In college I had a professor who compared the early days of cinema to the early days of the internet and how the former eventually standardized and became tamed. I couldn’t help but think back to this past Friday night after finding out that the new Solforge set was being released that night, with only an hour’s notice of anything. On one hand, it was kinda magical and exciting and…organic. On the other hand, it was unexpected and mildly annoying. Above all else, it was untamed and born out of excitement and general love for the product.
This is a recurring thing with SBE. Set 1 didn’t have an in client card list or something analogous to Gatherer cause they wanted to preserve the excitement of opening packs and seeing what cool cards you got. Tournament prizes were originally on a range because it made things more interesting. The stated reason for not being able to craft Rise of the Forgeborn is to keep the excitement of opening packs. All of these actions in and of themselves have that organic, untamed element I was talking about. Combined with comments from people like Brian Kibler, it’s clear that they truly love what they do and want to generate a sort of spark that more experienced or jaded or cynical players don’t have anymore.
Their ability to do this is directly related to the fact that this is a digital platform. They don’t have to follow the rules of a print game and can do stuff like this. The problem is that most of these things they have either changed to be more standardized or will have to be in the future. Mainly this is in regards to set releases. Eventually they’ll need to have some sort of set rotation and multiple formats in order to contain both the card pool and not alienate new players. This in turn while have repercussions if SBE ever does something along the lines of the Forgewatch Invivational officialy or tournaments in client that are more than a one time thing. While this final element will be good for the game’s survival and growth, it is somewhat sad.
While the rational, Spike oriented part of my mind likes this standardization, there’s another part of me that likes the unexpected excitement. Part of me will be sad to see it fade and look back on this nostalgically. No doubt I will then proceed to be poke holes in “good old days” but that’s neither here nor there.
Anyway, till next time.