5/24/2010 MM: "On the Rebound"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
At any time during that rambling mess, did MaRo actually discuss Rebound?  It seems like all Rosewater does in the article is quote Tinsman, then go off on some tenuously-related tangent.
I have to disagree with MaRo here - if my choices were one topic or 2001 topics, I'd go with the 2001.  It's true that sifting through that list takes some extra effort, but not *much* extra effort, and the ability to take your article to the next level by having added things to talk about is useful, as long as you're not under some weird compulsion to try to address everyone of those topics.  (Now, being that MaRo is a twitchy intuitive-holistic thinker, maybe he does have that compulsion, but if so he's unusual in that respect and I'm a little tired of him pretending that his goofball tendencies equal basic human nature.  I'm probably more like him than most folks, but even I'm not that bad.)

Quick example with a lower value than 2000:  You have the following choices.

1.  Write about the Eldrazi.

2.  Write about the Eldrazi, possibly with reference to levelers, totem armor, rebound, Eldrazi Spawn, kicker and multikicker, the creative connection to Zendikar, cards which make you reveal a high-CMC card from an out-of-play zone, the "colorless matters" subtheme seen on about three ROE cards, the continuation of Merfolk and Vampire tribes, or how ROE was designed to play well by itself in Limited.

The two choices both give you ways to write about the Eldrazi, but the second spells out all the other things about the set which you might use to highlight the Eldrazi; as long as your list still has "Eldrazi" at the top, it is always better for the list to be longer than shorter.  At worst, you just ignore the rest of the list after you hit a wall where you need to stop reading it; it was still better that you had the option.
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As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
"Be aware that market research is not the ultimate answer to what players like. Market research doesn't tell us what you enjoy as much as it tells us what you all believe you enjoy. While more often than not these two overlap, occasionally they don't. Sometimes we have to deliver what you need rather than what you want, but that's really a topic for its own column."

This is a brilliant and absolutely accurate statement that I certianly hope Mark will follow up in the future.  This is something psychologists learned a long time ago--that just because someone "thinks" that they think or act in a certain way, doesn't mean that they do.   Numerous experiments have shown that people actually aren't very good at knowing their own behavior and thoughts.   They adjust their own feelings and attitudes in response to expectations, moral systems, and other conflicting psychological qualities.

This is often evident to me when I read the forums.  People routinely complain about certain aspects of the game, not thinking that, despite their own perceptions, it may be that the choices R&D are making are actually valuable to the overall health of the game.  Sometimes the problem is that people act like only their own opinion matters, not that of the majority of players.  Other times, though, people complain about something change that, upon closer inspection, actually gives people exactly what they want.

It would be interesting for MaRo to talk about this, but I think it would be nearly impossible to do--most people would probably just find such an article to be condescending (e.g., "Who does Rosewater think he is, telling us what we really like or don't like!"). 
All is forgotten in the stone halls of the dead. These are the rooms of ruin where the spiders spin and the great circuits fall quiet, one by one.
I agree Qwyrxian, that's always an interesting topic but a touchy one.  I've liked saying for a while that it's a designer's job to listen to the users, but to understand the issues better than they do.

That said, the other end of that rainbow also has two sides.  (OK I'm coming up short on a metaphor here, let it go.)  Yes, what players want isn't necessarily what they say they want.  But what customers buy isn't necessarily what they want either, so much as what they think they want.  So the game is to listen to what customers say they want, sell them what they think they want, and have a final product that delivers at least enough of what they actually want to not disrupt the cycle.

Furthermore, a smart enough developer (as I belive Wizards is) can manipulate the inputs to achieve a sort of Nash equilibrium to make everyone just content enough to maximize buying.  For example, despite Maro's claims (probably true in some cases) of pack-ripping customers who live for Mythics, there's a lot of negative sentiment over the Mythic Rare existence and design approach.  I could probably make a case that the net effect on customer sentiment is negative.  But it's not so negative that it drives people away, and the existence of Mythics encourages more packs being opened from those who buy.  If everyone dissatisfied with Mythics was willing to sit out the sets that annoy them, either as an organized boycott or just a personal abstention, that could effect change.  But instead so many of us go "Jace is $100 already?  That's ridiculous.  Anyway here's my $400."

That's the column we'd never hear.  Giving customers just enough of what they want so they'll stick around.  (Potential name: "Stalemate is Enough")  Maybe that's not even the game Maro is playing, but I know some of the Wizards folks are savvy enough to know what they're doing.

edit: Anyway, I actually liked the column.  A good tale of data-driven trend optimization always brings a tear to my eye.

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DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

Don't they usually just run the previous week's column on holidays? Isn't this column going to, in fact, rebound?


You beat me to it. How did Maro miss this opportunity? "I promise not to write another rebound article next week." - "Join me next week when I don't write another article because it's a holiday! Yay!"

That market reasearch thing is so true. I can't reiterate it any better than the previous two posters did. That was best point Maro made in the article.


"market research" can also be skewed based on where they are getting the information from. Internet surveys are great but they could be skewed towards Online players or a certain player type. Also surveys that came out of fat packs are nice but competitive players generally don't buy that kind of product. There are times when Mark talks about Market Research where I just find the results unbelieveable (like when he said x spells are too complicated for many players so they won't print them as commons). Also the numbers can be pretty biased sometimes based on the person interpreting them. Yet another reason to only trust the research so far. Still it is a little bit cocky to say "we know better than you do about what you want".

Don't be too smart to have fun
There are times when Mark talks about Market Research where I just find the results unbelieveable (like when he said x spells are too complicated for many players so they won't print them as commons).

Believe it, unfortunately. As an RQ&A regular, I can confirm that X spells are a significant source of confusion. It's not necessarily that they can't grasp the concept of an X spell--the basic idea is usually clear. It's just that there's a bunch of baggage that comes along for the ride--what's their converted mana cost? How do they work with cost-reducers? What happens when you cast it without paying the mana cost?

And let's not even get into XX spells.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

It's not necessarily that they can't grasp the concept of an X spell--the basic idea is usually clear. It's just that there's a bunch of baggage that comes along for the ride--what's their converted mana cost? How do they work with cost-reducers? What happens when you cast it without paying the mana cost?



All three of those have straighforward answers which could be easily learned, IF WIZARDS BOTHERED.  When they don't print X-spells at common, and don't distribute a legible basic rulebook discussing how they work and answering all these questions in plain english, and don't reinforce the point through columns - then of course noobs aren't going to know.  But if you actually told them a few times, it would sink in.
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As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
At any time during that rambling mess, did MaRo actually discuss Rebound?  It seems like all Rosewater does in the article is quote Tinsman, then go off on some tenuously-related tangent.


I think that's pretty much what he said he'd do. There's not much to say about the design of rebound specifically, so he talks about the things the design team had in mind, which are all sensible things to bear in mind when designing a mechanic or a card or a set.

What I'm intrigued by is that, despite giving the impression he was only making tautologous statements about Scars of Mirrodin, he actually did tell us more than we've been told before (and I'm sure this was deliberate). 1), the scars aren't on the metal world's surface the way I'd assumed, but rather "something is making things have scars" - i.e. things, plural, are being scarred by something. 2), he confirmed that there would be a returning mechanic (but not necessarily a keyword mechanic) in SoM

These two taken together make me thing that SoM may in fact bring back -1/-1 counters. 
There are times when Mark talks about Market Research where I just find the results unbelieveable (like when he said x spells are too complicated for many players so they won't print them as commons).

Believe it, unfortunately. As an RQ&A regular, I can confirm that X spells are a significant source of confusion. It's not necessarily that they can't grasp the concept of an X spell--the basic idea is usually clear. It's just that there's a bunch of baggage that comes along for the ride--what's their converted mana cost? How do they work with cost-reducers? What happens when you cast it without paying the mana cost?

And let's not even get into XX spells.



I don't want to start a tangent about if it is true or not or if wizards should or should not print X spells at common my basic point was that while their market research is a great thing using and interpreting it improperly could lead to bad mistakes.
Don't be too smart to have fun
Right ask people what they want: www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIiAAhUeR6Y
Quick example with a lower value than 2000:  You have the following choices.

1.  Write about the Eldrazi.

2.  Write about the Eldrazi, possibly with reference to levelers, totem armor, rebound, Eldrazi Spawn, kicker and multikicker, the creative connection to Zendikar, cards which make you reveal a high-CMC card from an out-of-play zone, the "colorless matters" subtheme seen on about three ROE cards, the continuation of Merfolk and Vampire tribes, or how ROE was designed to play well by itself in Limited.



Aren't those more like restrictions than they are options? They're narrowing it down instead of giving other possibilities.

"market research" can also be skewed based on where they are getting the information from. Internet surveys are great but they could be skewed towards Online players or a certain player type. Also surveys that came out of fat packs are nice but competitive players generally don't buy that kind of product. There are times when Mark talks about Market Research where I just find the results unbelieveable (like when he said x spells are too complicated for many players so they won't print them as commons). Also the numbers can be pretty biased sometimes based on the person interpreting them. Yet another reason to only trust the research so far. Still it is a little bit cocky to say "we know better than you do about what you want".



I'm sure they're very careful with where they're getting that information. In fact, they will probably go to great length to actually get it from as diverse places as possible. Because as you say, some claims are hard to believe for many of us hardcore players, but that's because it's -us- with the limited skewed perception.
At any time during that rambling mess, did MaRo actually discuss Rebound?  It seems like all Rosewater does in the article is quote Tinsman, then go off on some tenuously-related tangent.


I think that's pretty much what he said he'd do. There's not much to say about the design of rebound specifically, so he talks about the things the design team had in mind, which are all sensible things to bear in mind when designing a mechanic or a card or a set.

What I'm intrigued by is that, despite giving the impression he was only making tautologous statements about Scars of Mirrodin, he actually did tell us more than we've been told before (and I'm sure this was deliberate). 1), the scars aren't on the metal world's surface the way I'd assumed, but rather "something is making things have scars" - i.e. things, plural, are being scarred by something. 2), he confirmed that there would be a returning mechanic (but not necessarily a keyword mechanic) in SoM

These two taken together make me thing that SoM may in fact bring back -1/-1 counters. 



:P i' still argueing affinity is the new one, they basically reminded everyone of it with rise of the eldrazi on khalni hydra, mirrodin is the home of affinity, and it is yet another artifact set, otherwise it will probably be a flop XD

:P technically affinity "scarred" the game with basically n00binating standard XD
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I'm glad Rosewater wrote this.  Too many people, even after all this time and all the insight into the Design and Development process, think it's Candyland behind the doors of WotC R&D.  It's not.  It's a job.

Yes, it's a far more fantastic and rewarding job than flipping burgers at McDonald's, but it is a job.
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I don't know if this was one of the greatest columns of all time, but I think I enjoyed it because I also felt it was one of the most honest ones. I liked the admission that not everything in the design process is a great work of creative genius. I have not read every one of MaRo's columns but overall I feel like there is the trend of exaggerating the "Eureka!" moments. I understand those are the most compelling stories, and thus make for more interesting reads (Who wants to read "We did market research and came up with this as the most logical mechanic to fill in a slot," three hundred times?) but I actually like knowing that the "boring" stuff is a huge part of it. It's nice to know the creative team isn't just a bunch of mad geniuses sitting in dark offices scribbling down idea after idea (I like to picture them as the guy from Ad Nauseum), and even they have to partake in the same mundane corprate world that most of us do.
At any time during that rambling mess, did MaRo actually discuss Rebound? 



No.
As it turns out, no one told MaRo what Rebound actually was and did in time for the article to go up, so he just put in bits and pieces of things that he heard floating around the office and added his custom brand of good ol' MaRo filler.

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58086748 wrote:
58335208 wrote:
Disregard women acquire chase rares.
There are a lot of dudes for whom this is not optional.
97820278 wrote:
144532521 wrote:
How;s a 2 drop 1/2, Flying broken? What am I missing?
You're missing it because *turns Storm Crows sideways* all your base are belong to Chuck Norris and every other overused meme ever.

And let's not even get into XX spells.


I didnt believe it until recently, but I have been playing with a new group, and Gelatinous Genesis has really stumped the 13-14 year old players (and not just the new ones - even a kid who beats me in drafts couldnt figure it out). Wouldnt have believed it if I hadnt seen it with my own eyes (to me its super simple), but its true.

I guess they just havent done enough algebra yet... (or maybe they dont enjoy it as much as I did :P)

~ Tim

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56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
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That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
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Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
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Too many people, even after all this time and all the insight into the Design and Development process, think it's Candyland behind the doors of WotC R&D.

But...but....but I want to live on the Ice Cream Floats, dangit!

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

I'm surprised, since my very first thought upon seeing Rebound was that it was a slightly tweaked version of a Great Designer Search submission. I went back and dug up this gem from Ryan Sutherland:

Rank Out (common)
G
Instant
Untap target creature. That creature must block this turn.
Dualcast (At the beginning of your next upkeep, you may put a copy of Rank Out on the stack.)



The slight change being that Rebound exiles instead of setting up a delayed trigger (and the fact that Dualcast would need some templating tweaks anyway). 

I wonder if this did inspire Rebound in some way, if indirectly. Maybe it was buried deep within a designer's memory and dragged out when the time was right. Either way, I give some timeshifted props to Ryan for getting into Magic! Smile
I have to disagree with MaRo here - if my choices were one topic or 2001 topics, I'd go with the 2001.  It's true that sifting through that list takes some extra effort, but not *much* extra effort, and the ability to take your article to the next level by having added things to talk about is useful, as long as you're not under some weird compulsion to try to address everyone of those topics.  (Now, being that MaRo is a twitchy intuitive-holistic thinker, maybe he does have that compulsion, but if so he's unusual in that respect and I'm a little tired of him pretending that his goofball tendencies equal basic human nature.  I'm probably more like him than most folks, but even I'm not that bad.)

Quick example with a lower value than 2000:  You have the following choices.

1.  Write about the Eldrazi.

2.  Write about the Eldrazi, possibly with reference to levelers, totem armor, rebound, Eldrazi Spawn, kicker and multikicker, the creative connection to Zendikar, cards which make you reveal a high-CMC card from an out-of-play zone, the "colorless matters" subtheme seen on about three ROE cards, the continuation of Merfolk and Vampire tribes, or how ROE was designed to play well by itself in Limited.

The two choices both give you ways to write about the Eldrazi, but the second spells out all the other things about the set which you might use to highlight the Eldrazi; as long as your list still has "Eldrazi" at the top, it is always better for the list to be longer than shorter.  At worst, you just ignore the rest of the list after you hit a wall where you need to stop reading it; it was still better that you had the option.


MaRo's written an article on choices vs. options before, if I'm not mistaken, and I believe you're confusing the two. The point he was making was that we, as humans, will take the path that is easiest for us, thus requiring the least creativity. Being able to choose our own topic, we are liable to pick the most comfortable one; when we're forced outside of our comfort zone - through restrictions - we are forced to call on that dormant human genius we all possess...

At any time during that rambling mess, did MaRo actually discuss Rebound?  It seems like all Rosewater does in the article is quote Tinsman, then go off on some tenuously-related tangent.


I think that's pretty much what he said he'd do. There's not much to say about the design of rebound specifically, so he talks about the things the design team had in mind, which are all sensible things to bear in mind when designing a mechanic or a card or a set.

What I'm intrigued by is that, despite giving the impression he was only making tautologous statements about Scars of Mirrodin, he actually did tell us more than we've been told before (and I'm sure this was deliberate). 1), the scars aren't on the metal world's surface the way I'd assumed, but rather "something is making things have scars" - i.e. things, plural, are being scarred by something. 2), he confirmed that there would be a returning mechanic (but not necessarily a keyword mechanic) in SoM

These two taken together make me thing that SoM may in fact bring back -1/-1 counters. 


Wow, this wouldn't have occurred to me had you not mentioned it; there is beautiful symmetry between the original Modular ability, and using -1/-1 counters in a future Mirrodin setting. It's brilliant, and I hope they use it...

I'm surprised, since my very first thought upon seeing Rebound was that it was a slightly tweaked version of a Great Designer Search submission. I went back and dug up this gem from Ryan Sutherland:

Rank Out (common)
G
Instant
Untap target creature. That creature must block this turn.
Dualcast (At the beginning of your next upkeep, you may put a copy of Rank Out on the stack.)



The slight change being that Rebound exiles instead of setting up a delayed trigger (and the fact that Dualcast would need some templating tweaks anyway). 

I wonder if this did inspire Rebound in some way, if indirectly. Maybe it was buried deep within a designer's memory and dragged out when the time was right. Either way, I give some timeshifted props to Ryan for getting into Magic!



Oooh nice find! Or nice memory.

But as has been seen before (see the Cone of Creatures story for example, www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.a...) people often have the same ideas independently of each other. Seeing how Rebound/Dualcast isn't that outworldy, it's just as possible multiple people came up with it.

Props to Ryan nonetheless, as it at the very least shows he's a competent designer!
Wow, this wouldn't have occurred to me had you not mentioned it; there is beautiful symmetry between the original Modular ability, and using -1/-1 counters in a future Mirrodin setting. It's brilliant, and I hope they use it...

Anti-Modular would be all manner of awesome, which of course means it isn't happening.
-1/-1 counters would definitely fit the name, given that they were concepted as scars several times in Shadowmoor, and the card Scar puts a -1/-1 counter on something.

As for the article, I really like Rosewater's method of isolating individual design tools that were used when creating rebound and discussing their importance. I just wish that he had connected them with some actual cards with rebound or provided specific examples of mechanics or cards in the past that influenced decisions regarding rebound, which would show us why these design tools are important rather than just telling us that they're important.
Too many people, even after all this time and all the insight into the Design and Development process, think it's Candyland behind the doors of WotC R&D.

But...but....but I want to live on the Ice Cream Floats, dangit!


You're too late, I'm already living on them.
The end is always nigh.
Mark actually did give away two concrete facts about Scars of Mirrodin in this article:

1. The new set is in fact returning to Mirrodin; I had thought there was some possibility it would instead be set on the original home plane of the creatures that Memnarch abducted and brought to Mirrodin, as they could have been sent home "scarred" after the events of the novel trilogy. (I will say no more on the off chance anyone still has yet to read them.)

2. The new set does in fact revolve around artifacts again, or at least this is STRONGLY implied by the "you know the reason" thing in the Tinsman interview.

I for one think there is absolutely zero chance we'll see Affinity again, as it is the ultimate example of Mirrodin's borkenness and would cause players to desert in droves the moment it was confirmed. If they're going to make artifacts matter, they need to find a new way of doing it. But I wouldn't be too surprised if Wither turns up again and explains the Scars part.  (Unfortunately, it's likely Wizards will continue with their "one counter type per set" policy and not have both +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters in the same block; they did it for two adjacent blocks with Lorwyn and Shadowmoor, but that's probably the closest we'll ever get.  I guess they figure Standard players can lay their hands on two distinct counter types but that Drafters need to be able to play with only their packs and a few pennies or something, without having to remember what kind of counters the pennies are.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi

I'm surprised, since my very first thought upon seeing Rebound was that it was a slightly tweaked version of a Great Designer Search submission. I went back and dug up this gem from Ryan Sutherland:

Rank Out (common)
G
Instant
Untap target creature. That creature must block this turn.
Dualcast (At the beginning of your next upkeep, you may put a copy of Rank Out on the stack.)






Wow way to pull that one out of nowhere. This submission is ahead of it's time. In addition to dualcast which you've already talked about I think adding the untap ability on the "target creature must block this turn if able" card is pretty important. We've seen cards like hunt down that are virtually unplayable but maybe if they had something that untapped the target creature which means you could use it both offensively and defensively it would work better.
Don't be too smart to have fun
Mark, we really want to hear about how market research has led you astray in the past, and tell us about sets and products that underperformed miserably.

When talking about design, successes aren't really all that interesting: It's easy for people to see why something was successful. You don't have to tell us why, say, Ravnica was fun to play. The real value comes from both learning the theoretical frameworks you guys work with, and from hearing about your failures, instead of your successes.

Tell us about threshold. About Banding. About Kamigawa. Maybe even about smaller failures closer to today, like some of the tribes in Llorwin.

It's also a better marketing mechanism than many realize: A way to convince us to be excited about newer sets is not to bask on past success, but to tell us why you think that even minor imperfections of a previous set are now understood and shouldn't happen again.
Hmm...I'm actually curious to read more about your market research.  Your first two points we can all do at home.  Restrictions breed creativity--oh we've all played with that; I remember teachers had us brainstorm 100 uses for a brick.  Searching Gatherer to see what's been done in the past?  Oh yeah, I do that all the time.  Looking over market research for MtG?  Well...for the most part we don't have access to that (outside of the polls on Latest Development, I guess).

And there's good reasons not to make your market research database public.  (For starters. competitors.  For another thing, psychological tests are less effective when people know they're being tested).  But a design article on market research?  That sounds pretty neat, and doable.

Cats land on their feet. Toast lands peanut butter side down. A cat with toast strapped to its back will hover above the ground in a state of quantum indecision.

"Be aware that market research is not the ultimate answer to what players like. Market research doesn't tell us what you enjoy as much as it tells us what you all believe you enjoy. While more often than not these two overlap, occasionally they don't. Sometimes we have to deliver what you need rather than what you want, but that's really a topic for its own column."

This is a brilliant and absolutely accurate statement that I certianly hope Mark will follow up in the future.



On the topic of 'we give you what you need rather than what you want', MaRo did reference this in a few articles, the biggest of which was probably "When Cards Go Bad", about why R&D must include 'bad' cards in M:tG. (There's a later article that discusses the more specific case of why, if R&D has to make bad cards, they have to put them at rare -- but I can't seem to find that follow-up article.)
That article is useless anyway with the current "rarity=power" design and R&D's efforts in avoiding making really bad rare cards. Not that it was particularly accurate before then either. It was written for the purpose of reference for any time a rare was disliked more than they expected. The "bad cards" article is mainly a strawman festival with a few other points thrown in that don't make any sense even in that light.
 "I'm currently working on the design for "Shake" (the large fall set of 2011), and I've been having a blast finding old cards that seem like they were made for the set's theme. I've even managed to find a few cards that fit better in "Shake" than the set they were originally printed in."

URRRRRRGH! I just know I'm going to spend the summer sifting through every Magic set to try and figure this one out!

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

Restrictions breed creativity. This might be the hundredth time I've written that sentence in my column.


Mark Rosewater explains that phrase, and I have seen his other explanations, but after long consideration, I don't think its wording is quite right.

For example, I work in a bureaucracy that provides plenty of restrictions. Yet most of those restrictions are in manpower or funding or office politics that crush new ideas before they can bloom. Some people become creative in bargaining for funding or negotiating inter-office co-operation, but the purpose of that creativity is to remove the restrictions.

In reality, some restrictions obstruct creativity and some restrictions inspire creativity. An overly easy restriction is bypassed by standard solutions and an overly difficult restriction smothers the project. To breed creativity, the restriction should be at an appropriate level of challenge. And contrarily, extra resources are as good at inspiration as extra restrictions.

I think the true maxim is "Challenge breeds creativity." Necessary restrictions can create a challenge, but so can new resources or ambitious goals.

Let's examine this in the case of rebound. Brian Tinsman chose to design a mechanic for instants and sorceries because the other mechanics largely neglected those cards. The Eldrazi type was a creature type, leveling was used only on creatures, and totem armor was restricted to Auras. Restrictions existed in this case, but the restrictions were on the mechanics, not on instants and sorceries. And some mechanics did stretch. Rise of the Eldrazi had three instants and sorceries with tribal type Eldrazi, and four other instants and sorceries that created Eldrazi Spawn tokens. And Aura Finesse could manipulate the totem armor Auras.

Furthermore, Rise of the Eldrazi has many instants proven to have no strong tie to the set: Demystify, Heat Ray, Naturalize, Regress, and Vendetta. Any restriction on set-based mechanics for instants and sorceries could be satisfied by having no set-based mechanics on them.

Brian Tinsman could have added restrictions. He could have told his team that the new mechanic had to involve colorlessness, or avoid destroying big creatures, or slow down aggressiveness. Instead, he told his team to check out what players liked. That was not a restriction.

He chose to invent a new way of playing a spell twice. The choice did restrict the outcome, but he did not add any restrictions beyond that. Instead, he challenged his team to find a way of playing a spell twice that fit Rise of the Eldrazi. They looked at buyback, conspire, dredge, epic, flashback, forecast, gravestorm, haunt, recover, replicate, retrace, ripple, splice, and storm. As Mark Rosewater said in the article, "The past is an excellent teaching tool." But that survey gathered additional ideas rather than restricting them.

My guess is that the team judged the possibilities against the goals of Rise of the Eldrazi. Extra mana costs, such as with buyback and splice, would overlap with the level up ability. Triggers based on creatures put into the graveyard, such as with recover and gravestorm, would be too easy with Eldrazi Spawn tokens. Mass duplication, such as with ripple and storm, could end the game early before Eldrazi could be played. Instead, they chose to delay the second casting by a turn to match the slow buildup of Eldrazi gameplay. That delay can be significant. I recall losing one game when I had Scattershock waiting in exile and my opponent was at one life. Converging toward goals is not restriction.

I don't see restriction breeding creativity in the case of rebound.

Let's examine this in the case of rebound. Brian Tinsman chose to design a mechanic for instants and sorceries because the other mechanics largely neglected those cards. The Eldrazi type was a creature type, leveling was used only on creatures, and totem armor was restricted to Auras. Restrictions existed in this case, but the restrictions were on the mechanics, not on instants and sorceries. [...]

There's really no reason why levelling can't be used on any other type of permanent, and it would take very minor rewording to make Totem Armor work on Equipment.

I don't see restriction breeding creativity in the case of rebound.

I think the restriction really might had been something similar to "Let's not just do Buyback again, because legions of scrubs really hated Capsize."

URRRRRRGH! I just know I'm going to spend the summer sifting through every Magic set to try and figure this one out!

Considering we know approximately zip about "Shake", that's probably not a good idea. Try it next summer, when we might know more about it. Like, for example, its actual name.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Like, for example, its actual name.

Scars of Ulgrotha?

For example, I work in a bureaucracy that provides plenty of restrictions. Yet most of those restrictions are in manpower or funding or office politics that crush new ideas before they can bloom. Some people become creative in bargaining for funding or negotiating inter-office co-operation, but the purpose of that creativity is to remove the restrictions.



But those ideas that -do- bloom are thus probably more creative/solid compared to if all ideas were just allowed to grow rampant
:D The article got rebounded!
For example, I work in a bureaucracy that provides plenty of restrictions. Yet most of those restrictions are in manpower or funding or office politics that crush new ideas before they can bloom. Some people become creative in bargaining for funding or negotiating inter-office co-operation, but the purpose of that creativity is to remove the restrictions.



But those ideas that -do- bloom are thus probably more creative/solid compared to if all ideas were just allowed to grow rampant


If that were true, the appropriate phrase would be, "Restriction weeds creativity," rather than "Restriction breeds creativity."

And it is not true at my place of employment. Old, proven ideas are easier to justify than new, untested ideas. To a bureaucrat, creative is the opposite of solid.

Let's examine this in the case of rebound. Brian Tinsman chose to design a mechanic for instants and sorceries because the other mechanics largely neglected those cards. The Eldrazi type was a creature type, leveling was used only on creatures, and totem armor was restricted to Auras. Restrictions existed in this case, but the restrictions were on the mechanics, not on instants and sorceries. [...]

There's really no reason why levelling can't be used on any other type of permanent, and it would take very minor rewording to make Totem Armor work on Equipment.


Yes, leveling could work on other kinds of permanents. For example, Angelheart Vial is frustrating in that by the time I can pay its five-mana cost, I hope to have solid defenses up so that it would get few charge counters from damage dealt to me. If instead it was cheaper but had to level up in order to use its second ability, I could play it while my opponent was still nibbling away at me.

And lands that level up could make several cycles of dual lands. Imagine a set of dual lands with leveling. The level up ability for lands could be, ": Put a level counter on this land," which mimics the standard comes-into-play-tapped disadvantage. The level-one ability could be a standard dual mana ability, such as, ": Add or to your mana pool." And it could have a third high-level ability, too, which would overwrite its mana ability.
Maro isn't a bureaucrat, he's a writer/designer.

The restrictions he has are not really similar to yours, although they may overlap, given the direction the company needs to go in and how he has to work with concepts such as mythic rares.

If you are given a niche into which to fit a green card with a name between Aardvark and Axminster, and it must balance the rest of the set, must be an uncommon common and must use the word "Anvil" in the title, then those restrictions are what fires his imagination and creativity, moreso than if you just said "pick a card, any card". The creative person in me is already saying: Ah, but does Anvil have to be the first word in the title or...

He has clarified this point in the past and is a professional writer; so although you may have your opinion I think you are comparing two kinds of work here, and allowing your rather jaded outlook on life (nothing wrong with that, I am intensely cynical, to the point to which I cannot for the life of me get my mind to accept good news without looking for the catch somewhere and usually finding it, and as a result have become intensely phobic of newspapers) to get in the way of what you are reading.
I and Pangur Ban my cat Tis a like task we are at Hunting mice is his delight Hunting words I sit all night. -Irish rhyme
:D The article got rebounded!

Now it's time for someone to Totem Armor an article! And put Annihilate on an article somehow.
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