This thread is for discussion of this weeks's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Our local stores have stopped running drafts at prerelease events. They tell us it's because Wizards "won't let them". I don't know what the problem is and kinda don't care - maybe you do, though, since it's halved my spending at these events, which I assume you would consider a Bad Thing (TM). So your comment about drafts confuses me - do you plan on changing policy? Are the stores incorrect? If someone could explain the situation, I'd appreciate it. Otherwise, I'll keep spending less at prereleases, which I suppose I'm okay with.
Thanks for these heads up articles - I do find them useful!
Because Sealed forces everyone to buy six packs. That's why.
Yeah, I work, thus I am unable to get to the pre-release on Friday night. I hope that this does not mean that you will be shutting down support for the sealed on Saturday and Sunday, because if so then I will never be able to attend another release event again. Additionally, I hope that I don't miss out on the free promo just because I can't attend on a friday night either.
All these changes to the pre-release/release events seem to be... well dumb. I miss the giant pre-releases and going to a local store and playing with the same 10-15 people is NOT the same, nor is it exciting, as going to a large scale release event/pre-release with players all over the state. This, combined with the lackluster tournaments and the inflated secondary market prices due to the introduction of the mythic rarity continually make me question my continued involvement with Magic overall...
So what does this mean? No more sealed events at launch day, and just encouraging going to the FNM of launch instead? Bummer if so. At least there's still prerelease.
I'm confused as to
1) what this change is, exactly, and
2) why the change is being made.
Why can't stores just run whatever they want (within reason), to cater to their local players?
This is very disappointing. Giving the promo card at FNM means I can't get one as I work every Friday evening. That is why the Pre-release and launch parties were so important to me. The way a store schedules events greatly effects the players of those events. The store I go to only runs drafts for FNM and I, unlike many other players, don't like to draft. Sealed is great fun, but draft is not for me. This ultimately hurts the players, and the stores that run LPs. I feel it's a bad decision that should be reversed. We've already lost the Player Rewards program, please don't kill half of the fun, low-key sealed events.
The fact that the large pre-release is no longer a thing makes the experience far less enjoyable. And since the prize support for pre-releases is so terrible (going undefeated doesn't even break even with entry cost), it's not worth going anymore unless, like last week, a bunch of my friends and I hang out together for multiple events. Now, if that's not the case, this change will potentially mean I don't get to do any sealed when the set releases without sucking up bad prize support (which isn't an option). Factor in that if my store continues its trend of running triple small set for the release date FNM (which I vehemently refuse to waste money on such an imbalanced unfun format) and I'll only be able to get release promos for large sets now?
You guys keep changing things for the worse, and it's honestly driving me further and further away from playing the game.
My friends and I look forward to pre-release weekends especially since we work on Friday's until after the start of FNM (space is very limited).
If the foil PR cards are no longer going to be available unless we go to FNM, then I'm going to have to say that it is no longer worth doing.
As a player who enjoys the sealed format this is a big disappointment. Mainly because of cost, the local stores I play at do not do sealed events except on the release and pre-release events. This gives players less chances to do this format in real life and are pushed further into on-line play if they perfer sealed. This creates its own problems that I will not get into in this thread. Please reconsider your actions.
I feel like every year this game becomes less about the players and more about the profit margins. You guys almost ruined the PT until enough people flipped out about that and a change was forced upon you. States is no longer supported by wizards, we lost city champs, big pre-releases and releases are a thing of the past, and now evan the small releases are going away. I have played this game since Fallen Empires so I have seen alot of changes over the years. Some of these are good some are bad. That said in the last few years the decisions coming down from up above are questionable at best.
Do you guys understand the gaming comunity you are affecting with these decisions? I have to believe you do not and are fresh out of collage buissness grads who just don't care. These types of decisions make people question if this product is worth being a consumer of much longer because it may not be a sustainable product. If you chase away the base of the magic community you lose money. Really I just don't understand this.
Again, let me reiterate, please reconsider your killing of the release events.
Um, maybe I'm missing something...but that's about the least clear list of changes I've ever seen. Half of that list of "changes" are things that Helen specifically said aren't changing. So, are the changes just that you've decided to give out launch party promos at FNMs instead of specialized events and drop the name "launch party"? Because that's as much as I can get out of this announcement.
To me it sounds like you're discontinuing with the official launch party program entirely--it's just that you don't want players to kick up the fuss you know they would if you actually said that was what you're doing or took away the promos they expect, so you're trying to hide what you're doing behind PR-speak.
For those having trouble understanding the article:
1. There will be no more WoTC supported launch parties on the Saturday/Sunday following the release of a new set.
2. Your local stores can still choose to run events on those days if they want to. However, if they do, you won't be getting a promo card for participating anymore. Check with your local stores for more information. (EDIT: The article is pretty vague on this point, so stores might be allowed to give out the promo cards during Saturday/Sunday events. Waiting for more clarification from WoTC).
3. Any FNM that falls on the release date of a set will give out the promo cards. This will also be League start dates. It is up to the stores what type of events they will have during FNM (sealed, draft, standard, etc).
4. There have been no announced changes to Prerelease events (except that they are planning to add "something" for Avacyn Restored).
I read the article and thought "What just got announced?"
*sigh* That's disappointing. I love Limited, and I like (worthwhile) promo cards, but FNMs always seem to be Standard (both at the stores where I now live in Oregon, and the stores where I used to live in North Carolina). Also, since stores don't seem to run sealed deck events when Wizards isn't making them, this eliminates half of the sealed I get to play.
I never really liked launch parties anyways....
Wake me when they decide to get rid of pre-releases....
Then we will have something to talk about....
You know, Wizards keeps saying they want to do more to foster in-store play... and then they do something like this.
I feel like this is the kind of thing that should anger casual players in much the same way (if not to the same degree) that the pro-level OP changes angered the pro community.
Well that's lovely, seeing as my LGS doesn't even run FNM, then again my LGS doesn't do anything other than sell the boosters. So I guess this doesn't affect me.
I have no idea what this article just said. It was extremely unclear and confusing. Helene Bergeot, you need to work on your writing skills. Articles like that should be clear, to the point, and with the important information at the top.
If it's saying there is no Saturday tournament at my local shop, I will be disappointed. I enjoy those, and I work Fridays (like most people) and cannot attend FNM.
I've listed an explanation of the changes in my post on page 2 of this thread, for those that missed it and are still confused by the changes.
I should probably clarify, the article is vague about whether or not stores will be allowed to give out promo cards during Saturday/Sunday events if they want to, or if they will be limited to FNM only.
I understood the post - eventually. I agree that the post itself wasn't particularly clear.
One wonders why it is Wizards apparently feels compelled to drive people away from playing their game. As someone who works full time (and, therefore, has disposable income with which to purchase luxury items such as card game booster packs and the like), a FNM not-really-a-release-party is never going to work out for me.
Not only that, but since Wizards will no longer be supporting the format of previous release parties (sealed), that means that my only options for playing sealed (a format I enjoy) will be pre-releases or PTQ/GP types of events in that format.
What is the point of eliminating events? (Yes, yes, it's not "eliminated" it just isn't supported anymore by Wizards and stores can do what they want! Without Wizards support, it's eliminated, people. A de facto elimination is still an elimination.)
This is the kind of thing that just flips an enormous middle finger to casual players. This kind of maneuver from Wizards just screams "If you don't play FNM then we don't give a crap about you!"
For those of us who either aren't interested in (or can't work into our schedules) things like FNM, prereleases and release parties are about the only time we get a chance to play. Even for people who are all up into the FNM deal, the releases and prereleases are a chance to play with people other than the same 10 faces they see every-freakin'-Friday and be part of a larger community than the dozen dudes at their local game store.
Personally, I don't play constructed. Just not a fan of the format. Which means that, essentially, until I can find a regular draft in my general vicinity that happens on a day that isn't TUESDAY (a weekday upon which I have other commitments), the only cash Wizards will get from me is going to be in the form of release and prerelease tournaments. There are a fair number of us that only appear for the "bigger" release and prerelease events. Apparently, Wizards no longer wants our money.
I've just asked my local store to signed up for the WPN, once everything has gone through it will be at the Gateway level.
The *main* reason for doing this is that for the last year I've been running a Sealed Deck for every release and thought it would be nice to be able to give our players promos.
This article seems to be suggesting this is a minor change that we shouldn't worry about. Well Gateway stores don't get to hold FNM, so does this mean that we wont get anything for release events?
While it will be nice to have the Gateway promos, it's going to be disapointing telling our players that they still can't have the release promos they see all over this site.
This is an absolutely ridiculous move. You really want to no longer support stores having big events for your product? Most of the time I only care about the upcoming sets because of the release event. Having both the release and prerelease are nice so that I am almost guaranteed I can make one even when I cannot make the other. But now you only want to support the prereleases, so a) there's no big event when the set is actually on sale and b) like I said, if you can't make it, there's no next weekend opportunity. Sure, my local game store can do one anyway if they'd like, but why should all of the work be put on their shoulders, Wizards? I thought you wanted to support local game stores more, not give them this sign that you're pulling back on your efforts.
I love Sealed draft, and I love the excitement of a new set having just come out. I love keeping the promo cards in my binder and looking at them alongside my signed cards and remembering those events.
And you know what? I hate FNM. It's not a casual night, and that's all I play. I'm not going to go to FNM to start getting promo cards and the new-set-excitement feel. I understand you guys care more about FNM than I do, and that most of your customers do as well, but I cannot believe you care more about FNM than you do release events. I consistently support you, but in this past year you have consistently made poor decisions that seem shortsighted and having something other than your loyal customer's interests and desires in mind. And each time you do this you look worse and worse, and you get burned by your customers. Please, just stop doing it. Keep the release events because it's what your loyal customers want. And because it just makes sense to do so.
Well I don't mind too much about the Release / Launch Party business, but with respect I do think that the release that announced it is laughably bad. Has nothing been learned by WotC from the debacle over Worlds changes?
(1) Please don't just take something away, while thinking that random hints that something awesome is in the offing is sufficient compensation.
(2) At least come up with a pretence for a reason why it's a good idea to make the changes.
(3) The best bit of the article can be paraphrased: "Hope you enjoyed the Pre-release & Launch Parties. In other news: guess what? No more Launch Parties!" I really enjoyed that very satisfying unconscious humour.
All the best!
(The following escalates to the overdramatic, but I was on a roll)
What is actually troubling here is what she doesn't come right out and say. There are some pretty easy leaps of logic we can derive, but why make an announcment with so little actual information? Perhaps something to point to and say there were no issues with the amoung the fan base? Who knows.
What's even more disturbing is that all of the recent actions which clearly hurt the existing loyal fan base have been working. We are the discarded customers who hang on and keep playing dispite the changes, not because of them. These are designed to bring in new customers and to support stores. The efforts have been working, and we are the acceptible casualties.
I think they only care about us to the extent that they want us to go away quietly and not infect the new player base. We haven't been the target audience for a couple years now, and I believe that only the Dev team is on our side.
These actions will continue and we'll all have to decide just how uncomfortable, and unloved we are willing to be while remaing part of the system.
These are exaclty the kinds of things we were all worried about then Hasbro bought WotC, but this is even worse, because these changes came from within.
The game as we know it is changing. Our voices are not welcome, and our contributions to the community are no longer welcome or desired.
Loyal cusomters abandoned, Avacyn Restored.
Jesus, the communication here is terrible.
Okay, look. You need to explain what is happening in very clear, simple terms. Like this:
Stores can now give promos out on Friday for the launch party, as well as giving them out on Saturday/Sunday for the Launch Party Sealed.
We will be phasing out the name "Launch Party" and begin focusing on events for the Friday rather than the weekend. Stores can still run events on the weekend.
None of this marketese. Simple, clear, answers obvious questions.
I don't see how this is good at all. Not all MTG player's can even make it to FNM's because of work plus younger kids can't even say out late enough to play in these as well. I don't even know why Wizards seems to support people to play only on Friday's anyways. Why can't there be a weekly weekend ( Sunday or Saturday ) event like FNM with similar support ( good foil promos )? By having one, more Magic player's will be able to play and hold down a job and/ or school which needs to happen. Jobless magic player's doesn't help anything and only promotes theft.
Someone with a minimum of communication skills please rewrite that article.
I don't mind if there are changes to be made, as long as they are reasonable. Or at least have a good reason for them being made in the first place.
I don't see a good reason to stop supporting launch parties, I just thought wizards can't/doesn't want to afford to support anything anymore. That's how I read it, and as long as there are articles like these around, I will keep assuming that.
Copy/paste of the email I sent:
Dear Helene Bergeot,
Please bring back the large Regional Prerelease events! I've been to nearly every prerelease since Darksteel, but have been shut out at the last TWO despite arriving on time.
The Regional Prerelease events attracted over 600 people for each event, but the CUMULATIVE capacity of all hobby shops in the area is close to 200. No matter what individual store owners do, 400 loyal players are being shut out, because there simply isn't room to participate.
Not only that, but I found the unique experience of large regional events something to look forward to. Regional events are fun for the same reason other large conventions are fun: its something different, something special. Local prereleases just turn into yet another draft at a local hobby shop. Not that special.
I remember 5-6 guys I'd see 3-4 times each year, but ONLY at the prerelease events. We knew each other by sight, not by name, but we always said Hi and played a few rounds before packing up.
That's the odd thing about large fan events: you meet random people you hardly know, but have something in common! Again, this gets lost with local stores, because you see the same people you usually see.
So, I repeat, please bring back those unique, special events known as Regional Prereleases.
I emailed Helene for clarification on the promo issue for Launch Parties. Here is her response:
"Your assumption is absolutely correct - moving forward, in order to get access to the LP promos, a store will have to schedule an FNM that day. We want FNM to be a great place for players to join their local community & enjoy playing Magic and this is why we want to make a big deal out of the very first FNM of a new set.
If one of the stores you TO for doesn't run FNM, it may just be the perfect opportunity to get started.
With that said, we want to continue offering great events (sealed or draft) to the players this very first weekend, but in a much more flexible way than for the prerelease. The local stores and TOs are in the best position to evaluate which events will be the best ones for their player community.
So, we certainly want to encourage stores and TOs to run lots of events the weekend a new set launches. But as for any other FNM promo cards, these additional promos are meant to be used during FNM."
So, indeed, while a store can offer a special event on the Saturday or Sunday after the release day, they cannot (officially, anyway) offer special "Launch Party" promos. Those will be FNM-only on the release day.
Thanks for the clarifying e-mail Sundry. I really thought this was a test for card complexity or April Fool's joke gone wrong at first. After reading Mark's column to confirm that complexity is still the enemy, and noticing we are a little less than 2 months shy of April 1st, I was aghast. What is going on at Wizards?
I have already been sitting out of the past few prereleases/release events for personal protest reasons, but it seems like I haven't had any impact since they've been doing extremely well, which is good I suppose. I'm still going to sit out the next ones as well for the same reasons: why is Wizards giving its players the shaft and raking in record profits? It's like Hasbro is run by a bunch of oil tycoons.
Cryptic messages, cancellation of the player rewards program and large prerelease/release events, and now an overall cancellation of release events to blungeon us over the head with FNM. They couldn't get us to care about it with the PWP system (another quirky exercise in PR moves), so I guess this is what we get instead? Why can't each store just listen to its own community, set up events that fit its players' lives/schedules, and have Wizards support it then if they're some official store of some sort? I don't understand. It's not like the planes out of Renton leave for deliveries every Thursday night with cards that self-destruct on Saturday morning. If a new player swings by for FNM, let them enjoy themselves and get incorporated into the store's community instead of force-feeding FNMs down their gullet.
I'm half expecting to hear about a rise in the price of boosters to $4.50 soon, and the more subtle movement to no longer give out mythics for the prerelease events (the last 2 have been rares). The more I sit out of these events, the more and more I'm picking up singles for eternal formats like modern and legacy... which means I'm not actually spending money on WotC. This may not mean much to pretty much anyone, but I just thought I'd make my voice heard.
Just wanted to thank you for making Helene Bergeot a public name and face on the site who writes from her own perspective. It has made the tournament policy update articles much friendlier, clearer, more engaging, and easier to read. Much appreciated!
This change was extremely poorly communicated. This is particularly bad because the change itself is one that gets a bad reaction from every magic player I know that reads it.
Because of this it feels like it was intentionally vague and confusing. Cover up the bad news by making it obtuse.
I strongly disagree with this change. As was said earlier, it's nearly as bad as the pro changes which had a massive thread of 99% negative feedback, but since I'm a casual player and have little interest in pro play it's actually much worse from my perspective.
Once again Wizards, you need to rethink changes like this that provoke so strong a negative reaction from your customers. There is no shame in admitting you got it wrong and reversing your position, provided you learn from the experience.
I encourage everyone who reads this (once they've worked out what it actually means) to post here and to email the relevant people at Wizards to let them know what they think. Does it seem logical or fair to you? Does it seem like good news?
Here is an idea:
If you are going to post a ridiculous article you assume will enrage a tiny and/or large part of your player base, why not add a poll at the end? A poll with questions like "Do you have actually understood what I am talking about?" Or maybe, just maybe "What do you think of this change?".
If you get a lot of "No" respones to the first and "You suck" to the latter, make it a rule to at least rethink your strategy!
I'm getting the impression more and more that the focus is moving more toward using Magic to generate ad revenue. Two articles currently on DailyMTG.com spend a fair amount of time talking about how you can stream big events now. On Styborski's pic of his laptop/big screen setup, see that Star City Games play mat? If we start seeing Coke/Pepsi, a restaurant logo, or something like that there, I'm right.
That also makes some sense of them dropping support for the local, more casual events in favor of focusing on the big events with big names. Prereleases used to be big and fun, but there's no Magic celebrity power there all in one place. Basically, get more people interested in the events they can televise to a big audience and cut most of the rest, aside from a good-will token or two for the more casual crowd. 0/1 Good Will tokens. With Fading.
why do wizards use helene to give bad news all the time? is that because of her abstract language usage so no one really understands what's going on?
I just think that all of the things that they are doing to Magic is them going in the wrong direction. I understand what they are trying to do, but why fix what isn't broke.
I have spoken to Helene at length in email traffic and I think I have a pretty firm grasp on what she is and is not trying to say.
Basically what's happening is that promo card support is only being allotted for the FNM. The local game stores are encouraged to run non-promo card supported events on Saturday/Sunday.
Also, the local stores are now allowed free reign on what styles of events they wish to run for their "launch parties". It can be draft, 6 pack sealed, 2HG sealed, whatever.
I have voiced my concerns to her regarding the importance of having promo cards for launch party events and she has promised to keep them in mind.
Also, as a small shimmer in the dark, there has been some information regarding the change for the Avacyn Restored prerelease spoiled.
There is a discussion about it on MTGSalvation.
There is a news story about it on Examiner.
And the official PDF pamphlet is here on the wizards play network site.
So, Launch Parties are getting killed off? That's a shame. I like me a sealed event to kick off the new set, and I can't always make the pre-release (as happened with DKA).
Do I care about a third-rate rare in promo form? Not so much. But diluting the launch party out of existence is yet another in a long line of "things Hasbro have taken away from me".
Wizards should really change the name of FNM to WTF, because every announcement that touches or concerns it has me shaking my head.
PS. +1 "I didn't understand the announcement". Please learn to spin in English.
I cant believe there has been no public, official statement, clarifying this article. Whats happening Wizards?!
I for one find this very disappointing. I love prereleases and releases, they're a fantastic way to spend a weekend meeting new people and playing with a new set. Since I have a job I can never get to FNMs and even if I could leave the office early I would be way too tired to play. Also, having to put off dinner until nine (or later) really isn't my thing.
Moving the release party to the FNM means that it'll just be the store's regulars who will attend only with the added benefit of getting to draft a new set and getting a foil for it. That's just the opposite of what a release event should be for me.
I played at the prerelease this weekend and it was really cool, the Helvault was a great addition to the event and we even managed to have the prerelease in a new location, the royal armoury (the store owner even got to borrow a suit of armour for when the Helvault was opened). Why would anyone want to change a great event like that? If it was up to me, I'd do it again next weekend!
These events should feel special, like the prerelease did, but suddenly, we're losing a whole weekend of fun! The planning behind this seems very removed from what the players want.
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