@The-Atog-Lord Again, what is your point? I think if you had the whole VSL squad in your basement (That's what that is, right?) it would obviously be unethical. But somehow "only" a couple buddies is exactly as inconsequential as Twitch chat? Come on, be honest. There really is a difference there.

last edited by ajfirecracker

ajfirecracker, You're the one with the toxic attitude here, over the entire thread. I only talked about the risk of ghosting to even out, not that you personally would have to do it. Just knowing that someone will eventually do so more than cancels out any incremental advantages gained. Ultimately, though, I get a kick out of beating up on the whole crew, if such it is. It makes me a better player (incidentally, to brag a little, I think I'm a very lucky 5-0 against The Atog Lord in MTGO events who is an awesome player and ambassador). You could stream too if you want, if you thought it was such an advantage. But even if you don't want to ghost (and I never would either), just imagine the tactical points you could gain in going over the archived video of your games with the streamer afterwards - you see his entire decision process which is a huge advantage for your next encounter. In short, I don't think we have a problem here.

@BazaarOfBaghdad I do stream, was streaming today, and streaming is not the point.

Am I playing against Rich Shay when we play a match online, or am I playing against Rich plus his Vintage-playing friends?

@diophan The difference is this particular paper rule is an ethical rule. I think a similar thing would be looking at your opponents hand. I think in the rules of Magic that's wrong to do whether in person or via Twitch

@ajfirecracker I think it is unethical that people cannot play in Champs because they either did not buy their power over 5 years ago or are wealthy.

The distinction between outside assistance before and during a tournament is, in my opinion, fairly arbitrary. As someone who is currently reasonably established in vintage I can test with/ask the opinions of very skilled players. A couple years ago I was working all by myself deciding on a decklist and testing. I don't see much of a difference between the advantage someone who is well connected has in game versus out of game.

I get your frustration. Seeing a couple skilled vintage pilots playing against you when you lose is tilting. However I do not agree that whether something is (potentially) visible should determine if it is ethical.

@diophan that's a rationalization. We do make a distinction in this game between preparation and actually playing a deck. Pretending that distinction does not exist in order to pardon unethical behavior is dishonest.

Not streaming gives you the best chance to win, provided you make all the best plays.

If I'm in the power 9 challenge, I absolutely check to see what Rich Shay is playing and he has no idea what I'm playing. Depending on how I craft my deck, that's an advantage that cannot be overcome no matter how many people are on his side.

I check everyone's stream. Gives me best chance to win.

I've never ghosted anyone but, might as well next time, right?

AJ, if you start ghosting Rich, I can almost guarantee that he puts his stream on a delay, in which he can no longer get help. Problem solved.

last edited by desolutionist

You can always set higher stream delay. However this may be bad interaction for twitch viewers. If someone would actually want to play with 5 people behind his back, he can always choose not to stream. Streaming is not the problem here.

If it makes you feel any better, I 5-1'd the swiss today completely alone, and as soon as Stefan showed up I immediately lost in the top 8 😄

I have remained mostly silent about this issue for a long time because I have friends who stream and I have friends who played (and won) events both large and small with one or more "copilots" on Skype. I do not wish any ill will towards them or anyone.

However I have to say that is feels discouraging to know I might have to defeat a team of people to win a single round of Magic on MTGO. I'm certainly not the best player in the world, but I do all my work on my own and I set a strong emphasis on honor. I have never ghosted a stream, even when I knew I could. But to think that my opponent might have beaten me because their buddy stopped them from making a mistake feels awful. That's just how I feel, and my feelings are valid as a human being.

I'll preface this by saying I haven't gotten to play much competitive magic at all in the last 1.5yrs and don't follow streams, so I apologize if I misunderstand something.

After following this topic a few times, it still seems incomprehensible to me to defend group play. I understand an elite player might not gain anything from a stream, or that MTGO is a different game, but I will say one aspect of Magic has always been consistent since the beginning. It's always been my best effort against my opponent's best effort.

I know digital magic is a different beast, but if people were chiming in during a paper match at a live tournament, people would be going ballistic.

The defense that it's not enforceable doesn't sit well with me.

The defense that it doesn't help, I can't verify. I've heard elite players say they have never gained from help, but I can't speak to that. I would imagine that most help is distracting chatter, but not all of it can be.

The defense that streaming is better for the publicity of MTGO might be perfectly valid.

I guess at the end of the day, it truly is unenforceble, so at least kudos to those that don't do it in the shadows.

I might play less in a year than some people play in a week, however, if I sat down to play in a tournament on MTGO, I would (perhaps unrealistically) assume I was playing against one person and if it were otherwise, I can't pretend I wouldn't be disappointed.

last edited by joshuabrooks

I think the reality of the situation is it's never ever going to be enforceable. If you ban streaming on Twitch, then players can still "team up" by hosting a private streaming session to garner the feedback from their friends, if they so choose. I'd love for everyone to be on an even setting, but the nature of a digital product is such that these things are an inevitable by-product. I'm sure this is an issue for nearly every competitive digital game.

As a player who skypes in other players or even streams his games sometimes I can understand that some players think it's unfair, well because it is but it's also impossible to stop. I do it because it is a very good way to improve at the game and have a lot of fun. At my local draft group we did this for years even before any of us played magic online and it helped all of us getting better at the game.

I think banning outside assistance on magic online would only punish fair players that would obey a rule that is impossible to enforce. So my advice is "join the dark side" skype with your friends get better at the game and have fun.

last edited by Grischa

@Grischa said in MTGO Outside Assistance:

As a player who skypes in other players or even streams his games sometimes I can understand that some players think it's unfair, well because it is but it's also impossible to stop. I do it because it is a very good way to improve at the game and have a lot of fun. At my local draft group we did this for years even before any of us played magic online and it helped all of us getting better at the game.

I think banning outside assistance on magic online would only punish fair players that would obey a rule that is impossible to enforce. So my advice is "join the dark side" skype with your friends get better at the game and have fun.

I'd rather lose that win with someone else on my side. That's just me. I already hear things like "your opponent should have won but they punted" when I have a good tournament, the last thing I need is people speculating that I received outside assistance or ghosted a stream.

@Islandswamp said in MTGO Outside Assistance:

I'd rather lose that win with someone else on my side. That's just me. I already hear things like "your opponent should have won but they punted" when I have a good tournament

Try to hear: Your opponent should have won but they punted and you didn't

I think this is an important thread, even for those who don't stream and never has/will. There certainly are differences in paper and online magic, but that's not what we're talking about in this thread (if I understand the views correctly). Similarly, the enforceability of a rule is not what's at stake here. Rather, this topic should (in my opinion) focus on a discussion about ethical implications of streaming. To be upfront, I am undecided on this matter, though I find myself leaning on the side of it not being unethical - note that this is different from my saying that it is ethical. I do see both sides of the issue, and encourage those who only see it one way to attempt to find a framework that allows them to see the other view as well.

To begin, we need to separate rulings and potential enforcement from ethics. This will quickly get knotty, because people will reasonably point to the idea that something is not unethical if it is not against the stated rules: if it is allowed, it is not wrong to do. Those who rally against this idea are thinking about the way the rule should be, not at it currently is. This sense of how things should be will differ depending on ethical framework. The sense that 'everyone is doing it, and you could too' does not address and underlying ethical issue at stake for these people. So ask yourself, do I think something is right or wrong because the rules do or do not permit it?

Second, we need to disentangle consequentialism from virtue. Would your feelings about finding out an opponent was streaming change if you won or lost? Or would you feel slighted (ethically) either way? If the former, we need to unpack the advantages and disadvantages of streaming to measure the expected utils on both sides. In this case, the question will become one of which is on average better overall for people streaming and playing against streamers. However, in the later case, we need to acknowledge that the question of whether someone streams is a question of honor, as Islandswamp put it. If that is the case, the real why someone is streaming* will be of crucial importance. Ask yourself if it would matter that an opponent is streaming to incur tactical benefits or to bring more exposure to the format. There are those that would argue that streaming will incur those tactical benefits implicitly and unintentionally, so that is an important point to keep in mind.

Last, let's talk about realsits and logistics. There are benefits and disadvantages to streaming, but that is a more consequentialist consideration. Here, I want to talk more about the notion of 'If it's not enforceable, why even talk about it or try to regulate it?' The answer to this question: community. While that argument may render discussions moot in other contexts, the vintage community is an important one, and the hallmark of our format outside of the technicalities of what vintage is. I believe strongly that we should discuss this issue so that we try to approach (ideally) a consensus or (at least) mutual understanding of the issues that are at play here. So try to understand where people are coming from when they express their opinions, and try to think about your own underlying assumptions when giving your own views. Whether something is regulated or even if it can be, we can adopt our own practice surrounding this issue.

I hope we have some good conversations here! Also, if you have questions about the ethical terms used, feel free to ask, as I was trying to keep this somewhat concise.

  • Note: In all of the above, I am using steaming to mean broadcasting in real time that allows for strategic input from others, unless otherwise clarified.
last edited by Archae

My issue is not streaming. The current MTGO rules actually encourage streaming (like, they literally say "we encourage streaming"). I was streaming the event and I think in general the value of strategic advice from Twitch chat is low enough that we should probably live with it. My concern is that you have players you trust in your living room (or on Skype) talking over plays and giving advice. I think the quality of that advice is much higher and does much more to cut against fairness than access to Twitch chat. I also think the people who want to defend the practice of team play are conflating it with Twitch chat, either on purpose or unintentionally.

I guess for me the biggest difference is intent.

Human nature will be outraged if they lose to a team, but overly self-complimentary if they beat a team.

If I am trying to get better and improve my play, I'd rather play against a team.
If I am trying to win a tournament, I'd rather play against individuals.

At the end of the day, I am not an active MTGO player, so my opinion doesn't mean much, but I do feel like over time it will diminish the value/accolades of an online tournament win for someone that does it on their own.

Streaming I can understand in certain situations, but I can't understand any defense of team play in a Vintage tournament. It just goes against the basics of Magic for me.

Edit: unless of course that's what the greater MTGO community prefers. I'm not an active part of it, so I don't know.

last edited by joshuabrooks

@ajfirecracker You are drawing an arbitrary distinction because you realize that unless you drew an arbitrary line you are being hypocritical. What does it matter if feedback were from twitch chat or from someone next to you? Ultimately streaming with someone nearby and streaming with an audience online is similar. You create a dialogue. You talk your plays out loud. You show the viewers, outloud, what you are doing. Trying to say what you do is okay but what Brassy and I do is different is really missing the mark.

@The-Atog-Lord So you think if you had a team of Vintage ringers helping you through a major tournament that would be A-OK?

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