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submitted 4 months ago by L4s to c/technology

Wizards of the Coast denies, then confirms, that Magic: The Gathering promo art features AI elements | When will companies learn?::undefined

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[-] harsh3466 78 points 4 months ago

I had to step away from Magic and Wizards after the Pinkerton incident, and everything they’ve been doing since just affirms how shitty a company they are.

I didn’t bud light the cards I already own, and I still occasionally play with friends, but I haven’t spent a dime on MtG since, and I may never again.

In the grand scheme of things it means shit. Capitalism gonna capitalism, and ultimately, nearly all capitalist companies are shit. I couldn’t function in this society if I stopped using or spending money with every reprehensible company.

But with Wizards, I felt, “you know what, I just can’t do this anymore.”

[-] samus12345 23 points 4 months ago* (last edited 4 months ago)

"No ethical consumption under capitalism."

But you can at least do what you can to lessen consumption, however small.

[-] harsh3466 9 points 4 months ago

Absolutely agree. I do what I can to reduce my own consumption.

It’s not a huge thing, but I ride my bike to work as much as possible, try to repair and reuse, thrift shop where I can, and make choices like not giving WotC money.

[-] mossy_ 6 points 4 months ago

WotC going nose-blind got me to switch from D&D to Pathfinder. Not sure there's an equivalent for trading card games, unless yugioh became more comprehensible in the last fifteen years

[-] sebinspace 7 points 4 months ago

Pokémon.

They were the original creators of the Pokemon TCG, and when TPC decided they’d start printing the cards without the involvement of WOtC, they responded with some “scorched earth” nonsense. These guys have needed to touch grass for years.

That being said, I’m surprised there’s no open source TCG.

[-] harsh3466 5 points 4 months ago

An open tcg would be pretty fun and interesting. I’d definitely give that a go if it existed.

[-] sebinspace 6 points 4 months ago

Awhile back, I pushed around the idea of a spaceship TCG based on my experience in EVE Online (speaking of out-of-touch companies), but I never went anywhere with it. The idea of having a command structure like MTCG Commander, and the rest of your deck being built to protect it. The capital would only take damage after all support ships were destroyed, sort of like attacking the player directly in YGO. Using planet cards like energy/mana, like you’re harvesting resources from those planets to built ships for your fleet

[-] [email protected] 2 points 4 months ago

That sounds fun. I had a similar idea once, but it was mechs protecting a massive rolling city with its convoy of industrial vehicles. Many of the game mechanics would be enabled by specific vehicles that were vulnerable to attack.

[-] harsh3466 2 points 4 months ago

That sounds super fun. I’d play that!

[-] [email protected] 3 points 4 months ago

The problem with an open source TCG is that you need a way to balance it, which can be hard with a distributed group of designers not in communication with each other. You definitely couldn't design something in a paper format; maybe as a computer card game.

[-] sebinspace 5 points 4 months ago* (last edited 4 months ago)

I’m sorry, but that’s not true at all.

It’s not hard to balance it if you treat it like open source software. There’s still an owner that controls what is “official”. If you want to suggest changes, you make a pull request, as you would with software development, which either gets denied or approved by the owner of the official project. If you don’t like the direction the official game is going, you can “fork” it, call it a fork of the original if the license requires it, and you are now the owner of that fork, able to make whatever changes you’d like.

Open Source does not, at all, imply a lack of control. Blender is open source, but the Blender Foundation still has very strong control over what ends up in the codebase.

To that end, you can suggest balancing changes to the game project, and the owner of the project can approve or deny it.

As far as a paper or digital game goes, either one works. If someone wanted to print the cards and sleeve them, they can. We did that for proxy cards in Pokemon.

If someone wanted to create a higher-quality card, they could. Distribution might be difficult, but I can absolutely see someone selling a set of these cards on Etsy. That would be a challenge for whoever is interested in doing so.

The same goes for digital. The official project wouldn’t even have its own game, it would leave that to the creativity of the community and whoever is interested in doing that, and those projects could be listed by the project owner.

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[-] TAG 3 points 4 months ago

I have heard good things about Flesh and Blood TCG. From what I understand, the story behind it is similar to Pathfinder: a WotC partner got pissed at WotCs shenanigans and decided to make their own game.

There are also a ton of great non-collectible deck construction games. Unfortunately, they tend to fail fairly quickly because it is not profitable for local stores to host events. If you want a Magic-like one, I recommend Epic Card Game. It has a free-to-start app for Android, iOS, PC and possibly Mac.

[-] harsh3466 2 points 4 months ago

I’m not a ttrpg player, but I followed the OGL nonsense, and that put a pretty bad taste in my mouth. And then they just kept being assholes.

Right now, I don’t need to dump hundreds of dollars into a new different tcg. As it is I’m happy playing with my friends using the cards that I already have.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 4 months ago

OotL here, what Pinkerton incident?

[-] Eyelessoozeguy 13 points 4 months ago

Some guy ordered a booster box for pack openings got a set that wasnt released yet. Wotc sent Pinkerton after him to retrieve the product. And yes the same organization of mercs for hire from Red Dead Redemption.

[-] [email protected] 6 points 4 months ago

Fucking mob behavior, what the hell!

[-] [email protected] 3 points 4 months ago

Same here, haven't bought anything since the DnD set, and to be honest I only play commander and play less and less and basically only use one single political deck

[-] harsh3466 3 points 4 months ago

All we tend to play is commander as well, and my wife and I have a good variety of decks to keep it fun/interesting when we do play, which honestly isn’t very often anymore.

We used to play weekly. Last year we played maybe half a dozen times.

[-] LaunchesKayaks 2 points 4 months ago

My parents gave me all of their hella old cards. I don't think I've ever bought cards since I was given so many.

Meanwhile two of my friends can't afford basic shit because they splurge on cards.

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[-] [email protected] 59 points 4 months ago

Fuck it. Not buying MTG stuff again. Only a matter of time until cards are wholesale AI generated at which point you could just generate the card your damn self.

[-] [email protected] 14 points 4 months ago

That sounds pretty cool too.

[-] thehatfox 15 points 4 months ago

MTG cards can already get pretty wild, to the point that some card combinations almost rewrite the rules of the game.

I hate to think what sort of mad abilities LLM hallucinations would create.

[-] [email protected] 7 points 4 months ago
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[-] [email protected] 4 points 4 months ago

I remember seeing someone making a set a little while ago. As far as balance, you'd probably have to crowdsource it.

[-] [email protected] 12 points 4 months ago

I think all of the card games with random pulls are a bit of a ripoff.

The RPG crowd is the lead in pirating or flat out making their own rules and barely spending money. They just need rules and dice. You need a small group, and there really aren't tournaments so you can play it however you want.

Table top war gaming in the middle is being filled with indy 3d printed miniatures and home made rules that can take over local scenes pretty easily. 40k still dominates the space, only because most people act like its the only game (it is by far the most common already) and you can buy the minis from most any hobby store. The tournaments are huge, and sometimes the biggest tournaments even dictate the rules just as much as the game seller and most people want to play "tournament legal" armies only.

MTG and other card games are the only thing keeping most hobby stores alive and prints money. it is entirely on for whatever reason, people just want to buy another booster. It is as bad as gambling if not worse, you don't even know what you are buying. It should be even easier to pirate and print your own resources to play card games but somehow it is a huge money maker because as always, people flock to the largest group of gamers in their space.

Indy RPG and Skirmish tabletop games make boat loads of money for small groups of people and it is easy for them to run circles around larger game manufacturers. Things like 40k and MTG where there is such a huge following of people who might not necessarily care and just want to go to massive tournaments it is much harder to challenge those established followings.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 4 months ago

It is as bad as gambling if not worse, you don't even know what you are buying.

To be fair, booster packs are designed primarily to be used to play in limited formats like draft or constructed. People buying boosters to try and pull expensive cards are doing themselves a disservice by not just buying or trading for the singles they want.

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[-] [email protected] 8 points 4 months ago

They are specifically claiming that they were unaware and it happened due to the artist using the built-in AI aids in Photoshop, which is against their policy.

I actually trust WotC on this depite despising basically every other decision over the past year that they have made. They have repeatedly made their stance on not wanting AI content clear but individual designers and artists are easily equipped to just ignore that and only get caught when they don't clean up the obvious AI errors afterwards. WotC need to be fair better at internally vetting their art and I recon they are with card art or art that is making its way to books, but art from marketing and other adjacent areas is slipping through the cracks.

Initially denying the art being AI generated is actually probably the biggest tell that they didn't intend it. If they make a policy against it and get obviously caught, it's totally illogical to deny it and damage their reputation further, but if they trust the artist initially, then they have grounds to deny it until they vet it or the artist owns up, which is probably what happened here.


Hasbro on the other hand only care about one thing, the line going up to their investors can cum. Currently the only reason that WotC has such a strong anti AI content policy is because the heart of their content is about design, from their artists to game designer, and many of the people who hold these roles are beloved voices in the community and if their jobs are at risk, they'll be loud and clear about it, and we need to hear them and support them when Hasbro try to encoach on this policy, and make it clear that any cost-cutting from AI generated content will cause enough outcry and boycotting that their stock price goes down.

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[-] [email protected] 51 points 4 months ago

i can excuse hiring mercenaries to rough a guy up for leaking cards, but using AI art is a step too far!

[-] [email protected] 3 points 4 months ago

They sent the actual Pinkertons!

[-] s38b35M5 18 points 4 months ago

Just a quick look at the gauge should be enough.

[-] [email protected] 20 points 4 months ago

It was, there was a ton of outcry because of their denial of such blatant AI art. One prominent MTG artist even ended their partnership with Wizards over the lie, which I think is ultimately what caused them to come out and admit it.

They also made a promise not to use AI art like two weeks ago, so now a lot of other artists are unsure if they want to continue their partnership with Wizards after being lied to. Make no mistake, if the artists weren't willing to put their careers on the line to force this apology, Wizards would have just lied and moved on.

[-] [email protected] 6 points 4 months ago

I don't understand the problem people have with AI art, anyone care to convince me how it's somehow immoral to use a computer for making art work?

[-] [email protected] 55 points 4 months ago* (last edited 4 months ago)

Speaking as a professional artist myself, I'd wager that many of the responses you've run into are emotional ones. Supporting oneself as an artist was already difficult, and AI generation is an astoundingly powerful tool. For a long time there was a sense of financial security in quieter/grunt background and asset design work such as the WotC backgrounds in this situation. WotC in particular was touted as "one of the companies that actually pays artists to make neat things" in fantasy art circles, and so their fans and artist clients (often one in the same) feel betrayed.

I'm personally a sad-bitch about it because my peers and I have been posting art for one-another and fans online since 2002, our work was scraped, and now people can click a button to ape the look of all of our work without having run across it organically, knowing our names, or being able to, like, say hello to us. I really don't mean that out of self-importance or ego- the community I grew up in online was all about discovering working artists by word of mouth this way, and getting to know them. So it's a weird (albeit unintentional) dismantling of a community and "a way that was", so to speak.

More practically one of my specific worries regarding AI generated images: Illustration in the literal sense of the word means 'to illuminate', to make clear'. Think along the lines of technical illustration- biological in my case, but this extends to mechanical parts, manuals, diagrams, medical books. These are situations where clarity is seriously important, and I feel like the deluge of generated images (and the general public's lack of information about how the image gen works and how to decipher them) will cause harm.

Hopefully that wasn't too much of a ramble. 🫤 TLDR: It isn't necessarily immoral, but people are emotional, it's a big change, and it's happening really damn fast.

[-] FontMasterFlex 7 points 4 months ago

it IS immoral unless you consider theft a moral act.

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[-] Eyelessoozeguy 23 points 4 months ago

One of the big issues is that AI art doesnt have it's own style. It's a rough amalgamation of art stapled together and smoothed to remove the seams. The art used to staple together is were this style comes from, but without knowledge of or credit to that artist. The AI doesnt do a creative process only mimicry, it cant create a new movement in art like modernism or surrealism but it can ape those existing movements. This is the problem with it. Stolen artwork stapled together without any new creative ideas thrown in.

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[-] Exatron 21 points 4 months ago

It's not using a computer that's the problem. The issue is that generative AI scrapes the entire internet to feed its model without compensating, or even asking, creators for using their work.

[-] nycki 18 points 4 months ago

Go look up the existing arguments against AI, and write your rebuttal to those, and then debate people about it. More productive for everyone involved.

[-] [email protected] 9 points 4 months ago

People are mad to realize something they thought was spiritual and purely human can be reduced to a mathematical algorithm and be generated by machines.

Some claim they're mad that it's because the training looked at art without permission to develop the algorithm (which everyone knows all artist do, making those people look like complete hypocrites), but that just sped it up. It would have happened eventually anyway, because the fact is, art is not spiritual or uniquely human, it's patterns and shapes, which computers are great at.

[-] Eyelessoozeguy 12 points 4 months ago

This seems disingenuous, because you equate algorithm training to human brain. I hope you dont seriously thing the process of looking at and thinking about art is that same for a human artist or an algorithm.

The point were it doesnt equate is the idea of style. Each artist is constantly refining their style of art. But the algorithm doesnt have it's own style and can only ape a style that already exists.

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[-] [email protected] 5 points 4 months ago

I guarantee that image came from Midjourney. All its images have the same surreal realistic style.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 4 months ago* (last edited 4 months ago)

Wizards/Hasbro hires contractors to produce art for their game. They make virtually none of it in house. It's most likely they neither know nor care who or what produces art for MTG. Besides, they produce so much content in a year, some of it has to be AI/ML generated, so this is incredibly unsurprising. At this point, MTG is starting to enshittify by dumping out product as quickly as possible. Their quality control and playtesting has gone out the window. Most of their recent sets are pretty poorly received in the limited magic space. I don't personally care about the use of AI art, but I can say that for money making enterprises, they'll eventually have more and more art produced via ML over time, and eventually they'll use ML to design sets in some capacity, as well. Right now, people are upset over it or annoyed by it on some quasi-ethical grounds of "stealing from artists by not compensating them for the work they produced being used to train the models." But it's going to eventually become the norm, purely on the basis that they aren't going to lose any money from using ML to produce art and they're going to save money by doing it.

[-] RizzRustbolt 5 points 4 months ago

This is like the third time they've been caught doing it too.

[-] TheBat 5 points 4 months ago

What's up with MTGs being cunts?

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this post was submitted on 08 Jan 2024
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