Monday, April 18, 2011

MtGO UI Mockup—Collections and Trading

Magic: the Gathering Online UI Mockup
MtGO has come a long way since it started and the newest client is the best yet, but there's still a lot of room for improvement. As my day job involves software development and a good deal of UI (User Interaction) design, I've often thought about ways to make MtGO a better experience. That's actually what led to my deck-building web-application, Wizard's Familiar. I identified a number of aspects of the MtGO deck-building interface and made something that is faster, more intuitive, visually appealing and functional.

Hopefully that's all old news to you (if not, go check it out, for serious). Today I'm presenting a very rough mock up of how the collection screen could work and how trading could work. It's available right here. So you're not confused, the only things you can do in this mocked-up version are: click on a card in the collection area to go to the trading details screen; click from those details to the offer confirmation panel; and click to go back to the collection screen. The purpose of a mock is not like a prototype: we're not trying to make things actually work, we just want to show you the steps the user would see.

I want the collection screen to show you cards that you own as well as cards that you don't so that it's easier to figure out what you need to acquire for set redemption. I also want that screen to show the current market value of each of the cards and any pending offers or requests you have made.

The trading screen is the real meat of this experience. It shows you recent market value trends for the card in question and offers you some quick buttons to acquire or divest that card. It shows you all the offers and requests involving that card. The way trading works in my proposed system is far from novel; this is a known and proven market system used in several MMORPGs and a few real-world systems. Anyone can offer anything at any price. While cards are on offer, they are not available to be used for any other purpose. You can retract an offer at any time before it is accepted. Any user can accept any offer, but they must know that others have access to the same offers so if you want a particular offer, you should be quick. That said, the market inherently drives offers to be similar given stable demand.

If you don't see an offer you're interested in right now, you can make a request instead. Any user can fulfill your request at any time. All offers and requests are handled instantaneously and anonymously with no need for user interaction and no possibility for abuse. When you select an offer or request, you are taken to the confirmation screen where that offer or request is put on hold briefly (so that no one else can grab it out from under you) while you review the deal and confirm or cancel.

I won't get into the details of the current system and what's good or bad about it, because frankly there's too much too say (particularly on the grumpy end), but I believe this would be a step forward and would benefit casual players, serious players and the folks behind the bots by making the entire process faster and more accessible.


  1. This sounds absurdly useful. I think one of my favorite aspects is that by providing easily accessed market information you're cutting down on the amount of newer players being taken advantage of. Of course, the assumes that the ignorant strive to free themselves of their ignorance.

    Both the current classifieds and auction systems often feel like a morass of bot-spam, thieves, and delusional goofs. I'd really love to hear what someone like the guy who runs MTGOTraders thinks about this.

  2. I wonder if someone could make this system independently. The way there are non-WotC trading bots that were developed independently.

  3. I love this game and the mockup you have drawn. I have a suggestion to make it more wider and to make it informative I use creately UI mockup software to draw these kinds of diagrams. Thanks for the heads up. Cheers!