11/02/2011 Feature Article

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This thread is for discussion of a Feature Article, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

I am filled with trepidation at this announcement. I kind of liked the previous structure of the World Championship. First invitationals, and now the World Championship? I remember excitedly following my favorite pros' progress through the standings, round after round, to see who would come out on top.

I feel like you just canceled Christmas.
I don't know or care enough about the pro players club to have an opinion on that.  But the change to the World Championships sounds terrible.  We lose so much with a 16 player tournament - no chance of surprise contenders (sorry Cole Swannack), no innovative decks that dominate the field (sorry Gab Nassif and Pat Chapin), no more impressive back-to-back top 8 showings since top 8 is now meaningless (sorry Tom van de Logt).  And the justification is pretty weak - it's not like winning this version of the World Championships is going to convince anyone you're the best player more than the old World Champs did.  At the end of the day all we have is a much less interesting tournament, which undoubtedly is a lot cheaper to put on.
This is terrible.
Wizards is cutting pro level events.  This seems odd, considering that the 16 online PTQs for PT Honolulu are going to net Wizards/ Hasbro over $500,000 by themselves.  That more than pays for the entire pro tour.  They should be going to more PTs, not less.
Go SCG circut go! Reinstate your old player's club! Make the appearance fees unbelievably good! Make us want to grind in them all the time! Make your invitationals awesome! Make it so Wotc sees how bad this system is and maket them want to cry!!!
Go SCG circut go! Reinstate your old player's club! Make the appearance fees unbelievably good! Make us want to grind in them all the time! Make your invitationals awesome! Make it so Wotc sees how bad this system is and maket them want to cry!!!





This is not going to make them cry at all.  They would be incredibly happy about this.  People still buy their cards + they don't have to pay to host pro tours=  Win/ Win for them.

I guess it's much easier to be on the coverage team if you don't have to worry about having so many of those troublesome players around having fun.




Wizards has decided to no longer take this game seriously.  I don't really know why, but there it is.


I guess it's much easier to be on the coverage team if you don't have to worry about having so many of those troublesome players around having fun.


No, it's quite the opposite really.
Wizards wants us to have fun so much, that they're actively crippling high-level play, while making local FNM heavily weighted in their Planeswalker Points system, introducing mechanics specifically engineered to annoy "serious" drafters, and poisoning every non-"awesome monsters!" Modern deck that even approaches coherency.

This all makes sense, Magic is really growing right now, the player base is huge and therefore they feel the need to reduce the number of big tournaments. Wait, wut?

This move feels like they want to push MtG back to the kitchen table and perhaps the occasional FNM. We always get that half-hearted "you'll get something else". Yeah, just like we got something else when you removed the rewards programme. I for one think that this stinks.
Just to understand what perspective I am coming from, I am a mostly casual/FNM/MTGO player; I think my rating was about 1860 in paper in the DCI system, so I'm certainly not a pro. I've never played in a PTQ or GP or whatever, but I occasionally read the coverage of tournaments, just to entertain myself. 

I greeted PWPs with cautious optimism; there were some visible flaws but nothing unfixable.

And this new announcement makes no sense to me at all.

Worlds (and the fact that Nationals qualified you to be on your National Team) was one of the things I actively sought out coverage for, when normally I'd just skim for highlights. Now they want to re-make the Invitational (my favorite event ever to follow, by the way) but without the fun, casual atmosphere? Why not just re-make the Invitational?

I dunno, all I really have to say is that I just don't understand what's going on. On the surface it seems SO terrible, but I'm still so naive that I think there must be a good reason behind it. It sure seems terrible, though...
This is getting rediculous. I think they fail to realize what an important part in driving sales, that the pro tour really does. People who want to be pro magic players buy cards, wizards!

They cut the number of pro tours down to 3 + worlds. Then they cut the payouts, now worlds is a joke of 100k event . They cut the rewards system. Now thier going to start cutting down the number of events to just 1 , with the explination of "ITLL BE THAT MUCH MORE SPECIAL!" and try to relly sell that idea.

Its like at the end of the year, they see how much they pay for the Pro tour grand prix events , and lose thier minds. WERE PAYING WHAT?!? without realizing thier making insane amounts of money because of the pro tour...

Soon thier will be no high level magic, just fnms and primier.

Hope starcity brings back thier reward system
Bring back Magic Player Rewards, bring back pro points, and bring back the old world championship structure damnit. These changes are terrible.

(Edit - I removed the insult/harassment from the post)
Sigh. Nationals was one of the few ways a player like myself had a chance of getting into a pro-event. I live in South Africa, which is in the southern hemisphere, which WotC seems to think doesn't exist.

We don't have the number of players for FNM like they do in the states to seriously qualify via FNM.
We don't get PTQs
We don't get GPs
And now we don't get a feeder Nationals either...

Is there even a point for me taking Magic seriously anymore? 
The "World Championship" having nothing to do with the "National Championship" is a severe disconnect. Part of the reason being a "national champion" is a draw is because it gives you a chance to represent your country at the world championship. That's now gone. This isn't the "World Championship"--this is the "Pro Tour Championship/Invitational".

And no, planeswalker points are not a measure of skill; I wish Wizards wouldn't talk about them as though they were. They're a measure of participation and success, which definitely aren't the same thing.


On a broader note, I very much dislike the general move towards small, exclusive events in place of larger-scale, broader-entry ones. These changes put even a taste of truly high-level play beyond the reach of most players, which seems counterintuitive to the goal of increasing aspiration towards that level. Getting someone hooked on something great is better accomplished by giving them a taste of it, not putting it completely out of their reach.

The promise of better coverage feels like a smokescreen--coverage quality could have been improved without changing the scale of the event.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

My theory:

A soulless executive arrived at Hasbro, took a look at that nerdy 'Magic: The Gathering' brand and decided to smash it with the Money Grabbing Sledgehammer.

Results: 1) Tons of new products released   2) Less rewarding professional play  3) ???
A soulless executive arrived at Hasbro, took a look at that nerdy brand 'Magic: The Gathering' and decided to smash it with the Money Grabbing Sledgehammer.

More likely, someone at Hasbro did the math, and determined that the lost revenue from legions of new players sticking around just long enough to ragequit after a brutal curbstomping is not being adequately compensated for by the revenue from chronic drafters and case-poachers feeding the singles market supporting the "pros" and those "filthy netdeckers" doing the curbstomping.
Absolutely terrible changes, especially the new worlds. What's the thrill now for playing Nationals?

I'd really like to hear a personal opinion of one of the former pro-players who wokr at Wizards about this...
The weird thing is that I really think WotC's approach is wise on a grassroots level, and respect even the design decisions that add so much unfun (to me) variance to drafting. They're getting great at promoting accessibility of the game. Yet when it comes to using the PT as a marketing tool, the ineptitude is staggering. What's the point of an all-downside announcement like this one? 

The reason the pros are in sky-is-falling mode on Twitter is that this announcement creates vast uncertainty, analogous to a traditional employee receiving a layoff notice with a provision that it might be rescinded as circumstances change. Perhaps if WotC thought of it that way they would've gone to greater lengths to communicate what the future holds for the PT. "Mystery System TBD" is public relations amateur hour.

Simple tweaks that would've made this less bungled:

- Announce all tournament changes (# of GPs, Nationals, Worlds) together earlier this year. Include that GP T16 will no longer auto-Q for the PT, because that's immediately connected to the popular increase in GPs; specify the announcement date of changes to the qualifying system that, in part, replace these invites. Pitch mini-Worlds as the new Invitational, because the Invitational was awesome/popular. Clarify how many PTs there will be in 2012-13.

- Announce all rating and qualification changes (PWPs, PPC) together when PWPs premiered. Under no circumstances say something as dumb as "the Pro Player's Club will end". Frame the announcement as a redefinition of who's eligible for the Club levels, based on what, and what the benefits will be. Preferably, show how this keeps the gravy train comparable in scope and rewards.

We love you Aaron, and we know you can do better than this. 

Of course Wizards should double down on Planeswalker Points.  It's not like anybody has pointed out even slight imperfections with the system.  Frankly I'm surprised FNM champ doesn't get a guaranteed invite.


"Think of the best Pro Tour Top 8 ever and then double it," said Aaron Forsythe, Senior Director of Magic R&D.  "Then throw that image away, because this is nothing like it."


If you know what to look for, the handwriting was on the wall for Pro Points back when  the whole "more GPs" change was announced.  Obviously they weren't going to add more points to the system and bracket creep people into more money.  And let's be honest, the target demographic for meaningless Planeswalker Points probably isn't old enough to take a plane trip without a chaperone, anyway.

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Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

Why are you ruining the game wizards. 16 player worlds? seriously? what about those who cant travel to events but would be Q'ed for worlds? like hall of famers? do they not deserve to compete?
Worlds used to be the place where the WORLD came together to play Magic. Granted, that happens at every Pro Tour, but not at the level it did at Worlds. There was always a certain mystique to it...at least for me. It was like the Olympics - the National champion of each participating nation came, and you even had team play from different countries competing to take the cup back to the homeland! It was great! And now, we get a glorified top 8. Thanks. I wish to say in no uncertain terms that this is a horrible idea, not because this 16 player fight for player of the year is bad, but because the festival of Worlds was a draw to the tournament, and was good for the game.

I DO, however, like this new way of determining the Player of the Year. It could be fun, and having them able to compete directly against each other is cool, much better in my opinion than fighting by proxy based on rating. Just bring back the rest of Worlds around it, and it would be perfect! Have this be the main event on Sunday along with the top 8 of the PT style Worlds! Please, I know you guys hate going back on an anouncement, but don't make this the end of the Worlds as we know it! Like an earlier commenter said (forgot your name, guy, sorry) it feels like you just canceled Christmas.
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This made me laugh so hard I nearly choked.

"As the Magic brand grows across the world, Wizards has faced challenges in attempting to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to certain programs, and Nationals was one of those," said Helene Bergeot, Director of Organized Play Programs and Operations. "It is up to the regional offices to decide on the size and scope of their countries' National Championships ...."

Almost every change we have seen in the last 12 months (store tie ins, FNMs on Fridays only, PWPs) have been rolled out on a one size fits all basis and WOTC have blithely ignored the myriad of calls for regional variation.  The hypocrisy and double speak makes me feel nauseous.
The following quote is from the Q&A.

Q: The whole system seems very USA-centric. US players have more big events to earn Planeswalker Points (for example, StarCityGames.com Opens), there seem to be disproportionate numbers of Grand Prix in the US compared to Europe and Japan in the past, and now small countries won't even get Pro Tour invites for Worlds. Why? What is being done to address this?

HB: We allocate the maximum number of GPs to each region based on the size of their player populations. Each regional team can change that number based on their market specifics.

WPN premium tournaments (such as the StarCityGames.com Opens) are open to every region, and we hope that more organizations will be encouraged to run these types of tournaments. If players are interested, they should talk to their stores!



Ok, fair enough. To proof this I took the number of registered players at the  DCI and compaired it to the number of GP's from January till March 2012. See my results below:

Region               Player Base     Number of GP's
North America   11228 (54%)   16 (72%)
Europe              6413 (31%)     3 (14%)
Japan                692 (3%)         1 (5%)
Asia Pacific        1325 (6%)       2 (9%)
Latin America    1272 (6%)       0 (0%)

So the above what the interviewer said is incorrect.

Even if they compensate this during season 2 and 3, it still isn't fair. This is because the ratios should be respected every season!!
It's kind of sad. It reminds me of what happened with 2nd edition D&D when whatshername took over TSR. Still, Wizards might ride it out.
This decision is already proving hugely unpopular amonst players around here - and it's only 9am. Making the National team and playing in Worlds was a huge driver for so many players in Ireland. Sure being National Champ is nice, but at Nationals it always came down to the quarter finals - will you make the team or won't you. Whether you were first or fourth really didn't matter. But now? It's nearly not worth it.

It used to be that I would spend all 3-4 days of Worlds refreshing the page to see how my friends and countrymen were doing. Now, I'll probably just log in on the Monday to see who won.

I've supported many changes in recent years, but this is not one of those times. Not one bit.
I second the complete statement of Timewise above me. People don't play Nats to be crowned the best of their country. They want to make the team to be able to defend their country at the World event. Wizards seem to be putting the I back into Team and make this game a lot more individual focussed. They are assuming that the pro circuit has some rockstars amongst them with a legion of fans behind them.

Sure there are some exciting players to keep an eye out for whenever you check tournament reporting, but at the end of the day, I filter standings by country tag to see how my fellow countrymen and friends are doing at any event, especially Worlds. You'd think they had looked at the ratings/interest the last Invitational event cumulated and realised this will not have the effect they want. Then again, cutting the field down to only 16 saves them buckets of money on whatever they had to spend on so many people (airfare and such?) not to mention cutting down judge staff and other personnel.

I was silently hoping the future of Magic would involve a return to some fun Team events / GP's but it seems Wizards doesn't like social gatherings all that much.

I wouldn't mind a full blown boycott of all players going to the Worlds event this year to get the message through. This surely is the last drop.
The "World Championship" having nothing to do with the "National Championship" is a severe disconnect. Part of the reason being a "national champion" is a draw is because it gives you a chance to represent your country at the world championship. That's now gone.



No kidding, the new World Championships sound seriously disappointing to me... not nearly as fun to follow (and actually attending just got almost impossible for 99,99% of players).
I completely agree with many of the above posts: I do not participate in Nationals to become crowned "National Champion." I participate to qualify for the World Championship.

The answer to the question about the USA-centrism of the new system is very poor and saddening. The distribution of GPs is miles away from reflecting the player population in Europe, when compared to the number of GPs in the US. Moreover, third party-organized tournaments are poor replacements to tournaments organized by WotC. The answer just pushes away responsibility. Am I really supposed to go to my local store (which, by the way, is the only store in Oslo) and ask them to organize 400-500 player tournaments?! There is no shot in hell that anything like the SCG tournament circuit is viable in an area like Scandinavia. Apart from disfavoring the players that do not have strong third party businesses organizing tournaments in their area, the answer completely neglects the fact that those businesses are not viable in areas with less dense populations and in regions with less economic, social and cultural integration. The answer infuriates me so much that I feel like punching in the screen of my computer. The new system is a large step AWAY from favoring skilled players in a just manner.
Finland used to have 2 PT slots per season, it was cut to 1 per season. Now we also lost 4 slots per year thanks to disconnecting Nationals from Worlds (or what Worlds used to be). So we go from 10 slots per year to 3. We don't have massive FNM's or tournaments with third-party organizers fielding hundreds of players and large multipliers. Also Europe has precious few GP's in the first season and even then GP's don't guarantee that you qualify any where, even if you manage to end up say 9th which is an insane feat out of field of thousands.

Also, this means that gathering PWPoints for a possible Nationals invite is null and void since all that Nationals will offer is a title and perhaps some boosters. Oh and more meaningless PWPoints that aren't going to be enough anyways to reach the PT-invites.

All this means a big FU from Wizards to players, even more to the players outside US.
I am most upset that there is now NO sanctioned vintage play. I know most people do not like or play vintage. But there is now litterally a format that Wotc hosts no events for. Yes I no there is no pauper play, but there never has been outside of mtgo. I was unable to get to worlds this year, and now never will. If I was an up and coming pat chapin or kibler, I am not sure I would make it with all these new changes, for reasons many pro players have expressed.
Hey Wizards, if you don't want non-US players to compete on the Pro Tour, you can just tell us. No biggie. We'll find something else to do with our spare time.

Sincerely
A now ex-tournament player from Europe

Who actually likes the new system? Unless they have a load more PTQ's in each country and high cah prize for nats, I suspect attendance will drop. A lot of players I know(comeptitive players who travel) are talking about playing the World of Warcraft game instead, since it's easy, but has a better prize and reward structure.
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The slaughter of Grand Prixs has been followed up with the assasination of Nationals and Worlds championships. Magic has never been less appealing.
this sucks so hard, I have problems to breathe right now ....
and there you go, loved game ... and as I pointed out already on several platforms regarding the really ****ed up PWP system - the competitive part of the game is now divided between pros and grinders... obv you have to spend 100% of your time to get anywhere, but just maybe, because there are others who always will have more time.

Nationals are completly worthless now, so are the GPs. Anybody really interested in getting good PWP Mulitpliers??? For real, Nationals were cool, because you could qualify for Worlds, GPs were cool because you could qualify for PT. That was always worth a shot. But I do not care about PWPs (besides its a simple selling system), just because it doesn't matter how good your results are ... it just matters how often you are playing.
Well, this thread is going to be really filled in a couple of days. Time to voice my opinion. I don't play much competitively and usually don't care so much about the high level play, that's for the big shots. But as others on the boards, I loved following the coverage and very much agree with the link to the olympics. Teams from all over the world entering with their country flag, it was wonderfull. The big issue I have with this change it that this is ANYTHING BUT a world championship. Would you call this the end of year pro finals, then yes, this would make sense. You could say that anyone from any country could qualify , based on PWP but as alot of people allready have voiced, someone from say, south africa only really has a chance if he/she is allready a frequent flyer (expensive), otherwise the only chance you have is nationals. And that is now gone.

I thought wizards had taken a positive turn again, with innistrad which pretty much has everything going for it, both casual and competitive, both 1vs1 or multiplayer or fun formats. That positive change has been completely washed away.

So wizards, if you are reading this: overturn this decision right now. You can see on all the boards that this is a terrible decision and you are hard-pressed to even find 10 positive posts about this. It's not too late, it can be turned back now.
I second the complete statement of Timewise above me. People don't play Nats to be crowned the best of their country. They want to make the team to be able to defend their country at the World event. Wizards seem to be putting the I back into Team and make this game a lot more individual focussed. They are assuming that the pro circuit has some rockstars amongst them with a legion of fans behind them.



This I can agree with. Nats isn't as exciting to play in if its just bragging rights.

I don't mind the 16 player world champ tournament. (AKA Invitational).

I do mind not getting to see the team competition. Seperating those two would be a good thing, but getting rid of the team portion all togeather sucks.

I'd do invites this way to keep it spicy: 1) Winner of Country's Nats 2) Highest Pro-PWP for Year 3) Highest Rookie Pro-PWP (first year Pro Points) per year.

Invite those people in and do some wild stuff. 3 format face-offs are cool, but think about the possibilities of 6 man rochester, Some kind of Tag Team 2 Headed Giant.

Having that tournament would let some players from smaller nations pad thier Pro-PWP totals to give them a shot at a World Champ Invite.

So, whoever will be 2011 Player of the Year will most likely become World Champion each year from 2012 onwards.
National Championships will no longer be feeding a larger global event ...  the pride of being your country's champion is a primary motivation for players."



This is extremely disappointing. I played in nationals this year with the hope of qualifying for the world championship which was a large part of the appeal. I come from a tournament chess background and Magic had more of an appeal because it was actually possible to qualify for worlds. Now it is just like the chess scene, it will be impossible to get anywhere near the world championship!

Very disappointing indeed Frown
Not happy with the changes at all.

Wizards, why didn't you think of throwing out some good news to counteract the bad?  Like "The winner of the new World Championship will receive the prize of the old Invitational: the ability to design a card."
Wow, they just killed the best event in Magic. 16 player worlds will suck. It is unbelievable that wizards keep cutting funds from high level events.

(Edit - I removed the personal attack/harassment. Trevor)