Friday, March 15, 2013

MTGO Misclick Rage

I'm in Round 2 of a Phantom GTC Sealed event on MTGO. I'm playing Boros, splashing green only for a Clan Defiance. My opponent, on the play, has gotten out a Daring Skyjek and a Kingpin's Pet. I untap with 4 mana, including R and G, and my Clan Defiance in hand. Time for a mini-blowout here, right?

I click the spell to cast it, select "Do X damage to creature with flying, do X damage to creature without flying, and do X damage to target player". I am prompted to select target creature with flying. I select the Kingpin's Pet. I am prompted to select target creature without flying. I select the Daring Skyjek. I am prompted to select target player. I select my opponent. I am prompted to pay RG. I pay RG and tap my other two lands for mana.

I click OK.

The spell goes to the graveyard and the play log says I just did zero damage to each target. Um. Honestly I don't know what the hell happened. I thought maybe I had been prompted to increment the amount of damage to each target and missed the increment. But I subsequently cast the spell the exact same way (only targeting just a single creature and player) and it worked exactly as expected.

The MTGO interface sucks. There's just no denying it. It's been a while since something this bad happens, but when it does, it makes you want to chuck your computer out the window. I understand there's a tradeoff between speed and error handling. A good option here would have been a warning dialog making sure I wanted to cast an X spell for zero before actually casting it (e.g. "Are you sure you want X to be zero?" Hell no, I don't.). Some might say that would slow the game down too much. Well, the moronic thing is that upon casting the spell for zero, then moving to the next phase, I was prompted with "You have mana left in your pool and you will lose it when going to the next phase. Are you sure?" If there's time for a mana prompt, there's time for a zero X spell prompt, which is arguably much more important since there's no mana burn anymore.

That game was firmly in hand, and I had won the first, so I would have gone up 2-0 in matches, ensuring prize support. Instead, I lost that game, and the next, then went 1-2 against another aggressive Naya deck in the last round and ended up 1-2 in matches. That interface issue cost me at least 1 pack, and possibly 3. So, that's awesome.

What there should be (and it would be trivial to implement) are different tiers of prompts for this kind of thing. The learning curve on MTGO is fairly steep. I made a lot of very costly mistakes early on just learning the interface, and many of them made me not want to play online for a while, if at all. The tragedy is that they've done a superb job handling the rules complexity of the game, but the interface still blows chunks. I am still mind-boggled at how they can do such a poor job at usability sometimes.

When this sort of thing happens, I don't feel the general fondness and enthusiasm for the game I usually feel. I feel disgusted. And that's not an emotion you want to elicit in your user base.

Not that it's that important now, but here was my pool and the deck I made. There as a possible Dimir or maybe UBG deck there, but the overall power level of the Boros was best, I think:

Update: I put in a reimbursement request on the chance that this was actually a bug and not a misclick, but asked for reimbursement in either case. WotC approved the request. Kudos.

No comments:

Post a Comment