MTGO Outside Assistance



  • I for one would prefer if players stream . Having read this thread I think most of my pre-conceptions were wrong - I thought having the chat on your side gives you some edges. However much of the information that might by provided by the chat can be looked up and if you are so inclined you could set up a bot to look up the information to save time .

    The one possible exception (and maybe I'm also wrong on this) is the innocuous what is my opponent on? Yes you can look up what they've played in recent tournament, but if someone in chat knows what your opponent is actually on as they faced them in a previous round this can hugely influence mulligan, turn 1 play. Is there anyway of finding our what your opponent is on - can you review previous rounds while the tournament is underway?



  • @MaximumCDawg said in MTGO Outside Assistance:

    The second one, that there seems to be some debate about, is whether there is an ethical question involved. I'm not even sure there is. MTGO has, from the get-go, never had any rules against outside assistance. Originally this was probably because of no enforcement capabilities, but whatever the reason, it happened. So, people play within the rules. It's the same as any other game. Would you complain if your StarCraft opponent had a friend in the room helping them remember the build order...?

    In normal friendly play, no, but in a tournament I think yes. It's extremely common for videogame tournaments (even online) to restrict communication more harshly than friendly play does. e-Sports events routinely restrict "coaching" during a match. The fighting game community, for example, has explicit rules at most tournaments which restrict "coaching" to a single person and only between full games.

    @Prospector said in MTGO Outside Assistance:

    The one possible exception (and maybe I'm also wrong on this) is the innocuous what is my opponent on? Yes you can look up what they've played in recent tournament, but if someone in chat knows what your opponent is actually on as they faced them in a previous round this can hugely influence mulligan, turn 1 play. Is there anyway of finding our what your opponent is on - can you review previous rounds while the tournament is underway?

    No, they eliminated that ability a couple years ago



  • @Prospector

    MAGIC ONLINE USER AGREEMENT
    http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/magic-online-user-agreement

    2.2 Tournaments and Events.
    (iii) Collusion A player or players working together to gain an unfair competitive advantage in an event. An example of collusion includes sharing knowledge of draft picks with other players of an event during the drafting portion of that event.

    When a player stumbles and looks like someone who doesn't know what to do next AND his friend or friends tell him what to do and direct him so this player wins, I personally consider this as gaining an unfair competitive advantage.

    Since MTGO is a game with prizes that have monetary value, this "ethical" issue can quickly evolve into a legal one.

    P.S. Recently watched infant_no_1, ajfirecracker, and OriginalOestrus playing (I watch only recorded games) and had no any reasons to suspect them in any unethical behavior. So the issue of getting outside assistance has nothing to do with streaming itself, but with judgment of each individual player.


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    I think the collusion rules here are too ambiguous. The tricky bit here is whether 'player' refers to 'a player in this event' or 'someone who has played magic before' (obviously it doesn't refer to Tennis players). The example which references two players in the same draft doesn't clarify anything.

    I understand that it's hard for me to be objective here, and I'm interpreting the ambiguity in a way that benefits me. Qualitatively, I don't think there's a difference between getting advice from Twitch chat and getting advice from a co-streamer. The quality of advice can vary, but they're both outside assistance. It's impossible to stream without getting advice from Twitch chat, even if you opt not to use it. Wizards is very clear about being pro-streaming (explicitly mentioned in the user agreement, how-to-stream videos on wizards.com, and Worth dropping by my stream, while I had a co-streamer, to give me some cards.) To me this feels like tacit approval - but maybe I'm just be seeing what I want to see.

    If wizards were to explicitly make a statement about playing with friends, or wrote to me privately like McAra mentioned, I'd have no choice but to stop.



  • @Chronatog Collusion would be multiple players entered, you cant collude with someone who isnt also a participant



  • Rich's run this past weekend definitely featured advice from another player in the same event. If that is enough to trigger the collusion rule, there is no doubt about whether it occurred.



  • @ajfirecracker you cant collude with outsiders. You can collude with other participants, you could collude with wotc staff, you cant collude with a disinterested party (your friend standing behind you). The whe concept of collusion is interested parties working together.



  • @rikter Yes, and there is zero question as to whether Rich received advice from an "interested party". He did. At least one of the players providing advice in-person was in the same event, told the stream he was in the same event, and streamed games from the same event.



  • @ajfirecracker Well thats a different case entirely. I think outside assistance is fine, which is what I thought this whole thing was about. Maybe I missed it in all these posts. Multiple registrants sharing info is probably collusion, which is a ToS violation.



  • @rikter Scouting is incredibly common in paper events. Players with byes will walk around and record player and deck information into an excel sheet, which they and their teammates consult when pairings go up before moving to their seats. This isn't considered collusion - collusion is more the manipulation of match results or drafts towards a specific outcome. Even if you wanted to ban scouting from paper and online Magic, how far would you go? Would you DQ players for chatting about their games in between rounds? What you stop covering events because it gives certain players a disadvantage? Would you put screens up in between matches so players can't look at what's happening around them?

    The integrity of a game is important but it's not of the utmost importance. Logistics matter. Promoting the game and the format matters. For many players and spectators, learning and improving as players matters. @ajfirecracker You coached Oestrus on stream to a 4-0 finish in a daily. She literally did not make game actions until you chimed in. This directly impacted the players in that event and I'm guessing you didn't give it a second thought at the time. Rather than focus on your hypocrisy, I would rather focus on what was gained from streaming. She learned, you and the other viewers got entertainment out of the experience, and the vintage and online community benefited from an additional player and content contributor. I stream occasionally and intend to continue because I believe it benefits the community as a whole and is something I enjoy. At the same time, I accept that players may be streaming against me or ghosting.



  • @ChubbyRain Any comparison to paper magic is off the mark, its apples and oranges. The blurb about collusion in the ToS specifically mentions sharing draft picks, as this type of information sharing can lead to a competitive advantage. In a MTGO tournament setting, talking with your buddy who is also playing in the event gives you inside information on decks and players that can give you a competitive advantage. Under the rules as written, I would say that meets the collusion standard. The fact that this is allowable in a paper setting is irrelevant.

    Now, could you enforce that? Really tough. The only people getting hit up for that, I would guess, are people trying to buy match wins for tix and such, and only if they use the client chat.



  • @Brass-Man I watched your stream and I personally don't think that you were intentionally soliciting help. Perhaps, closer to the end, when you got a bit tipsy and in your frustration you kind of gave up on the game, your friends were telling you what to do. And it did look like they were playing instead of you. But overall they looked more like annoyance and distraction and you were nice enough not to send them away or tell them to be quiet; and they weren't perceptive enough to realize that they were distracting you. That's it.

    Was it an intentional attempt to get any advantage? I don't think so. I think it was just poor judgment about the overall situation. Not a big deal. We all make mistakes. We learn from them and move on. We just don't repeat them and avoid any visibility and perception of unsporting behavior. Perception matters. It takes years to build reputation and a few seconds to ruin it.

    Defensiveness is what really doesn't help in this situation and makes it worse. It's natural for all of us to become very defensive when our best efforts and good intentions result in something negative. Married life usually teaches how to resolve such situations quickly - listen and try to understand the other side. I guess you lack this experience (I mean married life), so you had less practice :).

    And finally, about ambiguity. I guess WotC made it ambiguous enough so it had discretion to act upon each individual case. So I wouldn't expect any specific explanation from the company. Just use your common sense and good judgment. You don't need anyone to explicitly tell you that you shouldn't steal, right? You just know it and have your own moral compass.

    Sorry for all this rumbling and mumbling. I was quite upset because of this situation as I was thinking about trying MTGO to be able to play Magic more often than once in a blue moon. So I found some videos to watch and to see the system and observe players, and some things I saw weren’t very encouraging for joining the game (I refer to a stream with two kids in lab coats). Anyway, if I sound patronizing, please don’t take it personally.



  • I just don't know why this really matters. I see two situations.

    1. Your playing an event and you can see your opponent on stream which really is the only way you know there might be outside assistance in a match other than your opponent telling you. In this situation you have delayed but perfect information, which they don't have so it seems to me the playing field is even. Most streamers have less than 30 second delay which really isn't hindering unless you're playing a full control deck.

    2. Any other time. You do not know who is behind there monitor. There is no point stressing about it as you don't and can't know, It shouldn't stop you from playing your best game.

    To the viewers does it matter, how do you know the person not streaming in the match doesn't have a buddy with him. And honestly most streamers that have a 2nd person there have a more entertaining stream.

    Everyone has the same internet browsing capabilites for finding decklists.

    I've pulled out a calculator as well to work out the odds of pulling out a certain card or three of the top of the deck. Is that unethical if my opponent doesn't have a calculator?


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    @Supertimland said in MTGO Outside Assistance:

    I just don't know why this really matters. I see two situations.

    1. Your playing an event and you can see your opponent on stream which really is the only way you know there might be outside assistance in a match other than your opponent telling you. In this situation you have delayed but perfect information, which they don't have so it seems to me the playing field is even. Most streamers have less than 30 second delay which really isn't hindering unless you're playing a full control deck.

    2. Any other time. You do not know who is behind there monitor. There is no point stressing about it as you don't and can't know, It shouldn't stop you from playing your best game.

    To the viewers does it matter, how do you know the person not streaming in the match doesn't have a buddy with him. And honestly most streamers that have a 2nd person there have a more entertaining stream.

    Everyone has the same internet browsing capabilites for finding decklists.

    I've pulled out a calculator as well to work out the odds of pulling out a certain card or three of the top of the deck. Is that unethical if my opponent doesn't have a calculator?

    You know your computer has a calculator program right?



  • @Islandswamp I'm assuming not everyone knows haha, and by pulling out a calculator I mean going to my task bar.



  • @ajfirecracker but by demanding a rule aren't you recognizing that it's not actually illegal? If you really feel strongly about it, just show how bad it is by using this to win against everyone else. Heck, I'll calc lines with you and you can pay me 5$ a game when we win. #beatrichshay

    @Brass-Man I don't mean to imply that I think doing this is unethical at all... even by moving to unenforceability. I just do think it is unenforceable, so any talk about a rule is moot. And anyway, the solution to every problem isn't just to ban it. Here is a perfect example of why... even though I agree with you that it isn't against any rule and isn't unethical.



  • @ChubbyRain said in MTGO Outside Assistance:

    The integrity of a game is important but it's not of the utmost importance. Logistics matter. Promoting the game and the format matters. For many players and spectators, learning and improving as players matters. @ajfirecracker You coached Oestrus on stream to a 4-0 finish in a daily. She literally did not make game actions until you chimed in. This directly impacted the players in that event and I'm guessing you didn't give it a second thought at the time. Rather than focus on your hypocrisy, I would rather focus on what was gained from streaming. She learned, you and the other viewers got entertainment out of the experience, and the vintage and online community benefited from an additional player and content contributor. I stream occasionally and intend to continue because I believe it benefits the community as a whole and is something I enjoy. At the same time, I accept that players may be streaming against me or ghosting.

    I disagree strongly. I would much rather be called out for hypocrisy (see my opening statement in this thread) than dismiss my argument because of my actions. If my actions and my beliefs are in conflict, it is my actions that must change. I think that despite the value of the video content we produced, it was ethically questionable to enter a tournament with the intention to have 2 players control a single account. I think that ethically questionable status becomes more severe in a premier event like the Power 9 Challenge, and less severe in non-tournament play such as Practice room matches on MTGO.



  • @ajfirecracker On a side note. That stream with Oestrus was one of my favorite streams of the year. It was great to see a newer player getting into vintage, and great to see you helping. You should be really proud of that. I don't think that was unethical at all. I do think it was great.



  • I don't know if this is related because my example is here-say and it happened in paper magic but might still apply...

    @The-Atog-Lord in a feature match had his opponent play Mystical Tutor for Tolarian Academy (remember this incident???) please correct me if I am wrong, but the judge inadvertently gave advice to Rich's opponent about searching for a sorcery and named an example, Tinker. The details of the incident may apply, but my point is Rich's opponent got outside influence from a judge and they tried to correct the situation. Why if this happens on stream when Stefan gives @Brass-Man a suggestion okay? (Yes I know that MTGO would not allow Mystical Tutor to search for Tolarian.)

    I have no dog in the fight. I haven't played MTGO in 6 months and I never streamed. Just giving an example.


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    The difference in the Mystical Tutor case is that there are two documents, the Infraction Procedure Guide and Magic Tournament Rules, that explicitly bar players from getting outside advice during a paper magic tournament. These documents a set of rules for paper play, and they don't apply to Magic Online. You can't blanket apply these rules to MTGO because most of them would be nonsensical (stalling isn't illegal on MTGO, you can't call a judge on MTGO, you can look at your draft picks on MTGO, etc).

    The MTGO equivalent of those documents is the User Agreement, which is quoted earlier in this thread. That document is unclear on outside assistance, people in this thread have interpreted it in different ways, and I think that's fair (though I think you can infer from Wizard's actions how they interpret it).

    Just as I wouldn't expect my opponent to follow Hockey-specific rules in a paper -magic tournament, I don't expect my opponents to follow paper-magic specific rules in an MTGO tournament. It's clear from this thread that not everyone feels this way.


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