Draft format for the sake of playing, not getting cards

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I play this game because I love the gameplay. I'm not particularly interested in getting cards and building standard decks. The draft format is perfect for this but they are just too expensive to do regularly. DOTP is fun but it's still not as fun as a draft. How about a middle ground?

I'd love to see a draft format that's works like any other draft tournament, but you don't keep any of the cards you draft. You just play and then that's it. Obviously with virtual cards this is something unique that MTGO can do.
The entry fee/prize structure could be similar to any of the constructed formats.

Right now I'm stuck playing the new DOTP on PS3 when it comes out instead since I just can't justify paying 10$ every night for a few hours of gaming.

Thoughts?
I play this game because I love the gameplay. I'm not particularly interested in getting cards and building standard decks. The draft format is perfect for this but they are just too expensive to do regularly. DOTP is fun but it's still not as fun as a draft. How about a middle ground?

I'd love to see a draft format that's works like any other draft tournament, but you don't keep any of the cards you draft. You just play and then that's it. Obviously with virtual cards this is something unique that MTGO can do.
The entry fee/prize structure could be similar to any of the constructed formats.

Right now I'm stuck playing the new DOTP on PS3 when it comes out instead since I just can't justify paying 10$ every night for a few hours of gaming.

Thoughts?




Whats in it for wotc?
Owner of TheCardNexus chain on mtgo.
The money they make from my entry fees. Same profit per tournament as any constructed format. It would be more money then I'd spend on the current draft format.
If they currently make on average 6$ per draft from me, I'll play maybe 10 games a month. If that is instead 2-3$ per draft, then I'd expect I'd play 25-30 games a month instead.

Also they'd have a happier customer as well, without losing money from me.
You'd never be playing against any good players since they would want to be able to compete and win prizes to draft for free.  This is really a poorly thought out idea that would never work.  You'd lose the good players who don't want to shell out a fee for every draft with no prize potential and if you kept both formats then you'd divide up the players and potentially kill both draft rooms.  Most formats are already tough enough to draft without slicing the player pool in half.
The money they make from my entry fees. Same profit per tournament as any constructed format. It would be more money then I'd spend on the current draft format.
If they currently make on average 6$ per draft from me, I'll play maybe 10 games a month. If that is instead 2-3$ per draft, then I'd expect I'd play 25-30 games a month instead.

Also they'd have a happier customer as well, without losing money from me.



You're not actually saying you'll spend more money though, you're saying that you'll play more.  How does that work out in their favor?  If you're spending the same amount of money with both systems, Wizards is going to go for the system that gets more money from people for whom it makes a difference.

If this change went through, Wizards would make a lot less money.  You have to see that. 
Try to get into beta testing, free drafting to report bugs.
This idea pops up periodically, and no one yet has made a convincing case why WotC should abandon a long-standing, successful paradigm.

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You'd never be playing against any good players since they would want to be able to compete and win prizes to draft for free.  This is really a poorly thought out idea that would never work.  You'd lose the good players who don't want to shell out a fee for every draft with no prize potential and if you kept both formats then you'd divide up the players and potentially kill both draft rooms.  Most formats are already tough enough to draft without slicing the player pool in half.



The prize structure would be the same as the contructed formats, since it has an entry fee. I fully agree if it was free with no prize it would suck. But with prizes and a fee people will play seriously. Will it draw the best players? Probably not. But thats ok.

Although there would be some overlap, I'd contend that you would get a large percentage of these players as NEW players to the online game. This isn't able catering to the existing player base, it's about expanding it. I think DOTP has already shown Wizards what can happen if you make a game with amazing gameplay like this accesible to more players.

You're not actually saying you'll spend more money though, you're saying that you'll play more.

.

I'm most definetely saying I'll spend more money. At 3$ a game I'll play a game whenever I have the time to. At 6-15$ a game I'll play for a bit and if I have a bad run I'll be forced to stop for a few weeks until I decide I feel like spending that kind of money again.

If this change went through, Wizards would make a lot less money.  You have to see that.



I disagree. Right now I'm forced to go back to playing DOTP 2012 when I decide I don't want to spend 6-15$ for a game (especially if I have a bad run and have to start buying full sets of boosters). If the games were consistantly cheap I could just keep playing them.
You'd never be playing against any good players since they would want to be able to compete and win prizes to draft for free.  This is really a poorly thought out idea that would never work.  You'd lose the good players who don't want to shell out a fee for every draft with no prize potential and if you kept both formats then you'd divide up the players and potentially kill both draft rooms.  Most formats are already tough enough to draft without slicing the player pool in half.



The prize structure would be the same as the contructed formats, since it has an entry fee. I fully agree if it was free with no prize it would suck. But with prizes and a fee people will play seriously. Will it draw the best players? Probably not. But thats ok.

Although there would be some overlap, I'd contend that you would get a large percentage of these players as NEW players to the online game. This isn't able catering to the existing player base, it's about expanding it. I think DOTP has already shown Wizards what can happen if you make a game with amazing gameplay like this accesible to more players.


Same prize structure as queues = less money for WotC
A single draft makes WotC more money than a constructed Queue
Plus, what's the prize payout?  Boosters?
Who exactly would want these boosters if it's more popular to draft a cheaper tix only queue?  You see where I"m going here....yeah, would never ever work (as you've laid out)

My forever unfinished blog of the 2010 MTGO Community Cup: if you're ever bored...
Same prize structure as queues = less money for WotC
A single draft makes WotC more money than a constructed Queue



That is only true if the player base doesn't expand due to the increased accesibility.

If it's just going to canabalize the current play formats then sure its a bad idea. But I think the person who can open a planeswalker card and not care that they don't get to keep it is in the minority of the current player base.

It could also serve as an bridge for the new players they are getting from DOTP. Once they got good enough at drafting they may want to start doing full drafts and then moving to constructed.
since I just can't justify paying 10$ every night for a few hours of gaming.

Thoughts?




It is not $10.  If you are pretty bad at drafting it might average at $6-7.  if you are halfwhat decent it's $3-4 and if you are somewhat good it's 0-$3.  (Really good players make a profit)


If you can't justify paying $X for a night of gaming, instead spend $Y.  There is a type of Magic which can be fully enjoyed for $Y.
WotC is in the business of selling you packs so you can draft with them, not lending you cards so you can win prizes.
WotC is in the business of selling you packs so you can draft with them, not lending you cards so you can win prizes.



Once again, it would be renting cards, not lending. And I don't actually care about the prizes, but the issue is if you don't offer them then people will drop too often, ruining the tourney.

If you can't justify paying $X for a night of gaming, instead spend $Y.  There is a type of Magic which can be fully enjoyed for $Y.



Awsome, I'm looking for a format that I can play a 3 round tourney for 3$. I'm not interested in playing the same deck every time so getting a pauper deck isn't an option. What should I play?


I'm not sure what to take away from this thread... MTGO has the rare distrinction of being a video game that if you ask people why they don't play it you'll usually hear 'It's too expensive' (the other one being the UI interface). That's pretty crazy, few other video games, even subscription based ones, are losing cusomters due to being above a cost threshold.  As a seller of virtual good it's a huge economy of scale, so it's always better to make SOME money from someone, then none, even if you have other customers that will pay for the more expensive options. The key always not to canabalize the current more lucrative customer base, and I think this option does that to a large extent.


WotC is in the business of selling you packs so you can draft with them, not lending you cards so you can win prizes.



Once again, it would be renting cards, not lending. And I don't actually care about the prizes, but the issue is if you don't offer them then people will drop too often, ruining the tourney.

If you can't justify paying $X for a night of gaming, instead spend $Y.  There is a type of Magic which can be fully enjoyed for $Y.



Awsome, I'm looking for a format that I can play a 3 round tourney for 3$. I'm not interested in playing the same deck every time so getting a pauper deck isn't an option. What should I play?



That's not what I said.  I said you can dictate the amount of money you spend, not what you receieve for your money - just like everything in life.  If I decide to spend $X on a car, I can do that.  If X = $60, I'm going to get a car that probably doesn't work or even have any salvagable metal in it.

What you want is free cards (even if they are temporary).  Too bad.  That goes against the business model of Magic: the Gatherig.

If you want to play tournaments for $3 or less every night, you absolutely can.  Either play PREs or get better at limited.  Those are your options. 
That goes against the business model of Magic: the Gatherig.



I don't understand why all the responses here are people who don't work for WOTC telling me what are good and bad business moves for them. Only they know, and they have seen how popular MTG is if you make it a 'card game' instead of a 'collectable card game', with DOTP.

As with anything, there IS a pricepoint where this idea would work ( maybe it's 7$ a tourney, I don't know). As users it's not our job to decide on features based on WOTC's business model, but rather to tell them if we want features or not, and up to them to decide if it's feasible.

So the question I pose is this:
If you are a person who drafts a lot and this format was introduced, would you:
1. Play it instead of the normal drafts, and play the same number of drafts per month (spend less money per month)
2. Play it instead of the normal drafts, and draft more per month (same or more money per month).
3. Play a mix and spend less per month
4. Play a mix and spend the same or more per month
5. Not play this format at all.
I, for one, would never use this format.

And the reason we respond by explaining the business model is that Wizards won't.  You might get a response of "it's an interesting idea, but we can't do it for technical reasons in v3" or "that's not the vision we have for limited play" or something, but you can be certain that behind all of this, there is a business decision about drafting that holds the line.
I like the OP's idea.

Last time I checked with my ISP, with my car insurance company, and with my local pizza place, I didn't have to provide a detailed business plan every time I had a suggestion for a new service they could sell me.
That goes against the business model of Magic: the Gatherig.



I don't understand why all the responses here are people who don't work for WOTC telling me what are good and bad business moves for them. Only they know, and they have seen how popular MTG is if you make it a 'card game' instead of a 'collectable card game', with DOTP.

As with anything, there IS a pricepoint where this idea would work ( maybe it's 7$ a tourney, I don't know). As users it's not our job to decide on features based on WOTC's business model, but rather to tell them if we want features or not, and up to them to decide if it's feasible.



I guess we are using different measures to determine if something is a good idea or not. You think it would be a good idea to draft without prizes and without keeping the cards because that's a feature you want. We are using an expanded definition to judge the quality of this idea - we include the effects that we speculate it would have on the future of MTGO as a viable business. And sorry, we just can't see that it's likely at all that WotC would throw away a spectacularly successful business model (selling packs) for an untested one (renting packs out). This doesn't mean that your idea isn't fun. We are just saving time by cutting out your middle step (let them decide if it's feasible) because we all know how it's not and they would never bother telling us anyway.
That goes against the business model of Magic: the Gatherig.



I don't understand why all the responses here are people who don't work for WOTC telling me what are good and bad business moves for them. Only they know, and they have seen how popular MTG is if you make it a 'card game' instead of a 'collectable card game', with DOTP.

As with anything, there IS a pricepoint where this idea would work ( maybe it's 7$ a tourney, I don't know). As users it's not our job to decide on features based on WOTC's business model, but rather to tell them if we want features or not, and up to them to decide if it's feasible.



I guess we are using different measures to determine if something is a good idea or not. You think it would be a good idea to draft without prizes and without keeping the cards because that's a feature you want. We are using an expanded definition to judge the quality of this idea - we include the effects that we speculate it would have on the future of MTGO as a viable business. And sorry, we just can't see that it's likely at all that WotC would throw away a spectacularly successful business model (selling packs) for an untested one (renting packs out). This doesn't mean that your idea isn't fun. We are just saving time by cutting out your middle step (let them decide if it's feasible) because we all know how it's not and they would never bother telling us anyway.



Are you sure you wouldn't have had a similar reponse if someone suggested a game that:
Was 10-25$, period, with free mythic paper card.
Unlimited play
Ladder ranking with online play
2-4 player and 2 headed giant game formats
Gave the users 10-15 full decks worth of cards that they never lose, including some mythics.
Decks are customizable to some degree

That goes against the business model of Magic: the Gatherig.



I don't understand why all the responses here are people who don't work for WOTC telling me what are good and bad business moves for them. Only they know, and they have seen how popular MTG is if you make it a 'card game' instead of a 'collectable card game', with DOTP.

As with anything, there IS a pricepoint where this idea would work ( maybe it's 7$ a tourney, I don't know). As users it's not our job to decide on features based on WOTC's business model, but rather to tell them if we want features or not, and up to them to decide if it's feasible.



I guess we are using different measures to determine if something is a good idea or not. You think it would be a good idea to draft without prizes and without keeping the cards because that's a feature you want. We are using an expanded definition to judge the quality of this idea - we include the effects that we speculate it would have on the future of MTGO as a viable business. And sorry, we just can't see that it's likely at all that WotC would throw away a spectacularly successful business model (selling packs) for an untested one (renting packs out). This doesn't mean that your idea isn't fun. We are just saving time by cutting out your middle step (let them decide if it's feasible) because we all know how it's not and they would never bother telling us anyway.



Are you sure you wouldn't have had a similar reponse if someone suggested a game that:
Was 10-25$, period, with free mythic paper card.
Unlimited play
Ladder ranking with online play
2-4 player and 2 headed giant game formats
Gave the users 10-15 full decks worth of cards that they never lose, including some mythics.
Decks are customizable to some degree





and decks are uncustomizable, etc etc etc. Lots of limitations you fail to include in your list here that MTGO does not have. Dont kid yourself, DOTP is a playable advertisement for MTG.
Owner of TheCardNexus chain on mtgo.
What if MTGO supported cube drafting? I can't justify the bottom line for WotC, but then again, there are a lot of casual formats they support that don't seem to be obviously made to make money.  If commander can be supported, I think cube drafting should be supported too. I think supporting cube drafting would be a way to get the OP the cheap drafting experience he wants while at the same time adding a lot of value and attractiveness to MTGO to get players in. An in any, case, at least one player has to pay for all the cards used in the cube right?

Just to be clear, by cube drafting I mean that one player has a predefined set of cards that are separated into packs and then drafted by all the other players. Its a fun casual format that has a lot of depth. I'm actually surprised WotC hasn't come out with some kind of a series of boxed  sets for repeatable drafts the way commander boxed sets are comming out. It seems like a great way to bring people into drafting.
For a great source of information on the Pauper format check out Pauper's Cage!
I like the OP's idea.

Last time I checked with my ISP, with my car insurance company, and with my local pizza place, I didn't have to provide a detailed business plan every time I had a suggestion for a new service they could sell me.



No, but if you ask your car insurance company to lower your rate because you only want to pay for your car to be insured during the hours where you're driving it, they'll laugh in your face.

There's nothing wrong with suggestions.  Nobody's telling the OP not to suggest things.  We're just telling him some of the reasons why it will never happen.

No, but if you ask your car insurance company to lower your rate because you only want to pay for your car to be insured during the hours where you're driving it, they'll laugh in your face.





actually, there's a car insurance companny in the country where I live which is doing exactly this: lowering premiums for people who claim that they only drive "occasionally".


But I think it's just that their actuaries haven't heard of "moral hazard". How can an insurer ever verify whether or not driving is truly "occasional"? My gut reaction is to think that the costs of enforcing compliance would outweigh any potential benefits from lowered premiums...

M:tG Rules Adviser
My car insurance company sent me a little device to plug into my car's computer jack that measured how and when I drove and sent the reults to them.  Since I only drive a few miles a few days a week, my insurance got lowered!

Oh, hmmm.. that was off topic.  I got exicited about my insurance discount.  But maybe the moral of the story is that there are creative business solutions to keep customers happy and get new ones. 

As far as the OP's plan, I don't think it would ever happen.  Besides the reasons listed above, you'd lose out on one of the great draws of drafting: the money rare lottery.  Lucking out and having your draft is paid for whether you win or lose is something people wouldn't want to give up.  I doubt there could be a price point or prize structure that could equal pulling a foil Jace or Wasteland or Metalworker.  
This thread might shed some light on why the MTGO boards are so dead.  A guy posts a suggestion, and the pundits immediately and repeatedly tell him how dumb the idea is without offering any suggestions on what might improve the idea. 

Actually, the idea isn't quite as far from a viable idea as certain people on their high horse would have you believe.  The basic notion is that Wizards could offer something cheaper that would bring in a new segment of players.  This is decidedly not a stupid concept, and it is one that Wizards has implemented successfully.  I'd argue that 2 man queues and the Planeswalker format are examples of that.  So the question is, can a cheaper form of drafting exist that would improve business instead of cannibalizing the existing cash cow?  The pundits seem to be implying that the answer is no, despite the fact that they will claim merely to be benevolently explaining why the originally proposed plan is so awful. 

I suspect that it is possible for a cheaper draft format to exist profitably within the WotC business model.
This thread might shed some light on why the MTGO boards are so dead.  A guy posts a suggestion, and the pundits immediately and repeatedly tell him how dumb the idea is without offering any suggestions on what might improve the idea. 

Actually, the idea isn't quite as far from a viable idea as certain people on their high horse would have you believe.  The basic notion is that Wizards could offer something cheaper that would bring in a new segment of players.  This is decidedly not a stupid concept, and it is one that Wizards has implemented successfully.  I'd argue that 2 man queues and the Planeswalker format are examples of that.  So the question is, can a cheaper form of drafting exist that would improve business instead of cannibalizing the existing cash cow?  The pundits seem to be implying that the answer is no, despite the fact that they will claim merely to be benevolently explaining why the originally proposed plan is so awful. 

I suspect that it is possible for a cheaper draft format to exist profitably within the WotC business model.


Well, why don't you offer a suggestion?
Really, I'd be interested in seeing if you could figure out something that meets the following criteria:
1. It can't cannibalize current drafting model.
2. It can't effect the current drafter/constructed economy
3. It has to be more then marginally profitable.

I know it's been bandied about since MTG:O went gold, and no one has figured out a solution which is workable. But more power to someone if they can.

Guess what? Chicken butt.

Hmmm, ya know, I kinda like this idea...

tempesteye, in answer to your question, here is my first thought:

1 tix entry, 1 pack to the winner, players do not keep the cradz, WotC makes $4 per.  (Alternative is a two or three tix prize, this causes many other problems but WotC makes more.)

What's in it for WotC? I think this format would be great for scraping the last tix out of players wallets that play on a periodic budget.  This is a HUGE benefit for WotC.

Problem1 - The prize return is a higher percentage than any 'real' draft format. 

Is this a serious problem?  Nope. It still takes as long as any 'real' draft format to play out, very low return per hour of play.  

Problem 2 - Eroding 'real' draft queues.

Is this a serious problem?  Could well be, so yes.  I think not keeping the cradz + crack high tix cradz and see them disappear frustration + the low return per hour combined would prolly mean this format would not affect current queue rates.  BUT!  it would take 15 of these firing for each 'real' draft lost to not be problematic.  I dunno.

Interesting side effects:

Great for learning draft formats.

Players would never rare draft, thus more 'pure' drafting...

Would encourage non drafting players to try drafting.  Maybe leading to more players playing 'real' drafts.

Summary:   This is one of those ideas that as the great SAX used to recommend would be great to be tried on a short time basis so WotC could measure the effects.  If I were WotC, I'd consider this.

Algona <-------- Loser, fFlamer, NTB Trollnomicist, thinks meeting in August is a great idea.



*Yes people would be relieved for those drafts where they do not open any decent tix cradz, but looking at how MOL players always remember the bad beatz, mana screwz, and other negativz...




Thank you, Erik.
Hmmm, ya know, I kinda like this idea...

1 tix entry, 1 pack to the winner, players do not keep the cradz, WotC makes $4 per.  (Alternative is a two or three tix prize, this causes many other problems but WotC makes more.)




I like this idea.  Even at 2 tix entry, 2 packs to winner, it'll feel casual/serious enough like the 2-man queues.  (and more profit for Wizards).

To take it even further, lets say you replace the swiss queues with these.  Being single elimination but so cheap, odds are people will be a lot more likely to re-join another when they bust. 


I like this idea.  Even at 2 tix entry, 2 packs to winner, it'll feel casual/serious enough like the 2-man queues.  (and more profit for Wizards).

To take it even further, lets say you replace the swiss queues with these...

Hands off the swiss queues.
Here is one piece of an idea.  Only make the cheaper drafts available for last year's block.  It would be like waiting for a movie to come out on DVD or waiting for the paperback version of a book. 
Here is one piece of an idea.  Only make the cheaper drafts available for last year's block.  It would be like waiting for a movie to come out on DVD or waiting for the paperback version of a book. 




This is a VERY VERY good suggestion. like someone said in another thread about features a "why hasnt this been thought of before" moment.
Owner of TheCardNexus chain on mtgo.
to whoever suggested making cube draft available for MTGO: much respect.
M:tG Rules Adviser
to whoever suggested making cube draft available for MTGO: much respect.



We have actually had official words from Wizards about cube drafting online.  Obviously nothing written in stone, but there are certainly people in the dev team who want cubing to come online.

Zimbardo has a good idea, but...

Would kill 1.5 of the nice benefits.  Learning the format and by extension getting people to try 'real' drafts.

And leave the fSwiss queues alone, it took me 6 years to get them.  :anger:

Thank you, Erik.
An idea like the one in the OP would never work, because it would basically destroy all other draft formats and thus the entire pack economy. 
Drafting by using packs is a -ev endevor since the average amount you'll make from the cards in the packs is always lower then what you pay for the packs.  Thus, if there was an option where you didn't have to pay for the product, and in exchange didn't get to keep the cards you drafted, everyone would take that option since everyone would gain EV. 
Then, since nobody would need a booster, the price on boosters in the marketplace would plummet, meaning the prizes you win from the drafts would be basically worthless, meaning all drafts would dry up.
If you're conserned with only losing $3 per draft, why not draft M11 swiss?  You can enter for ~$8, a decent player should pick up around 2 packs on average, so if you pick up an average of $1 per draft (which is still very viable even with the rock-bottom singles prices), you'll be losing exactly $3 per draft.
www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...

I'm happy that the people at WOTC are more forward thinking than you all expect. Good businesses know they need to innovate constantly to stay competative.

This is just the beginning, if this idea is popular (which is why my post was about, not if it was a good business case), you can expect more of these to occur.



and decks are uncustomizable, etc etc etc. Lots of limitations you fail to include in your list here that MTGO does not have. Dont kid yourself, DOTP is a playable advertisement for MTG.


MTGO plainswalker format gives you tons of mythic/rare/uncommon and fully customizeable decks for just $5. or $25 if you want all the sets there are with even more mythin/rare/commons.

I don't see WOTC going bankrupt yet...

also paying $10 for a single game is the most expensive MO experience out there. no wonder so few people are playing MTGO... until recently with introduction of DOTP and cheap plainswalker format of course.

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