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Magic: The Gathering» Forums » General

Subject: Puca Trade Blues rss

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Jeff Wiles
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For those of you unfamiliar with Puca Trade, jump down to the first footnote*

I had an extra Lion's Eye Diamond lying around when the price spiked a few weeks back, so I sent it off for many many many points with the plan of picking up some high-dollar cards that I would never shell out actual money for.

Then they rolled out the newly redesigned version of the site. It's a graphical nightmare. The UI is way less intuitive than it was. Worst of all, the economy has tanked**. The tanked economy is probably not related to the redesign, but word has it that many fewer trades are happening.

I don't have any news or advice; I just needed to rant.

*Puca Trade is a site for trading Magic cards. You send cards to other users, when they confirm receiving them, you get points, once you have points, other users can send you cards. It's like a Math Trade, but you can pick and choose what you get.

** I can't personally verify this. I'm too small a part of the overall economy to be able to tell, but people I trust say it's tanked and I believe them. The rate at which I'm getting sent cards has dropped.
 
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Brian Cox
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Man, I'm sorry to hear that. I dropped out of Puca Trade a little over a year ago. It was fun in early 2015 when I actually turned a bunch of Standard cards into Some Aether Vials and Cavern of Souls to build a Modern Merfolk deck. But I could see the economy shifting.

Too many early stories of a few people turning stacks of bulk into Dual Lands, lead to all the bots and webpage trackers making it impossible to send out a trade. Then people started offering bounties which altered the economy for people who actually had large amounts of points. You had to offer a bounty to even attempt to get higher value cards.

I traded away a Tarmogoyf last summer before cashing out my points for cards to make two fun Commander decks and didn't worry about it too much. I've casually watched as the economy of PucaTrade changed over the past year, but I honestly haven't been keeping up.

I know the Future Sight upgrades were supposed to make things better for traders. I was really interested in trading non-NM since there are a bunch of people on PucaTrade who don't know that "Near Mint" is not the same as a perfectly flawless card. Seriously, pack fresh cards are not flawless. (And there are just as many traders who don't know that "Obviously Played in a Draft un-Sleeved" cards aren't the same as Near Mint.")

Trading Magic Online for Paper and vise versa also seems cool, but based on your comment, and some others I've seen, people are less than happy about the site right now.

It's sad since the idea behind the site seems good for players, but there just seem to be too many issues for it to work right now.
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Pete Lane
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I've used Puca since around Return to Ravnica and had some really great experiences back then. I was able to turn junk rares into cube playables fairly quickly even at a non-member level. Then the bots showed up and I cleaned out my account as fast as I could because it was making things painful to deal with.

A couple of years passed and then I've slowly got back in and made some successful trades but the increase of people offering bounties has really made it a pain. I still get trades but at a much slower rate than I'd like because of that. But I'm not willing to do the same because I know the system will get cleaned up soon enough and we'll hopefully be back to "normal."
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Rich P
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I've never used Puca Trade but have considered it. Sounds like now would not be the best time to start. There have been a couple of mentions of bots ruining things - what do you mean by that?
 
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Brian Cox
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woodnoggin wrote:
I've never used Puca Trade but have considered it. Sounds like now would not be the best time to start. There have been a couple of mentions of bots ruining things - what do you mean by that?

I'm not sure the level of bots and page monitors at this time, but a year ago the way it worked was this:

You set up your listing of cards you are willing to trade
You click on the page to see who wants those cards
Ideally, you would click on their name, then make an additionally click to say you would send the card.

However, for highly sought after Standard cards (at first, and then later anything in the $1 - 15 range), as soon as you clicked on their name, it would already be fulfilled by someone else.

Okay. no big deal. Let's try again. Same thing on the next user. And the next. And the next. Arrggg!

AND if you wanted to maybe send a couple $1 - 2 card to the person because it wasn't instantly fulfilled, you would accept on the first card, and by the time you clicked on the second one to send, that second card, and the other 6 would already be fulfilled, and you have to mail one $0.75 - $2.00 card instead of 7 - 8 of those cards, which would be more economical as far as shipping goes.

At that time, some people developed bots that monitored their "Who wants my Cards" page and auto fill their orders to beat out regular people who click refresh.

Note that regular people who click refresh, even if they work at a computer all day, are not necessarily on PucaTrade all day. Additionally, I believe the outright use of automatic trade filling bots was against the PucaTrade rules (But I'm not sure about that, and the PucaTrade admins were SUPER-lax about rules last year).

In comes the Page Monitors. I used this for a time. You just set up a Google Chrome extension that monitored the total number of available trades. It would check that every 15 seconds or so and alert you if the number ever changed. I was able to get rid of a bunch of $0.75 - 1.80 cards this way.

So regular computer users had Page Monitors, and savvy computer users set up something more sophisticated (which I'm calling a bot). If you didn't have either, you were out of luck. You literally could not click fast enough even if you somehow went to the site at exactly the right time.

That was my experience last year. I remember there were a lot of discussions on the PucaTrade Reddit complaining about bots and page monitors, that kind of turned into an "if you can't beat em, join em" mentality.

I know PucaTrade was talking about trying to mitigate this "Race To Make a Trade" mentality with the new site updates and functions, but I've long since made my last PucaTrade to know how the system works now.
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Rich P
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Thanks for the explanation. That sounds awful. It reminds me of the auto-bidding eBay bots, although you can beat them if you have a higher maximum bid. On Pucatrade you either got there first or you didn't.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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Bots aren't the problem now or recently. Bounties are.

Because cards weren't moving enough, impatient users started offering bounties on everything. Which is to say they'd change their name to make it clear they'd give 15-20% extra pucapoints to people who fill their wants. Of course, only paying members had the ability to actually transfer points, so nonpaying members were completely starved out of the marketplace. People who had a card to move would invariably move it to the person offering a 20% point bonus over lowly people who were merely offering the list price.

Then stores got involved. Not only were they offering bounties, but they'd also list cards wanted by the dozens, and could pay for priority positioning in the list of card-wanters. So now the lowly common folk not only couldn't compete with the dollar power of the big boys, they couldn't even be *seen* - they were flooded off the page of visible card-wanters until the stores' wants were satisfied (which they never were, because even if they got filled they'd just re-up more want instances).



The economy tanked many months before the future site rolled out. The hope was that the 'future site', with new point sinks and the inclusion of MTGO, lesser-condition, and foreign-language trading, might spark some life and reverse the trend. And those alone might have. But the interface rollout botchjob caused so much frustration and anger (and attrition) that more than offset any gains by the expanded card coverage.
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Brian Cox
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Man, I didn't realize that stores started getting in on things. I got out right when I started seeing bounties. I was never a paying member, so I saw the oncoming problem and stopped trading.

The sad thing for me is that I really want to trade in played cards. As an actual Magic player (rather than collector), I could care less about Near Mint. Hopefully the kinks get worked out, and it actually works in the favor of traders sooner rather than later.
 
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Pete Lane
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Yeah there hasn't been problems with Bots in ages. It's all bounties now. Nice for when you get a nice card to ship out... I got close to $50+ for an Avacyn when she first came out thanks to a 20% bounty on her from someone. But hard to spend those points if you're not offering one yourself.

I totally still get trades, but just not as often as I used to. I did find that you can offer "fake" bounties as a non-member but it's tricky. Basically off up a deal with the person you're trading with and send them unpopular cards for the amount of the bounty. I found some weirdly expensive basic land from a supplemental set and used that a few times. It's a way around being a member, but is a total pain to do for both parties.

I'm willing to bet that it's just a matter of time before they step up and change the economy a bit and ban bounties. It was just so much better of a system before that and bots came along.

On the plus Brian... you can actually set condition of the card in your wants now, which is a huge improvement. Also adjusts the value for you if you go for less than NM.
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Jeff Wiles
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If any of you happen to want to buy points, or know someone who does, I'm selling.

Otherwise, I guess I just wait and hope for the best. I put a few more things on my want list to increase my odds, but it's tough finding cards a)I want b)I can afford with the points I have and c) are valuable enough to be worthwhile.



edit - lost a word someplace
 
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Eric L
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Thought I'd share my experiences on puca. I signed up about a year ago. Only ever as a non-paying member. Since then I have sent and received thousands of dollars worth of cards, and have never paid a bounty. The key, as I've learned, is patience and low expectations

I learned that people will eventually send you the cards. You just may have to wait a long long time. If you need cards now-ish, then you will likely need to buy them somewhere. Trading on puca is a slow and unpredictable deal, but once you make your peace with that - it is a very useful service.

It helps that I like to play out-of-the way decks, so I am not scrambling for all the hottest cards along with everyone else. It also helps to cast a wide net - list lots of cards that you would be happy to receive (but don't count on getting any particular cards). That said, I have received a slow drip of modern staples during the past year. It adds up.

As a way to counter the 'bounty' effect, when I am sending cards, I always try to give first priority to users who have sent cards to me. I encourage others to do the same. Kind of like trading in real life

Agree with what others have said - the new site is a visual disaster, to the point that it impacts its usability. Just, a lot of really bad decisions rolled into that layout... hard to understand what they were thinking. But, I'll just continue being patient and trading at a relaxing pace. Gotta believe they'll fix the site up and life will go on. Unless everyone panics.

Eric
user name 'reciprocal send' on the site - stop by!


 
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Joakim Björklund
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Overtext?! We don't need no stinking overtext! Oh wait...
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I signed up little over a year ago. I haven't sent off many big cards, but still for a decent amount of points (10000+, I think). I've mostly traded for low value Standard and Modern cards, and it worked really well for that. I got cards sent to me almost straight away when I had any points. I once had a larger amount of points and tried to get some bigger Modern staples, but I soon realized that it would be a really long wait without bounties and gave up. It just wasn't worth the wait. I got conveniently down to 1 point some time before the site upgrade fiasco, and I haven't looked at it since. If they get everything sorted out I might give it a go again, but I'm in no hurry. Getting rid of the bounties would go a long way to restore the original point of the site.
 
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