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Spectators


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Reply to topic    Magic-League.com Forum Index -> Magic-League Tournaments

What do you think about spectators?
Always allow spectators
61%
 61%  [ 8 ]
Allow players to protect their games with passwords
38%
 38%  [ 5 ]
Total Votes : 13

Author Message
seeBanane
Level 3 Judge


Joined: 27 Apr 2015
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 6:27 pm    Post subject: Spectators Reply with quote

Hey guys,

I would like to have a clause added to the tournament rules that games must not be password protected. In my opinion it is not in the spirit of a fair game if most of the people allow spectators, but a certain few insist on barring their games from them. This is particularly annoying when people have to wait for the last one or two matches to finish and can't even check how the last match is going.
It is standard procedure at paper Magic events to allow spectators at any time. I do not think that allowing spectators makes scouting more unfair than otherwise, mainly because people will still be able to ask other people for what they played. In the worst case scenario this leads to a group of players who write down the decks their opponents have played and share this information with a select few other players. It would be more fair to give everyone the same chance.
Asking for password-protected games seems to me like asking a judge to play in a seperated room. It simply complicates things and has no use.
On a side note, it leaves a foul stench when the same judges who are playing in the tournament gain extra information by answering to judge calls within matches and thereby seeing what the players are playing, this is the same reason why at Comp REL events judges cannot participate in the tournament if they're judging/checking decklists.
What do you think?
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Jinete_dV
Level 3 Judge


Joined: 08 Feb 2015
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

imo disallowing for anyone to scout your game is a luxury available to us.
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_Godica



Joined: 26 Nov 2012
Posts: 254

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 6:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Spectators Reply with quote

seeBanane wrote:
In my opinion it is not in the spirit of a fair game if most of the people allow spectators, but a certain few insist on barring their games from them.

As long as everyone gets the same option, then it is fair -- regardless of whether or not most choose to make use of that option.

seeBanane wrote:
This is particularly annoying when people have to wait for the last one or two matches to finish and can't even check how the last match is going.

If you can look at a board state and tell how long the game will continue, then please teach me how you do it. I can't do this with a very high accuracy unless it is clearly almost over.

seeBanane wrote:
It is standard procedure at paper Magic events to allow spectators at any time.

Magic-League is not paper magic.

seeBanane wrote:
I do not think that allowing spectators makes scouting more unfair than otherwise, mainly because people will still be able to ask other people for what they played.

Are you assuming everyone (or even most people) will answer this? If so, why are you assuming that?

seeBanane wrote:
It would be more fair to give everyone the same chance.

Why is this more fair than giving anyone the choice to play a game without spectators? That also gives everyone the same chance.

seeBanane wrote:
On a side note, it leaves a foul stench when the same judges who are playing in the tournament gain extra information by answering to judge calls within matches and thereby seeing what the players are playing, this is the same reason why at Comp REL events judges cannot participate in the tournament if they're judging/checking decklists.

Judges running Masters do not play in the event. I also don't see what this has to do with the issue at hand. Do you have a proposed solution?
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Grok



Joined: 08 Feb 2015
Posts: 138

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with seeBanane for multiple reasons:

1. Allowing people to request special circumstances leads to delays, disruption, and friction between players in a tournament. I witnessed a situation earlier in the week when one player created a room (that was not password protected) and waited for his opponent to join. His opponent then created a different room, with password protection, and refused to join the room that went up first. They argued for a while, delaying the tournament, until the judge threatened to give a match loss to the player with the unprotected room. Then the player who demanded special treatment didn't give the correct password to his opponent, delaying the tournament further. At a certain point you have to admit that smooth, timely tournaments are more valuable than catering to a tiny subsection of the Magic-League user base. Wizards learned when to make concessions to tournament logistics long ago.

2. Plenty of people use the spectate function for both entertainment and education, especially those not involved in the same tournament. If I don't feel like playing at night, I will often see if there are any interesting games to spectate on Cockatrice or watch on Twitch.tv. In both cases I get to see how other people value certain cards and why they take certain lines of play. I wouldn't have bothered pursuing Magic at all if I wasn't able to learn by watching others on this platform. Taking that away is a real cost to the player base, especially for newer players. The fact that people sometimes scout is inconsequential in comparison, which leads me to my next point.

3. We're playing for peanuts. I haven't been on Magic-League for very long, but I'm constantly baffled by the rules-lawyering and strict enforcement for minor penalties. We're playing games for either rating (which means nothing) or $30 (which is less than you can win at FNM, also basically nothing). Why are we pretending this is something it's not? We're playing the game on an illegal platform for free. Chill out and let people have fun once in a while. If they want to scout, whatever, it doesn't really change anything because there's nothing at stake.

4. You can't completely eradicate scouting. This was a point brought up in an article on Channelfireball recently (Matt Sperling?). He pointed out that in a perfect world, competitive Magic would be played without knowledge of your opponent's deck. However, because you can never eliminate scouting completely, we should get rid of the unfair advantage some people obtain and publish all the decklists immediately. Similarly, although Magic-League is not competitive Magic and the benefits of scouting are small, you can't get rid of it completely. People will still share their opponent's decklists with each other (people have done this for me before when I didn't ask, they just blurted it out). Judges will get to see password protected rooms whenever they want. If you truly want a level playing field, Magic-League could easily post everyone's decklists as the tournament begins. Heck, they do that in the top 8 of pro tours, and most tournaments here are smaller than that anyway. But because Magic-League is decidedly not competitive Magic, I don't think that's necessary. Just don't give people the option to opt out of spectators.

5. The votes are in. Of the people that care enough to read this thread, the vast majority prefer spectators. Denying what most of your user base wants is a bad idea.
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derflippi
Level 4 Judge


Joined: 19 Mar 2005
Posts: 1402
Location: Weiterstad

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So far, we handled it like this:

in most matches, let players decide themselves. Do not intervene into spec/nonspec etc.

in Master Top8 / Trial Finals, request them to allow spectators without chat without "can see everything".

Magic-League Administration is following the discussions about this topic with great interest, but we won't create a policy in either direction as of now, as that might be shortsighted. We want to value every aspect for this first.

I'd also like to stress that the platform games are played on is not illegal. If it was illegal, it'd be put down by a legal entity.
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Grok



Joined: 08 Feb 2015
Posts: 138

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

derflippi wrote:
I'd also like to stress that the platform games are played on is not illegal. If it was illegal, it'd be put down by a legal entity.


The original Cockatrice developer and server was shut down when Wizards sent a cease and desist letter citing copyright infringement. Even though the actual code of Cockatrice does not include anything Magic related, the fact that it is primarily used as a free proxy service and designed with copyrighted elements from the card game (such as "tapping") means that Wizards had cause to file a suit. They were protecting their intellectual property and getting rid of a free competitor to MTGO.

Any illusions you have that we are not stealing from Wizards when we use Cockatrice are false. What we are doing is illegal. Printing out and using paper proxies is also illegal, but Wizards doesn't enforce it because it would be too costly.

A few programmers continue to update Cockatrice's code, and Woogerworks took over as the primary server, but if Wizards had access to the addresses of anyone involved you can bet they would send another cease and desist letter.
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derflippi
Level 4 Judge


Joined: 19 Mar 2005
Posts: 1402
Location: Weiterstad

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Magic-League also received a C&D some time ago. It is groundless, that's how Magic-League continues its operation.
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Grok



Joined: 08 Feb 2015
Posts: 138

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

derflippi wrote:
Magic-League also received a C&D some time ago. It is groundless, that's how Magic-League continues its operation.


Just because they decided not to pursue legal action does not mean their claim is groundless. If they wanted to, they could bankrupt you by ensnaring you in a lengthy court case. Instead they probably decided to try to scare you with a letter and that spending additional money on a case wouldn't be worth it. I'm glad you weren't intimidated, but know that if they wanted to they could shut down the current iterations Magic-League and Cockatrice. The original developer of Cockatrice spoke to a lawyer and all of these things were explained clearly enough that he opted to not risk going to court.
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_Godica



Joined: 26 Nov 2012
Posts: 254

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grok wrote:
1. Allowing people to request special circumstances leads to delays, disruption, and friction between players in a tournament. I witnessed a situation earlier in the week when one player created a room (that was not password protected) and waited for his opponent to join. His opponent then created a different room, with password protection, and refused to join the room that went up first. They argued for a while, delaying the tournament, until the judge threatened to give a match loss to the player with the unprotected room. Then the player who demanded special treatment didn't give the correct password to his opponent, delaying the tournament further. At a certain point you have to admit that smooth, timely tournaments are more valuable than catering to a tiny subsection of the Magic-League user base. Wizards learned when to make concessions to tournament logistics long ago.


Again, even if most people choose not to use it, the option to play in a passworded room is available to everyone. Choosing to make use of it is not "requesting special circumstances" or "demanding special treatment." Do you even know what those words mean?

When one player refuses to follow the rules, the judge is correct to tell him to either follow them or be penalized. Don't blame the delay on the rules, blame it on whoever wasn't willing to follow them.

Grok wrote:
2. Plenty of people use the spectate function for both entertainment and education, especially those not involved in the same tournament. If I don't feel like playing at night, I will often see if there are any interesting games to spectate on Cockatrice or watch on Twitch.tv. In both cases I get to see how other people value certain cards and why they take certain lines of play. I wouldn't have bothered pursuing Magic at all if I wasn't able to learn by watching others on this platform. Taking that away is a real cost to the player base, especially for newer players. The fact that people sometimes scout is inconsequential in comparison, which leads me to my next point.


Do you really think that giving M-L players the option to play without spectators is harmful to the M-L player base? Can you provide any evidence for this claim?

Grok wrote:
3. We're playing for peanuts. I haven't been on Magic-League for very long, but I'm constantly baffled by the rules-lawyering and strict enforcement for minor penalties. We're playing games for either rating (which means nothing) or $30 (which is less than you can win at FNM, also basically nothing). Why are we pretending this is something it's not? We're playing the game on an illegal platform for free. Chill out and let people have fun once in a while. If they want to scout, whatever, it doesn't really change anything because there's nothing at stake.


Many people (myself included) use M-L as a place to practice playing in a competitive REL environment. The rules enforcement is the ONLY reason to play in an M-L tourney instead of just finding a game on the main Cockatrice server.

Grok wrote:
4. You can't completely eradicate scouting. This was a point brought up in an article on Channelfireball recently (Matt Sperling?). He pointed out that in a perfect world, competitive Magic would be played without knowledge of your opponent's deck. However, because you can never eliminate scouting completely, we should get rid of the unfair advantage some people obtain and publish all the decklists immediately. Similarly, although Magic-League is not competitive Magic and the benefits of scouting are small, you can't get rid of it completely. People will still share their opponent's decklists with each other (people have done this for me before when I didn't ask, they just blurted it out). Judges will get to see password protected rooms whenever they want. If you truly want a level playing field, Magic-League could easily post everyone's decklists as the tournament begins. Heck, they do that in the top 8 of pro tours, and most tournaments here are smaller than that anyway. But because Magic-League is decidedly not competitive Magic, I don't think that's necessary. Just don't give people the option to opt out of spectators.


You can't completely eradicate it from paper Magic, but look at Magic Online -- it is impossible to scout there. Why do you think M-L is more comparable to paper Magic than to Magic Online?

Grok wrote:
5. The votes are in. Of the people that care enough to read this thread, the vast majority prefer spectators. Denying what most of your user base wants is a bad idea.


If the majority wanted regular REL for Masters, would that be a good idea? What about if the majority wanted Standard to be the ONLY format for Trials and Masters? Or RFT to be the only format? At what point is it not correct to give the majority what it wants, and how are you certain that this issue is not beyond that point?
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FF3Fan



Joined: 28 Jun 2007
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Requesting compliance with a default rule is not a "special request."

Magic-League refers to itself as a "tournament body." It is the only place on the internet besides MTGO to play tournament magic. Maintaining a competitive environment should be a priority for M-L because competition is a core part of its identity. The minimal benefit gained from spectating for entertainment is not greater than the loss of competitive integrity.

Of course you cannot completely eradicate premeditated scouting--but passworded games deter "scouts of opportunity." Furthermore, the effort to do this is minimal--certainly passwording a game is less intrusive than the forced silence after pairings Sperling advocated in the article. As I said in the other thread, Magic-League is not stopping anyone from streaming games or sharing screen on Skype. It's not even stopping anyone from forming a scouting syndicate--for a free online tournament "for peanuts"--if he or she really wants to be a dick.

I don't want a one hundred percent guarantee of a level playing field, I just want the rules to do what they can. I agree with Sperling's sentiment that publishing decklists is slaughtering your herd to protect it from wolves. (Aside to management: if there is ever another limited master please no more publishing decklists in top 8.)

Appeal to majority is not a logical reason to advocate a position. This is especially true when that majority is single digits of people in a poll on a desolate internet forum. Magic-League is not a democracy.

edit: As to the off-topic question, I don't really follow the logic of "could ensare in lengthy lawsuit"+"chose not to go to court"="clearly illegal, as per my sermon"
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Grok



Joined: 08 Feb 2015
Posts: 138

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

_Godica wrote:
Again, even if most people choose not to use it, the option to play in a passworded room is available to everyone. Choosing to make use of it is not "requesting special circumstances" or "demanding special treatment." Do you even know what those words mean? When one player refuses to follow the rules, the judge is correct to tell him to either follow them or be penalized. Don't blame the delay on the rules, blame it on whoever wasn't willing to follow them.


In this scenario a player made a room, loaded his deck, and was ready to start playing immediately. His opponent could have joined the room and started the tournament without delay, but instead he asked the player to leave his room, type in a password, and reload his deck in a new room where he couldn't invite his friends to watch. The opponent asked him to go out of his way to cater to his preference, a preference the player did not share. Allowing one player to get what he wants when it causes undue discomfort for the other player is special treatment. Sometimes that's fine, but not in this case.

Let's say, for example, in a live tournament your opponent has some kind of physical disability that requires you to play the game in an uncomfortable position. The person with the disability is asking you to go out of your way to accommodate them, which is obviously perfectly reasonable because they have no other choice. To play Magic they need that accommodation. But not allowing spectators is not a requirement for some people to play on Magic-League. They are asking for an exception regardless of what their opponent wants. They should be able to request it, but their opponent should not be forced to accommodate them with the threat of a match loss.

_Godica wrote:
Do you really think that giving M-L players the option to play without spectators is harmful to the M-L player base? Can you provide any evidence for this claim?


I used myself as an example previously, and I'm sure you can ask dozens of players who started out on Cockatrice for similar anecdotes. When you're first learning the game, spectating players better than you is one of the best ways to improve. By cutting off the ability to watch arguably the most skillful and competitive games on the entire Cockatrice server, you are preventing some number of players from learning and becoming competitive themselves. If we continue to stifle the path from new player to Magic-League, eventually this platform will die from lack of interest.

_Godica wrote:
Many people (myself included) use M-L as a place to practice playing in a competitive REL environment. The rules enforcement is the ONLY reason to play in an M-L tourney instead of just finding a game on the main Cockatrice server.


I don't think that's the only reason to use Magic-League. I use it because it offers scheduled tournaments and people I play here are less likely to rage quit halfway through a draft. Not everyone has the same priorities as you, and forcing your narrow interpretation of the platform onto all of your opponents is selfish.

_Godica wrote:
You can't completely eradicate it from paper Magic, but look at Magic Online -- it is impossible to scout there. Why do you think M-L is more comparable to paper Magic than to Magic Online?


I have never used MTGO, but I always thought you could spectate games there too. My comparison is to paper Magic because that is how I play outside of Cockatrice. Also, it's still possible to scout on MTGO even without spectating. As long as you know someone else in the tournament they can tell you what decks they played against and who was piloting them. I think the point stands.

_Godica wrote:
If the majority wanted regular REL for Masters, would that be a good idea? What about if the majority wanted Standard to be the ONLY format for Trials and Masters? Or RFT to be the only format? At what point is it not correct to give the majority what it wants, and how are you certain that this issue is not beyond that point?


I think these things are very different; you're asking people to jump through extra hoops to set up games that don't allow spectating. Most people don't want to do that, but a small minority of players are forcing the rest of the players to cater to their desires. If most people want to play Standard, they can play Standard. They're not being forced to play other, optional formats. You are suggesting that no one can opt out of password protected games if their opponent wants them.
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_Godica



Joined: 26 Nov 2012
Posts: 254

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry, but typing in a password is not "undue discomfort," and exercising an option that is available to anyone who wants it is not "special treatment." No amount of posturing will change that.
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Grok



Joined: 08 Feb 2015
Posts: 138

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FF3Fan wrote:
edit: As to the off-topic question, I don't really follow the logic of "could ensare in lengthy lawsuit"+"chose not to go to court"="clearly illegal, as per my sermon"


Are you referring to the M-L situation or the Cockatrice situation? If it's the former, I honestly don't know the legal situation of a tournament organizing service. Do you really think Wizards would send a C&D with literally no legal reasoning? It seems unlikely to me, but I guess it's possible it was just a scare tactic. However, I would venture to guess that the combination of supporting illegal platforms like Cockatrice and Magic Workstation, as well as offering prize money in unsanctioned tournaments, means that Wizards could win the case. The SCG and TCGplayer circuits are all licensed by Wizards. You can't start hosting tournaments as a store owner until you pass a number of barriers and become a trusted store.

As for the Cockatrice C&D, they definitely did have a solid legal reason. Cockatrice exists for the primary purpose of recreating the paper version of Magic: The Gathering, which is intellectual property owned and operated by Wizards (actually Hasbro). Cockatrice has not been authorized by Wizards to use or distribute images or gameplay systems, and they can claim damages in court caused by the loss of revenue from players who would otherwise spend money in paper or on MTGO. Again, a lot of this is coming from the lawyer who advised the original Cockatrice developer.

My logic isn't that "they didn't pursue the case, therefore it was legitimate!" I'm saying that just because they didn't end up pursuing the case doesn't meant they couldn't have if they wanted to spend the time and money. The letter to M-L was a threat, but probably not an empty one. M-L isn't based in the US so prosecuting in another country would probably add additional layers of complexity.

Believe what you want, but using Cockatrice is stealing from Wizards in the eyes of the law, and using M-L is probably very similar. I'm okay with that which is why I continue to use both platforms because I spend plenty of money on paper Magic and I don't believe we're actually damaging the company's profits enough to matter. They probably realize the same thing which is why they wouldn't do anything beyond send a letter. But they could.
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Jinete_dV
Level 3 Judge


Joined: 08 Feb 2015
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grok wrote:


The original Cockatrice developer and server was shut down when Wizards sent a cease and desist letter citing copyright infringement.
Brukie (the original dev/owner of cockatrice.de) was sent a C&D issue from Hasbro for hosting mtg images on the site. Nothing more, nothing less. They obviously had a bullet on their head because Hasbro doesn't like Cockatrice/MWS/XMage/etc.

Last edited by Jinete_dV on Thu May 07, 2015 12:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jinete_dV
Level 3 Judge


Joined: 08 Feb 2015
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grok wrote:


As for the Cockatrice C&D, they definitely did have a solid legal reason. Cockatrice exists for the primary purpose of recreating the paper version of Magic: The Gathering, which is intellectual property owned and operated by Wizards (actually Hasbro). Cockatrice has not been authorized by Wizards to use or distribute images or gameplay systems, and they can claim damages in court caused by the loss of revenue from players who would otherwise spend money in paper or on MTGO. Again, a lot of this is coming from the lawyer who advised the original Cockatrice developer.
Cockatrice is a tabletop simulator, you can play more than just mtg on Cockatrice.
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