Monday, May 14, 2012

WPN Boy: Avacyn Restored Revisited

Wanted to put out a quick follow-up to the last post (regarding the Avacyn Restored prereleases). This one should be relatively short.

Did we make Advanced?

Thankfully, yes! After an email to WPN, the extremely helpful Linda was able to get the two players who had dropped from the event at Beyond Comics put back in, thus allowing them to count as players 31 and 32. We therefore hit all the requirements, and both stores are officially Advanced Level now. Huzzah!
Words cannot express how happy I was to see this!

More musing on the Helvault

After I had posted my prerelease experience, including my thoughts on the Helvault promotion, I found out something that disturbed me a great deal.

It turns out that the "premium" Helvaults (the ones with the foil tokens, oversized cards, and extra super-expensive promos) were only given out to some Advanced Level stores (only 30 of the 6000 Helvaults sent out were premium - the full story is here). This means that we never even had a chance at one of the premium Helvaults, as we were not Advanced at the time.

As I am sure none of you will be surprised at, this did NOT make me happy. Wizards of the Coast/WPN should NOT be doing promotions that would ever encourage players to pick the higher level stores over the lower ones. The higher level stores already have the advantage - that's how they got to the higher level in the first place! I can already see players calling up a store and saying "Hello. I'd like to preregister for your prerelease. Are you an Advanced Level store? No? Oh, sorry. Never mind."

Now for the good news: Helene Bergeot, in a tweet in reply to my rather acerbic comments on this, said (I'm paraphrasing from memory here) "we learn from our mistakes." I take this as a positive for two reasons:
  1. It is acknowledgement that this was a mistake;
  2. It indicates that (hopefully) they will not do this again.

Launch Parties

Our Launch Party and our "Launch Party". Ah, yes. Time to discuss another recent WPN decision that I am still not happy about.

The official Launch Parties used to be on the weekend of the release of a new set. They could be scheduled for the Friday, Saturday or Sunday of that weekend. Like prereleases, the formats that could be run were a short list, but Launch Party promos were sent to stores that registered to run one. These events could be scheduled regardless of the store's WPN Level, making them a great way for a new Gateway Level site to get a big event in and help them get to Core.

Now the Launch Party promos are instead tied to the Friday Night Magic of the release date. Only if a store signs up for FNM that week do they get the special promo cards. I've discussed this before, but here's a quick list of the problems I've thought of (or had pointed out to me) to remind you:
  • It leaves Gateway Level stores out of the running, since they can't run FNMs (and Launch Parties were the only "special events" a Gateway Level store could run);
  • It leaves out any store (regardless of Level) that can't (or doesn't want to) run an FNM;
  • It leaves out players who can't (or don't want to) attend an FNM;
  • It prevents players from attending multiple Launch Parties in a weekend (something many people like to do);
  • In my particular case it takes our Friday night Launches (which were unique in our area) and makes them generic.
We did end up with 20 players (our most comfortable maximum) at the Friday event at Beyond Comics, including a few players who had never played there before. However, the event at Novel Places the next day - our "Launch Party" (in quotes as it was not an official one) - had only 4 players (including myself). As this was a Draft event, it was not the most exciting event ever.

The event had many things going against it. I had decided to run it at 3 pm, as a few players had indicated that a later start for our Saturday events would mean they could more likely make it. Of course, none of these players actually made it to this one. Second, a Draft event for a brand new format this quickly may not be that attractive to my player base. They want a bit more time to get to know the cards better before trying to draft it. Third, Avacyn Restored is, according to a lot of the players in my group who really like skill-intensive play, not very skill-intensive. It seems to very much be "get the big creatures in play and bash face with them." And, of course, I'm sure the lack of actual Launch Party promos did not help matters.

So, I will continue (probably in vain) to hold out hope that WotC/WPN will reinstate the Launch Parties of old. They recently undid a change that was only two sets old. With Dark Ascension and Avacyn Restored they linked the Buy-a-Box promotion to the prerelease - if you signed up to run a prerelease, you were automatically signed up for the Buy-a-Box promotion as well. As of Magic 2013 (the nest set to be released, in July), they are back to making them separate sign-ups. If they can reverse a program policy change that quickly, maybe the Launch Party change can be reversed quickly as well (although this first requires that they actually see this as being a mistake, which I have yet to see any indication of).


1 comment:

Justin D-Z said...

I assume that the player Limited criticism included my own, vociferous as it was. My objection was mostly with Sealed, which felt like a coin flip when you opened your packs followed by a coin flip when you played. Black was even more of a dead color than in draft. Although a few games were good, most of them were the least interactive games I've ever played in Limited (short of t2 Stalker, t3 Cleaver on the play!).

That said, I think draft is not as bad. Had I not been tied up with family stuff, I would have showed up to draft.