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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Dec 11 2008 8:59pm
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Editorial Section:

Can't we all just get along?

During the December town hall meeting a recurring theme seemed to come up: respect for players with different view points.  It's the crux of the "What is Casual" debate.  It's the crux of the "Team Decks ruining 2 Headed Giant" thread.  It's the crux of competitive players being angry at casual players for gettng more events at the expense of their events.  I wrote about the last piece of this once before, in my article Mark Rosewater and the Quest to Impale Spike.  But I've come to see that that was only one third of this issue.  There are two other pillars that need to be resolved.  I'm not so bold as to say I know how to fix these issues, but I think I finally have gotten a handle on what the base issues actually are.  Thanks to Ambitious for bringing this up and the premise of the three paties involved.

Issue #1: Creation of casual events at the cost of Competitive players.  This is in my previous article, but I'll re-hash and add a couple things here.  These 'Casual' events have almost always come at the cost of competitive players.  It used to be that anything that was to be won was won through a tournament.  Even if it didn't make any sense to do so.  I recall one tournament where the winner got to design a theme deck.  To the Casual players, that type of reward for winning a tournament doesn't make sense. 


Shouldn't it go to the person who, I don't know, built the best theme deck?  Lately, WotC has changed how these types of things are handled.  Now, instead of awarding the honor to a tournament winner, it's done in the public with people submitting ideas.  Great for the 'casual' folk but another blow to the tournament folks.


And it's actually quite palpable on the WotC forums.  Competitive players are, rightfully, upset that many aspects of their enjoyment have been changed for the worse to help bolster the casual community.  If I were a competitive player I'd be furious as well.

Issue #2: Casual Players and Cut-Throat players have to share the same space.  As I mentioned above, this is the crux behind a lot LOT of issues we see on the boards and in game.  Each side believes their way of playing Magic is the right way and obviously both can't be right so one must be wrong.  BULL.  Not a single one of us has the right to impose our will upon another.  Not in Magic, not in anything.  So someone doesn't want to play against faeries.  Let them play their freaking game and leave them in peace.  And the same goes the other way folks.  If a player only wants to play against 'good decks', don't join with your grizzlybear.dek and waste their time.  Neither of you is wrong to want your own play experience.  In fact, many formats we have today are because of people putting undue restrictions on their play experience.  Prismatic?  Taken from 5 Color, a 'house rules' format.  100CS?  Taken from Commander, taken from Elder Dragon Higlander, which was again, a 'house rules' format.  Emporer?  House rules.  3 Headed Giant?  House rules.  Pauper?  HOUSE.  FRIKKEN. RULES.  I don't see people telling Paupers they aren't playing real Magic because they're using only commons.  So what if the house rules of a person are 'no blue', or 'no team decks'?  If it weren't for people putting restrictions onto games MANY good formats would never have been created.


And as a point of reference, this is now a CoC enforcable thing.  If you constantly try to sabatoge games you don't like, WotC may take action against your account.  If you constantly get your games disrupted, report it to WotC here.  Neither side has to agree to play together, but both sides have to allow the other to play their game.

And lastly for this issue, comes the thoughts of 'unspoken rules'.  I've seen people say that no Land Destruction, Counterspells or Discard are unspoken rules of the Cas/Cas room.  Poppycock and balderdash!!!  You wan't to avoid something?  It's on YOU to make it known.  There is no unspoken rule of any room except that Magic will be played.  If you want to avoid Blue decks, say so.  Otherwise, expect anything and everything within the rules.  Also, this means no whining if you join a game without a description.  They're playing the basest form of Magic, which is, everything is allowed: no exceptions.  If that's not what you want, take steps to get what you want.  And remember that players can report violations of their requests to Magic Conduct.  Yo.

What did all that say above?

Respect the wishes of one another.

I don't know why that is so hard for us to do lately, but it seems to be getting worse and worse.  So I'm calling on all members of the community, and especially anyone who considers themselves to be a 'leader' in the community,  to lead by example.  Tell your friends and clanmates to show some respect.  Label your games as 'anything goes' or 'no blue, green or artifacts'.  And then, once you see the requests of others, respect their wishes and let them play their game without hassling them about it.  Magic has a great history of being flexible.  Of allowing people to enjoy this amazing game in whatever way they most desire.  Of allowing each player to impose crazy restrictions on the game to shape it into a customized experience.  I think we can do better at allowing that to happen on Magic Online.

Discussion Items:

More Pauper Format Requests -
This has come up a few times and I'll just reiterate the views that WotC has stated thus far.  Before they split a format, or add a new format, there needs to be enough information to justify the risk of the format change.  This means building up a pool of players, a community and showing WotC that the format change is worth supporting.  They're not going to spend the time to develop a format without first knowing that it is going to be a worthwhile endeavor.

Duel Decks: Divine vs Demonic -
This is kind of a way advanced announcement, but based on how cool the last ones were I thought we should be watching this as far in advance as possible.

Epic Tale -
Do you have an epic tale of Epic Fail?  Join the club!

MTGO Player Rewards Program Discussion -
Just general discussion.  Lots of good ideas, thoughts and banter regarding promos... until the last page or so when WotC_MattT accidently hits a dynamite vein...

Revenge of the Swoosh -
If any lurkers were waiting for the Foil Star to come back, it's happened!  SWOOSH!

One ticket and Respect Contests -
I've started a little series of contests in the MTGO contests folder.  They are little things that hopefully people are going to be doing anyway that will reward prizes.  Some examples:
Win a Draft with Sliver Damage, and Win a Prismatic game with Enduring Ideal, and Win a Game with Aluren in Play.  Pretty simple things so far that give back to the people playing the games and cards that I want to see talked about.

Card Prices:

I wonder what Tempest did for Classic...  let's take a peek...


Looks like a slight increase.  I wonder what the prices will do?  I won't have data next week as my informant is helping judge at Worlds, so we'll have to pick this back up then.

So what happened to single prices this week? 

Card name: Last Week This week Percentage Changed
Painter's Servant 1.15 2 73.91%
Oona, Queen of the Fae 0.4 0.6 50.00%
Condemn 0.25 0.35 40.00%
Glen Elendra Liege 0.3 0.4 33.33%
Wake Thrasher 2.75 3.5 27.27%
Profane Command 2 2.5 25.00%
Heritage Druid 0.2 0.25 25.00%
Sharuum the Hegemon 2.5 3 20.00%
Soul Spike 0.5 0.6 20.00%
Chandra Nalaar 1.5 1.75 16.67%

Card name: Last Week This week Amount Changed
Painter's Servant 1.15 2 0.85
Twilight Mire 6 6.75 0.75
Wake Thrasher 2.75 3.5 0.75
Sharuum the Hegemon 2.5 3 0.50
Profane Command 2 2.5 0.50
Chameleon Colossus 9 9.25 0.25
Chandra Nalaar 1.5 1.75 0.25
Glimmervoid 1.7 1.94 0.24
Idyllic Tutor 1.3 1.5 0.20
Oona, Queen of the Fae 0.4 0.6 0.20

Card name: Last Week This week Percentage Changed
Lobotomy 1.94 1.21 -37.63%
Harrow 0.38 0.24 -36.84%
Verdant Force 0.38 0.24 -36.84%
Overrun 0.72 0.48 -33.33%
Wall of Deceit 0.15 0.1 -33.33%
Ethereal Champion 0.35 0.24 -31.43%
Jabari's Influence 0.35 0.24 -31.43%
Flooded Shoreline 0.35 0.24 -31.43%
Sunweb 0.35 0.24 -31.43%
Ancestral Memories 0.35 0.24 -31.43%

Card name: Last Week This week Amount Changed
Orim's Chant 39.6 37.62 -1.98
Pernicious Deed 33.66 31.68 -1.98
Fact or Fiction 7 5.5 -1.50
Reflecting Pool 15.75 14.5 -1.25
Wrath of God 16.75 15.5 -1.25
Vindicate 34.65 33.66 -0.99
Wrath of God 14.85 13.86 -0.99
Meddling Mage 31.68 30.69 -0.99
Cryptic Command 10.75 10 -0.75
Lobotomy 1.94 1.21 -0.73

Removing the Tempest cards from the equation, the overall value of a 1x set of cards dropped 35.71 tickets this week to 3,643.37 tickets, or a fall of about one point (as they'd say on the stock market).


A pretty good week for MTGO.  There was a really fun town hall meeting last week, and I feel like the different sub-communities got together and actually had a chance to talk.  Even if nothing else comes out of the discussion than that, I still plan on keeping this going for the foreseeable future.


Card Prices by Lee(Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 12/18/2008 - 14:45
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I see 2 Wrath of Gods in the card price change section, is one of those supposed to be Damnation?

Brilliant Article by Huma at Sat, 12/13/2008 - 13:23
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Great discussion.

1) Loyalty program from WOTC would be great.
2) Loyalty program or not, peeps who bully and harass others will still see being MTGO as being about 'dominating' others.
3) The community on MTGO is not large enough to dismiss new users as being irrelevant, or okay to dismiss through trash talk.
4) We each have a responsibility to extend respect to our peers.
5) Counterspells and LD represent a cheap way of buying a place at a 2hg table. As a new player you can influence the outcome, without spending the tix. Like all parts of magic the absence of change makes something dull, but we aren't 'helping' peeps deck build by trash talking them, or by disconnecting from their game if they play a card we don't like.


Brilliant Article by Huma at Sat, 12/13/2008 - 13:14
Huma's picture

There needs to bea real commitment to this. It is fairly easy to get into a flame war, and point out a stupid play, or mistake, or card you don't like. BUT your opponent has a right to play whatever the description said they could.

Loyalty rewards from WOTC would be good. (Please) But as the saying goes if you think every is a nail, you will still use your hammer. Players need to make a choice to help newer players, or players who don't have access to the same card pool. Counters can be a cheap way of buying a place at a table where your contribution is meaninful. (Annoying to some, but meaningful). LD is the same. Can be cheap, does matter to the game. Can matter more than the $ spell if the $ spell can't be cast.

 The 'we are the only' group 'i am am the only person' who 'gets magic' as it is meant to be played, attitude. Has only one future - and it will exclude players. The best environment will include more players, and to include more players we have lto make a choice to make them feel included.

Forgive the noob for trashtalking your expert ass - he doesn't know you spend 18 hours a day online, and haven't lost a game since 2001. The biggest problem I see, however, is players who should know better. I am guilty as any, at times, at stating the painful obvious.

 Lastly, text is not a very robust communication medium. Sarcasm VERY RARELY translates as intended. Misunderstandings are many. Apologise if you said something that has been misunderstood, and try not to offend.

 MTGO is such a fun game, and MOST of the players are brilliant, engaging, fun, interesting, good humoured people. Lets not suck the fun out of it by letting the minority turn it in to "Lord of the Flies".


by Civilized Chaos(Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/12/2008 - 15:40
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I enjoyed the article, and have noticed a deteriation of sportsmanship and manners in MTGO.  It is kind of sad, but that can also be said of our society in general.  It is easy to hide behind a computer screen.  I'm just a johnny, that loves playing and building decks, trying to use cards that are not normally seen.  I play only in the casual room, and have never entered an event.  I have played thousands of duels and every time I see sniping between folks as to what is causal and what should be tourney.  I have no answers but it is very frustrating to observe.  I get killed by turn 3-4 everytime I run into a tourney deck, and I will win most of the time against the newbies, who probably think my deck is way to tough, just because of the their lack of experience.   

Clearly the world is becoming more tech savay, as we all spend more time on the pc that than we should.  So I think MTGO should lean to meet that future world wide potential.  Just a couple of off the cuff ideas that might help MTGO grow.

Take the time limit off redemtions.  People might just keep playing with them on MTGO if the did not have to rush to redeem them. 

Create an additional reward system for online play.  Amount of tourneys entered.  Amount of duels completed.  The largest number of completed duels against different opponents.  Tie the reward system to what you want.....more play.

Sell complete sets of MTGO cards in edition to the starter decks and boosters.  I see lots of complaints about have difficult it is to get the really strong rares even with buying 50 booster packs or whatever. 

Lower the price a bit.  If 30-50% of the sales are already from MTGO as widely reported, it seems the world is sending a clear signal that MTGO is preferred to face to face meetings in hobby stores.  The whole world is driven by supply and demand.  Lower the price slowly incrementally, and the demand would probably grow.  In time we may get to have MTGO tourneys face to face with our laptops on MTGO in a hobby store.  No cards to spill drinks on.  The don't get wrinkled, marked etc.

Good luck to all, and I hope the game continues to grow.

by hamtastic at Fri, 12/12/2008 - 07:24
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Yeah.  It took me a while to really piece together the problems.  It was Javasci's comments in the town hall meeting that really cast it into my focus, though.  The casual and cutthroat player gets nothing from WotC currently (in the means of payback for playing), only the competitive players get promo cards and opportunities for cool things.  The competitive players *should* be the main focus of prize support, but that has been stolen and given to casual players.  And the cut-throat (non-competitive, not 'just casual') players get diddly squat and are getting sick of all the love towards Casual and Competitive players.

And it's starting to come to a head.

I don't know what's to be done besides treat everyone I play against with respect and ask my fellow players to do the same.  

by hamtastic at Fri, 12/12/2008 - 07:15
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Thank you for the kind words!  I do have the data for each card each week, so it seems doable that I can trend hot cards over a few weeks at a time.  I'll look into it and hopefully have some charts like those next week!

good article, as always by one million words at Fri, 12/12/2008 - 05:42
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Maybe, someday, the MTGO community will be large enough that it can fracture into a million little subgroups with their own likes and dislikes, and we can have a room for the no counter folks, and a room for the coordinated 2HG folks, and on and on. 

 We aren't there yet.  We are not even close.

The simple fact is that the Magic Online community is small enough that we have to worry wether formats - and the game itself - can survive.  It will if we let it grow, and the ony way to do that is to welcome new players, and not do things to piss off the existing players.  We all still need to be civil, polite even, and respect each other's wishes - if for no other reason than because we - as the MTGO community - cannot afford to have too many players leave in discuss.

Yes, I know that lots of you can be complete assholes at times.  You don't need to prove it.  Play nice.  It's not just a good idea, it's the only way we can make the game prosper.


by Mictom(Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/12/2008 - 05:39
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first, i love to see your article every week, more than any other article about MTGO.

i love to see your price charts, too. is there any way you can expand this category without having too much work? i mean, on a weekly basis it is interesting especially when worlds is going to be held soon, i expect some cards going up in price pretty fast. but often i think it might be more interesting to see a two- or four-week span to see longterm differences. for example, when day 1 of berlin went on, tezzeret gained i think almost 300% (from 4 to almost 16 tix) but since then it lost gradually and now it is back at 4 tix. this, you could show in a longterm chart and i think it is very interesting... well, at least for me :)

 keep up the good work