Bit of context: Ravnica Allegiance has 220,000 views. Guilds of Ravnica faired better with 457,000 views. 5.6 million is quite a bit.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about… for some reason, I don’t know, like coma, here it is:
The production value is definitely much better than previously. It’s not just crudely animated card art, but it tells an actual story in just three minutes. Maybe those who don’t know enough of the lore might not be able to figure out what’s going on, but I don’t think that even matter that much.
Even if you have no idea who these characters are, you still know a dragon when you see one and you get the emotion that’s in there. You might not get that the pair of civilians remind Liliana of herself and her brother or what’s going on with the two men, but that’s not a big deal. I mean, we have been programmed for just that for a very long tie. We get the scream is about, if nothing else. (Sidenote: my prediction on the fate of Liliana. She lives, but loses the magic that has been keeping her young for hundreds of years, leaving her as her 300 year old self.)
So, who are all these people? That’s 25 times more views than the trailer of the previous set. Where did they all come from? I mean, even I haven’t watched it 25 times (yet). Now, 5.6 million is nowhere close to the 13-20 million reported by Wizards in different contexts. Does this mean all the casual players are now stepping out and paying attention? Is it just Arena bringing more people into the fold? Is it actually new players?
I have no idea, but I do feel this presents an opportunity for Wizards. The problem is, the decisions on whether they can use this opportunity have been made a long time ago.
The limited environment of War of the Sparks will probably be grindy. Everyone has access to multiple planeswalkers and although they are mostly nowhere near the power level of pretty much anything we’ve seen before, they will still produce several bodies or gain value in some other way. The games will also have plenty more decisions. You can’t always know when it’s correct to attack the planeswalkers. Proliferate making these decisions even more difficult.
If more than a couple of these escape from the limited environment into Standard, which I doubt, but we haven’t seen them all, the format will also be quite different from what it was before.
Now, from a beginner’s point of view, this is going to make the game more complicated, which in turn might drive away certain of them. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be too afraid of this, as certain amount of complexity is actually what leads players to Magic.
Anyhow, we now have unprecedented interest in the game. I’m very interested in seeing what this might mean in the future. Maybe the movie is back on the table?