11/9/2012 LD: "Keep it Simple, Sometimes"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Latest Developments, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.
From the Return to Ravnica guild [...] most likely to bring about the end of civilization, the Rakdos



What happened to the Gruul? =O
Or wait, it is really just about this set?

Logically gridded streets and thoughtfully directed traffic flow can turn the daily krovod commute from an interminable and frustrating grind to a meditative and relaxing ritual. The mindful inclusion of town squares and open spaces give rise to bustling bazaars and festivals that channel and infuse the agitated kinetics of daily urban living into a joyful striving.



In my experience, cities designed with just the head and not the heart are not bustling at all. Yeah it's easy to get somewhere, but nobody wants to be there, because it lacks atmosphere.

An exploration alternative universes for keywords is very interesting.  I liked the pros and cons of these specifics a lot more than the story-based "we tried other things" text that we usually get from MaRo or other writers.


That said, I do think adding a number to size-varying keywords like scavenge is a small price to pay for more precise adjustment.  To say that scavenge always matches power, or that echo just matches the casting cost, smacks of "eh, if the card's not so good who cares?"  And it might prove limiting later.  What if Cycling had been defined as always costing ?

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
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.

You do have the scavenge cost (plus the original mana cost) to adjust the cards. If it had an additional number, evaluating a scavenge card would be a lot more time-consuming. Simple cards like Deadbridge Goliath would have too many variables already.

An exploration alternative universes for keywords is very interesting.  I liked the pros and cons of these specifics a lot more than the story-based "we tried other things" text that we usually get from MaRo or other writers.


That said, I do think adding a number to size-varying keywords like scavenge is a small price to pay for more precise adjustment.  To say that scavenge always matches power, or that echo just matches the casting cost, smacks of "eh, if the card's not so good who cares?"  And it might prove limiting later.  What if Cycling had been defined as always costing ?




If cycling were defined as always costing , and eventually they felt hamstrung by that, they would just change the rules. They did this with Echo, which was at first defined as "Echo (During your next upkeep after this permanent comes under your control, pay its casting cost or sacrifice it.)" then later became"Echo Cost (At the beginning of your upkeep, if this came under your control since the beginning of your last upkeep, sacrifice it unless you pay its echo cost.)" Similar with small tweaks to Bloodthirst and Sunburst. If you need to change it later, or even for a single card, you can. People will just think of the power as the "default" value, when no other value is explicitly stated.

The Scavenge question is sort of like a re-hashing of the old Threshold question, "why always 7 cards?" (Or the new Metalcraft question, "why always 4 artifacts?" Or if oyu really want to stretch, like the mercifully rare werewolf Transform question, "why always two spells?"). Sure, you could add a number to make it more flexible, but unless you actually need that flexibility to make the set work, it's one more complication to evaluating the card and one more thing to (pointlessly) track.

To some extents, it also seems like a false promise to add a knob to turn, then not turn it. (Oh, this guy has a Scavenge bonus equal to his power... but maybe there's one coming that will be above the curve, giving me room to break it.. Like a 1/1 mook my opponent's affraid to run into because he doesn't want me to have access to Scavenge 7!) If you can help it, you don't want to build excitement for something that will never materialize -- looking at you, Mirrodin Pure -- because when it doesn't happen, it's just a let down for some segment of your audience. (Usual caveats about deliberate exceptions, calculated risks, and trade-offs in market segments apply, of course.)
how they developed the keywords has been done to death. Please tell us how you developed the monocolored ones, a la "a little hometown pride"

But the rakdos are far more likely to destroy civilization because they are about destruction. The gruul are about vengeance. Although they want the city to burn, they have some idea of what will come after it (a tribal society based on an ancient set of customs and traditions) they want to be the old gruul again

I found the Return to be a bit of a let-down, personally, and I'm disappointed that a reduction in decisions is viewed as a good thing.  A famous game designer once called games "A series of interesting decisions".  Eliminating decisions isn't a good thing.  That said, I still think this version of Rakdos captures the feel of the guild a little better than the first one did.


I think this set feels like "just another gold set", and not the return to Ravnica I was hoping for.

how they developed the keywords has been done to death. Please tell us how you developed the monocolored ones, a la "a little hometown pride"

But the rakdos are far more likely to destroy civilization because they are about destruction. The gruul are about vengeance. Although they want the city to burn, they have some idea of what will come after it (a tribal society based on an ancient set of customs and traditions) they want to be the old gruul again



Isn't that a non-civilized society?

The Rakdos aren't about destruction. They are about Hedonism. Destruction is a side-effect that comes from that, but it's not what they are about.


I found the Return to be a bit of a let-down, personally, and I'm disappointed that a reduction in decisions is viewed as a good thing.  A famous game designer once called games "A series of interesting decisions".  Eliminating decisions isn't a good thing.  That said, I still think this version of Rakdos captures the feel of the guild a little better than the first one did.


 

Magic is still in the hangover phase from Lorwyn, when Wizards found out that Magic was actually closer to 'too many decisions' than to 'too few decisions' to arrive at that 'series of interesting decisions' in the sweet spot in the middle. To get there, you need to eliminate decisions, which makes it a good thing. At least in Wizards' view.


An exploration alternative universes for keywords is very interesting.  I liked the pros and cons of these specifics a lot more than the story-based "we tried other things" text that we usually get from MaRo or other writers.


That said, I do think adding a number to size-varying keywords like scavenge is a small price to pay for more precise adjustment.  To say that scavenge always matches power, or that echo just matches the casting cost, smacks of "eh, if the card's not so good who cares?"  And it might prove limiting later.  What if Cycling had been defined as always costing ?



 

Limited does. Limited wants cards of varying power level, so this is an additional upside.

As for the limiting factor, that is true, and I wonder whether Scavenge will have a variable number 6 years from now when we revisit the mechanic.
how they developed the keywords has been done to death. Please tell us how you developed the monocolored ones, a la "a little hometown pride"

But the rakdos are far more likely to destroy civilization because they are about destruction. The gruul are about vengeance. Although they want the city to burn, they have some idea of what will come after it (a tribal society based on an ancient set of customs and traditions) they want to be the old gruul again



Isn't that a non-civilized society?

The Rakdos aren't about destruction. They are about Hedonism. Destruction is a side-effect that comes from that, but it's not what they are about.


I found the Return to be a bit of a let-down, personally, and I'm disappointed that a reduction in decisions is viewed as a good thing.  A famous game designer once called games "A series of interesting decisions".  Eliminating decisions isn't a good thing.  That said, I still think this version of Rakdos captures the feel of the guild a little better than the first one did.


 

Magic is still in the hangover phase from Lorwyn, when Wizards found out that Magic was actually closer to 'too many decisions' than to 'too few decisions' to arrive at that 'series of interesting decisions' in the sweet spot in the middle. To get there, you need to eliminate decisions, which makes it a good thing. At least in Wizards' view.


An exploration alternative universes for keywords is very interesting.  I liked the pros and cons of these specifics a lot more than the story-based "we tried other things" text that we usually get from MaRo or other writers.


That said, I do think adding a number to size-varying keywords like scavenge is a small price to pay for more precise adjustment.  To say that scavenge always matches power, or that echo just matches the casting cost, smacks of "eh, if the card's not so good who cares?"  And it might prove limiting later.  What if Cycling had been defined as always costing ?



 

Limited does. Limited wants cards of varying power level, so this is an additional upside.

As for the limiting factor, that is true, and I wonder whether Scavenge will have a variable number 6 years from now when we revisit the mechanic.

true, but it is not the utter destruction of the world. The gruul wont kill everyone, but the rakdos just might forget that deatail and destroy the world. Their is a point to which the gruul wont go, but not for the rakdos.
true, but it is not the utter destruction of the world. The gruul wont kill everyone, but the rakdos just might forget that deatail and destroy the world. Their is a point to which the gruul wont go, but not for the rakdos.



Well it depends on how you phrase it. "to bring about the end of civilization" & "to destroy civilization" sound to me like primarily destroying the way people live, not destroying the people themselves. When you say "utter destruction of the world" that's another matter entirely. I'd say the Izzet are most likely to do that. That thing we have here with Cern and their LHC 'threatening' to destroy the world? Sounds a lot like Izzet. Rakdos doesn't seem like it's powerful/organized enough to accomplish anything on a really large scale.
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