Yesterday I posted about an apparent issue I had with Wizards of the Coast regarding their organized play program.
As it turns out the reason I can no longer access my events is because the FLGS changed owners; I haven't been there for a month (been busy moving in to a new home), but although I was aware it was going to happen I didn't think it happened so soon. Apparently I need to get authorization from the new owners to run any events there. Since I am currently without a car, that will have to wait.
That explanation is acceptable, but I have to admit the manner in which they handled it really needs a lot of work. The reason wasn't vocalized to me until I was locked out, submitted a customer service ticket and had it "escalated". Furthermore, sending an email to me saying in effect "we think you're a fraud" and that I need to be "educated", and then simply locking out my account without any warning, is definitely inappropriate and just not cool.
WPN, conceptually anyway, is a great concept. It works really well for WotC's bread and butter product - Magic: The Gathering - but I don't think it works as intended for D&D. The purpose of the program is to get people in the store to spend money on the product; sure it's conceivable for someone to be buying a new M:TG booster pack every week, but it's really hard to imagine someone buying a new D&D product just as often. Maybe I'm mistaken on this, but how often do the players participating in a D&D Encounters game change from week to week? Do you really get that amount of new blood in the middle of the campaign? Do they buy product from the store or do nothing more than take up space (at least from the store's point of view in terms of business revenue)? How often do the participants buy something in or out of the store?
In my opinion, I agree that WotC should promote in store play as much as possible in order to help the local business but they should not lock out anyone who is trying to run a game outside of the store. Right now, unless you're a WPN event coordinator bound to a store, you have no access to the Encounters and Lair Assault packages and are simply not allowed to run it at an alternate venue (anything from the library to your own home). I'm not saying it should be that way right out of the gate - having a new product only available in stores encourages would-be players to go there - but eventually that product should be available for anyone to run it. In a few months I should be able to buy War of Everlasting Darkness for the regular ticket price of an adventure, not for $200 or more on eBay.
Anyway, until I can sort out my transportation issue, go to the store and visit the new owners, I will remain blocked from doing anything WPN related. Life goes on, I guess...