Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Magic Online Crashes During MPDC

When I took over as host for Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, I remember being surprised that we had an official policy for what happens when the Magic Online server crashes in the middle of an event. Yesterday, I was grateful that we did.

In case you missed it, yesterday at approximately 4:35pm EST, Magic Online crashed. MPDC had just started Round 3, and not surprisingly, the event thread immediately was flooded with responses from players who had been disconnected.

Here's the policy for how we handle these sorts of events, taken from the Season Document:

MTGO Crashes & Cancelled Events

  • In the event of a server crash or other technical difficulty with MTGO, the tournament will be suspended for no more than one hour total.
  • In the case of multiple server crashes, if the tournament is within 15 minutes of reaching the one hour suspension-time limit, the final tournament suspension will be 15 minutes.
  • The PDCMagic.com Standard Forum event thread will be used for tournament communication during the tournament suspension.
  • Once the technical difficulties have ended, an announcement will be made on the appropriate thread, and players will have 10 minutes to rejoin the tournament.
  • If the tournament is cancelled during the first four rounds, then no prizes will be awarded and they will roll into the prize pool for the next event.
  • If the tournament is cancelled after round four, prizes will be awarded according to the current standings.
  • In any crash situation, stay tuned to the event thread for official announcements from the host.
Within just a few minutes after the crash, I created this post under the event thread, and used Twitter as a secondary source of communication. The event was officially delayed, with the maximum suspension time set to expire at 5:35pm EST. At that point, Magic Online was still down, and unfortunately the event had to be cancelled. Finally, at around 7:15pm (almost three hours after the crash), the server came back online.

If you're interested in how things when down on Twitter, here's an editing snapshot of the relevant tweets:
According to the policy, since the event cancelled before four rounds were concluded, the prizes that would have been distributed for this event are rolled into next week. And since next week is our end of the season Worlds event, this means the prizes next week will be sweet indeed. I'll have more info about that next time.

In the mean time, if you have any feedback concerning our server crash policy for MPDC, I'd enjoy hearing them. Let me know in the comments below.


  1. As this is my first season of MPDC, I don't have a huge frame of reference. It seems to me in the unlikely (or likely?) event of a crash during an event the policy is fine & fair. Some may complain, but you have to have a policy because other than postponing & extending the season there is no real alternative... cant imagine trying to schedule an alternative time for round 3 yesterday, or if it had been a top 8... though then, maybe, the players in each match could find a time to play & report & hopefully complete the finals before the next week... but that seems like way more trouble than it would be worth. So, long answer short, I vote for keeping current policy.

  2. Policy is mandatory. It's a bit frustrating when such crash happens after two wins in the first two rounds of swiss, I guess much less when you already had your 0-2 in the event. Hopefully such crashes don't happen too often, let's call it bad luck.
    Or bad servers. Or bad software, whatever ! MPDC Policy in case of a crash is fair and my word is : let's keep it as it is.

  3. I can confirm, 0-2 did make the crash much easier to take! :D
    But I did have empathy for those poor undefeated players, and no Top 8, that would have frustrated any player!