Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What To Do About Magic Online, Part One

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you're probably familiar with my thoughts regarding the current state of affairs on Magic Online. I've discussed my own frustrations with the game in general, and even talked about how the transition to the new client, while very painful, is necessary to arrive at a better product in the end.

It's clear that things are not good at the moment. Every week I hear from different players in the community complaining about various bugs, crashes, and disconnects that make their experience difficult at best and impossible at worst. Then yesterday, for only the second time since I became the host of Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, I had to cancel an event due to a server crash.

Now there's no doubt that these issues have hurt the Standard Pauper community. Not that long ago, our weekly Player Run Event was drawing as many as 40 players every week; now we're lucky if we reach the upper teens in attendance. Not all of this can be blamed on the new client or its associated difficulties. But all the data I've seen points to a mass exodus from Magic Online from the casual crowd, which is certainly a major part of the Standard Pauper community.

So what should be done? In the midst of this mess, what should the Standard Pauper community do?

Unfortunately, the most common answer has been to quit playing altogether. Now, I can understand this decision. If I were simply a casual player looking for some fun games, or just looking to win enough prizes to continue to purchase the new Commons as they come out, I probably would quit too. But here's the thing: those aren't my goals. No, the reason I play, the reason I write articles and blogposts, the reason I make videos, the reason I host MPDC is simple: I want to see Standard Pauper grow and thrive to the point where Wizards has no choice but to make it a sanctioned format on Magic Online. That's why I stick it out. Because I strongly believe in this great format we call Standard Pauper. So should you.

And so today I have a simple message for the Standard Pauper community: Don't quit. Don't give up. Don't sell out. Don't walk away. We've come too far, had too much success, simply to give up when things get tough. Thanks to the tireless efforts of this community, we've seen Standard Pauper become an official format on Magic Online. But if the community vanishes, that official support will evaporate. It's happened to other casual formats before.

So what should we do instead? Good question. Thursday, I'll share my thoughts on that subject.


  1. Well, I sold all my non Std Pauper playables and most of the rest of my small collection. Adding to all MTGO problems, there's nothing like Std Pauper community in other formats. Every time I tried to join another format I had to face a lot of idiots who would quit the game without conceding if they lose the first game, letting me waiting until I realized they wouldn't play anymore. And when people wanted to actually play, there was a reasonable chance of MTGO bugs ruin our fun. So I decided only to play Std Pauper because playing anything else was like paying to be tortured, not really my thing.

    As long as I can find some free time to play and Std Pauper community keeps being friendly and competitive, I'll keep playing. Despite the abrupt decrease in our number of players, I've been seeing a lot of new faces in the JFF room and in our tournaments, so I have hope of a better future for Std Pauper, because no matter how erratic Wizards have been managing MTGO development, sooner or later they will have to have most of the issues fixed because they also affect the formats that give them more money.

  2. Trying to sell the few valuable cards that I own online as well and only keep STD Pauper... Would also like to see the format and attendance grow and thrive, but that's only possible when a nice playing experience is available for customers. Not really the case nowadays. I think all we can do is hope for better days, since customers opinions are not being taken for granted by WOTC anyway.
    At least we can remember what a smoooth game of MTG feels like, facing someone and interacting, because that's the best part of this game, at least for me.

  3. You can't do anything about MTGO. It got so frustrating that I stopped playing a few months ago and really haven't looked back. I now play Hearthstone and some Facebook style games and I really couldn't be happier giving these people my money for a well designed functional digital product.

    MTGO was given a 2 year long chance by me, but in the end I got so confused by the switch to v4 and ensuing crashes and issues that I decided it was finally time to give it up.