Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why I Won't Boycott Magic Online

On Sunday, Twitter exploded with rage over a bug with Magic Online where the renown Luis Scott-Vargas had his win-condition shuffled away by Ponder even though he clearly clicked no on the client. Of course, this happened during an evening stream with hundreds of people watching, so it got immediate widespread attention. Lots of people were quite upset by this, and rightly so. But by far the most widespread comment I saw was that the best solution was simply to boycott Magic Online until things get better. Here's a small sampling of the tweets:

Despite all this rage, I don't believe that boycotting Magic Online is the right solution to the problem. Here's why:
  1. It offers what I can't get elsewhere. At the end of the day, Magic Online is really my only outlet to play Magic the Gathering in general, and Standard Pauper in particular. Magic Online allows me to do that on my own schedule and from the comfort of my home. And even though the client is plagued with bugs currently, it still offers me an experience I can't get anywhere else.
  2. I've invested too much. Interestingly enough, this isn't really a financial issue for me. In fact, I've probably spent less than $50 total on Magic Online; maybe less than $30. But I've devoted countless hours to hosting MPDC, writing articles, making videos, chatting with players, and enjoying Limited and Standard Pauper matches. Boycotting Magic Online essentially means throwing all that way.
  3. Having a voice requires keeping a seat at the table. Who is Wizards more likely to listen to? Someone who quit the games months ago and is still angry about the whole thing, or a current player who periodically gives feedback (both positive and negative)? If I want things to get better, I have to be willing to be part of the solution.
  4. I support vendors who depend on Magic Online revenue. So many of my positive experiences on Magic Online came because of sites like PureMTGO, ChannelFireball, MTGOAcademy, and MTGOTraders. These sites depend on Magic Online (at least in part) for their revenue. It's not their fault that the client is a mess. I want to do my part to support these great organizations and the people behind them.
And of course, as I've written about earlier this month, Magic Online is the best hope for Standard Pauper. There's no way I'm giving up on that!

So that's why I won't boycott Magic Online. I'm invested for the duration. And I think you should be too.


  1. Gabe Carleton-Barnes said it well on the hipstersofthecoast site:

    "It feels sort of dishonest to ask for reimbursement when Magic Online breaks, you know? I knew what I was getting involved with when I logged in: it’s been the same story for over a decade."

  2. I respectfully disagree. Boycotting is one thing. But asking for a refund when a bug impacts an event you paid to play in is quite another. I have argued that WotC should improve their reimbursement policies in the past, and I encourage players to make use of them. If nothing else, this gives WotC further evidence of what these bugs are costing them.

  3. It's a shame you seized on the irrelevant point when I was trying to back you up there. What I am saying, and what Gabe is saying is that mtgo is, and always has been full of bugs, and it's overreacting to expect anything different. Refunds are nice, but I don't imagine wotc lose much to that. If mtgo is ever to achieve the promise of no bugs then it probably would have to come from a culture change at wotc.

  4. It would be nice if every paper booster pack had a code that gave you an MTG Online booster pack. And, as well, to put more effort into removing bugs.