Is There a Case for a Class-Action Lawsuit Against WotC Regarding Arena?

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. Also, the information I’m basing this on is somewhat dubious. Also, I’m in Finland, where class-actions don’t exist. Any mention of manipulating the probabilities of winning games is just alleged.

With that out of the way, there are all sorts of conspiracies around how Arena works. The thing is that you could actually figure this out. Just play and keep a record of your games. You can even get one from the game itself. Just say go to the reporting tool and it will ask you to download a log and there it is. I haven’t looked into it, so I don’t know how good it is or if it’s even in a human-readable form, but there it is anyhow.

But I saw this two-part video from a content creator called Desolator Magic on YouTube and he is not the most reliable source. He is confrontational, his politics are questionable and he is nowhere near as smart as he wants his audience to believe (or maybe even believes himself). I mean, the guy plays gameplay footage while he is talking and what he’s showing us on that is not very convincing. Also, he doesn’t link to any sources, which makes confirming any of his allegations quite difficult.

On the other hand, he does mention many people, who actually did do the work and did get the stats to show that there might be something wrong with the way Arena functions. These include things like giving people higher chances of drawing cards they just bought, manipulating the propabilities of drawing specific cards, manipulating the hand-smoothing in Bo1, not being forth-right about how the hand-smoothing takes land types into account, having a secret win percentage variable on matchmaking as well as using secret rules for matching regarding your deck.

Now, while I have strong feelings regarding some of these things, like it does feel like the kinds of decks you face are very dependent on what you are playing, even on the ladder, and it does definitely feel like the hand-smoother sometimes gives you two lands over and over again, when you should be having three most of the time. Is this just my innate prejudices? Maybe, but at the same time I work with propabilities quite a bit, so I’m not as susceptible to those prejudices than most people.

What I’m getting at is this: Arena is supposedly a simulation of Magic and while I can’t point to any specific marketing, where they would claim that, there is a very implicit expectation of that. We know how Magic works, so if they are making a Magic game online, which uses the same rules, should we not expect the game to work as expected as well? After all, there is an expectation of spending money on the game. (I haven’t since the news about M30 came out, but you know, they still want us to spend money.) So, if they are manipulating the odds of us winning in various ways, they are causing us to use more money on the game, when we can’t get the gems or wild cards or whatever just by playing.

If they are manipulating the win percentages of players, they are doing that specifically to get more money out of their customer base, but they are also doing that by lying about how the system works. Does that not mean that the company is stealing from the customers? I mean, this would be quite easy to do, because there are so many levers they can pull. They can also be smart about it. When you need a win percantage of about 68 to maintain your gems as a regular drafter, they can manipulate the sets as well to add randomness to keep those win percentages closer to 50%, if that is helpful for them, or they can try to design the sets in such a way that enough of the drafts are complete trainwrecks that you lose all your gems by having both 7-0s and 0-3s regularly (if you draft twice, get one 0-3 and one 7-0, you are out 800 gems – not taking other rewards into account and also). On the other hand, based on the numerous mistakes they’ve made recently, maybe they wouldn’t be able to do that…

Again, this is alleged. I don’t have any proof of this. Desolator Magic claims to have some, but as you can see, I did not even bother linking to his videos, because of his nature and credibility as a content creator. But if someone wants to do the legwork, I would be very interested in seeing where this could potentially go. Just don’t go there without understanding what you are doing, because at this point the evidence is pretty weak, but if you just try to get as much of the data as possible and just analyze it, maybe there is something there.

One thought on “Is There a Case for a Class-Action Lawsuit Against WotC Regarding Arena?

  1. I can contribute play logs on 4 accounts in pursuit of a case. Let me know. I agree, its sus what they’re doing, and like you work in statistics.

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