Showstopper | Dragon's Maze
4, Jan, 24

MTG Designer Asks for Complaints to Fix Pacing Problem

Article at a Glance

Much to the chagrin of many players, throughout recent years, the pacing of MTG releases have massively accelerated. Previously, players were lucky to get more than a major set per quarter, however, now there’s no stopping them. With major releases scheduled for practicality every month, it’s all too much to keep up with.

As this worrying trend of relentless releases has increased, so too have the complaints from MTG players about this subject. Lamenting the state of Magic across social media and to designers, players weren’t shy about making their voices heard. Despite all this public outcry, however, little has been done over the years to truly rectify this frustrating problem.

Miraculously, however, it now seems that complaining is exactly what MTG players need to do to get their way. 

The Overproduction Problem

Mass Production

Now that we’re in 2024 properly, the year’s entire release calendar stretches out before us. With ten products slated for release already, there’s certainly a lot going on. When you factor in the inevitable Secret Lair releases, bonus products, and announcements, there will be no end of content. 

For some players, this is a great thing, as more MTG means more cards to play with and enjoy. Unfortunately, however, not every MTG player shares this opinion. Rather than being overjoyed at the amount of content on the docket, for some, 2024 is too much to keep up with. Even if you just play one format, there are always new cards being released, one of which your deck might really need.

Alongside this fundamental issue, a lot of MTG players love Magic: the Gathering. As a result, many players don’t just want to vote with their wallets and quit cold turkey in protest. Due to this, some players such as Tumblr user Workfromsaklas would rather there be a sensible alternative course of action.

Raising their concern to MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, via Blogatog, Workfromsaklas asked if complaining was the right thing to do. Somewhat miraculously, when responding to this question, Rosewater stated “Complaining here is helpful.”

Alongside this bold statement that’s sure to have their inbox inundated with complaints, Rosewater also stated that MTG players are being heard. “This is a message that is being communicated by many players and it is being conveyed […] to the people making the calls about how many products we produce.”

Complaining for Good

Complaints Clerk

After hearing Rosewater’s variable call to action, many MTG players were keen to do exactly that. Taking to social media, players made their voices heard about this growing issue. Within this chorus, many MTG personalities stepped in to have their say and hopefully sway the powers that be.

On Tumblr, MTG creator Amazonian replied to Workfromsaklas’ post to highlight how major this problem is. Stating that they “can’t even keep up with the cards revealed for the formats I play,” the issue is clear. If someone who plays Magic for a living can’t keep up with the game, how could any regular player?

Alongside causing problems via keeping up with new cards and the ever-evolving MTG metagame, non-stop releases have another problem. Due to the lightning-quick pace, it feels like there’s less of a focus on story and character. Even when a set nails its story, a supplemental set quickly steals the show and breaks continuity.

“I also feel the high pace of releases has led to less focus on story and character. Kellen is our new Protagonist, and he feels so empty. I want to give cards time to breathe”

Ratica (Amazonian)

While Tumblr was inundated with plenty of disgruntled players, it was hardly the only place where players complained. On Twitter, for instance, players were having a field day. Spurred on by content creator Saffron Olive, players continued to highlight their major problems. Between the cost of sets, the lack of blocks, complaints about complaints, and the overabundance of Commander, MTG players had no shortage of complaints.

With Saffron Olive’s post garnering the attention of Tolarian Community College, we may even have a new complaint-filled video from the Professor soon enough. 

Will Anything Get Done? 

Smothering Tithe
Smothering Tithe | Double Masters 2022

Ultimately, while it’s great to see that Mark Rosewater, and hopefully the rest of Wizards is listening, there’s no guarantee of changes. Since Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast are businesses, at the end of the day, they’ll always be directed by profit. With this in mind, change seems unlikely, as Wizards has been incredibly successful recently.

After becoming a billion-dollar brand throughout 2023, the success of MTG’s bloated product calendar is undeniable. As a result, we’re not hopeful that Wizards is going to start culling products left, right, and center. Instead, we imagine that we’re more likely to see Wizards making subtle tweaks and changes to the schedule.

Right now, it’s unclear exactly how these may manifest, but spoilers and story seasons could well be changed. Alongside this, Wizards may push the release date of sets around by a week or so, as they have done previously. In theory, these could both be positive changes to help mitigate some confusion. Unfortunately, however, these are far from the silver bullet solution that players are after.

At the end of the day, there’s no telling how successful the complaints about MTG sent to Mark Rosewater will be. Even if they do usher in major changes, it’ll likely take years for those to happen thanks to the MTG development cycle. With this in mind, hopefully, positive change will come in time. Whether or not that will happen, however, remains to be seen. 

Read More: Struggling MTG Format Is Still Missing a Ton of Cards

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