Archiv für den Monat: Juli 2015

Not „an“ Apocalypse. „The“ Apocalypse.

Remember when I used to start my Magic articles with a more or less fitting quote from Buffy? Yes? Congratulations – you were a part of the Germam internet community for Magic: The Gathering when it still existed, and even thrived and was productive!

This is what I want to get at by using that quote (which is actually from Angel, not Buffy) as the title of this entry: Some of my readers have mentioned that there are still player communities, using Whatsapp or something similar to exchange information and prepare for events in isolated circles. These communities weren’t gone, but simply moved to less visible and harder to reach places.

Do you spot the fallacy here? No? Not even looking at that quote from Angel (or, to be more precise, from Lindsey McDonald in the episode Underneath)? Okay, I’ll explain: Such a group might or might not be rightfully called „a“ community, but that was never what I was talking about. I bemoan the loss of „the“ German community, a gathering of players from all of DACHland (Germany, Austria and the German-speaking part of Switzerland), and with all backgrounds from professional player (or at least players on the gravy train – I’m not really sure we had any actual „pros“ since the Phoenix Foundation retired) to die-hard casual. That community met in a couple of connected places which held appeal for all of them, or at least tried to – admittedly, the mostly pointless quarreling between casual players and tournament players didn’t represent the community’s finest hours, but at least they were in the same place and did talk to each other! There was article content galore, and even more blogs, with strategy content for grinders, beginners and in-betweens; and there were lively discussions under most articles (okay, especially under mine) with everyone from Kai Budde to Christopher Eucken chiming in.

I do not entertain the illusion that all knowledge from team playtesting was available to the public in that time: Certainly there were also already smaller groups back then – you may call them „communities“, if you like – where more or less secret tech was disseminated among the deserving and the chosen. However, almost everyone who played Magic and knew how to operate a browser would visit the two large sites with article content, one or two of the larger forums, and probably a couple of blogs, all of which would routinely link to, talk about and criticize each other. Sure, not everything was sunshine and roses in that community – far from it! – but there WAS a community, or rather, there was THE community.

Now there no longer is. Casual players have nearly totally disconnected from tournament players (with possibly the last real meeting point being drafts), and there seems to be almost no interest at all in either providing strategic content (when was the last time someone not me published a German set preview? What was the last German strategy article not edited by me for publication on Magic Universe?), receiving it, or discussing it. I’m not sure how much developments specifically in Germany are at fault, and how much this is simply the result of yet another change in social media culture, but an undeniable fact is that the German Magic community – THE community! – is dead.

After clearing that up, let me tell you where this blog will be going in the near future. I think I will continue to post screenshots of succesful draft decks, although I’m unlikely to delve into much detail talking about those decks. Also, I draft a lot less at the moment than I did half a year or so ago, so this isn’t going to provide too much content. However, things may change again in the not-too-far future.

What I mostly busy myself with right now is finalizing my newest update to my Limited Card Pool. My next entry should be about inductees from Magic Origins, which will be quite a lot – for one thing, because that set really contains a lot of well-designed cards; but also because I mostly had to rebuild my card pool from the ground after making the mistake of reducing it too much. However, that was a great learning experience, because now I see much more clearly which elements and inclusion/exclusion rules are important to me, and where I overshot the mark in my desire for elegance, efficiency and consistency.

I’ll leave you for today with a screenshot of a deck which took second place in an 8-4 (I did only three Magic Origins drafts so far – the other two were prerelease swiss drafts where I went 2-1 each):

Azorius 2-1

As befits a deck with Sentinel of the Eternal Watch, Kytheon’s Irregulars, Separatist Voidmage and three Celestial Flare, it lost two games in the finals to a creature with two auras stapled to it.

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Back from the Brink

Yes, I have come home to 00zero again, returning from a desperate rescue mission that turned out to effectively be no more than terminal care in the end: I wanted to prevent the death of Magic Universe, but failed – and in hindsight it has become abundantly clear that I never had a chance. I thought I was struggling to revive a negligent editorial staff and an apathic community. However, the German internet community wasn’t just hiding, it has largely disappeared; and while I could improve selection and presentation of the site’s articles noticeably for a while, there was nothing I could do about the fundemental issues that sales no longer justified investing into the publishing of articles, and that growing the site’s reader base had absolutely no effect on its sales.

Thus, I’m back to just blogging, although I’m actually not really sure why, since I no longer entertain the illusion that there is a German community which could, or at least wants to be, revived. Maybe it’s just a habit I can’t break… Well, at least I now can write in English again – I might draw a couple of international readers back to 00zero, but I am aware that there is plenty competition for that crowd, and I do not tend to offer the kind of content which seems to be most popular these days.

Actually, my return to blogging comes with a lot of positives: I am no longer on any schedule; I can freely choose my topics; and I no longer have to deal with atrocious software (although I will miss a few options it offered, like automatic card links). It’s just that NOT blogging might offer an even greater upside, but I’m not quite ready for that yet – well, I’m the guy who bought an expensive record player for his collection just when it became obvious that the (near) future belonged to compact discs, and who is still buying compact discs nowadays from time to time in the era of more or less free mp3 files. It seems I just have a hard time letting go.

So, here I am again, but I am making no promises whatsoever about quality, quantity or frequency of my oozero writing. What I CAN say is that I will not return to posting draft videos, unless there are some major technology changes making their production a lot easier and faster. My main topics will likely still be drafting, Next Level Cubes and community topics (aka „ranting“), maybe with a few sprinkled words on standard, although I’m not sure yet if I will keep playing that format at all after these changes to Magic Online – but then again, I just built up my collection and still have enough tickets for quite a while to keep going (thanks to a very generous donator who gifted me his MTGO collection), meaning there is a strong incentive to put those to some kind of use.

As of now, I’m just reporting back. We will have to wait and see how strong my blogging urge still is, and how often I will update this site. A reminder (again): While I obviously possess an intrinsic motivation to write, that is magnified by encouraging feedback („encouraging“ doesn’t necessarily mean unconditional praise – just showing earnest interest), and dampened by displays of disinterest (not commenting, for any reason whatsoever, always shows a lack of interest). I am not begging for comments here – I just remind you, my readers, that time and effort I invest into blogging are factors partially under your control, so make of that what you want, but don’t bother with excuses!

Another reminder for the German-speaking majority of my readers: Ein Platz für Andi still exists, and I fully intend to revive that site, too, soon, especially my serial novel Die Anstalt von Arkheim, which I have put on hold way too long for a number of reasons.

Lastly, let me point you again to my twitter account, where I’m moderately busy: @AndreasPischner

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