MTGO Outside Assistance



  • @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.


  • Administrators

    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.



  • Actually stalling is illegal on MTGO, there is a line in the Code of Conduct which bans it explicitly, along with "spamming" and other unsportsmanlike behavior

    https://company.wizards.com/legal/code-conduct

    @Brass-Man said in MTGO Outside Assistance:

    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.

    This is a cute little slam on everyone who disagrees with you. I came out explicitly and said I thought your behavior was legal but should be made illegal, which dodges this entire criticism. Whether team play is currently legal is almost entirely a separate issue from whether it should be legal in the future.


  • Administrators

    I really wasn't trying to slam people - I get that this stuff is unclear. I've had this conversation outside of this thread, too, and I know that some people think that players should follow all paper rules on MTGO, even though I don't.

    I think I understand your point, "it's not illegal, but I think it should be, and I won't do it myself" (if I'm misreading you, let me know). I can absolutely respect that viewpoint even if I don't agree with it.

    Unfortunately this thread ended up being about 3 or 4 related but different topics - is it illegal now? is it unethical? should we take steps to make it illegal? does it make sense, in the abstract, to have unenforceable rules?



  • @Chronatog said in MTGO Outside Assistance:

    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.

    To me for this to apply
    a) players need to be playing in the same event,
    b) the advantage gained would need to be unfair

    Personally I interpret this as, streaming/advice from chat completely fine as long as it's not coming from another player in the tournament

    The grey area is when it's other players in the same tournament who have access to information not available to anyone else.

    Scouting in paper tournaments is a bad analogy as anyone with a bit of time can do it. Whereas in a Modo event as far as I know the only way to know for sure what deck someone is on (before you've played them) is for them to tell you themselves or someone else to have faced them in a prior round and then pass that information on.

    But even then who is to say that the advantage gained is unfair? It's an edge and very difficult to say how such edges add up.

    I also completely buy that you could do this outside of a stream it and would be undetectable.

    And it would be the wrong outcome if someone was sanctioned for collusion as a result of something someone sat beside them said or was posted in the chat that was caught on stream. This would discourage an activity that is of great benefit and service to the community.

    So I've reconciled myself that while my opponents may have an edge (streaming, teaming or otherwise) it didn't detract from me having fun - which is the main reason I play.



  • Having been on the other side of this in a previous P9 challenge, I must admit it was originally somewhat disheartening to watch the replay and discover that I was facing down 2 players, plus a third over Skype.

    That said, I know that I personally got a lot out of being able to re-watch that match from my opponent's point of view; to hear the considerations of his lines, see what he had, and especially to hear the debate between different lines. It was a wealth of valuable information that you just cannot get anywhere else. I was able to easily pick out my (very) loose plays, see where I had my windows, and when they closed. I lost the match, but was able to get a heck of a return on that loss.

    My two cents: I definitely wouldn't want to see an end to the way that Vintage has been streamed recently -- the community, entertainment and educational value provided is far and away worth more than the occasional feelbads.



  • Rich and Andy should have to change their MTGO avatars to hydras to clearly represent their true nature as an unstoppable multi-headed monstrosity



  • Let us know at what point you think getting outside help is immoral enough that you stop giving outside assistance to people through twitch chat, @ajfirecracker

    Apparently as of 30 minutes ago you were undecided:

    alt text

    I do not care that my opponent was receiving outside help, but this is almost comical.



  • @diophan You're joking, right? All of those comments were general comments about the deck, not actual play advice. Like, read your own screenshot

    Also those were delayed until after the relevant decisions. I didn't say Strip indicated against Shops until after you played a dual, for example



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  • @ajfirecracker said in MTGO Outside Assistance:

    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.

    @diophan Remember 24 hours ago when he said this? The internet remembers....

    As far as I'm concerned, this thread has reached the end of it's usefulness (just like the previous version of the thread). @ajfirecracker If you strongly feel this way, talk to Wizards about establishing a code of conduct for streamers. That would be the most productive use of your time. I'm ignoring this thread now.



  • @diophan I have to admit, I'm really uncomfortable with you using me, and my stream to go after someone. Not to mention that you picked a horrible picture of me to go along with it.

    To be clear, Adam was not the special guest tonight. He was simply a viewer, along with many in my chat. I did not ask for his suggestions, nor did I need them.



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