So What’s Christie Golden Doing?

/equip_tinfoil_hat

So I’m possibly reading too much into something small, but I stumbled across a rather intriguing story last night. It seems Christie Golden has suddenly moved to California so that she can work at Blizzard’s main offices for a secret project that will last until October.

The Emerald Dream in World of WarcraftI’ve been a pretty big fan of Christie Golden’s for a while now, as both an author and a person. She’s written a number of excellent tie-in novels for Blizzard’s various games, and I have had enough sporadic contact with her over the years to determine she is a pretty excellent person. Therefore, the news of her doing more work with Blizzard excites me.

But what’s really intriguing is the question of just what she’s doing there. While I’m not an expert, I have done some research on the process for how authors produce tie-in novels for Blizzard, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t normally require actually working at the Blizzard offices for months. Why would it?

Again, I might be jumping the gun, but my mind has turned to the possibility that she may be writing an entire game. It would explain why she needs to be in close proximity to the development team(s).

But what game?

Christie Golden has the most history with the Warcraft universe, but I’m not sure things quite add up for her to be working on WoW. It seems a bit early for them to be designing the plot of the next expansion in detail, and the continuous nature of WoW’s story doesn’t mesh with the temporary nature of her job at Blizzard.

Given she is in theory only there for a few months, I would think she’d be working on something with a clear beginning, middle, and end. A game that can be finished.

The Spear of Adun's Solar Core in StarCraft II: Legacy of the VoidThe only other Blizzard franchise she’s worked on in the past is StarCraft, so perhaps she could be writing a new mission pack. Blizzard’s said they were moving on from story content for StarCraft II, but they could always change their minds.

However, I see no reason she must be limited to franchises she’s already worked on.

We do know something is in the works regarding Diablo, though whether it’s an expansion, Diablo IV, or some kind of spin-off is anyone’s guess. I have a little bit of trouble picturing someone as sweet as Christie Golden working on a series that’s basically all torture and brimstone, but then I remember how dark some of her past writing has gotten, and it doesn’t seem quite as far-fetched.

The possibility that really intrigues me, though, is that she could be working on Overwatch, either a story mode within the current game or entirely new title in the same universe that focuses on story instead of PvP. There’s clearly a strong desire for such, and the Overwatch universe seems the perfect fit for her emotive, character-driven style of writing.

Regardless, I hope it is a new game she’s working on, because any game written by Christie Golden is a game I want to play.

Explaining my Review Scores

This is something I perhaps should have done when I first started the blog… six years ago… but it occurs to me that I’ve never really explained my thought process when scoring my reviews.

Worst. Episode. Ever.Better late than never.

First, I will be honest and say that they are pretty arbitrary. There’s no particular math or codified logic behind them. It’s as much about feelings as rationality.

That said, I do still put a fair bit of thought into them. I often change a score several times before a post’s publication as I go back and forth on my opinions.

The scoring system is identical regardless of whether I’m reviewing books, games, movies, or TV. Since I’m measuring the total quality of the finished product and how it left me feeling, the medium doesn’t really change the process.

I also have a pretty consistent idea of what each number range represents, which I will now outline:

10: Perfect in every way. A score I have never given and likely never will.

9-9.9: Brilliant. The item I am reviewing may have a few minor flaws but is otherwise exemplary in concept and execution. Something that everyone should experience, regardless of taste.

Examples: Lord of the Rings, Warcraft III, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Greatshadow, many Continuum episodes.

8-8.9: Excellent. Strongly above average, with strengths that significantly outweigh any weaknesses. Recommended to most people, unless it’s a genre or franchise you strongly dislike.

Examples: Mass Effect: Andromeda, The Summonstone, Remember Me, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

7-7.9: Good. Either items with significant flaws but also impressive strengths to compensate or all-arounders that do everything decently but don’t excel at much. Recommended to all fans of the genre or franchise, and may appeal to others as well.

Examples: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, a lot of Defiance episodes, most books by Lawrence Watt-Evans, X-Men: Apocalypse.

6-6.9: Imperfect. Not bad, but struggling to rise above the pack. Recommended to devoted fans of the genre or franchise, but not the general populace.

Examples: Mass Effect 2, Logan.

5-5.9: Mediocre. May have some things going for it, but usually not enough to make it worth spending time on in a world so awash in entertainment. Possibly worth it for ardent fans of the genre/franchise, but even they’re likely to come away underwhelmed.

Examples: Dungeon Siege II, Honor Amongst Thieves, Diablo: Legacy of Blood.

0-4.9: Bad to terrible. Severely flawed with few if any redeeming qualities. Entries in this range are not worth it for anyone.

Examples: Immortals, Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome, Warlords of Draenor.

I realize that having such exact numbers for what I will freely admit to be an inexact science may seem a bit strange, but I think the granularity is important. There’s a difference between a 6.9, which fell just barely short, versus a flat 6, which is much closer to total mediocrity.

I do not agree with the viewpoint that numbered reviews don’t serve a purpose. It provides a helpful, at-a-glance way to organize things, and it helps provide clarity in cases where it’s difficult to fully articulate the feel of a certain product — cases where something is more or less than the sum of its parts.

The climax of the Shadowmoon Valley storyline in World of Warcraft: Warlords of DraenorMMORPGs are a special case, as they are constantly evolving. That makes giving them a specific numbered rating less helpful, though it can still work if you’re reviewing a specific snapshot of an MMO’s lifespan (like my reviews of WoW expansions).

I have never been paid or otherwise compensated for any of my reviews. I’m not opposed to the idea, but no one has offered. If I did accept compensation for a review, I would offer disclosure of the fact in the review. I’m greedy, but I’m honest.