12/05/2011 MM: "New World Order"

102 posts / 0 new
Last post
This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
In the graph, red and green are used exactly the other way round from what the text says.

Edit: Fixed. That was quick!
In the graph, red and green are used exactly the other way round from what the text says.


This.
Resident Piggles Zombie piggy is eatin' your sigs om nom nom (>*o*)>
MTG Card
Front: PigKnight, One Line Poster (3W) Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Vigilance When this creature dies, return him to play and transform him. (2/3) >(5/3)< Back: (Black)ZombiePiggles, Eater of Tomato Sauce Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Zombie Trample, Intimidate B: Regenerate this creature. When this creature is the target of a white spell, transform this creature. (5/3)

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/15.jpg)

Ahem.

OMG LULZ THEY ADDMITED TO DUMING DOWN MAGIK. NOW ITS JUST LIEK YUGIOH! WHAT HAPPENED TO SMART CARDS LIKE ISE CULDRON. THATS MY FAVRITE CARD!

On a slightly more serious note:

I will agree to having fun playing with dumb decks. There's still a surprising amount of skill involved, especially since there aren't I Win Buttons that just need to be protected for a few turns. Games with low-powered decks tend to swing back and forth regularly and every little bit matters.

That said, I still loves me some Counterfire  goodness, no matter how wordy some of the cards are.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
I think I grok this.

So, by making all themes show up in common, and making all commons less complex, the themes are less complex. Is that right? Instead of Affinity, we get Metalcraft.

I must say that I like the flavour and limited play of the last few years, but as a player of 12 years, I would like to see the game taken into new directions. Hopefully, this NEW WORLD ORDER has a place for new things, like DFCs when the time is right.   

"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

Another side effect of making fewer complex commons every set is that there need to be fewer complex designs every set. That is to say, they can now stretch less design for longer. I'm surprised Mark didn't mention this; he's talked many times about how they need to plan for the future and make sure there will be fresh designs available for years to come. Making a larger ratio of commons simple designs (vanilla and french vanilla creatures, or simple power pumping auras, etc) means they use up fewer designs each set. This also means they'll need to use reprints more often, in the long term, since there are only so many stats for a vanilla or french vanilla creature. Reprints are yet another way to stretch a little design a long way.

However, something I'm not at all surprised he didn't mention is the other side effect of making commons simpler. It has added to the cost of playing Magic. The best cards are, by necessity, pushed into higher rarities (compare Runeclaw Bear to Fauna Shaman, which were both printed in the same set!) which means more product needs to be purchased in order to get the same quantity of those good cards. This is good for Wizards (more product sold is more profit, of course) but bad for players who want to remain competitive. I won't say that Mark is wrong in saying that this change improved the game; I will, however, say that his implication that it only improved the game is wrong.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
I recently drafted Time Spiral on Magic Online and I agree it was ridiculously overly complex.  It felt like a fan-made set, there were so many different mechanics in it. 

The recent tightening up of the game and solidifying of the design principles has been a great thing overall.  Magic needs constant evolution (and it needs to attract new players) to survive and the designers are doing just that.   
For those that are worried that this is boring, I ask you to simply try the following experiment. Make two decks of just vanilla creatures and common sorceries. (This is very similar to a beginner product we made long ago named Portal.) Find a player of a similar skill level to your own and play the decks against each other. What you will find is that these games are actually quite interesting.



No, Mark, they really aren't.

This new principle pretty much says that veteran players shouldn't buy booster packs because they're going to be filled with useless junk that exists for the benefit of newbies and Limited players.  I am very sad and have just now made the decision not to buy the Innistrad fat pack that's been tempting me in recent weeks.  I'm going to get enough singles to fill out a few decks with the cards I've opened and that will be it; I won't be planning for Dark Ascension to impress me (it still might, but I'm no longer holding out for it).

It's just too clear as of now that Magic has turned a corner, from being an awesome game to play, into being an awesome game to read about which is too boring to ever actually play.  As long as they continue grinding out gorgeous art, I will never completely lose interest, but their determination to make a card's usefullness proportional to its rarity, in an attempt to bamboozle people into thinking that playing nothing but weenie aggro makes the game more fun, has made it clear that they are no longer trying to make a game I will enjoy playing, and I should just accept that.

Ahem.
I will agree to having fun playing with dumb decks. There's still a surprising amount of skill involved, especially since there aren't I Win Buttons that just need to be protected for a few turns. Games with low-powered decks tend to swing back and forth regularly and every little bit matters.



You mean every little bit of dumb luck.  When all the cards are weak, they can't have a significant impact on the game by themselves, so about all that matters is their quantity.  Whoever draws a Lightning Bolt instead of a land can press for a material advantage and probably produce a win.  Vanilla creatures have no evasion, so two players who have five creatures each might as well have no creatures for most purposes, as neither can attack without being at the defender's mercy.  Such stalemates are not fun, and they break only when someone topdecks a card that gives them the edge.
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 confused why some posters are assuming complex cards are the most powerful.  Sometimes, of course.  But Lightning Bolt is a very simple card.  Cards that say "Kill target creature" are very simple cards.  Often the most powerful cards are the simplest.
When all the cards are weak, they can't have a significant impact on the game by themselves, so about all that matters is their quantity.  Whoever draws a Lightning Bolt instead of a land can press for a material advantage and probably produce a win.  Vanilla creatures have no evasion, so two players who have five creatures each might as well have no creatures for most purposes, as neither can attack without being at the defender's mercy.  Such stalemates are not fun, and they break only when someone topdecks a card that gives them the edge.



Weak is not the same as simple.  Delver of Secrets is quite a good card common card, despite being, in most ways, french vanilla.
You mean every little bit of dumb luck.  When all the cards are weak, they can't have a significant impact on the game by themselves, so about all that matters is their quantity.  Whoever draws a Lightning Bolt instead of a land can press for a material advantage and probably produce a win.  Vanilla creatures have no evasion, so two players who have five creatures each might as well have no creatures for most purposes, as neither can attack without being at the defender's mercy.  Such stalemates are not fun, and they break only when someone topdecks a card that gives them the edge.


That depends on how you craft your pool. I've found when messing around with newbie level decks that it's important that you avoid having only vanillas. Otherwise yes, it does come down to topdecking. You still need to have answers in addition to threats, as well as ways for threats to evade blockers, they just may be at a different level.

Air Elemental or Yavimaya Wurm can still beat your face in, they just aren't quite as useful as Consecrated Sphinx or Primeval Titan.

Although I will agree that moving all the complex (Read: money) cards to rare/mythic almost exclusively bugs me. 
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
Playing since 1996, I buy into the New World Order 100%. The worst sets ever, from Homelands to Saviors of Kamigawa to Lorwyn and Morningtide, are filled with the boring bookkeeping Mark derides. Maybe if I'd been more into Limited during Time Spiral block, I wouldn't love it like I do.

After listening to BDM discuss Innistrad draft on Limited Resources, I'm a few drafts away from declaring Innistrad my favorite set ever. I've completely overcome the initial bad impression made by hexproof, and I can let a few bomb rares slide. It's awesome. Every time that I'm doing something with an Innistrad card, I'm excited about it. I can't get enough of Flashback. Full-block Scars draft was really good, but not this good.

In Constructed, I'm the curmudgeonly jerk who has always frowned at Standard for its history of annoying dominant decks. I've said that Mirage-Tempest was the last good Standard environment. I went to Game Day for Innistrad, had fun, and now carry a Standard deck with me.
Cute. Complexity isn't nearly the barrier to entry making the most important cards in Standard Rare/Mythic Rare is. You have to convince people the game is fun enough to spend hundreds of dollars on just one deck. Because it's not much fun to go to a Friday Night Magic and not even stand a ghost of a chance of winning because you don't have all the money cards the top decks are running.
You have to convince people the game is fun enough to spend hundreds of dollars on just one deck. Because it's not much fun to go to a Friday Night Magic and not even stand a ghost of a chance of winning because you don't have all the money cards the top decks are running.


This is particularly funny the day after a 557-player Standard tournament was won by a deck with no $10 singles, which you could buy at SCG rates for around $120. The 3rd-place deck is more "exciting" than Mono Red, and still probably $250ish. More importantly, Event Decks render the new-player money-shutout complaint entirely specious. And I don't know what FNM you're at, but at mine in Urbana, IL, people loan each other cards and aren't too upset about only running three of a card when they can't get a fourth.

Money mythics at the present level matter to established players who change from deck to deck, not someone on their first day. (JTMS/Tarmogoyf level is different; that's poisonous to everyone because people talk about it more and creates bigger have/have-not splits.)

Let's not sidetrack the thread from the feedback Mark is seeking: are the cards, and the games you play with them, more fun now than they were in Lorwyn/Morningtide? I'm not sure how anyone could say no.
This article has a defeatest attitude.

Let's give up trying to explore what Magic could be.  Let's give up trying to make compelling worlds.  Let's give up trying to challenge how players look at the game.  Let's give up trying to challenge players to play the game a little differently.

Let's continue to frustrate and confuse amateur card developers (you know, your lifelong customers?) by printing mechanics that we have already deemed as unfun (day/night).  Let's continue to frustrate hardcore tournament players (more lifelong players) by driving up the rarity and power level of tournament staples.  Let's continue to bore limited players (your current cash cow) by failing to create distinct, viable winning strategies.

And let's do it all in the name of profits, without apology and without shame.  Gotta love Corporate America.

Do you know what this is starting to look like?  Monopoly.  We have Monopoly Standard edition, Monopoly Modern edition, Monopoly [Insert your favorite IP] edition, Monopoly [Insert your favorite Metropolos] edition, etc.  (Over my lifetime, I spend an average of $1-$2 annually on Monopoly).
[...]

I'm sorry, but how exactly do you reconcile what you just said with...well...the last six years of Magic? Almost everything you just said is the opposite of what they've been doing.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

For those that are worried that this is boring, I ask you to simply try the following experiment. Make two decks of just vanilla creatures and common sorceries. (This is very similar to a beginner product we made long ago named Portal.) Find a player of a similar skill level to your own and play the decks against each other. What you will find is that these games are actually quite interesting.



No, Mark, they really aren't.

This new principle pretty much says that veteran players shouldn't buy booster packs because they're going to be filled with useless junk that exists for the benefit of newbies and Limited players.  I am very sad and have just now made the decision not to buy the Innistrad fat pack that's been tempting me in recent weeks.  I'm going to get enough singles to fill out a few decks with the cards I've opened and that will be it; I won't be planning for Dark Ascension to impress me (it still might, but I'm no longer holding out for it).

It's just too clear as of now that Magic has turned a corner, from being an awesome game to play, into being an awesome game to read about which is too boring to ever actually play.



Dear Willpell,
Welcome to this wonderful thing we call "the secondary card market".
Buy singles instead of sealed product. We think you'll like it.
Sincerely,
Those Of Us Who Gave Up On Sealed Product Ages Ago
~ Guides I Have Been Silly Enough To Write ~
Budget Duals and Fetches in Multiplayer
CadaverousBl00m's Guide To Multiplayer Artifice
Multiplayer Tribal Format

~ Latest Multiplayer Ramblings: Appearing on my blog when I feel like it ~
Kitchen Table Pricewatch: Rise of the Eldrazi Post-Rotation
Kitchen Table Pricewatch: Worldwake Post-Rotation
Kitchen Table Pricewatch: Zendikar Post-Rotation
Previous Multiplayer Concoctions
Elemental, My Dear Watson (Rainbow Elementals)
Watch The Little Birdies! (Bird Tribal with Proliferate)
Kavu Kavu Kavu Banana (Kavu Predator aggro)
Faerie Bleeder (The "Death By A Thousand Cuts" Faerie deck)
Braaiiins! (Mono-black Zombie control)
Verhexterring (Jinxed Ring / Grave Pact)
Flourishing Blowflies ( -1/-1 Counters)
I'm a cynic, and I approve of this article. With one caveat. Stop using "New World Order." That phrase does not mean what you think it means (or rather, has come to mean).

That said, I actually praised the vanilla-ness of M10 when it came out, and the appearance of wonderful things like Woolly Thoctar. Great stuff. My personal former teaching method when educating new players had been to use simple, mostly vanilla product, and this was something that has been affirmed a long, log time ago through feedback on this site since, like, Mirrodin.

On the otherhand, it lead to a small problem: It affirms that the jump to a five-rarity system (basic land, common, uncommon, rare, mythic) is, in more ways than one, an attempt to place cards out of the hands of newer players, but not always for the sake of complexity. The balance is that new players, upon opening a Titan or somewhat, if not immediately pounced unawares by "newb predators" will vastly enjoy the experience of gaining this card. I know I did, and I'm not new and am at least well-versed in the art of cutthroat. Sadly, it meant that the push towards these cards at mythic is two-, if not three-fold, and this is being justified wholly on the backs of new players to the suffering of casual. The key? Limited.

Limited being used as the metric for viability of play, complexity, and quality of the cards hurts, because it is pushed. One could, rather, create products that can be sold on the cheap that include the less complex elements of M10 while at the same time including trinkets like a Titan (or not). This site, and others, show that limited is, if anything the sole concern for the Magic professional series, while casual, being less pronounced but more numerous, falls behind. These players prefer the complex cards much, much more, and in greater quantities. Such a distribution in the way product is released is painful to us. I am glad, however, that recently this has been changed with the development of new products aimed at us casuals (Commander and Premium Deck Series being two).

All in all, however, good stuff.

P.S.: MaRo ... start playing EDH. Inform yourself.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
The best cards are, by necessity, pushed into higher rarities (compare Runeclaw Bear to Fauna Shaman, which were both printed in the same set!)



Is that right? Please point me to the mythic rares that are just plain better than Lightning Bolt, or Brimstone Volley, or Mana Leak, or Memnite, or Ancient Grudge.
blah blah blah Suspend is confusing. blah blah blah Future Sight had 17 mechanics, I dont understand.
"Yeah, I know, this is fun. You're dumb."
TimeSpiral block limited is still my top 2 favorite draft* formats along with Ravnica. Ravnica/TSP Standard was my favorite Standard.
Ravnica had 10 new mechanics and is still one of the most popular blocks of all time.
I still love magic, but I dont like this crap. If you thought/think Suspend/Future Sight was/is confusing, then you're just an idiot.
I kinda agree about Lorwyn/Morningtide limited, but not cuz it was confusing, it just wasn't fun, neither was Standard with it much either.

*(I've drafted Mirage, Fallen Empires, Onslaught, Odyssey, Judgment, Mirrodin block, Kamigawa block, and each block since and all Core sets since 8th Edition.)
I was appalled by this article.  The gall of saying that the addition of a new higher rarity was to simplify the game for beginners is just ridiculous.  You want people to buy more packs.  I don't blame you for that because Magic is a business first and foremost.  So you make a new rarity that requires people to buy X number of packs to find rather than just 1, then you make all of those cards so strong that you can't compete without them.  Brilliant really when you think about it.  But saying that you are doing it for us is insulting.

 What really happens in these circumstances?  A new player finds it easier to begin playing.  He starts throwing together his Riot Devils and Walking Corpses into a deck with perhaps a handful of rares.  Then he brings his deck that he's extremely proud of to FNM and sits down against a real deck that costs 500 bucks to build and gets blown out.  Now he's faced with something much harder than a complexity barrier to entry - he is faced with a financial barrier.  Lucky for him, the entire game is pretty simple to understand.  The oversimplification of recent sets means that he can take a netdeck and play it without knowing much about the rules or practicing his lines of play.  Suddenly he is a great player in his own eyes because he is winning - but only if he can afford it.  Most players get to that point where they realize how much it costs and go back to playing World of Warcraft.
This article makes me happy - it's the first acknowledgement I've seen that strategic complexity need not be nerfed.

And given that Innistrad is the most recent set I've seen and it plays well there is reason to be optimistic. :-)
[...]

I'm sorry, but how exactly do you reconcile what you just said with...well...the last six years of Magic? Almost everything you just said is the opposite of what they've been doing.



I'll get to the meat of my post, which was the third paragraph.

1.  "Unfun" mechanics: Maro stated in an article talking about "fun" that mechanics that players have no control over are not fun.  He gave examples of cards by Mark Globus that referenced bad things happening if an opponent did something.  Well, I have little to no control over when a player has two spells to play in one turn.  I actually agree with the decision to introduce a mechanic like this, as little to no control is a horror trope, but it isn't fun, according to Maro.
Now, allow me to be bold for a moment and put linear design into this category of unfun.  Cards that scale in power according to the number of [insert cardtype] you control are not fun, as you have no control over how many you draw in a given game nor how many your opponent can remove from play before you get to critical mass.  Linear design will be around because it allows new players to build decks, but one of the first things that noobs learn is the inherent unreliability of said cards.  Cards with power levels that the player has no control over are not fun.

2.  Everyone knows that mythic rarity drives up the price of a card.  I feel bad for players who are trying to build a deck that requires access to Mythic rares.  I understand that one of the challenges of the game is to build with what you have, and I recognize that.  I also recognize that they want new players to open packs and hopefully sell their chase Mythic.  However, it just increases the dollar cost entry for players who want to have the Tier 1 decks with the chase Mythics.

3.  Limited.  I have more fun in a game of Limited where I am making real decisions as opposed to just playing on auto-pilot.  I have less fun in a game where there are triggered abilities all over the place (Lorwyn, Zendikar, Alara).  I less fun in a tournament where there is a dominant archetype and no viable alternative (Zendikar, Scars).  I have more fun in a tournament where I am drafting strategic synergies as opposed to just taking the best cards (Eldrazi).

I want to believe that R&D actually has the imagination to achieve this game's potential of vivid environments and a variety of fun strategies that emerge from those environments.  To see that they are being conservative about what will emerge from their environments "because complexity is bad" makes me sad.

What I think is really happening that is driving the success is the de-emphasizing of competitive play.  A competitive environment is rarely an acquisition tool, as losers go away feeling like, well, losers.  Products such as Duels of the Planeswalkers are what I think is driving acquisition because they introduce the game at a pace that players are comfortable with.  (I was actually acquired into Magic via the Shandalar game, so excuse me for being a bit biased there).
I was appalled by this article.  The gall of saying that the addition of a new higher rarity was to simplify the game for beginners is just ridiculous.  You want people to buy more packs.  I don't blame you for that because Magic is a business first and foremost.  So you make a new rarity that requires people to buy X number of packs to find rather than just 1, then you make all of those cards so strong that you can't compete without them.  Brilliant really when you think about it.  But saying that you are doing it for us is insulting.

 What really happens in these circumstances?  A new player finds it easier to begin playing.  He starts throwing together his Riot Devils and Walking Corpses into a deck with perhaps a handful of rares.  Then he brings his deck that he's extremely proud of to FNM and sits down against a real deck that costs 500 bucks to build and gets blown out.  Now he's faced with something much harder than a complexity barrier to entry - he is faced with a financial barrier.  Lucky for him, the entire game is pretty simple to understand.  The oversimplification of recent sets means that he can take a netdeck and play it without knowing much about the rules or practicing his lines of play.  Suddenly he is a great player in his own eyes because he is winning - but only if he can afford it.  Most players get to that point where they realize how much it costs and go back to playing World of Warcraft.



When I started playing Magic (around Lorwyn/Morningtide) this barrier to entry was the one I hit. I immediately saw costs of getting a tournament level deck ready and I promptly gave up on trying to actually get into that area of play.

When tournament decks are running 4-12 Mythics each, a player low on purchasing power simply cannot compete.
This is only because "complexity" = "power". Compare Baneslayer to Serra Angel and anything else of comparable mana cost and function for proof.

Sadly, the only sealed product I really purchase anymore now are Duel Decks to play among friends (and even those are horribly unbalanced at times) and not much else. I recently purchased Duels of the Planeswalkers because all my friends with whom I played have all given up on the game long ago.

So yes, I gave up on tournament Magic long ago and I'm slowly leaving the paper game all together. When "he with the most money wins" is the rule 9 out of 10 times, I really see no point in trying to compete.

I think that "barrier to entry" is a good concept, but perhaps more complex than a graph with two lines... Wasn't that the whole idea behind Portal?  I know we've seen columns before that discuss how useful/good a card seems depends upon how experienced the player is.

I began playing Magic with Planechase, and I enjoyed it, it capturred my imagination and I'm a regular player now.  I've got standard decks and decks beyond standard, and recently tried out MTGO.  One of the things that suprised me about online Magic was the low price barrier.  I've been able to throw together a cool merfolk deck that I enjoy playing, and that wins fairly often from just the beginner pack and free cards from bots!  More of my friends have began playing recently, so trading has become a real option, and I've pulled together a sweet standard werewolf deck.  I've bought 14 packs of Innistrad to bring me a more-solid-than-event-deck deck...  I'm wondering where this high price point that everyone is bemoaning?  On top of that we've got DOTP to provide a wide variety of cards that might be otherwise hard to find...

Of course maybe Nanaimo is just weird and everyone else who plays at FNM everywhere else all play Inkmoth-Wolf-Run. 
Complexity creep occurs when you do things that deviate from the baseline. The notion that suspend is paying time instead of mana tends to work fine. Burying haste inside reminder text for an ability that also appears on sorceries where it is irrelevent adds the most complexity. Players expect their creatures to have summoning sickness. Either putting haste next to flying or changing supend 4 to suspend 3 on errant ephemeron would have reduced the complexity those cards added to the game. 

Planeswalkers also add tons of complexity. They are walls of text, look like creatures, but are supposed to be players. Time and again, these cards trip up new players the most. You can't do anything to fix this, but here's where NWO falls apart. New players get into the game by buying preconstructed products. They usually feature foil planeswalkers on the front of them. New players are being lured into the game by shiny versions of the most complex cards possible.

Your other big problem is that the gap between the baseline has taken a large, non-linear jump by EDH becoming very popular among the non-competitive crowd. That format is a lot more complex than playing normal, 60 card multiplayer. And again, Garruk is in a Commander precon, so new players are interacting with those things very early-even in their own decks. 

Since you've given us a thought experiment to play decks with common cards, here's one for you. Buy a commander precon, go find a pickup game, and try to put yourself in the shoes of someone new to the game.       
I was appalled by this article.  The gall of saying that the addition of a new higher rarity was to simplify the game for beginners is just ridiculous.  You want people to buy more packs.  I don't blame you for that because Magic is a business first and foremost.  So you make a new rarity that requires people to buy X number of packs to find rather than just 1, then you make all of those cards so strong that you can't compete without them.  Brilliant really when you think about it.  But saying that you are doing it for us is insulting.

You... You do realize he hasn't said anything about mythic in this article, right? Not one thing.

(As a quick look at Gatherer can confirm, with the exception of planeswalkers, the average mythic is no more or less complex than the average rare.)
This is only because "complexity" = "power". Compare Baneslayer to Serra Angel and anything else of comparable mana cost and function for proof.

Funny you should say that. Baneslayer Angel is a great example of a card that is simple yet powerful. Its rules text is nothing but static, evergreen keywords. It's not a mythic because of its complexity but because of its power level.


People, even if WotC decided to spread complexity evenly at every rarity, competitive Magic would still be expensive because WotC also puts a good number of key tournament cards at rare or mythic regardless of complexity, to keep Limited balanced and to sell packs.
Is there such a craving for new abilities then? I really couldn't care less if they recombined old abilities. There are so much to go around. If they see adding new abilities as an unquestionable must, I think they have yet to really grasp the problem of the increasing complexity gap (or dead weight rules baggage as one might call it)

Also, I didn't know that more complexity in the rare spot was a new thing. In fact, I think I recall a very similar article like this from way back when.

I do agree that the game can in fact be more interesting with less complex cards. The base rules are so interesting that anything that disrupts those rules (complex cards) can take from the fun of the base rules.

When I read about the bookkeeping thing all I could think about was the conga line of defenders. If clarity is your purpose you shouldve sticked to DotS or think of something better than what we have now. (But that discussion has been done to death)
To everyone worried about the game being dumbed down: don't forget, this wasn't some kind of announcement of future changes, this order was adopted six years ago. If you are still here playing and if you enjoyed the last several blocks, your worries are pretty much unfounded.

People, even if WotC decided to spread complexity evenly at every rarity, competitive Magic would still be expensive because WotC also puts a good number of key tournament cards at rare or mythic regardless of complexity, to keep Limited balanced and to sell packs.



I recently had an epiphany on how to solve "the problem of Limited". Simply have sealed product distributed for Limited and have other sealed product for Constructed.

Let Constructed packs have Commons as the minority in the pack and keep the rest the same for Limited.

Obviously they would never do this as this would make players happy, but would make them less money. So why bother mentioning it? (I ask myself)

But yeah, I do feel that since the developers design for Limited, all the "power cards" for Constructed are forced into higher rarities thus making the game rather expensive.

I never cared for Limited, but I won't deny it to players who like it. It's a shame that it seems there's no easy way to have it both ways.
Here's my take on the problem Magic now has.  I call it the Scrabble problem, although I suspect that Chess is the real precedent (it's just that Chess isn't really played in a social context any more.)

Scrabble can be a most enjoyable social game.  It can also be an intensely cut-throat game.  The problem arises when two people are playing each other, but one is playing it the "social" way, and the other is playing it the "competitive" way.  Each of them will probably find the game that they play to be entirely unfun, because they weren't playing the same game.  (There are recent boardgame examples of this: Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne are both terrific games that die if the players aren't all playing the "same" game.)

Magic has this problem in spades because it has Constructed and Limited enviroments, both of which are split into multiple subgroups. And that's without taking into account the differences between one-on-one and multiplayer.  It is all very well defining an environment as being a particular card-pool, but that doesn't address the style of play or the expectations.   

In other words, I don't think the problem is necessarily new players or complexity creep.  It's that the game comprises two or more fundamentally different player understandings (with some overlap, obviously) who cannot all be pleased all the time.  Anything that is fun for one group is liable to be unfun for the other.  (And I think that the JST archetypes can be found in both groups, so it's not necessarily as simple as dealing with that.)

Having said that, I can respect WotC for clearly understanding that this problem exists, even if I disagree with many of the ways they have chosen to try and address it.   All I know is that I don't envy them these decisions even if I would probably really like to be in a position where those sort of decisions are actually necessary...
There's an inherent problem aquiring new players for an established product which evolved like Magic. When the game was brand new and all players were noobs, we were genuinely excited casting Ironroot Treefolk and bashing with Fire Elemental. Now we've moved on and frown upon every vanilla card in each set, but where's the product for young Timmies who would be equally excited about sinister trees as we once were without being immediately ridiculed for playing with dumb cards?
I'm saddened that Time Spiral block is considered too complex, as I personally love that set/block. I also really enjoyed Lorwyn (especially triple Lorwyn draft). So to know that they won't be doing those type of sets again is disappointing. Shards, Zendikar and Scars blocks weren't. Bad just not anything great. Innistrad is pretty good, and its getting better as time goes on.
There's an inherent problem aquiring new players for an established product which evolved like Magic. When the game was brand new and all players were noobs, we were genuinely excited casting Ironroot Treefolk and bashing with Fire Elemental. Now we've moved on and frown upon every vanilla card in each set, but where's the product for young Timmies who would be equally excited about sinister trees as we once were without being immediately ridiculed for playing with dumb cards?



When I started playing, I was having a blast with my deck full of Blanchwood Treefolk and Redwood Treefolk.  

New players today will still be very happy with the latest batch of vanillas. 

Complexity creep occurs when you do things that deviate from the baseline. The notion that suspend is paying time instead of mana tends to work fine. Burying haste inside reminder text for an ability that also appears on sorceries where it is irrelevent adds the most complexity. Players expect their creatures to have summoning sickness. Either putting haste next to flying or changing supend 4 to suspend 3 on errant ephemeron would have reduced the complexity those cards added to the game. 



You do know that haste was added because players expected their creatures to have haste right? In playtesting, people kept attacking with creatures coming out of suspense, so they made it part of the ability.
When I read about the bookkeeping thing all I could think about was the conga line of defenders. If clarity is your purpose you shouldve sticked to DotS or think of something better than what we have now. (But that discussion has been done to death)



How is making a conga line, then allowing for spells/abilities, then resolving damage different from stacking damage, then allowing for spells/abilities, then resolving damage? (In both cases talking about multiple blockers) 

DotS had its advantages, but clarity isn't one of them.   

Complexity creep occurs when you do things that deviate from the baseline. The notion that suspend is paying time instead of mana tends to work fine. Burying haste inside reminder text for an ability that also appears on sorceries where it is irrelevent adds the most complexity. Players expect their creatures to have summoning sickness. Either putting haste next to flying or changing supend 4 to suspend 3 on errant ephemeron would have reduced the complexity those cards added to the game. 



You do know that haste was added because players expected their creatures to have haste right? In playtesting, people kept attacking with creatures coming out of suspense, so they made it part of the ability.



I watched two novice players make the exact same mistakes with suspend creatures in the last three weeks. It is a small sample size, obviously, but the spell is cast, an opportunity to cast counterspells occurs, and then it resolves-just like every other creature. In the case of a blue creature, there is no expectation of haste since the color doesn't have it. Even on red ones, there is an expectation to see the ability clearly on the card that isn't there.

If, in playtesting, there was an expectation that creatures coming out of suspense can attack, they should have just keyed haste on them instead of burying it in suspend's text. That way it functions like every other creature when it comes up many years after the fact. Suspend went from knowing that it is paying time as part of the casting cost to knowing it is paying time plus granting haste. That extra bit of what it means to suspend something is easily missed at the novice level-especially if said novice never played during Time Spiral block.

It is often the kind of error that is really frustrating too. The mistake was that the novice forgot one part of a large block of reminder text among all the text on all the cards being processed, and where the word 'haste' appears on the card is largely what caused it.
I was appalled by this article.  The gall of saying that the addition of a new higher rarity was to simplify the game for beginners is just ridiculous.  You want people to buy more packs.



The math doesn't back this statement. 

Example:

Ice Age was a large set, with 121 rares. This means that you had about a 1/121 chance of pulling, say, a Necropotence out of any given pack. 

A modern large set has a mythic rare in 1 out of every 8 packs. A large set has 15 mythic rares. This gives a 1/8 * 1/15 = 1/120 chance of pulling any given mythic rare out of a pack from a large set. It has actually gotten slightly _easier_ to pull chase rares (though you still have to buy about four boxes to have a "reasonable" chance of pulling a given chase rare). 

Note that it is also now _much_ easier to pull a dual land or other "utility" rare out of packs, and with more good rares, it's slightly easier to trade the rare you pulled for the rare you need for you deck. The game is more popular now, which means that the secondary market is healthy, and prices are high, but the math has gotten just a little bit kinder in recent years. 

~ Patch

@Willpell; just curious, but how long has it been since you actually played a standard event?

In the current standard, if you want to put together an inexpensive aggro deck, you can. If you want to play a combo deck, you have cards like Birthing Pod and Heartless Summoning to build around. If you want to play control, you have a lot of variety there too; you've got Solar Flare, Grixis, or even a classic draw-go style deck. They're all reasonably competitive options, and you can be competitive with as much or as little money as you're inclined to spend, and you can play at whatever level of complexity you want.

I wasn't sure about Innistrad when it was previewed, but it really turned out to be a lot of fun. So when you write something like this...


It's just too clear as of now that Magic has turned a corner, from being an awesome game to play, into being an awesome game to read about which is too boring to ever actually play.  As long as they continue grinding out gorgeous art, I will never completely lose interest, but their determination to make a card's usefullness proportional to its rarity, in an attempt to bamboozle people into thinking that playing nothing but weenie aggro makes the game more fun, has made it clear that they are no longer trying to make a game I will enjoy playing, and I should just accept that.



...it actually starts to sound like you're projecting you own changing preferences on to the game as a whole. It honestly sounds like what you want to write is:

"It's clear now that I've turned a corner, and for me Magic has gone from being an awesome game to play into an awesome game to read about that I don't find fun anymore."

And that's ok too; most players at any game will put it down at some point (which is why it's so important to keep aquiring new players). But it's not fair to pretend that Magic sucks just because you're bored with it.

It's just too clear as of now that Magic has turned a corner, from being an awesome game to play, into being an awesome game to read about which is too boring to ever actually play.  As long as they continue grinding out gorgeous art, I will never completely lose interest, but their determination to make a card's usefullness proportional to its rarity, in an attempt to bamboozle people into thinking that playing nothing but weenie aggro makes the game more fun, has made it clear that they are no longer trying to make a game I will enjoy playing, and I should just accept that.


I couldn't agree more.

Also, I really, really doubt that newer players have put down the game due to the 'complexity' of Scornful Egotist. I'm sorry, but there simply were not enough players so baffled by why Scornful Egotist being an eight mana 1/1 jumping out of the nearest closed window to warrant mention in this article as a source of complexity. At best, these players get a good beginning concept of why some cards are better than others; more efficient mana cost to P/T ratio. At worst (this happens in most cases), you see Scornful Egotist and throw it away.

Simply put, cards that make players ask "why is this" aren't damaging to the game. New players need not care why Scornful Egotist costs eight mana to get into the game. Even I didn't know why it cost eight mana until I read this article, and the card still remains just as meaningless as before (it can still be safely ignored and probably won't add/subtract complexity either way). The asking of "why" is much more important to the game than most other questions. The asking of "how" (like with Suspend) could be damaging. The asking of "what" could too, because when a player asks "what is this", that means that the card is so boring that the art is more interesting than the game that they are in the middle of playing.


Orzhova Witness

Restarting Quotes Block
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.
The "Complexity" issue has never been one of "this card makes my head hurt. I Quit!".

Instead, the issue Rosewater is obfuscating is the situation wherein one player turns some cards sideways, puts some more cards on the table, turns some more cards sideways and says "...for the win" - while the guy on the other side of the table has no idea what the hell just happened.

New players get chased out by being blown away.  Trickling up complex card in rarity will only exacerbate the problem, both by keeping new players in "training wheels" (accustomed to a simple game of attack/block and the occasional killspell) longer, and by making "buying wins" pretty much the entire point of game.
Sign In to post comments