Sunday, June 24, 2012

Axe Wizards # 001

 Axe Wizards

© MORT . Moppi 2012 

Books are gone, Savor the Flavor is on hiatus...
What's happening to the Vorthos side of Magic? :-/

- Mike

Well, it's obviously your fault!

- Mark Rosewater, Magic Hedge Designer

Now look, I don't know much about the Storyline,
but imagine us handling the game itself somewhat
like this: we would shift Magic cards visually every
time we could, to the point you could not recognize
them: the elements of the cards' faces, like sizes,
colors, fonts, and the textures of the borders -
so things we strictly avoid in reality...
We wouldn't playtest new sets, not willing to invest
money in this area, and we would print loads of
broken cards, that wouldn't be banned after release.
There would be basically one type of the winning deck
on all tournaments, and players would win games by
sheer luck, never by skill.

Obviously, we would still expect you to buy it.
What did you think?!

- Mark Rosewater, Magic Hedge Designer

Welcome to the first instalment of the Axe Wizards, where the questions are answered!

The idea behind it is to have Wizards' staff and employees answer some of more interesting questions people already axed, or might axe them, without any limits, including those of disclosure agreements. ;)

As you see, we're still experimenting with different forms of the strips.

DISCLAIMER: Possibly, some of the statements in the Axe Wizards are not held by people depicted there. Possibly... ;)

The idea isn't new, and originally came from a scarce and then dwindling interaction between the Creative Team & authors, and the community. Surprisingly though, recently there is an opposite trend and the interaction increased a lot. Just to mention the return of the Ask Wizards, tweeter accounts, tumblrs, forum activities, PAX meetings, etc., giving us a lot of valuable information.

But something I've read recently in one of those places (quoted below), reminded me of the whole idea for questions and answers, and of its original piece from few years back - which I hope you'll see here someday as well. But for now, there was something that required immediate attention [for a given value of immediate ;)]:

mandramas asked: Are the Magic's Vorthos receding in the last years? I mean, no more books, no more comics, no Savor the flavor... Is the new magic comic selling well?

"There are plenty of Vorthoses. They just haven’t proven that they want to buy story related noncard items." - Mark Rosewater

Right below, there was a long wall of text I've just deleted. No one would read it... I decided to shorten it into few main points. Just let me free my hands from a double facepalm...

1) First off: us, not giving you our money, for your low quality product, is now our fault?! Wow - that's what they call aggressive marketing these days?! These eluding words won't hide you, as a company, from responsibility for your product. Remember: if we don't buy it - if anyone's, it is your fault.

2) There are different kinds of Vorthoses. The small Vorthos subgroup, strongly tied to the Storyline, has actually proven they care, and many, if not most of them, bought every book you've released - even the crappy ones, despite knowing they weren't worth their money. I'm speaking here for myself as well. But if anyone has to really prove anything here - it's you.

3) Among Vorthoses, I dare to say, most people simply do not feel the need to read books and stories. Philosophy of colors, and a laconic idea of the world behind the sets is sufficient for them; and then, there is the flavor and amazing art in the cards themselves to follow. They don't really need more. If you want them to buy books and comics, it is you who have to prove it's worth their money - you need to invest both in the good quality of the story, and the promotion. Time and time again, you failed at it.

4) Consistency of the Continuity is one of the crucial elements of quality. Imagine that A Song of Ice and Fire Saga unreasonably retconned deaths of some characters, ignored crucial events, randomly changed the timeline, personalities of the heroes, and rules governing the world and its magic - who would read that? Sure, every continuity has plot holes, goofs, and some unplanned retcons. And it is at least twice as difficult to avoid them in a shared universe, with plenty of authors and ever-growing material. It's a fact, but it's not an excuse. But the worst thing is, that beside of these typical errors, we've seen horrible mistakes like designed retcons, that didn't have a chance to work, and practically complete lack of control over the printed material. So, if you can't find a way to fix it and keep it at high quality - it's again your fault.

5) However - as unhappy I am, because of the absence of the books, and diverse storyline and flavor material - I do agree with the final decision made. If you can't handle it - don't do it, unless you find a solution. But don't blame it on your customers. It's getting you nowhere.

Well this is dandy, a new type of "strip". Needed to dust off some ancient knowledge from back in the days. Rediscovering them was fun though.

The plan with Axe Wizards is to alternately release it with a full comic strip... but that will still depend on the work needed to be done for a comic strip. So yeah... do tell us what you think of it or something. Any comments or opinions are welcome.

1 comment:

lightbulb said...

Hey guys,

glad to see some more updates here. I always enjoyed these little snippets and the style just as much.

Also good to see you're doing something on that particular topic. That one laconic answer infuriated me for a whole day (which if you know me is rather unsual), because it shows an attitude on behalf of WotC I was very surprised by.
(Then again, I imagine MaRo didn't want it to come across as it did.)