Wizards of the Coast had made no secret of the company's desire to change the worldwide DCI rating system that will be getting scrapped in the coming weeks. The new "Planeswalker points" system that will replace it is already running live, with retroactive calculations for all previous playing history having been made.
To put it bluntly, I'm extremely disappointed by the new system. The original DCI rating system simply copied the Elo rating system used in a host of other one-on-one competitions, most prominently in chess. The higher your rating relative to your opponent, the more less you standed to gain and the more you stand to lose in matching up against him.
The problem, as WoTC (officially) saw it, was that this kept professional players away from all but the biggest events--with a rating of 2000+, a loss to 95% of active players meant a rating dive equivalent to the full k-value of the event in question, while a win meant only a single point increase in rating. An FNM event in which a top player went X-0-1 led to a drop in that player's rating. Since suffciently high ratings are the key to tournament invitations and coveted Grand Prix byes, top players didn't mingle competitively with the masses.
There is a solution to this problem within the framework of the old rating system--merely allow players to create multiple DCI accounts. If the fear of proliferation getting out of hand (ie people ditching their new accounts after a couple of poor event showings) is an issue, limit it to two per person--one for competitive play, the other for experimentation, themes, or the like. This would allow pros to play more casually as frequently as they wanted to without having to be concerned about inadvertently knocking themselves out of pro tour contention.
More realistically, WoTC made the change because the old rating system essentially rewarded people for garnering a high winning percentage, while the new system rewards them for everything--not just winning, but also simply for playing. And the old system, of course, punished people for losing. The new system doesn't. At all. Points are simply gained, never lost.
What does this mean? The more a person plays, the 'better' a player he becomes. A person who goes to four tournaments in a week, ending at 2-3 and failing to make the top 8 cut in each of them has a higher rating than the guy who goes to one tournament the same week and cruises to a 7-0 finish, no splits. If a rating system is supposed to be a proxy for a player's abilities--as it was under the old system--this new system is patently absurd.
The monetary benefit for WoTC and participating event hosts is obvious. Players are going to have to grind* away to qualify for professional events, but these events will be filling up with people who play often, not necessarily people who play well (and believe me, while there is some overlap between the two, they are definitely not synonymous).
My take is especially caustic because I'm exactly the kind of M:TG player who loses the most from this rating remodel. The frequency of my play is pretty low, averaging an event or two every couple weeks. But I'm a competitve rogue player, having steadily maintained an 1800+ rating for the two years I've been back in the game, always keeping me in the top 5% of players. So I've always been on the cusp of professional play (though I've yet to actually pursue it because of time commitments and my stubborn refusal to ever sleeve up a top-tier build). That will no longer be the case. Unless I devote what I deem an inordinate amount of time to sanctioned events, my high win percentage won't get me there.
* "Grind" is a fitting verb here, as the new points system parrots MMOs, with levels and associated ranks ranging from "prodigy" at the low end to "archmage" at the high end. It doesn't matter how good your play is, if your character isn't--er, if you aren't--sufficiently leveled, there is nothing you can do to "win". The stigma of M:TG being more-or-less the same as Dungeons and Dragons, though obviously incorrect--M:TG being much more closely related to poker than to D&D--is not getting any easier to answer for.