Blog the Magic Gathering

A poor man's blog for Magic the Gathering (MtG), Wizards of the Coast (WoTC), deck construction, cards, combos, game play, MtG podcasts, etc.

What is "Magic: the Gathering"? Magic is a collectible fantasy-themed playing card game kinda combining Uno, War, Chess, and art dealing: match colors, draw 4, high card beat low card, different cards attack in different ways while you ogle hot chicks and dragons drawn by your favorite artists on cards you can sometimes sell for big money.
It's Pokimon for grown ups. Srsly, get your Pokimon player a Magic deck and they'll instantly sprout pubes and consider a career as a mathmatician.

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Highlights of Blog the Magic Gathering:
MTG Podcasts (I should update this)
Music: the Gathering (MTG Compilation)
M:TMNT (Magic: The Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Monday, March 9, 2009:


Now with MTGO... No? Now? How about now?

This is me trying to get MTGO:

mtgo - magic the gathering online

Dear Diary,

I found a twenty on the ground on Saturday morning, so I went straight to the flea market and bought an 8th Edition intro pack which comes with an MTGO disk, specifically so I could start playing MTGO. I would just pay the $9.99 with a credit card and actually get some cards worth having (because I didn't even get a Llanowar Elf with the Core Set), but I've never had a credit card and when I tried to get a Visa Gift Card I found out gift cards didn't come in denominations I could afford. Pro-Tour types have it easy, playing pauper is hard. :/

Anyay, after dreaming of the day for months, I FINALLY have MTGO (almost) and after 15 years of exposure to MtG I might actually be able to start PLAYING Magic rather than simply looking at a binder of a few hundred commons and struggling to build a deck worth having [I just got my playset of Virulent Slivers! :D]. When I play it will be my 12th game or so in 15 years. ...BUT... I have to install MTGO on this library computer before I get booted off and if another library patron is waiting for a computer I could be kicked off at any time over 30 minutes, and MTGO is only 96% downloaded and it's been downloading for the past HOUR AND A HALF!


2 hours 5 minutes: 97% complete. ...but I'm on a Cable connection! Am I downloading high resolution scans of every card known to man?! How many "frames" does this thing HAVE? I could have downloaded my 30 Gig iPod by now. Oh, I know what's happening, God's waiting for me to complete the download so he can boot me off the computer. Just wait. Am I going to have to do this EVERY time I want to play MTGO?? Wait, this isn't even going to be MTGO III is it? ...

Mysterious 8th Edition MTGO CD: 2 hours 13 minutes and counting: 97% Complete
MTGO III: 0.3% Complete. 12 hours left.

I hate the world. :|

Oh look, I'm getting booted off the computer.

Next Day:
Ok, I downloaded MTGO III in half an hour and stored it in on my iPod so I won't have to keep downloading it from It probably took a long time yesterday due to so many people being at the library eating up bandwidth. I hopped back online and installed MTGO III, then it said there was a NEW version available! ...but I *JUST* DOWNLOADED IT! Ok, download. Now, by this time, the library is full, so bandwidth is scarce and after a couple minutes it's only downloaded 40 files with 3,066 to go. I bought MTGO yesterday, but haven't even been able to make an account.

An hour later: Downloading 1400 of 3066. If I leave this computer for 5 minutes it will shut down, so I'm stuck in this chair. My ass hurts. I need a cigarette. Oh look, I'm being booted off the computer.

Well, at least the 8th Edition Intro Pack has a "Learn to Play Magic" program where I can play against a computer. I'll at least be able to play with Grizzly Burrs and Giant Octopi. Octopi, a bit too 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea for a traditional fantasy setting, but oh well, it's better than bears.

Day 3
Installed MTGO III, again, the update completed, again, then it said the New Account Server was down for repairs. *sigh*

Day 4
Let's see what happens today and what's up with the New Account Server and wot not.
MTGO III is stuck checking file versions (87%) even though it says the Update is complete and it gives me the option of Launching MTGO III. What do I do? Oh well, here goes... *Launch* OMG, it worked! :D Now I have to choose a screen name. Ok, done, but wait, it's telling me I have to buy an account to activate it... but I already got an activation code with my Core Set! I can't use my activation code until I buy ANOTHER activation code for $9.99?!

Hurdle after roadblock, it's like digging a hole to China; it looks like I'm making progress slowly, but surely, but all I'm really doing is digging my grave.

Days 5, 6, 7, and 8
I made a few attempts to get some help from WotC, to see if they're going to honor their product. Nobody from WotC has been of ANY help. I figure I've been screwed out of $16, but what do they care, it's only sixteen bucks, only all the money I had to my name. Anyway, I lucked out on Day 9 and found $36 probably dropped by some Irishman celebrating Saint Alcoholics Day, so I got a $25 American Express Gift Card and walked a mile and a half to the library only to find out the library was closed and I had to walk a mile and half right back. Tired, frustrated, hungry, and sleepy, I then realized it wouldn't have done any good anyway, because the Gift Card wasn't associated with an address, so I then went through heck of a time trying to register it with my contact information. I tried to call AmEx to sort it out, but the phone I was using ended up not working, so I got to another phone. People have been talking about class action lawsuits against Amex because the gift cards are usually regected by merchants unless people somehow figure out who to call and what options on the messaging system eventually lead to the hidden "talk the customer service rep in India" option (He was Indian, I could tell). The process was frustrating (Me? Frustrated? Go figure.), but I did eventually get the card associated with the address of my local homeless mission. Now I need access to a computer, so the wait for the library continues.

DAY 10
So, now here I am at a different library which has a better reputation of not booting people off the computer after only 30 minutes, thus in theory giving me time to reinstall MTGO 3, reupdate it, then make an account with the Gift Card, but the computer seems to be going much slower than the computers at the other library, much slower, much much slower. ...and now I'm getting booted off. IT'S THURSDAY MORNING! WHY ARE THERE SO MANY PEOPLE AT THE LIBRARY ON A THURSDAY MORNING?! ...because it frustrates me, that's why.

Ok, so I hopped on a different computer hoping it was faster, and of course it isn't. A rough guestimate says I'll have to be on this computer for several hours before it's MTGO III is updated. I guess I wasted a third of my life's saving on bus fare today. (Me? Wasting money? Go figure).

I'm trying really hard not to blame WotC for all of this frustration, because they have this really cool game I've been wanting to play for 15 years.

Check this out, I figured I'd be here for a while so I decided to give the Wizards Community Forum another try, to see yet again if there's anyone I can talk to and get my Core Set Activation Code problem sorted out, but THE FORUMS ARE DOWN! It's so unbelievably coincidental, I have no problem believing it's not a coincidence: it's magic, pauper magic. I'm mystical and magical and can amaze you with my astounding ability to not accomplish the simplest of feats.

Two hours later: Hey, wow! I didn't get booted off this time! This time MTGO "Timed Out" and quit of it's own accord. This, like most things, does not please me. I need a break, I'm going to go give myself cancer. Ok nice, what timing, I'm being booted off the computer.

DAY 11
I went back to the first library early and was first on the computers, so I had all the bandwidth to myself to install then speedily download MTGO (shouldn't downloading come BEFORE installing?), but of course I got booted off the computer before it finished updating and there weren't even any library patrons in line for that computer. I'm never going to be able to even sign up for an account, much less play the damned game. I guess the only way I can play MTGO is if I give up my anti-social disorders, sell my soul into slavery for the almighty dollar, sub for some money-worshipping monkey, and do whatever bit of pointless vanity the other monkeys are trading their scraps of paper for, then I can afford to be ripped off by computer-dealing monkeys and not have to use the library, but that sounds like alot of work and I have for some time now had very little motivation to live, much less do things I don't care about (ie. everything) for people who don't care about me (ie everybody).

I am so stressed out. I need something to get my mind off my mind. You know what I like to think about when I get like this? Magic. :)

God I wish I had MTGO. :(

Maybe this time I'll get lucky...

DAY 15
By some miracle I got MTGO III updated and the new account servers were up, so I tried to use the screen name I tried to use before, but it's taken, except I can't sign into it. So I try to make a new screen name, but when I click to see if it's available, nothing happens. So I restart the program, choose a new screen name, make my order, fill out my American Express Gift Card info, and it wouldn't authenticate it. Then it told me to restart MTGO III and do it again. ... So I do it again, but when I click to register a username, nothing happens. So I restart again.

I got sidetracked helping The Magic Sock and MTGCast with their webmastering, now I'm getting booted off the computer.

Somehow my MTGO III file just got erased. Now I have to download MTGOIII_helper.exe from onto my iPod again. It says my iPod isn't connected, so I ignore it and immediately try again and it works. I have 30 minutes before the library closes.

Download 4.2% Complete
3h 2m left


HEY, WOW! Someone told me how to activate my account using the 8th Edition Codes! ...and the library is closing. :/

DAY 16
Interesting how I first looked to the help section at on day 4 or 5 and I couldn't find this help page which a forum volunteer directed me to, interesting also how when I also previously tried to email customer service as this page says I must do, it wouldn't let me, but now it works. I have to wait up to 2 days for a response. I also still have to download MTGO III Helper again or I won't be able to install and update MTGO III again and of course people have been bouncing me off the computer and eating up bandwidth, so that's taken me 5 hours already. Starting at 2hrs, I only have "8m left" until my download is complete. Watch me get booted before it's done. ... I knew it. Another day wasted.

DAY 17
I got email from Wizards saying "Your account is now active and available to play. The Core game cards will be added to your account as soon as possible. Please let me know if you need anymore help!". So I logged into my Customer Help Account to reemphasize my overlooked question about how I my American Express Gift Card wasn't authenticated even though I went through a heck of a time getting it registered and associated to an address like I was told I had to do, but when I tried to update the question, it wouldn't let me. I just finished downloding MTGO III Helper and ran MTGO III, but when it was finished it said I was running an old version. I JUST DOWNLOADED IT. So now I'm downloading 17,649 MORE files. ...and I'm getting booted off the computer.

DAY 18

Downloading. Timed out. Let's try this again. ... Let's time out again. PFT! Forget it, I'm too frustrated. I'll just content myself with some MTGCast instead.

DAY 19

Yay, progress. :/ I sat here for 2 hours and stared at the Lorwyn chicks midriff, because the troubleshooting guide says no other programs should be running when MTGO downloads. It worked. Well... it downloaded. Then it gave me the option to "Launch", so I clicked it. ...and it closed. ...and nothing else happened. Yeah...

We are go for launch!
How about now?
Oh, Hell.

Damn you WotC,

You should have told us we were Beta Testing MTGO! I advise you to immediately pull all advertising for Magic Online, avoid mentioning MTGO as much as you can without making current players TOO suspicious. When you finally have a viable product (ie. when the Help file is NOT as big as the actual program itself!), declare the Beta Testing complete and invite people to play the actual game. When people say, "We were still Beta Testing?!", point to an old memo sent to Public Relations and point out the where the typo was.

DAY 20

I click MTGO_NET.exe and nothing happens. I click newkicker.exe, the program starts, I click "Launch", it closes and nothing happens. I click "Repair", it starts, goes through the intial "downloading files" routine, then it stops and says "FileCopyStart -- Object reference not set to an instance of an object." I tried to repair the problem, but the repair has a problem.

So I reinstall. I launch. I see a bunch of angry guys in animal helmets busting stuff up. MTGO breaks. I'd love to tell you what kind of error it is, but I could't cut and paste the error message, all I could do was say "ok" and the it all closes, it was something about "value null". Yeah, my thoughts exactly. MTGO: value null.

Good news though, I'm told I have an account with some 8th Edition Core Set cards. Too bad I CAN'T EVEN LOG ON!

So I unintstall, so I can REinstall, expecting it to leave only the intial installation program, but not only does it erase that too, it toatlly erases EVERYTHING in the whole file, even my other programs which had nothing to do with MTGO III! So I have to download the installer again?! AGAIN?! AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN!! I'M SO SICK OF DOING ALL THIS CRAP OVER AND OVER AND GETTING NOWHERE!!

In the past month, I've managed to play 2 MTGO games, both on the free server, not on my account, but that was a couple weeks ago, I've not been able to do it since, and I've never even been able to sign in to my account, which I'm told I have. I redownloaded, reinstalled, reupdated, and rerepaired, but I can't get MTGO to Launch again. "Magic: the Customer Service" has been interesting, almost productive, they fixed a problem and now I can update my Help questions after their advice doesn't help.

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Thomas Painter   
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holy god that was painful to read. but entertaining.
I cried big salty magic tears throughout the entire story. I feel your pain...
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