In case you haven’t heard, Meridian Magic just closed its doors, thanks to a combination of Cathy Nicoloff’s sickness (I assume – last I heard, she was bedridden for three weeks thanks to pneumonia, I think) and, according to her, the slow erosion of the NEED for a Meridian.
To paraphrase what she says in the final huzzah, Meridian is a portal site, linking only to other Magic articles – and now that the major sites have begun crosslinking to "the best of the net" directly in an attempt to become their own portals, why bother? Time to bow out gracefully, while ya still can.
Believe me, I understand. I’ve only been an editor for a month and a half, and I can tell you it’s MAJOR-league time-consuming. I spend three to four hours a night doing this stuff on top of a day job, and I get exhausted. And Meridian didn’t even attempt to sell you anything, so it can’t have been more than a glorified (and glorious) hobby.
But it still sucks.
In a way, a lot of my Magic milestones came through Meridian –
- The first time I went there, and realized that there were good strategy sites OTHER than The Dojo;
- When I eventually noticed that I clicked through to StarCity for cool articles more than any other site, and decided that I should try to write for StarCity;
- The first time I got an article linked to on their main page was also the day I started to get my first fan mail*;
- When I ascended to the editor position here, Meridian was the first site to announce it;
- And when I finally got one of my quotes – which, sadly, will be the last quote ever on Meridian – listed on the front page with the other Net Gods of Magic, I literally went back four or five times just to look at it, I was so thrilled.
So Meridian’s going down – and it’s not alone. Magic Campus and Brainburst haven’t updated in a month, The Dojo is still struggling to recover from the abrupt withdrawal of vulture capital (though it still manages to throw out a truly great article once in awhile), and I’m sure there are a few other good sites that are slowly going down. Magic websites are becoming a more and more competitive market as Magic itself becomes – dare I say it? – more of a sport than a game.
Let me clarify: "Game" is two guys doofing around on the b-ball court at night, trashtalking about their mad skillz and playing hard but still having fun.
"Sport" is when you play basketball to bring home the bacon, and if you don’t devote nine-tenths of your life to the dang thing, you’re going to get eaten alive every time you place your sneaker in the paint.
The reason there are so many tourney reports out there is because people need to read them – and trust me, most of ’em aren’t particularly riveting reads. But without the information on what matchups are good and how to manage them, you can’t do well on the tourney scene any more. To be a pro takes effort, and the tourney scene is about going pro, whether you like it or not. You need the information AND the concentration, and Magic will gulp down your life like a homeless guy on a Slurpee.
(Which is not to say that the fun is going out of Magic, or it’s dying; I merely state, and truthfully, that to play tourneys well you’d damn well better give up the weekend revelries and PLAYTEST, bucko.)
And yet…. There is only so much people can write about tourney-level Magic.**
Write it well, that is. There is a limited pool of people who know the game well enough to provide fresh (or at least not redundant) insights, AND can write well enough to transmit that info to your brain. And yet everyone hoovers it up. You all want more. You NEED more. You need the edge.
Hey, why do you think we’re holding a contest? We want new people. We really genuinely need you to be writing.
There ain’t enough of you.
In other words, all of us Magic sites are fighting over a shrinking pool of writers, and it takes time and effort to grow new writers. And updating a daily website takes effort – LOTS of effort.
I can understand why someone might decide to bow out.***
And so another site bites the dust, in much the same way that "fun" and "casual" players got squeezed out from the tourney scene – because everyone was desperately searching for an edge, and found it. Nobody’s to blame, really. Hey, we started linking for the same reason that people started using net decks – it was such a great idea that we couldn’t afford NOT to do it.
But it does mean that cruising the ‘net for Magic will be just a bit less fun.
Goodbye, Meridian. We’ll miss ya.
And Cathy? You’ve always got a Featured Writer spot here if you wanna come back home. We’ll keep it warm for ya.
* — My first hatemail came three weeks later. I get about one a week, on average. Snootchie bootchies!
** — Incidentally, StarCity’s always tried to cater to the more casual, funloving player, which is a definite bonus to working here. While other editors slog through their fifteenth tourney report, I get John Friggin’ Rizzo’s idea of a T-report. It makes the day a LOT easier.
*** — Any rumors that this is my clever way of saying that StarCity’s closing down will be met with a fist to the face. Heck, I’m enjoying this more than anything; I just wish I could quit the DAY job, is all. We’re here to stay, booyeeeeee.