Tuesday and Wednesday at the Gama Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV, Wizards Organized Play representatives will be discussing initial details of the Wizards Play Network – the new global organized play initiative devoted to enhancing grass roots play. Wizards of the Coast has created this initiative to support a wider variety of play formats and broader reaching local events that go beyond current Organized Play programs such as Friday Night Magic and the Pro Tour.
"We are rededicating ourselves to local level play. This multi-layered program is about putting choices and direction in the hands of those who know it best, the retailers and event organizers. The Wizards Play Network will have something for everyone," said Jesse Decker, Director of Organized Play for Wizards of the Coast.
Benefits of the program include regular feedback from retailers, making Wizards Organized Play staff more easily accessible, and deploying significant new online resources. The network will allow local organizers much greater freedom to choose play formats appropriate for their communities. This means, for example, that casual formats such as multiplayer or league play will receive expanded prize support and recognition from Wizards of the Coast.
Sign up at Wizards Play Network
Wizards representatives will be presenting a seminar at GTS on Tuesday and Wednesday from 1-2 in the Bronze Room of the convention hall. Jesse Decker, Andy Heckt and Chris Galvin will also be available at the Wizards of the Coast booth for any questions.
Wizards Play Network FAQ
What is the Wizards Play Network initiative?
The Wizards Play Network initiative is a renewed dedication towards providing additional support for grass roots play on a global level. We have created this initiative to support a wider variety of play formats and broader reaching local events that go beyond current OP events such as FNM and the Pro Tour. This will be about putting choices and direction in the hands of those who know it best, the retailers and game organizers.
What is the timing for the introduction of the Wizards Play Network?
Wizards will be rolling out their new initiative throughout the year, beginning with our announcement at GTS this Monday, April 21. Sign ups begin May 1, 2008.
Why the changes and introduction of the Wizards Play Network?
There are three main points to highlight in regards to the introduction of this initiative:
1. We are doing this in response to feedback we have collected from retailers and players. They've been asking for something like this for some time, and we are now at a point in which we can successfully provide them with what they've been requesting. We will continue to look for feedback from everyone involved.
2. The changes we're making will make WotC staff more accessible. The primary vehicle for this is firstname.lastname@example.org. This will be a single point of contact, making communication with Wizards' organized play department streamlined and efficient. We will roll out more tools as the year progresses.
3. We will deploy significant new online resources, all geared towards supporting this initiative. These resources include: new store and game locator as well as easy-to-use reporting tools for local organizers.
Can you give more detail about the online resources that will support the network?
There are several parts to the online resources that will be deployed throughout 2008. The first will be enhanced store and game locator functionality on the Wizards website that will be deployed this summer. The second piece will be simplified web-based reporting features that aid the expanded range of play formats offered through the Wizards Play Network. The final piece, to be deployed later will rely on Gleemax's social networking and group building functionality. These functions will give players and organizers unprecedented ability to connect with one another, identify favored play formats, and exchange comments.
How will this affect current sanctioned play programs?
Current sanctioned play programs such as Friday Night Magic and the Pro Tour will remain in place. The Wizards Play Network introduces additional, broader reaching, local events for players and retailers.
Will Tournament Organizer levels change?
We're working hard to make the next version of our organizer levels as clear as possible and to codify how an organizer progresses from one level to the next. These details will be included in the mid-May update of the Wizards Play Network.
Where does FNM fit into this initiative?
FNM is an integral part of the Wizards Play Network initiative. FNM will be the anchor of the initiative. However, this plan is designed to encourage other formats of play as well. The initiative includes various levels of "league" play, designed to appease the more casual and multiplayer players. It is these types of activities that will be encouraged for retailers/event organizers looking to build a more casual gaming environment.
Who do you feel will participate in the Wizards Play Network?
We imagine the vast majority of organizers to be retailers. They have already asked for clearer information about participation levels, and that will be delivered to them early this summer.
What if we already run Organized Play for Wizards games, what should we do?
If you're already running Wizards organized play programs, a Wizards staff member will contact you directly about the new play options available to your location.
What is the timeline for this year's rollouts?
We are looking to launch this initiative early this summer with continual rollouts of additional supporting programs and information throughout the year.
What will happen to the current kits and resources?
New assets and resources for retailers will be made available to help support non-tournament formats. These will include tools such as format guidelines for organizing play groups and rewards. The DCI intro kit and DCI tournament support kit will be incorporate into prizes and support within the Wizards Play Network participation kit.
Is there a cost?
Wizards Play Network kits will be free of charge.