As a longtime Magic player and collector, I feel cheated by the fact that some helvaults had special premium content, while others did not. I attend a new and small shop, who doesn't have Advanced WPN status yet and I hate that because of this there was no chance of our store getting the cool stuff. This is crap. If I want this content I have to track it down on the secondary market now and pay a premium. All helvaults should have been the fancy helvault to begin with. I'm seriously disappointed in the execution and conclusion of this promotion and don't look forward to participating in future ones if they're going to be like this.
I like the oversized cards, more specifically, I like foil oversized cards of legendary creatures. I also like spindown D20's. I even like the tokens. But knowing that shiny versions of the shwag I got exist upsets me and makes me want to have it. This does not benefit you in any way financially, so it was a bad move. Also, taking away mythics as prerelease cards displeases me greatly. It's enough of a pain to get 1 of any mythic. It was nice knowing that it was remotely feasible to get a playset of at least 1 mythic rare per set, especially considering you have no stake in the secondary market.
Right now--for the next two weeks, anyway--I live in Annapolis, Maryland. I don't think there's an Advanced level store closer than Baltimore or DC, and I don't have a driver's license.
So basically, not only did you screw my local store out of a prerelease--thanks for that, by the way; getting to Glen Burnie was SO much fun--but even if you hadn't, I had absolutely no shot whatsoever at a premium Vault basically because of where I live.
You're the straightest shooter I know on these boards. You don't mince words about your opinions, and I respect that about you. The whole fiasco you described in the last State of the CO Forum was particularly enlightening (and kind of disappointing with regards to how they see us).
Congratulations, Wizards, you've done it again. After the "priceless treasures" of Zendikar, you've once again given way over 90% of your player base the feeling of being losers and not getting what they should have received just to give a few a grand feeling.
The priceless treasures fiasco still makes Zendikar emotionally feel like the worst set I ever opened even though I didn't really pull bad cards. But I was denied the experience of getting a treasure in spite of opening almost four boxes (which should be considered a purchase size to be rewarded with a good feeling at all times) and to this day, several years later, this annoys me. Done right, this promo would just have used more low and mid-level cards in the $2 to $5 value range but distributed them at one per 2-3 boxes, so a player buying enough to get a set is virtually guaranteed the warm feeling - it's not about the dollars, it's about the moment of drwaing something great. This is just like the autograph trading cards in many movie sets - you may be 1 in 100 to get a famous main cast member, but at least you DO GET ONE, even if it's by a bit player.
Now you do it again - you hype something to excess, make players spend their time and money to get to a prerelease (and for many of them this means more than just the entry fee but also gas or train tickets) just to tell them that (a) some very lucky others randomly got treated much better and (b) if they happened to be in a location that couldn't support your hyper-premium-superstores, they were not even given the chance. Bottom line - once again, you've made a lot of people angry to make a tiny subset happy. I am very happy not to have attended a Helvault prerelease because it saved me the experience of being made a loser by you again.
People are buying your product to be happy, not to be disappointed. People are coming to your tournaments to feel like winners, not losers. You've managed to make many of your 4-0 and 3-1 players from the prereleases feel like losers instead of winners with this little stunt. Well done, Wizards. Avacyn Restored just joined the growing list of good sets made to feel like bad sets by a marketing decision.
The problem is that whoever decided on this promotion demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of psychology.
If you give one person a free $10 bill, he's happy. If he then sees you give another person a free $100 bill, he's suddenly unhappy because he feels that he had a chance at that $100 bill and missed out. Even though the first person is strictly better off than he was before, the fact that he got less than someone else leaves him less happy than he'd have been if neither of them had gotten anything.
What they should have done here is two-fold: 1. Lessen the obscene gap in value between the premium Helvaults and the ordinary ones. 2. Announce ahead of time that some Helvaults would contain better prizes than others.
This second even adds a sense of anticipation to the event, same as a lottery or gambling does, and would be positive marketing. Instead, they create a large gap between the haves and the have-nots (something to the tune of a $100 difference in value per person) and people only find out afterwards that other people got better prizes.
I agree 100% with chronego's post. Though probably meant well, the whole gameplan was obviously rushed and not given due consideration as to the overall psychological effect. The result was quite close to an insult to all the non-Advanced level stores (and their players): "You're second-rate, so you're not included in the lottery. In fact, we're not even bothering to inform you about this exclusion - you can discover it after the fact. Hey, good luck with explaining this to your players!"
I had multiple players approach me during the event with questions about the reports of "premium Hevaults" being opened elsewhere. My response was "I have no official information about this, but maybe Wizards has upped the game and randomly provided superior versions (like foils in a booster). Isn't it exciting - we might be lucky as well?" Well, the first part was correct, but we had no chance of being lucky. We were excluded from the lottery, and my gut tells me this was unfair.
I've known companies where such an issue prompts a senior executive to offer a public apology. I wouldn't mind Wizards taking a page out of that playbook.
EDIT: I want to stress that there were many things done right. The incredible effort that goes into planning and executing the whole thing deserves to be acknowledged and appreciated. It's just that sometimes, a little oversight can threaten to capsize the ship and turn otherwise excellent experience sour. Too bad that it happened this way.
I liked the Helvault. It made the prerelease different. Otherwise it would have been like every other prerelease we've gone to. I mean they are never boring, but that isn't to say it can not be made more fun. Seriously my only gripe of the prerelease was the sealed format seemed clunky, especially for green. The Helvault actually helped me feel better about it.
Well, um, wow. I wasn't able to make the prerelease due to financial constraints, but when I heard about the oversized edh-friendly promo cards I was excited, because sweet! oversized Gisela will be mine! Then, just today, I hear about these promo versions? foil oversized cards, in only 30 locations.
a single foil angel/demon token is on ebay and it's the only one, valued at a ridiculous cost.
When the owners of those foil oversized promos realize that they're ridiculously rare, the cost of obtaining one will be obscene. And you didn't really hand those out to the players as much as you handed them out to the stores.
I liked the duels of the planeswalkers promo titans. That was a cool promo that didn't seem like a money grab. But this, for some reason really makes me feel bad. Not only would I never be able to obtain these promos legitimately, but even getting them through ebay will cost so much that I won't have any money left to buy cards from you.
Wow. I guess I'm glad I didn't make it to this prerelease.
...No, that's slightly an exaggeration. Although the local prereleases are always a wistful reminder of how great prereleases used to be, I would have enjoyed getting to play with flickering and soulbond. But yeah, I'm pretty glad I didn't get to participate in the Helvault fiasco. A spindown D20 would be marginally useful, though I already have a couple; the tokens are neutral (I have plenty of Angel and Demon tokens and no need for any more, but if the art's particularly nice I guess I'd like some); the oversize cards are utterly useless. I love EDH and have 15 EDH decks, in a big long deckbox. Guess what? Oversized cards don't fit in the deckbox. What are we meant to do with them, stick them on our wall?
And hearing about the random variance between regular and premium Helvaults leaves me feeling like I had a narrow escape. If I'd gone to a Prerelease, I would have felt much more disappointed to not get the awesome stuff.
So... between sad longing for the days of large prereleases, and the lucky escape of not getting to lose the Helvault lottery, yeah, you managed to make me the closest I've ever come to not wanting to have been at a prerelease.
Everyone else seems to have my civilized thoughts covered, so I'll just snark it up a bit;
Glad I missed the Helvault Event; seems like I would have had a better time opening a foil Helvault from a DA pack.
Seriously, though, I have to thank whomever it was that spoiled the contents. It was the final deciding factor in regards to allowing the prerelease interrupt convention plans. I decided against it, and therefore had an astronomically better time than pretty much all Helvault attendees I've heard from. Clearly, oversized cards are best left in our Magic Player Rewards envelopes.
As for the release promos; Well, that's a major reason why I've decided against playing this weekend.
It's a tough call for me. I thought the idea behind the Helvault was excellent (although perhaps the methodology for opening it was flawed), and I think it helps in promoting the shift over to fixed size and limited number prereleases (regardless of whether that decision was sensible or not.)
But everything else that everyone has said here is also true. To have some "premium" Helvaults was perhaps a logical idea, albeit extremely risky, but to fail to announce them ahead of time was a mistake on a par with the Zendikar treasures one. And then to make the non-premium rewards feel largely worthless was also a bad move. (e.g. why not a unique "Helvault" icon on the life counter/d20?)
I admire the efforts that Wizards are taking to try and rescue the pre-release format, but it looks as though the teething troubles are very far from over.
I was initially happy with my tokens and spindown die, and the guy I gave the useless oversized angel to seemed happy with that as well, but then I found out that other people got stuff that would easily sell for $200 on eBay. Good for them, but what did those people do to deserve such obscenely better treatment than the rest of us? Now when I look at the stuff I got, all I can do is feel bad thinking about what I didn't get.
Sure, I still got something for free...
I got a free shafting.
But it's not too late to rectify the situation! All it takes is some cardboard. Just print more of the premium stuff to distribute it to everyone who missed out, and everybody will be overjoyed after all!