Tuesday, September 6, 2011

this is not a kneejerk reaction to the planeswalker points system

I’m not going to write about the new Planeswalker Points system. Yes, it’s a fundamental change to an element of Magic that’s gone mostly un-fucked-with for quite some time now. It also gives us a new number to slap down on the table for all to admire. Is it a good system long-term? I don’t know. It doesn’t rate who the best players are, that’s for sure, but it’s not really designed to do that. Will it drive more people to play competitively more often, thus spending more time and money on Magic? That’s the hope, obviously. It probably will.

The pattern is thus: Wizards announces some change to something long-established. It is good for some people and/or things, bad for some people and/or things. The people it is good for and/or those who like the things it is good for praise the new, noting how it is good for them and/or the things it is good for. The people it is bad for and/or the people who support the things it is bad for detest the new, noting how it is bad for them and/or the things it is bad for. The latter group (the players, not the things) is vastly more likely to write long articles beginning with “Dear Wizards,” or some other such overdramatic epistolary introduction. The former group will note, with possible abundant usage of the “rolleyes” emoticon, that every change leads to a “sky is falling” reaction. While somewhat correct, this pro-Wizards reaction to anti-Wizards reactionary sentiment is just as predictable. Kneejerk negativity without logical merit does not mean the thing they’re reacting to is the hottest shit on the planet.

If I wrote about the Planeswalker Points system, I could probably get it published by a website with bigger readership. Since it would probably be mostly negative (negativity is a good deal easier and many multiples more fun to write), people that agree with a dim, vaguely Peter Principle-inspired view of Wizards employees would gleefully link it to one another, patting themselves on the back because someone who writes in longform takes the same position they do. The site I sent it to would probably hire me back to write whateverthehell, and it would pay for another pair of sneakers (I just bought two).

In my attempt to not write about Planeswalker Points, I’ll be basically alone. We’re only on Day Zero here, so expect a huge wave in the next week. Even the more well-written articles will be inherently mediocre, for the same reason that all kneejerk set reviews are: not enough time has gone by to see how things play out in reality. When people (who disregard my exceedingly sage advice) write some stupid shit in response to this announcement, I’m not even going to write an article calling them out for the amount of spittle that must have gone into writing it, or for their grammatical mistakes in sentences like “Wizards is neither capable of running a legitimate business, or deserving of my hard earned dollars.” I’m not that petty. I’m going to be way more brutal this time around. I’ll just wait, sitting over here, taking it all in. Letting the bullshit wash over me like a bath in a Detroit fountain. Then, six months from now, when everyone has accepted that the new system is mostly just “eh” and has some good and bad parts to it, I’ll relink that emotional explosion of an article all over the internet. I’ll staple it to people’s doors like the Martin Luther of Magic. They will never live it down. That is my personal promise.

Here’s the takeaway: step back from Twitter for a minute. Breathe. If you’re writing an article about it, you probably shouldn’t. If you absolutely must, try to think about whether what you’re stating is immediately obvious to anyone who reads the announcement, then avoid saying those things. Wait for clarification from Wizards before you take a few sentences out of context and imagine them to be talking about something way broader than the current subject. Don’t demand that all the changes be immediately reverted, because Wizards doesn’t revert changes like this: they’ve been planning this shit for years and are going forward with it, fuck your opinion. That’s for the kneejerk haters.

For the pro-Wizards crowd: The Magic Show is bad. Way to bury your announcement that you’re gutting the StarCityGames Open stipends that go to people for showing up to every single one of your tournaments, because you know that with the Planeswalker Points system, people will play every week anyway. Tttthhhhbbbbbttttt.


Post a Comment