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The End Of Magic Story: On Paywalls, Advertising, and Magic: The Gathering Lore

The End Of Magic Story: On Paywalls, Advertising, and Magic: The Gathering Lore


oh hello this video will be an exploration of the shift from free episodic stories made available on the magic Story website to longer form narrative ebooks which will be sold for 399 each starting with the upcoming throne of L drains set is this moving the magic story behind a paywall is the magic storyline advertising for the game which therefore should remain free or is the magic story a product like any other that should therefore carry a price tag these are the central ideas I will be discussing in today’s video but first this video is brought to you today by audible and I specifically wanted this video to be brought to you today by audible because it allows me to give you a free copy of a Magic the Gathering audio book start listening with a 30-day audible trial in your first audio book plus two audible originals are free visit audible.com slash tellurian community or just text tellurian community to five hundred five hundred and there you go one free credit for any audio book on audible completely free and i of course am going to point you to the upcoming War of the spark forsaken audio book get it for free just by using my audible link or use your credit for any audiobook any audio book inaudible z’ library for free but I have to really recommend using your credit towards War of the spark forsaken because then you don’t have to spend a single dime of your hard-earned cash on the sequel to war of the spark so start your audible journey today for free with a free audio book of your choice just by going to audible.com tellurian community to 500 500 free the price is right [Music] on July 25th Wizards of the coast presented two key pieces of information in a singular announcement about Magic the Gathering storyline the wilder quest by Kate Elliott which will tell the story of throne of El drain will be available as an e-book for 399 on September 4th 2019 one month before the throne of El drains set is released Wizards of the coast also confirmed that magic story the free episodic stories that have been a feature of their online website for well over half a decade would be coming to an end with no continuation in the foreseeable future the biggest and most consistent reaction to this announcement was that this would essentially be taking the magic story which has been free since 2012 and placing it behind a paywall of three ninety-nine for each ebook my own immediate reaction which I tweeted out was that putting the magic story behind a pay wall is demonstrative of not understanding your own product or purpose and bad business the magic story is essentially an advertisement and a highly effective one at that it creates new fans and solidifies loyalty and enfranchisement of existing ones you should not charge for ads but is the magic storyline an advertisement or a product is this really a paywall or something else entirely and just how important is the magic storyline to Magic the Gathering anyways since 2012 when it was originally called uncharted realms magics story was a weekly column on the daily MTG Wizards of the coast resource website since that time it has essentially been the primary source for in-depth story information and it’s only been recently that long-form novels such as War of the spark have been offered for the magic storyline so for a long time magic story was not just the primary source it was the only source also free episodic magic story was released even after the Greg Weisman novel was for sale on shelves this year so well of course getting accurate numbers is difficult it is fair to say that at its piqué as well as when it previously operated under the name unchartered realms magic story had very high traction and impressions ultimately a larger and wider audience than even the early print novels of Magic’s history so why the shift to a for-sale a book rather than a for free story that is open to everyone and anyone the first reason is that by shifting to ebooks instead of magic story it allows a return to the long-form novel and despite my less than stellar opinion of Weissman’s Wharf the spark novel this is something I can really get behind having to limit storytelling to short episodic web articles only means there’s an enormous amount of detail history character development and other story elements that will often have to be left out due to only having a short amount of space within to work so obviously a novel offers more or at the very least different possibilities than a short story though of course this is in no way applying that novels are superior to short fiction merely different they offer different things and an expansion of things in this example but to this I would invoke the age-old wisdom of why not both there’s also many advantages to short fiction many things short fiction can do that long-form narratives can’t and thus I fully support expanding magics storyline into long form novels but I don’t see why short form fiction needs to go away as a result the answer to this appears to be the forever classic bottom line things cost money to make well whereas magic story was written in-house by Wizards of the coast employs novels like war of the spark children of the nameless and the wild herb quest are being written by established authors of the fantasy genre Greg Weissman Brandon Sanderson Kate Eliot we’ve got upcoming works by Django Wexler and more these have been announced and obviously this talent needs to be paid for their work so having a price tag on the magic novels makes sense and I would never argue against that in fact as a fan of the return to novels in the long narrative form I in no way would argue that a book on the Shelf and ebook for my tablet an audiobook for my headphones should simply be free unless of course you use my audible link which allows you to get an audiobook for free just by going to audible.com slash tellurian community or texting to learning community – 500 500 but the issue here isn’t that the e-book has a price of 399 the issue is that what we have been given for free since 2012 is being taken away and seemingly replaced with something that has a price of 399 hence the accusations that this is tantamount to a paywall what’s more is the idea that the magic story is essentially an ad for the game of magic and advertisements as I implied shouldn’t have price tags this year’s advertisement for war of the spark must have cost a small fortune to produce from amazing rendered animations to the licensing and recording of an established and popular music artists work I would be willing to bet that this ad for war of the spark was the most expensive trailer Wizards of the coast has ever produced but it was money well spent the trailer went on to become the most viewed video ever in the entire history of magic the gatherings YouTube channel it was trending on social media for a significant amount of time and did everything an advertisement is meant to do it reached out to potential customers and not only made them aware of the upcoming product but yeah it got them excited about that product as well it generated buzz and apparently more of the spark was one of the more profitable sets of Magic the Gathering like you know in the game’s history so well obviously there were many factors leading to that the incredibly successful advertising is certainly going to be one of them so is there any value to having a Magic the Gathering storyline if it’s not profitable in and of itself I would argue that there is extreme value in this it creates an extreme amount of both interest and loyalty in existing players many Magic the Gathering players get obsessed with and continue to buy and play Magic the Gathering for reasons other than just competing in competitive magic many become engrossed in the characters their stories to such a point that you could argue there is a significant number of customers who are paying money that are only doing so because of the existence of a rich and engaging story but I think it also generates interest in potential customers – seeing the face of magic gathering the characters on a piece of artwork er a book cover or in an ad and wanting to learn more about who and what they are finding yourself connects to them through them being relatable or interesting those sort of factors you want to figure out what’s going on and for many the story can be a gateway into the game itself drawing in new players and solidifying their continued loyalty once they become customers in this sense the stories are an advertisement for the game and thus it can be argued that there is a benefit to spending some money that you will not see a return on such as the money spent on the war of the spark trailer or money spent on making the magic story columns even if you are not seeing an immediate return on it through direct sales the advantage to free magic story on a website is that people can link and share those links with customers and potential customers who might not otherwise pay for the story so for example a former magic player being given a link to the magic story where we returned to DOM and area and revisit many classic characters that players familiar with has the potential to get a click get a read and lo and behold maybe get them interested in the dama Neriah set going into their local game store to pick up some packs play in a pre-release what-have-you whereas that person might not have shelled out 399 for the complete ebook so is the shift from magic story to audiobooks essentially putting the magic story behind a paywall well yes and no in reality it is two different things linked only through them both beings storyline items what we are seeing is an introduction of a series of e-books written by established fantasy authors ebooks that you’ll need to purchase while the existing that we had magic story which up until recently was in-house created content that was provided for free is being taken away these are two separate things the ebooks are not the magic story in audio form with a price tag they are something new that happens to have a price tag in isolation had for example Wizards of the coast you said hey get ready for a new series of e-books by Kate Eliot this would have been nothing but a positive more is more as I always say but since this was given to us as a give and take away you get this new thing but lose an old thing in other words I do think it fair for customers to compare the two and see that one comes with a price tag whereas the other which has been around for a long long time was free and so we feel like we are losing the free thing well we are losing the free thing and we see the other thing is essentially a replacement even though if you really think about it that’s not completely accurate and we see all of this during that time of record profits it’s not literally putting magics story behind a paywall but it is reasonable that people can feel that way and it’s a shame too because there’s a lot to be excited about about these new e-books for throne of El drain the first thing and this is what’s really got me hyped about them is that none of them are written by Greg Weissman but the next is that we are getting names like Kate Elliot and Django Wexler and that is an exciting prospect in terms of world building narrative and expansion getting access to a large pool of talented and in some cases name recognition level fantasy authors such as Kate Eliot or Brandon Sanderson is a great asset to the story even if for every Sanderson you’re going to get a Greg Weisman and there’s another advantage to having these ebooks as well and it’s one that we can even see as a form of advertisement by having ebooks that will be listed on every single ebook platform meaning exposure to potential new customers is going to be increased so someone is browsing fantasy titles through barnesandnoble.com or whatever and they see oh wow Kate Elliot’s Magic the Gathering novel listed and they might choose to buy it become interested in the game in the set and become a potential new customer there’s no disadvantage to expanding into the ebook territory the issue is the perceived swamp and I think that that’s a real travesty here is that this is a good thing that’s getting a bad reputation through the loss of magic story but I also feel strongly that the value and having ebooks should not undercut the different value in having in-house talent and care play significant role in the development of the Magic the Gathering storyline from concept all the way up to complete short stories and novels the talent of an in-house story team means that you can better track and develop characters so that for example you don’t produce the most overwhelmingly positive storyline and development for your central character ever and then oops accidentally have it completely washed away and retconned by outside authors coming in and not knowing about or being properly tuned in to those developments which is something that actually happened and I really want to be clear on something else having that in-house talent and in-house story team doesn’t mean that people should be working for free one argument that makes me frustrated about this issue is people saying that we need to pay for the e-books so that the person writing it gets paid um I think that the person writing it whether it’s magic story for free or an e-book for sale needs to get paid no matter what whether you the company make it available for free you still need to pay your artists and workers at the end of the day it is extremely saddening to me that during what has been called the most profitable year Magic the Gathering has ever had we are having something taken away as a result magic story existed during those less profitable years and I would have liked to see the reaction to exploding profits be looking for ways to expand and give more not take away and give less so my final conclusion is that these are two separate and the ebooks are an interesting and exciting offering but they do not necessitate in any way the loss of the free magic story which can and should have been viewed as a worthwhile investment that helps the larger business and success of Magic the Gathering but now I want to hear from you do you plan to buy this upcoming ebook for throne of El drain are you sad to see the magic story go or do you think it’s the correct decision by Wizards of the coast just how important is the magic gathering story to you and what form should it take let me know in the comments below and remember to pick up your free audiobook from audible.com slash tellurian community or texting tellurian community to 500 500 thanks for audible for helping sponsor this video and you can help the channel out greatly just by visiting that link [Music]

100 thoughts on “The End Of Magic Story: On Paywalls, Advertising, and Magic: The Gathering Lore

  1. Vraska and Jace romance on Ixalan needed to continue. Weisman just derailed it. I'll feel a bit better if audible has "Arena" and "The Than" both, not "or".

  2. I would be far more excited about this if the written storyline of Magic had stayed the same or improved since the days of Ice age and the original Ravnica books included with the fat packs.

    As it stands, the official storyline of Magic has been close to unreadable in recent experience. Definitely not something I would be willing to download and read, not to mention pay to read.

  3. my favorite magic story is still the old arena book from the 90's. ive read it so many times its falling to pieces. was never able to find a hardcover edition

  4. I play Magic because the game is fun. I knew there were stories, but I have no interest in reading them. The stories and lore don't affect the game, nor how it plays. So to me, I could care less about the free stories, or paid stories. I think it's a shame to take it away from those who did enjoy them.

  5. The short stories from the new ravnica sets actually got me into paper magic again. Identifying with the guilds was a huge selling point that made me excited to build a draft deck and connect with that guild.

  6. If we get a better quality story then I think it's worth it. I stopped reading the online stuff because it was poorly written and seemed to be inspired by a teenage mind. The quality and level of the stories was poor. I do understand that the stories were free, but they still should have put some pride in the work they were producing. If the new books are written to a higher standard then I think it's worth it.

  7. I dont really buy "virtual" things. I am old school. I wish they will PRINT the novel so I can buy it and have it Physically.
    I still hope they will have a "The Art of Magic: Throne of Eldraine"

  8. I want to add another concern, the time difference between a book and a short story. Magic is an investment of money but also of time. Time spent looking at spoilers, reading articles, building decks, listening to podcasts, and of course actually playing the game. What was nice about the web stories was that you could read each one in a relatively short amount of time and get familiar with what's going on. I also enjoy reading actual books bu that is more of a time investment and so often I don't budget enough time for them. That means I might not start reading the book for one set until months into the next one, if I even decided to pick it up.

  9. The magic story is literally what made me start playing the game coupled with the great art artist of WOTC maker I simply could not play this beautiful game

  10. I relate to this on so many levels as I was one of those drawn in to magic the gathering through the war of the spark trailer XD. My friends had been recommending me to pick it up and it was the trailer that finally got me into it!

  11. I think MTG suffers a little by having a lack of outlets for its story and lore creativity.

    I offer as a contrast Games Workshops various related IP's. GW has a website where they can and do release small sections of lore and fluff written in-house just like WOTC. Usually related to new product ranges or story campaigns as basically intellectual adverts for their products.
    But GW also has its monthly Magazine which while choc full of other types of content related to game-play usually finds room for a few major pieces of story-centric content. They also regularly release their faction codex books (and some miscellaneous gamebooks) that usually have decent sized chunks of lore included to make a more entertaining product.
    Next they have a moderately fruitful Video Game adaptations that often expand upon parts of the lore or track with current events sometimes offering extra or unique perspectives. And finally they have the Infamous Black Library series of Novels (and also a smaller subset for the Fantasy Warhammer game) I tried counting up the number of novels but lost track but it is a lot.

    I think if MTG had options like this they wouldn't be so quick to remove the in-house loremasters work and hand it off to outside writers to have it bundled up and polished enough to be released as a money earning product. Instead that in-house work could have been reused and expanded upon and used to pad out several different products all of which could give WOTC the revenue stream they want.

  12. That war of the spark trailer for me to come back and play magic for the first time since the original Mirrodin.

    I play warcraft and we get lots of free warcraft short stories. (Maybe not lots but the non book content is free)

  13. The main issue is they are taking away the stories on the website, if they wanted to release extra books on the side that would be no big deal.

  14. The way Arena is ran, huge paywalls and Arena being the most expensive PC game on the market, yet nobody is complaining about it, I honestly don't understand how people can sink hundreds of dollars into Arena every month and the way MTG has been lately in pumping out product for many formats and now this update, Wizards is getting Greedy and Expensive and they're going down a path I cannot follow, I am a concerned consumer. I thought I could come back to a digital form of Magic, but the paywalls are too great to try to become a competitive player in this particular game.

  15. many magic the gathering players ask the question, where is the profs fallen empires display in the back of his closet^^ did he took it back to wizards or just used for tokencards 😛 maybe wizard will tell us in the next storyline as a paywall to get extra lore information about the tolarian wizardsschool XD-oh its hiding behind his hair-my mistake-no money back-sorry!

  16. The MTG Lore or Stories are Very important for the Game not only for advertising, promoting and making players want to play or play again as well as inviting new players to Play. Specially to Players like me. When I Make my Decks I always Consider the Story behind my General/ Commander. (I am now a Commander (E.D.H.) Player, and loved the STORY behind it.) I am always Considering, telling a story behind the Characters within the cards that I'm playing. When I am brewing my decks tweaking it change the cards the lore and Story is always on the back of my mind. I'm a MTG player from Onslaught, Legion Block and I really Miss the Lore and the Books. When I came back from hiatus and Play MTG again, The Story/LORE is one of things that I am Asking… Like about What Happen?! Where did the Story go from where i left things like that. If they wanted more money with regards with the story (Books, e-Books) Then they should Bring Back those Books that has been included on a Magic the Gathering FAT Pack Before. Even if it will cost more because of the Book if they price it fair and reasonable i bet They would sell like pancakes… And I am not against E-Books I just liked, or I am more in favor for the real or physical books rather than e-books and I understands what Prof is saying Wizards should think about the Players if they wanted more to play or for old players to comeback playing even on inviting new players to play Not all People play With out asking or wondering what is the story behind it. If they Wanted more money then more Players means More Money!.

  17. WOTC rips people off left and right, and the sad thing is it's own loyal players love the prices and don't give them any negative feedback, that's a problem for people who are new to their games.

  18. my local game store worked around this for younger people or people who can't afford the books online. Every saturday, at 4 o clock, my local game store has a "story time" where they let the audiobook play on large speakers for everyone in the store to hear. Think that this is really a great thing.

  19. As an extremely casual player who primarily follows the game for the lore, this is annoying to me. But it's not too bad, I can just pirate the new books… by which I mean I'll borrow it from my public library! (FR though, what's the difference?)

  20. The story helps enfranchise players, but arguing that the story is an advertisement is a stretch. It's a tough sell to say that free short-form stories on their website translates to additional moved product. This move is definitely about their bottom line, likely because the story is part of the product- one people have paid for in the past- and identifying that a portion of their revenue stream comes from investment in the story among customers already enfranchised means they can turn customer interest that might not convert into units of product into sold books. "Vorthos" is not a term new players will use to describe themselves, and certainly not one a potential customer will be aware of. Some players are solely invested in the story, and the cost of a pack is not too far a bridge for a higher quality product for them.

  21. If it's not printed in a book, it's not really lore, it's fanfic. I started buying magic novels a couple of years ago, but so far I only have artifacts cycle vol 1 & 2 and I got the 1st ever novel "Arena" for literally 1 cent off ebay (1cent + $4.50 for shipping to Portugal that is). Guess I'll continue buying some more soon. I got a couple of others from random blocks that are all incomplete sets for now.
    I started on the warcraft novels as well in chronological order but I soon got to one that is out of print and as long as I don't get that one I won't go any further. Either I can get a full collection or it's not worth collecting at all.
    The moments we stop getting MTG books, that for me is effectively the end of the canon.
    Additionally, I don't think MTG's story is an advertisement for the game, but vice versa. I got into the lore through the game and now I barely even play it. I just read. I have 1 EDH deck and that's it.

  22. Can we just take a moment to say how on point the Professor is? A textbook case of how you can be critical, constructive, while also being absolutely savage. Took the words right out of my mouth, thanks for being our spokesman Prof.

  23. Because this is written IP. Writers deserve to be rewarded for the popularity of the content that they create.

    To argue that these are "advertisements" means an author is paid per piece, instead of for the quality of the piece

  24. Anyone else here willing to spend an audible credit if they put out an audio version of the Throne of Eldraine story

  25. That War of the spark ad made me come back to the game after like 10 years of not playing. I think you've got a point about advertisement and how it benefits the game.

  26. Doesnt this also depend on the qaulity length and detail of the books in question, i wrote this before ypu finished the advertisement far be feom me or anyone else to say someones work shpuldnt be paid for

  27. The Story "The Blight we were born for" solidified General Tazri and the ally tribe as my favorite one in EDH, after reading that story I got myself an Ally deck and I'm still looking to get the rest of the allies that I dont have so I can make an ally pauper deck aswell.

    In the stories we got background to legendary creatures and not only the planeswalkers but with books coming out instead of stories I think that the planeswalkers are going to get alot of love and the rest of the legendary creatures in a set will get left out. I really hope I'm wrong though, but it's my fear going forward.

  28. If I am being honest, it doesnt matter if it is behind a paywall or free if it is bad. The Magic Story Post Mending in general varied wildly and alot of the recent ones have been…bad coughs War of the Spark.

    The Novels from the olden days were so good. The Artifacts Cycle in particular is basically a better Ugin / Nicol narrative.
    Ugin and Mishra, despite only taking a single book was a beautiful story.
    Legends, Ice Age, Mirrodin and Artifact Cycles are amazing.
    I am pretty optimistic in some way, at least I love Brandon Sanderson.
    But when we have plot points that involve Bolas getting beat, Chandra vaping Eldrazi and the events of Amonkhet (shivers), I am only cautiously so. And the first book, lets be honest.
    Was just terrible. Pass. Just give me Way of Kings or Mistborn instead.

  29. Lore is fun, but not in any way a necessity. The free "novels" are more akin to fan fiction in quality than anything I would ever read. Wiki sites will still have a kind of recap, which is more than enough. If the actual books are any good I may actually read some of them if I ever get rid of my back log (which will keep me busy for more than a year right now).
    EDIT: Oh, and if 3.99 is too much for a book (for those who like ebooks/audio. I don't). Just leave one booster on the shelf next time you buy somethimg, and there you have it.

  30. I like that they have returned to the novel format, but the problem is that they‘re not going to translate them to other languages.

  31. I really liked what they did back when I started playing with Theros block. The main story was kept in an eBook, and the Uncharted Realms articles were more pieces of lore and side stories that helped define the plane. I was initially excited by the announcement because I thought we were going back to that system. But this shift honestly seems wrong to me. My favorite story articles have always been the ones that are completely unrelated to the main plot because they allow for such great world building. You're not gonna get those one off stories within a novel.

  32. I play for the lore.

    Sarkhan Vol's story is what got me back into magic, and the lore has kept me glued to the lore.

    But as I get older I see the low quality of the free lore, and it hurts. If the $4 skyrockets the quality and WotC continues to make interesting lore cards than I won't mind the paywall.

  33. First time watching one of your videos, really interresting and usefull aswell, as I can work my english ^^ I agree with you that it's a shame that they're taking away from us MTG story wich was free, to replace it with novels which may add (and not give us just more) content. I can't see why both can't exist at the same time !

  34. Great video but a couple of comments:

    1. I feel like Wizards of the Coast would know better than you (the Prof) whether the weekly story articles were a successful advertising medium and whether investing the money required to keep producing them is worth the attention they draw to Magic. Their data is obviously not perfect, but I imagine it's far better than the mostly anecdotal evidence that you have to go off of. I'm sure if the Magic Story had a very obvious and strong link to people starting/staying in the game then they would continue it.

    2. This is much more a personal opinion, but I kind of prefer the way they have been telling the story through the cards and mechanics lately to be better than the weekly story updates anyway. I don't have to read through a bunch of (in my opinion) fan-fic-esque articles about kind of boring stereotypical "super-hero" characters. Instead I get all of the important details from the cards (Gideon's death and the like) and fill in the gaps with my imagination or by milking the flavor text and art for every detail I can find. Since the card design has been doing a pretty good job at this lately I think it has actually lessened my desire to read the weekly articles and as long as they continue to do this I think the Magic story will be in a good spot.

  35. No way am I buying a novel sight unseen. I might if it gets good reviews, but after Dominaria having nothing to do with the plot, bolas's brain falling out in m19, and war of the spark just skipping everything… It's obvious that they can't hold a consistent storyline with one and done guest writers so there's no point in worrying that you'll miss literally anything if you just skip the mediocre books.

  36. As a person who has played this game for 20 years and has never given a crap about the lore, and also being a person who gets paid by the word. I'm fully in favor of the shift, if it means writers are putting more money in their wallets. Still though, WotC is really tactless when it comes to all of this, so I'm torn.

  37. I've never really bothered with MTG stories altogether. However, if Brandon Sanderson is working on MTG content, maybe I should start reading MTG after all. Everything Sanderson touches becomes instant gold. I'm a giant Brandon Sanderson fanboy and not ashamed to admit it.

  38. I'm OK with paying for author's works, (would be author here) I would want to be payed too. That being said, maybe read some of the FanFic being written as well. The store makes my game play so much more fun. Keep up the good work Professor.

  39. I won't buy any more books from greg weisman even if they included in a audible membership. It is not just a waste of money but a waste of time.

  40. I never read the lore. But I will read it if it's an ebook. Yes, I know it doesn't really makes sense because reading on a website/reading on an ebook is basically the same, but I prefer long-form stories.

  41. I think the people who would read the articles are generally the same people who would be willing to purchase ebooks. I think this decision just makes sense.

  42. The lore was the reason I ever gave the card game a chance, the only reason I now watch and tried out Arena. Without those free novellas I would have never entered the fandom. I was never interested in the card game no matter how many times over the years a few friends of mine tried to get me to try. Thanks to Ixalan saga, Vraska and Jace are my favorite planeswalkers and hope they get more story time together. I only know about DABriel because of Children of the nameless. He’s now one of my favorites as well and always get excited when someone uses his card in a deck on Arena because the voice lines are amazing.

  43. im going to eaither wait for magic arcanum to read it and explain teh book to me (as he did withh the previus ravnica one) or go online and search for a free copy, i refuse to pay for lore, if you want to make a book about magic lore, fine, do it, but dont remove the free part, WotC did a half great job with the war of teh spark release with teh book AND teh short stories thingy, then why the fuck would you do the same but remove teh free story?

    "oh shit, i remember now, we are a modern company, QUICK! MAKE EVERYONE PAY FOR EVERYTHING" – Hasbro CEO talking to WotC

  44. Looks at other WoTC products like D&D and the plethora of books, both PHB's and novels behind me. Yep. Totally not okay with something like this. This is an outrage!

    Yeah. I'm okay with more in depth stories from authors. Been looking for more to read.

  45. 9:32 The war of the spark trailer kinda was what got me fully back into magic. I did already somewhat return almost a year before that but didn't purchase a product other than singles and sleeves up until war of the spark.

    After that I bought a couple of WAR boosters and some MH1 boosters and just ordered my commander precon and plan to purchase an eldraine fat pack as well. So yeah releasing such good trailers and hype stuff that ties into the story line definitely pays off in the long run (but srlsy that trailer was so good, legit got goosebumps the first time watching it and made me look up the lore of the past years that I missed).

  46. Very new to magic and war spark short story was amazing. I never pay for eBook not a big reader but short story's quick lore appeals to me. Long form I still understand and know people that would enjoy. I just rather lore come from people active in the lore over random author that knows less.

  47. I'm actually ok with paying for the new ebooks, but more importantly I'm very happy about the ebooks being published BEFORE the spoiler season starts.
    I absolutely loved reading the story on mtg's website, but having the story spoiled by the cards during the spoiler season was kind of shitty. It was like starting to read a book from the last chapter.

  48. Most profitable year and yet my commander that makes rhino tokens and then populates only comes with one rhino token! Thanks WOTC

  49. Professor, how would you suggest narratives be split between novels & online short stories? I imagine part of the reason for doing things this way is to avoid possible conflicts between two different story sources on the same set. Or should that be easy to handle?

  50. Major vorthos here. The lessening and now disappearance of the magic story page lessens my desire to traffic the magic site. Loved the short stories and I’m sad to hear they’re being discontinued. I’m certain I’ll read Wildered Quest because the lore and story is an important element to my caring about the game, but those short stories were a great repository for smaller character tidbits, side stuff, etc

  51. Get WotS: Forsaken for free so you won't pay a dime for the upcoming dumpster fire that it will be, complete with more toilet humor and plot holes and poor writing.

  52. Well, I'm terribly sad about this change. As a big vorthos, when I came back to Magic I started reading the story in the website and I've been following it since. Back in the day we only had the novels, and they weren't even translated, so I couldn't even know more about the story I loved (although MTG Story discontinued its translations a couple of years ago too, luckily today my English skills are better than when I was 12).

    I'd love to have both: more deep and long novels, and free stories in the mothership to explore different characters, locations and themes, like the Core 2019 storyline.

    If we're going to have only novels, then make them real novels, with longer chapters and deeper character exposure and development. The authors WOTC is hiring can do that, not just 3-pages chapters.

  53. Honestly, knowing authors involved in upcoming MTG novels I have high hopes that this "trade" is a good one and instead of short stories (of which not every had satisfying quality tbh) we will receive well written novels that will give way more personality to characters themselves.

    I will await for reviews before I celebrate or condemn anything, but as much as it is a shame to see Magic Story over if the novels are good I will definitely pay money for them. Just please, no War of the spark again. It is shameful, how probably one of the biggest plot points in MTG ever got ruined by poor novel. WOTC clearly learned one lesson and hired actual well estabilished fantasy writers for their novels this time.

    To sum my thoughts up – lack of more magic story is a shame, but I will not complain if novels turn out to be great.

  54. I don’t like eBooks because I like having a physical book in my hand, and the fact it is also behind a paywall is dumb, because what if your hard on money, well screw you because you have to pay for a story.

  55. Honestly, magic the gathering is becoming incredibly anti consumer. It's already essentially a pay to win game, which is a massively hated practice in the video game industry.

  56. 8:44 Personally. The ONLY reason that I love Magic the Gathering is because of the story and lore! I think Wizards of the Coast is leaving MILLIONS of Dollars on the table by not capitalizing on that in some way. The story-lines in Magic the Gathering are the equal of the Forgotten Realms, A Game of Thrones and The Elder Scrolls. They should focusing maybe on short,episodic featurettes and giving players and fans to the opportunity to watch them say for $1 a episode. Come up with an App just for that.

  57. I'd say the "why not both" I agree with, but I truly doubt there were a substantial amount of people who got into MTG because they randomly read a story article. IMO you really seem to overestimate its impact on the community and growth in player base. In theory, sure people share links to potential customers…but I just don't see it at. all. I think genuinely it's a stretch to call the MTG stories ads considering how they were already a niche within the magic the gathering community, to begin with.

    The biggest "ad" for Magic will be the animated series, which will be behind a paywall. And I say it's an ad the same way Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh's series were the greatest pieces of advertising they've ever had. The Magic stories in online articles were nowhere near this in any way. Of course, I don't have the numbers but I wouldn't be surprised if that one trailer for War of the Spark brought in more new players to MTG than all story articles in the past 7 years.

  58. This absolutely is putting the story behind a paywall. I'm a devoted fan and would pay for novels regardless, but there is no justification for removing the free stories.

  59. I'm a perfect example of someone who got as into the game as I am because of the story. When the Uncharted Realms column came around, it got me onto the mothership site and I started ingesting more MTG content than I'd ever thought possible, a lot of it directly from Wizards. The stories were a fantastic way to pass time during boring college lectures and being able to easily discuss them on the threads linking to them on social media got me into theorycrafting in the story. I can't say whether being so involved with the story really affected my purchasing decisions, but it certainly does feel like they're pushing me away by monetizing the content that got me more excited for the game than the actual game itself.

    With all of that said, I think I would be okay with them making books with far greater detail, and post summaries online for free. Really that's all I want, to know what the cards I'm playing with mean besides their text.

  60. I prefer full books to the fragmented bits of story written by different authors and released on a weekly basis that was MTG story. For Guilds of Ravnica I gave up on the online story and went and read one of the old Ravnica books instead. I bought the Kindle Throne of Eldraine book today and it's much more satisfying to read the whole story, written by one author.

  61. I dont see whats to discuss, as long as people are willing to pay for it it's a product with a price. And these days people are willing to pay for anything. I.e. people pay to buy incomplete, shit quality computer games a.k.a "early access" and then in addition to the money they paid they work as free testers. It's a "shut up and take my money" culture aka no self respect no backbone culture. But then again, if the quality of the story is good I'd be willing to pay for it despite knowing that it's also an advertisement for MtG the game. For instance I did buy Shadowrun books, some of them were really, really good. On the other hand I'd never pay for Warhammer 40k stories, the ones I happened to read were seriously bad, almost amateurish.

  62. I liked how diverse the short stories were. We could have stories about common folk getting by or about the big planeswalkers and everyone in between. Maybe it was just because of how War of the Spark was written, but I can't help but worry that the more focused novels will have to leave out all of the interesting world building stories

  63. This is a good analysis of the "what" regarding the change to Magic Story.

    If anybody is interested in speculation about the "WHY" behind the change, I've written up my thoughts here: https://flavoracle.tumblr.com/post/187515516462/why-do-you-think-the-website-stories-formant-is

  64. I absolutely have to agree on there being room for both. The novels will once again allow for better-paced stories that need room to breathe, something which would have helped with the criticisms leveled at Dominaria's story. It also means you don't have to squish, otherwise condense, or outright remove character development.
    But we need the online shorts, too. Even aside from the comments from Wizards and Maro that the books never sold well and engagement has skyrocketed since they switched back to online stories, that's where we can have our Commander precon snippets, our Conspiracy (or other supplement product) stories. Our side-stories focusing on different and potentially-obscure characters: The Blight We Were Born For, Release, Hour of Eternity… would these asides fit into the pacing needs of a novel? Particularly as they often involve interactions with more complex continuity. (Make a Kaladesh novel, except also now explain Kamigawa, Tamiyo, Narset, Sarkhan, nezumi, moonfolk, Elspeth, the Phyrexians, Mirrodin, Theros, and Nyx.)

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