Harry Potter and the World of Dysfunctional Cylons

From the wonderful mollyringwraith, who brought us the condensed versions of the Lord of the Rings movies, comes Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (condensed) Parts One and Two. If you are a Potter fan, read these. You may even wish to if you aren’t a fan šŸ™‚

This weekend while playing WoW, I got into my first 4-person party, and I admit that this was probably the most fun I’ve yet had with the game. We steamrolled through an area that had given Rain and myself real trouble, and were only stopped by a server glitch which kept us out of a dungeon. The two other players did a good job, and even the couple times I was killed caused little more than rueful laughter. I suddenly felt much more positive about the game.

On the other hand, last night we partied up with an utter fool, and it cost us. (Literally, but I’ll get to that in a moment.) We ended up with a five-person party before we were done, but one character was several levels in advance of us and insistent on showing us how badass he was, aggroing everything in his path. Twice he had the nerve to ask us why we hadn’t helped him out when he got in over his head, when it was because we were fighting for our lives against the other eight critters he’d upset before running deeper into the dungeon. After our fifth collective death due directly to his idiocy, the party broke apart by wordless mutual agreement, and I went off to turn in a few quest items and repair my equipment. 13 freakin’ silver. (I had so many yellow and red armor failure warnings, that my warning display looked like Iron Man.)

I decided to give Peter F. Hamilton’s The Reality Dysfunction, Part 1 a try. I’m 250 pages in, and we’re still setting up 6-8 groups of characters, and nothing’s really happened yet. I like maybe two characters of the horde, the rest are a) boring, b) stupid, or c) assholes. However, there’s teeny bits of potential scattered here and there, so I’ll stick with it a little longer before I return to Eragon. Eric Burns of Websnark has said that he misses pulp fiction a lot, and I think I agree with him; the nice thing about the pulps is that stuff happened. Lots and lots of stuff happened. Either the author squeezes in characterization and background where possible, or ignores it in favor of even more gleeful, over-the-top action. A steady diet of pulp wouldn’t be a good thing, but it sure is more palatable than this long-winded drone.

Other’s tastes differ, but I stand by my viewpoint; don’t write depressing, gritty, “realistic” fiction, TV, or movies if you want my attention. Why do I need an author to tell me how much life can suck? I’ve got cable news channels for that. That may be why I’m finding the new Battlestar Galactica a hard slog. BSG isn’t giving me anything I can’t get off of CNN. (And don’t tell me anything about spaceships and aliens – the spaceships and aliens don’t matter to the story in the current BSG. They are only a backdrop. Heck, the Cylons aren’t even as alien as Klingons or Vulcans.)

Come to think of it, there are no Cylon characters in BSG. Sure, Galactica-Boomer is supposedly a Cylon, but most of the time she thinks she’s human. Caprica-Boomer is a Cylon, but spends so much time pretending to be human that she might as well be. Baltar-Six, assuming she exists, is nothing more interesting than a very manipulative human with a glowy spine. (Of course, I still say Baltar died in the nuclear attack on Caprica and this whole series is Baltar-Hell. But I don’t expect people to come along with me on that.)

Okay, enough rambling for now.

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  • snidegrrl says:

    Was the aggroing jerk a rogue? Because that’s my experience 9 times out of 10…

  • Mikhail says:

    28th-level Night Elf warrior, with an enchanted flaming sword and a claimed bank account of 675 gold. We were doing the Deadmines, which I will admit looked very cool, and had some nice loot; I got the Gnome Sprecklesprocket and the Thistlenettle Badge, but I have to go back for one more Miner’s Union Card and VanCleef’s head.

    Rain was our rogue, and was doing her job quite well… we didn’t even have trouble beating Mister Smite when we were working together.

  • snidegrrl says:

    Oh I try not to stereotype rogues – sorry Rain! Erm… well I don’t try too hard, but I do try. We have lots of nice rogues in our guild. But somehow whenever I group with them they seem to think they are invincible and aggro three times the mobs we can handle. šŸ™‚ Which I guess you had a case of here. Maybe this loser thought they were a really good tank and could keep aggro on everything, I don’t know. Either way I am sorry you had a bad experience!

    I often find myself with a bad apple and proceed to message the others in the group and try to relate to them about it – then I end up with the good players on my friend list so I can try to make pickup groups with them again later. šŸ™‚

  • pathia says:

    What server do you play on? šŸ™‚

  • Mikhail says:

    Rain has an Alliance character on Uther, and a Horde character on Hellscream.

    My three Alliance chars are on Uther so they can trade loot and crafted items and stuff. You should fill out Rain’s Roll Call post here: http://www.livejournal.com/users/raininva/53492.html šŸ™‚

  • jsciv says:

    I’m actually finding BSG really good for the same reason you’re not enjoying it. I would take issue with the idea that the spaceships and aliens don’t matter (although I’d agree that the first part of this season has been that way): the last few episodes of Season 1 were pretty tech-heavy. Neither the old series nor the new were about the tech in the way that Trek was.

    As to no Cylon characters: the main Cylon character in the old series was Baltar, who wasn’t even Cylon. The old cylons were based on a very 70’s concept that drama required clear good vs. clear evil. The new ones are based on the 90’s-00’s concept of villians being as complex as the protaginists. I’m not sure which is more valid, but I like what BSG has done with it so far.

  • jsciv says:

    Yeah, Warriors can be pretty bad about that. I’d have actually guessed warrior over rogue (sorry, ) because of the charge ahead thing.

    The Deadmines is a great way to learn how grouping works and how to learn your role within one. It’s also a way to learn the danger signs of a bad group. Were you the mage or the druid? As a healer, one of my ways of benchmarking a group is how often I get aggro from heals. I know how to keep my aggro as low as a druid can, so the more adds who get me the worse the group generally is. The number of wipes is a good indicator, too. šŸ™

    Anyway, just mark the experience and keep learning. Grouping is SO much fun when you get a good gang to go with. If you can find a good guild, you can also be much more likely to get good groups.

    What I wouldn’t do for a 13s repair bill…. my bill after Scholomance last night was something like 1g 78s. šŸ™‚

  • Mikhail says:

    You have a good point about Cylons in the old series. I haven’t yet seen any complexity in the new Cylons (with the possible exception of Galactica-Boomer during the water search, but they haven’t gone anywhere with that yet in the episodes I’ve seen). I haven’t seen any complexity in Baltar-Six yet, either. So far, I’ve seen the single note of “I like screwing with humans, and Baltar in particular – in many senses of the verb.”

    I haven’t given up yet, though, and perhaps I will find the later episodes more satisfying.

  • jsciv says:

    I just wrote a long complex post explaining some of the themes I thought complex about the cylons, then realized you said “perhaps I will find the later episodes more satisfying”.

    I’m not going to spoil (because I don’t know how far along you are), but Baltar-Six is screwing with him for a very concrete Reason, as is Caprica-Boomer with Helo. There’s a lot more to these cylons than “by your command.”

    So I think I let you finish, THEN we can talk. šŸ™‚

  • impink says:

    I’d point out that BSG playing off of current events is just the sort of thing that the original Star Trek is so often lauded for. Sure, it does so without “funny epsiodes” (though the one where another Six shows up to accuse Baltar in person worked for me – squirm ratboy squirm,) but TOS could take itself pretty seriously as well. No, it isn’t a more balanced show like Farscape or Firefly, it wants to be more of a “David Weber’s Battlestar Galactica.” We don’t get much of that on TV; variety is good.

    And new Baltar is clearly more complex and motivated than old Baltar, who was a slightly more sinister version of Dr. Smith and spend most of his time glaring down from the Imperious Leader chair. And Six and Boomer, while I don’t entirely disagree with your assessment, are still more complex than metal suits stomping around saying ‘by your command.’ Likewise comparing Six and Lucifer, which is a better analogy: Six at least wants something – the full extent of which is still unclear, while Lucifer was snarky with no purpose.

    And the basis of the Cylons’ motivation overall is shaping up to be quite interesting.

  • Mikhail says:

    Well, ST:TOS did they topical stuff in a much different and eventually positive fashion. BSG is rather more desperate. I agree with you, though, that variety is good. There may be ways in which I don’t enjoy BSG, but I’ll be the first to admit that it is quality work!

  • eeedge says:

    I’ve been watching Stargate: Atlantis, a thing I thought I’d never do. It’s got a very nice mix of humor and tension. I think it’s also got some of the best “sweeping” music out there right now. I actively like a lot of the characters, something I haven’t been able to say about many things other than Firefly recently.

  • jsciv says:

    Yeah, the enduring memory of my brother and I playing Galactica as kids was that we’d put a flashlight under our face in a semi-dark room, grin evilly and issue commands.

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