About Tyler F.M. Edwards

Freelance writer, fantasy novelist, and nerd of the highest order.

WoW: It Was a Good Day + Unconventional Game Heroes

Monday was a day of rather absurd good luck for me in WoW. I’m sure I’ve used up all my luck for months to come, and I’ll have nothing but bad drops and fail groups for the foreseeable future, but it was worth it.

My warlock completing the warlock green fire chain in World of WarcraftPrepare yourselves! The bells have tolled!

As with every day at this time of year, I began my time in WoW by running the Headless Horseman holiday boss. I started with my warlock, planning to then do it again on all my other max level characters as is my tradition.

And then it happened.

The mount dropped.

Oh. My. God.

After five years of grinding, I’d pretty much given up on ever getting it. Hell, there are people who’ve been playing since vanilla who still don’t have this thing. But there it was, cheerfully smiling up at me from within my bags.

*Happy dance.*

I love this mount. Partly because it’s an awesome mount — it’s a fel-fire wreathed horse that flies without wings — but also because it’s a reminder of how cool the Horseman is.

My warlock riding my Headless Horseman's steed in World of WarcraftIt always amuses that a fairly silly pop culture reference of a holiday boss actually has a better and more lore-appropriate backstory than most “serious” bosses.

I fought for you!

I fought in vain!

Now scatter, scurry, shriek in pain!

No mercy this night abides!

On Hallow’s End, when the Horseman rides!

But that was just the beginning of my good fortune.

Reaping the Black Harvest:

Earlier that day, I heard some random commenter on WoW Insider mention that the final boss of the warlock green fire quest had been inadvertently made much easier by the 6.0 patch, so I decided to give it one final try, having failed repeatedly whenever I’d tried in the past.

Sure enough, old Kanrethad was a lot weaker than before. The main difference is that his health seems much lower, even taking into account the effects of the item squish. It was still a bit tricky, and it took me several tries, but in the end, I managed to burn him down.

I’m actually not that fond of green fire, so I’ll probably turn it off before too long, but it was nice to get it done.

My rogue drains the fel energy from Kanrethad Ebonlocke at the conclusion of the green fire quest chain in World of WarcraftSurprisingly, the feat of strength and its associated “____ of the Black Harvest” title are still available. Most thought they would be removed after 6.0, but it turns out they’re still valid until Warlords of Draenor launches.

Getting the title is what makes me really happy. It just sounds cool, and considering it’s only going to be available for a few more weeks, that’s some good timing on my part.

Sure, I probably don’t deserve it since the fight is now clearly much easier than was intended, but… screw it, I don’t care.

But wait! There’s more!

Conqueror of Orgrimmar:

To cap off the day, I hopped on my rogue and tried out the new premade group finder in the hopes of taking advantage of the guaranteed heirloom off Garrosh until WoD. After being rejected by about a dozen groups, I found a heroic (formerly normal) group willing to take me that was already on Garrosh.

We wiped a few times, but in the end, we managed to get him down with minimal trouble and only a little dickishness and douchebaggery on the part of my fellow raiders.

My rogue's new heirloom dagger and Conquerer of Orgrimmar achievement in World of WarcraftI got myself my heirloom dagger — a major improvement over the heroic scenario drop I was using before — and a warforged belt.

This also earns me the “Conqueror of Orgrimmar” title… although I still think “Hordebreaker” has a better ring to it.

Not bad for one day.

* * *

New article:

My latest article for ADANAI is Top 10 Unconventional Video Game Heroes. Covering those who do not fit into the stereotypical mould of beefy, gun-toting white guys.

This was a strange article to research. It’s actually easier to find good female video game heroes than I would have expected. Obviously, they’re still a minority, but it’s not as vanishingly small as you might think.

Nilin in Remember MeI also found that the majority of non-white video game heroes are of mixed race, usually with one white parent. I’m unclear on whether this speaks to a desire to be progressive by refusing to conform to rigid racial structures, or an attempt to “soften the blow” by giving them all a twist of whiteness.

Most non-white heroes also seem to be female.

The most underrepresented group seems to be LGBT characters — not surprising considering the virulent homophobia that dominates the gaming community.

What really surprised me is how incredibly hard it is to find unconventional male heroes. If you want to play a game where the hero is male, but not a steroid-abusing white guy, your options are shockingly slim. Non-white men and men who aren’t mountainous brutes seem to be almost unheard of.

Since I don’t find anything identifiable about muscular man-bulls, it is perhaps not surprising that I tend to play female characters so much. I mean, the vast majority of people playing games are probably wimpy little geeks like me. Why can’t we have some heroes who are more brainy than brawny?

Retro Review: Continuum Season Three, Episodes 10-13

I think we all know how this works. As usual, there are spoilers ahead.

“Revolutions Per Minute”:

The official logo for ContinuumThis episode felt a little odd. It’s not really filler, but it sort of felt like it at times. It’s another episode where a lot is happening, but not all of it is particularly compelling.

The main plot deals with Liber8 taking an interest in a pharmaceutical company which is currently small, but will be a major player in the future. They’re testing a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s, which immediately reminds Kiera of Flash.

Further complicating matters is that Dillon’s daughter has succeeded in infiltrating Liber8, and they’re using her to infiltrate the pharmaceutical company.

Flash may also hold the answer to John Doe’s identity, if Kiera can get him some.

Meanwhile, Alec 1.0 makes a breakthrough with the aid of Kiera 1.0’s stolen CMR, but when he tests his new device on Jason, it has unexpected results. As Jason experiences a welcome jolt of lucidity, Alec is already moving on to other plans, hiring Julian of all people to help improve Piron’s image.

The most interesting part of this episode in my view was the continued effort to learn John Doe’s identity. I’m now thinking perhaps he comes from a future that has been changed by Kiera’s actions in the past (where Kellogg became emperor of everything instead of Alec?), and is even worse than Kiera’s soulless dystopia. Unfortunately, this also got the least attention of all the episode’s story arcs.

Ryan Robbins as John Doe in ContinuumOn the other hand, the plot surrounding Dillon’s daughter wasn’t interesting at all, and I’m left wondering what the point of it was. I guess just an attempt to humanize Dillon? Didn’t work very well, regardless.

Something else I feel strange about is how the attitudes toward altering history have changed so much. Kiera has spent most of the series trying desperately to preserve her future, but she went out of her way to shut down Flash before it started, which will undoubtedly have consequences. It’s somewhat understandable considering what happened to her sister, but still…

Also, in the season premiere, we saw all of time and space collapse because of Alec’s meddling. Now things have changed even more despite Kiera’s best efforts, but the continuum remains un-kerploded. Maybe there’s an explanation for this, but if so, I missed it.

“Revolutions Per Minute” was still a decent episode overall. I enjoyed how the plans of Alec, Liber8, Kellogg, and Kiera all converged in such an odd yet effective way, and pretty much everyone on the cast gave strong performances.

Overall rating: 7.4/10

“3 Minutes to Midnight”:

Where do I even begin? Phrases like “mind-blowing,” “earth-shattering,” and “game-changing” come to mind.

An advertisement for Alec's Halo technology from Continuum“3 Minutes to Midnight” is an episode full of answers and revelations, with the potential to turn everything about Continuum on its head.

Having regained his memories, John Doe — or Brad Tonkin — flees, unable to face Kiera due to his guilt over killing her other self.

Meanwhile, Jason experiences a violent psychotic break. The evidence points to Halo’s involvement, and he might not be the only one having problems, though Alec is quick to downplay the issue.

Carlos seeks the aid of Julian in getting to the truth surrounding Halo, and for perhaps the first time, Julian really is on the right side of things.

But it’s an ambush by Liber8 halfway through the episode that takes “3 Minutes to Minute” from interesting to incredible.

When Kiera and Brad are captured, what starts as an interrogation becomes a tense stand-off, and that leads in to possibly the biggest burst of revelation in Continuum’s history, and I don’t think the show will ever be the same.

Kiera holds Sonya hostage in "3 Minutes to Midnight" from Continuum's third seasonAll through Continuum’s run, there has been one question hanging over everything: Can the future be changed?

Now, we have our answer.

Yes.

Kiera’s future is gone. Brad hails from an equally but differently ruinous future, where Liber8’s actions have led to blood-soaked anarchy.

But that’s just the start, as everyone laid their cards on the table.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Liber8 learn the truth behind their mission, that they are and always have been pawns of Alec Sadler. Lucas may have hammed it up a bit, but overall, seeing everything they ever believed in shattered was very satisfying.

Everything is changed now, and no one knows what they’re fighting for anymore, or if it’s even worth fighting. The future Kiera fought to protect is gone. Liber8’s mission is a lie, and they now know their cause leads only to death and ruin.

With so many revelations and such a powerful ending, “3 Minutes to Midnight” easily could have been an excellent season finale. But there’s still two more episodes!

Overall rating: 9/10

“The Dying Minutes”:

Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron in ContinuumHere we have another episode spectacular and climactic enough to easily serve as a season finale, but again, it’s still not over.

As with the last episode, the theme here is everyone losing faith in what they once believed in. Due to Brad’s revelations, it has become clear that the future cannot be predicted, or controlled.

As a result, Liber8 has disbanded, but Sonya still believes in the cause. She forms a last ditch plan to sabotage Piron on the eve of Halo’s launch, but forced to go it alone, things don’t work out well for her.

Kiera, also, has had to abandon that which she once believed in. With her own future now out of reach, she can only hope to create the best possible future, and it’s clear she picked the wrong Alec for that. With Brad’s aid, she sets out to rescue Alec 2.0, who is being tortured by the Freelancers.

As all this is unfolding, Curtis is hatching his own scheme. He believes the other Freelancers have lost their way, and he seeks to free the heart of their power: the Traveler, an ancient being who founded their order more than a thousand years ago.

The end result is an explosive, cinematic, action-packed episode that is a glowing example of Continuum at its finest.

Alec Sadler being tortured by the Freelancers in ContinuumWith a major cast member dead, another clinging to life, and the Freelancers all but eradicated, this is another episode that will likely shape the face of the series for a long time to come. Continuum has pulled off some crazy twists in the past, but this might just take the cake. This is some Battlestar Galactica grade crazy.

I am going to miss Sonya. As an idealist driven too far by a corrupt world, I think she may ultimately have been the most interesting member of Liber8. Travis was more frightening, and Garza more entertaining, but Sonya had the most depth as a character.

My one very minor complaint is that they seem to be setting up Brad and Kiera as a couple, which I don’t much care for. True, expecting her to hold to her marriage vows at this point is unrealistic at best — and Greg was a cheating bastard anyway — but it feels a little forced, a little predictable, and I just don’t care for it.

On the plus side, if it means more of Ryan Robbins going forward, it’s probably a good thing.

Overall rating: 9/10

“Last Minute” (season finale):

The final episode of Continuum’s third season begins with everything in a fairly peaceful state. Kiera and Brad have retired to a peaceful life in the country, and Alec 2.0 and Emily are in the process of riding into the sunset.

That doesn’t last.

Kiera and Liber8 united against Alec Sadler in the third season finale of "Continuum"It soon becomes clear that there can never be peace as long as Alec 1.0 is around. He has gone too far, and the future he envisions will bring nothing but doom. Everyone is in agreement: Alec Sadler must fall.

And I do mean everyone. Including Liber8.

The lines are drawn, and the fight to define the future has begun.

Everything about this episode was brilliant. Absolutely stellar. Action, emotion, suspense, intensity. This is everything you could possibly want in a sci-fi season finale.

I think my favourite part was how Kiera’s character arc has evolved. She went to some very dark places, did some terrible things, to preserve her future, but now, she has let go of it. She has been awakened to the terrible truth of her future, and she now knows she cannot allow it to come to pass. Though it pains her terribly, she has decided to change the future for the better, even if it costs her everything she once held dear.

It’s a fantastically powerful evolution, and it gives me a totally new appreciation for her character.

I’m sorry if this review is a bit vague, but it would feel redundant to go through and talk about how I loved every single thing. “Last Minute” was just an excellent episode all around.

Alec destroys the Piron antimatter lab in Continuum's third season finaleThe one thing I have somewhat mixed feelings on is the ending.

I say this mainly because — minus the last five minutes — this could have done beautifully as the series finale. Pretty much every story arc was wrapped in a satisfying way, and it was all excellently done.

I don’t want to be in the position of wishing death on one of my favourite shows, but the future of sci-fi television shows is always shaky. I’m tempted to say they maybe should have just quit while they were ahead. Even if they do get the opportunity to end things on their own terms, I doubt they could do much better than this.

On the other hand, if there is a fourth season, and if this latest new direction turns out well, I suppose it will all be for the best.

Overall rating: 9.3/10

* * *

And that’s it. I am now caught up on Continuum. I am very glad I took a chance on this show; it’s far-exceeded my expectations.

OMGWTFBBQThere was never a time when Continuum wasn’t worth watching, but it’s only gotten better, with each season improving significantly on the previous. What started as a fairly basic action-adventure has evolved into a surprisingly smart, intense, and powerful sci-fi epic, and some of the best speculative fiction I’ve seen on TV in quite a while.

It carries a pretty powerful message, as well. I can’t help but worry its vision of a future in the thrall of corporations will prove prophetic, and we’ll all be slaves to corporate interests, toiling endlessly to pay off a Life Debt that serves as an eternal shackle.

Hell. Is that any different from now?

Whether there will be a fourth season or not is still up in the air. There seems to be strong arguments for either possibility. Apparently the show-runner has plans for at least seven seasons — which seems a bit over ambitious — but the continued silence on the matter is worrying.

I hope there will be another season. Continuum deserves it. But it’s best to prepare for the worst where sci-fi TV is concerned.

Well, damn. Now what am I going to watch?