Geek Etymology – The Lich

Today I bring you yet another post in the Geek Etymology series. This time we will be exploring the origins behind the name of another fantasy creature: the lich! Credit goes to Lilly for the suggestion of this word.

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To start with, what exactly do we consider a lich to be today? It is generally described as an undead creature, usually a human corpse in various states of decay, from zombie-like to completely skeletal. The main distinction between a lich and other undead or zombies is its higher level of intellect and powerful magical abilities. Liches are usually formed from the bodies of powerful mages and sorcerers who use necromancy to cheat death and remain for eternity to continue growing their power and gaining knowledge. Another key feature of liches is that they keep their essence or soul separated from their body in a container, usually referred to as a phylactery. This is often used as a weakness that needs to be sought out by heroes looking to defeat the lich, especially in roleplaying games. . In nearly every fantasy setting in which liches appear, they are evil or at least antagonistic, although there are some exceptions. Continue reading “Geek Etymology – The Lich”

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Geek Etymology – Orcs!

Here I am back at it again taking a look at the origins behind some of our favourite geekiest words. Today I’ll be tackling a seemingly straightforward word, and that is ‘orc’. As everybody should know, this is yet another fantasy creature, and should prove to have a relatively simple history behind it, but where does the word actually come from?

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Orcs from LotR: The Two Towers

Before we start, we should first define what an orc actually is. Orcs, sometimes spelled ‘orks’ tend to be brutish and violent, if not evil, humanoid creatures that are generally depicted with somewhat animalistic features such as tusks, snouts, or sometimes with an ape-like appearance. They are popularly depicted as green-skinned but also are sometimes black, grey or brown in colour. They are also commonly seen as large muscular figures, usually much larger than a human, but are also often small and scrawny and akin to a goblin. It can be hard to define their appearance overall, as they are depicted with a very wide range of characteristics, often even within the same piece of fiction.
Continue reading “Geek Etymology – Orcs!”

Power Creep – Why MMOs, MOBAs and TCGs Die Early

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If you’re ever stepped away from your favourite competitive or collectable game for a while, only to be demolished by the new expansion content when you return, then you’ve felt the sting of power creep. Or maybe you were always bad at the game? But for today we’re going to assume it was power creep.

So what are we talking about when we use these dreaded words? For many the term has simply become a way of accusing developers for not keeping an eye on game balance, frequently seen between Massively Multiplayer Online games (and more recently, the MOBA epidemic) and more traditional card games. Is it really just every new axe that’s better than your old axe? Is it every card in a block that uses that broken new mechanic? Actually before it became a catch-all term the phenomena of Power Creep warned of a very specific problem that occurred usually over years of development on a particular game. The idea that as time goes on the ‘power curve’ that carefully maps out the value of something with its power will skew higher and higher, making low-cost tools even stronger and completely negating the more balanced content that came before. Continue reading “Power Creep – Why MMOs, MOBAs and TCGs Die Early”

MMOs are Social Experiments? – When the game gets too real

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear MMO? Of course it would have to be economic debt, disease epidemics and good old fashion tribal killings.

Wait… those aren’t the first things you think of?

After doing some research into the bizarre places online games have taken us in the past those are certainly topping my list. If it sparks your curiosity too then let me share with you a few golden moments in virtual history that were entirely accidental! Yet still painted a frightening parallel to the real world. Be warned some of these examples go to unsettling places.

Let’s begin with something a bit closer to home for online multiplayer fans; Warcraft.
Now let me preface by saying I never got into WoW myself. As much as I love oversized weapons, elemental dragons and big green dudes carrying all manner of axes… it just never scratched the RPG itch I felt growing up. But it certainly did for millions of others (12 million at its peak) and as such there is no end to the social weirdness that can be found there. But we’re not looking at Blizzards fantasy juggernaut for its gold farmers and questionable roleplay guilds…

We’re talking extinction level disease epidemics. Continue reading “MMOs are Social Experiments? – When the game gets too real”