Quote from SultaiAscendancy »Quote from Mergatroid_Jones »I'd like to see physical development in the characters. Time should pass, and they should age, and receive scars for difficult things they do. I'd be able to take the characters more seriously if Gideon's hand was crushed by Ulamog, and Jace's hair was going grey. As is, we're on the "Batman is always 30" model of storytelling, which isn't helpful here. If every block occurs an average of 5 years after the previous, it's been 50 years since they first popped up (as adults) in Lorwyn. I know they actively refuse to use such direct time-stamps, and I know they intend the blocks to fall closer together than that, but the stories that take place from block to block are not stories that happen overnight. Often they are plane-wide wars and cataclysms that would take months, or years to play out. For everything to have happened to these characters in these worlds, it seems like it would have had to have taken at least a decade of constant crap happening, and probably more. That takes a toll. And you're telling me Gideon still has all his eyes, fingers, and toes after jumping into every battle he can planeswalk to? Nonsense. I know they want to keep their main characters sexy, but physical indicators of time passage feel more genuine, and give players a way to track characters that they like, without causing stagnancy.
Sarkhan is an example of a character who you can really track from iteration to iteration, given only the cards. Not to say these were handled perfectly, but each card does represent the character at an important point in his arc, and each feels meaningfully different from the last. This is true of none of the Gatewatch members.
All that aside, any major loss for the Gatewatch will lend credibility to the story, and I think we can expect one in the next block. Or this:
The thing is, blocks don't take place years apart. Each block will (usually) lead into the next, and, before the Gatewatch, multiple consecutive block stories might have been happening simeltaneously. There's no reason why RTR, Theros, and Tarkir couldn't have been happening at the same time. Or maybe not. Idk. Creative has been very evasive as far as an official timeline. Or official maps. Probably so that they don't contradict themselves. They have plenty of contradictions and retcons even without having to juggle maps or timelines.
But yeah, scars and injuries should definitely show up at least on occasion. These are characters who are constantly involved in violent conflicts, after all.
The other thing that bothers me is how planeswalkers often wear the same outfit all the time. Even on planes where it would look out of place. As if the Gatewatch characters didn't feel cartoonish enough already, they need to have exactly one outfit to wear constantly to top it off!
Gideon seems to have new armor for Amonkhet, which is a step in a right direction, but Chandra and Nissa still have only worn one set of clothing ever, despite their extremely high numbers of cards. Then there's Jace, who put on a jacket once for SOI. Other than that, nothing. Liliana seems to have two different dresses, which is better than most characters, but it still seens really out of character for her not to have a lot more than that. Ajani at least gained Elspeth's cloak (and then lost it for the art on the Conquest of Power packaging). Off the top of my head, the only walkers to actually change appearancw and clothing appropriately over time and across planes would be Tezzeret (younger and original arm for 1st card, older with Bolas markings on head and rebuilt arm for 2nd card, Consulate robes for 3rd and 4th) and Sarkhan (as you said, he actually shows change over time).
On the other hand, they also need to keep characters consistent in certain ways. You can't honestly say that Jace, Memory Adept and Oath of Jace look anything alike. That's just an artistic screw up though, which happens when you have different artists. But the artists probably should copy previous cards' art to get a character's face and hair right, for consistency's sake. However, copying the clothing time after time is just lazy and makes it really unrealistic. I'm sorry, but you can't expect me to believe that Jace, who is super rich and basically runs an entire plane's government, can't get himself or his friends a secomd outfit. Seriously.
It's a little troubling from a story perspective as well, since they're still maintaining the "masquerade" that they're not planeswalkers when on other planes, yet do nothing to try and blend in with local fashions. It's kind of hard to believe that you're native to Amonkhet when you're dressed like a Bantian knight, Kaladeshi engineer, or Innistradi noblewoman respectively.
And if the characters aren't recognizable without their clothes, then they're poorly designed characters in the first place.