities on MTGO (shorter time to redeem, plus scrapping of previous block drafts) - I think when you take the two together, it's that which leads to concern about the future of the online economy.

    Namely, both seem to indicate a belated desire on Wizards part to compete with Hearthstone (forget for a moment the software shortcomings in that plan!) - ie to end redemption as a mechanic linking MTGO with real-world Magic. Ostensibly, that barely affects me, you or most other Vintage players - but it's actully the mechanism that was conceived at mtgo's inception to inculcate the digital product with some concrete worth; to convince users to fork out for digital items (at the time, still a radical proposition). If Wizards' end goal is to end redemption (and their actions tend to point to this), it seems likely they want to move to some kind of free-to-play experience or all-you-can-eat-subscription style model. I think it's this implication that has people scared about the value of their collections (on top of the Treasure Chest move) and wondering whether it's safer to sell off their cards.

    While the move to such a business model may well not be bad per se, what's really reckless and insulting in my opinion, is the lack of transparency around it. Essentially, because WOTC (I suspect for legal reasons) won't acknowledge publically the value of cards (real or digital) on the secondary market, they won't fess up to what they're planning - and we end up getting fed PR guff that's meant to placate us and which invariably generates bad feeling. If they were to address things up front and say that they were taking into account the secondary market and how much people had spent on the game with their plans, they might get a better hearing from users. But as is, the double speak they use to talk about card values internally seems to blind them from making strategic decisions that factor in that importance to their customers - and hinders them in articulating their plans in a transparent, non-panic-inducing way.

    For eample they could say: 'Guys, the online card-gaming space has changed radically over the past few years and we'd like to learn lessons from that in order to offer Magic players the best experience possible going forward. Part of that, is examining how much it costs users to play Magic Online and whether there are alternative business models we can use to attract new players - whilst also recognising the amount of money invested in the game by our current user base. After some research, we've determined that the average MTGO account is worth $XXXXX and we'll be bearing that in mind as we move forward. Intially, we're going to offer a parrallel pricing system - a subscription allowing users to play in phantom limited events, winning cards via Treasure Chests. To play constructed events though, players will still need to own their own collections, so your cards will still be worth hanging on to.... ' etc etc

    You get the idea. I'm not saying that parallel model itself is ideal - simply that there appear to be alternatives that have not been explored, better ways to communicate with players, and better ways to phase in changes that could end up really hurting some of their most heavily invested users. The constant half-arsed ad hoc changes to MTGO don't seem to have any long-term strategy behind them - or at least not one which is being honestly articulated to players who have spent a shit ton of money on a sub-standard product, under a set of conditions they believed to be, if not eternal, then at least stable. And personally, I don't think that's good enough.

    (My coffee may have been quite strong this morning!)



  • The thing is that it's not just about the treasure chests as Titus said it is also about the redemption. I think people primarily fear what will happen with Magic Online. What do we know? Nothing much. I personally feel cheated on and it does not matter if WotC actually thought about secondary market or not. It is not transparent, we are in the dark and in fear. That is not good because that gives a reason to leave modo. Many people did just that and I would do it as well too if I had access to modo at work when I read the announcement. When I got to see what my collection is worth after the announcement it dropped from 5k to 3.91k and I decided to keep it thus. If I would imagine myself paying 5k for the cards and then just losing that money I would be horrified. I could have bought...power nine for that (not really but at least a part of it).

    Already the introduction of PlayPoints was a move I did not like but since prices plummeted I bought in (not really I just played A LOT of drafts and turned my prizes into my current collection). At that time Wizards was addressing a problem that was caused by making the redemption fees way higher. The players were well aware of this and the consequences but it took WotC a really long time to figure this out and fix it. It showed, the prices of everything went down and continued to fall for a very long time. Players became very unhappy about their prizes as they were rather worthless. This was fixed with untradable 'new currency'. Now they seem to want to take redemption completely away and what they did suggest a Hearthstone like model to be the direction of Magic Online. That is something I do not really want. I like my (digital) cards and want them to keep their value.

    Remember all the surveys that were more of a Hearthstone survey than Magic Online one? It started with something like 'Do you play Magic Online? if so for how long' and 'Do you play Hearthstone?'. If you answered yes in the second question you had to fill in several pages of questions. I would actually be interested in results from these surveys.

    One of the things they were interested in is how much money you actually spend on Magic Online. I personally doubt that this number is actually high but since you also had to write down how often you play and in how many tournaments you participate per month. I don't spent much (almost nothing) and usually entered something like 45 events per month (which at that time I found as 'a lot' but I don't play much compared to the players I know). They also wondered what kind of tournament play is what people want and I guess Leagues and cross-pod draft is something they actually got a high percentage of preference. But well I can be wrong. Anyway this survey most probably was done to see what we can actually withstand and what direction they can take without losing us, but they misstepped few times already.

    Erm what I wanted to say is... there is supposed to be a new digital platform that should be for all the players that are somewhere in between casual and pros (both included). They want to create e-sport out of it, so I really hoped Magic Online would stay the way it is for those that still wish to play on it. I fear that Magic Digital Next will be a completely different game because I can't even imagine Magic: The Gathering the way it exists in digital world to be seen streamed and watched by way more than 20k viewers. I expected to WotC still keeping modo for 'highest level players' and not destroy the model it was built on so it would be more 'stream' friendly or even more casual player friendly.

    If Wotc is trying to take 'money' out of us and eliminate something like 'going infinite' I would also understand that but hell I really would like to know what is WotC thinking and I think that we deserve that. Because it is about trust. If WotC fails in this we won't come back.

    (hope the text above is understandable at least a bit)

    As for the treasure chest, after I calculated what the EV should be (I came to something like 2.24) I realized that this is quite ok. But the thing is...what t he market will do with it and how many of these there will be. This won't go up but only down. Well, anyway all I can do now is wait and see. But certainly I do not consider this positive. It might be in the end but I don't see the 'value' of it. All I can see is uncertainty and prices dropping. Also it will make it harder to reenter events I'd say. But that all is to be seen. I don't like this 'lottery' at all...

    (BTW the probability of opening a curated card is actually 19%)


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    To stay strictly on topic:

    Personally - I'm very excited about Treasure Chests. I'm excited to open them on stream, I'm excited to play with Conspiracy cards, and I predict they'll raise the overall EV of Vintage dailies for most players (market forces and a lack of information means we don't really know yet, but the numbers I've seen all make me optimistic).

    The announcement caused a drop in power/vintage staple prices which lowered the value/cost of online vintage collections (including mine). For me, this is a big positive - it opened the format up to a few people I know who couldn't buy in before. That makes my collection more useful/valuable for me, even if the dollar value is lower. I can't begrudge anyone else for being upset about losing dollar value on their collection though.



  • @stsung @sodoyouwearacape Yeah, the lack of transparency is frightening, especially since they promised a move to more transparency. And agreed on the redemption issue. I don't think it will affect Vintage prices and may actually lower the prices of the few Standard cards that see Vintage play, but it's decidedly "anti-player" as Rich put it. It gives players fewer things to do with their cards. I actually think play points worked well in stabilizing the economy. What they should do is establish a prize wall (they could even have these treasure chests available) so that for the minority of players who accumulate play points, there is something for them do with them. I thought the fear most players would have was with Treasure Chests flooding the market - thanks for letting me know your views.

    @stsung - There is a 19% chance of opening a Curated Card in the first slot, a 5% chance of opening one in the second slot, and a 1% chance of opening one in the third slot. The average will be 0.25 CC per pack but the distribution is not uniform and you can have up to 3 in an individual pack. EV calculations have been close to 2 tix, which is pretty good, and one of the webstores looked at tournament results and calculated 1.6 Black Lotus's released per month, which is on par with the Power 9 events.



  • @ChubbyRain Lately I actually trust WotC (last few years) quite a lot in what they were doing both online and in paper (it's more about stuff that affect venues/sellers and organized play, also standard rotation that practically solved ridiculous prices of cards from last set of a block ) so it is unlikely I would run away. They tried to address issues that are here for a long time and I think they actually succeed more often than not.

    The same applies to designing sets lately. The reason why I play Vintage is because it is the only left format that allows for the kind of play and decks I like. But I have to say that the design of new sets is awesome, it is totally different from what I would expect or like but it is really well done.

    Unfortunately sometimes it happens that they just do something players really do not like. But well they could just try to really say what they are trying to achieve and slowly get there. The second batch of announcements was something they should have done in the first wave. We need numbers and lists. We are very value oriented. I understand that WotC is trying somehow to avoid talking about secondary market etc. but it is pretty real and players live in it especially those that play on Magic Online. If they accept the fact that modo is for the 'highest level players' they should also approach the players that way, unless they really want to take out the 'money' from us. Meaning that they would give us less and less possibilities what to do with the product. One way to solve this would really be some kind of prize wall. They need to give us possibilities not take them away. I don't like this direction (the second thing is that we probably have expensive collections, I personally do not want to lose the monetary value of it - I want to be able to sell it whenever I want - but that is more due to the fact that I don't really have money IRL).

    We need information and see that what WotC does has a good purpose and should be good for us. But sometimes it just does not look like it and I do not like uncertainty. (ok, I'll stop now since I'm obviously off-topic as well...)



  • @ChubbyRain said:

    I feel this thread has gotten off-topic as it's not about whether MTGO is worth it (that's a complex topic in an of itself) but more about the impact of Treasure Chests and people's reactions to them. I am curious how people feel about Treasure Chests, whether positive, negative nor neutral.

    I backed Solforge on kickstarter so fairly familiar with chests, I think it adds a bit of excitement so slight positive.
    @ChubbyRain said:

    If you were considering buying into MTGO, does this make you more or less likely to do so? If you have a MTGO account, are you concerned about the value of your collection and are you considering selling out because of this?

    I'm definitely not selling. I feel a bit green that the MTGO economy can tank to the extent my collection loses 15% in a matter of days so guess that means if I'm being honest with myself I'm concerned about the absolute value of my collection. But since nearly everything has tanked then relative value has't really changed, and it may make it easier to try out new decks. And as @Brass-Man said if it makes the cost of entry lower so more events fire that has to be a good thing.


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    I don't have a link to the update but WotC announced that they would be eventually making treasure chests tradeable and they said what the odds on opening non-junk stuff was. This has allowed people to calculate EV and it looks like it's a tiny improvement, which is nice.
    The real problem is and continues to be redemption policy changes, because those do a lot to keep cards from being worthless.



  • It takes money to get Hearthstone cards; I know people who have spent several hundred dollars and I probably spent about $100 myself. There is no way to get the cards you want directly either and no redemption or way of regaining money for your Hearthstone cards.

    In other words, if the game is good, people will pay to play. But probably we all love Vintage more than the average magic player loves magic.


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