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The problem I have with time travel

time turner harry potter

I hope all of you have seen one of the greatest movies of our time. I’m talking about a piece of film that has forged our pop culture and that was years ahead of his time. Or decades behind it, depending which of the three we’re talking about. Which movie series am I talking about? I’m talking about Back to the Future of course!

Back to the Future must have been my first exposure to the concept of time travel as a kid. The idea of literally racing back (or forward) in time intrigued me, but back then, the idea of watching a show about five teenagers fighting Japanese sentai show stock footage also “intrigued me”. All I saw then was a cool idea involving a DeLorean, but as I grew older (and more critical), I realised that everything involving time travel just bugs me.

The first time I noticed how much of a problematic plot point time travel is was while reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. While the build-up to the reveal of the Time-Turner was done nicely (both in the book and the movie), the introduction of such an item brought with it the question of “Why don’t we use this damn thing to set everything right?” The absence of such a powerful tool in the later books annoyed me even more, considering how it would have been just the right tool for about every problematic situation.

And here lies my problem with time travel: the moment you introduce the possibility of going back in time to change things, you open up a can of worms, or rather one of plot holes and inconsistencies. The entire concept is difficult to begin with, so why would you as an author think you’re able to handle it the right way, without damaging your plot and the suspension of disbelief of your audience?

Of course, there are ways of handling time travel right. As much as I despise the new movies (though I still have to see Into Darkness. I’m a prejudiced prick), Star Trek and the MMORPG based on it solved most of the problems of time travel by deciding that the events of the movie simply created an alternate timeline, in which the new movies and the MMORPG progress. It’s not a perfect solution, but it gives me some comfort. Hopefully, Blizzard is taking notes for their upcoming time-jumping adventure.

Nevertheless, time travel is something I find hard to enjoy. The reason for that might just lie somewhere in my past, but considering I won’t be up for the destruction of our timeline, we’ll never find out.

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Three reasons why I look forward to Warlords of Draenor

warlords of draenor

In case you’re living under a rock or have been doing your best to ignore it, but last weekend, Blizzard announced World of Warcraft‘s fifth expansion Warlords of Draenor at Blizzcon. And unless you’re just not involved with the MMORPG community, you will probably have an opinion about this. Everyone and their mom are writing about it, so it can’t hurt to join the conversation. So, what do I think about the announcement?

Freakin’ awesome.

And that’s coming from a guy who reacted to the previous two expansion announcements with one word: “meh”. I’m actually amazed that the announcement of Warlords got me so hyped, so in order to put some rationality behind the irrational fanboy raging inside of me, here’s my top three reasons why I’m looking forward to Warlords of Draenor.

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A quick update

Yes, I am still alive. Yes, I’ve been doing stuff. And yes, I’ll give you a quick rundown:

  • NBI is over now, and I have to honor to have been awarded the Good Monicker Medal this year. Thanks and shout-outs to all the other participants and winners, it was a blast! ūüėÄ
  • NaNoWriMo is in full swing, and my project “Digital Dragonslayers” is trudding along. I have to admit, it’s pretty hard to write a piece of non-fiction, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I won’t make it to the 50.000 words at the end of the month. Still, I have this special NaNoWriMo feeling again, caused by just writing, writing and writing.
  • BlizzCon is also on, and we’ve been introduced to the new World of Warcraft expansion. I will give you the full monty later, but here’s my opinion so far in a few words: cautiously hyped.

Well, that’s it for now. Have a great weekend!

A card-game bout of madness.

Are you out of your damn mind, Blizzard? It’s been barely a week since the release of the new Pok√©mon, and I’m far from done with it. Yeah, I’ve beaten the E4 twice and started breeding some badass ‘mons, but I still got a lot to do! I still have to get me some legendaries, I have to beat the Battle Maison, have to get the most beautiful Pok√©mon in existence to maximum level and so on! And what do you do, you idiots? What do you do, thinking you can just stomp in here like you own my gaming time? What. Do. You. Do?!

You give me a damn Hearthstone beta key.

I hate you. Yes I–no wait, I love you. No, I can’t allow myself to love you! You stole enough time from me already. We can’t be together any–but wait, you look so good. Maybe I just…

See, see what you’ve done to me? You’ve turned me into some shizophrenic maniac who is re-evaluating his feelings for you. It’s like that hot but crazy ex-girlfriend who suddenly pops up at your favorite pub and starts hitting on you. You got me so mad I compare you to hot females. You’re a company, damnit. A company!

I’m strong, you know. I can just handle this as the grown man I am. I am the master of my fate. I’ll just leave you there, you beta invite. No one forces me to dive back into the Warcraft fandom. That’s in the past, that is no longer–

Hold on. What do you say? There’s a card that actually says “Handle it”? A peon shouts “Job’s done” at the end of your turn? The entire game is one in-jokes filled tribute to the franchise?

Damn you, Blizzard. Damn you. Well, dear readers, if you haven’t heard from me in, say, a week, call my parents and tell them my killer resides in Irvine, California.

Chin out.

P.S.: No worries, I’m sane and having a great time with Hearthstone. A serious impression’s coming up!¬†

 

Flexible raids and why I’m not that disappointed

wow world of warcraft raid

Image courtesy of Blizzard

When Blizzard’s Community Managers started talking about an “unannounced feature” coming to WoW in 5.4, the world went crazy with wild ideas of what it could be. I wrote about one of mine (which is one that was shared by many other fans) a few months back, and through it all I hoped that 5.4 would give me the option to have my Dwarf Shaman join the only faction relevant to Azeroth (at least if you ask the story writers responsible for the plot in Mists of Pandaria). Sadly, it turns out that the 5.4 super-secret feature are flexible raids.

Okay, I shouldn’t say “sadly” there, because it doesn’t make me feel sad though it should. I should be angry that this unannounced feature is nothing but a stupid different version of raiding, and I should feel entitled to get what I beg for. Wow, so that’s what it feels like to be one of the ever-complaining players? I couldn’t do this for more than a paragraph…

All joking aside, I think that the Flexible Raid system might turn out really nifty. The fact that it has no Item Level requirement means that you might be able to gear new guildies that need to catch-up, while you don’t have to cancel raid night because only eighteen people have showed up. If Blizz also decides to retrofit the earlier Mists raids, this feature might turn out rather interesting.

Of course, 5.4 is still far away, and Blizzard might have a trick up their sleeves. On the other hand, they might also screw this up. I mean, it’s Blizzard: they either do something really well, or they mess up in a grandiose manner (don’t name Cataclysm, don’t name Cataclysm, don’t…). Time will tell, but¬†¬†it’s ¬†reason enough¬†for me to not feel disappointed about the fact that I won’t be leveling up my Dwarf alongside Tauren and Orcs. My day will come…I hope.

It’s a great time to love (digital) card games

As my recent posts about the mother of all trading card games show, I am a big fan of the genre. Something about building your own deck, tinkering with it game after game, until you have the ultimate tool to wreak havoc on your friend’s cards is just alluring, and there’s a reason I keep trying different TCG’s over and over again. It’s great to know then that several big fishes of the industry are about to launch a few new titles, and this post is dedicated to three digital TCG’s I’m looking forward to.

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Blizzard Hearthstones into the TCG business…again

hstoneBanner

Hey, remember that TCG using Blizzard’s top-selling IP? Well, seems that Blizzard doesn’t, because they decided to make their own, free-to-play TCG called Hearthstone. The game has been announced this morning at PAX East, and opinions range from fanboy’ish squeals to devastating comments on the well-known forums.

Personally, I feel a bit let down. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect too much from the announcement in the first place. While I hoped for more info on that mysterious project “Titan”, I knew that we wouldn’t learn more about that. However, hearing about this…perculiar foray into the F2P market is something that somehow puts me off-balance. Is it a way for Blizz to test the waters, being the harbinger of a potential F2P conversion of World of Warcraft? Or is the behemoth among game developers trying to carve out a niche in the smartphone / mobile gaming market?

Whatever it is, from what we have seen so far of Hearthstone, I’m not impressed. It looks like Blizzard doesn’t draw from the already existing TCG, which is considering its quality a real shame. I hope that Blizzard is not creating an extremely simple game to catch a few quick bucks, and is just trying something new.

Beta launches this summer, so I guess we will know more then. Patience’s a virtue!