12/18/2012 Feature: "Magic Online Programs Update: MOCS, MOPR, and More"

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This thread is for discussion of the feature article "Magic Online Programs Update: MOCS, MOPR, and More", which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

The links for both the MOCS rules and MOPR rules go to the 2012 editions. Considering this is supposed to be the introduction to the new stuff, new, appropriate links would be very very useful.

On a quick note: I am quite disappointed in the departure of 4 booster sealed. It was fun and a different approach to sets that may have grown stale. I honestly don't see why it cannot co-exist with the 6 booster phantom.

I will have more thoughts later tomorrow to add.

Look, I found the actual MOCS 2013 link. Looks like the MOPR link was corrected

Myths of Theros: Part 1, Part 2, Born of the Gods Myths

Beta Client, "Shiny", V4.0 tutorial

Momir Basic Primer

Please do away with cube tix, I understnad that fewer boosters need to be paid out, but Cube Tix are not good.
If that's not possible, at least make getting 2nd in Cube Elim pay enough Cube Tix for a second draft. They currently pay 8 cube tix, you need 10 to draft again. 4-3-2-2 drafts pay enough boosters for 2nd place players to draft again, cube should do the same.
At the very least, make Cube Tix tradeable. I have 8 from last time I cubed, and they're sitting there uselessly.
The end is always nigh.
Yikes.

Lowering the promo payout, despite the streamlining, and drastically lowering the payout on sealed by nixing 4-packs (which actually had decent payouts) and going to phantom: both horrible for players.

But all anyone will discuss will be the promo FOW.  I guess that was its point: distract from lowering prize support (again). 
Solid article from Chris.

Updates to MOCS seem reasonable, though one thing is not clear. Will players with 15 QP be able to join all four prelims or just one? It says you don't have to play in all four, implying you could, but I'm not convinced that is the intention. Being only able to play in one makes more sense. And what about if you have 30 QP? That's short of the 35 needed for automatic entry, but twice the amount needed for prelims. Can they enter twice? I kinda like that idea, as it provides an extra stratum. Edit: reading the full MOCS rules and some tweets, I think I'm right and 30 QP can enter twice (events will "cost" 15 QP).

And, of course, the FoW promo was only a matter of time, and this is exactly how it should be given out.

The 1000 PWP for the PTQ winner is interesting. It's far more points than you would get for winning a PTQ of comparable size in paper (assuming about the largest MTGO PTQ size of around 750 and that the winner will have 13-14 wins: (13*3+7)*5 = 230). Barring upcoming changes in bye levels (which seems likely), 1k points automatically puts you at the two-bye level for GPs. This is identical to the bonus now given to paper PTQ winners (though of course the player won't get the normal PWP from the event as a paper player would).

Also like the player rewards changes. Making the reward levels grokable (and reasonably attainable) is a big plus. I do wish they had kept a land promo just for logging in though, as casual players are now cut out from the goodies. The reduction in promos should also help conserve promos some.

Phantom sealed events are okay, if predicatable.

Not sure about the New Player Event change. I like the idea of them only needing a non-tradable object to enter, but I don't have enough data on new player motivations to really have a strong stance on this one.

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Dual means two. A duel is a battle between two people. Lands that make two colors of mana are dual lands. A normal Magic battle is a duel.
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"While a picture is worth a thousand words, each lolcat actually produces a negative wordcount." -Ith "I think "Highly Informed Sarcasm" should be our Magic Online General motto." -Ith "Sorry, but this thread seems just like spam. TT is for off-topic discussion, not no-topic discussion." -WizO_Kwai_Chang "Stop that! If you're not careful, rational thinking may catch on!" -Sax "... the only word i see that fits is incompitant." -Mr44 (sic) "You know a thread is gonna be locked when it gets to the hexadecimal stage." -Gathion "It's a good gig" - Gleemax "I tell people often, if you guys want to rant, you've certainly got the right to (provided you obey CoC/ToS stuff), and I don't even really blame you. But if you see something you think needs changing a well thought-out, constructive post does more to make that happen." - Worth Wollpert
Having a promo that can only be accessed by spending money in the store and not accessable through financial transactions in the client is disgusting. It's not a surprise, given how the RtR prerelases required you to spend money in the store to participate in those events, but it's a trend that once again penalises players who finance themselves within MtGO without interaction with the store.


If you finance yourself within MtGO, then you can finance yourself to buy one on the secondary market.

"You mean I have to buy something from you in order to get my promotional gift? That's disgusting!"

Magic and Magic Online Volunteer Community Lead. On Strike

I'm trying to make my official VCL posts in purple.

You posted saying my thread was moved/locked but nothing happened.


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Unfortunately, VCLs do not currently have the tools necessary to take moderation actions directly. VCLs submit their actions to ORCs, who then actually perform the action. This processing can take between a few minutes and several hours, depending on how busy/attentive the ORCs are.

If you see something that needs VCL attention, please use this thread to make a request and a VCL will look at it as soon as possible. CoC violations should be reported to Customer Service using the "report post" button. Please do not disrupt the thread by making requests of either kind in-thread.

General MTGO FAQ

Yes, the Shuffler is Random!
The definitive thread on the Magic Online shuffler.

Magic Math Made Easy
Draw probabilities, Swiss results, Elo ratings and booster EV

Event EV Calculator
Calculate the EV for any event with a fixed number of rounds and prizes based on record

Dual means two. A duel is a battle between two people. Lands that make two colors of mana are dual lands. A normal Magic battle is a duel.
Thanks to PhoenixLAU for the [thread=1097559]awesome avatar[/thread]!
Quotables

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"While a picture is worth a thousand words, each lolcat actually produces a negative wordcount." -Ith "I think "Highly Informed Sarcasm" should be our Magic Online General motto." -Ith "Sorry, but this thread seems just like spam. TT is for off-topic discussion, not no-topic discussion." -WizO_Kwai_Chang "Stop that! If you're not careful, rational thinking may catch on!" -Sax "... the only word i see that fits is incompitant." -Mr44 (sic) "You know a thread is gonna be locked when it gets to the hexadecimal stage." -Gathion "It's a good gig" - Gleemax "I tell people often, if you guys want to rant, you've certainly got the right to (provided you obey CoC/ToS stuff), and I don't even really blame you. But if you see something you think needs changing a well thought-out, constructive post does more to make that happen." - Worth Wollpert
" in 2013 we really want to reevaluate our eternal and specialty formats and look for opportunities that make sense for our players and Magic Online. "

This is the big thing for me... Having MOCS be legacy this time around is great for us eternal players... But I'm hoping we can get some more initiatives specific to eternal formats...
Calavera on MTGO I collect Zendikar Foil Basic lands. Trade me yours! Things that I want to see changed on MTGO: 1: 64 man drafts added to rotation of Events. 2: Visual/Audible Notification of disconnect, deckbuild/afk time expiring and round starts. 3: Prize Payouts as close to draft sets as possible. 4: Rotate Classic draft queues monthly! 5: MOCS level events for Classic/Pauper 6: Power 9! 7: Award Promo Cards for Constructed PEs (esp for Legacy/Classic) 8: Program Split option back in! 9: Set Favorite version in deck editor (i.e. always use x swamp) 10: Better sorting of gold cards in deck editor. 11: Bring leagues Back!
I enjoy drafts, but what really brought me back to Magic Online was, in fact, the 4-pack sealed!  I found the format to be very fun and challenging!  The margin of error you have in the format is incredibly small - but the better players still win.  I am sad to see it go

If you are a collector, the 4-pack sealed was the best format to play for collecting one of every card.  Obviously, the phantom sealed has no appeal to me at all in this regard.

By the way, there seems to be very little incentive for the phantom sealed because the cards won't be added to your collection, and even if you go 3-0 you are only up 3/3.5 tix for about three hours of your time.  If you really want to practice, okay, but at best you'll make 1 tix per hour....

4-pack sealed was firing as quick as draft events - but 6-pack would take forever to fire!  Even scheduled 6-pack events were slow to get enough players to fire (other than certain special "top-8" events).  

Why they are getting rid of the 4-pack sealed is beyond me! 
Solid article from Chris.

Updates to MOCS seem reasonable, though one thing is not clear. Will players with 15 QP be able to join all four prelims or just one? It says you don't have to play in all four, implying you could, but I'm not convinced that is the intention. Being only able to play in one makes more sense. And what about if you have 30 QP? That's short of the 35 needed for automatic entry, but twice the amount needed for prelims. Can they enter twice? I kinda like that idea, as it provides an extra stratum. Edit: reading the full MOCS rules and some tweets, I think I'm right and 30 QP can enter twice (events will "cost" 15 QP).



The end-of-season events consume QPs, so you can join as many as you have QPs for.  Obviously, if you have 35, you won't want to risk some in a Prelim because you can just join the finals the following week. 
They need to up the payouts of Daily Sealed Queues slightly to compensate for the lack of 4booster sealed.  Bring Daily Sealed Queues closer to the EV of Release Event Sealed and people would actually play them in large numbers.  I would play nearly every Sealed Daily I could if they kept the entry fee the same but paid out 12-7-3.
HATE the 4-booster removal. They were by far my favorite event -ever- on mtgo.
And this phantom crap has got to stop. They already killed TNM. I used to try to play every single limited TNM. Since the change I haven't even bothered looking once.

This really sucks that we have less than a week left on 4 booster queues. I was looking forward to playing a bunch of rtr the last week of the year / first week of the new year. Glad I didn't buy my packs yet.

All I can hope is that the 6-booster phantom queues do horrible and we get the 4 booster queues back. But given the history of just making changes, letting things die, and removing them I do not have high expectations.        

Not one change excites me in that whole article and with the looming switching off of v3 into a collection binder-less new client, i'm not looking forward to 2013 at all.
Here is the thing.  Phantom queues make sense for cube because you obviously can't allow people to keep Power 9 cards.  But that format also works because it is unique.  The reason it is popular is because people like odd formats like that where they get to use cards they normally wouldn't.  The prize payout for it is HORRIBLE, but Wizards can suck up money from it because they can.

Now, on the other hand, you've got phantom queues for 6-booster sealed.  I may not be Nostradamus, but I can tell you right now with absolutely ZERO DOUBT that this format is going to fail.  Hard.  As I said before Phantom works with cube because it is unique.  It will NEVER work for sealed because people will simply opt to draft or play regular 6 pack sealed.  The payout for this proposed phantom sealed is also terrible. 

The reason people play 4-pack sealed is because it is efficient.  It has amazing expected value.  You get to keep your cards and if you go 2-1 you're probably going to make a profit.  There is absolutely no hope whatsoever for people to get any value out of phantom sealed, and thus, they will not play it.  It is a BLATANT cash grab attempt by the powers that be and it is going to fail.  The fact that players have to lose 4 pack sealed as well is just an extra kick to the groin.

In their proposed Phantom Sealed they have a buy-in of 8 tickets x 8 players = (64 tix) and a payout of 3/2/2/2/1/1/1/0 = 12 x 4 = (48 tix)  Their profit per event is 16.

I propose they change the Buy-in to 10 tickets and change the prizes to 5/3/1.  I would expect people would be much more likely to play the event if it were set up like this.  The Buy-in would be 10 x 8 = 80 tix.  The payout of 5/3/3/3/1/1/1/0 would be 18 x 4 = (72 tix)  Their profit per event would be 8. 

I would be MUCH more likely to join the event that I created than their event.  Then again they would be effectively cutting their profit margin in half per queue.  I expect people would queue for mine much more often though so it would probably even itself out.



I also have a suggestion to the payout system, and it is the same as I suggested when the cube tickets were introduced, a system that you guys apparently liked because you opted it now for the new cube.

I completely disagree with bmilz, namely this:

I think that people will love doing phantom sealed events, and the high demand for sealed simulators proves this, also a not-mentioned here website that wotc recently forced to be shut down is prove of that.
This being said, I think making a swiss queu with 2 tickets buy in, and no price pool (or phantom tickets, which can be a substitute for cube tickets + phantom events), will please the general populous more, and therefor see much more activity in these events.
It also avoids one of the decisions wotc admits struggles with, namely allowing people to play magic without those players investing into cards for the game. If you make swiss sealed phantom events with bad/no EV, but low entree fee, this will allow a new customer base to exist. People who want to have fun for a small amount of money.

There is a reason why FTP games are currently doing so well, take League of Legends for example.
Also why most gaming companies opted for the DLC mechanic, while lowering the price of the basegame they are selling.

It also has similarities how China has opted their financial system towards games, if it works for 2 billion people, it has to have some merit right?

For me personally it would also be a motivation to play these events, if I wanted to play an event with a reward system, I would be playing events with a higher EV. Not a format that is by definition higher luck dependant, with a very low EV, even if I like the format itself.
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I kind of understood the idea you proposed of a 2 ticket entry fee with no prize payout (At first).  But that also makes little to no sense to me when I thought about it.  The game results wouldn't matter.  You might get a few casuals who would enter, but what would the point be?  You need some kind of incentive in terms of winning/losing.  Are you saying that people would pay $2 for something that essentially amounts to just a RNG card generator?  Stupid.  Perhaps if you made it 3 tickets to join that event and gave a prize payout of 2/1/1/1/0/0/0/0 you MIGHT be getting somewhere.  That would make the event super cheap, but would keep some incentive for winning.

Here is the thing I don't understand.  Right now there are constructed queues with a 2 ticket entry fee.  The payout is one pack.  This essentially creates a zero-sum tournament.  It is no different than somebody paying 4 tickets for a pack online.  Wizards is still happy that people need to put money into the system buying tickets.  They are still making a profit.

If you are going to have phantom events I propose that the prize payout is equal to the amount of pay-in.  At WORST the payout should be 90% of the Pay-in if you are going to have phantom events.  That would be a pretty fair "rake" that I feel most people could live with.  This proposed sealed is a much, much bigger ripoff than you think.  A pay-in of 64 with a payout of 48 means that they are essentially taking 25% of what people put in and not giving out anything in return.  That is a ripoff.  Plain and simple. 

Simply put:  If you are going to have phantom events then the payout NEEDS to be equal or almost equal to the pay-in.  It just has to.  I actually see no reason why it can't be a 10 ticket buy-in and pay out 5/3/3/3/2/2/2/0.  This would be a zero-sum tournament and would be no different in theory than their current constructed queues.  Even at 4/3/3/3/2/2/2/0 I think it would be acceptable.  I take back what I wrote in an earlier message.  An 8 ticket profit is a horrible rip-off in a phantom event.  A 4 ticket profit (out of a buy-in of 80) is a much more fair deal, but there is absolutely no logical reason why the payout can't equal the pay-in.  NONE.  ZERO.

Well, Chris probably did a good job from a WotC perspective. Tighten those margins, up the profit.

I guess the "lifetime MOPR" points will be used for awesome things to come :/
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I think you misunderstood my point.
I absolutely agree that my suggested EV is much worse (for the customer) than the formerly suggested format in the original article.
However for a potential customer there is a big difference.
There are enough people who do not care about a payout, and in their point of view they pay 4x the amount, than they would do with my suggested setup.
If this would increase the amount of participants for the events, while slightly lowering the EV for the customer, it will likely not change the profit that WOTC would make over these events (and most likely increase it). However it will definitely increase the potential customers they would reach.

However for alot of people, it is a relief not to be worried about potential amount of wins, and if they would play 2-3 events a month it would cost them potentially less than playing 1 event a month.

Also your view is based on your perspective, which is based on making potential profit of events, alot of people play for fun (especially if they invest 3-4 hours of their time).
Also for others it would be an easy way to practice for a potential GP or PT, while the potential opposition skill is lower, it is a much lower investment for them to practice out new theories/strategies.

Also I think phantom event ticks would be the best solution, giving people who do well the potential to go infinite on these events, while lowering the entrance tresshold for others.
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I think you misunderstood my point.
I absolutely agree that my suggested EV is much worse (for the customer) than the formerly suggested format in the original article.
However for a potential customer there is a big difference.
There are enough people who do not care about a payout, and in their point of view they pay 4x the amount, than they would do with my suggested setup.
If this would increase the amount of participants for the events, while slightly lowering the EV for the customer, it will likely not change the profit that WOTC would make over these events (and most likely increase it). However it will definitely increase the potential customers they would reach.



What you proposed was a 2 ticket entry fee and zero reward.  I propose a 3 ticket entry fee with fair rewards and somehow that is worse?  Even people who as you say "play for fun" are going to pick my format.  Probably every single time.

If you want to use what you called "Phantom Tickets" you could do the same thing instead of packs.  But you can't have a format with an entry fee and no prizes.  That isn't going to work.

Well, Chris probably did a good job from a WotC perspective. Tighten those margins, up the profit.

I guess the "lifetime MOPR" points will be used for awesome things to come :/




You are entirely right.  4-booster sealed was a format where players paid in 0 tickets in entry fee (just used product) and came away with a prize pool of 17 packs.  To replace that they are going to be using a format that has an entry fee of 64 with a prize pool of 12 packs.  Are people so blind as to not see how horrible of a deal that is comparatively?  The more I think about it the more of a joke it becomes.

phantom drafts/sealed is horrible and will fail.
Also a ripoff but wotc knows that.

Its way more of a ripoff than you are realizing though. Everyone is assuming the packs cost 4$ that wotc gives out.They cost NOTHING. wotc makes 64$ profit on one of these sealeds. paper tourneys have higher prizes, and the prizes actually cost something for the TO. Digital packs cost nothing but yet they cannot even come close to matching paper prizes?
About 6-booster phantom vs 4-booster sealed:

Currently 4-booster sealed is about the only limited event with a someone decent Expected Value (EV). One of the important factors for this is it doesn't require tickets to enter but only boosters. In all examples listed above booster prices have been fixed at 4 tickets but we all know this isn't true as booster prices usually fluctuate between 3,5 and 3,8 (rough estimate). The 4-booster sealed is different from other events (other than draft), because the EV goes up as booster prices go down, which makes it an important tool for players seeking to get the most out of their boosters.

Example:
Current 4-booster sealed: entry 4*8 boosters = 32 boosters, payout 5/3/3/3/1/1/1 = 17 boosters. loss for the players = 15 booster - product opened.
Product opened is about 1.25 each booster, so for a 4-booster sealed that's 5 tickets each, 40 tickets opened total by 8 players.
At a price of 4 tickets a booster, the net loss for players is 15*4-40=20 tickets, or 2.5 tickets per player.

In the new 6-booster phantom sealed: entry 8*8 tickets = 64 tickets, payout 3/2/2/2/1/1/1 = 12 boosters. no product added to accounts
At a price of 4 tickets a booster, the net loss for players is 64-12*4=16 tickets, or 2 tickets per player. Notice how this is higher EV for the average player.
 

However, once we use realistic booster prices thing become different:

Say we use current the RTR booster price of 3.67 instead of 4.
In the current 4-booster sealed the net loss for players is now 15*3,67-40=15 tickets, or just under 2 tickets per player
Compared to the new 6-booster phantom sealed, which gives a net loss for player of 64-12*3,67=20 tickets, or 2.5 tickets per player. Notice how this more realistic example shows higher EV for the old 4-booster sealed.


More so these new phantom events offer worse price support for better players and therefore going 'infinite' is almost impossible. Using a 60% matchwinpercentage and the current RTR pack price, the current EV for a 4-booster sealed is about 0.
The new 6-booster phantom sealed offers an EV of almost -1.4 using the same matchwinpercentage and RTR booster price. The breakeven point is at 72.5% given current pack prices, so nearly impossible. Given this payout I suspect the 6-booster phantom sealeds won't be popular with the grinders. 


p.s. EV depends heavily on product opened in the current 4-booster sealed. At the moment AVR is by far the best set to open a booster, with an EV of 1.91, followed by DKA=1.55, M13=1.28, ISD=1.20 and RTR=1.14. Therefore it would be nice to, at least sometimes, have the option of playing in other sealeds than the latest set + latest core set.
 
The phantom sealed will fail miserably. The prizes are just too low. If you want phantom sealed to work then it has to be a lower entry cost. At that price point and those prizes people will just join draft queues instead. 

The removal of 4 pack sealed also annoys me as well. It was a good way to breathe life into a limited format that otherwise might have been stale for me. There has been alot of times where I have been sick of drafting a format so I entered a 4 pack sealed queue to try to keep things interesting. It was also a great way to build up cards for your collection.
Terrible... I loved 4-pack sealed because is a balanced fun/cost game. I'll never ever play an useless event that cost 8 tixes, give me a ridiculous payout and don't let me hold the cards... Paying the price of real boosters for digital product sucks, but paying 8 bucks for 3 hour of playing is totally unacceptable.
I understand phantom only in events like cube, otherwise is just a robbery.
I highly enjoyed 4 booster sealed and am unsure if I will find myself playing the replacement.
I really think the doing away with the 4-pack sealed and moving to a 6-pack phantom sealed events will create a big problem with pack deflation.  That will be so many more packs entering the system as prizes, while even fewer packs will be used to buy into events.  The prizes for these events will be 3-2-1, but they'll only be worth like 3 tickets each.  I will not play these if going 2-1 gives me no hope of buying me back into another event, especially if 3-0 doesn't come with a huge reward.    

I really think you need to make the entry-cost 8 tickets or 2 packs of the given set for the prizes to be even close to worthwhile.  If it's 2 sets that make up the sealed pool, make it 1 pack of each.  If 3 different sets that make up the sealed pool, give the users some choices.

The other thing they could do is have it payout in phantom packs.  2 phantom packs or 8 tickets for entry, with 3-2-1 payouts.   


Edit.....I should add that what I wrote above should be the bare minimum they do to improve the prize structure of these events.  The structure still seems incredibly greedy for WOTC.  3-2-1 still seems stingy.  4-2-1 seems fair.  
Really pains me to see 4 booster sealed go. It was the only limited format I could justify playing and have had tons of fun playing it. 

There is no doubt in my mind that this change is a money grab. How could they otherwise justify saying "4 booster sealed has become incredibly popular" and scrapping it in the next sentence?

And yeah, of course the new phantom replacement is going to fail. See if they care. :-) 

I have a question. Has WOTC ever listened to the feedback they get on these forums? Ever?

Edit: isn't it enough to rip people off in the CUBE queues? Surely that is enough, right.. 
Well Thank you all for the feedback!! I cannot agree more with all you said.  4 booster sealed was fun (if not why to play), rewarding EV+ and help to collect cards for constructed. I hate phantom and will not play in this events , I already quit FNM for the same reason.
I hope you'll help me to show that cutting 4 booster sealed is a mistake
my 2 cents

I think the 4-pack sealed was popular for 2 reasons: (1) it was great EV (2) it was the cheapest way to play limited. People who played 4-pack sealed for reason (2) don't calculate EV when joining an event, they just take the loss on whatever the entry fee is to play in an event. Any winnings are bonus.* By changing the 4-pack sealed to 6-pack phantom with bad EV, you will lose all players (and grinders) who joined 4-packs sealed because of the high EV. My guess is a lot of those players will just move over to the next highest EV event. You can possibly gain a group of players too: (3) those who just want to jam a lot of 6-pack sealed events as practice.

All in all I think 6-pack phantom sealed will be played, but not as much as 4-pack sealed. There will be no players from group (1) who join these. There will be more players from group (2) who will join these (8 tix is cheaper than 4 packs). There will be some from group (3) who will join these events.

This is a good change because the group (2) players, who in my opinion often will be newer to the tournament scene, will have an even cheaper entry way into the limited scene. Because of the bad EV they don't have to run into the experienced and talented grinders scooping up the EV. Group (2) players now have an awesome event. Other players, move elsewere.



---
* for newer / bad players, this way of thinking about value (instead of calculating EV) is defensible, since they will probably not attain average EV through winnings as often as more experienced / good players

EDIT: How is the 4-pack sealed bigger news than FoW promo??!! Awesome promo! 
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />I have a question. Has WOTC ever listened to the feedback they get on these forums? Ever?



Yup.  Several times. 
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Please bring back 4-booster sealed. It was my favorite online format, and it was by far the easiest way to enjoy my play time with only a moderate investment of money. My preferred play style was to switch between 4-Booster Sealed and Constructed Daily Events on alternate weeks, each time using my winnings from one to finance the other. This was great, because I got to play a lot of competitive Magic, and my win % was high enough that I only occasionally had to put in extra money.

I won't speculate on Wizard's motives for this. For the most part, Wizards has done a great job managing MTGO, and I'm looking forward to almost all of the changes for 2013. But this is a big disappointment.

The stated reason is that Wizards doesn't develop for 4-booster sealed, which strikes me as a strange justification. What broken strategies really existed in 4-booster Sealed? Mill? Even in a 30-card deck, that strategy is only occasionally viable, as mill cards are generally few enough that you can't count on getting a critical mass of them in only 4 boosters. And are powered-up mill strategies really a reason to kill the format? What's the problem with having a format in which a marginal strategy from "mainstream" formats becomes more powerful?

I sincerely hope that Wizards revisits this decision in the future.
I will be extremely sad to see 4 pack sealed go.  Great EV, fast queues, fast deckbuilding.  The removal of this format will definitely result in me playing less magic online.
- 4 booster sealed should never have existed as a format, and what wotc writes about it being unbalanced/awkward is totally correct - we know about the horror degenerate milling strategies involved with this.

- 8 tickets for 6-sealed phantom is way to costly with this pay-out. As it stands the entry fee should be 5 or even 4 tickets.

To avoid negative feedback and attitudes WotC has to make the lacking booster in 4-3-2-2's their most daring "cash-grab". Offers grabbing more than this only causes dismay. MtG players can do math, think about that =).
- This is, honestly, a grotesque advantage. Noah Weil on scouting, an attorney from Seattle with 20 Pro Tour appearances.
I'll throw my hat in the ring for loving 4-booster sealed and I'll be missing it terribly when it's gone.

You know, some of us need to complete our sets AFTER release weeks.  I now have zero useful options to do so, so I will not be playing limited after release weeks anymore, and will just buy on the secondary market.
I joined the forums to register my displeasure with the removal of 4 pack sealed. I enjoy sealed far more than drafting, and I don't have the financial ability to do 6 pack DEs all the time. I will not play phantom sealed because getting the cards and collecting sets is very important to me. I actually just came back to MTGO for the first time since Time Spiral this summer and thought I was hooked back for good, but the removal of my favourite format might mean I'll be out again before too long. We'll see. All I know is that I'll never touch these phantom events, and hope Wizards bring back 4 pack soon!
- 4 booster sealed should never have existed as a format, and what wotc writes about it being unbalanced/awkward is totally correct - we know about the horror degenerate milling strategies involved with this.

- 8 tickets for 6-sealed phantom is way to costly with this pay-out. As it stands the entry fee should be 5 or even 4 tickets.

To avoid negative feedback and attitudes WotC has to make the lacking booster in 4-3-2-2's their most daring "cash-grab". Offers grabbing more than this only causes dismay. MtG players can do math, think about that =).




4 or 5 tickets for these events is absolutley crazy.  They're giving out 3-2-2-2-1-1-1-0 prizes for a total of 12 packs.  That's "48" tickets worth of packs, and you want them to only take in a total of 32 tickets.  

At least be reasonable with your suggestion.  3-2-1 is an okay, but not great, prize structure (4-2-1 would be fairer), assuming packs stay at 4 tickets each.  You can reenter into the event even going just 2-1.  The problem is that packs never stay at 4, and with these queues, and the elimination of 4-pack sealed queues, the prices of packs will only drop further.  If packs drop to 3 tickets each, you'd have to go 8-1 over 3 of these events just to break even.

I think Wizards really needs to make phantom universal boosters that will have a steady currency of around 4, and make the entry fee, 8 tickets or 2 phantom boosters, and then pay-out in these phantom boosters.  

If packs drop to 3 tickets each, you'd have to go 8-1 over 3 of these events just to break even.

I think Wizards really needs to make phantom universal boosters that will have a steady currency of around 4, and make the entry fee, 8 tickets or 2 phantom boosters, and then pay-out in these phantom boosters.  




Someone above asked if WoTC ever listened to suggestions above.  I'm gonna bet a super-quick way to get them to skip your post is to talk about the EV of the product and how hard it will be to "break even"

Classic Quarter
(www.classicquarter.com)
I really think the doing away with the 4-pack sealed and moving to a 6-pack phantom sealed events will create a big problem with pack deflation.  That will be so many more packs entering the system as prizes, while even fewer packs will be used to buy into events.  The prizes for these events will be 3-2-1, but they'll only be worth like 3 tickets each.  I will not play these if going 2-1 gives me no hope of buying me back into another event, especially if 3-0 doesn't come with a huge reward.    

I really think you need to make the entry-cost 8 tickets or 2 packs of the given set for the prizes to be even close to worthwhile.  If it's 2 sets that make up the sealed pool, make it 1 pack of each.  If 3 different sets that make up the sealed pool, give the users some choices.

The other thing they could do is have it payout in phantom packs.  2 phantom packs or 8 tickets for entry, with 3-2-1 payouts.   


Edit.....I should add that what I wrote above should be the bare minimum they do to improve the prize structure of these events.  The structure still seems incredibly greedy for WOTC.  3-2-1 still seems stingy.  4-2-1 seems fair.  



WARNING: WALL OF TEXT INCOMING

I also worry about pack deflation and as a result the EV of these events will suffer even more. Suppose pack prices decrease to 3.5 (or heaven forbid even lower) you'll need 77% win percentage to break even.
I agree giving people the option to use packs as an entry fee would solve this problem cause then costs and winnings both move along the same axis. For instance same example as I posted earlier with RTR pack price of 3.67, the entry fee would be 8*2*3.67=58.67, winnings 12*3.67=44 giving players a net loss of 14.67 instead of 20 if you can only use tickets to enter. So for the average player using packs instead of tickets to enter increases the EV by 0.67 tickets, which is huge!

The other problem of the phantom sealed events is price payout is not top heavy enough. As I showed in my examples it's nearly impossible to go infinite in these new events (70-75% win percentage needed to break even given realistic pack prices). Adding to the payout like some suggested isn't really an option since Wizards is a company and needs to make money off these events. Let's compare the current 4-booster swiss sealed with the new phantom sealeds from Wizards' perspective and you'll see it's not as big as a cashgrab as some are suggesting:

Current 4-booster sealed:
Entries: 4*8 = 32 boosters * 4 tickets each = 128 tickets
Payout: 5/3/3/3/1/1/1 17 boosters * 4 tickets each = 68 tickets
Product opened: 32*1.25 =  40 tickets (note this obv. not a cost for Wizards, but it is value for players, so it should be taken into account for calculation purposes)
So any 4-booster sealed nets Wizards 60 tickets, but players gain 40 tickets of value by opening product, so the net cost for players is 20 tickets or 5 boosters (once again I'm using 4 ticket a booster prices cause that's the price Wizards charges in the store, so that is their cost of a booster)

New phantom 6-booster sealed:
Entries: 8*8 = 64 tickets
Payout: 3/2/2/2/1/1/1/ = 12 boosters * 4 tickets = 48 tickets
Profit Wizards: 16 tickets, loss players 16 tickets.
So instead of gaining 60 tickets (or if you discount opened product 20 tickets) Wizards now gains 16 tickets for each event. This is hardly a moneygrab!

So we've established no increase in revenue for Wizards in the new phantom-events compared to the 4-booster sealed events, however for the players it's worse cause a) booster prices on the secondary market are lower than 4 tickets and b) there's no way to go infinite in these events, there's no realistic dream.

Let's use the 16-20 tickets Wizards wants to earn and see if we can come up with a better payout for players at no extra costs for Wizards. First like tcclemson suggested we use packs to enter events instead of tickets. Second we need to find a split that better rewards players winning more than 50% of their matches.

Some suggestions:
1) Increase entry fee to 2 boosters and 1 ticket (or optional just 9 tickets) and increase payout to 5/2/2/2/1/1/1.
Note the extra 8 tickets are used to increase total extra payout by 2 booster, so no cost or gain for Wizards.
However, for players winning above 50% this makes the dream of going infinite realistic as the breakeven winpercentage is now 61% and this is almost independent of pack prices (since packs are also used to enter events).

2) Only pay people winning at least 2 matches. This means after losing R1 and R2 you're done, which might not be what Wizards want. But let's face it, after losing 2 rounds in a row the motivation to play that last round is already low and I frequently see people at that point anyway.
This frees up 3 boosters to go to the winner of the event, making the payout: 6/2/2/2
Once again we let people enter the event with their own 2 packs and there's is no extra cost or revenue for Wizards.
Winning is promoted even more than in the previous example and the breakeven winpercentage is now 58%, once again independent of pack prices.

3) Increase the entry fee even more to 3 boosters (or 12 tickets for people without packs) and increase payout to 5/3/3/3/2/2/2.
Note the extra 8 boosters entry are all used for increased payout, total payout increases from 12 to 20 boosters, so no extra loss or gain for Wizards.
Again breakeven is around 61% matchwin percentage and unlike example 2) everybody who wins a match wins back some of their entry.


The most important part to make these events attractive is letting people use their own boosters to enter. As I've shown in my examples, simple tweaks can be made at no additional costs for Wizards to make these events better EV for the just above average player. Gotta keep the dream alive baby!



I think Wizards really needs to make phantom universal boosters that will have a steady currency of around 4, and make the entry fee, 8 tickets or 2 phantom boosters, and then pay-out in these phantom boosters.  




I disagree strongly. There are two main forms of currency in the MTGO economy:


  • Tickets

  • Packs in the current Limited environment



Packs from old Limited environments do circulate, but in much reduced numbers and generally lower prices. 

Every additional kind of "currency" that you add to the economy makes for extra transaction costs and extra confusion and overhead for players who are trying to make trades and enter events. Having "phantom packs" would have most of the same drawbacks as Cube Tix.
I liked the 4-booster sealed. I liked 6-booster sealed. I played more four boosters than six, but I did play both. I don't know that I will participate in a phantom event at that price. Typically, the reason I participate in sealed events is to boost my ownership in a set. Buy packs, play with them, keep the cards, maybe win 1-3 packs for the 2 ticket entry fee. Paying 8 tickets to possibly come away with nothing? That's okay for a novelty like Cube, but for Limited?

Also, how do you think people are going to feel when they open their pool to find that chase rare they were really wanting (the fist pump moment), only to have it be taken away for packs that have a bunch of random jank in them if lucky enough to win their matches. At a fundamental level, I have to win two matches just to break even?

This seems like a colossally bad idea that will severely curtail sealed play. It would make more sense to run this option alongside the 4-booster sealed to see which one people prefer. This decision seems like one that was made by people who don't actually enjoy Magic.
I would really like to see those awesome old Limited formats - e.g. Invasion, Ravnica, Shards, Scars - offered as 8-4 drafts.  I flat-out ignore them when they're only offered as 4-3-2-2.  If I'm bored with the current set, that means I'm not drafting/spending money at all.

Also, when Shards block drafts return, it would be great if it could be drafted as Shards-Conflux-Reborn, as it was originally designed and intended, rather than the collated boosters.  I understand why that might have been done with Masques block, in which Nemesis blue and green were basically worthless, but Shards block is wonderfully balanced and in no need of tinkering.  

 
"The four-booster Sealed queue was immediately more popular..."

It sure was with me.  I was in a 4 pack sealed event when I read the article.   I am in one now.

Looking at the packs won in my MTGO summary, I win almost twice as many packs in sealed as I do in drafts.  Some of that is prerelease and release events, but the rest is mainly 4 pack sealed (and some TNMO, before phantom.)

Personnally, I play a lot of limited, but mainly to use up packs I have and to build up my collection for constructed.  I have zero interest in phantom events.   I have not played in a TNMO since they went phantom, and will not play in the phantom 6 pack sealeds.

Sorry to see this change.

PRJ

I write State of the Program, appearing every Friday on PureMTGO.com.



I think Wizards really needs to make phantom universal boosters that will have a steady currency of around 4, and make the entry fee, 8 tickets or 2 phantom boosters, and then pay-out in these phantom boosters.  




I disagree strongly. There are two main forms of currency in the MTGO economy:


  • Tickets

  • Packs in the current Limited environment



Packs from old Limited environments do circulate, but in much reduced numbers and generally lower prices. 

Every additional kind of "currency" that you add to the economy makes for extra transaction costs and extra confusion and overhead for players who are trying to make trades and enter events. Having "phantom packs" would have most of the same drawbacks as Cube Tix.




The main difference between universal phantom packs and cube tickets would be that you'd be able to trade the phantom packs, and they'd be sold in the store.  The only purpose of these packs would be to play in these events....and these events wouldn't go anywhere, presumably for as long as MTGO is around.  People would be certain they'd retain their value of around 4 tickets each, and they'd trade accordingly.  I don't understand the problem?    

The two major problems with cube tickets, to me anyways, is that they are untradable, thus making them only valuable in multiples of 10 and if you want to actually play in another event, and they are completely useles 90% of the time since cube events  are only available so often.  These phantom packs would suffer from neither problem.  
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