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Author Topic: My experiences with the Wizard  (Read 2961 times)

Sailor Vulcan

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My experiences with the Wizard
« on: June 16, 2016, 04:04:16 PM »
I originally meant to post this in the other thread, but it got too long. It's basically an article now, so I might as well post it as one.

My Experiences with the Wizard


People have been arguing about the wizard for a very long time. Almost since the beginning of Mage Wars. I suspect most players have forgotten what the Wizard was supposed to be like originally. People are coming into the game for the first time, they see how the Wizard plays, and after a couple years that just seems to them to be how the wizard just naturally is, since that's how he was when they started and that's how he has been for as long as they've been playing Mage Wars.

How many people on these forums were even around before Conquest of Kumanjaro when Wizard Tower was introduced? What about before Forcemaster vs Warlord, when there were no sufficient alternatives to arcane metamagic and the introduction of all of the positioning spells and powerful earth spells allowed the Telepit Earth Wizard with iron golems to utterly dominate the metagame?

Not to mention the game hadn't been around that long back then, and the player base was rather inexperienced at the time. I imagine that if we tried a core only metagame now, it would likely look VERY different than the original one did. Perhaps the Wizard would have centralized that metagame too, if people knew how to optimally leverage his advantages back then?

And how many playtesters are still here who were around before the game's initial release in 2012?

I started playing Mage Wars in the summer of 2013, right after Origins Game Fair and before Conquest of Kumanjaro was released. I do not remember a time when the Wizard ever really played as he was originally described on the main website, nor how he has been described in the core rulebook.

I remember looking at the Wizard for the first time, thinking that this was my mage. I read his description in the "All About Mage Wars" webpage, and I thought that it fit me very well, both thematically and in terms of playstyle.

Quote
Wizard

The Wizard hails from the Arcane school, and is a master of manipulation, tricks, and control. He will employ devious tactics to drain other Magesí power and spell casting abilities. He will manipulate, counter, redirect or steal their spells. He summons a variety of bizarre mythical creatures, each with unique powers that open up new tactics. His spells include a variety of arcane equipment and incantations infused with Eldritch power.

And then I tried to play him like that, and kept losing, and other players kept telling me to play it differently. I didn't understand why I couldn't get the Wizard to play like I wanted him to, like Arcane Wonders said that he would. And I didn't know or understand enough about the game to express this coherently, and eventually I just gave up on the Wizard. I told myself that he didn't really fit my playstyle, even though I really liked his theme.

Now that I'm more experienced and more skilled in Mage Wars than I used to be, I can articulate what about how the Wizard currently plays that I don't like, and why. And it's very simple. It's not that I don't like the Wizard in general. I just don't like Watergate, Blasting Blanker, Wizard Tower Rush or the Telepit. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the wizards that I have seen since I started playing are variations of those four books.

Hasn't anyone noticed that there are only four Wizard strategies that players are using? And there are only four Wizards, one of each element. Even if it's not too unbalanced to be fair, it's still bad for the game.

On another thread, someone helpfully pointed out that "If the Wizard is really that big a deal to your games, house rule him or ban him. It's that simple."

I am sorry to say that it is really not that simple. It is actually very complicated indeed. Otherwise Arcane Wonders themselves would have introduced that solution, at least temporarily, to organized play.

There are two main problems with banning the Wizard or house-ruling him: first, house rulings are not good enough, and second, not all Wizard users use the competitive Wizard spellbooks.

Consider the people who would prefer to play the Wizard the way he's designed to be played, even if it's not the most competitive way to play him. The Arcane school is an awesome and fun school of magic, and the Wizard is an awesome and fun mage, at least when he's playing more like a real wizard. I don't like him when he's a generic and unthematic juggernaut. I'm probably not the only one who feels this way, and it is not fair to us for the wizard to be banned outright.

House rules are somewhat decent as a temporary solution, but they're unlikely to work forever due to new cards being released over time that don't take the house ruling into account. And they can't even be implemented in the first place unless people can agree on which house-ruling to use, and everyone has their own opinions about which house-ruling is best. Furthermore, house-rulings are not allowed in official tournaments.

Some people have pointed out that Mage Wars is still a lot more balanced than a lot of other games in the same genre, that the Wizard might be only slightly more powerful than all the other mages, and that player skill still makes a significantly bigger difference to game outcomes than card power even in a Wizard vs other mage matchup. Whether all of that is true or not, the fact remains that these four spellbooks and their variations are VERY different from how the Wizard seems to be designed to play, in a way that is unthematic and also lowers the diversity of competitive Wizard spellbooks. Why run that other awesome Wizard you were thinking of when another version of Blasting Banker, Wizard Tower Rush, Watergate or Telepit would do SO much better?

If anyone remembers, Hanma made a Water Wizard that imitates the playstyle of the Arraxian Crown warlock but does it even better. That should not be possible. Ever.

I understand that Arcane Wonders is short of staff, and I don't want them to rush if rushing lowers the quality of Mage Wars, but these issues have gone on a really long time, almost since the beginning of the game, and most players probably don't even remember a time when the Wizard did not have these issues, so fail to recognize them as issues.

Mage Wars is an amazing game, and it is more balanced than a lot of other games in the same genre. Even so, I want to see a lot more diversity in Wizard strategies than we currently have, because I'm tired of the same four boring Wizard strategies all the time, and I'm tired of people banning the Wizard or refusing to play against me unless I pick another mage. Part of what makes games like Mage Wars so great is that you can bring any mage to the table, you can be free to express yourself and your playstyle in your games, and other players do not get angry at you for it, or at least they don't have a reason to get angry.

That's actually one of the main reasons that I stopped playing Magic. I was a blue control player, and I loved playing blue control, but other people did not like playing against me, and for good reason, because playing against blue control is boring.

Boredom is not a problem with control strategies in general, just in certain games such as Magic. Otherwise people playing Mage Wars would be complaining almost as much about the Priestess and Druid as the Wizard.

Naturally, the issues with the Wizard are not as bad as blue control in Magic, but they are similar. I haven't had anyone rage quit or start verbally attacking me when I play a Wizard against them, but I can see traces of that kind of mentality starting to appear in the Mage Wars community. People don't get infuriated with Wizard players, and they usually don't rage quit, but they do get VERY annoyed, and a lot of people just refuse to ever play against a Wizard in casual play.

I understand how much hard work Arcane Wonders puts into this game, but these issues have been going on a very long time, and there is not quite enough evidence to convince me that it will get better anytime soon.

In fact, I've seen evidence that Arcane Wonders intends to just go along with it, that they intend to embrace these issues as a natural feature of the Wizard, rather than treating them like the real problem that they are. The thing is, at some point, people began describing the wizard as a "generalist" or a "pure" mage, rather than as a trickster and master manipulator. Arcane Wonders not only didn't correct anyone about this, but they began referring to and talking about the Wizard in the same way!

If Arcane Wonders could give us some sort of hint, a preview, some of their thoughts on this matter, or just some sort of sign that things will get better and that it won't take another four years, I would really appreciate it.

This has gone on long enough. Soon there might not be anyone else who remembers the Wizard's original intended playstyle.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2016, 09:41:21 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Sailor Vulcan

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My experiences with the Wizard
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2016, 09:21:18 AM »
UPDATE!  I've edited this article so that it is better formatted, easier to read and more streamlined, and I've elaborated on some of the points in it. For those of you who have read the above article already, you might want to read it again.
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.