Why The Real World Would Abuse Tiered Tournaments - And What The REAL Problem Is
The idea is not a bad one. In its essentials, the concept could work - if the whole idea wasn't open to such serious abuse.
Sorry to bring the real world into this, but not everyone is honest - and many people will bitch, steal, and cheat their way as far as they can get.
"The big benefit of a tiered system would be that newbies and casual players are not forced to compete with expert players, and experts are not forced to sit through multiple rounds of mindlessly beating up on newbies."
How else do you learn other than by healthy competition? Trying to wrap new players in cotton wool is not the answer to getting more players into the game. Wizards tried dumbing down the game with Portal and it didn't work. Either people will learn the rules and enjoy the game, or they won't. You would be better spending time on getting people to be more pleasant when they play each other. I played against an internet columnist from this very site and it was one of the most unpleasant experiences in my Magic life. Smug, arrogant (he was a better player and won easily but that's not an excuse for rudeness) and uncommunicative. He didn't even say hello as we started. And then as the game continued, one of his teammates sat down and started chatting away. So it's not even as if he had his game face on - as a self-admitted happy scrub, he did not even feel that I was worth a"hallo" or a"thanks for the game."
That sucks. That's why people don't play tournament magic.
Anyone can be beaten - anyone can deal with that - but introducing an overcomplex tiered system just so that the"experts are not forced to sit through multiple rounds of mindlessly beating up on newbies" is just some of the stupidest stuff I ever heard.
Poor old experts - fancy having to play against a deck that they may not have metagamed against!
"...but what about the ten, fifteen, or twenty other novices that were at that tournament getting humiliated?"
Read what you wrote, Professor; smug, arrogant, ignorant people are the reason why they don't come back - be sure of it. Some people will try the game and find it too complex or too expensive - that happens. They may not get hooked like you and me. But it's the attitude of the 'playas' that will turn of the majority.
"But Magic players should have to work for their successes."
So Rizzo's not working hard enough already? Maybe you could try reading his latest article for some perspective.
The last thing that you need to do in this world of a ten-second attention span is try to get people excited about moving from"Apprentice Mage" to"Mage". It's dumbing down in the worst way.
TO -"You only have a rating of 1620, so you should be playing over here."
Scrub -"But all my friends are playing in that pod over there!"
TO -"Well, that's tough - because they're all Mages."
What the heck?
The complexities that you brush off as part of your article strike me as nearly insurmountable in many cases.
By having a tiered system you either enforce pre-registration or on-site Internet access.
Pre-registration would mean that the tournament organiser (already overworked, undersupported, and not paid) has to take the time to look up DCI numbers on the Internet and be able to organise attendees into their tiers. You do want some people left to organise your tournaments, don't you? Any extra work for TOs is bad in my book. Also, I'm sure that players in South Dakota are as random in turning up as they are in my local area - the chances of everyone pre-registering other than for a Pro Tour or Nationals are rather limited.
On-site Internet access and slower registration. At a recent (constructed) GP, the start time was published as being 9:30... And the tournament began at 11:30. That's without the tiered system. And what about the problems with tournament results? How many times have you seen people bitching on newsgroups because their tournament results haven't been input correctly? And with rankings being thoroughly open to abuse as it is, you'd see more bitching going on than ever.
Add in more meetings with the dreaded Mr. Bye to your idea... And we all know how much that sucks, unless you're in a Grand Prix (and that's another subject entirely).
In a perfect world, you wouldn't need to worry about these things - but this is real life, and in practise it would be a disaster to implement. I can't argue that the Magic community would benefit from more players. I just don't believe that this is the way to do it.
"All it takes is for someone to try it and succeed."
They'll need to do a great deal more than just try to make this particular plan succeed. Nice idea, Michael, but this is not the answer.