Yesterday, members of the Magic Arena team took to Reddit for a Developer AMAA (Ask Me Almost Anything) to answer community questions. Here are the results and our recap of that event.


Brawl

  • They have not yet found the right balance with availability, entry fees, and rewards with the format.
  • Tests are ongoing to help find the right balance of the above.
  • The 10k cost was originally set after simulating earn rates vs consumption for average players.
  • A permanent queue with no entry fee with limits on daily rewards is something being explored.
  • A separate mastery pass for Brawl is being talked about but not on the roadmap.
  • Standard will remain the primary format of Arena. They do not want players to feel they must play Brawl.

Draft Mode

  • The plan for human drafts is to work similarly to MTG Online leagues. Play against other humans outside of your draft pod.
  • Human drafting is not planned to replace bot drafting.
  • The goal is to have human drafting implemented within the first half of this year. Definitely this year though.
  • They are excited about the data they can collect from human drafts to further improve bot drafts.

Economy

  • The vault is not going away. They like the long-term value it provides for duplicate Common and Uncommon cards.
  • Showing vault progression should be a feature. Likely added to profile pages at some point.
  • Items in the shop purchasable with Gold will be also purchasable with Gems in the future. It is a technical limitation right now.

Events & Sets

  • They find higher participation in events that have preconstructed decks which is why Workshop events are focused on that. It could change in the future.
  • The goal is to get the bulk of playable Pioneer cards out "soon". They are working closely with R&D on the remaster process.
  • There are likely not enough cards in Arena yet to make Commander decks feel different enough from each other.

Social

  • Friend messaging is coming soon. This is the next item on their social features list.
  • They want to push social features farther this year, they're just getting started.
  • There are talks about linking DCI numbers and Arena accounts.
  • Deck sharing with your friends will be released this year.
  • Multiplayer formats are being considered but are not on the 2020 roadmap.

Tabletop / Paper

  • They are running experiments in Wizards Partner Network stores that link Arena and Tabletop together.
  • They most recently had an event that gave out sleeves in Arena.
  • They would like to hear what the community wants to see out of better connecting Arena and Tabletop.

Tech

  • The goal is to still have Arena available on Mac. Arena doesn't support 64-bit yet which is required on OS Catalina so more work needs to be done.
  • There is a lot of talk about doing an API for community tools but it is not on the 2020 roadmap.
  • There are no current plans for Arena on consoles, though no platform is off-limits.
  • Mobile App is still on the road map. They are not ready to talk about it yet.

You can see all the questions and answers from the AMAA down below.


Magic Developer AMA Source

Please click to expand - its a long one!

Quote From Wizards AMA

Is the current state of the friends list and direct challenge seen as acceptable social functions for a game in 2020? I was hoping they would be updated as the system seems rushed and basic.

Friends list is certainly only a start with friend messaging coming very soon. Direct Challenge keeps evolving as we add more functionality to it…starting tomorrow in fact with some draft-friendly changes.

We're getting to the basics, but we want to take it further through 2020.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


One thing that I think would be pretty cool is if I could buy codes for gems in Arena from my LGS. That way I could sell old cards I have lying around from drafts and use store credit to purchase gems on Arena. My LGS would get extra business, Arena would get extra business, and I'd be able to get more value out of my old cards that I'm not currently using. Win-win-win.

We have been working with our fellow WPN group on a variety of experiments around linking the two aspects together. Recently, we had in-store events that awarded Arena sleeves. We learned from that event and others like it, and we're using those learnings for new experiments in 2020.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


This is probably going to get buried but I was wondering if you could explain the feedback buttons that we occasionally get at the end of matches. The ones that ask how you enjoyed the match. What kind of data were you hoping to get from them and what kind of data have you gotten so far?

Yes, by far the #1 correlation with a person saying if they had fun is… if they won :)

More seriously, it let's us look for trends across events and match types. For example, with the perf problems from the summer, correlating the surveys and the frame rates we were seeing let us understand who was experiencing better games as we worked. We can also look at deck match-ups, roping, and other game behaviors that trend based on the survey.

It's a simple question, but it gives us context for other data.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


Thanks for the answer and the follow-up.

Thanks!

(Wizards Community Team)


There have been so many great questions and we're doing our best to answer as many as possible. We're going to continue answering questions for another 15-20 minutes or so before we get back to shipping tomorrow's game update.

This has been a blast Reddit, thank you so much for all of your questions. We appreciate your dedication to this game we all love, and we will continue to make it the best game it can be. And again, a big thank you to the awesome moderator team here, we couldn't have done it without you.

We want to keep the conversation going, so please continue it here on Reddit, our social channels and our forums. We also asked you some questions, so please answer those as well :) We'll see you in-game tomorrow after the update goes live!

(Wizards Clarke)


What are you currently focused at? I’m kinda worried about the game’s optimization atm

What our devs focus on is very dependent on their job responsibilities. For example, our client health team is very focused on game client health and optimization (special shoutout to u/wotc_beastcode).

(Wizards Megan)


As a player with a very limited income who is only able to play via a free to play method can you explain why when in this update when you address the fact that you have removed the free entry for so many events your replacement to address this is 48hr event's on a Monday with the ability to use the precons you let us have

With each monthly update it feels more and more like if player's like me don't want to play standard 24/7 you don't want us playing.

I personally feel that the very first option of these being brawl pre cons when there has been a large vocal push back is insulting to those people

Will you at least let us have "workshop" event's where we can play with our own collection

We find that events where we provide precon decks get much higher player participation than events that require bringing your own deck (like 2x-3x). For now we're thinking of the Workshop events as precon-focused, but that could change.

Overall, we're trying to find the right balance of events with & without entry fees. We're not there yet, but we'll keep experimenting.

(Wizards Jay)


One of those learnings was that it’s challenging to keep our draft bots performing well when the draft format is always available. When we were using this rotating schedule (pre-M20), we were able to keep the bots in better shape.

So it's not a consumer participation issue, it's a technology issue? If I'm reading it right.

It's actually a bit of both. Better bots means better drafts. At the same time, we saw more engagement with variety of play. Specifically, more folks came back and played regularly when the scheduled was varied.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


Do you have plans to link our DCI numbers with our Arena accounts? That way we could get goodies for playing in all our paper events rather than 1 per account codes.

We aren't ready to talk about it yet, but there are talks about that!

(Wizards Lexie)


When human drafts will be out, will you only play against the players that drafted with you or other human "drafters" outside of the ones you drafted with?

Will you also be queued against bot drafters?

We're planning for human drafts to work similarly to MTGO leagues, where you'll be playing against other human "drafters" outside of your specific pod.

Bot drafters will play against other bot drafters, human drafters will play against other human drafters. No crossing the streams!

(Wizards Megan)


Can you please explain the rationale behind the 10,000 gold entry fee for the brawladays event. In addition, is this something your team plans to keep in place long term?

Chris Cao here borrowing a community account.

To answer Brawl, we need to go back in time a bit. We originally built MTG Arena for Standard players. Now we're moving beyond Standard, and that means going places which aren't exactly balanced for our Standard-focused rewards structure. That means we need to experiment to find the right balance, which is what we're doing with Brawl. 

We haven't found the right balance between availability/entry fees/rewards with Brawl. That's why we're testing all three right now. Direct Challenge play is outside of daily rewards and the most social  and casual way to play Magic in the game currently. The Wednesday Brawl queue is testing availability balance. Brawl Hall is testing earn vs rewards balance. In fact the 10K cost was set after simulating earn rate vs consumption rate of an average player. We haven't gone down the path of a permanent queue with no entry fee that limits daily rewards, but it is something we're exploring. What do you think? 

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


It was recently announced that there was an outsource of some Arena dev work to another company, are you able to say what they will be working on and what does this open up the internal team to work on? Should we expect to see more major features roll out in the coming months?

We didn't make any major changes to who is managing Arena's development. We are working with Skybox Labs to help bring the game to more platforms. And we are working with R&D to make sure our Pioneer and Historic play experiences are really fun. 

Should you expect more features rolling out in the coming months? Yep 😊

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


My take for the question on the ranked draft schedule change.

The mentioned drop in participation is indeed curious. I assume it means lower popularity of draft overall, not just the latest set. And then here's what would be interesting:

  • How big was the drop? How it was measured, in absolute values or relative to the game population?
  • During this period of having two drafting sets in parallel, important things happened: a) Brawl and Historic ranked release; b) rotation — people may have opted to buy more packs and get cards quicker than usual; c) Game release — more complete newcomers may naturally mean lower relative draft popularity. What made you think the paralysis of choice impacted participation more than these things?
  • They say, bot preferences created an unpleasant draft "meta" both for M20 (with bows) and even more for Eldraine (with mill), did you consider this as the reason for the popularity drop?
  • What does worry me is that new players no longer have access to a "free" draft option on the latest set, and may have less inclination to try a "paid" version for the first time in their life, as well as trying older sets. Do you find this concern not relevant?
  • It would be natural to assume that "specialty constructed" events popularity also dropped since the introduction of 2500 gold entry fee. The ones during Festival of Fae may have not because of great styles, but for the ones in December that most likely happened. Was this drop lower than drop in draft participation?

We take a lot of data into consideration. We have both a WotC BI team and an Arena data team analyzing and acting. Ultimately, we're making the best decisions based on what we see.

We waited 6 months to get lots and lots of data. And we also took some good learnings from Eldraine on how to better update our draft bots. The bottom line is, it's in our best interest to give you lots of reasons to play Draft. So this is not a decision we make lightly and will monitor things very closely. 

One of those learnings was that it’s challenging to keep our draft bots performing well when the draft format is always available. When we were using this rotating schedule (pre-M20), we were able to keep the bots in better shape.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


Any idea of when Arena is coming to Mac?

Last time we talked about it, we said it would arrive after Epic Games Store. That's still the plan. It's just not going to be "soon" after. Catalina (the latest macOS) requires 64-bit, which MTG Arena doesn’t support yet. So there’s background work to do first.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


Are older sets eventually coming entirely along with their draft formats?

Our goal for 2020 is to get the most relevant backlist cards into Arena to support Pioneer and Historic (both for constructed and limited). There are a lot of cards that don't meet that bar, so we're waiting on those to give dev time to the more important ones. We'll see over the next year how remastering shakes out and go from there.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


Hi. Here as a "tool" developer, with a question that's a bit more geeky.

A few months ago, ya'll pushed a change that completely changes the log file format that various tools rely on to get game information. This caused a lot of churn and required us to make many updates in a very short amount of time to restore functionality.

You've started including sample "log files" in your patch notes on occasion, which is nice, but leads into my question:

Will WotC consider putting out public "API" documentation for the log file, and the various events within, as well as keep it up to date when patches change the format?

Right now, to develop a tool, someone must start by reverse engineering the logs, or by building off of someone's already existing work. With a publicly available and updated API and documentation, developers of tooling would have a much easier time maintaining their applications, spending less time worrying about updates randomly breaking features, and more time building new features for players to use.

We love that folks are developing tools using our logs. The recent change was made to improve performance because we were logging way too much. With that change, we also implemented QA steps to verify the log quality and make sure the changes get clearly communicated. We have talked about an API a lot, but it isn't on our 2020 roadmap.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


Hi. Here as a "tool" developer, with a question that's a bit more geeky.

A few months ago, ya'll pushed a change that completely changes the log file format that various tools rely on to get game information. This caused a lot of churn and required us to make many updates in a very short amount of time to restore functionality.

You've started including sample "log files" in your patch notes on occasion, which is nice, but leads into my question:

Will WotC consider putting out public "API" documentation for the log file, and the various events within, as well as keep it up to date when patches change the format?

Right now, to develop a tool, someone must start by reverse engineering the logs, or by building off of someone's already existing work. With a publicly available and updated API and documentation, developers of tooling would have a much easier time maintaining their applications, spending less time worrying about updates randomly breaking features, and more time building new features for players to use.

We love that folks are developing tools using our logs. The recent change was made to improve performance because we were logging way too much. With that change, we also implemented QA steps to verify the log quality and make sure the changes get clearly communicated. We have talked about an API a lot, but it isn't on our 2020 roadmap.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


Hi. Here as a "tool" developer, with a question that's a bit more geeky.

A few months ago, ya'll pushed a change that completely changes the log file format that various tools rely on to get game information. This caused a lot of churn and required us to make many updates in a very short amount of time to restore functionality.

You've started including sample "log files" in your patch notes on occasion, which is nice, but leads into my question:

Will WotC consider putting out public "API" documentation for the log file, and the various events within, as well as keep it up to date when patches change the format?

Right now, to develop a tool, someone must start by reverse engineering the logs, or by building off of someone's already existing work. With a publicly available and updated API and documentation, developers of tooling would have a much easier time maintaining their applications, spending less time worrying about updates randomly breaking features, and more time building new features for players to use.

We love that folks are developing tools using our logs. The recent change was made to improve performance because we were logging way too much. With that change, we also implemented QA steps to verify the log quality and make sure the changes get clearly communicated. We have talked about an API a lot, but it isn't on our 2020 roadmap.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


Agreed, people seem to love this new format but its growth is stifled by this entry fee. I honestly believe this would be the most popular way to play on MTGA if it didn't feel like WotC was trying to prevent people from playing it.

We know there’s a lot of folks who love Brawl. Arena is for Brawlers, but it’s also for a lot of other player types. If we made Brawl available 24/7 with full daily rewards, it would impact other players by shifting the focus away from the other experiences we offer. And if Brawl became the focus, the fundamentals of Arena’s economy would have to change, and players may feel forced to play Brawl to play most efficiently.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


Agreed, people seem to love this new format but its growth is stifled by this entry fee. I honestly believe this would be the most popular way to play on MTGA if it didn't feel like WotC was trying to prevent people from playing it.

We know there’s a lot of folks who love Brawl. Arena is for Brawlers, but it’s also for a lot of other player types. If we made Brawl available 24/7 with full daily rewards, it would impact other players by shifting the focus away from the other experiences we offer. And if Brawl became the focus, the fundamentals of Arena’s economy would have to change, and players may feel forced to play Brawl to play most efficiently.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


Is there any plan to connect paper magic with arena? The idea of buying a booster pack and getting some sort of in game currency with arena would be a great way to connect the two ecosystems.

We meet weekly with the tabletop team to talk about this. There so many cool opportunities we are exploring. How would you like to see it? 

Seriously, we want ideas because this is one of the major things MTG can offer that's pretty unique in the CCG space. So let's hear them!

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


I would personally like a free queue as well, but limited daily rewards really puts a damper on that concept.

If that is the alternative, a paid queue might be better, but it would be nice if the 'Brawl Hall" at least gave some rewards beyond the single card. Paying 10k just for the privilege of playing feels extremely bad; even just some minor further rewards would reduce the sting there.

When we were looking at an entry fee for Brawl (to balance it with Standard), we saw that 10k was about 40% of the rewards an average player would earn over 4 weeks of play. We are continually analyzing the usage at that price point. So far, about 75% of the number of Wednesday brawlers are playing Brawler’s Guild Hall all the time. We are still looking for other answers that maintain the game’s balance. One thing we haven’t tweaked yet is changing the daily rewards for Brawl. Also, a Brawl-specific Mastery Pass is something that we’ve been talking about together here, but it isn’t on the roadmap.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


I would personally like a free queue as well, but limited daily rewards really puts a damper on that concept.

If that is the alternative, a paid queue might be better, but it would be nice if the 'Brawl Hall" at least gave some rewards beyond the single card. Paying 10k just for the privilege of playing feels extremely bad; even just some minor further rewards would reduce the sting there.

When we were looking at an entry fee for Brawl (to balance it with Standard), we saw that 10k was about 40% of the rewards an average player would earn over 4 weeks of play. We are continually analyzing the usage at that price point. So far, about 75% of the number of Wednesday brawlers are playing Brawler’s Guild Hall all the time. We are still looking for other answers that maintain the game’s balance. One thing we haven’t tweaked yet is changing the daily rewards for Brawl. Also, a Brawl-specific Mastery Pass is something that we’ve been talking about together here, but it isn’t on the roadmap.

- Cao

(Wizards Community Team)


Hello all, happy to be here. Thanks for all of the great questions over the last few days, and a big thank you to the mods for helping out with this. We're going to hop in and answers questions here, and also from the last thread if those questions aren't repeated here.

(Wizards Clarke)


Hello all, happy to be here. Thanks for all of the great questions over the last few days, and a big thank you to the mods for helping out with this. We're going to hop in and answers questions here, and also from the last thread if those questions aren't repeated here.

(Wizards Clarke)


Hello all, happy to be here. Thanks for all of the great questions over the last few days, and a big thank you to the mods for helping out with this. We're going to hop in and answers questions here, and also from the last thread if those questions aren't repeated here.

(Wizards Clarke)


Are there still plans to add deck sharing to Direct Challenges? Most of my friends don't play Magic. I've convinced a few of them to play Arena with me, but they (understandably) don't want to spend time unlocking decks first. It would be nice if I could just lend them decks and play.

Our goal is to get Deck Sharing out this year, just make sure to share jank only please :)

(Wizards Clarke)


Are there still plans to add deck sharing to Direct Challenges? Most of my friends don't play Magic. I've convinced a few of them to play Arena with me, but they (understandably) don't want to spend time unlocking decks first. It would be nice if I could just lend them decks and play.

Our goal is to get Deck Sharing out this year, just make sure to share jank only please :)

(Wizards Clarke)


A while ago(Nov state of the game I think?), there was mention of letting your friends use your decks in direct challenges. Is that still in development? Do I understand the idea behind it correctly? My card collection is extensive while my buddy has barely any but wants to play w/ me. This feature would do a lot to enable a more fair playing level between him and I if he can use my decks to play with against me.

Yes it is still in development, and yes your assumption is correct. As for timing, we are trying to release Deck Sharing this year.

(Wizards Clarke)


Thanks, Chris. I live and die by jank.

samesies

(Wizards Clarke)


I was a huge fan of the Kaladesh, Aether Revolt and Amonkhet blocks and was really sad to see that they weren't added to historic. Aditionally I love pioneer. When can we roughly expect non-standard blocks hitting Arena? And how high of a priority are they in developement?

(Wizards Clarke)


Hello all, happy to be here. Thanks for all of the great questions over the last few days, and a big thank you to the mods for helping out with this. We're going to hop in and answers questions here, and also from the last thread if those questions aren't repeated here.

There have been so many great questions and we're doing our best to answer as many as possible. We're going to continue answering questions for another 15-20 minutes or so before we get back to shipping tomorrow's game update.

(Wizards Clarke)


Can you please give us a rough estimate of how long you're imagining it will take to get Pioneer up and running on Arena? 1 year? 3 years? 10 years? You must have some idea, thanks!

Depends on what you mean by “get Pioneer up and running”. We plan to have a major delivery of Pioneer cards this year. We plan to continue adding as quickly as we can after that, at least one new set per year, hopefully more. It will be interesting to find out where in that process it feels like it has enough of the cards that count to really “be Pioneer”. We’re not sure what that will mean, or how long that will take.

(Wizards Lexie)


Are there any plans to help out those of us who haven't been onboard since beta to get caught up in order to participate in historic or, later, Pioneer? I started with M20 so I barely have the wildcards to keep up in that format much less crafting older cards. I get that I was late to the party - but I'm sure I'm not alone.

As we did with DOM, we will continue to run flashback drafts of the older sets so players who missed them can pick cards up that way. We'll keep an eye on this as well, and see if we need more.

(Wizards Jay)


What is a good estimate for when human drafting will be coming out?

We're actively working on it, most likely the first half of this year!

(Wizards Lexie)


Will MTGA ever come to consoles?

There are no current plans to be on consoles, but no platforms are off limits! What console would you like to see?

(Wizards Lexie)


When is Lord Of Atlantis getting added to Historic?

Just for you, coming 2024.

(Wizards Lexie)


when are we getting a mobile app?

Still on the road map, just not ready to talk about it yet.

(Wizards Lexie)


Any plans to help under-supported tribes in Historic with some card drops, you know like Dwarves, Minotaurs or kobolds?

No concrete plans, but we definitely enjoy doing things like this and have before. Let us know what tribes are important to you and we'll look into it!

(Wizards Lexie)


Will Amonkhet Remastered and future remastered sets be playable in Historic?

Yep!

(Wizards Lexie)


Chris Cao answered another post about why WOTC was out-sourcing some work to another company (one that does mostly Xbox work) and said that it was for platforming porting.

What platforms are they working on if it's not console? Are they working on MAC/Mobile then?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

(Wizards Lexie)


2nd Question : What are your plans to bring the Gathering back to MTGA as of now we don't have chat or guilds/clans no way to foster community in game. We can't interact with anyone in any meaningful way?

We are still extremely early in our integration of in-game social features. The ability to directly message your friends in-game is literally next on our list, and we'll take it from there.

(Wizards Megan)


Anyway we can save or revisit closed drafts? Sucks that you can 7-0 but you can't see the list after that seventh win.

The ability to export your draft decks to your deck collection is coming with February game update (i.e. tomorrow). Ironically, there is a known issue that when you reach the "Claim Your Rewards" scene the option disappears - but this is a bug, not an intended feature.

(Wizards Megan)


When human drafting is released, do you plan for it to completely replace bot drafting? In both Ranked and Traditional?

Also, gotta ask: any idea when this will happen?

We do not plan for human drafting to completely replace bot drafting. There are plenty of good reasons to keep bot drafting around (time, convenience, etc.) even with fellow humans to draft with. Our goal is to implement human drafting sometime in the first half of this year, and it will be s h o c k i n g if it's not in by the end.

(Wizards Megan)


Are multiplayer formats being considered? Regular Multiplayer, Two-Headed Giant, Emperor, Multiplayer with limited range, etc.

Are multiplayer formats being considered? Absolutely. Are they on the 2020 road map? Nope.

(Wizards Megan)


Will Historic ranked eventually be available at all times?

u/WotC_Jay talks about that, right over here:

Historic availability - Right now Historic is available through the Play queue and Competitive Events. What we're trying to do with bringing the Historic Ranked queue up each quarter is to say that during this time, Historic is the focus of MTG Arena. Why it's not live all the time is we want to balance with Standard being the focus the other two months. But we're early on in the lifespan of Historic. We haven't even completed a full cycle of turning the Ranked Queue off and on again. We're going to see how players engage with it in mid-March.

Edit: Quote block, not code block Megan.

(Wizards Megan)


As someone that likes to play a lot of jank, sometimes the win-only based nature of the daily rewards is pretty rough. Has there been any thought to giving "partial credit" for loses?

This is what daily quests are for; they are specifically designed to give rewards regardless of wins or losses.

(Wizards Megan)


  • What are you plans for cube? Will it be a standard, historic or some other cube? The number one feature I would like to see in mtga is a cube with human drafting.
  • Can we do asynchronous human drafting, the same as eternal? It has all the benefits of bot and human drafting.
  • Where is the most effective place to leave feedback for the arena team? It feels like there is no good system to leave feedback.
  • Why are we not seeing the Theros board outside of draft and events?
  • Could you share more data with the community on a regular basis? It seems like there are many questions that the community has that would be easily answered if we had information on things like popularity of formats.
  • What is the recipe for the perfect burrito?

Cube: We'll play with a number of things, but we're planning to start with a Historic cube so we get the largest pool to choose from

Asynch human drafting: We've talked about this mode a lot, but right now we're focused on improving our bot drafting and adding human drafting.

Leaving Feedback: We gather feedback from our forums, Reddit, and other social channels. The forums are the most "official" channels.

Theros board: This is just a bug; it'll show up properly in the Feb release.

Sharing more data: We'll keep sharing the key points we think are valuable (like popularity of Bo1 vs Bo3). The full data gets really difficult to parse.

Perfect burrito: Anything with beans and rice makes me happy.

(Wizards Jay)


What are the plans for the vault, we were told over a year ago that the it was temporary and yet it is so here, without any mention of any kind of update. What are the plans for the vault?

We don't have any plans to get rid of The Vault. What we like about The Vault versus other systems we've tinkered around with is how it provides long-term value for your duplicate Commons and Uncommons. It’s hidden now on the main UI bar (until it’s ready to open) because an in-progress Vault doesn’t merit that kind of UI prominence. We should have a better way to see what your progress is, and it will likely make its way to the Profile page at some point.

(Wizards Jay)


Can you tell us any details of the remastered sets? Like, the philosophy of how they are being developed?

We're working closely with R&D on the remaster process for these sets. The key goals are getting the bulk of Pioneer playables out to players soon and making great Limited formats. Cards that saw little play in either constructed or limited are the ones we're likely to skip here.

(Wizards Jay)


Hey Team - thanks for doing this! I've been a MTG player since all the way back - circa Ice Age. I appeciate that nowadays, with the easy availability of posted lists and solved metas, the difficulty in creating a queue which would cater towards "casual"/"kitchen table" type play - in that, regardless of structure, the playerbase will quickly optimize lists. Nevertheless, most of my enjoyment from the game was and is around coming up with odd, off-meta brews - building around [[Arcane Adaptation]] is a good example - the only issue being that while cards like this are immensely attractive to a brewer, they are effectively unplayable in any competitive queue. While I recognize that there is effectively no way to render any play-queue non-competitive (nor a good description for what I would be after), I'm just curious what the current thinking around the Magic experience as it might pertain to the Timmys and Johnnys (the Spikes are covered). Outside of direct challenges with friends, is there anything I might look forward too which might be aimed towards a mad brewer approach to this lifestyle game? Just curious as to what sort of wild ideas could be being floated by the team in terms of maintaining the game's appeal to the different types you identified so long ago? Thanks.

We love the fun, brewing space as well, and we've talked a lot about how we can build events that work for those players. Standard Shakeup is one take at that, and we'll keep working on more. As you say, it's tricky to build a mode that doesn't encourage players to run the top-meta decks.

(Wizards Jay)


The Traditional bo3 draft event can feel very long to play. Experienced drafters with above average winrates play up to 6 bo3s and hence up to 18 games with the same deck. I also like watching streamers play limited, and I've seen streamers drop out of the event after a 3-0 so they can start a new draft and hence have a larger variety of decks.

How was the maximum number of matches in the bo3 event originally determined, and do you think this number is still optimal? Have you ever considered changing it? (Note I'm not asking about adjusting the rewards; one could conceive of a bo3 event with a maximum number of 3-5 bo3 matches, while holding the expected cost and rewards the same.)

We're talking actively about this (as in, Lee Sharpe and I were talking about it just a couple days ago). Nothing new to announce here yet, but it's definitely on our radar.

Edit to add: Please let us know what "feels right" to you here

(Wizards Jay)


We originally built MTG Arena for Standard players. Now we're moving beyond Standard, and that means going places which aren't exactly balanced for our Standard-focused rewards structure.

I am honestly curious why something like Brawl, which utilizes the standard card-pool, requires a separate reward structure? What makes it fundamentally different than "normal" standard play that dictates a different reward structure?

In Ranked Standard, the goal of most players is to play the most-effective decks, which change nicely as the meta develops. In Brawl, many players are looking to play the decks they find fun, which change much less. For example, I Brawl as Vraska, and it's going to take something pretty massive to move me off of that.

(Wizards Jay)


Can you please elaborate on the deck sharing? I would like to teach my father how to play the game. He lives faraway from me and I wanted to share some cards with him and play with direct challenge. Will I be able to share some decks in the future although he doesn’t own those cards?

That's exactly the kind of thing we want to enable with our deck sharing!

(Wizards Jay)


Decks that use a large number of activated effects (like the various cat-oven decks) tend to be fairly miserable to play against, purely due to the amount of clicks needed to resolve a turn. Are there any plans to speed up this process? Is there even a way to speed it up?

This is something we continually work on. The rules of Magic make it tricky/complex sometimes to smooth things out where we'd want to, but we'll keep working at it.

(Wizards Jay)


I understand the logistics of why you would not want to go through programming every card in all of the Pioneer sets (although for a while I thought that the rules engine of Arena was specifically designed to make this not a problem?) and I think most everyone is happy with the idea that skipping some cards will make the sets come out faster. But do you have a concrete plan to add cards into Arena in an 'emergency' contingency?

Just for the sake of a random example, it is very plausible that in six years there is some card printed that combos with a random uncommon from Origins or Fate Reforged or some other set, but that wasn't included in the remastered pioneer set, and the combo is strong enough that it creates a tier1/2 archetype deck that lots of people are playing in paper and on Magic Online. Would there be a hotfix that puts the card onto Arena to make sure the meta of the format isn't fragmented across different platforms of play? If you would add the card, how early would the card be added? Would it happen after a PT weekend once the deck breaks out into the public eye, or would it take longer, or shorter? How popular would the deck need to be for you to consider adding the card, given that there are some pet decks that people play and take to FNM and Magic Fests which don't show up in more competitive play, but are still actively played by many people?

If I recall correctly, the remastered sets announcement used the phrase "only the most relevant cards." How can we tell what the most relevant cards are in a format that is only a few months old and, looking towards the future, what the most relevant cards will be in, say, 2028 after however many new Standard legal sets have been released?

This "emergency contingency" is one of the main roles we see Historic Anthologies taking once we start releasing the remastered Pioneer sets. If there's some immediate problem that comes up and it needs quick action, we'd likely suspend one of the problematic cards until we could get the "answer cards" delivered.

(Wizards Jay)


Hello, some eternal format questions I'm burning to ask the Arena team:

• What is the intended difference between the Historic and Pioneer formats? (Will these formats merge? Will Historic eventually become Pioneer + older cards added in anthology releases? Is Historic intended to be a lower or higher power format than Pioneer?)

• Considering how Arena currently points players towards standard as the "most accepted way to play" by permanently limiting the availability/reward for other formats (e.g. time restrictions for Historic Ranked, economy restrictions for Historic non-ranked, time & economy restrictions for Brawl), I am very intrigued by the State of the Game section where they mention that "MTG Arena's formats, goals, and outlook are clearly changing from the Standard-only direction we originally built the game on… Magic is more than any one collectable card game. It's dozens of formats and event types that cater to a diverse player base, from Brawl brewers to Standard Spikes." Can the team please elaborate on how this outlook applies to Historic & the upcoming Pioneer release? Currently, Historic has paywall, calendar and economic restrictions to the point where support for the format appears grudging at most. How can even the most dedicated Arena player justify dropping $1000 and a bajillion wildcards on Pioneer staples when it currently seems entirely possible that Pioneer will be offseason Thursdays only - with a 10,000 gold entry fee?

• Commander/EDH is obviously an extremely popular format. With Historic Brawl being explored with an upcoming event (a massive step towards full EDH), do the Arena team have any thoughts on allowing EDH format/decks in Arena?

• Arena has some delicious eternal cards hidden away - the Momir Vig & Theros Vintage events let us play with Black Lotus, Griselbrand, Jin-Gitaxias etc. Are there any plans to make these craftable for use with casual games in our friend lists?

Thanks heaps for your consideration and for the work you've done. I love Arena and am keen to see what you guys come up with!

Historic & Pioneer - We'll see where this goes, but the general direction we're thinking is that ultimately Historic will be the place where cards from across Magic's history can be played. Mostly the "Historic becomes Vintage" version from the other thread.

Historic availability - Right now Historic is available through the Play queue and Competitive Events. What we're trying to do with bringing the Historic Ranked queue up each quarter is to say that during this time, Historic is the focus of MTG Arena. Why it's not live all the time is we want to balance with Standard being the focus the other two months. But we're early on in the lifespan of Historic. We haven't even completed a full cycle of turning the Ranked Queue off and on again. We're going to see how players engage with it in mid-March.

Commander - Making something "feel like Commander" takes an awful lot of cards. The current cardpool may also not be deep enough to make 100-card singleton decks that feel different enough from each other. I think it will take some more card releases before we have enough for Commander.

Lotus, Griselbrand, and crafting - We're talking a good bit about ways to bring added fun & variety to Direct Challenge, but (for right now at least) we aren't looking to these cards for that.

(Wizards Jay)


Thank you for your response. Quick follow up question. How are you improving the bots? How are we not going to get an Eldraine 2.0 where the set is great to draft with people but the bots force all drafts to go the same.

There are several things we're working on to improve the bots. One of the biggest is tweaking our tech so we can upload bot modifications more quickly and easily. We're also very eager for the additional data that Human Drafting will give us here. Also, the "two weeks on, two weeks off" structure we moved back to for THB draft will give us more time for balance and refinement on the bots to keep them working better.

(Wizards Jay)


I understand why some store items might be gems only, but why are some cosmetics only available for purchase with gold? Gems are generally considered the premium currency and the one that gets WotC actual money, yet gold is the actual limited resource. Why not offer either option for those gold-only items?

This is almost always for minor, technical reasons. We're working to solve those.

(Wizards Jay)


When will you add custom keybindings? LSHFT+ENTER is an incredibly cumbersome key stroke.

These are on our list, but we don't have a defined timeline for them.

(Wizards Jay)


It would be nice to have the standard shakeup ban more cards than it currently does. It ends up missing a few each time, or there becomes one strongest deck because it mostly seems like banning one or two cards from the tier one meta decks but isn't enough to really shake things up.

Totally agree. Honestly (and this is silly) we're currently soft-capped on the number of cards we can ban by what fits well in the event description. We also need to lock in the ban list early, which often leads to the misses you mention. We're working to address both of those issues.

(Wizards Jay)