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By: ArchGenius, Marcus Rehnberg
Nov 29 2009 12:22pm
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It seems like everyone does an article about which draft format is more profitable using probability, skill level, and expected value.  While this is interesting, it is not all that in depth, because it's obvious that 4-3-2-2 is not that great of a deal because it gives out 1 less booster pack than Swiss and 8-4.  There are good psychological reasons to play it, and therefore it gets a reasonable reception. 

However what about all the other tournaments out there?  There are several options for where to spend your tickets, and they each have different advantages and disadvantages in terms of time, expected value, and of course the fun factor.  So, let's take a look at some of them... 

First a couple of key points about statistics and numbers.

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Chance Encounter

Don't trust the numbers...

Winning percentages are not static.  They change quite often in fact.  For instance I may win 66% of my matches in Swiss, but only 33% of my matches in a 8-4 draft.  Your opponent's skill level changes your winning percentage. 

Here are a couple of other factors that will change your winning percentage.

A) If you are playing with a new constructed deck

B) If you are playing in draft or sealed deck in an unfamiliar environment

C) If you're tired, distracted, drunk, angry, sad, or impatient

D) If you are playing in the first round of a swiss tournament versus the last round.  The more you win in swiss, the more difficult your opponents will be.  Therefore you winning percentage will change based on your record.

E) Different environments have players with different skill levels, so which format you play determines your winning percentage. A mediocre Pro Tour player will probably dominate a tournament in the local card shop of his home town.

So, why do I use static win percentages, if they are not very accurate?  Because they give us a very general way to look at the formats and compare them in terms of prizes.  Using dynamic win percentages for matches is almost impossible because how much your win percentage changes each round varies on far too many factors that can't be measured.  Every player is more skilled at some formats over other formats. This guide is mainly meant to be a started point as to what players of varying skill levels should expect in prizes from various formats.

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Coalition Victory

Anything can happen in the short run.

Expected Value statistics take effect in the long run.  The long run is usually over 100 matches.  Most players don't that many matches. In the short run, anything can happen.  I've seen poor players beat stronger players all the time.  Even if you're not that confident in your playing skills, you should try out some tournaments, because it's the best way to improve, and you still have that chance to win.

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Exhaustion

No one plays enough games to have data on the long run.

I often see articles where players attach winning percentages to certain match-ups. I would bet that 99% of these winning percentages are inaccurate because A) the article's author probably hasn't played the match-up a statistical number of times (over 100) and B) each player's skill level and sideboarding tech plays a major role in win percentages. C) Even if you manage to play 100 matches, your knowledge and ability at that match-up will then be much better than the average player you would face in an actual event. 

Basically never take win percentages for match-ups on face value.  Match-ups can be "good", "bad", or "about equal." Anything beyond that is probably inaccurate.

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Vampire Hexmage

Popular versus Powerful

The most popular deck in a format may not be the best.  If Vampires shows up in 6 out of 8 of any given top 8 in Zendikar Block, that may mean that Vampires is the best deck, but it may mean that Vampires is an easy deck to pick up and play and 80% of the field is playing that deck because they "believe" it is that good.

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Greed

Profit versus Fun

Draft and Sealed deck tournaments are not nearly as profitable as constructed tournaments.  However draft and sealed deck tournaments require no prep work.  You don't have to practice a deck and work out the details of how it plays and how you should sideboard in order to play successfully. Draft and Sealed Deck tournaments are also fun.  I'm not advocating that you stop playing these tournaments because of their profitability, I'm just trying to be informative. 

Now, let's look at some numbers....  Pink numbers mean that you're expected to lose money in the long run. Blue numbers mean you either break even or make a profit on the long run.  The 33%, 50%, 66% win ratios are designed to be a benchmark shorthand for a below average player, an average player, and a great player.

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2-Man Constructed Tournaments
Prize Expected Value at 33% Win Ratio Expected Value at 50% Win Ratio Expected Value at 66% Win Ratio
ME3 (3.0) -$1.00 -$0.50 $0.00
Zendikar (3.8) -$0.73 -$0.10 $0.53
M2010 (4.0) -$0.67 $0.00 $0.67

 

Daily Contructed Tournaments
Prize 33% Win Ratio 50% Win Ratio 66% Win Ratio
ME3 (3.0) -$3.81 $0.56 $7.63
Zendikar (3.8) -$3.23 $2.31 $11.26
M2010 (4.0) -$3.09 $2.75 $12.17

 



 

Weekend Challenges (24 Players)

  Expected Value (in tickets) Expected Value (in tickets) Expected Value (in tickets)
  33% Win Ratio 50% Win Ratio 66% Win Ratio
M2010 (4.0) $1.68 $14.04 $37.16
Zendikar (3.8) $1.29 $13.03 $35.00
ME3 (3.0) -$0.24 $9.03 $26.37


 

Weekend Challenges (32 Players)
      Expected Value (in tickets) Expected Value (in tickets) Expected Value (in tickets)
      33% Win Ratio 50% Win Ratio 66% Win Ratio
M2010 (4.0) -$1.78 $10.09 $33.26
Zendikar (3.8) -$1.99 $9.29 $31.30
ME3 (3.0) -$2.83 $6.07 $23.44


 

Daily Swiss Draft Tournament - Expected Value (tickets)*
    33% Win Ratio 50% Win Ratio 66% Win Ratio
    -$6.00 -$4.00 -$2.00

*Based on getting an average of $4 in sell-able cards per draft.


Daily Sealed Deck Tournament*
    Expected Value (in tickets)
    33% Win Ratio 50% Win Ratio 66% Win Ratio
    -$11.53 -$4.75 $3.73
*Based on getting an average of $8 in sell-able cards per sealed deck.

Some simple observations
1. The Weekend Challenges are by far the best deal as far as prizes go.
 

If there isn't much of a turn out for a weekend challenge, even poor players have an expected value profit.  Therefore if you're thinking of trying out a typically low attendance weekend challenge such as 100 CS or Standard Singleton, give it a try even if you don't have much time for testing or fine tuning of a deck.  You're not risking much, and there is a lot to gain.  (Also, on a personal note, I think the singleton formats are some of the most fun constructed formats that Magic Online offers.) 

2. Constructed tournaments have a better payout than drafts and sealed decks.

This is fairly obvious, but still worth pointing out.  In the long run, not even great players make a profit off of drafts.  Constructed tournaments are a different story.


3. The resale value of the packs that are awarded make some formats much more profitable than other formats.
 

Right now the only packs that retain any significant value are M2010 and Zendikar.  Draft and sealed deck tournaments use boosters about 20-30 times faster than any of the other draft and sealed deck formats. (which includes ME3, ACR, Shadowmoor block, Tempest block, etc)  Therefore there is much greater demand for Zendikar and M2010 boosters than any other booster.  Thus the boosters for anything else drop in value to the point that they make very poor prizes.  Thus formats that give those boosters out in prizes (classic, 100cs, and extended) have a much lower expected value than formats that give out "better" boosters (pauper, standard singleton, standard, and zendikar block)  In my previous article, I mentioned that WotC really should combine all of the old out-of-print boosters into a classic booster in order to alleviate this problem and other problems as well.  If you are in favor of this let me know (in the comments).  I would like to know how much support I can gather for this idea.

Full details can be found in this article. 

 

Well, I hope this information is helpful to you if you are planning on trying out a new tournament structure.  

- Marcus - Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand on Magic Online

ArchGenius@aol.com

 

24 Comments

Classic Booster by Zimbardo at Sun, 11/29/2009 - 13:04
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Combining classic packs into one booster would be great. Nevertheless, I remain pessimistic that WotC will ever let players exercise choice over the prizes they get.

When ME3 came out, I was really happy that we got switched from Tempest/Stronghold prizes to ME3, but ME3 only stayed above 3.5 tickets for a short while. As long as the older sets are being released one right after the other (four in 2010), I think we can limp along with payouts in the most recent classic set. After Masques and Master's Edition are finished, though, it will be murder to pay out in classic sets - the packs will be totally undraftable, as opposed to practically undraftable like they are now. At that point, we really need the classic formats to award packs of the newest block or core set. I'll heave a huge sigh of relief if that happens, because paying out in these older sets really hamstrings the classic formats.

Given the amount of changes by ArchGenius at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 00:52
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Given the amount of changes that have been made in the past year, I think WotC is quite willing to make changes. Especially ones that encourage play and remove difficulties.

very nice by whiffy at Sun, 11/29/2009 - 15:55
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i liked the article very much, it was a nice change of pace for the site and something that people need to know even if they dont know they needf to know it.

as for combined classic pack pay outs. This is a grand idea in theory and as long as the packs are not being sold in the store it makes a lot of sence, unfortunatly there is always at least 1 classic set on sale in the online store so that puts a kybosh on wotc's bottom line. also what if i want to just open a pack? if its a classic pack to i get a random set? or do i get to pick which set i would open a pack from? I think that it would be a no go for both of these reasons, what wotc should do to help alleviate the price drop of me3 and tempest block is stagger the prizes on a weekly basis, ie. week 1 what ever is the currant core set, week 2 the currant med set, week 3 the current block , week 4 the current classic block ie tempest/stronghold/exodus all these would be for classic based prizes. What may happen is that on weeks 2 and 4 the events dont fire because no one wants packs worth less then 3.5, this is fine because it will show wotc that they deffenatly need to change the pay out. staggering the payout could also help raise the price of indivdual classic packs as well since there only being given out 1 week in every 4 instaed of every week. Or what i would personally enjoy is a split payout. lets say for instance you go 3-1 in a classic daily, currently you would get 6x me3, how about 3x me3 and 3x m10??

just my thoughts

I think staggering the pack by ArchGenius at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 01:06
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I think staggering the pack payout for classic events is a relatively harmless way for WotC to test to see if the pack payout effects the firing rate of classic tournaments. (I know they've done some pack switching for pauper in the past) I'm convinced that this will show a significant impact, however I'm not sure how much of an impact this will have.

The problem with staggering the payout of classic events is that it doesn't do anything to address the long term CYCLICAL problem that classic packs are just so worthless because classic drafts rarely fire, and classic packs are hard to exchange.

My idea is that as long as a set is sold in the store, it is not covered by the classic pack. Only packs that are truly out-of-print are classic. (Tempest and Stronghold wouldn't be classic until Exodus rotates out) As long as packs can be bought in the store matching up packs to create a draft set is feasible. WotC can make it so this won't compete with packs in the store.

I don't think the inability to crack classic packs is a deal breaker. I don't necessarily think many players other than dealers, want to go around cracking packs outside of tournaments.

I found the article very by Flippers_Giraffe at Sun, 11/29/2009 - 19:40
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I found the article very informative, I'm one of those players who has never taken that final step to try and play one of their decks in an event. I've played in the TP room (mainly classic) but when it comes to paying to play I always doubt my deck too much and decide to save the tickets.

very nice article by TugaChampion at Sun, 11/29/2009 - 20:07
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I already knew most of the stuff but didn't know about the Weekend challenges as I've never tried them.

Also it's easy to sell ZZZ for 12 if you are not in a hurry as the prices fluctuate a bit and sometimes the bots are selling ZZZ for 11.97. If you put ZZZ for sale for 12 at that time some people will buy from you because 0.03 is almost irrelevant and that way they're supporting the humans.

About the prizes I think that all the prizes (except for draft and sealeds) should be awarded in a booster X which you could choose to be any booster (except the out of print ones). Something like that would certainlly improve the playability of some formats. For limited it obviously makes sense rewards of the same kind.

Also improving 4-3-2-2 to 5-3-2-2 would also be a good improvement.

Well, I would like it if by ArchGenius at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 01:19
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Well, I would like it if 4-3-2-2 were changed to 5-4-2-2. Unfortunetly I think that falls into the category of, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. 4-3-2-2 drafts fire at a reasonable rate for Zendikar and M2010 drafts when compared to SWISS and 8-4, so WotC probably doesn't see a problem with them, even if it seems unfair to us that the extra pack is missing.

The classic draft and constructed tournament firing rates are abyssmal. That is a problem that WotC may want to change.

Booster Prizes by Katastrophe at Sun, 11/29/2009 - 21:43
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I like the suggestion to play the less popular daily events for easy prizes.

Being able to choose your prize packs (or receive wildcard packs instead) would have a negative effect on the economy of singles prices. I heard that Wizards intentionally flooded the system with MED2 right as it was going offline. I'm sure lots of people immediately used those packs to enter another event, so no harm done there. But then when you're done playing MED2 "for free" as many people did then you'll probably have 3 or 4 packs left over. Some people probably cracked them, or maybe cracked them all along. But if those were wildcard boosters then people would've either sold them or transmuted them into non-MED2 boosters for other events. And for sets like Stronghold and MED1 that no one wants to crack, this is disastrous. At least when ME3 hits 3 tix/pack it makes drafting that set so much cheaper that the EV goes up. Drafts for 11 tix also encourage budget players. Also, ME3 boosters only have to reach 2 tix before they become worth it for the duals lands *alone*. So drafting ME3 at 3.1 tickets is probably a pretty good time. And this is all intentional by Wizards.

I'm confused. How does my by ArchGenius at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 01:15
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I'm confused. How does my classic pack idea have a negative effect on single's prices?

Also, have you seen the firing rate for ME3 drafts? That is the reason ME3 packs are so cheap. One ME3 draft fires about every 2-3 hours. I don't think WotC designed it so that players would have to wait an average of about 2 hours to start a ME3 draft. I would think that WotC would like the idea of increasing the firing rate of some of these draft queues.

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From WoTC's view, each and every one of your tables would be exactly the same in each column. This is because, to WoTC, each pack is worth exactly $3.99. Believe me when I tell you they aren't fond of viewing events by EV - though they aren't putting their head in the sand on the issue either.

The 2nd market should take care of itself. If packs are easier to obtain on the 2nd market than they are from WoTC, they expect that will simply up the drafting rate on those packs. This is also why they can get away with removing the classic sets from the store so quickly - there is simply a point where not enough people are online at the same time who want to draft those sets, so they kill the sales of those sets. For sets like Stronghold, this is pretty quick. MED3 had a very, very good run and lasted a couple of moths (and still fires off drafts, which is incredible) and so while having constructed payouts in MED3 does lower EV, WoTC is not going to make changes just so assuage concerns that you can't SELL YOUR PACKS for full value on the 2nd market.

To them, 3x of the packs and 2 tix will still get you an event. So long as that is true, they see EV of $3.99 on each and every pack given out. And even if you think that is a crazy way to look at things - that is how the accountants at WoTC HAVE to operate. Operating in any other way would be racketeering (making claims of value beyond the primary market for items you are the sole supplier of the primary market).

I fully acknowledge that WotC by ArchGenius at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 10:50
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I fully acknowledge that WotC probably isn't that interested in the secondary market for packs.

My main concern is the utility of those packs. If a draft queue doesn't fire, or if it takes several hours for it to fire, then that isn't good for WotC and it isn't good for those of us who have those packs.

I wish I had adequate statistics on how often the draft queues fire. The only data I have is based on observation of which drafts are in progress and which have finished for the last 3 hours. Every time I've looked, which is about 6 times a week, there's about 60 Zendikar Drafts, 30 M2010 drafts, and less than 10 of all the other drafts combined.

I wish I could do a detailed article on those statistics, however I don't have a method to gather accurate data.

To make this a little clearer, here's an analogy...

Zendikar and M2010 packs are like gift certificates to Walmart. They are readily usable and you can easily use them or exchange them for what you want.

Stronghold and ME3 packs are like gift certificates to the Halloween Store. They are only useable once in a while, and only if you are interested in buying a halloween costume.

WotC probably sees one gift certificate as being equal to any other gift certificate because they own all the stores. However if one kind of gift certificate is not being used, and people ignore the events that award those gift certificates, then WotC might want to do something about it.

dangerlinto's picture

Again, you are looking at it from the view of only how to *best* use the pack. If it's worth getting into a draft, you use it that way, if it's not, can you sell it. Those, sadly are not the only ways to use a pack of cards. You can always just crack open the MED3 packs.

What that means is that any suggestions to improve participation *CAN'T* just be to rotate and recycle the pack distribution, because in most part that is meaningless extra work to WoTC.

An "uber-pack" that can just be turned into any pack at the store (though I still like this idea) has much of the same problem. Everyone will just take whatever pack is worth the most and then sell it until all the packs are devalued to $3.99, or likely slighty past that point, much like what happened with Tix once WoTC killed the Tix float.

Sadly, I don't have any solutions to the problem - not perfect ones anyway.

That being said, the reason I bring this all up is the last point of your article "The resale value of the packs that are awarded make some formats much more profitable than other formats."

... You say that like it is some sort of problem. Ever since Type 2 was invented, Magic has been set up to work this way.

I see it more like an area of by ArchGenius at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 12:12
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I see it more like an area of magic that could use some improvement. Just because it has always been that way, doesn't mean it can't be improved.

Yes, you could just open the packs because they can't be used for anything else. Of course the main reason I started Magic Online to begin with is because packs can be used as entrance fees to tournaments. I've spent much more money on Magic Online than I would have spent on paper magic and I don't even claim to be close to going infinite, however I still like the concept that you can continue playing for free if you do well enough in tournaments. It's an attractive feature of Magic Online.

And yes, programming a generic classic pack will take some programming work up front but it also saves some work for WotC in the long run. Once something like a generic classic pack is in place...

1) Classic Events, Classic Drafts, and Classic Sealed Events will never need to rotate packs, and they will always have the same prizes.

2) Redundant Queues can be eliminated (no more Nix-Tix and Nix-Pax Queues for the same set.)

3) WotC can run daily classic set sealed events without worrying about whether or not players have the packs to enter those tournaments. (IE deciding whether or not it should be (packs and tix) or 30 tix entry fee.)

4) WotC can rotate draft queues more easily and reduce the number of draft queues available at any one time.

Perhaps I wasn't clear. by dangerlinto at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 16:09
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I'm not saying it should be that way because it's always been that way. In fact - it WASN'T always that way - I played when there was only one type of Magic. In fact, I stopped playing paper pretty much right before the type 2 format was introduced.

The reason it is that way is because WoTC *wants* to reward players more for keeping up-to-date with all their releases. It's how they best make money.

Like I said, the "generic pack" has some benefits, but it will also have drawbacks, not the least of which is a sort of "heat death" on the trading of packs - there are too many factors to really predict that - but it's a possiblity. Also, unless those packs have an expiry date (something I think you'd find harder to program than you think - what if you have 240 packs in stock all with diff expiry dates?) WoTC has also lost on the sense of urgency to USE those packs before drafts are no longer available for said set.

I really want to urge the community to start moving away from the concept that somehow pack payout can be fixed to prop up Constructed play. If there was one thing that was abundantly clear the the impromptu round-table at the Community Cup, it was that they'd pretty much listened to every suggestion ever made and found them all wanting in some way or another. There was literally nothing we could say that they weren't immediately ready to poke a hole in or squash immediately. Not in a bad way, but in a very constructive "here's why what you suggest won't work".

There has to be other ways to accomplish the goal. Alternate options via more programming would be great, but even WOTC knows how turtle-like they are in that regard. There is something out there that would get non-STD/Block constructed going without the problems associated with EV. I just wish I could think of it.

This is the classic by platipus10 at Tue, 12/01/2009 - 11:08
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This is the classic communication problem that WotC continuously has. Sure a small minority of CCC players may have sat around with the WotC guys this one time, and WotC told specifically those people why their ideas don't work, but that doesn't let the community in general know why. Just as Archgenius said he is perfectly willing to modify his idea to constructive criticism and so are many other people who truly want to come up with a viable solution.

If WotC were able to communicate the problems with ideas they could have an entire player base helping to come up with solutions. I'm not saying they need to entertain every crazy idea that people have, but serious ideas that have obviously had a decent amount of thought which are trying to address valid problems such as the generic classic pack idea. Currently players are taking stabs in the dark trying to help. This often becomes frustrating when players think they have a great idea, but they don't know what the problem is because they do not have the same view point and data that WotC has. I'm sure there is a solution, but I believe it will take feedback going both ways.

Thank you for reminding me by ArchGenius at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 16:11
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Thank you for reminding me that you were a part of the community cup. I had forgotten that you've talked with the Magic Online guys about issues such as these. I have no idea what you discussed in the round table however I don't want to beat a dead horse into the ground by discussing an idea that has already been discussed and rejected by WotC for some reason that I might not see due to the fact that I'm outside the company looking in.

Having said that, I like adjusting ideas to address criticism. How about this.

1) The entrance fee and prizes for classic drafts are changed to the current standard core set (M2010). [I'm guessing this can be done with the current coding, because prizes can be manually adjusted and entrance fees can be set to tickets or packs and tickets.]
2) The prizes for classic constructed tournaments are also changed to the current standard core set.

Result:
A) The core set packs act like a generic booster for older sets such as IPA but not for other recent sets like Zendikar.
B) People need to stay current on boosters. The prize packs for older drafts remain somewhat useful but become obsolete with the next core set.
C) Classic era constructed has a decent prize that most likely won't burn out.

Just like with the first by sanhedrin (not verified) at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 16:49
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Just like with the first article, I’ll loudly voice my support for Classic Packs.

I think Wizards is VERY interested in the MODO secondary market for packs, and has said so in the past if I remember. It’s just like with cardboard Magic: WotC doesn’t want unsold boxes of product sitting in stores, even though Wizards has already been paid for them. They want them out the door so that stores will order more, and they want people to get them in their hands so THEY will want more! What’s more, ~WIZARDS~ is the card store for MODO! So of course they want those classic packs sold. Offering a Classic Pack for limited events means WotC is making profit that they wouldn’t have otherwise. With Classic Packs, people would still be buying “Onslaught” product.

Reopening previously closed income streams – now THAT’S easy money.

Old packs could still be used in drafts. You could run a MD5 draft with a Darksteel pack and 2 Classic Packs, for instance.

I think that coding the implementation of Classic Packs would be actually relatively easy.

Good Discussion by Zimbardo at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 20:37
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How about scheduling draft queues ahead of time within short windows (like 3 hours) at certain times so people interested in Mirage or Tempest know exactly when a draft is likely to fire? These sets obviously don't have critical mass to fire continuously, but maybe they'd fire consistently if the window of time was short enough and infrequent enough. I think there are some drafters out there who'd like to draft these sets, but we need a better way for them to find each other, because they are not necessarily willing to wait around for hours just to draft a classic set.

Maybe it's a bad idea. I'm just trying to think of a possible solution to this problem that doesn't require anybody to a) officially recognize that the market value of packs is not always 3.99 or b) somehow make Mirage block more fun to draft.

When you're not allowed to acknowledge some of the salient facts (expected value), this becomes a pretty difficult problem.

Limited by Zimbardo at Mon, 11/30/2009 - 21:00
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I must say, it's frustrating to me that the WotC business plan requires that I be interested in playing limited. I'm just not. It wastes too much money. The REAL costs of those formats are simply too high for my budget or my level of interest. Having said that, I am willing to pay the lower costs associated with playing constructed. And I'm not an evil customer who is never willing to spend anything - my plan is to update my singleton collection for each and every new set that comes out. Why is there not a place for me in the business plan? I'm a player who is willing to spend money buying tickets so I can buy singles and play in constructed events. They should just pay out tickets as prizes to these events. Why is it necessary for me to put up with the hassle of going to the secondary market to exchange prizes that I do not want? It's like giving a football helmet to the winner of a marathon.

Edit: Yes, I understand that it's bad for Wizards if tickets have a way to get into the system other than through the store.

I get it - limited and constructed are supposed to have a symbiotic relationship. But, that becomes an issue if one of the formats is less popular than the other - it causes the less popular format to harm the good format. I'm not sure if that is the case, but I do know that I enjoy constructed 100CS and do not particularly enjoy drafting the classic sets. For somebody like me, a reduction in the price of packs is not enough to make me want to draft. If there are more people like me than people who just want to draft, then we get exactly this problem. I think Wizards' model assumes that my preferences are quite elastic with respect to the price of packs, but they are not.

Try to address this all by dangerlinto at Tue, 12/01/2009 - 12:06
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There is a big problem here, as Platipus mentioned. As a 2nd party to the info (3rd in some way), you have to remember that for the most part WoTC isn't allowed to discuss legal matters anywhere. You can guess why - more legal matters - they can get in trouble. So when you have great idea and it seems to simply sink, that causes an issue. Exasperating the issue is that even if they said "there is a legal issue" they can't talk about it specifically - which makes it hard to discuss further. It sort of just ends the discussion right then and there. I suppose if you were a conspiracy theorist, you could imagine they could always hide behind that excuse, but if you honestly think they willfully avoid using obviously good plans I've got some swamp in Florida to sell you.

I truly apologize if you feel the people who were at the CCC haven't done their best to divulge everything we learned, but honestly, it's not like we're hiding anything. We are just passing on what *we* were told. It's not like we're guardians of some secret storehouse of information. You've got it all. The only things it seems we didn't express well beyond the factual bits were things that aren't always as apparent communicating digitally - which doesn't help that the only way I have to communicate them to all of you now is once again via type.

1) They listen - they really do. They honestly feel the handcuffing just as much (and in some ways more - or don't you think they have their own idea we haven't thought of?) than we do. You have no reason to not keep coming up with great ideas. They will spend longer thinking about the good ones than probably the people who came up with the idea in the first place - they get PAID to do that. That was very apparent.

2) They think a lot more long term that the community as a whole generally does. Which in some ways is sad, because it makes them more vulnerable to short term problems. Think about MTGO for a sec, really hard, and you'll see that twists and turns are everywhere, but they are still on a line for good things.

3) They are a corporation. They can't throw money at people and problems in much the same way that the corporation you work for (If you don't work for one, ask someone who does) doesn't just throw money and people at problems. They are much less nimble in many ways that you might think. You don't really get that feeling, I think, until you walk into their office building - or at the very least it's so much more poignant. But I get the feeling some people think WoTC is just like a really big version of their local card store where they sit around an play games all day - at least they throw suggestions at WoTC in much the same manner they would throw a suggestion to Generic Comic Book Store Owner. The world of big money doesn't work that way. You have to look at it from every angle, asses, plan, then implement. That might take a day or it might take a decade.

Even after all that, I can't count the number of times that WoTC has said they have to get better at communication for MTGO. It has been their Achilles heel throughout their entire lifetime - the ebb has gotten very low indeed and the flow never rises very high either. Sadly, they rely heavily right now on community resources to disseminate, but core communication has to improve.

So by all means keep your suggestions coming. My intention wasn't to dissuade you from doing so, only to have you take a look at suggestions from another angle.

I wasn't trying to criticize by platipus10 at Tue, 12/01/2009 - 12:53
platipus10's picture

I wasn't trying to criticize you Danger for not telling us everything or thinking you were withholding info. I believe that you guys did a great job and have tried to tell as as much as you all could think of to communicate back to us.

It was more a criticism of WotC in that while the CCC was great, they need to realize that only the people who went got the direct view and line of communication that you did and not really the community as a whole. They need to keep this in mind and not think it is a substitute for communicating to the larger community more directly.

Also while I do believe that they consider and take time to think about many ideas, they do not really communicate that. I think many people would just like to know that it has been given thought. If the reason for rejection cannot be shared people will generally understand.

I work for a company and understand legal concerns, although we always tell our clients what the legal concern is. For instance we would say this idea is not possible because it violates gambling laws. Instead of just saying there are "legal concerns". Saying something like this does not open them up to any legal issues and it generally makes people happy to know a general reason why an idea won't work. It definitely can be a fine line to walk at times, but its one I think they need to learn to walk better.

Here's the problem: if they by Anonymous (not verified) at Tue, 12/01/2009 - 19:55
Anonymous's picture

Here's the problem: if they say "that runs into problems with gambling laws" WOTC may indeed be admitting that some of their MTGO stuff nudges up against "gambling" even though they'll claim it up and down to be a game of skill that is not beholden to gambling statutes. That's without getting into the multi and varied international law conflicts that they're skating next to already, and certainly don't want to pay to examine all the time.

By even saying "there are legal issues" they may create new legal issues that are not present in a by-rote denial, and certainly there is a "cost" to this risk that, apparently, outweighs the value of "goodwill" created by responding to every idea with "Not legal in Kentucky; gray area in a judicial ruling on gambling laws" or whatever.

I think this has been a good by ArchGenius at Wed, 12/02/2009 - 15:16
ArchGenius's picture

I think this has been a good conversation, and I'm planning on continuing to make suggestions on where I see the need for improvements.

I think it's very important to provide construct feedback. I don't really like criticizing anything too harshly unless I have a suggestion to make it better.

Communication is very important in situations like this, and I don't want WotC to think that all of our suggestions boil down to "give us more," "charge us less," or "spend money and fix it"

That's one of the reasons I by Paul Leicht at Wed, 12/02/2009 - 16:47
Paul Leicht's picture

That's one of the reasons I don't often comment on your drafts. I don't necessarily have the insights needed to help you draft/play better and frankly I don't often think you need it.

With criticizing WotC comes the burden of realizing that they are first and foremost a subsidiary of a huge multinational (Hasbro) and they must answer to their bosses expectations before they consider ours. So the criticisms can be fully valid and yet unrealistic in their demand. *shrugs* throw stuff up against the wall, see what sticks. It worked for Warhol.