Misconception about "casual" players

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Misconception about "casual" players

Post  TobiH on Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:49 am

I think there is one serious misconception about the so-called "casual" players. And that is, that everyone starts playing Magic as a casual player.

Yes, the decks and formats (multiplayer, for example) played by beginners tend to resemble those of the self-proclaimed casual players, and beginning players are sometimes scared by the tournament scene and reluctant to join it, but that's not exactly the same as genuinely not being interested in competition!

Take me for example: When I started playing Magic, for the first few years I only ever played together with four friends. We never went to tournaments, but we read about the big tournaments and their winning decks (at first mainly in print magazines, later increasingly online) with great interest. And of course we tried to build good decks, only we were limited by a lack of understanding of how those decks worked and why some cards were good. (Additionally, we didn't own that many cards since we bought booster packs (never singles) from a big department store with *big* price-tags…)

I guess most of us went through this stage of *not being involved in the Magic scene*. Now, let's say you got a time-machine, went back in time, and (after buying a bunch of Black Lotusses, obv) you happen to meet your own younger self and his friends playing Magic. Ask them "Are you casual or competitive players?" I'm pretty certain you'd get some blank faces and possibly the answer: "We are Magic players!"

We, by way of being here, are very much involved in the Magic scene. And everyone that is, differentiates between casual and competitive, but those that aren't, simply don't!

Now Wizards estimates that there are millions and millions of Magic players all over the world. But only a tiny fraction of the total player base actively takes part in the scene. If we as the Players Union do only represent that tiny fraction, then our word doesn't carry much weight.

But indeed, my point is, that we don't! We also represent the beginner or the player who is still too young to aim for PT glory or the player who lives somewhere underdeveloped magic-wise or the player who simply doesn't know.

To be able to make a living off Magic – this is the dream, a dream, however, that might come true. And the influence of that dream reaches far beyond the ranks of the pros and PTQ players. Reading about it certainly had a massive effect on our group back then. To us the idea was: "when we're older, we'll also be pros." And there are people out there to whom it is "if I start spending more time on Magic, I, too, will be a pro" or at least "if I really wanted to, I'd be able to…"

After all, it is a dream – it doesn't have to be within one's grasp! It just has to be somewhere out there…


Concluding:

Yes, it is true, the Union does not and in all probability will not represent the genuine casual players – those who have become involved, but have decided that they don't want to play in tournaments and never will, and don't want to see decklists as a suggestion for their own decks, and don't want to see coverage, and don't want to be able to point to the Pro Tour when asked about their game by outsiders. (Guess what, if you go by this definition of "casual", then suddenly casual players no longer make up the vast majority!)

On the other hand, the Union certainly represents all the players that are "casual" just for the simple reason that they lack knowledge and/or options to be anything else.

Because of this I believe the Union can rightfully claim to represent not a small minority but in fact the majority of players!

TobiH

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Re: Misconception about "casual" players

Post  occisor on Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:37 pm

I agree with much if your post, but I thik there is a problem with your definition of a casual player - it's too black and white. While there are those players who don't want any competative play and players that hunger for "the dream", there a a large number that would consider themselves competative players, but have no urge to go for the pro tour.

For example, a great many people play MtG while at university or college. These players like PTQ's, they got to FNM and the occasional GP. Their trianig to be a lawyer or a doctor, they have no intrest whatsoever in "the dream" - they're going to make 3x what they could on the tour and still have time to carry on playing at local events and PTQ's. There are all those players that like taking quirky decks along to events (You know, that irritating player you play in the nd round who has a deck that loses to just about the whole field escept YOUR deck!). These players are'nt in it for the pro tour, they judt want to smash some face at the PTQ, where they get to try out against other players not from their local store. There are even those people like me who like to play magic, but secretly know that they are never going to be the best player in the room (like mid table teams in any number of sports leagues), but enjoy trying. Now are any of these players really casual? I would think so - and they also like watching coverage and reading about decklists, but their agenda will be different to the pros. That doesn't mean they can't be represented by the Union, just that they might feel some of their interests are not being represented.

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Re: Misconception about "casual" players

Post  TobiH on Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:14 pm

You are right, further clarification is needed. Players like those you describe are neither casual nor competitive, but somewhere in between. Still, the idea, that a career as professional magic player is viable, influences them. "They also like watching coverage and reading about decklists" just as you said, furthermore they might justify their hobby by pointing at the Pro Tour, and possibly at least the concept of *if I wanted to, I could* appeals to them.

are any of these players really casual? I would think so

Well, in my definition they are not. Not truely, at least. As I said, casual players are not represented by the Union, whereas those types of players should be and – to some extent – are already represented.

Basically, my point is, that the Union should include anyone who believes that a healthy professional play structure is important to Magic's well-being – excluding only the "hardcore" casual players!

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Re: Misconception about "casual" players

Post  occisor on Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:38 pm

Basically, my point is, that the Union should include anyone who believes that a healthy professional play structure is important to Magic's well-being – excluding only the "hardcore" casual players!

I'll Go with that - people who are dedicated to NOT being involved on the MTG scene will not care one way or another about the PT ect, but things like Champs in the UK (a completely non-pro event) being cancelled should be as much a concern of the Union as lvl 3 pro's not being paid appearence fees.

That being said, it may well be that the perception of the Union as being solely concerned with Pro-payouts needs to be corrected.

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Re: Misconception about "casual" players

Post  gleemax on Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:03 pm

Heres the definition that Frank provided "The union represents PTQ players (also referred to as Pro Tour Aspirants, PTAs) and pro players (20+ pro points), not the casual players, i.e. the people that are hunting for Pro Points and that are most affected by the changes described above."

So even as you described yourself earlier "We never went to tournaments, but we read about the big tournaments and their winning decks (at first mainly in print magazines, later increasingly online) with great interest." By the unions own definition, you would not be represented at this stage. Sure the union could, and probably needs to, revise it's definition of who they represent. But if we broaden that definition, then we must also take into account more issues and goals of those other players. From your own example it would seem young you might be upset Inquest went under and would want the Union to address the issue of returning Magic to the Magazine buisness.

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Re: Misconception about "casual" players

Post  MagicRage on Sat Feb 23, 2008 7:21 pm

For these people you describe who want to play tournaments (PTQs, Champs, FNM) but not be "true competitive" players what do you feel WotC & OP can do to motivate them to play more that is different from what they can offer to the Pro Tour Aspiring (PTA) players? More promos cards for entering the event and/or given out randomly?
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Re: Misconception about "casual" players

Post  gleemax on Sun Feb 24, 2008 8:28 am

maybe they could up the MPR system and have a higher reward points for certain events, like GPs net you double points or something.
Also better rares too, foil MRP tarmo would be like sending people cash.

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Re: Misconception about "casual" players

Post  kcolloran on Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:19 am

For these people you describe who want to play tournaments (PTQs, Champs, FNM) but not be "true competitive" players what do you feel WotC & OP can do to motivate them to play more that is different from what they can offer to the Pro Tour Aspiring (PTA) players?

I think the biggest thing they could do here is focus on more organize play events of casual formats. Just because something is organized doesn't mean it has to be uber-competitive. Free-for-all and other multiplayer events, pauper magic, highlander tournaments would all be a start I think. Secondly they could run events that are strictly low levels rule enforcement, where players are encouraged to help each other learn the rules and so on without punishing people for small mistakes like they do in many tournament settings. Another would be to have prizes for things other than pure finish. For example if there was a prize for say "most interesting deck" that could motivate players who like to play unusual decks to come out with their "cereal deck" or their "love deck" or their "sheltering ancient combo deck" or their "centaur deck" or whatever.

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Re: Misconception about "casual" players

Post  BurnBait on Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:23 am

As was mentioned by Evan Erwin on his magic show, a good idea would be to allow the judges of a particular event to hand out a prize equal to that of first place (This is a rough idea. Don't roast me because things like SCG's 5K open wouldn't fork up that much cash.) that they could hand out to a player of their choice. Whether that player brought, as you say, their love deck and actually won a round, fought from beneath three challice of the void, or was simply a really good sport and a fine samaritan. It would promote a slightly less competitive environment for the guys who don't want to fight tooth and nail for every victory, and would give more incentive for new, casual players to show up to things like FNM. In the end, I think it's safe to say that the extra business would more than make up for the loss of additional product, and the thriving market would benefit from the casual players who watched the local pro pull off some funny remand tricks, and decided to become more competitive themselves.

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