Setting Up Your Own Mad Cash Machine on MTGO
If you are a semi-regular lurker at the MTGO BBS, you are no doubt aware of the fact that the matter of trading bots is "heavily discussed", to say the least. There are two sides to this coin, and the arguments of each side are as follows:
"I can buy a card whenever I want from a dozen or so bots, and can look for the cheapest bot within 10 minutes, buy the card, and play. Also, the presence of automated traders narrow the gap between "buy" and "sell" prices, thus making it less possible to get "ripped", if you're careful not to throw your Shocklands into a 3-for-1 buying bot. The more bots there are, the more liquidity they can provide. The public pricelists of the big traders and bot dealers make for a transparent secondary market. While the margins for bot-owners shrink, the accessibility of all cards improves. Yay for bots!"
"Bots are only there to rip people off. Why buy a rare at one ticket when I can get it in /auction as three-for-one? Why pay one ticket for 32 out-of-print uncommons? For your commons needs there's "The 1:1 Project" (which, by the way, is probably the most amazing thing the MTGO community has been able to set up so far), and for your card needs there's always the casual trade room! We want social interaction, and bots drain away from the pool of people who are willing to enter a casual trade! They take away login slots! They spam the rooms! Get rid of bots!"
(To be fair, both sides have a point here. You can get your cards cheaper in /auction, but /casual is nothing more than a second MarketPlace these days, due to all the bot spam.)
While you ponder the arguments and consequences, I pose these questions:
Do you have a computer that's on for most of the day?
Do you have draft leftovers you'd like to get rid of? Don't want to sell them in /auction, because selling 2000 commons for six, or 800 uncommons for twenty, is a rip-off (by people, by the way, who do just what I will teach you in this article)?
Do you want to flesh out your collection, trading away your excess commons/uncommons, or just sell off your crap rares 2 for 1?
Then this is for you - and the possibilities are endless, depending on the bot you use.
Here's a short checklist for ya. Take out your No.2 pencils!
Have this ready:
1) A computer with at least a Gig of RAM (if you want to run more than one bot).
2) A couple of MTGO accounts.
3) A WindowsXP installation disc (for each VM, you need a separate legal copy, amirite?).
Check? Then download this:
What you will do (if you decide to follow the path of ev- erm, this article) is the following:
Create a so-called "Virtual Machine," a computer inside your computer. VMWare enables you to emulate a separate IBM-compatible PC inside a window, in which you can install any old operating system. In our case, this will be Windows XP. Why you should do this? Because thus, you can run any number of bots on one computer and still be able to wordprocess and surf on the same machine! I for one run three bots on a 3Ghz with 1.5Gig of RAM, and my daily work is not restricted in any way.
Of course, any PC (and any virtual machine) needs a hard drive, so let's make one. A detailed step-by-step process is typed out for your convenience right here.
I suggest, however, you make two changes. First, change the "2G" to "3G" in the command line of qemu-img.exe! This will give you enough room for a complete installation of WinXP and MTGO (MTGO takes up close to a Gig itself during installation). Second, edit the line memsize = "64" to read memsize = "256". MTGO needs a little wriggling space, if you know what I mean. Then, there's the memory leak. I tried to run it with 128MB for a while, but the VM would freeze after the third trade due to lack of memory.
Now, you should have two files named "WindowsXPPro.xyz" in your QEMU directory. Make a new directory wherever (well, wherever you expect to have about 3GB of free hard drive space per bot) and copy those files there. Rename the dir to "WinXP_Clean" or similar. This will be your backup VM in case something happens to the others, or you need to tweak some features, or catch a virus, what have you (or the YaTBot trial runs out OMG).
Insert your WinXP-disc into your CD drive and double click the VMWare configuration File (the one you just made with Notepad). VMware will start, a window will open (yes, that window has a whole computer in it… imagine!), and the XP installation process commences.
Follow the instructions to install WinXP on your VM (yeah, say "VM" when you talk about your virtual machines, it'll make you sound all tech-savvy. It also saves saliva that you need to drool over your prospective profit from botting).
By now (and by "now", I mean three hours later), you should have a running VM with WinXP installed. Your Internet connection will already be configured. So point your browser to www.playmagic.com and download the MTGO installer. What now? Right - install MTGO. Now, download a bot, but do not install it yet.
Yet a while later, you will have a VM with WinXP and MTGO! Exit the VM and make three copies of the "WinXP_Clean" directory (one for each bot, so your number may vary) and rename them "bot_01", "bot_02" and so on, or whichever you desire. See? That wasn't so hard. Well, it took a while (copying 2Gig two or three times, yeah, but it's all for a good cau- erm, profit!).
Now, start one of your first bot-VM. Open MTGO, and install the bot (I use YaTBot. if you use any other bot, do as described in that bot's documentation). Open the control panel of YaTBot (or, you know, whatever you use) and configure it. Off you go! Do likewise with your other VMs, and remember to use the auto-login feature if you want to get past the frequent crashes on MTGO. You might want to empty your account of tix each day then, though.
Useful Things to do with Bots
You have only used one account so far for drafting, Premier Events, playing etc, and want to transfer all your junk commons to one account, the junk uncommons to another, and the 1/2 tix cards to a third account, or whichever way you want it? There's an easy way to achieve this:
Load up your regular MTGO account in the VM, set all cards to untradeable, and then make all the cards you want to transfer to your second account tradeable. Set your Bot to "SELLER" and set the "Take X tickets" to zero. Fire up your designated junk commons/uncommons/whatever account on your pc. Then, minimize the VM window, and from your designated Selling bot, "buy for free" all cards you wish from your own (main) account. You will still have to trade 32 cards at once, which can be quite... unnerving, but at least you'll only have to navigate one account, since the other is handled by your bot. Repeat this process for packs, tickets, avatars, commons, uncommons, foils, rares, out of print stuff, what-have-you.
This is also a great way when buying junk common bulk lots: set up your bot to buy at the average rate you won the lot for, and let the seller do all the work (for example, when buying 3000 commons for five, that makes about 95 trades, which means you can set the bot to "take 94 cards, then give a ticket" and lay back and monitor the thing on a second screen (you do have a second screen, dontcha?). Of course, this works for selling bulk lots, too… but you're running a bot, so why would you want to do that?
The YaTBot trial is especially useful for this. It's basically a free bot for three days. I recommend using a VM for running it for the scenarios mentioned above, since you don't want to bar yourself from ever using it again (the trial will remember ever having been installed on your computer, so you won't be able to use the trick in, say, a month or so). It's easily configurable, reasonably fast and user-friendly.
Well, that about wraps it up. Have fun wrecking the MTGO community (:rolleyes:), and make mad cash from your bots!
Dennis Daiber (2weiX on MTGO)