What drives you to play?
What would you do if you were ineligible to play in sanctioned events?
What if the payoff was working for WotC?
These are some of the questions I began asking myself early summer 2010. I had been in talks to take a position working on MTGO, and get the "dream" of working for Wizards. I wanted to work somewhere where I could be passionate about the product, while making decent money, and this was it, all tied up with a bow. There was only one drawback: Working for Wizards means you cannot play in Sanctioned Events. This might not bother a casual player, or someone who only plays in FNM level events, but that wasn't me. I was a PTQ grinder, and I had just Qd for Nats. I'd have to give all of that up if I wanted to take this job.
Being put into this position forced me to ask myself some tough questions. Is the trade-off worth it? What if I hate working there? Would I feel empty without the grind? All of these led to the bigger question: Why do I play?
Do I play because the game is fun, and I like competition? Do I play because I love hanging out with friends and traveling to events? I also had to ask myself if this was something deeper, if I feel as if I "have" to play, because that's what I do, a sense of duty if you will. I didn't know if I would have something to fill the void, once I didn't have regular events go battle in, and no reason to brew decks.
I don't think that I would have ever even given any of this a thought if I weren't faced with the possibility of not being able to play. Its more or less a given that I would go to every PTQ within reasonable distance, and even some out in the middle of nowhere *cough* Boise *cough*. There's 100 different jobs I could take, why take the one that pulls me away from my hobby and lifestyle?
Utimately, I realized, I play because I love the local Magic Community, and I loved going to events, following how my friends were doing, rooting them on. Of course, I love to battle and to win, but I could let that go, I could play some other games, or Cube Draft or play unsanctioned events. I could do all of what I actually wanted to do, while unable to play sanctioned events. Even though I didn't realize it while I was doing it, I was pushing to better the local MTG community for years, and that was what actually mattered to me.
Of course, I snap took the job, and it was absolutely the best job I have ever had. Battling? Sure I missed it sometime, but I still went to every event, still followed and cheered on my friends, and still loved every second of it.
Now that my contract with WotC has come to an end, I'm brewing again, and getting ready to sling some spells at the PTQ later this month. I expect that I'll do well, but ultimately, the community as a whole will be there, that's what matters to me. Whether its your main reason, or just a bonus, take some time to keep your Magic community positive and thriving.
-Dwayne St. Arnauld