"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
That was excellent.
Wow. This is one of the best Magic articles I've ever read. Please write more articles about game design, this was super interesting.
That was amazing. Simply amazing.
The harder the challenge, the more severe the payoff. We love, after all, to confirm our own narratives of exceptionalism. But the obstacles we overcome must feel genuine. If I've just taught someone Magic, something is wrong with me if I just relish the opportunity to bash in that player's face by playing every match like it's the finals of the Pro Tour.
Really, though, I feel like the fiero impulse is rooted in the same reason that so many Magic players fall into the "Timmy" category.
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.
I've long thought that fiero is associated with a magic archetype, but he obvious archetype is Spike. Fiero is the rush you feel at a moment of victory, and Spike craves that while it's not as important to other archetypes.I'd encourage you to read Nicole Lazzaro's research:www.xeodesign.com/whyweplaygames/xeodesi...Or the TL:DR poster here:xeodesign.com/4k2f/4k2f.jpgI absolutely love Nicole Lazzaro's research, because her research group actually films people's faces, and reads different emotions on them--which is much more scientific than the granstanding "I think thing X produces emotion Y".
And there's...two ways to read this. One is that the technology for reading emotions isn't quite there yet, and so Nicole Lazzaro's lab doesn't distinguish between these categories. The other, which I'm leaning more and more towards is that Johnny isn't actually a different category from Timmy.And...here's why I'd lean that direction. Elvish Champion gets called a Timmy card, because Johnnies find the interactions with it too simple, and not testing of their creativity. But...I started learning magic in university (over 10 years ago), and still remember what it felt like to build an elf deck. To do this I searched...one of the predecessors to Gatherer. Flash forward to one of the most Johnny things I've ever done, and I...searched Gatherer.
I think Raph Koster's book A Theory of Fun for Game Design probably does a good job of summing up why. The psychological state of play is human learning; once I've played around with something, and learned how to do it, I move on to something else to play with.By contrast, when I see something new, like when Jackie Lee copied Strangleroot Geist with Phyrexian Metamorph, had it come back through undying as a Batterskull, and then used Batterskull's ability to return it to her hand and play it again as an Acidic Slime, I was like "oh man, that's awesome, I've never done that. I want to try that. I want to be that girl." This is something I had not learned how to do, and so naturally my mind wanted to go and play--go and learn.
[...]Frequently, a player will observe something happening in a game which reinforces an incorrect assessment of some aspect of the game. This occurs because of the combination of randomness and hidden information. [...]And fiero fares even worse. Because in Magic, you can seldom be quite sure why you won. For every clever trap or brilliant bluff there will be a dozen games where you win because you have better cards or better mana. Did the opponent make a significant error either before or during the game which led to their loss? Hard to say. More victories are "phew, got there" than "yaaaaaay".I'm still playing Magic after 15 years, so it must be doing something right, but I contend it is neither of these things. The genius of Magic is the promise of creativity. For all MaRo's talk of psychographics both Timmies and Spikes are better served by other games.
The concepts of flow and fiero are particularly interesting with regard to Magic. Possibly you know this and aren't allowed to say so here, but it has big problems in its support for both.In terms of flow, the disruptive effect comes from the nature of the Magic-playing experience. Frequently, a player will observe something happening in a game which reinforces an incorrect assessment of some aspect of the game.