My 5-Cents On… Jace, and the Planeswalkers in general
Disclaimer: I think that the Magic Creative team does excellent work, and a lot of it. In no way is this a criticism on their abilities.
- I think Jace is a boring character (despite efforts to make us care about him like his Origins story), so he as a protagonist is really hard to get behind for storytelling purposes.
- I think Jace is boring on Purpose: Jace really seems like he’s the Bella Swan of Magic. Bland and Every(white)mannish so that anyone (or at least the stereotypical Magic Player that Wizkids is trying to expand beyond) could say, “Jace is just like me.”
- I think Jace is meant to be a Wish-fullfilment, sorta Marty-Stu, -ish character. Why does Jace need to be the President of Ravnica, AND Innistrad’s Sherlock Holmes, AND a founding member and mental Batman of the (my apologies to Maro, who I do respect, but respectfully disagree with in this instance) Jace-tice League? Because the player can then pretend that that’s them. Good pyschology and marketing, bad for storytelling.
- I think it’s unfortunate that Jace is pushed because “Research says he’s the most Popular…” I think that a decent part of why Jace is “the Most Popular” is because he’s been made to be high profile and the most seen. Jace is popular because of his prevalence, not the other way around.
- I don’t dislike Jace because he’s popular, or because of his cards or his popularity alone. This is something Maro tends to throw back at Jace non-enthusiasts: <paraphrased> “some people just like to hate on things because they are popular>. I don’t like Jace because I don’t think he’s a good or interesting character. It’s also not about his cards (I’d actually LIKE to see some Jace cards that are more Illusion based rather than: Standard Value Control Engines).
Granted some of this bitterness stems from two main events.
A. The utterly crushing disappointment of the ending of the Return to Ravnica block storyline.
- Returning to one of the most excellently built worlds in fantasy gaming? — Great!.
- Catching up with the awesome characters on that setting? —GREAT! (I mean, I’d have no complaints with Teysa being the face of magic).
- There’s a secret mystery hidden at the end of a mystical maze and it’s so awesome and amazing that it’s even got Niv-Mizzet exited? — I. AM. STOKED!… what is it going to be? is it a PW spark? some sort of cosmic power to defeat Bolas? is a Bolas trap? I am so excited.
- There’s going to be a super Olympics to see which guild gets the prize, AND IT’S COMPETITORS ARE ALL AWESOME LEGENDARY CREATURES FROM THE GUILDS.—-OMFG1!@#$@#$@!#$@$ MIND IS BLOWNTHISISTHEGREATESTSTORYEVERWHATISITGOINGTOBEAAAAAHHHHHHH******
- THE PRIZE IS!!!!!!: …. non-Ravnican Jace is now the President of Ravnica? fuuuuuu……….
B: Having Innistrad 2, a set I wasn’t excited for at first, be a really awesome pseudo-victorian mystery set, but having Jace be the Sherlock Holmes instead of a cool Innistradi Legendary Creature.
How to fix the problem:
- Do something to make Jace actually interesting: was I the only one that picked up on some non-izzet chemistry with a certain izzet-allied plansewalker? That would be a bold character choice for a “flagship” character.
- Don’t just jam Jace into every Protagonist Role. Granted, he’s not the only face character, and they have been making Gideon into a bit of the Muscle Batman, or having other characters share the spotlight, but really it seems like Jace is the Main Main character.
- Bring Back Gerrard…nah, he was only slightly less boring, while being the least interesting member of his team.