Changes in the organization of future Magic: The Gathering World Championships have caused widespread consternation among Magic players, and an online petition to reconsider the changes has collected over 5,000 signatures. The changes, which take place for 2012 after Magic Weekend in San Francisco this weekend, include reducing the number of players that participate in the World Championships, leading players to feel that their countries have a smaller chance of being able to participate.
The petition, on Change.org (which describes itself as "the world’s fastest growing platform for social change"), asks Wizards of the Coast to “reconsider the changes made to Worlds and POTY [Player of the Year].” It argues that “With the long standing history of Worlds, Team Worlds, and POTY, to change this in such a radical and rigid way, not only is a shot at the players who try their best to compete, but also will essentially take away from the history of these events.”
WotC CEO Greg Leeds posted a message “Regarding Premier Play Changes” on Tuesday with a mea culpa, saying “Unfortunately, our plans and communication on the future of Magic organized play have upset many in our community... It is obvious now that we have not given enough information on exactly what the new plan will look like to reassure our most dedicated and important players that the changes are positive ones.” Leeds promised that details would be released by Pro Tour Dark Ascension.
WotC has made sweeping changes to its organized play programs over the past two years, most to good effect (see, for example, “’MTG: Innistrad’ Prereleases Up”). And Magic sales over-all have been on an upswing (see “’Magic’ Doubled Since 2008”). But the most recent changes are getting the most substantial pushback from players since the revamp began two years ago. Some commenters on WotC boards are talking about substantially reducing or ending purchases of the game, an outcome that is obviously not what WotC intended. Details of the new plans have been scarce, so WotC has time to turn this around. Given the over-all responsiveness to player (and retailer) concerns with its organized play programs since the changes began, WotC has earned some patience.