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Tag Team Pokemon TCG Podcast
Tag Team Pokemon TCG Podcast

Season 2, Episode 4 · 1 year ago

2-3.a. BONUS: Stipends And How To Fix Them

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The boys tackle the issue of stipends and the Top 16 race in the USA. What should be changed? What can improve? How should Tpci think of the stipend system in accordance with the values of Pokemon? All these topics and more in a special bonus Leap Day episode!

All right, everybody, welcome backto tag team Pokemon Trading Card Games Premiere podcasting duo. My name is RileyHulbart and I'm joined by my good friend JW Crew Wall for a Special LeapDay bonus episode. JW, how you doing? I am doing very well. Happy Leap Day, Riley. I know. What are you going todo with your extra day in the year? Man, this is well, Iknow tonight I am going to a daddy daughter dance of a girl atmy church. So she is adopted and by a single mother, and sogoing to go hang out with her tonight and do some dancing. The onlything I know about the daddy daughter dance is that there's going to be candy. Well, that's good, only things she's told me. So I mean, that's really cute, man. That's so exciting too. Honestly, I'msure you're honored to be like chosen for something like that. I am veryhonored, of course. You know, you have you know is there's manypeople that she could choose from. So it's cool. You know, I'dbe fun and hope I give her, you know, a night, thatit's just special and that she feels like she's loved. You know, that'sthat's really the whole thing. So, yeah, that's really awesome, man. I love that. I love giving back to the community, not justthe Pokemon community, that like the poke the communities that you build around you, the human community. Yeah, the community of life and that we allthere you go. That's really pretty good. So we decided we would gather heretoday, on this blessed leave day, to talk about the stipend system.It's been a huge topic of discussion in the Pokemon community if you've beeninvolved in like the online forums the past couple days, especially like in thePost Australia world. So, for those of you who are out of theloop, in the POKEMON trading card game there are x number of players,and x depends on the region that you play in. So or in NorthAmerica it's sixteen, in Europe it's twenty two, in Latin America it's eight, etcetera, etc. Those players get stipends to the international championships, sothat are held every quarter. Yeah, it's as International Championship in Europe.You have an international championship Australia, America, Etcetera, etc. Yeah, andevery year they kind of adjust a little bit how this system works kindof in junk in conjunction with adjusting how the world's invite system works. Andso if you are in the top sixteen, you get about a thousand dollars togo to the next I see, and if you're in the top fouryou get basically a full paid trip to go to the ice. So itkind of encourages you to play to the best your valuability, place at thetop of your region and continue to do well and at the end of theyear culminates whoever finishes in that top X for the entire year gets an automaticday to invite to world's which that is, it can't be emphasized enough, likehow big of a deal that can potentially be. It's really easy justto drown a day one of world even if you have the best deck inthe format. There are plenty of just as past year. There are plentyof ability Charz ards who drowned a day one of worlds but mean while towardbrought it the top for the world championships. Same goes from you to there arelots of mewtwo's and day one of worlds and you two ended up winningthe world championship. But I guarantee that not every mewtube made out a dayone of worlds. Absolute absolutely. So getting automatic day to you know,puts you right at the driver's seat of having control over your world championship tournament. So yeah, and just very prestigious. Yeah, and there's obviously like prestigethat comes with it, notoriety. You know, if you're intelle cloudsand being recognized as a top level player, this could be a potential avenue forpursuing that. So this year the system is changed up a little bit. Instead of telling the points total for the year every quarter, they doa quarter by quarter. So the points I got between worlds and Latin Americaaccounted for Australia and the points between Latin American Australia account for Europe, etcetera, etc. The major difference, though,...

I think that people didn't expect,is that the best finished limit for every quarter's stipend is the same asthe entire year. So you can finistion eight lead ups and challenges for everyquarter of POLKA months. So every three months, if you want to stayon top of your grind, you have to play in sixteen local tournaments minimumand place in all of them. So that's a monumental task and it's definitelyled to some debate and discussion the community. JW. What are your initial thoughtson the way that the stipend is handled right this moment in time?I mean, I think we looked at the beginning of the season and kindof foresaw, yeah, maybe a bit of an issue, like a maybeit just an oversight on the people who and not not like in any wrongway. I think the system has updated to be better. So I'm nottrying to like throw shade on the on whoever created the new system, notat all. Instead, I'm trying to offer you know, this this adviceor kind of what we're seeing as players. But with the new system, itjust is encouraging players to be extremely invested that, I would argue,to the point of obsession, which I don't think jives with the the valuesof pokemon. I don't know, just pokemon as a company, as abrand, generally tries to de emphasize competition, right, and so having the stipendsystem the way that it currently is with, like you said, beingable to have sixteen finishes, sixteen tournament local finishes per quarter doesn't really doesn'treally you know, you know, coalesce with their brand overall of being alittle bit noncompetitive, more for fun, right, and it's been an interestingprocess like watching this unfold. I remember when I first noticed that eight wasthe best finished limit per quarter, I thought maybe it was a glitch orsomething with them implementing like the eight per the whole year and that they weregoing to reduce it down to more reasonable to for a quarter term. Lotof you hold that was not the case. It was not a glitch, itwas fully intentional and you know, here we are two quarters in andit's still obviously the system they're going with. So you talked about like to thepoint of obsession and to a certain degree I kind of agree with you. I think the intent of Pokemon was to get people who play a lotlocally to be able to get opportunities to get those high level, you know, prestigious titles and travel out to international tournaments they might not normally be ableto go to. I think the attention was there and in the right place. Absolutely. The problem is we've reached this point where you know, ifyou stay ahead early, even if it's just off a couple local finishes,you get kind of stuck in this rabbit hole or you have to keep goingand going and going and playing so much pokemon and I just think, youknow, obsessions probably a good word for it. I don't there might bea little bit better of one, but it gets to the point where it'sjust consuming like your entire life at that point, you know, especially ifyou're in college, it's one thing or high school, but if you're likeworking and then also trying to manage doing this, that's basically taking all ofyour time that isn't Pokemon and diverting it to Pokemon. So it's just it'sa little crazy to me. It seems unsustainable and to me I've noticed aswell my friends who are, you know, deeply involved in getting these prestigious liketravel awards and stipends, have really gotten burnt out by the system andare no longer as interested in pursuing like the quarter to court to stipend.I think its little was saying on stream this week that he doesn't go forthe quarterly stipend at all anymore and he just wants the end of the year, you know, day two worlds. Yeah, it's so I think thatgoes to show there's like definitely a problem going on here when the people wholove the game the most or the most...

...invested in competing for these things arehave completely lost interest in it. Well, it and that's goes back to thepoint earlier where we're saying well, pokemon probably likely was thinking, yes, we want to get our best players on the biggest stages as often aspossible. You know, because if you're going to host an international tournament inAustralia, you know their player base really isn't the biggest. You know,you mayried to America compared to Europe. If we're going to host these hugetournaments with all this money, we want to make sure that, you know, we at least give the opportunity for the best players from the other regionsto make it out there. And, like you said, if you're ofthem players, the best players, that are getting burnt out and kind ofresenting the game, that's antithetical to what you're trying to do out so wetalked a little bit about ways we might want to adjust it. I'm surethat the community has lots of ideas as well. Personally, JW, whatwould you do to adjust the system and make it fit the needs of theboth the you know, the local warrior, as well as the top level playerwho's going to go to every large event. Sure. Well, wetalked a little bit about region locking the finishes. So there are things thatif you don't know, they have these certain special event tournaments and there wasone in, I think, Puerto Rico most recently, I could Costa Rica, Costa Rica, and they're basically the idea behind those, which is areally great again, I really great intent that maybe has gone a little awrywhere they have these tournaments generally in the LOWCP areas, kind of those dangerzones, I would call them, where, you know, they don't have ahuge local base or a lot of tournaments in that area, and sothey host these special events where, you know, ideally the locals can geta few more points for worlds, and what we end up seeing is thata lot of players will come over from other regions to those events and justkind of wipe the board from the local players of all the all the CP. You know, they'll kind of suck it up in pursuit of this stipendback in their home country. So I think we were talking a little bitabout region locking those finishes and that might be a potential solution. Right,I think. I definitely think there are certain merits to that. I knowat to some degree the local players in these regions kind of like having thesebig names come to their events and being able to see them and play withthem. But on the other hand it has like two major effects on theyou know seat in America or Europe or even Australia, at any region wherethis is like occurring and players are traveling long businesses these special events. Thefirst thing is it kind of gates the discipens behind, excuse me, behindlike a money location barrier. So the most obvious example is if you livein Florida, it's much easier to get to these South American special events thenif you live literally anywhere else in the United States. It's much peper,flights are shorter. It's just an overall simpler experience. Or as if Iwould try to fly of Costa Rica, that's a you know, multiple hundredsof dollars expense, closer to probably a thousand dollars if I were to doit more on a whim. Sure, so it's not really there's no Roithere. You know if you live in if you don't live close enough tothese things. The second effect, though, is it both inflates the CP thatyou need for the stipeend in America as well as deflates the total CPavailable in these lower CP regions. So, as cool as it is to havelike this availability of top players in...

...other regions, I think the neteffect is not exactly the one and I think pokemon was intending to have Idon't think they were intending to have top players fly out to all these specialevents. Despite the fact that they haven't changed it, it doesn't seem tome like that's aligning with the actual goal of special events. It feels tome like if they wanted, you know, top talent to travel to these,they would offer cash prize, you know right. The fact that they'reonly offering like oftentimes just booster boxes at the local language, that's doesn't seemlike an actual incentive to try and pull top talent to the area. Absolutelyabsolutely so. With region lock finishes, we we kind of talked maybe thatwouldn't be quite the quite the answer, the catch all answer, and there'sanother thought. Then maybe you could award travel awards based solely on tournaments.So if you won a regional or got top forward a regional or top eightor whatever the number is, you would get x amount of dollars towards thenext international championship. Would that be something that pokemon should maybe consider if they'relooking to that would be a very drastic shift in the way they on itfor the last couple of years, but would that be something that the pokemoncompany should consider doing? I think there are a few reasons that it wouldbe good at the main reason that comes to my mind would be that itrewards the players for performing the best and not for performing the most. Likewhat we now is that there's just players going to everything and you have togo to everything and the players that can are just, you know, obviouslyare way more likely to get the stipend than the players that can't. Butif you'd perform really well at the one regional that you can go to inthe year and you happen to get, you know, top for when youknow you have in the win or something like that, and you're able toget some money to go to an Icee, I mean, aren't you one ofthe best players if you win a regional I think there is some somethought that you might be, at least for that year, you might beone of the better players. So give me your thoughts on on maybe aregional finish awarding cash towards traveling to another country for an international championship? Ithink, personally, that would be a really solid idea, especially, Ithink, when you get towards like the actual world championships, day to qualifiers. I think, you know, having that be regional and icy champions wouldbe a very reasonable ass because those are the players who have performed in sucha way that you could be convinced they deserve day two of the world championship. You know. That being said, I think there's like a pro prosand cons a little bit to having exclusively regional base finishes. I think thepro is that you know, within a quarter you definitely have the people whoperformed the best at the highest level in that quarter if you just gather thatgroup of people, and I think that's a really solid argument and of itself. The downside, I could potentially see that or something people might argue againstit is it kind of like awards more than you're already getting for winning ordoing well were regional. So like you know, for example, if youwant a regionally, you're already getting five thousand dollars offer it. But nowall of a sudden you're getting like a travel award to go to an iceeand potentially when more money into this and that. You know, personally Idon't really mind that, but I could see how people could be upset that, like, you know, you just which so much. Yeah, it'slike they're rich, are richer. But I feel like this current system iskind of already like that, but just like a less direct way. SWe're like, you know, if you go to a ton of events,you're and performing like okay at all of them. You're getting, you know, x amount of money and then you get the stipend. You go toAustralia or, you know, Europe, Brazil, and you get xmore amountof dollars and then, you know, keeps coming and coming and coming.So it's just like, instead of trying...

...to pipatter that a bunch across thefinishes, you reward just the best of the best finishes that you can get. Sure. So, JW, have any like alternative shadies that you mightimplement? That's one that I personally been a huge fan of. Is thereanything that's like another idea for pad, like limit the cups little further downfor quarter? Right, right? That would that would be a pretty,I think, I think, obvious one. Like you said at the beginning ofthe cast, just we all thought it was a mistake on Pokemon's partto say eight per quarter for, you know, the challenges and cups,but maybe bring that back to two is a little bit more reasonable, oreven, you know, if you really don't want to go that low andyou really do want to reward the local players. I do feel like formight be the sweet spot for that kind of thing, where it rewards thelocal players for like performing well and winning those cups, and it's just kindof that thing, you know, that all the players have to do ifyou want to be in the race for the stipend. But isn't unattainable to, you know, get top for win for cups like that's was very reasonableand doable for for locals and pros and all that stuff. You know,if you want to encourage the pro players and also just your your local guy, that would be kind of where I'm looking at for that and then maybethere is some type of hybrid that you could implement between regionals finishers, highfinishers, and just general point getters, general finishers, and I don't knowquite what that number is, but to say like the winner of the regionalgets this thing, but also the other players that have enough CP also get, you know, the travel award or whatever it is. Maybe there's likea hybrid version that you could come up with. Yeah, I think foractually is a pretty like good amount. You know, I think that's probablymore shavable for cups, for Cup finishes. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Anotherthing I think is worth mentioning that we haven't brought up yet is thereare people who just physically cannot get to eight locals per quarter. Right,talking specifically about people in just areas that don't get a lot of tournaments.I think two to four is much more reasonable for that type of player,as opposed to eight, is physically impossible for a lot of people. Sure, sure, yeah, if they're not in a tournament dense area, thenyeah, you're just a knitting and that's fine. I mean by sheer existenceit's going to limit people right the sheer existence of this race. It's goingto limit people out of it. But I think again, if we lookat the brand of Pokemon and what they try to cultivate, I think it'strying to be, as it wants to be, as inclusive as pot aspossible, while still encouraging the best of the best to play in these majortournaments. So, you know, maybe splitting that difference is is good.Would there be any pitfalls that you see with kind of reducing this this race, you know, kind of taking the taking all those, you know,the eight finishes, eight leak challenges, Cup finishes off the table, maybebring you back to two or four. Do you think that that would makeenough of an impact, or would it still just be as cutthroat and maybedraining on a player? I think it would make a pretty significant impact.You know, obviously you still have to go to regionals to do for thesethings and there's a certain amount of burnout that comes from that. But mepersonally, any week that I traveled to the regional that's like a you know, it's a whole fun experience for me, whereas doing two cups every weekend formonths on end is just miserable. To be honest. It's and it'snot because I don't like playing and locals outright, and it's not like theydon't like my local player base, but it's just like I like to doother things as well, you know,...

I like to see my friends whodon't play Pokemon, for example. I know it's the crazy, unfathomable idea, but there are other things out there that are worth doing, and Ithink pokemon should also just be willing to acknowledge that in the first place,right, like they shouldn't want you to be, you know, one kindof single, focused kind of person, and I think pokemon at some extentkind of values that they like value having people who are like, you know, put together and recognizable and like have things going on in their lives thataren't just pokemon. At least that's kind of that's kind of like the vibethat I get personally. So it seems like the the current system kind ofdoesn't really dive with that, right right. One more thing I think might beworth mentioning. This is something that I've personally said would potentially be good. It's just to remove local finishes. Still have a VCP past, butonly the CP that you get at higher tiered events. What are the possiblelike pros or cons that you would see with such a system like that.So, yeah, just a flesh that idea out a little bit more.What basically we're would be proposing would be removing the CP from the local finishes, Cups and challenges to, you know, only count for the world's invitation,whereas is the higher level events would count towards the stipend award. Thatthat's kind of way Yep about here. So, you know, so somethinglike a regionals and internationals would just count towards the next, you know,really international event. So I think that would be kind of cool. Again, we're talking about how it would limit some players where they're not able toget that CP locally. I think that hurts players that do have a verystrong, you know, local presence but maybe can't get out to the regionalsacross the country. I think most notably who that would affect would be anyoneon the west coast where they have a decent number of tournaments to my knowledge, but have to travel so far for regionals. Yeah, just you know, we're kind of talking about that issue with having like special events in SouthAmerican obviously it's a little bit easier to get out to that hemisphere, outof Florida, and so you know, same kind of idea when you're goingwest to east, when the large majority of American regionals are in the middlewestor on the east coast, it's a hard players, you know in theWest to get out. So I mean any little change that you look atyour obviously going to affect some player, like somebody's going to be affected justbecause, right, negatively and positively. Right, right, negatively and positively. But I will say if POKEMON does want to go after the best,have the best players attend the international championships, I think it would be good forthem to remove the local cup finishes for CP towards that you know,travel award. Yeah, I've personally, I think that's the system I wouldlike the best for a still awards. Yep, you know, it doesn'tforce you to be as rigorous as having to win one, but it rewardsconsistency at the highest level of player, which I think ultimately that's what itis reflective of, of being the best player. You know, someone whocan get top sixteen or top eighted every regional is going to be, myopinion, better than the player who wins one regional and is never seen again, despite attending all of them. Yeah, so absolutely cool. I think we'vereached a pretty interesting set of thoughts. What do you guys think? Besure to let us know. And DMUs on twitter. What do youthink out of the stipend system is do any of these systems jibe with you, and tell us your personal story, you know, have you been impactedby the stipend system in any way, positively or negatively, and kind ofwhat are your thoughts on issues like geography, money, local finishes, you know, these kinds of things that we'd...

...be curious to know. Yeah,and that goes beyond just the stipend system but the world's system as a whole. How is it affected you? How could it be tailored to better meetthe player race as a whole? I'm curious what you all think. So, dw I have one last question, though, before we sign off forthe day, and it is is sixteen North American players enough? There's alot of great players right now, man, and there's a lot of great playersin Europe. So I feel like we can't even, you know,say this is only toward America. I know they have what twenty four inEurope. Twenty two. Well, twenty two I mean in Europe. SoI don't know where they got that number from. Well, yeah, Idon't know, maybe it has to do. I I don't think it is enough. I wish that they would have more. That's hardly coming from aselfish point of view, but I do wish that they would have more,just because America is like the hotbed of the pokemon trading card game outside ofJapan, and I just would love to see more local player, local players, more American players represented. But obviously I'm going to be a local inthe sense of the entire cock country needs go up. It needs to goyeah, I totally agree. I ton'tally agree, but I was curious that, you might say, and you put it in a very eloquent way.Thank you great. So, yeah, be sure to DS dmuse on twitteror tweet at us with some of the thoughts that you have, and besure to check us out next week Wednesday, as always, will be back anduntil then we'll see you around it. Enjoy leaked everyone. Piece.

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