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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:55 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
I'm honestly a bit disheartened by the fact that this seems to be framed as some sort of competition instead of a dialogue. There was a time when they were more open about interactions with us, but because of a few shaky years, that all seems to have evaporated. Doug's tumblr, as useful as a go to as it is, is really set up behind a wall where we can assemble to see what Doug has to say rather than a place we can feasibly interact.


That is just an inherent aspect of Tumblr though. If Doug used Twitter more, I'm sure we could get a lot more input from him.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:59 pm 
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Yeah, I dunno, I think Dr Demento's way of looking at is valid and totally legit from a certain perspective, but I think I would frame this more, for my personal reactions, as kind of a johnny-vorthos thing.
Oh, I'm not saying it isn't valid, just that I am disheartened by it.

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I want a stable system in which to play and work and creatively respond. Just as drastic rule changes make building decks difficult, drastic lore changes make building good conversations about the storyline and creative responses to the storyline difficult.

I don't see this as a challenge to my expertise so much as a challenge to my ability to engage productively with the source material. The more changes like this take place the more pointless that engagement seems.
Equally valid!


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So this isn't a matter of vying for power, it's a matter of basically every deck archetype I like being systematically ripped out of the meta and me being left wondering why I should continue playing.

Now I know how Permission and LD players feel I guess.
Don't forget about Birthing Pod! Or decent counterspells, though THAT I totally understand... but maybe that's folded into permission, but I tend to think of that as more stasis and land tax.

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That is just an inherent aspect of Tumblr though. If Doug used Twitter more, I'm sure we could get a lot more input from him.
Well, Ethan is around, and that is nice in itself.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:52 pm 
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Yeah, I dunno, I think Dr Demento's way of looking at is valid and totally legit from a certain perspective, but I think I would frame this more, for my personal reactions, as kind of a johnny-vorthos thing. Not that I agree that Vorthos is sort of a supplementary psychographic that can't stand on its own but if we're running with this metaphor I think it's a useful way of describing what I'm trying to get out of this.

I want a stable system in which to play and work and creatively respond. Just as drastic rule changes make building decks difficult, drastic lore changes make building good conversations about the storyline and creative responses to the storyline difficult.

I don't see this as a challenge to my expertise so much as a challenge to my ability to engage productively with the source material. The more changes like this take place the more pointless that engagement seems.

So this isn't a matter of vying for power, it's a matter of basically every deck archetype I like being systematically ripped out of the meta and me being left wondering why I should continue playing.


I see a disconnect between the Doc's statement and your agreeing with it, Keeper.

Demento gets satisfaction from having developed a grasp on some old, esoteric pieces of lore. The sense of accomplishment produces a sense of satisfaction. Your desire for a system of stability is in conflict with attaining this sense of satisfaction and with your goal of fostering further creativity. In such a system, once you've mastered a particular area of lore...there's nothing left for you to do with it. It grows stagnant and begs the question of why you would continue to invest time in something that isn't going to change. I gather from your posts that you work in academia. Since you're in the field, I imagine that you're aware of further research into particular areas may yield new findings that invalidate the old findings, or expand upon those findings. I can't imagine why an academic would have problems with the constant changes that come from further research. This is applicable to the Tarkir lore: we've gotten new information on Elder Dragons, expanding upon the old lore. It presents new opportunities for satisfaction derived from assimilating the new and the old, and opens the door to further creative works. I can't imagine why someone with an academic's investment in the lore would take a somewhat close-minded approach to new information.

As a post script, this means that the new information we've gotten is in no way comparable to having one's favorite deck removed from a format.

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And in so doing, they will miss the whole **** point.”


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:01 pm 
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Cateran wrote:
This is applicable to the Tarkir lore: we've gotten new information on Elder Dragons, expanding upon the old lore.
Except it doesn't expand on the old lore. It creates another entry unrelated, in any way we can tell, to the old lore.
Doug admitted, straight up, that these dragons do not match the old dragons.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:12 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
Cateran wrote:
This is applicable to the Tarkir lore: we've gotten new information on Elder Dragons, expanding upon the old lore.
Except it doesn't expand on the old lore. It creates another entry unrelated, in any way we can tell, to the old lore.
Doug admitted, straight up, that these dragons do not match the old dragons.


That's fine and true if we're going to go with what Doug tells us over what we actually see, but the old lore is about Elder Dragons. The new lore is about Elder Dragons. There's enough common ground between the two, despite the differences, for them to share a typing.

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"...the historians will write of our suffering, and they will speak of it as the suffering of those who served the Crippled God. As something … fitting. And for our seeming fanaticism they will dismiss all that we were, and think only of what we achieved. Or failed to achieve.

And in so doing, they will miss the whole **** point.”


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:13 pm 
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Cateran wrote:
That's fine and true if we're going to go with what Doug tells us over what we actually see, but the old lore is about Elder Dragons. The new lore is about Elder Dragons. There's enough common ground between the two, despite the differences, for them to share a typing.

It's word of god, sure, but that tends to be in a position to supplant the very shallow look we have about the new dragons. More depth is invariably going to be the better of the two options.

But what we have to worry about is the creation of phantom canon, something that Brady worried about. But nonetheless, it is what it is.

In tangential news:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQKom0FbJ5E

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:13 am 
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Cateran, the comparison with the real-world scientific process is not really apt.

A better comparison is with physicists trying to learn to understand the laws of nature, in a universe where the laws of nature change every month and the scientists know that the laws of nature are constantly changing, and that their desire to understand science is inherently futile and impossible.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:33 am 
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Cateran your posts are really confounding to me


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:48 am 
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Cateran wrote:
Barinellos wrote:
Cateran wrote:
This is applicable to the Tarkir lore: we've gotten new information on Elder Dragons, expanding upon the old lore.
Except it doesn't expand on the old lore. It creates another entry unrelated, in any way we can tell, to the old lore.
Doug admitted, straight up, that these dragons do not match the old dragons.


That's fine and true if we're going to go with what Doug tells us over what we actually see, but the old lore is about Elder Dragons. The new lore is about Elder Dragons. There's enough common ground between the two, despite the differences, for them to share a typing.


Er, no there isn't. One group of dragons existed pretty much from the beginning point of recorded history and ran multiplanar empires before driving themselves to extinction via mass warfare. At the height of their power they rivaled some of the most powerful planeswalkers known to us. The new Elder Dragons are limited to one plane, and don't have nearly as much power as the originals, despite being mostly more powerful mechanically. Its pure segregation of plot and mechanics. The closest thing they have in common is being considered as progenitors of draconic races.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:38 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:57 am 
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About the new Elder Dragons: I really can't work up any rage over them. It's just a creature type, and creature types have never made sense. The fact that Doug acknowledged the original elders and their war as a different kind of elder dragon shows more attention to old lore than we've gotten in the past. (Remember when Shadow Rider was a Dauthi? Or when Nekrataal was supposed to be the neon-bug rather than the dude with a sword?) I wouldn't have used the word Elder if I got to make the call, but as long as they're not contradicting the original lore I'm fine with it.

...as Vorthos, many people have spent a great deal of time and energy trying to discover ANY information about the Elder Dragons and this mythical Elder Dragon war, about which very little is known. Various flavor gurus like Barinellos, Keeper, and some even before them (was it Kerrick?) were basically information archeologists, and dug up every scrap of information they could, and then painstakingly struggled to keep that information alive and pass it on to others.

That is a very good analysis of the storyline guru mindset! As an aside, we should try to draw up the Vorthos family tree some time. You'd have the CCG News/MTGNews/MTGSally line going from Jeff Lee to Gelcur (I think) to Zazdor to me, the Phyrexia.com line going from Jaya to Squeeman to Eidentvl, the Gleemax/magicthegathering.com/No Goblins Allowed line (Of which I know a lot less, so maybe you all could fill in the names), with MORT/Ashtok tying everything together. That guy was everywhere back in the day :P

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So, while to you, the fact that there is so little information out there and that it came from such a small source may indicate that the information is inherently unimportant, to me, it's just the opposite. That knowledge was hard-fought for and hard-won, and it's an indication of the love Vorthosi have for MTG lore. If anything, it's MORE upsetting that they disregard obscure knowledge than readily available knowledge, because readily available knowledge is easy to rediscover and point to. Wizards is doing a disservice to the people who care and who have spent considerable amounts of time and energy to get things right, only to see that effort shot to hell. And, back to my main point about this entire thing, it's been shot to hell for what I view as no good reason. There were plenty of other good options for the Tarkir dragons.

Dunno if there was really as good an option. "Elder Dragon" is a term that not only sounds cool, it has also gotten a lot of MTG-cool-credits due to its use in the former name of Commander. Its a very awesome Magic term creative may have wanted to reclaim, since in its original form they could no longer use it (with all the Elder Dragons being dead except the one who is now a planeswalker and thus can't use the term on his card anymore.)

I mean we've had several days of people being all "Well I don't understand what the big deal is since it shouldn't be too hard to explain that [recites totally inaccurate information for several pages] anyway I don't think it's confusing." I was cool with the change earlier in the week and now I hate it because it's now a huge headache that just compounds our existing problems with knowledge leaks. :/

The confusion it leads to is also the most annoying part in my mind.

So most of your rage is coming from them not putting fan fiction and fan extrapolations into canon?

This calendar that is being spoken of, is it where most of the rub for people is coming from? Does such a calendar still exist in any form (lose tare away pieces, pictures, something) or is it more so the person remembering things from it? If it is them remembering things from a calendar, while its nice, you can't really depend on memory. I have a great memory but I get things mixed up so I expect others to as well.

Seems like being outraged over this will just make them shy away from exploring the storyline even more. There might have been little chance you got a full story and not much chance of getting pieces. Going full tilt on this will make those chances go away. They will view it is that you get mad over things not happening how you expect it, they don't know how you will expect it, so they will just not even try to go near it again. You turn them from seeing a small gain and possibly going after it to seeing a big mess and just keeping away.

As far as we know, the calendar is completely lost, but Jeff Lee still had it when making his site. This does indeed make the canonical status of some of the facts problematic, though by now only the origin of the Elder Land Wurms and the familial status of Arcades Sabboth and Nicol Bolas hasn't been corroborated by later sources. Still, I do think that Wizards if deliberately staying away from the Elder Dragon War because of how tricky the status of the sources is. They clearly want Ugin to be Nicol Bolas' counterpoint, so I'd wager they really want him to be an Elder Dragon as well. But since they can't figure out whether it is possible for a sixth (or seventh, depending on the status of Piru) Elder to have survived the war they just make non-commital noises about Ugin being an "elder" rather than an "Elder". While at the same time consistently calling him "as old as time", which is pretty much the same wording both Chromium Rhuell and Nicol Bolas referred to the Elders...

I remember a time during the Brady years when some old lore had been contradicted and someone on the forums said something like "I would consider it my duty to read all the sources if I got a job in creative!", to which Brady replied that the person was insane. Just straight up "You are insane". Between the amount of sources, the obscurity of some of them and the contradictions in them, Brady explained, we don't have the time to read and untangle everything. Making a cool new world has priority. Considering that, I do prefer them dancing around the issue of Ugin's status. I'd rather not have them interact with ancient storylines at all, rather than contradict them.

They wouldn't (I would hope) call these dragons the Primevals, or the Numena, or the Thran, because those terms mean specific things in the history of Magic. But they did it to Elder Dragons.

Thing is, none of those terms are as well known as "Elder Dragon".

Okay, I'm playing advocate of the devil quite a lot on this thread, so let me repeat: I don't agree with them using Elder Dragon in this way, but I do understand their reasoning. (And I can't get angry about it because creature types have always been nonsensical)

Barinellos wrote:
I'm honestly a bit disheartened by the fact that this seems to be framed as some sort of competition instead of a dialogue. There was a time when they were more open about interactions with us, but because of a few shaky years, that all seems to have evaporated. Doug's tumblr, as useful as a go to as it is, is really set up behind a wall where we can assemble to see what Doug has to say rather than a place we can feasibly interact.

It does often feel like a competition though. The storyline community has been very... let's use "demanding". Any continuity error is pounced upon. Brady Dommermuth did interact with the community a lot more than Doug does now, but he regularly described himself as a "human shield" or a "lightning rod" that protected the rest of the creative department from all the anger from the community. That doesn't really sound like a healthy relationship.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:15 am 
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I find it a little weird.
Mostly because only two cycles of dragons having that subtype clashes with the different lore behind both.
Especially since bolas being an elder dragon that killed the others is part of his coolness factor and ugin creating five elder dragons that got slaughtered by planar natives in another reality is jarring with that.

I guess that at this point it would look less weird if niv-mizzet and maybe other beings, draconic or not, for which elder can be a honorary title also got it in the type line, at least on new cards.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:23 am 
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@Keeper: My last expresses my surprise at the juvenile response by "those whose expertise feel threatened," when we are a community that holds itself to a higher standard as the foremost flavor and storyline community. That isn't to say that we shouldn't be critical of the URs or books. Its just that having a stubborn "no, this can't happen" sort of responsr to new information is...well, its like in the fields of medicine, virology, and immunology you will have journals that explore new theories and treatments. Those professionals don't get angry over new discoveries. They embrace the lifelong learning that comes with the territory. Here? I've not really seen that and feel that it reflects poorly on our community.

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"...the historians will write of our suffering, and they will speak of it as the suffering of those who served the Crippled God. As something … fitting. And for our seeming fanaticism they will dismiss all that we were, and think only of what we achieved. Or failed to achieve.

And in so doing, they will miss the whole **** point.”


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:41 am 
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Did you just compare understanding of reality to a fictional universe that is premeditated and created by people? That's a new level of false equivalency alright.

With science, you discover new things because human knowledge is limited. With canon, creators are responsible for the creation of these "new discoveries", so they have the responsibility of being consistent.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:10 am 
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Its the lens through which I view changes in a fictional universe: it happens in an area that I am familiar with, so my stance is that it makes our community look a bit juvenile. As an aside, I do prefer when my diversions attempt to reflect reality...and this is a fine example of it: Creative revealed that our knowledge of the Elders has been limited. So we either accept it...or pout and stamp our feet. One of these two options reflects poorly on our community.

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"...the historians will write of our suffering, and they will speak of it as the suffering of those who served the Crippled God. As something … fitting. And for our seeming fanaticism they will dismiss all that we were, and think only of what we achieved. Or failed to achieve.

And in so doing, they will miss the whole **** point.”


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:28 am 
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If people just accepted things, many nations would never be born, and Indian would never be free. They aren't simply pouting, they are mad but they are giving valid complaints.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:41 am 
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Cateran while we all bring different lenses to the table through which we view fandom culture and fiction, I gotta say, as someone who actually studies this stuff, that your lens isn't very good. :/

Helio's totally correct here in calling this a false equivalency. As others have pointed out already, there's just no reason to compare fandoms to immunology journals, like it just doesn't make sense as a metaphor. Like I'm not saying that everyone needs to engage with fandom cultures the same way (which is another thing you seem confused about: just because I appreciate Demento's way of engaging doesn't mean I engage the same way, but that also doesn't mean we need to be at war. I mean I hate to do this because it's so High School Debate Team but that's a false dichotomy) but at the same time the conclusions you've drawn about how people do and should engage are just... I dunno, they're so weird I don't even know I can call them wrong, they're like sort of in a totally other sphere that probably doesn't have much to do with reality or with sort of the larger considerations of fandom studies?

Like your post about "the disease of caring too much." That's... that's not a thing, dude. It ain't real. It's an inarticulate (i.e. it's not capable of articulating differences between things) and incoherent (i.e. it's self-contradicting) frame for analyzing subcultures because it both reduces all caring--all investment in a thing--to a monolithic affect with easily reduced and summarized aims and results, when the way people engage is highly individual, sometimes with drastically different political ends! This discussion similarly sort of applies very strange sweeping assumptions to the whole of fandom cultures without much regard for whether or not it's even really internally consistent, like I think I've already pointed out that when what I seek to avoid is a state where I'm disengaged from a thing saying "be less engaged by the thing" is a pretty silly solution.

But like the choice I'm faced with your posts is saying all of that and explaining it in a technical way, or just kind of boggling vacantly at these shenanigans, and the latter to some extent feels more useful because like people have been explaining the elder dragon situation to you for literally days now and you're still fumbling basic, basic information while positioning those fumbled statements as obvious facts, so it's kinda like... do I sit here and try to build a bridge between where I'm at and where you're at, when you don't seem to be really listening to what people are telling you, or do I just boggle?

All of this is probably a bit harsh but like I mean if you are going to go ahead and label our community immature and characterize a whole group that includes some very intelligent and skilled writers and critics as children throwing a tantrum, I don't think it's unreasonable to point out, in turn, that your way of engaging these problems isn't all that well considered.

@Squirle:

I think that's fair (the stuff about Brady and the community) but I also always feel like that has to be understood in context of like the particular contentious decisions made during Brady's time that made him a lightning rod? Though I mean really the post-Mending community was a freaking mess. No arguments there, that was an awful, awful time...

But while I don't want to blame the man for other people's reactions, I think there was an assumed mutual antagonism all through his tenure that Doug has to some extent avoided in part because he hasn't INITIATED that mutual antagonism. I think Doug's comment about expertise is notable because it's an exception rather than a general attitude so it comes as a bit of a surprise, and I think if it had come from Brady or MaRo it would have gotten a different, much more hostile response, than the one I think we're seeing where people are trying to come up with ways of explaining and exploring why they don't see the statement as really correct.

So like broadly I think this is a good thing to point out but I also think it's worth considering the particular dynamics of the Brady years as like... kind of exceptionally antagonistic, just as the period before that seems to have been kind of exceptionally even weirdly collaborative and companionable.

Also I ended up on the Wizards boards as Phyrexia was slowly dying off, and Eid kind of hovered around both that community and Salvation's for a while, so the Phyrexia linneage kinda split off that way... the CCG gurus also lead to Phyrexia because Jaya was part of both communities--if you dig through what's left of the archived threads you can actually find some of their posts. I need to do more digging in those archives one of these days but it's a huge project with very little reward unfortunately...


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:59 am 
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Times of stress make for strange bedfellows.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:35 pm 
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@Keeper: What sort of stuff? Sociology, speech, lit critique, the wonderful world of immuno/viro?

If you're reference to your studies in speech, or lit critique and argumentative technique, I'll have to defer to you in that area. Whatever knowledge I had of it was memorized the night before exams for the sake of exams. However, if you will take a closer look at my post, I am not criticizing everyone in the community. Only those that reacted as if their special area of expertise had been threatened, as Doug stated. When you have a small community like this, these individuals tend to bring it down a bit and make it easier for outsiders to look at us and apply a blanket label like "whiny children" when that simply isn't applicable if one looks at the differing opinions on the new Elder Dragons. Members like Barinellos, Lily, and Squirle are taking it pretty well.

"Disease of caring too much" = Overly investing oneself in tie-in fiction meant to push product, be it MtG or DnD tie-ins. There's not much in the way of creative freedom there by virtue of the books/UR being a glorified sales pitch for the cards. There's nothing wrong with getting invested in something worth one's time. It's simply my opinion that these stories, while mindnumbing fun, aren't worth me getting upset over when there's a sudden change introduced to continuity. Thus, my difficult in understanding some of the overblown reactions to the changes.

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"...the historians will write of our suffering, and they will speak of it as the suffering of those who served the Crippled God. As something … fitting. And for our seeming fanaticism they will dismiss all that we were, and think only of what we achieved. Or failed to achieve.

And in so doing, they will miss the whole **** point.”


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 12:58 pm 
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Cateran you don't seem to accept that what has been said recently about Elder Dragons is not just "new information." It also directly contradicts previous canon: claims that the Elder Dragons only ever lived on Dominaria directly contradict both post-revision and pre-revision canon sources.

You also insist that the Tarkir dragonlords are the same species as the original Elder Dragons when even Doug has said explicitly that's not their intent at all.

It's totally fine to have your own fanfic reinterpretation, but you're insisting that your ideas are the only legitimately true ones and all the actual canon, and Doug's Word of God, are the fanfic. Your posts are just gibberish, combined with a arrogance towards anyone who disagrees with you.

Your refusal to accept canon facts is also a hilarious contrast with your insistence that we are behaving like "bad scientists" or children.


@Keeper:
I get that the Creative people may be tired of us complaining about their mistakes, but I can't muster much sympathy. Personally, I would be vastly more forgiving of ordinary human mistakes (which occur in everything any human makes) if they weren't part of a constant pattern of obvious neglect and extreme inconsistency. It's their apparent attitude that continuity is utterly worthless. Brady even once said explicitly that continuity didn't matter to them. Going by the stories we've had since he was fired, that hasn't changed at all.

We've also been lowering our standards quite a lot. We aren't even complaining much about poor plot pacing, poor character development, or other normal quality of writing issues. Almost the only complaints I see now are about the constant retcons. That's actually a very low bar to set to any creative endeavor. Yet what is the reaction from Creative to us not liking retcons? To accuse us of having a tantrum.

If their attitude is that anyone who would like to see some actual quality is childish and stupid, then that just lowers my respect for them further.

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