7/8/2013 MM: "Working Your Core"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Me: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack



Best. Ability. Ever.
Urza is my Shepherd. Planet Multiverse
On Tolarian Time Bubbles
56849398 wrote:
147480487 wrote:
I'd hate to accidentally walk partially into one.
Random Tolarian wizard's last words. ;)
Real life fact: I'm terrified of Grizzly Bears, Polar Bears... and bears that could potentially blink into reality through a time rift.
Then, one day, developer Erik Lauerasked the following question: "Is it confusing that creatures could sacrifice themselves for an effect that could never happen?"

(snip paragraph that isn't relevant for my purposes)


Why is this confusion a problem? Because focus testing has shown us that if a card does something that players don't understand, they start to question if they understand what the card actually does. "Why can I sacrifice a creature if doing so would keep it from being able to get the bonus? Okay, I must have read it wrong."


Erik asked a good question, but I don't see that you've actually answered it. You skip straight from raising the question, to saying why it would be a problem if the answer were "yes", without actually establishing that the answer is "yes". (The paragraph I trimmed contains no attempt to do this - it just explains the interaction in more detail.) Nowhere do you directly state that this confusion actually does exist, much less present any evidence of this. The closest you come is mentioning a general trend that such a confusion might hypothetically be a part of.

I realize you have access to data I don't but in the very long time I've been answering rules questions in RQ&A and other forums, I've seen nothing to suggest this is a major problem. It's got nothing on, for example, taking the text off basic lands, which your column never even mentions and which leads to significant confusion about what cards like Seething Song do. By contrast I've seen more questions about the reminder text of Reverse the Sands than I've seen about self-sacrificing, that's how small the issue is.



EDIT: On the Chandra issue, Elkin Lair would make a better example than Elkin Bottle. The ability, or something obviously inspired by it at any rate, was already red.


EDIT 2: Corrected "flavour text" to "reminder text", and elaborated slightly on some other points.

Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
 Traumatize was inspired by a riddle. A scientist invents a radical new invention, a super car. You put in your end destination and in ten second it takes you exactly halfway. Assuming you are trying to travel 3,000 miles, how long will it take you?



10 seconds.  

Enter your destination as 6000 miles.  10 seconds later it will jump you 3000 miles. Then you stop the car and get out.
There's a reply below my post now, so I'm making a new comment rather than editing this into the previous one:

For those who have never heard of aesthetics, it is a scientific study of how the brain perceives things.

Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy, not science, and it is highly tendentious at best to claim it is about "how the brain percieves things". Just for starters, that presupposes both a pretty specific theory of mind and a subjective theory of aesthetic value, neither of which is going to stand unchallenged in a decent philosophy seminar room.

This may, in fact, be the most ill-informed sentence I've seen in a Maro article - every time I look at it I find another layer of wrong.



Still on philosophy, though two other posts mention oversights in the treatment of Zeno's Paradox in the article, I find these more forgivable because the fact that this is a solved problem (and it is) isn't really relevant to the point being made about Traumatize. So that bit's fine.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
One of the most important roles of the color pie is to help the colors each have a delineated feel. That means that R&D spends a lot of time splitting hairs and making subtle divisions between the colors. White can pump its toughness (although it doesn't to it often these days), blue can get +N/-N or -N/+N, black can pump its shades (pumping power and toughness), red can have firebreathing, and green gets the rootwalla ability.



Hold on Mark, Im'ma let you finish, but White had the best shade pumping ability of al

What's that?

You're reprinting it in M14 after 18 years?

&*@^ YEAH!!

http://www.nogoblinsallowed.com — A functioning forum

That halfway riddle bit of yours is just Xeno's paradox, which can be solved by geometric series.
I came here to give rverghese's answer :P

But, then, there were people on the internet who were wrong and needed correcting! That halfway problem is NOT Xeno's Paradox, because it takes 10 seconds each time. Your series that sums to "time it will take to get there" will never converge, sorry. Similar idea, but the fact that the same, finite amount of time is specified for each step makes it a fundamentally different question.
I've been answering rules questions in RQ&A and other forums, I've seen nothing to suggest this is a major problem.

The sacrifice issue is more of a 'blissful ignorance' problem, though - since you rarely encounter a situation where you'd want to sacrifice the creature in question, most players don't even need to be aware of the possibility. Of course you're bound to get more questions about cards which are obviously confusing; if a player reads a card and can't figure it out, they'll ask. However, a player can read Bloodthrone Vampire, think he understands it, and still be missing a piece of the puzzle. Thus, they opted to remove that piece as a factor.
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy, not science

Unless you're willing to claim that there have been no scientific studies which have dealt with the subject of human aesthetics, it seems hard to assert that aesthetics is simply 'not science' - yes it is a traditional area of philosophical study, but then so is every major area of modern science. All that makes science science is the focus on experimentation and empirical data, and the field of human aesthetics has seen enough of both to qualify at least nominally as a 'science'.

What then is the advantage of allowing it? Well, it allows the creature to destroy itself if somehow that is beneficial (for example, someone is trying to steal it). We decided the minimal upside in corner cases wasn't worth the confusion.

There was much debate as to whether the words added complexity. The anti-"Target player" contingent argued that "Draw two cards" is just simpler and easier to understand than "Target player draws two cards." The pro-"Target player" contingent argued that just as players got that "CARDNAME deals 3 damage to target creature or player" made sense so too did the card draw.

Wizards of the Coast: Thinking about cards, so you don't have to.

So what's the over/under on a Lightning Bolt retemplate to "deals 3 damage to target player other than you or target creature you don't control?"  M2017?  That's clearly the direction we're going in.  


jeff-heikkinen you really nailed it in your first post.  Just, like a thousand thumbs up.  But I do reject the implication that philosophy in general and aesthetics in particular can't be scientific.  

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.

I think it would be cool if the Reaper from the Abyss DID get destroyed once he'd destroyed all the other creatures on the battlefield. "No one else for me to reap? I'm off back to the abyss then, bye."
Why isn't Bloodthrone Vampire's "secret second ability" (Sacrifice Bloodthrone Vampire: For the lulz/dallas/on-board-value) a perfect example of "lenticular design"? (Source.) Where is the evidence that inexperienced players (who I agree might be confused by the idea of sacrificing something to do "nothing") see that option and feel they've missed something? As it stands, Maro, I think you did a very poor job of demonstrating that the problem this change solves exists anywhere other than in principle.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

Unless you're willing to claim that there have been no scientific studies which have dealt with the subject of human aesthetics, it seems hard to assert that aesthetics is simply 'not science' - yes it is a traditional area of philosophical study, but then so is every major area of modern science.

I don't deny that this area of study exists or even that it informs the philosophical project, but as far as I am aware it's not normally described as "aesthetics", and even if it is, it shouldn't be - if for no other reason than to avoid confusion.

Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011

What then is the advantage of allowing it? Well, it allows the creature to destroy itself if somehow that is beneficial (for example, someone is trying to steal it). We decided the minimal upside in corner cases wasn't worth the confusion.

There was much debate as to whether the words added complexity. The anti-"Target player" contingent argued that "Draw two cards" is just simpler and easier to understand than "Target player draws two cards." The pro-"Target player" contingent argued that just as players got that "CARDNAME deals 3 damage to target creature or player" made sense so too did the card draw.

Wizards of the Coast: Thinking about cards, so you don't have to.

So what's the over/under on a Lightning Bolt retemplate to "deals 3 damage to target player other than you or target creature you don't control?"  M2017?  That's clearly the direction we're going in.  


jeff-heikkinen you really nailed it in your first post.  Just, like a thousand thumbs up.  But I do reject the implication that philosophy in general and aesthetics in particular can't be scientific.  


the card draw targeting wasn't removed primarily because of complexity. If you read the article against default targeting, its not that players don't understand it. It's that it feels bad. Why on earth would I ever target my opponent? I'll be three-for-zeroing myself. Unless its something big and swingy (like bsz), it's not a real option, something players don't like.
Perhaps Mark should look closer at the picture Wikipedia has for "Common Chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater) male".  It looks almost exactly like the art for Rootwalla.
 the card draw targeting wasn't removed primarily because of complexity. If you read the article against default targeting, its not that players don't understand it. It's that it feels bad. Why on earth would I ever target my opponent? I'll be three-for-zeroing myself. Unless its something big and swingy (like bsz), it's not a real option, something players don't like.



In the end, the simplicity argument won



 Did you miss that part?  It was removed primarily because of complexity.

I remember when games didn't apologize for being hard or complex.  They were complex and hard.  Things took time to understand completely.  Grok implies a fundamental understanding quickly.  Is that how I am to interpret 2014?  Where are the hidden interactions?  The mystery?  The 'I didn't know that could work that way....'?

Mangara of Corondor and Karakas.  Would she be printed that way if she was in 2014?  No.

Stop it.  Give me (not some nameless unspoken mass of people) some complexity, some nuance, something with teeth. 

Having realized our Magic crimethink is doubleplusungood, we hereby voluntarily unstate any oldthink and completely bellyfeel the New World Order.  We have always been at war with feel-bad choices.  We crimestop the unpraise of MiniArendee and wish only to be free from the burden of thought.


We request any malquoted statements in our name to be rectified, and will hereforward plusgoodthink the fullwise decisions of Rosewater and Forsythe.  Who are of course, beloved to us like Big Brothers.

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.

Magic: Because nothing says "simplicity" like adding a word to the text box.
"Well, it allows the creature to destroy itself if somehow that is beneficial (for example, someone is trying to steal it). We decided the minimal upside in corner cases wasn't worth the confusion. "

Oh come on! Your taking your NWO too far. People aren't drooling idiots after all (at least not the majority).
Not being able to sac. itself is not minor, it is damn annoying!
And now you are adding words (just look at your next card you discussed) were it is not needed. There never was confusion.

By the way: The next divination should just read: "Draw two"
That saves alot of ink, and reduces the confusion level of the card. After all: the word "cards" might just get the player into contemplation what other things he might be able to draw!
/sarcasm end
Now it can't sacrifice itself to itself! Gosh, thank goodness we fixed *that* particular non-issue. Were there really dozens of people confused about that ability? Of course it isn't usually useful and most people won't do it. You could deal 3 to yourself with Lightning Bolt too. Most people never will, because outside of 1 or 2 corner cases you'd never want to.

If we really wanna make things less complex, how about we stop adding 5 or 10 keywords every block? Do you have any idea how complicated everything is if you jump into a casual set of games with people who've been playing for 10 or 15 years like I have? Heck, *I* can't remember what some of the keywords do. Anyone remember what ripple does? I don't.
I'm not sure how many of you remember the early days of Magic, say, when Fallen Angel was first printed. The original art denoted "fallen" by having the scars of amputated wings on her back. But she still had flying. That confused a lot of people, some more than others. People also wondered why Whippoorwill didn't have flying. I remember that InQuest Magazine (actually the late-comer to card game reporting, behind Duelist and Scrye) actually riffed on this with a proposed "Lawyer Magic" variant: at any time as a fast effect, you could call over a "judge" and present arguments for why the card as printed was clearly not sensible, and how you proposed to fix it, which your opponent could refute. For example, the Fallen Angel could lose flying ("It's not just the art, she's a fallen angel") and Whippoorwill could gain it ("It's a bird, based on the real flying bird, shown in flight in the art") or not ("Ah, but it is a small ground bird that doesn't fly very much or very high. If my three-story giant spider can't just walk over his goblin blockers, I don't see why my wall of fire shouldn't be able to block his whippoorwill.").

Obviously, this sort of thing is a joke, but it highlights how incongruities stand out and irk some players, even if it doesn't actually confuse them about how the card actually works as printed. This hasn't been lost on design, which works hard to avoid this sort of thing now. For example, this is also why they started giving merfolk legs. In general -- now that card design is relatively robust, and Magic has built up enough market share to be thought of as a game first, and fantasy second -- I think a lot of player don't appreciate just how much polish has gone into the game over the years.  You might think it sounds silly, but a lot more people care about this sort of thing than you (or even they themselves) realize.

Creatures are supposed to represent things with their own agency in this fantasy skin that's gone over the basic rules. Flavorwise, it's hard to imagine a vampire draining his own blood. Mechanically, the value of having a creature sac itself to its own ability is just too bizarre of an edge case to care. Despite claims to the contrary, this is nothing like re-wording Lightning Bolt to "destroy target creature you don't control". LB doesn't have the flavor problem (a spell doesn't have agency -- as the caster, you make the decisions, even stupid ones) nor the mechanical problem (there's a big difference between an uncomplicated-but-bad move and a complicated-but-pointless move). A more accurate comparison for spells would be something like "counter a spell" as opposed to "counter target spell".

Show
To work through the example of "counter a spell" vs. "counter target spell": sure, the first way is more flexible: you can legally choose the spell itself! And it uses less space. The rules that clarify what actually happens -- that is, if the spell is countered by itself, or if the spell fails to counter itself because it's countered, or something else -- are fairly straight-forward if you know them. It's impossible to both resolve the effect and prevent resolution of all the spells effects (the definition of counter under 701.5a), so as an impossible action, the step "counter a spell" would be ignored (101.3). That is, if it didn't involve you making a choice during the resolution of a spell. Since the spell requires you to make a choice as part of resolution, rule 608.2d explicitly prohibits you from choosing an impossible option, so you can't choose to counter that particular spell. But even if you didn't know the exact rules, it's obvious that the spell won't accomplish anything except burning mana and putting the card in the graveyard you can't choose that spell to counter, right? On second thought, this is an ideal change afterall.


The unintentional edge cases generally aren't worth expending work to preserve. (I could build a tool kit into the sole of my shoe on the logic, "I might eventually find a way to use it, or even a highly improbable case where I need it," but that doesn't give me a lot of reason to do it.) People also don't think in keystrokes. You care about word count only when it adds lines, shrinks font, or gives you more instructions to process before the card resolves. None of that is an issue here.

Two small negatives:
* Does this make flavor sense? No.
* Would this lead to totally pedantic rules support questions about what the power/toughness of the creature was at the time it died? Maybe.
Two "don't-cares":
* Someone somewhere might like it at some point.
* It has negligibly more words/keystrokes in plain English
And no real up sides. It sounds to me like there's no reason to keep it at "sacrifice a creature" instead of "sacrifice another creature".

That halfway riddle bit of yours is just Xeno's paradox, which can be solved by geometric series.

Yes, and no. Pedantry follows:
Show
Zeno's most famous paradox involved continually sub-dividing a single motion. The paradox is that if each finite motion can be subdivided continuously (and why not, the Greeks may ask), and each motion is the thus the sum of infinite infinitesimal sub-motions (again, why not), doesn't that mean you can have infinite terms summing up to a finite motion? The very ancient Greeks would say, "I'm not sure." The paradox comes about because they weren't sure if you could continuously sub-divide motion, or if an infinite number of terms can be summed to a finite value. We now are sure, at least on the latter.

What Mark presents is a constructive variation: you take infinite steps each with finite time to get to a set location. The total distance converges to the expected distance. Each of the infinite steps takes 10 seconds, so the total time of the trip is still infinite and you never get there (assuming you're honest about your final location and only use the "super-car").
oh crap, I have to find my way into comicon again
and I thought I didn't need to when I heard gLee wasn't showing
there's cake ?
which day ?

 

applied fore a job at wizards 7-14-2014

hasbro didn't respond

 

I live in san diego if any vistitting wizards wants to  contact me 858=483=3822

i'd stop by comicon but my car is broke and so am I

I wish they would apply that Blood Bairn reasoning to certain triggered abilities.

Compare Lumberknot to Havengul Vampire. Lumberknot's ability will trigger on itself dying. However, when it does so, that ability will necessarily do nothing on resolution. This doesn't even enable the "intentionally sacrifice it to itself" tricks. There's just one set of cards that work sensibly and another set of cards that creates entirely pointless (but, in certain corner cases, gameplay-influencing) triggered abilities on dying.
i'd like to know what other delaying tactics White apparently has access to now that Fog is back in Green and Excommunicate is back in Blue. 

Also giving blue Unsummon, Time Ebb and +x/-x as forms of removal seems to just give more effects to the color that is supposed to be bad at dealing with creatures. 
 the card draw targeting wasn't removed primarily because of complexity. If you read the article against default targeting, its not that players don't understand it. It's that it feels bad. Why on earth would I ever target my opponent? I'll be three-for-zeroing myself. Unless its something big and swingy (like bsz), it's not a real option, something players don't like.



In the end, the simplicity argument won



 Did you miss that part?  It was removed primarily because of complexity.

I remember when games didn't apologize for being hard or complex.  They were complex and hard.  Things took time to understand completely.  Grok implies a fundamental understanding quickly.  Is that how I am to interpret 2014?  Where are the hidden interactions?  The mystery?  The 'I didn't know that could work that way....'?

Mangara of Corondor and Karakas.  Would she be printed that way if she was in 2014?  No.

Stop it.  Give me (not some nameless unspoken mass of people) some complexity, some nuance, something with teeth. 

If you read the article in which Maro had his butt handed to him on this issue, the complexity isn't the main thing. But I think (in no intent of personal disrespect) Maro likes to focus on the complexity, especially on issues he lost on. Both acknowledge in their articles that complexity added is minimal. But targeted card draw is just really stupid if all you're drawing is two cards. Read the 3/3 w/ability vs. 3/2 vanilla section.
Two small negatives:
* Does this make flavor sense? No.
* Would this lead to totally pedantic rules support questions about what the power/toughness of the creature was at the time it died? Maybe.



Of course it makes flavor sense. Why do you think the suicide pill ("swallow in case of enemy capture") was ever developed? And wouldn't a guy who deals in death know enough to carry one for himself?

I think there is a danger when a card refers to direct text on other cards
as formatting future text will become dependent on supporting those words
 

applied fore a job at wizards 7-14-2014

hasbro didn't respond

 

I live in san diego if any vistitting wizards wants to  contact me 858=483=3822

i'd stop by comicon but my car is broke and so am I

"Direct text" is not a meaningful term in the game. What are you referring to?

I designed this card during Odyssey. The block had a strong graveyard theme, which tends to naturally push design to include a milling theme, as it helps get cards into graveyards. I was trying to make a super-milling card but I also wanted to make sure that the spell didn't make it too easy to mill out the opponent.


...


That's why I made it round down—so that this card would never be the one that mills out your opponent. Your opponent will always have to draw the last card him- or herself.




Less than a couple of weeks after Matt Tabac (via his tumblr) tells me "nobody" in R&D thinks of "milling" in the sense of a keyword, Mr. Rosewater drops this little gem. Four instances in three sentences.

Something tells me that attitude of Tabac's isn't just an act, he's seriously got some issues with other people at the company and with the community when they don't bow to his whims.  
Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
"Direct text" is not a meaningful term in the game. What are you referring to?



Say I wanted to write
"Get a card from your deck"
Everyone would understands that means search your library for the card, get it and shuffle intuitively.

But if players can't search they libraries due to a card on the table, Players would argue since search is not written on Get a card. They can still Get the Card.

(^not well form argument, sorry for the half thought)




I think there is a danger when a card refers to direct text on other cards
as formatting future text will become dependent on supporting those words

"Why is this a sorcery?"
Sorceries can do more for less mana due to the initiative limitations.
 
Chandra's draw and use ability makes sence in the "in the moment" light.
the other abilities could use simpler text and actions





Rakdos the Defiler creature demon
flying
When Rakdos damages a player;
  that player sacrifices half his/her
  non-Demon permanents rounded up.
When Rakdos attacks;
  it deals one damage to you.
      "the abyss it rose from
      opened in its wake"

7/6
 

applied fore a job at wizards 7-14-2014

hasbro didn't respond

 

I live in san diego if any vistitting wizards wants to  contact me 858=483=3822

i'd stop by comicon but my car is broke and so am I




Wizards of the Coast: Thinking about cards, so you don't have to.





Monster Manuals and Spellbooks, skillbooks

I was fine with D & D after unearth arcana and dungeonier's survival guild for skills and cantrips

The problem with revising a system is later material are less compatible with older systems
stick to expansions.


 

applied fore a job at wizards 7-14-2014

hasbro didn't respond

 

I live in san diego if any vistitting wizards wants to  contact me 858=483=3822

i'd stop by comicon but my car is broke and so am I

Two small negatives:
* Does this make flavor sense? No.
* Would this lead to totally pedantic rules support questions about what the power/toughness of the creature was at the time it died? Maybe.



Of course it makes flavor sense. Why do you think the suicide pill ("swallow in case of enemy capture") was ever developed? And wouldn't a guy who deals in death know enough to carry one for himself?



It makes flavor sense for a Vampire to be able to eat itself?

I designed this card during Odyssey. The block had a strong graveyard theme, which tends to naturally push design to include a milling theme, as it helps get cards into graveyards. I was trying to make a super-milling card but I also wanted to make sure that the spell didn't make it too easy to mill out the opponent.


...


That's why I made it round down—so that this card would never be the one that mills out your opponent. Your opponent will always have to draw the last card him- or herself.




Less than a couple of weeks after Matt Tabac (via his tumblr) tells me "nobody" in R&D thinks of "milling" in the sense of a keyword, Mr. Rosewater drops this little gem. Four instances in three sentences.

Something tells me that attitude of Tabac's isn't just an act, he's seriously got some issues with other people at the company and with the community when they don't bow to his whims.  


There's a pretty big difference between slang and a keyword. I'm pretty sure Maro has also repeatedly said that nobody in R&D wants to make milling a keyword.

Mechanically, the value of having a creature sac itself to its own ability is just too bizarre of an edge case to care. Despite claims to the contrary, this is nothing like re-wording Lightning Bolt to "destroy target creature you don't control". LB doesn't have the flavor problem (a spell doesn't have agency -- as the caster, you make the decisions, even stupid ones) nor the mechanical problem (there's a big difference between an uncomplicated-but-bad move and a complicated-but-pointless move).

You're in the case of having a really good argument that doesn't quite fit what you're trying to defend.

First of all, the hypothetical Lightning Bolt example is meant as an analogue to Divination not to the creature sacrifice.  So you're working on a misalignment there anyway.  And as a point of interest, Mind Rot is in M14 unchanged.  So apparently their logic is that people who completely understand that Lava Axe could hurt them (but probably shouldn't) and Mind Rot could make them discard (but probably shouldn't) are throwing their hands up at a Divination that could give the opponent cards (but probably shouldn't).


So the point is that the game can certainly withstand an obvious Targeting choice and they're just geting pedantic about doing the players' thinking for us.


Second, you're making a defense of flavor and card concept, which is not in the slightest what Mark was saying.  Stone Giant was a great concept (throwing creatures at the opponent) and he couldn't naturally throw himself.  Sure you could after a Blood Lust, but the concept is clear enough that I doubt anyone really minds if Brion Stoutarm is the template for that and Bloodfire Colossus is not.


But if that was their argument they would also be applying it to Disciple of Griselbrand and Corpse Traders and anything with the "sacrifice a creature" effect.  They're not.  And Mark didn't say anything about Vampires not eating themselves.  He said people might not understand why they have the option, so now they don't.  It's not a move to improve concepts.  It's a move to take decisions away from players and pre-emptively make them at the design level.


Two small negatives ... Two "don't-cares" ...

You lost the high ground here, btw.  Belitting the opposition by labeling their points "don't cares" and referring to them as "somebody, somewhere" is kind of a jerk move.  Trust me, I'm familiar with it.  But this isn't a cable news channel.  It's nicer to analyze the opposing arguments than dismiss them.

That aside, the answer to the implied question is Death by a Thousand Papercuts.  Neither Gilder Bairn nor Divination will kill Magic, nor did any individual move back through the (much more significant) damage on the stack change.  However, when it seems like every article from R&D is about how they're making pre-emptive play decisions so we don't have to think about it?  That's bad.

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.

Less than a couple of weeks after Matt Tabac (via his tumblr) tells me "nobody" in R&D thinks of "milling" in the sense of a keyword, Mr. Rosewater drops this little gem. Four instances in three sentences.

Something tells me that attitude of Tabac's isn't just an act, he's seriously got some issues with other people at the company and with the community when they don't bow to his whims.  


There's a pretty big difference between slang and a keyword. I'm pretty sure Maro has also repeatedly said that nobody in R&D wants to make milling a keyword.



Yeah sorry Milo, but I'm afraid I have to agree with Bob on this one.  I just looked up Tabac's tumblr and found some questions on them.


Q:The only reasoning for not keywording Mill , mill is that casual players will not know it? As it is an established term at every store and etc. And also is used in other games lingo for the same effect. (cough* netrunner anarch*). While the reasoning for bounce is understandable, mill is not

A: It’s widely used as player slang, but that’s all it is. It’s not flavorful at all and is meaningless to the new player. It’s a nickname based on a card we haven’t printed in years. If we ever decide we want a keyword action for mill, I’m confident saying it won’t be mill.


----


Q:Has R&D ever considered keywording mill (e.g. Glimpse the Unthinkable's oracle text would become "target player mills 10".)?


A:We’ve discussed it before. There’s not a great word for it and I don’t think anyone in R&D is pushing for it to happen.


----


Q:Hello. I'm just wondering if you'd ever Keyword some of the slang we use. Like Mill. Would you ever do something like "Mill X- put X cards from the top of your deck into the graveyard"? Its already a term we all use. 


A: If we ever keyworded milling, it wouldn’t be the word “mill.” Also, you’re grossly overestimating “we all.”

Also, it doesn’t matter how many people use it. It’s a terrible word for a game term.



So it sounds like MaRo was using the word for lack of a better one.  That supports the idea of wanting some word for the concept, but is a far cry from wanting "Mill" printed on a card.  As designers they use placeholder words all the time because official keywords aren't chosen until much later.


That said, Millstone is in M14 (with some good art IMHO) so it's not like the slang is inaccessible.

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Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

Less than a couple of weeks after Matt Tabac (via his tumblr) tells me "nobody" in R&D thinks of "milling" in the sense of a keyword, Mr. Rosewater drops this little gem. Four instances in three sentences.

Something tells me that attitude of Tabac's isn't just an act, he's seriously got some issues with other people at the company and with the community when they don't bow to his whims.  


There's a pretty big difference between slang and a keyword. I'm pretty sure Maro has also repeatedly said that nobody in R&D wants to make milling a keyword.



Yeah sorry Milo, but I'm afraid I have to agree with Bob on this one.  I just looked up Tabac's tumblr and found some questions on them.


Q:The only reasoning for not keywording Mill , mill is that casual players will not know it? As it is an established term at every store and etc. And also is used in other games lingo for the same effect. (cough* netrunner anarch*). While the reasoning for bounce is understandable, mill is not

A: It’s widely used as player slang, but that’s all it is. It’s not flavorful at all and is meaningless to the new player. It’s a nickname based on a card we haven’t printed in years. If we ever decide we want a keyword action for mill, I’m confident saying it won’t be mill.


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Q:Has R&D ever considered keywording mill (e.g. Glimpse the Unthinkable's oracle text would become "target player mills 10".)?


A:We’ve discussed it before. There’s not a great word for it and I don’t think anyone in R&D is pushing for it to happen.


----


Q:Hello. I'm just wondering if you'd ever Keyword some of the slang we use. Like Mill. Would you ever do something like "Mill X- put X cards from the top of your deck into the graveyard"? Its already a term we all use. 


A: If we ever keyworded milling, it wouldn’t be the word “mill.” Also, you’re grossly overestimating “we all.”

Also, it doesn’t matter how many people use it. It’s a terrible word for a game term.



So it sounds like MaRo was using the word for lack of a better one.  That supports the idea of wanting some word for the concept, but is a far cry from wanting "Mill" printed on a card.  As designers they use placeholder words all the time because official keywords aren't chosen until much later.


That said, Millstone is in M14 (with some good art IMHO) so it's not like the slang is inaccessible.




One of those questions was mine, and all the answers are ignoring a simple truth - slang often evolves into language. 

How old is Millstone at this point? It's a keyword whether or not WOTC likes it, and I think that's what is pissing them off. They didn't have enough control over it and they can't think of anything better to replace it. 

What's that Maro likes to say about cards/abilities should do what the player thinks they should do? This is a great example. (Along with Tribal, but that's another can of radioactive worms...)



Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
By contrast I've seen more questions about the reminder text of Reverse the Sands than I've seen about self-sacrificing, that's how small the issue is.

Really? Because I remember it the other way around.

It's not the most common sacrificing question--that'd probably be something like "Can I sacrifice something to two different abilities?"--but it does crop up.

...It also crops up with cards like Arms Dealer where the effect isn't related to the creature, though, so if they really want to fix it they could go the route they went with triggered abilities and say "Sacrifice Arms Dealer or another Goblin:..."

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

It's a keyword whether or not WOTC likes it, and I think that's what is pissing them off. They didn't have enough control over it and they can't think of anything better to replace it.

I think you're grossly overestimating the level of emotional investment they have in this issue. Which is to say that it sounds like they don't consider it an issue. They thought about it for a while, dismissed the obvious candidate because it was bad (which it is), eliminated the other candidates because none of them are any better (they aren't), then moved on to more important things because they don't use it very often.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

[...]because they don't use it very often.

I agree with you on the rest, but it's worth mentioning that millling shows up in pretty much every set in modern Magic. There are only four sets released in the last ten years that don't include any milling cards, the most recent of which was Planar Chaos. Six years without missing a set is a pretty fair indication that they use it often.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

[...]because they don't use it very often.

I agree with you on the rest, but it's worth mentioning that millling shows up in pretty much every set in modern Magic. There are only four sets released in the last ten years that don't include any milling cards, the most recent of which was Planar Chaos. Six years without missing a set is a pretty fair indication that they use it often.

There was an implicit "enough" that failed to travel from my brain to the keyboard.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman



 

That halfway riddle bit of yours is just Xeno's paradox, which can be solved by geometric series.

Yes, and no. Pedantry follows: Zeno's most famous paradox involved continually sub-dividing a single motion. The paradox is that if each finite motion can be subdivided continuously (and why not, the Greeks may ask), and each motion is the thus the sum of infinite infinitesimal sub-motions (again, why not), doesn't that mean you can have infinite terms summing up to a finite motion? The very ancient Greeks would say, "I'm not sure." The paradox comes about because they weren't sure if you could continuously sub-divide motion, or if an infinite number of terms can be summed to a finite value. We now are sure, at least on the latter.

What Mark presents is a constructive variation: you take infinite steps each with finite time to get to a set location. The total distance converges to the expected distance. Each of the infinite steps takes 10 seconds, so the total time of the trip is still infinite and you never get there (assuming you're honest about your final location and only use the "super-car").



Funnily enough though, in the real world it would take 138 steps for the remaining distance to be smaller than the Planck length. So given the physical restraints of the universe we're living in the answer would be:  23 minutes.

Actually all distances at a scale we would ever care about are easily covered in 20-25 minutes with the supercar.