The Status of
Organized Play GymLeaderPhil April 23, 2004
April Fools? Yeah, I'm currently fleeing from Officer Jenny for the
Pokemon prank I pulled. "Hola, I am El Fugitive!" But in all
seriousness-ness, I'm truly sorry for whatever chaos I caused and I'm
happy to start reporting factual information to all of Pojo's Pokemon
Pokemon Organized Play has finally taken a step in the right direction.
Since October of 2003, Players, Professors, and Organizers have suffered
from a lack of a stable structure of rules and regulations at Sanctioned
Tournaments. Trouble was expected due to the transfer of the license, but
no one foresaw problems within Organized Play. It's taken a good seven
months to finally fix some of the problems that have hurt sanctioned
Communication Pokemon Organized Play, an it's employees,
had a very little presence in the community when sanctioned play began,
its only recently that we've seen Jimmer Simmerson and Dave Schwimmer
posting on the PokeGym. As well Pokemon USA has pushed for a new policy
to return emails in a timely fashion. Listening to players is important,
especially those who are involved directly with sanctioned events.
Premiere Tournament Organizers have a mailing list for this very reason.
More needs to be done though to communicate with the normal players,
since there are several Premiere Tournament Organizers and insiders who
decide to share information that's not officially released yet.
Disclosing sensitive and usually unconfirmed things causes confusion. If
anything, this needs the most work
Advertising Pokemon USA has done an awesome job spreading
the word about the Pokemon TCG, countering the Yu-Gi-Oh CCG ads on
television. We've seen banner advertisements on all of the major Pokemon
TCG websites for each new upcoming premiere event. Great PR work.
Penalties We've had no Penalty Guidelines since October to
enforce sanctioned tournaments. As such, many judges have continued to
use the DCI guidelines (Caution, Warning, Prizes, Game, Match,
Disqualification). While this may suffice for a few months, there are
many new judges and players who do not know the older penalties. By
having new Penalty Guidelines, there would be less confusion on what all
judges should do in a problematic situation, thereby making most rulings
uniformed around the world. There's nothing worse than a player who has
played at his local store and then goes to a large event to find out
that the policies for unsportsmanlike conduct are different.
Suspensions In addition to Penalties, there have been
quite a few players and organizers who have not been following the
guidelines that have already been established for sanctioned
tournaments. Pokemon Organized Play needs to publish a list of suspended
and banned players, as the DCI and Upper Deck does, to make sure these
repeated offenders are no longer allowed to interfere with the game. If
Pokemon Organized Play does not step up to the plate and publicly
announce suspensions and banned players, more will attempt to cause
problems like those before them did. As of right now, nothing is
holding back anyone from selling League support (like in the United
Kingdom) or submit invalidate tournament records (Naught Reeul). Don't
let these people make a mockery of the game!
Professor Program Wizards of the Coast Pokemon Professors
were welcomed to sign up for the new Program in September 2003. The
program was slated to begin that Fall, but nothing was done to start the
program. Then Pokemon Organized Play asked for questions for the test to
bring in new Professors, promising product for those questions they
used. That product never went out. Then the list of grandfathered
Professors, the ones who signed up in September, was removed from the
POP site last December. It's only recently been said that the fine folks
at Team Compendium have been working with Pokemon Organized Play to
create the test. It looks like great efforts are being made to start the
program, as an incentive to judge instead of play for invitations to
Tournament Manager Software Quite frankly, despite all the
intensive updates to the Tournament Manager Software, it's crap. It's
buggy, its limited to the Windows Operating System, and has caused many
invalidated sanctioned tournament results. It really needs to be fixed
and there are plenty in the Pokemon community who are tech savvy who
would love to assist Pokemon Organized Play. Take Steve Gillette, one of
the best organizers in the country, has attempted to help others using
the program with his TMS Guide on The Compendium: http://compendium.pokegym.net/compendium.shtml.
Others have tried to create a whole new Tournament program from scratch
that runs on various operating systems. If that's not dedicated, then I
don't know what is.
Rankings I'm happy to announce that the official Pokemon
Organized Play site has totally redone it's player rankings system. As
well, POP Identification Numbers are being rotated out for My Pokemon
Accounts, the only way you can have your name ranked and awarded travel
packages. From the looks of the new rankings, a lot of work went into
it. So far, the only problem that is occurring is that you cant change
your password or date of birth. Aside from that, everything looks great.
Check it out here: http://op.pokemon-tcg.com/mypokemon/mypokemon.asp
Premiere Events There has been no better time to be
playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game. Since August 2003, we've seen
four Prerelease events, worldwide City Championships, State
Championships, and much more to come before this year ends including
World Championships, National Championships, Conventions, and another
Prerelease event. In addition, the prize support is amazing and is
distributed to each age group. While playing events isn't all about
being about prizes, there's some awesome incentive to play.
Pokemon League The Pokemon League has lacked a good
gimmick to bring players in. The choice of promotional cards for each
season was atrocious. I mean, Oran Berry, who seriously thought anyone
would enjoy a reprinted common card? Players start at the local level
and then attend premiere events. More focus needs to be given to the
Pokemon League next year when it begins again.
International I can not begin to go into the troubles that
have occurred with Organized Play due to all the various distributors'
control over their players league, tournaments, and events. Basically,
the International scene is a mixed bag, with some distributors doing
things well and others totally neglecting their players. There are just
too many cooks in the kitchen and it doesn't look like Pokemon USA is
going to do much to require distributors to follow guidelines for
sanctioned events. I guess they fear they'll lose a distributor. Maybe
I'm a bit biased, but to hold the license to produce the Pokemon TCG in
a certain country is something I would work towards keeping.
All in all, progress is finally being made to fix some of these
problems and I think everyone should acknowledge the hard work that is
being made on both sides to improve the condition of Pokemon Organized
Play. It promises to be a great year in 2004 and I certainly cannot wait
to see some of you at US Nationals and Worlds in Orlando. -GymLeaderPhil
Note from Pokepop: "Phil writes, "It's only
recently been said that the fine folks at Team Compendium have been
working with Pokemon Organized Play to create the [Professor] test."
More accurately, Team Compendium has had the opportunity to review and
give feedback for a limited number of the questions that may be on the
test. The test is being created totally by PUI employees.