For those who haven't been introduced to the player types before, they are something Mark Rosewater presented several years ago as the personalities of the common Magic players. Let me discuss them briefly.
Timmy - This is the "simple" player. He's in it to experience something, while others are in the game with a goal Timmy's are here for the journey that the game provides. They enjoy the act of playing the game.
Johnny - Johnny is all about deck building. He's looking for the combo or the rogue deck. His joy is in the deck building.
Spike - These are the competitive players. They devote their time to playing and they judge success by winning. They like to show off their skills and winning means a lot to them.
Mark suggests several subtypes to each of these, and crossovers between all of them. You can read his article about the archetypes here.
Now, in the news this week, you've heard that Wizards has announced a series of changes for their next block, Shards of Alara. I want to first applaud Wizards for making these changes known early, and made clear to the public. After the hiccups in the past months with them not clearly announcing changes and news about this game this is welcome progress.
So let's look at the game changes from the different player types:
1) Fewer cards per year. They are dropping the number of cards put out a year, drastically reducing it to a more manageable level.
Timmy - "This is a good change, the fewer cards makes it easier for me to collect them. And when I do begin to play more, I don't feel overwhelmed trying to follow all the cards."
Johnny - "This is a mixed bag, it makes it easier to evaluate the playing field but there are less pieces to the puzzle and less to dig through for the rogue decks."
Spike - "I don't like it. At all. More cards makes for a more diverse gaming field, and in more options in limited are better."
2) New Rarity, Mythic Rare. This is one I personally have issues with. The way MaRo presented it, they're doing it to match other games. I don't like it. And many seem to feel it is just a way to push up the secondary card market again.
Timmy - "I like it! A new rarity makes it more exciting when I open a booster pack. I still like collecting and just buying packs to get cards, I don't really care about the secondary market of cards."
Johnny - "I don't really care. I will get whatever card I need from card sellers, though the price may suck."
Spike - "I don't like it. I had the science down in draft and sealed, and this is throwing the balance off."
3) Basic land in every booster pack. Seems like a punt again. I understand the idea of mmaking lands easier to get, but it would get more of a response if it were an extra card in the pack. Or perhaps they could make a "land pack" for each block.
Timmy - "I like it, it's easier to get lands. I do wish it was an extra card instead of replacing one of the other cards."
Johnny - "I hate it."
Spike - "I hate it too."
4) Theme decks are becoming Intro Packs. This one I'm a big fan of. My main interest has always been in helping people learn the game. This makes a lot of sense to me.
Timmy - "I love it! It makes it easier to show people the game."
Johnny - "I don't really care either way, I didn't buy Pre constructed decks."
Spike - "I like showing my friends how to play so they can appreciate how good I am at the game, and it's always good to have more people to compete with locally."
Overall I like the changes. My biggest concern is with the new rarity. But we'll see how it goes. If it means more Planeswalkers then I'm for it.