Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 27, 2015

Email: On MagicTG

Since you keep referencing it in relation to Hearthstone, there’s a bit on my mind in relation to the Magic the Gathering game, especially since it also relates to the social justice wacko and Gamergate topics you keep referencing as of late.

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As a Magic player myself, I do consider the game to be a lot of fun, though I can certainly understand how it’s not for everyone. Curiously enough, while you mention you don’t like the randomness, one of my favorite formats of the game thrives in large part on an additional element of randomness – it’s a format known as Commander, where in contrast to a 60-card deck where the idea is usually to have as much consistency as possible, it uses a 100-card deck where most the cards are one-ofs, meaning that things are a lot more unpredictable, which in turn allows use of cards that might not normally see but have much more fun effects attached to them.
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But that’s beside the point (apologies for that). The point here is that for anyone who hasn’t gotten into the game yet, I’d be hard pressed to want to try to convince them since I’ve got a bad feeling that the Social Justice Wackos have successfully gotten their claws into the minds of the people making it and are in the process of slowly driving it off the same cliff that they’ve driven other products and industries off of. It’s especially of concern since it’s been made a point that while they have a regular turn out of new product, they also work two years in advance.
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Point 1: The debate that erupted over the art in a card called “Triumph of Ferocity“, where Wizards of the Coast (who make Magic) eventually gave in and “admitted” that the art was bad and apologized to the people upset about it, in spite of initial arguments about context, including failure of people to complain about the counterpart card “Triumph of Cruelty” which shows the exact same two people but with their situations reversed.
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Point 2: The increase as of late of how much the most public faces of the game keep talking about how they want to be as inclusionary and diverse as possible in a way that sounds dangerously and suspiciously close to the way you hear Social Justice Wackos and the fields they’ve already infiltrated talk about the subject.
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Point 3: One of the most recent sets saw a card featuring a character they openly publicized as being a transsextual just about everywhere except the actual card itself, a character they then went on to promote as such in supplemental materials, including a story on the official website that had the characters ‘identity’ (in the way Social Justice Wackos think of ‘identity’) as a central issue. And then they proceeded to pat themselves on the back about it in a “look! Here’s a character we’ve included for diversity because it’s an important issue we think we need to address. Aren’t we great for addressing diversity as an important issue? We’re so glad so many of you have said how much you love what we’ve done” way that reeks of the kind of political posturing that’s infested so many other entertainment industries.
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And given that, again, the company works anywhere from a year to two years out on future products, it’s very likely that more of this stuff will show up in the future and that the so-called ‘Social Justice’ infestation is only likely to increase.
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Which is a shame, because in a lot of way the game does a lot of things right that you keep talking about as missing in video games these days, especially in the world building. You want world building, Magic has an entire multiverse that is regularly expanding, including regular visits to new words – previously one per year, now moving to two per world, with the occasional return visits to fan favorites. They’ve gotten really good at it too, where even cards that aren’t all that playable can still be great simply because of a fun or brilliant combination of art, flavor text, and what the card is meant to represent.
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I figure that if I’m not just being paranoid, and wizards either doesn’t realize what’s happening or ignores the warning signs, the game isn’t going to last nearly as long as they currently believe it will.

 

There is a reason why Blizzard’s Hearthstone completely blew away Magic the Gathering (Hearthstone has 20 million users since last September. 20 million!)

The biggest reason not to invest money in games like TGC or even LoL or Heroes or Hearthstone is that these companies and products change. They will start to deliberately do stuff you do not like and shove it in your face. Miyamoto cannot do that to me since consoles are segmented by generations. He can push 3d gaming all he wants, but Malstrom will not buy his console.

Speaking of both those companies (Nintendo and Blizzard), they both had two very different ideas about the future of gaming. Blizzard invests heavily in Internet gaming. Blizzard’s prior experience on RTS balancing and maintenance enabled Blizzard to take over the MMORPG. But running WoW for all this time is now enabling Blizzard to take over Free-to-Play genres one after another. First, Hearthstone with its card trading game. Overwatch will knock out Team Fortress 2 (if what I’m hearing is accurate from the ‘Friends and Family’ testing of Overwatch at the moment), and Heroes of the Storm will likely take over the MOBA scene provided the MOBA scene continues to grow (the new growth will go to Heroes and not to LoL or DOTA 2).

Nintendo, meanwhile, has spent the past couple decades on….

…wait for it…

…3d gaming!

Now Nintendo finds itself in a crisis because Miyamoto doesn’t know shit about the future of gaming. THERE I SAID IT! He has been leading Nintendo down the wrong road for the long term. Nintendo’s internet services are awful compared to the competition. As for its 3d gaming ‘offerings’, no one cares. No one gives a damn about the 3DS or the Wii U. Iwata once said that Super Mario in 3d World was going to sell Wii Us a gazillion. It never happened because 3d Marios NEVER sell consoles EVER (except the N64 in the US). “But if we make it for the eighth time, then everyone will buy it!” NOPE! Someone needs to put Miyamoto in a straight jacket because the guy has gone looney tunes about 3d.


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