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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:13 pm 
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The thing that I think you keep missing about the affair is pretty simple:
What does it add to the story Vraska was in?

As a writer, you don't put in extraneous details, no matter how important it might be to the setting. If it doesn't contribute to the story, it's harmful to it.

Yes, details are important, but they are irrelevant to that moment. It would have added nothing to go through an extra paragraph about how Vraska had to stop off at Dominaria to get in.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:38 am 
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Barinellos wrote:
The thing that I think you keep missing about the affair is pretty simple:
What does it add to the story Vraska was in?


1.)
That's the point, it was a false dilemma to begin with. If the details aren't important to that particular story, then it wasn't important to bring up the Meditation Plane specifically. If I had been the author of that story, it wouldn't even have occured to me to have them meet there precisely because of the specific nature of the Meditation Plane. I would have used that other plane that Bolas already used as a meeting point in other stories. No baggage, no confusion, no retcons, and still recognisable as a Bolas-specific thing. My preferred option wouldn't have been showing us the Meditation Plane and portraying it accurately, it would have been not bringing it up and avoiding the need of contradicting anything.

2.)
Then there's the question of what the way in which it was handled takes away, and I already illustrated that all continuity from Legends II onwards logically collapses due to that retcon. And when it comes to that, I don't even care if it 'adds' anything specific, you can't just accidentally destroy the chain of events that leads to the very story you are trying to tell. It's just not possible to say the Meditation Plane works the way they claim it does but still have all that other stuff before it be canon. Bolas having been defeated in Madara centuries ago just doesn't work anymore. Besides, they've lost the ability to portray the Meditation Plane accurately ever again, because that would be really confusing for new readers who now think they know that place.

3.)
But fine, let's have that thought experiment. Let's pretend they had portrayed everything like it is in the novels and Vraska either opened a portal from Dominaria like Tetsuo did or she only projected her spirit while meditating on Dominaria. Now let's ask ourselves, what would it have added to that particular story?

Well, what did it add to the story that the Monastery of Gix, the Conclave of Mages and Tresserhorn were all the same place? What did it add to the story that Mairsil was also Lim-Dûl, or that Jaya was bound with old manacles made of watersilver that bore the symbol of the Church of Tal two thousand years after it had collapsed? What did it add to the story that the Conclave of Mages had old Fallaji rugs lying around or that the coffe they drank was described exactly like the coffe the Fallaji had in The Brothers War?

I think the answer to all those things is that they create a sense of continuity that makes the world of the story come to life, which is needed to make it immersive. The message of details like these is - and would have been in the case of the Meditation Plane - that most things in the world of the story have gradually changed (as they clearly have since Legends II), but some things have remained stable and are still the same. And I think that message would have been more important than any other in the current state of the storyline.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:48 am 
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The one reason why I didn't like bad stories is because a bad story is wasted money.

Coming from what Pavor Nocturnus is saying, Creative is responsible for creating a lot of the things they retcon. Why are they doing that? Why are they retconning Sorin's relationship with Nahiri? Why retcon the Meditation Plane when it was a critical point in Bolas's story? If there's a plot point that was extremely critical for a story to succeed, why retcon it? Why retcon anything that isn't bad?

Sure, I can see why one might want to erase an incompetent, stupid, worthless character that has no impact on any character in MtG. But, I don't see why one might want to erase a critical plot point unless the entire plot was removed to begin with. And I wouldn't say that Legions isn't a bad story. It developed Bolas's character and given a non-Planeswalker character that was able to defeat him. But retconning parts of a Zendikar story...

Retcons need to cascade. One retcon needs to cascade and alter or remove other parts of the story so that there's no plot holes left. An incomplete retcon can be just as bad as a bad story with incompetent characters that do nothing in the end.

The main problem here isn't the fact that MtG is using things that are too complex for the average reader. If something is too complex for a regular reader and doesn't add to the story, then just simply don't use it and use something different. Is it really that hard? You spend less mental energy to get more payoff.

Why did the Gatewatch go to Amonkhet when they could have planeswalked to Grixis? Because that it would have spent less creative energy and time for them to do so. Why not apply that logic to anything that Creative wants to retcon, and do something else entirely?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:15 pm 
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then that's exactly like a new Revision,
Ummm...yeah. That's exactly what Magic Origins was. What lead you to believe that it wasn't?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:42 pm 
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astarael7 wrote:
then that's exactly like a new Revision,
Ummm...yeah. That's exactly what Magic Origins was. What lead you to believe that it wasn't?
I already said it back then, but it simply wasn't addressed by anyone in Creative. At least now we have Doug talking about how they shifted their goalposts again and what their current attitude towards the novels in general is, not just AoA and TPF.

That said, I was kinda hoping they'd get back on track after Origins eventually, but I guess giving them the benefit of the doubt didn't pay off.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:32 pm 
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This whole thing seems way overblown to me. Between Tetsuo's destruction of the meditation plane and the Mending, there have been big changes in the Multiverse. Despite their similarity of names, the meditation plane and Bolas's Meditation Realm have different natures. Not everything that changes is a retcon; I'm sure that the events of Legends II are exactly as they were described in the books.

(Except for Tor Wauki, obviously. That guy was and will always remain a Bandit King.)

If you insist on assuming that the interpretation you dislike is the most correct one, Pavor, you're going to be unhappy a lot.

Again, I'm not on the story team, so I'm only speaking as someone who works with them a lot and has read just about every word written about Dominaria recently. The story team does't want to invalidate large swathes of the old storyline. Yes, they've retconned a few things, and continuity errors will absolutely happen (and frequently) with this sort of sprawling 25 year canon. Continuity errors exist everywhere, during every period of Magic's history. Some can be rationalized, and some simply have to be accepted as inconsistencies. It's not like real life history is any different, really.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:17 pm 
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WotC_Ethan wrote:
Despite their similarity of names, the meditation plane and Bolas's Meditation Realm have different natures.

Oh.

Oh...

Wait, so those two are different from each other? I mean, I guess it's pretty cool that Bolas uses stuff that other people created and he thinks is a good idea. Certainly fits the style. It would have been neat to see Bolas try and make the Meditation Realm though, but that would have been unnecessary.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:02 pm 
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Tetsuo Umezawa destroyed the meditation plane. Where Bolas's Meditation Realm came from hasn't been revealed. My assumption is that they serve the same purpose, but aren't identical in properties. That's an explanation that makes sense to me, and doesn't involve any retcons.

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Last edited by WotC_Ethan on Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:05 pm 
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Thank you Ethan. I'm sorry if it ever feels like a burden for you to have to come make statements for us.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:46 pm 
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It seems like a bad idea to me to replace something that was destroyed with something else that has almost exactly the same name and seems to serve the same purpose without any explanation for why or how that would happen. It's like if I wanted to write a sequel to The Lord of the Rings, but I decided that I wanted to use the One Ring, which was destroyed, so I just have Sauron come back and make another One Ring, without mentioning how the new one was made or that it even is a new one. But it will have different properties, which are not explored or explained.

Sorry if I'm salty, but really, one of the primary goals of any kind of writing should be clarity of meaning. If the Meditation Plane and the Meditation Realm are different places, the new one should not have used the word "Meditation." It's needlessly confusing.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:40 pm 
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I never read any of the old stories (my reading started at Mirrodin), but I don't see it as being that weird for Bolas to have seen the value in the Meditation Plane and simply recreated it as his Meditation Realm, except without the limitation that hosed him the first time (sorry if I'm wrong about the last part, I'm piecing the story together from the comments here). So he recreated this plane except now he can walk to it and has the entrance super booby trapped. This seems Bolas-y and the fact that we don't know how he did it is also very Bolas-y.

I do find the name part confusing though and wasn't aware there was a distinction until now.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:05 am 
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WotC_Ethan wrote:
Tetsuo Umezawa destroyed the meditation plane. Where Bolas's Meditation Realm came from hasn't been revealed. My assumption is that they serve the same purpose, but aren't identical in properties. That's an explanation that makes sense to me, and doesn't involve any retcons.

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Ah, that clears it up. I was confused to whether there was actually a problem or not. I guess you could say there was a problem of labelling, but that's a whole other, smaller kettle of fish.

@Raven I can totally see Bolas making an HQ 2.0. I could see it being pretty much the same. Heck, I could see him calling it the same thing (although I could also see the wisdom in WOTC vetoing the dragon on that one).

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:45 am 
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It seems like a bad idea to me to replace something that was destroyed with something else that has almost exactly the same name and seems to serve the same purpose without any explanation for why or how that would happen.


There have been a lot of changes, especially with the Mending. We can't fill stories with irrelevant continuity explanations. It took us like nine years to get around to revealing that planar portals don't work anymore since the Mending, and that was only because it was relevant to a story. Do I think that it's likely that we'll need to explain why the Meditation Realm isn't the same as depicted in an obscure trilogy from 2003? No.

Quote:
It's like if I wanted to write a sequel to The Lord of the Rings, but I decided that I wanted to use the One Ring, which was destroyed, so I just have Sauron come back and make another One Ring, without mentioning how the new one was made or that it even is a new one. But it will have different properties, which are not explored or explained.


I guess that's true if you believe that All Continuity Points Are Created Equally. The destruction of the One Ring was the goal of most of the important characters in Lord of the Rings, the most important books in Tolkien's canon, and was the focus of the entire story-line. The destruction of the meditation plane was an incidental line in an obscure corner of the Magic canon. I agree that it would be criminal to just have a One Ring show up in a hypothetical LotR sequel, but I think that the equivalent for Magic would be something like a villain named Yawgmoth showing up in a post-Apocalypse story (and yes, I'm aware that actually happened).

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Sorry if I'm salty, but really, one of the primary goals of any kind of writing should be clarity of meaning. If the Meditation Plane and the Meditation Realm are different places, the new one should not have used the word "Meditation." It's needlessly confusing.


Sure. I agree it's slightly confusing.

(Still remembering the little disclaimer at the beginning of the Ice Age books explaining that Keld and Kjeld weren't the same place.)

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:55 am 
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WotC_Ethan wrote:
I think that the equivalent for Magic would be something like a villain named Yawgmoth showing up in a post-Apocalypse story (and yes, I'm aware that actually happened).

hrg!...
We do not speak of that... thing.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:56 am 
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The reason why I asked Azure to ask Doug about the Meditation Plane/Realm at the panel was that I wanted to find out whether it was an in-universe change or a retcon before I jump to conclusions. Because yeah, I do prefer to rationalise continuity issues away whenever I can. Now, I wasn't at the panel myself and didn't hear the exact words that were said there, but since the explanation for the changes was "the Meditation Plane got massaged to help new readers", that would mean to me that it's a retcon and not an in-universe change. This sounds to me like they didn't think it was important and just changed it. Doug also didn't seem to be under the impression that there are two different Meditation Planes.

The question whether or not they are two different animals briefly came up in the 'List of Retcons' thread, and I pointed out that Doug's article 'The Planes of Planechase' makes it clear they're the same. However, I've dug a but deeper now, and it seems that there's conflicting information.

Here's what Doug writes in his article: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/a ... 2009-12-30

Spoiler


This makes it unmistakably clear they're the same thing. On the other hand, in the first Time Spiral novel, Bolas says about the Meditation Plane on which he was defeated: That place ceased to exist even though I did not., p. 245. Champion's Trial had left it purposefully ambiguous whether or not it had been destroyed, but according to Time Spiral, it's gone. Doug's article came out after Time Spiral, however, so either it's intended to retcon that detail or nobody told Doug what the idea behind that Planechase card was. So either way, there has to be a contradiction or a retcon in there somewhere. But fine, I guess if I just ignore everything that Doug has ever said or written about the topic, it might line up somehow.


WotC_Ethan wrote:
continuity errors will absolutely happen (and frequently) with this sort of sprawling 25 year canon. Continuity errors exist everywhere, during every period of Magic's history. Some can be rationalized, and some simply have to be accepted as inconsistencies. It's not like real life history is any different, really.
See, that's the part that I ultimately agree with. Even some of the best Magic novels have little inconsistencies or timeline issues compared to each other, like the Artifact Cycle or the Ice Age trilogy. I'm not even saying you should never, ever retcon the smallest detail if it serves a purpose. Elspeth going to Theros directly after Mirrodin was a retcon, and I'm okay with it, just as I am with Nahiri being locked into the Helvault. I'm even okay with the retcon of repopulating Mirrodin, because the original ending of Fifth Dawn just didn't make sense with how I assumed the soultraps worked.

What I have an issue with is Doug's idea that the novels are somehow inferior just because they weren't written in-house, and that it's thus okay to retcon everything about them on a whim if it doesn't fit their current plans. "This seems complicated and was made up by a freelance writer, so we'll just change it even though it was an important plot point back in the day". You have to keep in mind that vague statements at panels or on social media are usually the only insight we get into decisions like these, so we can only infer Creative's views on those things from that. And when it suddenly becomes an argument that the novels weren't written by Creative, I find that alarming.


But either way, thanks for trying to clarify things, Ethan. I mean, you're still the only WotC employee who has even bothered to address the Origins retcons when I asked you about it, and I haven't forgotten that.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:50 am 
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I see. Doug's intent is clearly that the location that appears in Legends II and in later stories is the same place. His position is irreconcilable with McGough's.

I still don't think that the word "massage" implies a retcon in this case, but more of a post-Mending change either due to Bolas doing some remodeling or due to the Mending's effect on planar physics.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:35 pm 
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astarael7 wrote:
then that's exactly like a new Revision,
Ummm...yeah. That's exactly what Magic Origins was. What lead you to believe that it wasn't?
I already said it back then, but it simply wasn't addressed by anyone in Creative. At least now we have Doug talking about how they shifted their goalposts again and what their current attitude towards the novels in general is, not just AoA and TPF.

That said, I was kinda hoping they'd get back on track after Origins eventually, but I guess giving them the benefit of the doubt didn't pay off.
I'd always assumed that's what they meant by "a new era in Magic storytelling" or whatever was their selling point for the stories of Origins from the moment they announced the set.

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