Last week, I confessed an inability to identify my favourite “things” in Magic: favourite cards, favourite characters, favourite guilds. As someone who pens a weekly webcomic about Magic (a pursuit rather #Vorthosian in nature), this was a little concerning.
So, I really want to delve into the flavour aspect of Magic – something I’ve never really tried to do before. To get a better feel for things, I asked you to post about your favourite cards and why they resonate with you.
And, wow. I didn’t expect such a response! Perhaps the bribe of Durdling Around stickers helped grease your little (or large, how would I know) typing fingers. I will announce the “winners” at the end of this week’s post. But first! To talk about a few of the comments you shared, and the theme that ties them all together.
On Twitter, #Vorthos Champion Mike Linnemann pointed out that the questions I asked in last week’s post were perhaps more relevant to what drives me to play the game, instead of why I enjoy it:
@derfington Well, that windmill slam, visceral feeling? That’s timmy homie. Vorthos is whether you play it for the art, flavor, or story.
— Mike Linnemann (@mikelinnemann) May 15, 2013
This distinction is a pretty important one to make. I dug up Mark Rosewater’s 2007 article about Vorthos and found a snippet that further elaborated on the topic:
Because at his heart, Vorthos isn’t about motivation. He’s about appreciation. Vorthos’ profile doesn’t focus on what psychologically drives him to play; it focuses on what he likes about the game.
MaRo goes on to write that Vorthos (and Melvin) can be seen as a “layer” to be further applied to our Magic psychographic profiles. Though there is room for intersection between why you like the game, and how you play the game, I think I was primarily aiming for game world resonance – aspects beyond gameplay that appeal to a player. Understanding the distinction between these criteria – gameplay experience vs. game world experience – helped me understand my own questions a little better. Thanks, Mike!
Moving onto game world experience, Richard Byrd posted this cool anecdote about Amrou Kithkin:
When I first started playing it was in large groups and I would cast the card and never attack with it. I just wanted the Kithkin to exist on my plane. Of course if someone did kill it directly or with a board wipe it meant instantly being a target for the rest of the game even if I over extended to avenge it.
I can appreciate one’s emotional attachment with a particular card, as it brings a player into the shoes/boots/wizard slippers of an actual planeswalker – a rather #Vorthosian act, no? Some planeswalkers summon creatures to use as mere tools in a greater plan, while others feel a greater amount of empathy for the beings they conjure into battle. There’s even a little White in Richard’s response – justice through retribution.
Twitter’s @browndr shares a similar experience:
My favorite card is Balance. There was just something about being able to break a card like that when it should be the ultimate in fairness that make my inner Evil Overlord cackle with glee when it resolves.
Here is an example of how #Vorthosian feedback is layered upon a Spike-ish profile. There is the Spike’s pushing of boundaries to create the most efficient, powerful way to win – but it’s supplemented by a game world identity to match. Is @browndr a tyrannical White mage enforcing his ideology of fairness, or a Black mage enjoying the delicious irony of using a powerful White spell to disrupt “balance”?
And here we arrive at the crux of this week’s article: Identity. You likely know what kind of player you are in real life, but what kind of planeswalker are you? If you could wield the colours of Magic, would you harness them for the good of others, or would you use them to bend others to your will? Are the creatures you summon your allies and compatriots, or your servants and playthings?
We are drawn to things through which we can express ourselves. Favourite colours and favourite guilds – these are determined by who you see yourself as within the context of the game world. There is a part of you in that projection of self, viewed through the lens of the Magic multiverse.
But as the myriad responses to my last post indicate, there are a wide range of other #Vorthos-related reasons for enjoying the game, such as artwork and nostalgia. But I now believe that identity – and what you identify with – is a big part of nurturing your inner #Vorthos.
I hope you enjoyed this exploratory piece. Join me next week, when I’ll talk about…something else #Vorthos related??
As a thank you for helping me craft this week’s article, I’d like to send Durdling Around stickers to:
I’ll be in touch!
FOR MOAR STICKARS:
For a chance to win Durdling Around stickers this week, leave a comment answering this:
“What kind of planeswalker would you be? What colours do you wield? What would you do with your powers?”