EXCLUSIVE: Whistleblower admits Magic Online shuffler is rigged

Posted on June 29, 2011

15


Renton, WA:

An ex-Wizards of the Coast employee (Digital Games division), who wishes to remain anonymous, released the following exclusive statement to MTG Lampoon:

During my time at Wizards of the Coast, I was part of a team expressly tasked with ensuring that certain matches were determined by pre-programmed patterns, not fair play.  We called it the “Doom Switch” and programmed it to activate in one of two ways.  First, if a player had not visited the Store to purchase cards for a certain period of time, there was a percentage chance their account would automatically be Doom Switched.  Second, any player the programmers or higher-ups wished to target with a Doom Switch could be targetted.

Once the Doom Switch is turned on, it doesn’t matter how good a player’s deck is or how perfectly crafted their mana base, that player will not receive a reasonable ratio of spells to lands during the course of a game or match.

We followed up with the whistleblower to try and learn more about why the shuffler was being rigged and why he chose to come forward now.

The thing you’ve gotta understand about the people who run MODO is that they like to play God.  At first they believed the only way they would be successful was to have reasonable prize support and a random shuffler, but as time went on they eviscerated prize support and saw revenue continue to grow.  They were receiving emails alleging shuffler rigging early and often in the early days of the program, so when someone proposed that they just go ahead and rig it to piss off certain customers they didn’t care for, no one batted an eye.

Wizards of the Coast declined to formally comment when we contacted them, other than to say that the allegations are “totally false.”  Players we spoke to aren’t so sure.  “I’ve been saying it for years, it just isn’t random,” said Brad “GraveB0rnIdentity” Stockley, 24, of New Brunswick, NJ.  “The first time it happens you just assume you’re ‘running bad,’ but the second time, the third time, the fourth, you’ve got reason to believe something’s not right.  I’ll be seeking a refund for past events, and if Wizards denies the story, I’m cancelling my account.”

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