Let's Talk About World's

Posted July 23rd, 2020 by Joe Pangrazio

So, Wizkids sent out a survey in order to gauge interest in holding Worlds in Memphis as planned. And I will link that below, but I wanted to take a few minutes to just explore my opinions on the matter. If you would be so kind as to indulge me.

I think it's a bad idea, and a bit irresponsible, but I want to explore the reasons I don't like it in order. And just know that I'm making these assessments based on current events. None of us will predict what can happen in ten months, so we have to decide based on current information and trends.

First off, most of the world are cut off from traveling to the states. While attendance of Worlds by people from other countries is usually low, it's not zero. And most importantly, even Canada's border is closed. So, some of the most stalwart players (and a Wizkids judge) likely won't even have the option of coming. Which will, rightfully, upset those players.

Then we have to look at the states themselves. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut all have a travel advisory in place that would require a 14 day quarantine upon returning home. Other states have similar advisories in place and while they're not “bans” that are being strictly enforced by police, it is best practices and the responsible choice. So, if we're taking all necessary precautions in Memphis, we have to assume people will take those precautions when they return home. And for most people, that's two weeks without pay, which makes it a full travel ban anyway. Most people can't afford to miss work without pay for two weeks.

Then there are the issues of con exclusives. There are always people that look to flip the purchase of Con LEs to pay, or subsidize, their trip. If such an event took place and someone was realistically looking down the possibility of being out pay for two weeks, the prices demanded would only be higher. And sure, people don't have to pay those prices. They can just go without. But, some people will pay those prices. Which will make those that took the responsible path (or felt compelled to) feel most separated from the community and taken advantage of than normal.

Then there's the simple unpredictability of it all. Infections are rising across the country and it doesn't look to be stopping any time soon. So, while all the plans could be put in place, a massive outbreak would require shutting down the state. Hell, such a decision could be made before any further announcement from Wizkids is made. Given that, if people spend hundreds of dollars on hotel rooms, airline fare, etc. and suddenly have the trip cancelled, it's going to be very upsetting. And none of that would be Wizkids' fault, but it certainly would be aimed at them. And as someone that doesn't fly very often, being able to transfer those funds to a later flight (versus a straight refund) is not very attractive.

As well, Wizkids has officially suspended Organized Play Support. Which is a very fair decision, when many stores are not open or able to hold events. However, when they are taking a position as a company that local venue play of 10-20 people is not feasible or reasonable how can they take the position that asking a few hundred people to travel to a Corona hot spot and play is reasonable? It sends mixed messages.

And all of the above combine to put Wizkids and the community in a no win position. People who can't travel are going to be upset. People who may be out money are going to be upset. Wizkids may look like the bad guy while trying to find a compromise for people. Versus just calling 2020 a wash and looking forward to next year. And maybe getting some people to wake up and start taking this seriously.

Oh, that's right, there's one other thing. Technically, it's just a bad idea to risk exposing people. I put this at the bottom because I do have faith that anyone holding an event will do their best to limit infections. And I do think that the risk is, overall, low. But, as someone that has traveled to lots of conventions, when you have humans in constant close contact for days at a time, infection happens. Con Crud is a term for a reason. In the best of times, taking precautions, people get sick just because there is a mass of humanity together. Someone always shows up to cons sick. And if someone shows up to World's sick, insisting it's just allergies or a cold, it then puts Wizkids and other players in a bad position. Now, judgments have to be made that could simply be avoided by waiting.

TL;DR: Lots of people aren't going to be able to go which is likely to result in a lot of anger in the community and burn up any good will Wizkids could create by trying to hold the event. There will probably be more people flipping con exclusives at higher prices. It seems to be a mixed message. And someone WILL get sick.

Now, take the survey and let Wizkids know how you feel.

A final note: I applaud Wizkids for trying a survey to gauge the community's feelings. But it is a very simple survey and the reality is, people's desire to go to this is not enough. Please, listen and encourage honest constructive conversation about these plans. And also trust that if World's can't happen, we all would be willing to work with some other plan to buy and support the game. I can only imagine that Con Exclusive revenue would help right now, and regular players would love to have an opportunity at them. The stores that are open would also appreciate some revenue if possible.

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