Tag Team Pokemon TCG Podcast
Tag Team Pokemon TCG Podcast

Season 2, Episode 4 · 2 years ago

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


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 back to tag team Pokemon Trading Card Games Premiere podcasting duo. My name is Riley Hulbart and I'm joined by my good friend JW Crew Wall for a Special Leap Day bonus episode. JW, how you doing? I am doing very well. Happy Leap Day, Riley. I know. What are you going to do with your extra day in the year? Man, this is well, I know tonight I am going to a daddy daughter dance of a girl at my church. So she is adopted and by a single mother, and so going to go hang out with her tonight and do some dancing. The only thing 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'm sure you're honored to be like chosen for something like that. I am very honored, of course. You know, you have you know is there's many people that she could choose from. So it's cool. You know, I'd be fun and hope I give her, you know, a night, that it's just special and that she feels like she's loved. You know, that's that's really the whole thing. So, yeah, that's really awesome, man. I love that. I love giving back to the community, not just the Pokemon community, that like the poke the communities that you build around you, the human community. Yeah, the community of life and that we all there you go. That's really pretty good. So we decided we would gather here today, 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 been involved in like the online forums the past couple days, especially like in the Post Australia world. So, for those of you who are out of the loop, 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 North America 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, so that are held every quarter. Yeah, it's as International Championship in Europe. You have an international championship Australia, America, Etcetera, etc. Yeah, and every year they kind of adjust a little bit how this system works kind of in junk in conjunction with adjusting how the world's invite system works. And so if you are in the top sixteen, you get about a thousand dollars to go to the next I see, and if you're in the top four you get basically a full paid trip to go to the ice. So it kind of encourages you to play to the best your valuability, place at the top of your region and continue to do well and at the end of the year culminates whoever finishes in that top X for the entire year gets an automatic day to invite to world's which that is, it can't be emphasized enough, like how big of a deal that can potentially be. It's really easy just to drown a day one of world even if you have the best deck in the format. There are plenty of just as past year. There are plenty of ability Charz ards who drowned a day one of worlds but mean while toward brought it the top for the world championships. Same goes from you to there are lots of mewtwo's and day one of worlds and you two ended up winning the world championship. But I guarantee that not every mewtube made out a day one 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 prestige that comes with it, notoriety. You know, if you're intelle clouds and being recognized as a top level player, this could be a potential avenue for pursuing that. So this year the system is changed up a little bit. Instead of telling the points total for the year every quarter, they do a quarter by quarter. So the points I got between worlds and Latin America accounted 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 as the entire year. So you can finistion eight lead ups and challenges for every quarter of POLKA months. So every three months, if you want to stay on top of your grind, you have to play in sixteen local tournaments minimum and place in all of them. So that's a monumental task and it's definitely led to some debate and discussion the community. JW. What are your initial thoughts on 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 kind of foresaw, yeah, maybe a bit of an issue, like a maybe it just an oversight on the people who and not not like in any wrong way. I think the system has updated to be better. So I'm not trying to like throw shade on the on whoever created the new system, not at all. Instead, I'm trying to offer you know, this this advice or kind of what we're seeing as players. But with the new system, it just 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 values of pokemon. I don't know, just pokemon as a company, as a brand, generally tries to de emphasize competition, right, and so having the stipend system the way that it currently is with, like you said, being able to have sixteen finishes, sixteen tournament local finishes per quarter doesn't really doesn't really you know, you know, coalesce with their brand overall of being a little bit noncompetitive, more for fun, right, and it's been an interesting process like watching this unfold. I remember when I first noticed that eight was the best finished limit per quarter, I thought maybe it was a glitch or something with them implementing like the eight per the whole year and that they were going to reduce it down to more reasonable to for a quarter term. Lot of you hold that was not the case. It was not a glitch, it was fully intentional and you know, here we are two quarters in and it's still obviously the system they're going with. So you talked about like to the point 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 lot locally 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 able to 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, if you 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 going and going and going and playing so much pokemon and I just think, you know, obsessions probably a good word for it. I don't there might be a little bit better of one, but it gets to the point where it's just consuming like your entire life at that point, you know, especially if you're in college, it's one thing or high school, but if you're like working and then also trying to manage doing this, that's basically taking all of your time that isn't Pokemon and diverting it to Pokemon. So it's just it's a little crazy to me. It seems unsustainable and to me I've noticed as well my friends who are, you know, deeply involved in getting these prestigious like travel awards and stipends, have really gotten burnt out by the system and are 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 for the 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 that goes to show there's like definitely a problem going on here when the people who love the game the most or the most...

...invested in competing for these things are have completely lost interest in it. Well, it and that's goes back to the point 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 as possible. You know, because if you're going to host an international tournament in Australia, 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 huge tournaments 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 regions to make it out there. And, like you said, if you're of them players, the best players, that are getting burnt out and kind of resenting the game, that's antithetical to what you're trying to do out so we talked a little bit about ways we might want to adjust it. I'm sure that the community has lots of ideas as well. Personally, JW, what would you do to adjust the system and make it fit the needs of the both the you know, the local warrior, as well as the top level player who's going to go to every large event. Sure. Well, we talked a little bit about region locking the finishes. So there are things that if you don't know, they have these certain special event tournaments and there was one in, I think, Puerto Rico most recently, I could Costa Rica, Costa Rica, and they're basically the idea behind those, which is a really great again, I really great intent that maybe has gone a little awry where they have these tournaments generally in the LOWCP areas, kind of those danger zones, I would call them, where, you know, they don't have a huge local base or a lot of tournaments in that area, and so they host these special events where, you know, ideally the locals can get a few more points for worlds, and what we end up seeing is that a lot of players will come over from other regions to those events and just kind 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 stipend back in their home country. So I think we were talking a little bit about region locking those finishes and that might be a potential solution. Right, I think. I definitely think there are certain merits to that. I know at to some degree the local players in these regions kind of like having these big names come to their events and being able to see them and play with them. But on the other hand it has like two major effects on the you know seat in America or Europe or even Australia, at any region where this is like occurring and players are traveling long businesses these special events. The first thing is it kind of gates the discipens behind, excuse me, behind like a money location barrier. So the most obvious example is if you live in Florida, it's much easier to get to these South American special events then if 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 I would try to fly of Costa Rica, that's a you know, multiple hundreds of dollars expense, closer to probably a thousand dollars if I were to do it more on a whim. Sure, so it's not really there's no Roi there. You know if you live in if you don't live close enough to these things. The second effect, though, is it both inflates the CP that you need for the stipeend in America as well as deflates the total CP available in these lower CP regions. So, as cool as it is to have like this availability of top players in...

...other regions, I think the net effect is not exactly the one and I think pokemon was intending to have I don't think they were intending to have top players fly out to all these special events. Despite the fact that they haven't changed it, it doesn't seem to me like that's aligning with the actual goal of special events. It feels to me like if they wanted, you know, top talent to travel to these, they would offer cash prize, you know right. The fact that they're only offering like oftentimes just booster boxes at the local language, that's doesn't seem like an actual incentive to try and pull top talent to the area. Absolutely absolutely so. With region lock finishes, we we kind of talked maybe that wouldn't be quite the quite the answer, the catch all answer, and there's another 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 eight or whatever the number is, you would get x amount of dollars towards the next international championship. Would that be something that pokemon should maybe consider if they're looking to that would be a very drastic shift in the way they on it for the last couple of years, but would that be something that the pokemon company should consider doing? I think there are a few reasons that it would be good at the main reason that comes to my mind would be that it rewards the players for performing the best and not for performing the most. Like what we now is that there's just players going to everything and you have to go to everything and the players that can are just, you know, obviously are way more likely to get the stipend than the players that can't. But if you'd perform really well at the one regional that you can go to in the year and you happen to get, you know, top for when you know you have in the win or something like that, and you're able to get some money to go to an Icee, I mean, aren't you one of the best players if you win a regional I think there is some some thought that you might be, at least for that year, you might be one of the better players. So give me your thoughts on on maybe a regional finish awarding cash towards traveling to another country for an international championship? I think, personally, that would be a really solid idea, especially, I think, when you get towards like the actual world championships, day to qualifiers. I think, you know, having that be regional and icy champions would be a very reasonable ass because those are the players who have performed in such a 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 pros and cons a little bit to having exclusively regional base finishes. I think the pro is that you know, within a quarter you definitely have the people who performed the best at the highest level in that quarter if you just gather that group 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 against it is it kind of like awards more than you're already getting for winning or doing well were regional. So like you know, for example, if you want a regionally, you're already getting five thousand dollars offer it. But now all of a sudden you're getting like a travel award to go to an icee and potentially when more money into this and that. You know, personally I don't really mind that, but I could see how people could be upset that, like, you know, you just which so much. Yeah, it's like they're rich, are richer. But I feel like this current system is kind of already like that, but just like a less direct way. S We'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 to Australia or, you know, Europe, Brazil, and you get xmore amount of dollars and then, you know, keeps coming and coming and coming. So it's just like, instead of trying... pipatter that a bunch across the finishes, you reward just the best of the best finishes that you can get. Sure. So, JW, have any like alternative shadies that you might implement? That's one that I personally been a huge fan of. Is there anything that's like another idea for pad, like limit the cups little further down for quarter? Right, right? That would that would be a pretty, I think, I think, obvious one. Like you said at the beginning of the cast, just we all thought it was a mistake on Pokemon's part to say eight per quarter for, you know, the challenges and cups, but maybe bring that back to two is a little bit more reasonable, or even, you know, if you really don't want to go that low and you really do want to reward the local players. I do feel like for might be the sweet spot for that kind of thing, where it rewards the local players for like performing well and winning those cups, and it's just kind of that thing, you know, that all the players have to do if you 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 reasonable and 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 maybe there is some type of hybrid that you could implement between regionals finishers, high finishers, and just general point getters, general finishers, and I don't know quite what that number is, but to say like the winner of the regional gets 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 like a hybrid version that you could come up with. Yeah, I think for actually is a pretty like good amount. You know, I think that's probably more shavable for cups, for Cup finishes. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Another thing I think is worth mentioning that we haven't brought up yet is there are 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, then yeah, you're just a knitting and that's fine. I mean by sheer existence it's going to limit people right the sheer existence of this race. It's going to limit people out of it. But I think again, if we look at the brand of Pokemon and what they try to cultivate, I think it's trying to be, as it wants to be, as inclusive as pot as possible, while still encouraging the best of the best to play in these major tournaments. 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, maybe bring you back to two or four. Do you think that that would make enough of an impact, or would it still just be as cutthroat and maybe draining 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 these things and there's a certain amount of burnout that comes from that. But me personally, 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 for months on end is just miserable. To be honest. It's and it's not because I don't like playing and locals outright, and it's not like they don't like my local player base, but it's just like I like to do other things as well, you know,...

I like to see my friends who don'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 I think 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 kind of single, focused kind of person, and I think pokemon at some extent kind 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 that aren't just pokemon. At least that's kind of that's kind of like the vibe that I get personally. So it seems like the the current system kind of doesn't really dive with that, right right. One more thing I think might be worth 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, but only the CP that you get at higher tiered events. What are the possible like 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. That that's kind of way Yep about here. So, you know, so something like 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 to get that CP locally. I think that hurts players that do have a very strong, you know, local presence but maybe can't get out to the regionals across the country. I think most notably who that would affect would be anyone on 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 South American obviously it's a little bit easier to get out to that hemisphere, out of Florida, and so you know, same kind of idea when you're going west to east, when the large majority of American regionals are in the middlewest or on the east coast, it's a hard players, you know in the West to get out. So I mean any little change that you look at your obviously going to affect some player, like somebody's going to be affected just because, 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 for them 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 would like the best for a still awards. Yep, you know, it doesn't force you to be as rigorous as having to win one, but it rewards consistency at the highest level of player, which I think ultimately that's what it is reflective of, of being the best player. You know, someone who can get top sixteen or top eighted every regional is going to be, my opinion, 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've reached a pretty interesting set of thoughts. What do you guys think? Be sure to let us know. And DMUs on twitter. What do you think 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 impacted by the stipend system in any way, positively or negatively, and kind of what are your thoughts on issues like geography, money, local finishes, you know, these kinds of things that we'd... 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 meet the player race as a whole? I'm curious what you all think. So, dw I have one last question, though, before we sign off for the day, and it is is sixteen North American players enough? There's a lot of great players right now, man, and there's a lot of great players in Europe. So I feel like we can't even, you know, say this is only toward America. I know they have what twenty four in Europe. Twenty two. Well, twenty two I mean in Europe. So I don't know where they got that number from. Well, yeah, I don'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 a selfish 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 of Japan, 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 in the sense of the entire cock country needs go up. It needs to go yeah, 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 twitter or tweet at us with some of the thoughts that you have, and be sure to check us out next week Wednesday, as always, will be back and until then we'll see you around it. Enjoy leaked everyone. Piece.

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