Quitters : MTGA

I am annoyed with the MTGA community on a few fronts. The first I have spoken about in most of my MTGA posts about the “money is for nothing and your kicks for free” entitlement attitude on the beta forums. The doomsayers explaining that if you can’t get most things for free extremely quickly that the game will fail horribly. Keep in mind this is the same, extremely slick game I have been saying is amazing. This is the probably the best representation of the decades long, arguably one of the most popular card games in existence successfully ported to digital format. I think they will be safe to charge reasonably, and I feel like the game is already too generous with the speed and scale it gives away cards and gold to buy more cards. I have stopped reading doomsayers posts about the economy in general on the boards.

The second, more annoying thing is that people quit fast in MTGA.  It seems like the instant I play a card that poses a modicum of a challenge the player gives up – often instantly. I can’t believe the lack of competitive spirit of taking on a challenge to see what you are able to do in the face of adversity. In MMO terms, it would be like the main tank dying on a pull and everyone logging out of the group instantly when it happens. It drives me bonkers.

The main reason for the frustration is I frequently come back from the abyss in games. Heck, just yesterday I was down 20-1 against a Blue/Black deck with Merfolk. He had 8 creatures in play and I had zero. They were all 2/2 and 3/3. The play before I was down to one health I exiled a 2/2 Merfolk that granted all his Mer-creatures +1/+1. Then he knocked me down to 1 health and played more creatures – but all of them were 2/2 or less now. My next turn I played all enemy creatures get -2/-2 and cleared the board. He is now ahead 20 health to 1 with a clean board. I play a 2/2 card that spawns a 1/1 creature at the end of every turn (mine and his) and since I have enough land cards that temporarily boosts the summoned creatures to 3/3. And soon as that lands he quits.

I would call it a one off but yesterday I was on a roll and in 15 games I had people quit early – at the first sign of trouble – close to 50% of the time. I have said it in an earlier post and I’ll say it again – I never quit early. If I am getting outplayed that badly then my opponent deserves to win with their combinations and checks. I have lost badly on draws, and decks, but the truth is I built my deck in such a way that it is good against all opponents but it too big to be efficient. I have several win conditions and can handle most of the decks I face if my cards come out right. And for that I need to stick it out and get the draws.

Perhaps my opponents have built decks with such narrow win conditions that when I throw a wrench into their plans they just assume they don’t have a chance and quit. Still, that seems like a big limitation in the brand and format if that is true. Or they just build bad decks. I know my deck isn’t meta, and isn’t a guaranteed win – but it can handle most of what is thrown at it and the way it plays is really fun because it is different from game to game – and I really enjoy that. I’ll share the deck in detail in the future.

I wonder if the in person card version/variant is the same? Do opponents quit soon as you show a challenge to them – is it a part of MTG proper or just an unintended consequence of the new online field of battle?

14 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I would hazard to guess that this is just the online aspect of gaming – the GG fun of anonymity. Most multiplayer games depends on all pieces moving equally in order to win. I’m thinking of any organized group being able to completely dominate an unorganized one. I still vividly recall my old SWTOR PvP games where 3 of us were able to shut down opposing team 90% of the time, as most just sat on their hands once they died a couple times.

    To combat this, a few games have implemented drop penalties. Others penalize you if you do it frequently (e.g. Starcraft). It’s a tradeoff right? Given the opportunity to play under your terms and win a bunch of times, or just drop a game when it goes south and then win the next one without consequence…it’s not hard math.

    Minimal risk, maximum tangible reward. Maybe if the game gets a big enough audience they can apply ranked play, where quitters are in their own bracket. Maybe.

    1. Truth is it is a “beta” period as well, with a wipe, so your win/loss ranking doesn’t have an impact at this time either. I bet that will act as some sort of balance to this on live. Although, from what I have read the fastest way to new decks is to grind wins and concede losses fast. Who cares about having fun, right?

      1. Game design over the past 10 years has been focused nearly entirely on the “gambling” mentality, where the bright lights and results being 1000x more attractive than the actual journey.

        1. What I replied to Bhagpuss rings true here too. I like the game because it’s simply fun to play – win or lose. And the longer a game goes on the more strategy and plays are available so it becomes even more fun.

  2. I haven’t played this variant of MTG online. However, previous variants have had rewards for winning (note, not playing) matches in terms of currency or packs or whatever.

    If that is the case then I expect what you are seeing is the online GG as Asmiroth says above combined with the time-optimization that people tend to do. When the chances of winning get too low (for whomever is playing) then it is – or seems – faster to get to that currency reward by just quitting and starting a new game.

    1. This does as well (you get gold for up to 4 wins a day, plus one “quest style” objective per day – ie: Play 25 lands, attack with 30 creatures, cast 30 blue or green spells- all paths to maximizing revenues which turns into packs. I suspect if losing had a cost, that would change the attitude tremendously.

  3. This seems to be standard for online gaming as a whole. People are quitters. The moment something goes wrong — even if it’s something trivial — people start to ragequit. I’ve seen it in MMOs, MOBAs, and 1v1 games. I’ve seen it in PvE and PvP. It’s ridiculous, and it’s frustrating, but there seems to be no avoiding it.

    1. I did a League of Legends “experiment” where I qualified how many close games I had over a long period of time. (non blowouts, either way. No trolls, etc.). The number – and I remember it fondly – was 18.07% “fun”. Fun to me was winning a closely contested game that either side had a chance at winning. When I realized that less than 1 in 5 of my 45 minute matches were “fun”, I stopped playing. It sucks to win this way as much as lose normally.

  4. When someone quits as you describe, do you get credit for the win? If so, I would have thought it’s good for you that they quit. It’s as though you’d won a boxing match by the corner throwing in the towel. If it voids the match then obviously that’s poor design.

    I have a lot of sympathy with people who know the value of their time, though. If it isn’t fun, don’t do it has been my motto for playing MMOs for twenty years. Life is too short to finish everything just because you started.

    1. Yes, I do get credit for the win. Thing is part of the joy of the game is playing and using the carefully crafted deck you built. Best example I could think of is a board game like Monopoly. You set up the board. Play for a while. I then land on and buy Boardwalk and all the other players quit immediately.

      Getting Boardwalk isn’t even a win condition and the game is far from over at that point.

      The real fun is in the playing, not the winning. So ending the fun early for little reason is frustrating.

      1. “The real fun is in the playing, not the winning. So ending the fun early for little reason is frustrating.”

        I know a lot of people that would disagree with you there. They play to WIN, this is their primary condition for fun. And I kinda get it. Waiting 10 turns so that they can get pinged to death by a 2/2 creature, while they know they have no way to remove it, is not fun for anyone. They want to optimize their time and shoot for their next chance at winning, not maximize their playing time.

        I generally stick around for games, but if, say, I’m playing Gwent, it’s round 3 and the opponent is up 50 points with no way of me catching up in the remaining cards, of course I’ll forfeit.

        1. That’s fair. But if you are only playing to win, as an extreme example, why not just play heads or tails? 50% chance to win every time and each game only takes 3 seconds to play!

          I know that’s simplifying it but if the joy is all in the outcome then it’s counter intuitive to a good gaming experience. Personally spealking.

          1. Sometimes getting a good gaming experience comes out on top, if for example you are playing a board game with friends; you are generally fine with losing if you spent 2 hours having fun in the process. It’s also why people in MMOs (generally) don’t really mind wiping in a hard raid with their friends, it’s part of the experience. Or why people (generally) don’t rage quit when playing the paper format; the face to face interaction is a lot of times more engaging than the actual card play.

            However, in a game mode where the opponent might as well be a bot, winning will become a lot more important even for casual players. You also mention that MTGA is a bit stingy with its rewards, I’m sure this exasperates the issue, as people will want to squeeze as much value possible for each of their sessions.

  5. In my experience, when playing in person with real cards, people don’t “scoop” (which is the term we typically use for quitting) that often. Most people will play the game out, unless an infinite combo/loop happens that you can’t stop and the player who created said loop is going to win and you don’t want to watch them go through all of the motions. Of course, I mostly play Commander, so that’s a different segment of people. I have seen players on the pro tours scoop if they no they have no chance of winning or that they are dead the following turn no matter what they top deck.

    It’s definitely an online thing, because you can just start up a new game and get on with your day.

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