I just finished up a big update to card pages, adding a ton of content. Card search has now been added, you can find it under 'browse'. The new card pages now show the full legality of the cards, charts for elo, price (multiple currencies), and play rate (multiple cube types) over time. Right now the data is a bit sparse, but after a while these charts could show interesting trends. I've also added many useful links to other websites, such as EDHRec, and mtgtop8. There is a widget for viewing all the different versions of a card, including a small table with the prices. There is also a widget for purchasing the card through different platforms. Using these links to help support Cube Cobra, which does help us out a lot. The 'often drafted with' section is now broken up into 'Top Cards', 'Creatures', 'Spells', and 'Other'. We've also added a new section here labeled 'Most Synergistic Cards'. This section is particularly exciting for us, because it uses our machine learning model for the recommender, on a card by card basis.
I'm very excited to bring you this release today! I needed to skip the last release, as I was (still am really) in the process of moving to a new place, and I didn't have the extra time to prepare a proper release. I'm back to (almost) fully operational now, so you can expect us to resume the normal schedule. You may have also noticed a TCGPlayer advertisement banner, or a banner displaying a donation or merchandise link. This was more a experiment to see if I could help cover the gap in server costs, and I did learn a lot. The TCGPlayer ad got some clicks, but had a conversion rate of 0%, compared to our typical 7%. This tells me that it provided basically no value, so I won't be showing that anymore. I did however, get a consistent uptick in new Patreons, so you will occasionally see the other two banners.
Today's release mainly consists of two changes. The first is the addition of Grid Draft! This feature request had sat on our backlog for a while, until one of our 'Lotus Cobra' tier patreons had requested higher priority on this feature, so here it is! This mode is particularly exciting because it provides a way to do a draft with another human player, on one machine locally, in addition to the normal bot drafts. I debuted this feature in Cube Outside The Box's stream earlier this week. You can watch the vod here. This release also represents a huge milestone with our performance improvements. I understand the downtime yesterday was quite brutal, and I'm sorry for any inconvenience due to that. That downtime did allow me to fix several issues related to how we lookup decks, which was a huge bottleneck in overall server performance. It's still quite early to know for sure, but the current metrics are looking very promising. The biggest bottleneck right now is using the cube search feature, which is a challenging issue to tackle. Be sure to expect more performance improvements in the future.
Tonight's update is our first release following our migration to DocumentDB. For those unaware, you may have noticed some severe latency issues the past week; I've been pulling some late nights to iron out all the kinks related to this migration. You should be able to feel an immediate improvement, our average latency has gone from 600ms to around 100ms! In addition to the performance improvements, this migration will help with stability, scaling, and make my job of managing the site much easier. The downside, is that our hosting costs have increased quite a bit. This migration was triggered from a patreon goal of $300, but the net costs were more expensive than I anticipated, and we're currently running about $200 over budget. This isn't the end of the world for me, but I would definitely appreciate any additional support through Patreon. There are two more infrastructure goals, both on a much smaller scale than the database migration. For card analytics, we have a script that gets run manually and infrequently, but I'd like to automate that process such that it runs every day, keeping card analytics fresh and up to date. It would also allow us to create histograms for card trends, which is super neat. The other change has to do with the machine learning portion of the site. Currently, that's being done on a separate server, and everything done is all manual. I'd like to migrate the machine learning to AWS Sagemaker, allowing us to keep the draftbots and recommender up to date at a weekly resolution. The latter change is much more extensive, so I can't commit to a timeline on that yet.
This update also features some changes in how we handle card prices and Elo, before, these values were separated from our card model due to logistical challenges, but Scryfall's new bulk data update allows us to provide prices and Elo with much less latency. All this means to the end user, is a significant performance update in many places around this site. Anyways, let's get into the full changes in this update.
Tonight's release is a very exciting one. Before we get into the exciting new features, I wanted to share that I am giving away some special Cube Cobra snake tokens to all Patreons! If you are interested in receiving some tokens, you can support Cube Cobra here. Cube Cobra is almost completely funded through Patreon, and every cent of donations go directly towards server costs. We also just launched our new Inked Gaming page! We have some exclusive Cube Cobra playmats listed, and purchasing those playmats also helps pay for Cube Cobra server costs.
Okay, enough shilling for monetary support, what's special about this release? Well, you may have read Ruler501's Draftbot Primer, which goes into detail a huge rework we've been working on for our draftbots! This is a very difficult challenge that I've expressed frustration towards many times, and I think we have come to a game-changing solution here. In addition to the new draft bots, there are also some new tools around drafting, including running "Bot Only" drafts, so cube designers can observe how their cube may be drafted without spending the time drafting themselves. We also added a new view for decks where you can see the draftbot analysis for each pick made, that explains the reasoning of why that pick was made, and what other cards were in close consideration. Draftbots will also fully build decks, including adding basic lands. The bots are still far from perfect, but with how they're setup, we have a lot of levers and dials we can manipulate to improve them. If the draftbot seemed to make a dubious pick, share it with us on Discord! We would love the feedback, and can use those reports to further advance our draftbots. We also started tracking pick and pass data for individual cubes. We're not using this data yet, but this is something that's been asked for a lot. We will look into how we may utilize this data in future releases.
We also have improved the user experience for filtering, by adding a quick filter toolbar. If you wanted to see all the activity one user has been up to, now you can view all blog posts from one user on their page. And as usual, several critical bugfixes. Check out the full changes below!
Today's release brings a grab bag of valuable bugfixes, and a couple new features. I understand we didn't have a release two weeks ago as we should have according to our schedule, and that this release is a bit feature light. This is mostly due to my limited bandwidth the last month due to personal commitments, and several other regular contributors were busy with other real-life issues. Regardless, we're committed building the best cube platform we can, and I can assure you I'll be able to get back to spending more time on development soon.
Today's update brings a lot of small changes including several fixes and updates for the newly revamped cube analytics. We're still halfway done with migrating our server to our new host, but I've done a lot of optimization to the configuration to reduce the amount of downtime. I've also implemented some new logging functionality for the live server, which will greatly help us in squashing those difficult to pin down bugs. As usual, please let me know what features, old or new, that you appreciate, and what features you would like to see in the future!
This update comes with a huge upgrade in our server infrastructure. We've migrated from Digital Ocean to AWS, and so far everything is looking very smooth. The major advantages this brings are 100% seamless deployments, and auto-scaling - which means the site speed will not be impacted by the amount of traffic we're getting at any point in time.
As for the site changes, we have many very exciting new features to reveal. Cube Analysis has been completely overhauled (again), this time bringing in a few new tools including a machine learning powered card recommender. The existing analytics have been updated to give greater control over the slice of cards being analyzed, I encourage you to check it out and let us know how we did!
This is a relatively small release, despite needing to be postponed. We have several big features that aren't ready yet to be published yet. Enjoy these bugfixes, and stay tuned for news on the future features!
Today we have a very large update for you. We did unfortunately have to skip the previous (3.2) update, so all the features we had ready for 3.2 will be new on 3.3. This update includes many improvements to viewing decks, including a pick by pick breakdown for not just the human drafter, but all the bots drafting as well. Cube Search has been overhauled, it's now much faster, looks better, and has much more useful search options including 'Cubes with the card x'.
Welcome back to another round of "What's new on Cube Cobra?", today we have some improvements to social features, the start of a new cube analytics page, and a sizable list of bugfixes. One major thing we noticed was Scryfall links to Cube Cobra card pages had been broken for non-english cards, so now you can use those links correctly from Scryfall. We're very excited to start working on an Analytics page rewrite, but there is still a lot more work I want to do with it to provide the best user experience. Please don't hesitate to give me all your feedback on this new page.