WotC against the current

71 posts / 0 new
Last post
I've been on Magic Online since Time Spiral block and happily spent thousands of dollars in that time. I've relished the opportunity to draft old forgotten formats like Mirage and Urza's, innovate in unique formats like Classic, Vanguard and 100 card singleton, and of course draft and do sealed events for current format sets.

In the last couple years, however, change after change has been made that has steadily worsened the quality and diversity of my magic online experience. Changes to tournament structure and frequency ended the competitive viability of every format but standard, pauper and modern. Cube was introduced as a fun if negative EV experience, then had its prize support modified so that it is basically throwing money away. Repeated rollbacks to the EV of sealed events and the conversion across the board to large ticket pay-ins and pack payouts have made close to every event available on magic online very negative EV, either directly or through increasingly worthless packs. Now with the changes to redemption cost, collecting redemption sets is no longer financially viable for me either, given international shipping costs.

I'm a good enough player that when the opportunity exists, I'm usually infinite. I happily put in thousands of dollars not because I couldn't play as much competitive magic as I wanted while staying infinite, but because I loved the game and the baseline experience enough that I was willing and interested in putting in more to get more back. I spent money for constructed decks, or to get particular cards quickly, while enjoying the baseline level of draft and sealed play that I was able to maintain with my own play skills. Is the ongoing EV tightening going to result in more money for WotC in the long run? Hard to say, but I doubt it. I do know I was good for tens of thousands of dollars of lifetime Magic Online purchasing in the future if I was allowed to continue meeting day to day baseline success, and I'm good now for exactly zero.

Beyond my individual experience, what I find strange is that WotC appears to be acting as if they have an inelastic good in a market that supports rising prices, when there is every reason to believe the opposite is the case. Five years ago, the $60 10 hour console game was the flagship digital gaming experience, and Magic Online at the time looked pretty competitive with it. Today, $60 games are themselves an increasingly embattled market. Every recent major console launch has been a tepid failure in large measure because of the enormous growth in free to play and $1-$5 iOS/Android gaming competition. Is Magic somehow shielded from the rapid price drops occurring in the rest of gaming? Perhaps in paper, but online, I doubt it very much.

TL:DR - There is no reason why anyone should put up with higher and higher Magic Online (virtual) pricing when many analogous goods are falling sharply in relative pricing, and increasingly, I suspect we won't.

I have been online for about the same amount of time (Ravnica Block.) I would also say we have a very similar long-term play experience. I echo your sentiments.


I have been in the process of selling out now for about a week.


I might be back when leagues come back (so most likely never?... )

You nailed it OP. Well said.. thank you
Completely agree with the OP.  Boosters, prizes, and card values are shrinking across the board, and the only thing gaining value is tickets (and thus our entry fees).  It's becoming nearly impossible to find an affordable way of playing this game online...even after investing in expensive cards and decks.          
The sad thing is that Wotc doesn't care about you. If you stop paying and in the mean time two new players appear - they are happy with that.

Wotc is listening and considering our feedback on gameplay and experiance but when we talk about the buisiness side they will not budge for an inch! With the recent changes (I am talking about every single change beside the 5% discount on prereleases and maybe disabling watching tournaments in the last year) have been set purely to make Wotc/Hasbro more money at the expense of the community. We recived nothing in return. The beta which might justify their actions but it's not thier savior. Personaly I believe they will loose some of their playerbase once the beta is released (which will be higher than the number of new players coming in).
They gave us things for free and we played a lot.

They started charging for those things and we still played a lot, possibly even more.

Why would they go back to giving them away for free?



The biggest thing I miss is nixtix drafts.  I love old sets and not having to pay that 2 ticket charge was great back when there were "in-print" Classic sets, and even the rotating nixtix queues.  I had a nice formula of drafting half my constructed winnings and selling the other half.  Those 2 tix every time messes with that and makes it more likely that I have to put ca$h in.  The new policy of a special draft set every 3 months when a set comes out in paper is a nice new tradition, but it hurts so much that they aren't nixtix, when they would have been in the past.  I'm just as guilty... I've done the IPA drafts, the MVW draft, the ZZW drafts, whatever that they've done since they started this thing.  And I've paid for them.
I also agree with OP and I already said in another thread I want to play Magic but I can't justify entering any events in the current market (this was before GTC release events started). But it feels even GTC boosters and singles are lower value than RTR was during the first week, so even release events aren't as attractive. Add to that fact I truly hate GTC limited (maybe my losing streak has something to do with that) and we're back to not playing. Very frustrating indeed.

One thing Wizards has done right the last couple of months and that's the change in phantom sealed. The outburst after the initial change made them revise the queues for the better and these are now pretty decent... given $4 boosters. However they need do something about pack prices, $3 boosters are collapsing the whole system imo. 
I've only been playing (online) since '09, but right or wrong feel the same way as the OP.  I spend less $$ every new set as a result, down from hundreds each set to almost nothing.  I'm not sure it matters though, with as strong as the numbers have been recently - presumably due to new players and the overall popularity of the game.  There is surely a short-term squeeze in effect to take advantage and get every $$ possible out of that, but i can't help feeling this is going to hurt them badly long-term.  Those many newer players WILL wise up after a while.

The apparent lack of long-term thinking here in favor of short-term $$ is a shame as there is such potential to make mtgo the biggest online thing going if they would just care to invest in it as such.  By that i mean truly improving the client, doing any marketing whatsoever including cross-marketing with paper, and retaining events with reasonable value.  I firmly believe they could do all of this this while not hurting paper sales, but i'll bet anything fear of that is a key driver here.  Grow BOTH sides of the game while it is hot!

I still love the game, but cannot often justify the value/fun vs the cost anymore.  I'm not buying paper cards instead, either - my entertainment money is going to other computer and video games.  I guess we can only hope that emerging (and more affordable) direct competitors like the soon-to-launch Solforge are successful and cause a reversal in this trend in mtgo.
It does seem like there is a huge push to pay for an experience instead of paying to win cards/boosters.  I think this goes against the whole appeal to TCG's in general.  A game is more fun for me if there is a prize/money/etc on the line.  While casual magic is for sure fun it's hard to argue that people do not play differently with something on the line.  I get a rush even when I win a silly draft which may not be a big deal for most people but for me it's not that I'm super excited about having won a few boosters, I'm just pumped that I won a game where something was on the line and everyone was shooting for that spot.

I have a really bad feeling with the new redemption increase and phantom drafts, we are going to see a much bigger push for us to pay for the experience of playing magic.  Magic is a very expensive hobby and WoTC needs to realize that most players want to see a return on their money or at least have a chance to get a ROI(positive EV as we call it). 

Expecting us to pay money for phantom drafts and other experiences that are short lived with little chance to win something stinks.  While I personally did play in the cube drafts and had a blast I was not a fan of the cube tickets.

PureMTGO.com
Cape Fear Games located in Wilmington, NC. Get 20% extra MTGO credit for your paper cards.
I agree heartedly with all the posts on this thread. 



The apparent lack of long-term thinking here in favor of short-term $$ is a shame as there is such potential to make mtgo the biggest online thing going if they would just care to invest in it as such.  By that i mean truly improving the client, doing any marketing whatsoever including cross-marketing with paper, and retaining events with reasonable value.  I firmly believe they could do all of this this while not hurting paper sales, but i'll bet anything fear of that is a key driver here.  Grow BOTH sides of the game while it is hot!



This comment is spot on!!!

In short, I feel less incentive to invest heavily, when I know that WOTC are giving us a poor return on investment.
It does seem like there is a huge push to pay for an experience instead of paying to win cards/boosters.  I think this goes against the whole appeal to TCG's in general.  A game is more fun for me if there is a prize/money/etc on the line.  While casual magic is for sure fun it's hard to argue that people do not play differently with something on the line.  I get a rush even when I win a silly draft which may not be a big deal for most people but for me it's not that I'm super excited about having won a few boosters, I'm just pumped that I won a game where something was on the line and everyone was shooting for that spot.

I have a really bad feeling with the new redemption increase and phantom drafts, we are going to see a much bigger push for us to pay for the experience of playing magic.  Magic is a very expensive hobby and WoTC needs to realize that most players want to see a return on their money or at least have a chance to get a ROI(positive EV as we call it). 

Expecting us to pay money for phantom drafts and other experiences that are short lived with little chance to win something stinks.  While I personally did play in the cube drafts and had a blast I was not a fan of the cube tickets.





I've avoided all the phantom events.  I like the cube but haven't done it since they switched the prizes to cube tickets.  Probably would of tried it had I seen the thing of using the beta and get a free cube draft.  Though then I would be stuck in a strange limbo of a couple random cube tickets in my account after I scrub out of the one event.

The one thing I like about the cube time is the random older formats that come along with it and then the decrease in those pack prices due to cube pumping out some.  Though the decrease is less and less.
The apparent lack of long-term thinking here in favor of short-term $$ is a shame...



Perhaps what you think is short term thinking is not what WoTC thinks is short term thinking.

Perhaps showering people with prizes at a rate not commersurate with maintaining an expected profit level is, in fact, short term thinking, and slowly shrinking the expectations to a manageable level is in fact, the long-term plan.

It's really hard to know without a ledger in front of you telling you what's going on, but using past history to justify the loss of some value is no indicator of short-term thinking. I mean, that sucks - but there are just so many things that follow this trend, and many of them survived what other remember as halcyon days. 

I agree to some extent that WoTC is pushing to see what they can get away with. Maybe they've gone too far, and they'll finally see the hit in their pocketbooks and know they've gone too far.  Threads like this one have come and gone a hundred (thousand?) times before, from very long ago, accusing WoTC of the same thing - like when they got rid of 3x premier events and weekend PEs that needed only 24 players and had a better payout and drafts were 5-3-2-2... the list goes on.

And WoTC keeps ticking.   So if this is the kind of thinking that is "short-term" - the kind that's been going on for almost a decade now, I think I respectfully disagree with your definition of what "short-term" is.
Classic Quarter
(www.classicquarter.com)
I agree to some extent that WoTC is pushing to see what they can get away with. Maybe they've gone too far, and they'll finally see the hit in their pocketbooks and know they've gone too far...

I wonder if this will turn out to be very bad timing for them. I get the impression that GTC is under-whelming, perhaps not a good time to be doing this pushing...

I agree to some extent that WoTC is pushing to see what they can get away with. Maybe they've gone too far, and they'll finally see the hit in their pocketbooks and know they've gone too far...

I wonder if this will turn out to be very bad timing for them. I get the impression that GTC is under-whelming, perhaps not a good time to be doing this pushing...




With that I agree 100%.  I haven't been this underwhelmed by a set in a long time.  Right from design to development

Classic Quarter
(www.classicquarter.com)
found this interview with wizo's CEO from 2011:

www.icv2.com/articles/news/21062.html
Tell us a little about the digital side of gaming at Wizards of the Coast.
Our philosophy on digital gaming is to make sure that everything we do enhances the analog side of gaming.  If you look at what we have done with Duels of the Planeswalkers, we have made sure that anyone who gets into our brand, with Duels of the Planeswalkers, let’s say on X-box, then gets driven back to the stores where they can be a part of the gaming community that’s so important to their experience.  For us, digital gaming is never an end in itself, and is never an experience in itself.  What makes gaming great is the fact that you can get together with your friends and have that experience that goes well beyond whether you have won or lost on this particular evening.

I don't see anything in this statement about people playing to win money, people developing an addiction to gaming, people developing an addiction to gambling. Wizo's is a corporation, their decisions are financially motivated like all corporations. I think the changes are to re-shape the culture/behavior of online players?
Well to be honest this looks like it was referening Duels of the Planeswalkers and not MtgO. They don't want people to buy Duels and play ONLY that. The question here is why he never even mentioned MtgO.
I often wonder if some of these decisions are coming off how successful the last couple of sets/blocks have been. It was one of the things really focused on during the end of 2012 article we got, the logon numbers they got during RTR release. The simple fact is, that was nothing to do with this specific product (MTGO), it was simply an extension on how popular the RTR set was.

It concerns me when they talk about how the beta client is going live (and V3 turned off) at some point this year, and how I read during the Google thing that the old style binder is not coming back before that time (which is honestly a big thing for me). With all these changes, removal of nix-tix drafts, the push for phantom events, cube tickets, and now the increase in the redemption cost, are they lining up MTGO to go through some real issues if there is a couple of set releases that aren't up to scratch? Do they *really* want to tie the success of MTGO so closely with how well new sets are received? There is a point where if you remove enough value, the players will play when the game is awesome, but when things aren't so good (poor limited set, another cawblade style overwhelming deck) people will simply choose to stop paying.

I keep seeing the term 'paying for the experience' thrown around on twitter, by Worth I think, especially when the cube ticket changes were brought in, and while there may be some merit in it, as far as I am concerned, that is covered by the fact we pay fill MSRP, plus tix etc. Honestly, I can't be along in saying that part of the reason I justify that to myself, is because of how it's possible to do well, and play again for essentially free with my winnings. I'm not even talking about 'going infinite', just going on a streak is pretty cool, and they are slowly but surely removing our ability to do that.
Paying for the experience is a joke. Do you know how many "experiences" you can have for
($150x4+($100x4))X6 = $6000/year?

I pay to build my collection, and with the predicate that the collection has some worth that makes up a large portion of the 6k that went into it every year.

Otheriwise, I'd rather experience a 2 month snowboarding vacation, a stripper every day for 2 months, or a brand new top of the line PC and big screen TV to play my $50 one time games on every single year...

I'm sorry, but the experience alone is not worth 1/60th of what we pay.
There are many more affordable and rewarding experiences out there.






The apparent lack of long-term thinking here in favor of short-term $$ is a shame...



Perhaps what you think is short term thinking is not what WoTC thinks is short term thinking.

Perhaps showering people with prizes at a rate not commersurate with maintaining an expected profit level is, in fact, short term thinking, and slowly shrinking the expectations to a manageable level is in fact, the long-term plan.

It's really hard to know without a ledger in front of you telling you what's going on, but using past history to justify the loss of some value is no indicator of short-term thinking. I mean, that sucks - but there are just so many things that follow this trend, and many of them survived what other remember as halcyon days. 

I agree to some extent that WoTC is pushing to see what they can get away with. Maybe they've gone too far, and they'll finally see the hit in their pocketbooks and know they've gone too far.  Threads like this one have come and gone a hundred (thousand?) times before, from very long ago, accusing WoTC of the same thing - like when they got rid of 3x premier events and weekend PEs that needed only 24 players and had a better payout and drafts were 5-3-2-2... the list goes on.

And WoTC keeps ticking.   So if this is the kind of thinking that is "short-term" - the kind that's been going on for almost a decade now, I think I respectfully disagree with your definition of what "short-term" is.


You know what's rarely seen in these threads? Comparisons to paper.

When pre-releases came to MTGO, people moaned long and hard (and continue to do so) about how terrible the EV was, despite it being identical to what many pay for their paper pre-release experience. As more events require tickets rather than product, people complain (including me), but rare is the TO that will allow you to use your own product to enter an event. WotC has clearly been pushing MTGO towards the expectations of the paper game in recent years. Now, MTGO is a different animal and some of the practices of the paper world would be detrimental to the digital. But you can't blame WotC for trying to reclaim some of the money they may be "leaving on the table", and you can't make an effective argument against reducing payouts without addressing this elephant in the room.

People have complained about prize reductions since the first one reduced the prizes of leagues from ridiculous to merely generous. It made no difference that the original prize schedule was unsustainable, people still thought they were somehow being "ripped off". While historical levels might have the unfortunate effect of setting expectations, they are not an indicator of what is "correct" for online.

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.


Show
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

Show
"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

You know what's rarely seen in these threads? Comparisons to paper.



Paper - 36 boosters in a box = $80 |   MTGO 36 VIRTUAL boosters = 4*$36 = $154
                                                             Off of bots                            ~3*$36 = $108

                                                             **Add redemption at $100/set

Paper Draft payout at local shop:
Cost              = 6*$3.50 a booster = $21
Payout          =  ~same in booster prizes or better
Competetion = Wins * 99.99999% more often than MTGO

MTGO Draft
Cost             = $2 + 6 boosters at ~3 from bots = $20
Payout         = ~ same or worse
Competition = Wins * 0.00000001% as often as paper

Why am I playing online again?

Oh yea, because buring commons in the backyard is illegal where I live and those big binders are a pain to alphabetize while waiting for the complete set to fill up, I don't like driving in traffic, my local shop smells like a dead cat and someone who hasn't bathed for a year. Is it worth the cost difference? I am beginning to wonder.



 


Since i originanlly posted to this thread, a lot of the arguments have turned to EV (as they often do).  It's not all about EV for me and many others, though.  Sure, being able to play more competitive matches for the amount I can afford to spend is part of it - but the overall online experience continues to degrade in other significant ways.  For recent examples, the nerf to MOPRs and doing away with 4-pack sealed recently were definite downers for me.  The trend towards phantom events and towards things like non-tradeable cube tickets is another.  It's a trading card game...for many of us, building a collection and opening powerful/money cards we can keep is a huge part of the experience.  Having something on the line for wins and losses is big too, specific EV calculations aside.  Don't lose sight of what made people play the online game in the first place in the quest for the biggest bottom line.  

You know what's rarely seen in these threads? Comparisons to paper.



Paper - 36 boosters in a box = $80 |   MTGO 36 VIRTUAL boosters = 4*$36 = $154
                                                             Off of bots                            ~3*$36 = $108

                                                             **Add redemption at $100/set

Paper Draft payout at local shop:
Cost              = 6*$3.50 a booster = $21
Payout          =  ~same in booster prizes or better
Competetion = Wins * 99.99999% more often than MTGO

MTGO Draft
Cost             = $2 + 6 boosters at ~3 from bots = $20
Payout         = ~ same or worse
Competition = Wins * 0.00000001% as often as paper

Why am I playing online again?

Oh yea, because buring commons in the backyard is illegal where I live and those big binders are a pain to alphabetize while waiting for the complete set to fill up, I don't like driving in traffic, my local shop smells like a dead cat and someone who hasn't bathed for a year. Is it worth the cost difference? I am beginning to wonder.



 





MSRP on a box is $144.  If a shop is selling for $80 I wouldn't expect them to be in business very long.(after CC fees they are making around 5 bucks per box if that which isn't going to keep the lights on very long or allow them to run a nice shop that people want to come to)

PureMTGO.com
Cape Fear Games located in Wilmington, NC. Get 20% extra MTGO credit for your paper cards.

MSRP on a box is $144.  If a shop is selling for $80 I wouldn't expect them to be in business very long.(after CC fees they are making around 5 bucks per box if that which isn't going to keep the lights on very long or allow them to run a nice shop that people want to come to)



Well, I won't name names, but this particualr store has been doing it for more than 5 years and stays open with no problem. Even so, I can go to any of the 10-12 stores in my local Austin TX/San Antonio area and find boxes between $80-$120. Noone sells MSRP....except the MTGO client......

Well, I won't name names, but this particualr store has been doing it for more than 5 years and stays open with no problem. Even so, I can go to any of the 10-12 stores in my local Austin TX/San Antonio area and find boxes between $80-$120. Noone sells MSRP....except the MTGO client......

Walmart sells at MSRP, as do many other chain stores that younger or unlucky Paper Magic players have to resort to when they live in an area without a LGS selling Magic at deal rates to get bodies in the building for events and things.

EDIT:  Even my LGS only goes down to $100.00 for pre-orders and $120.00 once a set comes out, while the local Walmart has been chugging along at $140.00 + tax since the release. 

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

"then gets driven back to the stores"


There you have it.  They got 22 sweatbeads so far this year from this cat.
"They were civilized they even drank their blood from a cup"→James Silke/Frank Frazzeta "When the Cryptkeeper sticks 'em they tend to stay stuck"→Cryptkeeper "Do not blame the current developers if there is something you don't like about Magic Online. Chances are no one asked the developers for their opinion."→elf "They just look at me like I'm stupid and then I just say something like well you know WOTC does some dumb things sometimes."→wilmheath "Like just about everything I've experienced with MTGO and the Magic WotC website, I'm finding it difficult to..."→0rbit "the more general question is: at what point does an easily fixable interface issue become a defect?"→silentbobus "Imagine, only four years later and I almost have as much functionality as I used to."→Algona "WotC, you make an awesome game, why do you have to suck so bad at letting people have a fun time?"→MTGKaioshin "If you are all about playing as many games as possible as fast as possible and you KNOW you have me beat, then concede and move on"→Johnh2005 "Wow. You're a real pleasure to help. Good luck figuring it out by yourself."→tempesteye "2hg brokest of the broke"→Me, Myself & I "It's you against the shuffler."→jwark "this look like freeware that some kid down the street crafted up"→ProtossX "ask them if the world came to an economic end tomorrow, whether they think little printed pieces of paper could be traded for actual goods or services"→dangerlinto "You still have time before the buggy, non user friendly beta is shoved down your throat"→theminer575 Server status→ http://www.wizards.com/magic/magiconlineserverstatus.asp Love or hate me I was brought to you courtesy of V3!

You know what's rarely seen in these threads? Comparisons to paper.



That's because the economics is so different.  Nobody in paper complains about the price of RTR or GTC boosters.  If what we crack online was worth the same as what we crack in paper... NOBODY would be complaining about EV or prizes.
For recent examples, the nerf to MOPRs and doing away with 4-pack sealed recently were definite downers for me.  The trend towards phantom events and towards things like non-tradeable cube tickets is another.



I was very much against doing away with the four-booster sealed. But I must say, having tried the six-booster version a bit more lately, that the six-booster sealed is a better format, simply because you can almost always build a consistent deck. And, after having won a prerelease with a Dimir mill deck, I can see four-booster would be just terrible with Dimir around.

Go draft, young man, go draft!

The nature of online collecting and supported formats makes online a radically different and lower value format than paper. Needing a maximum of one of any given card (singleton formats) or four of any card (others) significantly depresses the value of many cards versus paper, especially staple cards like duals, utility effects, etc. The lack of support for formats outside of modern and standard also greatly reduces the value of most cards - EDH has declined significantly since it shot up when the commander decks were released online, casual is stagnant, and all the speciality formats have either shrunk dramatically due to WoTC decisions or died altogether (looking at you, vanguard). All of these differences mean you are opening significantly less virtual value in an online pack than a paper one, and that used to be reflected in their differing virtual prices. The changes to redemption only exacerbate this problem.

In any case, a big part of my point in the OP is that paper magic is not the only point of comparison, and is in fact the outlier. It has literally never been easier or cheaper to get all your strategy and diversion needs filled by other, radically cheaper alternatives to Magic Online. Greatly upping the virtual price of Magic Online in this situation is insane, and I worry about them doing so not only because I want to play magic in a cost effective manner but because I would like the game to succeed over the long term, and I believe they're courting dangerous player base burnout.

MSRP on a box is $144.  If a shop is selling for $80 I wouldn't expect them to be in business very long.(after CC fees they are making around 5 bucks per box if that which isn't going to keep the lights on very long or allow them to run a nice shop that people want to come to)



Well, I won't name names, but this particualr store has been doing it for more than 5 years and stays open with no problem. Even so, I can go to any of the 10-12 stores in my local Austin TX/San Antonio area and find boxes between $80-$120. Noone sells MSRP....except the MTGO client......



There's at least one store local to me (Twin Cities, MN) that does a fair amount of volume all the time that always does box pre-orders at $80/box.  Dunno what they charge after the pre-orders are done, but I was definitely happy to get a box of GTC for that price.  Of course, they're also a fairly big comic book/warhammer/other games store, too; they don't live & die solely by MTG, so maybe that's why they can afford to sacrifice margin for volume to that degree.
Mountain bikes are for slow people, and geckos are far better pets than cats & dogs! :D Officially licensed user of the term "GrammarChaos" (Thanks Tempesteye!) MPDC Season 3 Champion

MSRP on a box is $144.  If a shop is selling for $80 I wouldn't expect them to be in business very long.(after CC fees they are making around 5 bucks per box if that which isn't going to keep the lights on very long or allow them to run a nice shop that people want to come to)



Well, I won't name names, but this particualr store has been doing it for more than 5 years and stays open with no problem. Even so, I can go to any of the 10-12 stores in my local Austin TX/San Antonio area and find boxes between $80-$120. Noone sells MSRP....except the MTGO client......



There's at least one store local to me (Twin Cities, MN) that does a fair amount of volume all the time that always does box pre-orders at $80/box.  Dunno what they charge after the pre-orders are done, but I was definitely happy to get a box of GTC for that price.  Of course, they're also a fairly big comic book/warhammer/other games store, too; they don't live & die solely by MTG, so maybe that's why they can afford to sacrifice margin for volume to that degree.



Obviously there are some stores that can do it that either sell online or have other income sources but it doesn't take someone with a degree in business to realize that netting $5 bucks on a $80 purchase isn't going to keep the lights on.
PureMTGO.com
Cape Fear Games located in Wilmington, NC. Get 20% extra MTGO credit for your paper cards.
You know what's rarely seen in these threads? Comparisons to paper.

When pre-releases came to MTGO, people moaned long and hard (and continue to do so) about how terrible the EV was, despite it being identical to what many pay for their paper pre-release experience. As more events require tickets rather than product, people complain (including me), but rare is the TO that will allow you to use your own product to enter an event. WotC has clearly been pushing MTGO towards the expectations of the paper game in recent years. Now, MTGO is a different animal and some of the practices of the paper world would be detrimental to the digital. But you can't blame WotC for trying to reclaim some of the money they may be "leaving on the table", and you can't make an effective argument against reducing payouts without addressing this elephant in the room.

People have complained about prize reductions since the first one reduced the prizes of leagues from ridiculous to merely generous. It made no difference that the original prize schedule was unsustainable, people still thought they were somehow being "ripped off". While historical levels might have the unfortunate effect of setting expectations, they are not an indicator of what is "correct" for online.




The stores around me I can get packs for $3.  I can do a draft for $12.  I can take what I win and get packs or get store credit, so if I choose I can use the store credit for another draft.

Stores also provide a place to meet and talk to new players.  Interact with other humans.  Online offers a chance for my opponent to sit there and never say a word to me and take double, triple, or quadruple the amount of time I do.

The only thing online gives advantage is by being able to play any time and also keeping the collection organized.  Well, also easy and hopefully correct rules enforcement.

Also the cards I draft in person are probably worth more than online.  I can also count on them always being mine if I want and don't have to worry about what happens if Wizzards ever goes out of business.

I understand that there are costs to run an online business.  Though I do think they could have a little less profit margin online and the customers would be more happy.
I don't know why there is all this talk about whether or not stores can sell boxes at $80. It doesn't matter. Even if they sell boxes at $140 it is still less than the cost of 36 VIRTUAL boosters online from the MTGO store, which is $144 plus tax.

The point is, we pay more for .png files than the physical cards and then have to pay EVEN MORE to get the physical cards that we already paid more for than we would of if we went out and got the physical card in the first place!

I also put the comparison with buying from bots in there, but that is moot. All of those boosters were bought at some point for $4 a piece, except event wins. That's like saying I could go buy paper boosters from some kid whose parents are making him get rid of the game and pay him only a fraction of what he paid for it. Online is just more efficient at trading. No discussion, no haggling, just log in and click a bot.

Now, however, even the event wins are equivalent to buying from the store. the local shops are not giving out any less in prizes than online events, and in most cases, are giving out better prizes, which of course, you DONT HAVE TO PAY EXTRA TO REDEEM!

So, who cares? $80, $100, $140? As long as it is less than $144, it doesn't matter and even then, you'll have to account for the extra $100 to redeem each playset.

So, the conclusion is when I was asked, "where is the comparison to paper"...Here it is:

As far as I can tell WotC is successful in making it totally nonsensical to play online by driving down event prizes, upping cost, and then slapping us in the face with redemption change. It costs A LOT more to play online....unless you run a bot and take profits on trades.

What online does have going for it is: No drive in traffic, no body odor from greasy gamers, short quick easy to find trades, and no dead cat in the store, and saving me the agonsy of alphabetizing cards in binders, but again, I don't know if that is worth the extra cost anymore.



Looking at the changes in recent months, it is quite clear (as has been mentioned before) that the substitution of phantom limited events over real limited events has reduced the consumption of boosters without decreasing the supply. This increase in supply is making people (not wizards) want to trade less for boosters and cards and, specifically, fewer tix. So that equates to a lower value of the prizes, even though the prizes remain the same. This, of course, mainly applies to constructed formats where the ticket entry fee is the full entry. In limited events its a much smaller percentage, to the degree that the cheapening of boosters actually makes it more accessible to the average person who uses real money, as opposed to the player who only uses winnings (those going infinite). In fact, even for constructed events its cheaper for the average person, since a large part of the entry fee for constructed is buying the cards for their deck.

In other words, its harder to go infinite, but its cheaper to pay to play. From the point of view of a company this seems pretty good. The percentage of people who are just riding for free is reduced while at the same time the accessibility makes it easier for newer players to enter. Does anyone else see this?

Its well known (or it should be) that most gaming companies don't just blatantly milk people for their money. They will always strive to make for a better experience, and then charge for it (which is not the same as just uping expenses). However, most of the time, they have to target a specific percentage of the user base since changes most often affect some people positively while others negatively. Phantom events make limited events cheaper for average players, since there is a lower cost of entry and a flatter payout, compared to non-phantom events. This is a good thing for a certain percentage of people, and I imagine that wizards believes its a large enough percentage to be worth it.

Even with the reduced value of the in-game credits you get for winning (boosters), I don't know how people aren't finding it cheaper to play online. In the comments I saw above nobody included the ease with which you can convert cards themselves into credits or into other cards online. I don't know anybody who is constantly selling their paper cards in order to play more (though I know it is done), therefore paying for their hobby. On the other hand, I know plenty of people who are going infinite on MTGO... playing for free. This is key to making it cheaper to play MTGO but it also the reason for why the cards, boosters and therefore prizes in MTGO are worth less.

And this, by the way, is without including the fact that MTGO supports pauper and block, which are relatively cheap ways to play competitively and there are many player run events which are totally free, or that its incredibly easy to take a look at a few graphs, buy some cards at certain moment and then sell them for profit a few weeks later.

So in terms of cost of playing, I can't really say that MTGO is a bad deal or that its going against the current. It seems like a great deal to me, maybe not compared to many free games that you can access online, but definitely compared to paper magic. Where I personally think its going agains the current is in the quality of the software. The new client is a big let down to me, regardless of many of its new capabilities, and I think its missing many key elements that modern software should have. That's my grudge.
For a great source of information on the Pauper format check out Pauper's Cage!
Here is some radical and unorthadox "outside the box" thoughts for EV moaners I mean players.

Magic the Gathering is a hobby I know who would of thunk it a trading card game a hobby OMG Mind = Blown, many many many times professinal Magic players have told you over the years  "Do not play Magic for Money" you know why they do??? Because even the guys who are doing this hobby professinonally understand that this hobby should not be played as a "job" or EV and should be enjoyed as a game and a hobby that you can play competitively and possibly make a bit of money here and there at.

I find it amusing as I do this very thread that  the people that tryed to play Magic like a job and use poker terms like EV to justify them keep playing have made the biggest -EV decision ever. Yes it sucks that WoTC aren't paying out packs like the used too, yeah it sucks that WoTC are moving towards Phantom events, do you know why? Because the "entry level" and attendence level to these events was "too much" for the average MTG guy and you know what WoTC wants to appeal to those average MTG guys why? Because average MTG guys are playing Magic Online and are having a blast and not moaning about loss of EV from a hobby because they understand like the pro understands Magic is not a game that should be played for any EV other than the Expected Value of having fun...
Actually, Mise, many Magic pros do play Magic for a living - that's sort of the point of the Pro Tour.

And gabochidillo, the only people who could conceivably see higher returns with reduced pack value are people markedly worse than the average player on Magic Online. Not the average player, who can expect to win packs in at least half the events they enter - players who have to pay full price for almost every event they do. That's by definition a minority group - and they still may end up paying more in the end, due to the lower value of the rares they open under the new system. The player economy as a whole is hemorrhaging value, in favour of the company.

In the long-run, even the company will only benefit if participation remains high enough that increasing returns per event are not offset by reduced number of events firing - which is very much in doubt.
Actually, Mise, many Magic pros do play Magic for a living - that's sort of the point of the Pro Tour.

And gabochidillo, the only people who could conceivably see higher returns with reduced pack value are people markedly worse than the average player on Magic Online. Not the average player, who can expect to win packs in at least half the events they enter - players who have to pay full price for almost every event they do. That's by definition a minority group - and they still may end up paying more in the end, due to the lower value of the rares they open under the new system. The player economy as a whole is hemorrhaging value, in favour of the company.

In the long-run, even the company will only benefit if participation remains high enough that increasing returns per event are not offset by reduced number of events firing - which is very much in doubt.



It's also important to remember, we are still in the middle of block with a strange set structure, the fact that RTR and GTC are not drafted together with probably help some to keep the prices of RTR cards higher, but what would have happened in a normal Large-Small-Small set rotation? If pack prices go down due to increased supply, and that increased supply causes card prices to go down, which in turn drives pack prices down more, how much are these cards going to be worth toward the end of a season when the new block comes out? Especially with the increased redemption cost having some effect on the supply of  standard cards in the system.

GTC is already pretty sad in the number of cards that are actually worth more than the price of a pack, how much lower can we go? 
Actually, Mise, many Magic pros do play Magic for a living - that's sort of the point of the Pro Tour.




Name ar least 20 pros that make a "living" in other words enough to live off that they have a weekly wage and support there travel, entrance and decks for the tournaments, they cannot use income used from elsewhere because if they are then they aren't making a living off just playing Magic. Go ahead prove to me 20 pros make a solitary income like a job off Magic, because I know for sure most pros have jobs even the really, really good ones like Brian Kibler and LSV both actually have jobs.
People get a living from ads while streaming. I know of at least two. There are probably many more.
Actually, Mise, many Magic pros do play Magic for a living - that's sort of the point of the Pro Tour.




Name ar least 20 pros that make a "living" in other words enough to live off that they have a weekly wage and support there travel, entrance and decks for the tournaments, they cannot use income used from elsewhere because if they are then they aren't making a living off just playing Magic. Go ahead prove to me 20 pros make a solitary income like a job off Magic, because I know for sure most pros have jobs even the really, really good ones like Brian Kibler and LSV both actually have jobs.



It's not just pros - and there are plenty - who make a living off of this game.  I lived for about 3 years entirely off money made from Magic (both paper and online).  I'm not a pro.  I've never been on the pro tour.  I've never gotten a big novelty check.

It all depends on what you want to do with your life and how you're comfortable living.  I didn't make a great living off of Magic.  I survived, and not much besides.  That doesn't discount my 3 years though.  As for someone like Brian Kibler, he's achieved pretty much the pinnacle of Magic - the hall of fame.  He could live off of playing Magic.  There's no doubt about that.  The reason he doesn't is that he wants to diversify his time.  He's got his own games he wants to create.  But just because most people don't choose that life doesn't mean it's impossible.
Here is some radical and unorthadox "outside the box" thoughts for EV moaners I mean players.

Magic the Gathering is a hobby I know who would of thunk it a trading card game a hobby OMG Mind = Blown, many many many times professinal Magic players have told you over the years  "Do not play Magic for Money" you know why they do??? Because even the guys who are doing this hobby professinonally understand that this hobby should not be played as a "job" or EV and should be enjoyed as a game and a hobby that you can play competitively and possibly make a bit of money here and there at.

I find it amusing as I do this very thread that  the people that tryed to play Magic like a job and use poker terms like EV to justify them keep playing have made the biggest -EV decision ever. Yes it sucks that WoTC aren't paying out packs like the used too, yeah it sucks that WoTC are moving towards Phantom events, do you know why? Because the "entry level" and attendence level to these events was "too much" for the average MTG guy and you know what WoTC wants to appeal to those average MTG guys why? Because average MTG guys are playing Magic Online and are having a blast and not moaning about loss of EV from a hobby because they understand like the pro understands Magic is not a game that should be played for any EV other than the Expected Value of having fun...



I am in no way trying to make a living off of it.  Nor do I have any delusion of going infinite.  I might be able to but I tend to play for fun but still have something good enough where I hope to win to reduce the amount of money I need to personally put into the game.

For this hobby I am serving two masters.  The paper one and the online one.  Though really the online one is more so for convenience and being able to always find a game when i want to.  With that said, every player who plays online has a price point at which they decide that doing the Wizards version works for them or if they should switch to something that is more free.  Also each person has to decide how much money to put into this system.  I am just looking for the biggest bang for my buck.  Since there are other expenses in life.

I was simply showing that an online client, which does have competitors, wizzards profits directly from with no middle man, and if anything happens I can lose my entire investment is costing more than the real life when someone was trying to say that the online had advantages to the real life version.

In real life my investment can always be used even if the company goes away.  Also my real life version can actually be changed into actual dollars.  It seems wizards has gone away from allowing the digital cards and accounts to be sold for real money.

I assume others have the same idea when "moaning" about the value.

I suppose we could all stop trying to give input, give up on ever shrinking prizes and increasing coast, and just switch over to the free online alternatives.  Which would actually be a lot smarter and a heck of a lot more economical.  For me the thing that keeps me in the client is a feeling of accomplishment and collecting.  The free alternatives simply feel too easy and no building of a collection.  Also I would like to support the company and make sure they stay around and keep making cards.

Though I am curious as to why you would not be in favor of having to spend less on a hobby or anything in general?  Why do you feel the need to insult (name calling) people who pay to play and simply are trying to figure out a way to still pay to play but not pay as much?  Do you get some kick back from wizards based on their profit margins?
Allow me to elborate as I think something has been lost in trasnlation, what I am saying is that there are people on this very forum who try to make Magic into a job and try to pay out  like a job that is the core problem is that people want to turn there hobby into a job it is a bad decision to do so Magic isn't poker you cannot make the same amount of money you could and play it as a job.

I am not saying you can't go infinte and make some "pocket money" sure you can I have seen many talented drafters do it heck even with my debatible draft skills I went infinte during TSP draft block, what I am saying is that even though I could go infinte I never duled myself that this could be a job, because it can't it can give me a nice "pay out" every now and then but on a whole it would never replace my full time job.


Also I am not saying that we shouldn't try to work out ways to get cards we need for "free" or pay to win I am saying do not play this game with flawed thinking that because you have "invested" x amount of pounds you need X amount back plus profit, a game unless it is a game like poker should never be about investment v reward it should always be about how much you enjoy the game and how much you want to help support the community in making sure this game has a future...   
Sign In to post comments