n late October, we solicited your feedback regarding the recent Shards of Alara Prereleases and Launch Parties. Important goals for us were to make the event broadly accessible while offering a similar experience to players around the world.
The attendance for the Shards of Alara Prerelease reached a never-before attained level for a single weekend; more players than ever before had the opportunity to participate in a Prerelease. At the same time, we recognized that your feedback would be important in order for us to evaluate potential improvements. We received over 11,000 answers, from all over the world, to the survey posted a few weeks ago. This is tremendous feedback for us; thanks for your participation!
Final details for the Conflux Prereleases and Launch Parties will be announced in January, but there are a couple of changes we can share with you now as a response to comments made through the survey:
Big Prereleases vs. Local Prereleases
To quote some of you:
"Pre-release events make some of my fondest Magic memories. Big, exciting and special events where dozens and dozens of people would meet to play with new cards. Please try to make them special again."
"Having a local pre-release was terrific. Being able to play in town rather than make a 2 day trip to Vancouver gave many more casual players a chance to participate. [...] Thanks for loosening up the pre-releases and allowing this to happen."
"Prereleases at major hotels were road-trips for me and several of my friends. It was a weekend's vacation out of work and school for two nights of nerdy euphoria."
"The small pre-releases are better, since the larger ones are too far away."
"BRING BACK BIG PRERELEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"You're providing greater access to a greater number of people who are not inclined to travel long distances and may be intimidated, like my girlfriend is, by big events at first."
As much as we still want to make the Prerelease broadly accessible, bringing back larger tournaments is key to a number of you. For Conflux, in addition to the local Prereleases, we have decided to organize larger events in about 40 cities across the world. These events will be run by Wizards of the Coast, and will be hosted in cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, London, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Orlando, Los Angeles, Dallas, Mexico City, São Paulo, Montreal, Toronto, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong or Taipei.
"I hope that one day perhaps a hybrid system could be developed to accommodate both small-time patrons and hard-core enthusiasts such as myself and group of disappointed friends."
Understood. We will give it a try with Conflux.
"I think it is necessary that launch parties and pre-releases offer different participation cards."
"Having the same launch party and pre-release foil was a bit of a disappointment, as well as being unable to draft afterwards."
Yes, we are going to change this. There will be a different promo card for the Conflux Prereleases and Launch Parties.
"Don't limit the number of participants a store can support for the prerelease. It was very disconcerting to see people who hadn't played MTG in a long time, or ever, get turned away."
Agreed. We will increase the venues' capacity; our Conflux kits will allow organizers to support more players.
Prior to Shards of Alara there were sometimes big discrepancies from one country to another in terms of how much prize support there was. We want prize support to be comparable regardless of which country you play Magic in, but we know from feedback that players would like better prize support than was the case with Shards of Alara. That's particularly true for countries like France, where previous support was higher than elsewhere.
"Here in France, the prize pool took a major blow with Shards of Alara."
"We've seen a reduction in prizes over the last two sets."
For Conflux, the prize support will be higher than it was for Shards of Alara.
Last but Not Least: Drafts
You were pretty clear on this point:
"Drafting at prereleases would be awesome"
"I would like drafts to return"
" I do think you need to re-instate official drafts, if possible, since a lot of people are just itching to get their hands on packs"
"Drafts at Pre-release are a MUST"
"DRAFTS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DRAFTS"
We got the message. There will be drafts at the Conflux Prereleases.
This is what we can share with you so far. We will keep analyzing the feedback we received through the survey, especially regarding the Conflux Launch Parties. It is extremely important to us to hear the point of view from so many different countries where Magic is played; players from Brazil, for example, have clear opinions they wanted to voice, and we got that message. Also, our sincere apologies to all our respondents from New Zealand: next time we will make sure that you don't have to register yourself as being from Australia.
Thanks also for all the kind words and encouragement we received!
"You guys rock!"
"Pre-releases are awesome fun!"
"Keep doing, great job."
"Keep a good work and say hello to Richard Garfield."
Richard will be at Worlds in Memphis—we will tell him!