Site manager Scott Johns on upcoming schedule changes and more.

Announcements Grab Bag

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The letter W!ith the site just about halfway through Lorwyn previews, it turns out I've got a building collection of announcements and changes to let all of you know about. Long-time readers know from experience that I pop in from time to time with articles like this to keep everybody up-to-date, and like previous times I'll include some preview sauce to keep things interesting if that's what you're looking for.

Doug Beyer
Devin Low
First off, I want to extend a big welcome to Doug Beyer and Devin Low for joining the columnist team. Both have big shoes to fill, but I've worked with each long enough to know what they're capable of and I'm glad to see that each is off to such a great start. We're fortunate to have such great guys to replace such great guys, and if they're doing this well right off the bat, I can't wait to see what they'll be able to do down the road as they get more established.

Along with all the new greetings, there is also unfortunately one last farewell. Once Lorwyn previews are finished up, I'm sorry to say that we'll be losing writer Frank Karsten from the site. Karsten took over a difficult column at a difficult time and still managed to make believers out of his detractors. Along the way he managed to write some of the very best strategy content I've seen anywhere, ever. Frank is leaving in order to focus on finishing up his graduate degree. As someone who also sacrificed writing and competing to finish up graduate work I can certainly understand Frank's situation. I hope you'll join me in wishing him the best. He'll certainly be missed.

As to the column, after many talks with the team and the various brand managers, the final decision was that we're going to discontinue the column and shift the schedule around so that we're now delivering two articles per day each weekday. Compared to when we first started having "the Magic Online column" there's now considerably more content for the Magic Online-specific audience on the Magic Online site itself, more communication on the boards thanks to people like Mike Lescault, the new blogs from Mike, brand manager Worth Wollpert, and other TS folks, plus loads of Magic Online-specific content expected once Gleemax is fully up and running. So for now, the plan is to absorb the column and see how those other channels are working. In the meantime, we'll move the Magic Online deck lists and metagame information Karsten was covering over to the Michael Flores Swimming With Sharks waters. Once everything is up and running I'm sure you'll have far more Magic Online content to read than ever before if that's what you're looking for, particularly some of the more community-centric content some of the audience has been asking for all along.

So at this point, that gets us to our finalized new column schedule. Once Lorwyn previews are complete, here's how the weekly schedule lines up starting October 1 so that we're evened out at two articles per day.

Weekly Columns
 COLUMN KEY
Pic Author Column Name Schedule
Various authors - Feature articles Various authors FEATURE ARTICLES Mondays
Mark Rosewater - Making Magic Mark Rosewater MAKING MAGIC Mondays
Noah Weil - Limited Information Quentin Martin LIMITED INFORMATION Tuesdays
The Ferrett - Serious Fun The Ferrett SERIOUS FUN Tuesdays
Doug Beyer - Taste the Magic Doug Beyer TASTE THE MAGIC Wednesdays
Ben Bleiweiss - Building on a Budget Ben Bleiweiss BUILDING ON A BUDGET Wednesdays
Mike Flores - Swimming with Sharks Mike Flores SWIMMING WITH SHARKS Thursdays
Chris Millar - House of Cards Chris Millar HOUSE OF CARDS Thursday
Devin Low - Latest Developments Devin Low LATEST DEVELOPMENTS Fridays
Brian David-Marshall - The Week That Was Brian David-Marshall THE WEEK THAT WAS Fridays
  Archive of all weekly columns >>  

Obviously we've had some changes column-wise recently. The good news is at this point I believe that's all the changes we'll be making for the rest of the year, and I have to say that's one hell of a line-up to be able to continue offering the readers for free.

Other New Additions

I also have some announcements regarding the behind-the-scenes team that brings you this site. Earlier this year our team was moved into R&D from Online Media, where we are now partnered up with the Magic creative team under manager Jake Theis. Since then we've added Eric Berglund to the team as our new web developer, and it's thanks to him that we have such better interfaces for the recent minisite acrostic, not to mention today's Lorwyn crossword puzzle, courtesy of Mark Gottlieb. Eric's only been with us a couple months, but now that we've got him we can't wait to start bringing you all of the tools and widgets we've been planning.

Another new addition to the team is editor Kelly Digges. Kelly was formerly splitting his time between us and other R&D tasks, but starting now we've got him all to ourselves. As we complete the transition that means Kelly will increasingly become the content manager for the site, freeing up the site managers (Monty Ashley, Greg Collins, and me) for more project-based work like minisites, special promotions, the upcoming redesign, and all the cool new features I mentioned above that we want to build now that we're fully staffed on the programming side as well.

Finishing Up

If you've made it this far, it only seems fair to reward you with some Lorwyn preview goodness. So far we've only revealed three of the planeswalkers, and since I'm in charge of the minisites and need to finish each of the planeswalkers' pages anyway, now seems like a great time to officially let you see the final two.

Click here to reveal Ajani Goldmane.

Click here to reveal Jace Beleren.

As I'm sure you'll find once you start playing with any of the planeswalkers, there are a lot of ways to go with each of them. For those of us here at Wizards, it'll be even more fun watching what crazy things you players come up with and manage to pull off.

With so many promising things on the horizon as well as an exciting new set to get your hands on soon, it's a great time to be a Magic player. Once you're done absorbing all the implications of the planeswalkers above, take a moment to stop by the forums and discuss your reactions to them, any of the other news here, and particularly any new features you're hoping to see as we redesign the site. We're fully staffed up and planning the future as I write this, so if you've got a great idea for something you wish the site had, there's never been a better time to share your ideas on the boards.

Scott Johns
magicthegathering.com site manager

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