Wednesday 22 November 2017

Thunderdome - the tournament practice test server

The news that several community CCP staff would be leaving CCP hit the tournament community hard because of the exceptional work that CCP Logibro had been doing on our behalf. Not least was the Thunderdome server - a test server with special features designed to support the special needs of tournament players. These are:

- protection from spies. Practices take place in a special arena that can't be accessed by third parties. Spying is still possible if you can get a character into an opponent's tournament practice squad but you can't simply take a cov ops and watch other teams practice.

- refereeing tool. The captain of a side has access to a special tool that allows him to teleport teams to the arena and which checks that fits are legal.

- restricted entry. Only people designated by their team captains have access, usually a tournament squad of around 15-50 people. This is reset from time to time. It was last reset after AT XV.

- all skills at V.

- all ships and modules available at nomimal costs (except titans I believe).

With the loss of Logibro it's been a bit up in the air what the future of this server is. Few tournament players want to go back to practicing on sisi. The loss of Thunderdome has also hurt player-run tournaments with the Anger Games being cancelled recently for this reason disappointing everyone involved.

I asked for access so that I can play with my new alliance (A Band Apart) and received some quite positive news from CCP Falcon.

CCP Falcon
Hi there,
Opening account access to Thunderdome is currently on hold, but will be available again in the coming weeks.
More details will be available on the community news feed once we've established how to continue to run the server going forward.
All the best,
CCP Falcon
EVE Universe Community Manager
EVE Online | EVE Valkyrie | EVE Gunjack
CCP Games hf.

Good news to have confirmation that CCP remains committed to providing us with Thunderdome and very good news that they expect it to be available in the coming weeks.

Sunday 5 November 2017

MTGO: Planning for the next release.

The release schedule for Magic is given here.

Rivals of Ixalan comes out January 19th 2018. We'll call that T.

T - 40 Leaked cards start to come out. In fact one card has already been leaked. This stage isn't really part of a systematic approach.

Approx T-21. Set is officially spoilered. We find out every card in the set. At this stage it's worth listing the Flash and Instant cards in a spreadsheet by colour and trying to learn them. You're a much more effective player if you know the implications of your opponent having one black mana open.

T-20 to T-14 Youtubers like Nizzahon and The Mana Leak evaluate the cards. I make a spreadsheet just listing the As and Bs as they evaluate the cards. My process when building a sealed deck is to pull all the As out then craft a strategy around playing them. These are likely to be the bombs. I won't always get them all to work, some cards don't splash well but I think this is a good place to start. Note these sites and the later Limited Resources are evaluating for draft, a faster format. So for Sealed I need to overrule their verdicts from time to time.

T-14 to T-6 Limited Resources release their set evaluation. I check if there are any more As and Bs that I don't have yet in my list from the other guys.

approx T-14 Loading Ready Run do their pre-pre-release show which is a good opportunity to see people play with the cards.

T-6 : the set launches. I think about whether I want to go to a shop and play MtG physically. Usually I don't go but I did enjoy the Hour of Devastation prerelease I went to at Dark Sphere in June.

T-4 MTGO prerelease. This is the opening of the gold mine. Right at the start the value of the cards one opens probably covers the cost of entrance so basically you're playing for free with all prizes as pure profit. Also many opponents are new to the format or rusty at Magic and make mistakes.

T-4 to approx T+30. Playing these games is amazingly effective and powerful tapering off over time. Each day the value of the cards opened decreases, the expertise of average opponents increases and the chances of getting a newbie opponent go down.

I think I didn't do enough Sealed this expansion and plan to really hammer the game in late January.