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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Jun 09 2014 12:00pm
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Hello hello!  If you've been reading my Sealed Success series, you'll know I've been "hyping" the Magic Online Community Cup for a good while now, and the time for nominations is finally here!  If you'd like to nominate someone to represent the community in the Magic Online Community Cup, please click the link here.  Today I'd like to talk about the brief history of the Magic Online Community Cup, what it's meant in the past and what it means today.

Magic Online Community Challenge Cup

Now, I've been talking about the Magic Online Community Cup but what is it really?  I did a little research and this is what I found.  The Community Cup was founded in 2009 and the Community Team consisted of 8 members, 4 from Magic Online Press/Gaming, and 4 of the Magic Online Community Leaders.  As far as I know, there weren't any nominations involved, but I could be wrong here.  The Team would then take on the Wizards team and if the Community Team won, the Magic Online community would benefit as a whole, in this case 1 free Momir Vig Avatar.  You can find the team and announcement here.

In 2010 the Community Team consisted of 6 members of the Magic Online community and 3 members of the press.  The Community Team won once again and the Magic Online community reaped the benefits with 1 free Mirrodin Block Draft set.  Once again I was unable to find if there were any nominations or not, but the more important thing is that the team was heavy MTGO based at the time.  You can find the team and announcement here

2011 brings me the first instance that nominations were provided, and it gives us a very good look at what WOTC was looking for in the Community Team.  From the article itself (link is here

"When recommending potential players, keep the following thoughts in mind:

What are this person's contributions to Magic Online while in the game? Tirelessly running PRE events in the casual room, creating and sustain casual formats, and helping new players get started are all things that fall into this category.

What is his or her contribution to the Magic Online community outside of the game? Constant conversation in the forums, answering questions, and/or being proactive in the community has all helped previous players get selected.

What does this person do to help raise awareness for Magic Online? Game play articles on non-digital sites, draft videos, and Tweets about MTGO are all fine ways to expand public awareness about Magic Online.

How well will this person represent the community at the event? Are they a good sport or a win at all costs type. Do they advocate for the players as a whole? How gracefully will they handle losing?"  (Italics are for emphasis)

There was also a thread for discussing what users thought would make a good member of the team, and there was definitely some discussion about whether it should be a good player/grinder, or someone who actively contributes to the community.  I found one response to be the epitome of what the majority of people were saying: "The CCC is to recognize and celebrate those who contribute to the community, not the best players. Now, if some of the best players *also* contribute to the community by writing interesting articles, hosting events, and helping out new players, I have no problem inviting them. But this event is not for providing more rewards to good players who spend lots of time on MTGO. Those players already have their own events in MOCS and the PotY race." - bubba0077 (Italics are for emphasis)

In 2012 nominations were open again and much like last year, the suggested criteria for nominating someone for the team consisted of Magic Online centered questions. (Link can be found here)  The thing that stuck out to me was what they said when they were describing the event:

"If you've never heard of it, the Community Cup is a way for the Magic Online team to thank a handful of dedicated community members for their commitment and contribution to Magic Online. How? We fly them all the way out to the Wizards of the Coast in Renton, WA, and challenge them to several rounds of Magic Online for the right to claim the Erik "Hamtastic" Friborg Memorial Trophy. Not only is pride at stake, because let's face it, which Community Team wants to be the first team to ever lose against Wizards?, but so is a special reward for the Magic Online Community - at least for those who participate in games during the event."

The 2012 team managed to mix in a few pros into the team and was the first team to lose to the Wizards team that year.

Lastly, last year's team offered the same requirements for nominations and while there were a few pros mixed in, the majority of the team were Magic Online streamers.  Most of them had a twitch.tv account and regularly streamed throughout the weekdays. 

So far we've seen a pattern when it comes to the Magic Online Community Cup.  Most of the nominees have been avid Magic Online users and primarily known more for their Magic Online play than actual paper play.  Most names aren't recognizable to the public but I recognize their usernames and know what they've contributed to the Magic Online community.  It stands to reason that this trend will continue, and is the focus of the event itself.

Without further ado, I present to you the 2014 Community Cup!  Wait...what?

The missing Magic Online part of the cup notwithstanding, this year's announcement is extremely smaller than years past, and makes it seem less important than it used to be.  This announcement reads like anybody can be nominated, and it probably doesn't matter if they are a serious MTGO player or not.  There was certainly some confusion on Twitter, and after a few hours the page was "amended" to this:

A link to download Magic Online and not much else.  If I was a newer player, or just even a player with 1-2 year's experience, I'd look at this and say that this doesn't really tell me anything at all.  It's very vague about who should be nominated (other than guys/gals we like) and what the event actually is.  Whereas in years past there's been an actual article with information about the event and guidelines about nominations, this year is just a blurb.  That very vagueness inspired confusion on Twitter, and the answers only led to more confusion:

 

I'd like to not jump to conclusions here, but WOTC has been very particular about how they've handled these nomination posts in the past.  They've been very detailed as to what the event is, who should be nominated, and what guidelines you should ask yourself before nominating someone. They've always made it clear that this was about the Magic Online community, and made the rewards only for MTGO.  The trophy itself is named after Erik "Hamstatic" Friborg, an avid former member of the MTGO community.  Everything about this event in the past has been about Magic Online and especially the Magic Online community.

With the vagueness of this post, and the lack of clarity between what we should consider when making nominations, it seems like this is now the Magic Community Cup that uses Magic Online, rather than the Magic Online Community Cup.  While the former just uses the client as a way to host the event, the latter actively makes not just the client, but the users and community a part of the spectacle.  Given this tweet that I found buried in a Twitter conversation, it seems to me that it will be the former and not the latter.

 

A PR Aside

Something that has become quite apparent to me during this entire Twitter discussion is the fact that it's happening on Twitter.  I understand that Twitter is a great social media website and can be used to send news much more quickly and efficiently than email or constant website updates, but it shouldn't always be the place where misunderstandings get resolved.  Not to mention that not everybody has access to Twitter, or even wants to use Twitter for that matter.  When I saw the post, I was unclear as to if the event had changed or not, due to remembering the previous detailed posts about how the nominations should be for members of the Magic Online community.  I was not the only one, as numerous other members of the community took to Twitter to raise their concerns, but the thing that struck me the most was that Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa was also confused in regards to the post.  He hit the nail in the coffin quite clearly with this tweet:

 

A lot of this debacle could have been avoided by writing a clear, concise post about the Magic Online Community Cup and what WOTC was looking for in the nominations.  Even if it may be old news to most of the community, this is a community that grows and grows with each passing day.  There will be newer players looking at this post and dismiss it because the proper information isn't there.  This is quite frankly unacceptable.  Pulling from my own experience as a stage manager in college, giving incomplete information or not making information easily accessible was/is a grave offense.  As a stage manager you take on a PR role between the cast, crew, and production team, and failure to properly and effectively communicate with all parties leads to confusion, anger, and ultimately your own dismissal.

That doesn't even begin to consider the fact that a lot of the confusion was whether or not this was for the MTGO community, or the community at large, not if the event was going to use MTGO.  We KNOW it will use MTGO, that's how every single one has been.  But when you go for 5 years stating that the Magic Online Community Cup is for the Magic Online community, then suddenly just call it the Community Cup, we're left wondering if it's still for that same community, not if we'll be using the client.

A word of advice for anybody working at Wizards: please provide clear and concise information on your posts.  Be thorough and leave no doubt as to what is going on.  Don't wait for us to badger you on Twitter, preemptively figure out what needs to be said and convey that correctly.

Conclusion

So, what does this mean for us?  Right now it looks like the Community Cup is heading in a direction where it's just for the Magic Community at large, not the MTGO community.  Given how we've been treated this year (PTQs taken away, DE size reduction, amount of DE's restricted, inadequacies of the Beta Client, cancelled MOCS events), this just feels like another slap in the face of what little we had to call our own.  Even though I may not have been part of Magic Online since the inception of the Magic Online Community Cup, the fact of the matter is that most of my Magic comes from MTGO.  I've been writing articles for this site for well over a year now and all of it has had to do with Magic Online (be it PRE's or Beta Client reviews, or Sealed primers for MTGO only events).  This hurts, and I do not intend to let this go without a fight.

I would call on every single one of you to either make an account with Wizards and log in to nominate someone from the Magic Online community, and/or to make a nomination for someone that actively is involved and cares for the well-being of Magic Online.  All we can do at this point is make our voices heard and let WOTC know that the "Magic Online" part of the Community Cup shouldn't just be the platform in which we partake their challenge, but an integral part of what the event is about.  It should be about the Magic Online players, not those who just play on it.  This is something that has been given to us only, and now it seems like they want to take it away.  Paper Magic gets PTQs, GPs, PTs, Super Sunday Series, and a bunch of events that Magic Online might not ever have.  We used to have the MOCS, but who knows if that will come back permanently.  We used to have Leagues (yes, I wasn't around when they were up) but those haven't been back in years.  They shouldn't take this from us.  There's a reason why your nomination needs a Magic Online username in order to be nominated, and I know it's not because they need an account to play in the event.  It's because the event was made for the MAGIC ONLINE COMMUNITY, and that's how it should stay.

Once again, if you'd like to nominate someone, please feel free to do so using this link.

P.S. - If nothing else, I hope that this will help you endeavor to have a louder voice in the Magic Online community.  Just because we don't partake in real life Magic, that doesn't mean that our voices aren't real, that our thoughts and opinions don't have form, that we don't matter.  We do matter, even if it seems like we might not get listened to, we do matter.  We hear each other and we support each other.  Let's do that now and forever.

 

Thank you for reading.

14 Comments

Well said. This is yet by enderfall at Mon, 06/09/2014 - 14:06
enderfall's picture

Well said. This is yet another example of having something taken away from us. I hope that WotC is listening, but I have a feeling that they already have a short-list of players they want to invite before the "nomination" process even started.

Thanks for writing this by Paul Leicht at Mon, 06/09/2014 - 14:58
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Thanks for writing this article. In the past I have taken it upon myself to write such things. I have leaned away from being involved in MTGO and thus rooting for the CCC in the last few years (mainly because of anxieties over the direction the client is heading in and general malaise with the game itself (Haven't loved a set since NPH.) But it is a good thing to talk about what we as a community are doing, expecting and hoping for.

I no longer have the confidence I had several years ago when I even wrote a song for the event ("Multiball" inspired by Hamtastic.) In fact I find myself having trouble caring enough to think of a nominee though I have had fairly great success in picking winners.

As far as I recall only the very first one had no nomination process. The others were just a big opaque in the traditional WoTC way of not communicating very clearly. (Man, Paulo nailed that one.) There are certainly many deserving folks out there and I guess if I were pressed I could pick one but my interest has waned quite a bit. 5 events have occurred so far and instead of the community being more tight knit and eager for the event it is my impression that the event has become another PR and AD campaign for WOTC to repair the damage its poor communications and strategies have done to its reputation.

At least that's how I felt the last couple times and I can't see things getting better. My impression is they moved away from events that the Community dominates in (constructed, well explored formats) because they want to have a fighting chance and that strategy worked on the 4th event so perhaps that is the correct choice but it removes an essential element from the Cup: Community involvement. Nominations are all well and good and I am proud that I have had some tiny influence in helping make those decisions in the past but it seems rather trite in the long run.

With the community pitching in to help the team members learn and build decks in a format, it felt like a real victory when those team members went on to win their games. The process of becoming involved and interacting daily with people we might otherwise never rub noses with was as valuable to me as the games themselves and certainly mattered a great deal more than the "prizes" that have long since watered down to mere tokens.

I could even be bothered to by Rerepete at Mon, 06/09/2014 - 19:31
Rerepete's picture

I could even be bothered to log in during the last CCC

Well said. I really don't by AJ_Impy at Tue, 06/10/2014 - 06:37
AJ_Impy's picture
5

Well said. I really don't want to see Erik's trophy become devalued.

I find it really by enderfall at Tue, 06/10/2014 - 10:48
enderfall's picture

I find it really disrespectful that they don't even mention the trophy name anymore. It'd be as if the NHL stopped using the "Stanley Cup" finals to describe the championship and just started calling it the NHL Finals (or something similar).

Correction: In 2009, the by Kumagoro42 at Tue, 06/10/2014 - 07:24
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5

Correction: In 2009, the prize was not just one Momir avatar (they gave one free Momir pack to everyone at some other time), but a bunch of avatars of any player's choice – I don't remember the exact number, I think 5? Which means most players chose to get 5x of the alternate Serra Angel avatar, which was worth AN INSANE LOT at the time, and even if it immediately crashed, it was still pretty high if you managed to sell it fast when the bots started buying it again. I didn't even chose 5 of them and made about 40 tix out of the deal. That Community Cup is the reason no avatar is worth much anymore (except Momir and, for some reason, Tradewind Rider).

A trend that's worth noting is how the prizes kept progressively decreasing to almost nothing in following years, contributing to the feeling that the Community Cup is losing steam.

It was a tournament at the by Paul Leicht at Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:55
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It was a tournament at the start of 2010 in which you could win between 0 and 6 rounds of Momir which determined how many avatars of your choice you got.

I thought the real reason no by JXClaytor at Tue, 06/10/2014 - 23:20
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I thought the real reason no avatar was worth anything anymore was because they took away Vanguard.

I'm still pretty miffed at that decision. To me it just felt like it was a bit of laziness on their part.

That's the reason the avatars by Paul Leicht at Wed, 06/11/2014 - 14:37
Paul Leicht's picture

That's the reason the avatars like Necropotence and the like fell a lot but Serra Angel (alt) was a very rare avatar until the post CCC momir tourney.

According to the Magic Online by MarcosPMA at Tue, 06/10/2014 - 18:48
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According to the Magic Online blog: "After nominations have been made, community members with the most nominations will become the 2014 Community Team and will then be pitted against a team of the roughest, toughest Wizards employees in a gauntlet of Magic Online challenges."

http://community.wizards.com/content/blog/4099701

Imho it was always a by Paul Leicht at Tue, 06/10/2014 - 19:25
Paul Leicht's picture

Imho it was always a popularity contest a little bit but WOTC clearly had most of the say in the decisions. Sounds like this year they are just taking whomever the community votes for. Which may mean a lot of random people (not randoms) we've never heard of if we aren't involved in the larger community.

I see this as a good and bad thing. Good because there are plenty of people out there deserving of praise and acknowledgement and bad because it makes room for voting abuse via multiple accounts and may encourage the sort of "campaigning" that Josh and AJ were talking about today.

I don't know, I must not know by enderfall at Wed, 06/11/2014 - 00:02
enderfall's picture

I don't know, I must not know the real meaning of "nomination". If they want to count votes, then just call the thing voting. Nominations implies that someone could gain entry for having a better "resume" even with only a few nominations.

I think they have by Paul Leicht at Wed, 06/11/2014 - 14:36
Paul Leicht's picture

I think they have deliberately fogged the line between the two to give themselves slack. However the way they've written this years announcement causes me to think that they are more interested in the votes aspect than in the nominations aspect of the community participation.

It reads to me like it's by AJ_Impy at Thu, 06/12/2014 - 10:34
AJ_Impy's picture

It reads to me like it's being handled by a new guy unaware of what has previously transpired.