01/05/2011 StF: "Mail Bonding"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Savor the Flavor, which goes live Wednesday on magicthegathering.com.

"Enmagicalment"?  FCOL, Beyer, the word you need is "ensorcelment".  Means exactly the same thing as "enchantment", but isn't a game term.  It sounds similar to the word "sorcery", but you can think of that as meaning that a sorcery was cast on the item or creature long before you summoned it, and has had a lingering effect akin to a +1/+1 counter or a Magical Hack, except not constrained by the game rules to end when the object is outside the battlefield.

I despise cards with no flavor text, but I can live with them in the core set if some people like them.  I regard those people as fools, but they have a right to their brand of fun.  I just avoid buying products designed to cater to them.

And Koth is a truly pathetic example of a design mishmash.  The team utterly squandered an opportunity to make a planeswalker who forges artifacts in his day-to-day life, and lives on a plane which is all artifacts all the time, have even one ability which interacts in any way with artifacts.  Koth should have been able to do the kinds of things that Dwarven Weaponsmith and Forge Armor and Dismantle do.

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
Wow, I really enjoyed this article:-)

All the yellow that surrounds darksteel always made me think it had something cosmic going on.  DarkIron is VERY nice, however:-)

"I'm wondering whether there isn't a parallel to be drawn between what I do and what you do, and whether (and how) each could learn from the other."

What you're referring to I call "research."

My friend made fun of me when we were talking one day when he said, "Dude, to you.  EVERYTHING is research."

I think there are many parallels:-)

Is darksteel finite?
It's a good question.




-Is the spell rare?
-Does it take weeks and life from you ala D&D's permanency spell from AD&D?
-Is it a finite raw material that makes it? Seems so as only 13 cards are made of darksteel and only one "makes it." And 5 colorless doesn't seem outrageously difficult?




Raw material vs. a spell to make said metal into darksteel?



Also, who fits these roles?

amateur biologist
geophysicist
classicist
linguist
astronomers
Dungeon Master
psychologist
metallurgist
cryptozoologist
ethnographer


literature - Jenna?
graphic design - Jeremy?
drama - Brady?
computer science - Doug?
journalism - Jenna?
fine arts - Richard?
philosophy - Doug?
Re:  Darksteel

He was also a little "cavalier" in his approach to existing continuity.

I get that there are occasional reasons for a retcon.  "Couldn't be bothered to read" should not be one of them. 
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm
Re:  Darksteel

He was also a little "cavalier" in his approach to existing continuity.

I get that there are occasional reasons for a retcon.  "Couldn't be bothered to read" should not be one of them. 



You make it seem as if scrutinizing every STF article from the period and the entire Darksteel novel would take five minutes.  If he didn't know where to find the answer, he had every right to deem it a bad use of his time looking aimlessly through possible locations.  Which does reinforce that Wizards ought to have some sort of internal wiki or database or something containing all the officially established precedent, public or otherwise...but likely their budget hasn't allocated for the effort of creating such a thing.  Remember, lots of players are happy to buy cards by the hundreds while claiming that "Flavor Doesn't Matter" - until that changes, Creative will always be something of an afterthought to Wotco.  They can budget a ton of money for art because a picture is worth a thousand words (and in many cases doubles as an advertisement for Brand), but the writing isn't so important to them that they'd have a Continuity Manager the way they do at a place like DC Comics.

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
The Day of Judgement on the right for me, thanks. 

In fact, I even hated the Zendikar lands because they didn't have the aesthetically pleasing blank space of, for example, greeness with a single forest symbol in the background.

You make it seem as if scrutinizing every STF article from the period and the entire Darksteel novel would take five minutes.  If he didn't know where to find the answer, he had every right to deem it a bad use of his time looking aimlessly through possible locations.  Which does reinforce that Wizards ought to have some sort of internal wiki or database or something containing all the officially established precedent, public or otherwise...but likely their budget hasn't allocated for the effort of creating such a thing.  Remember, lots of players are happy to buy cards by the hundreds while claiming that "Flavor Doesn't Matter" - until that changes, Creative will always be something of an afterthought to Wotc.  They can budget a ton of money for art because a picture is worth a thousand words (and in many cases doubles as an advertisement for Brand), but the writing isn't so important to them that they'd have a Continuity Manager the way they do at a place like DC Comics.





The better question Will, is why isn't the storyline more popular?


You make it seem as if scrutinizing every STF article from the period and the entire Darksteel novel would take five minutes.  If he didn't know where to find the answer, he had every right to deem it a bad use of his time looking aimlessly through possible locations.  



If you had a question about the substance, Darksteel, and you knew that there was a Magic expansion called "Darksteel", and knew that this expansion had a novel published at the time of its release that was tied to the set, and you knew that this novel had the word, "Darksteel" in its title, and this novel had a picture of Darksteel Colossus on its cover, why would this novel not be the first place you looked for the answer?
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm

You make it seem as if scrutinizing every STF article from the period and the entire Darksteel novel would take five minutes.  If he didn't know where to find the answer, he had every right to deem it a bad use of his time looking aimlessly through possible locations.  



If you had a question about the substance, Darksteel, and you knew that there was a Magic expansion called "Darksteel", and knew that this expansion had a novel published at the time of its release that was tied to the set, and you knew that this novel had the word, "Darksteel" in its title, and this novel had a picture of Darksteel Colossus on its cover, why would this novel not be the first place you looked for the answer?



But does Beyer have time to carefully read every page of that book until he finds the reference?
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


But does Beyer have time to carefully read every page of that book until he finds the reference?



No.
That's what the style guide is for.

Yes, SoM, each creative member read the Mirrodin block novels.
It's far too time consuming.


But does Beyer have time to carefully read every page of that book until he finds the reference?



No.
That's what the style guide is for.

Yes, SoM, each creative member read the Mirrodin block novels.
It's far too time consuming.



I was under the impression that the creative team WROTE the style guides.
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm
They do, but you're confusing the style guide with the novels.

Think english lit novel and cliff/sparknotes.
Books aren't searchable. They need information fast. 
Actually, my point was that the people who write the style guides should be responsible for knowing what is in the storyline.

Also, if you've read something in a book before, you likely have a rough idea of where that thing is in the book.  Tracking it down really isn't that hard.  If you're really crunched for time, you ask someone else in the creative department if they know the answer, rather than assuming it was never addressed.

"Reading is hard" is not a valid reason to do a retcon.

 
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm
Actually, my point was that the people who write the style guides should be responsible for knowing what is in the storyline.
 


They are, but they don't have time to reread every book. They're employees, not fanboys/girls. That's why style guides are made.
Son, they're already two years in the future.
You know what is more important? Getting legendary creatures and planeswalkers to design, who then make cards to make the company profits.

Moons of Mirrodin was written over 8 years ago.
With what time will they reread every book, from every block.
Reread before every plane return?
Read a book for one article?
Don't be ridiciulous.


Also, if you've read something in a book before, you likely have a rough idea of where that thing is in the book. 
 



Correct, to a point. The final version they often do not see. They are creative, not book editing. No one listens to me about this. Write this down.
They write the outlines. They write the style guides. They (usually) do not write the books. They may change and edit as much as they can. (Writers don't read 10-15 books for the small commission they make, that's ludicrous. Some weird stuff gets added.) The finalized bookshelf version they will not see before it's printed. It's far too inefficient.

You wish to have a zebra and there's only need for a horse.
Money talks and spending 20 extra hours a week to fix every minor detail isn't financially viable.


Tracking it down really isn't that hard.  If you're really crunched for time, you ask someone else in the creative department if they know the answer, rather than assuming it was never addressed.


He likely did. And you assume that everyone has encyclopedias of continuity on their desks? Eidetic memories? Time to work on this?


"Reading is hard" is not a valid reason to do a retcon.
 



This is insulting because you don't understand the process, the workload, the deadlines or the lack of necessary incentives to reread every book 2-3 time to appease a few Vorthos fans, who usually don't buy that much product anyway.

Vorthos fans are easily the most hostile. They're the fanboys of the game.
They love the image they have of x or y element, if they feel any change ruins said image they mourn/rage/gloom.

It's good that they care! Some of them just care a little too much.
This type of antagonizing discussion will only justify the creative team in not posting or explaining on message boards.
I write freelance for creative and I don't like responding to these sorts of things.


1) Technically, the Mirrodin block novels were only 5-6 years old by the time they started work on the style guide for revisiting the set, and they wouldn't have had to re-read every novel, just the ones specifically dealing with the setting they were dealing with.  For the article in question, it would have just been one article, less if he had read it before.  At the very least he could have asked around other people on creative before assuming that his memory was the sole compendium for all Magic-related storyline.

2)I'm not expecting creative to write the books (although, technically, Beyer does).  I merely expect them to read the books before commenting on them.  People read Beyer's article because they expect content that is consistent within the continuity.  If they didn't care about that, they would simply read, or write their own, unlicensed fanfiction.

3)I assume that everyone on Creative has all the post-revision novels in their possession.  I assume that everyone working on a particular setting has the information relevant to that setting fresh in their minds.

4)I don't care about them changing my mental image of something.  I care about them actively contradicting themselves because they feel that reading isn't worth their time.

You may think that the "fanboys" care too much about the flavor of the game.  I believe that the people making the creative decisions should care even more about it.  After all, it's kind of their job. 
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm