• The Transition Zone: Dear WizKids, All I Want For Christmas 2016



    As a child, every year you would make your Christmas list based on the things you really wanted-taking time to go over all of the catalogues and sale ads from the Sunday paper carefully and balancing out the crazy ‘’shoot for the stars’’ gifts and the more reasonable choices. I would write it out as carefully and clearly as possible, not wanting to leave any question as to what my intent was. Then you hand deliver the list to Santa and hope, wait and be on the best behavior of the year.

    Then there were all the questions that would float around in your head as kid:

    Those gifts from last year-do you add to those or do you go a different direction?
    Would Santa really hear these requests-or does he just kind of do his own thing and bring me what he wants from the workshop?
    Am I going to get everything? Will I even get anything?
    How does he travel around the earth so fast…?
    What will I be able to play with right away?



    One year ago I gave Santa WizKids my Christmas list. The things I wanted to see for the coming year of 2016. If you want to see that article, you can find the original here:


    http://www.thereservepool.com/conten...-For-Christmas



    Like any good kid, I based this year’s list on what I want right here and now, and not necessarily what i wanted then. Did I get everything I wanted last year? Nope. But guess what-I still want Santa to give me things this year. I still have ‘’shoot for the stars’’ and reasonable choices. And I still want to see us all get presents. So here is my list for 2016:




    1 Help Us Champion the Game

    There have been people that come and go from this game like any other game or any other thing in life frankly. People come, people go and things still march on. Most of us that have stuck around have reasons for it, but I would love to see the continued push from WizKids to help us as players champion the game and add to our ranks. This encompasses a lot of things, but I think it starts with transparency. We don’t need to know everything, we just want to have an idea of where things are going.


    How do they do this right? I think this year we have seen answers coming more swiftly here at the end of the year for the WKRF. We have seen the test events and implementation of a new 1st player turn rule. When we see things changing, it tells us they are aware of the meta, the community and where the game is going. I love that and want to see more of it moving forward. Statements about the game, the competitive scene and where they see it going help to keep players like us in the loop in this game we have become so invested in.




    2 Blow Up the Meta

    I have not been an advocate for set rotation or banning cards in the past. But the meta has not had a hard shift like we have seen when things like Tsarina, Gobby, FWX worked their way out of the competitive top tiers. The win con of Bard still reigns. Yes there are other ways around a win, but this is a plug and play kinda card. PXG is still abused. There are cards that need banned, modified or capped in some way to even the battleground. The 1st player turn change definitely made a splash, let’s see what else can move things around this year and really change the landscape of the game.


    The Pro Dice Circuit did this already this week by providing a Draft Series and a brand new ‘’modern’’ format called Prime that will rotate things out and move newer sets to the forefront. This is a great start in filling a hole that a lot of us have felt in the game.




    3 Spread Out Sets

    I don’t mind the current schedule and changes to the way they release product-as much as I miss the collector boxes I think the stripped down gravity feed only sets are great for the longevity of the game. Giving us starter sets with new basic action cards a few times a year, gravity feeds that are spread out to every 2-3 months and sprinkled in team packs will be a great thing if they are consistent and not clustered together. If we see the spread of the sets over the course of the year, it brings fun things without denting our wallets all at once.



    4 New IPs

    I asked for this last year and I still think this is a big one. I love the capes and the dragons-but would love to see another IP or two make their way into the game. There are so many good ones out there, but just some variety would be great. Different comic licenses, cartoons, classic favorites from our youth-the possibilities are endless. If HeroClix is any indication, there are still a variety of characters that we have not seen that we could see in the near future.


    My ideal sets? I would love to Capcom so we can get some Marvel vs Capcom, He-Man, GI Joe, Star Trek, Star Wars and Image comics are all on my short list. But any variety would be welcome.




    5 An Organized Judge System

    This game is as strong as its competitive scene. The competitive world needs strong judges to guide and shape what those events look like. For myself or any other competitive player to want to give up our day or days to help run an event, there should be considerable reasons to do.


    A WizKids backed Judge system that provides guidance, education and prize compensation to those that do volunteer would strengthen the people in those roles. Give our best players a reason to step into those roles from a supporting standpoint is only going to benefit the game for the long haul. Strong leadership and Judge programs make it so that the game doesn’t have rules changes literally days before major events that differ across the country and the world.




    6 Additions to the Competitive/WKO Structure

    Real simple, Unlimited isn’t enough. We need to see multiple formats like other games that have done it and benefited from it. And they need to have sweet prizes to entice people to play (more on that in a minute). Formats need to be as varied as the people who play this game-not everyone is a Spike, not everyone is a Crafty Drafter. Ideally, I think the structure should look something like this:


    Regional/National/World Event Schedules:

    Unlimited-No holds barred, bring your powerhouse cards-all is welcome

    Legacy-We asked _______ stores to play out an 8 week Legacy Event where 80 cards have been banned. Now it’s your turn-construct a team of the remaining cards and see who comes out on top!

    Rainbow Draft-Follows normal draft rules, make a team and run the gauntlet to the top

    Doubles-We tried it once, now we are ready to do it again! Build a team with a partner and fight it out 2v2 style

    1 shots: head to head, rainbow draft


    This way, everyone has a style they like available to them. Like to think outside the box? Prefer to work within the constructed box? Really just want to draft? We got it all for you with this variety




    7 WKO/Competitive Prize Changes

    I love that there is a competitive scene. I love even more that there are prizes for playing in it. But the prizes need to be at a different level than we currently see them in variety or value. Some people are sitting out and not trying to pursue the current competitive cards because they don’t see the value in foil versions of previously-available uncommons. Others are waiting because they are wondering if we will see them in the summer for store-level events where competition to get them will be much less intense. Either way, they are not at the level of Full Art Tsarina or Full Art Hulk. If you finish near the top of one of these events, your prizes shouldn’t consist of full sets or SR sets from sets that have been already been out.


    Again-this is a wish list, so what would I like to see?


    -All participation prizes are unique cards with a unique die (similar to Melinda May, Iron Fist)
    -Regionals prizes that are exclusive to the events-alt art foil versions of top cards
    -Nationals prizes that are also exclusive to the events-alt art foil version of top cards
    -Worlds prizes prizes that are also exclusive to the events-alt art foil version of top cards
    -Top prize for all events are SRs or full sets from the next upcoming set


    See a theme?
    That way, the prizes are unique for all participants-easier to get into many hands. The top prizes are new art versions and foils of cards people already have but are strong meta cards. My ‘’ideal’’ line-up would be something like this:


    Participation Cards:
    (New Character Marvel) Howard the Duck Full and blank art with die
    (New Character DC) Azrael Full and blank art with die


    Top 8
    Foil New Full Art Gorilla Grodd: Force of Mind UC
    Foil New Full Art Silver Lockjaw: Fiercely Loyal C


    Top 4
    Foil New Full Art Captain Cold's Cold Gun: Frozen "Firearm" R
    Foil New Full Art Agent Carter: Answered the Call R


    Top 2
    Foil New Full Art Lady Deadpool: Earth-3010 SR
    Foil New Full Art Batgirl: Babs SR


    Winner
    Factory Set of upcoming unreleased set



    8 Continue to be an Awesome Community

    This one goes out to all of us. Wizkids, designers, TOs, rules team, testers, you the players and everyone else involved with this game: the best of other communities doesn’t even compare to ours. We have a great thing going among the people who play this game. Don’t let it change. Don’t let negatives bleed in and be the drive of our community.


    Recently Tom Vassel commented on a Dice Tower Q&A about games that develop communities and subcultures. He said during that question: "I don’t like it when any game develops a subculture, I’m not a big fan of it. I will say however the Dice Masters (subculture) is the exception, they seem to be very fun and welcoming."


    One of my favorite parts of Worlds 2016 was playing in the top 4 against Travis and when we set up the game at this giant table to ourselves, he and I started casually talking about the game we had played in swiss and what we were about to do. As the games got going, at one of the more intense moments I decided I needed some gum-got some out, gave a piece to him and offered it to both judges. They looked at me perplexed-why is he doing this now? I had no intent to distract him or treat the game in a non-serious tone, I just wanted some gum. We chatted between games and had a very casual experience while at the same time having a very competitive experience that came down to the last roll of overtime extra rounds. It was hard, intense, competitive and fun all at the same time. I don’t know of any other games where their casual to competitive scenes are this much fun and engaging.


    All of you are the reason this game has succeeded and will continue to do so. We are the fun and welcoming group. Be the community you want to see and we will continue to see the game be successful and grow in the ways we want it to.



    So that is my wish list for 2016. Will I get all that I want? Probably not. Sometimes it isn’t about getting what I want but instead making sure my voice is heard in what I would like to see and determine if I am alone in this or if all of you feel the same way. I presented my ‘’shoot for the stars’’ requests along with my reasonable ones. Let’s see what Santa decides I get this year.
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. Yort's Avatar
      Yort -
      +1 to all that. The only place I really differ personally is that I appreciated the SR set when it was for the set that was *just* out. Like with the spring WKO, Civil War had just come out, so being able to get all 8 SRs was pretty awesome. Same for the more recent Deadpool set.

      When we don't get official WKO stuff 'round these parts, sometimes we just go with a full feed of the new set, which also works, and which I've seen done other places as well.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yort View Post
      +1 to all that. The only place I really differ personally is that I appreciated the SR set when it was for the set that was *just* out. Like with the spring WKO, Civil War had just come out, so being able to get all 8 SRs was pretty awesome. Same for the more recent Deadpool set.

      When we don't get official WKO stuff 'round these parts, sometimes we just go with a full feed of the new set, which also works, and which I've seen done other places as well.
      Winning ASM SRs after FUS was released was kind of a bummer. As was winning factory set of WF after CW was out. Can't speak for Junior too much,but he was happy to won GAF SRs this last round because he had none. In February though, winning GAF SRs seems...dated.
    1. Bronn1's Avatar
      Bronn1 -
      The biggest thing on your wishlist that needs to happen is set rotation and alternate formats. If it wasn't already clear, the fact that the PDC, seeing the erosion of Unlimited events, went with Draft and Prime is a giant flashing sign that action needs to happen. While the meta has shifted slightly with the first rule change and addition of Deadpool and GA&F over the last few months, you still basically see the same decks at the top tables in tournament reports, with maybe two or three different cards alternating in and out. The fact that its been nearly a year of the same basic decks at the top is a problem for the health of the tournament scene without there being alternatives.

      As for the rest of it, I agree with most of it, although I'm not 100% sold on unique participation prizes forcing players to attend multiple events or spend a small fortune at said events. Not everyone is lucky enough to have more than one store nearby to accumulate unique cards and dice, or even one, and the price for some of those in the secondary market gets a little silly. That said, if the unique card has a Max Dice of 1 or 2, then its not so bad, but something like Strahd with 4 was too much, IMO. Also, as I don't try to get all the SRs, I'm more than happy to have those as a prize, but I realize that many people buy and trade to get complete sets and would be less thrilled by that.

      Overall, I think that DM has hit a good point in its life, and with balanced set releases and some needed changes to the meta, it should be able to keep humming along, even with Destiny hitting shelves.
    1. Lordfajubi's Avatar
      Lordfajubi -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bronn1 View Post
      That said, if the unique card has a Max Dice of 1 or 2, then its not so bad, but something like Strahd with 4 was too much, IMO.
      It's more than your opinion my friend, Strahd, Ironfist, Batmobile, Terry Mcginnis, Melinda May. Seriously wizkids needs to knock this crap right off. I'm lucky to hit an event once a rotation stop trying to force people into 4 events with a special card, not a good enough reason for the added expenses of travel and drives a pointless to wizkids secondary market.

      Also on a side note: If the new, modern style tournaments start drawing people in it will be pretty obvious there are cards that need banned and WK needs to do it sooner rather than later. I think the legacy idea is awesome and that structure would let them have their cake and eat it too. The whole thing revolves around WK though. Destiny is hot and a good dice game, I don't want to see this game die but WK can't rely on other people to fix this. They need to own it or unfortunately it will die.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lordfajubi View Post
      It's more than your opinion my friend, Strahd, Ironfist, Batmobile, Terry Mcginnis, Melinda May. Seriously wizkids needs to knock this crap right off. I'm lucky to hit an event once a rotation stop trying to force people into 4 events with a special card, not a good enough reason for the added expenses of travel and drives a pointless to wizkids secondary market.
      I respectfully disagree. I am convinced prize support for this latest round of WKOs drove attendance down. (Actually,the meta probably did, but prize support didn't help.) I don't need these op cards to be meta breaking, but there's nothing wrong with max 4 on an op. For those (like me) that have an obsessive collecting compulsion it is unfortunate, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it. In fact, I would argue it helps attendance at these bigger events. Folks who might not otherwise compete come and find value in being able to sell or trade their participation prize. This can grow the game, especially when other WK sanctioned formats make their way into official events. If participation prizes remain blanks, there's no value for those players and they'll continue to stay home. Pair that with a meta that many players are vocally upset with, and that seems a recipe for a painful death of the game.
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bronn1 View Post
      The biggest thing on your wishlist that needs to happen is set rotation and alternate formats. If it wasn't already clear, the fact that the PDC, seeing the erosion of Unlimited events, went with Draft and Prime is a giant flashing sign that action needs to happen.
      Yeah, it's not just rotation, it's giving people multiple ways to be competitive, not just one format.

      No wonder some decide to just sell a collection - unlimited is the only beast there is for a competitive game. Well, was, now PDC has helped to fix that.
    1. Connor_MacLeod's Avatar
      Connor_MacLeod -
      New IP, yes! GAME. OF. F***ING. THRONES.

      To hell with FFG. Make it happen, WizKids.
    1. Lordfajubi's Avatar
      Lordfajubi -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jthomash2 View Post
      I respectfully disagree. I am convinced prize support for this latest round of WKOs drove attendance down. (Actually,the meta probably did, but prize support didn't help.) I don't need these op cards to be meta breaking, but there's nothing wrong with max 4 on an op. For those (like me) that have an obsessive collecting compulsion it is unfortunate, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it. In fact, I would argue it helps attendance at these bigger events. Folks who might not otherwise compete come and find value in being able to sell or trade their participation prize. This can grow the game, especially when other WK sanctioned formats make their way into official events. If participation prizes remain blanks, there's no value for those players and they'll continue to stay home. Pair that with a meta that many players are vocally upset with, and that seems a recipe for a painful death of the game.
      I can see your point on drawing people in to tournaments if they live close enough. I'd like to see the box preorder bonus be that diced card just to get more out there.It would give people not blessed with wko locations a way to get 1or 2 and still support wizkids not ebayer's.

      On rereading this article I agree with so much of this. Whoever wrote this needs a job at wizkids.
      That said this game absolutely weeps for DBZ and Transformers sets.
    1. JustK's Avatar
      JustK -
      I like the idea of removing the old sets.

      My most important rule would be to have more events. Though perhaps the time when bringing people in that way has sails. Star Wars Destiny is taking over I believe.

      I look at the number of people who showed up at the competitive events and I am disheartened as to if the game will even be at the same level in a year.
    1. TheConductr's Avatar
      TheConductr -
      Quote Originally Posted by JustK View Post
      I like the idea of removing the old sets.

      My most important rule would be to have more events. Though perhaps the time when bringing people in that way has sails. Star Wars Destiny is taking over I believe.

      I look at the number of people who showed up at the competitive events and I am disheartened as to if the game will even be at the same level in a year.
      Time will tell, but hopefully people are riding the wave and hopefully we are going to start coming up again! There is a lot to look forward to I think!
    1. Bronn1's Avatar
      Bronn1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jthomash2 View Post
      I respectfully disagree. I am convinced prize support for this latest round of WKOs drove attendance down. (Actually,the meta probably did, but prize support didn't help.) I don't need these op cards to be meta breaking, but there's nothing wrong with max 4 on an op. For those (like me) that have an obsessive collecting compulsion it is unfortunate, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it. In fact, I would argue it helps attendance at these bigger events. Folks who might not otherwise compete come and find value in being able to sell or trade their participation prize. This can grow the game, especially when other WK sanctioned formats make their way into official events. If participation prizes remain blanks, there's no value for those players and they'll continue to stay home. Pair that with a meta that many players are vocally upset with, and that seems a recipe for a painful death of the game.
      Having played other games with unique promos, all it did was convince players to not bother playing if they couldn't get the premium cards that were important to powerful decks. Now, other than Iron Fist, it hasn't been that noticeable, but if we see another card like Iron Fist that redefines the meta, the only people that benefit are those in larger cities (or within close driving distance as I am). I know I skipped a couple of events because Iron Fist wasn't even available in Canada initially and I was so incredibly sick of running into my locals' Tsarinas.

      Unique promos cater to a specific player, and while we're diehards here on an internet forum debating the issue, there are casual players that just really like D&D who can't get their Strahds without paying through the nose and are ticked about it. As games like Legend of the 5 Rings, Raw Deal, Magi-Nation and others learned, while its nice to keep the competitive players happy, its the casual player that drives the game's sales. Why do you think we haven't seen a unique Magic promo card in over a decade? Because its bad for business. A healthy game doesn't need to give players an incentive like unique promos to drive to an event, even if its an hour or two away.