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Reader Comments (12)

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 8:44PM augustgrace said

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When I open a comic and see aliens firing lasers, I don't immediately stop and think, "Hey wait a second! I better ring up Hawking and see if this passes muster." I don't need the made up worlds I enjoy to slavishly adhere to real world rules, in fact if they made too much of an attempt to do so I would move on to something else.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 8:55PM Sean D said

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Magic can't do anything. If it could, you'd have magic-users killing people left and right simply by wishing them dead. You'd have supervillains knocking the moon out of orbit with some kind of conjured force in order to disrupt planetary movements and throw the world into chaos. The universe would be thoroughly explored by those who can travel faster than the speed of light. We don't see these sorts of monumental events, though, even in settings where magic exists. In every setting that includes magic, magic has rules. We're funny that way. We want that force-like power that lets us do anything we want, but we expect them to behave according to some kind of magical laws just like our own universe behaves according to physical laws.

Posted: Sep 23rd 2011 5:28AM pcgneurotic said

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@Sean D

I think it's a matter of scale, and power. Moon-knocking and other gigantic, devastating things would lie in the realm of super villains - even then they might be mega projects. Just bumming around using low-level magic on a daily basis though, this would be fine for the heroes and whatnot.
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 8:58PM pcgneurotic said

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I LOVE when you start dishing the lore and getting all PnP on us. I have no access to any of the Champions' books, so everything you relate in this column is pure bonus time. I also like when you compare and contrast the PnP source with CO, it's just really really interesting.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 9:02PM JuliusSeizure said

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Nothing can 'violate science'. The very idea is pure nonsense. It's just that some things may circumvent the -known body- of science by exploring obscure, difficult to research or even unknown principles.

Science is a method for understanding reality. If it exists, science can explain it eventually. Magic is just a form of technology where the science to explain it is not fully developed.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 9:03PM pcgneurotic said

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And, uh, you touch on something that's always troubled me about *all* mmorpgs, and that is the overwhelming number of player-hero-adventurers to npc civilians. It's part of the 'you're not special because there are 300 other heroes right next to you' syndrome, and also - for me anyway - a little bit distracting that I and and a thousand other player-hero-adventurer types seem to be fighting to protect anywhere from two dozen to two hundred residents. In CO expecialy, it sometimes seems like the whole city is actually populated by villains and gang members, and the wandering civilians are there by mistake.

Posted: Sep 23rd 2011 9:06AM heerobya said

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@pcgneurotic

That's a big problem with MMOs and really games in general.

Assassin's Creed is one of the few games to really get the civilian to non-civilian ratio right, as well as the size/scale of a city, but obviously it's not a MMO.

It's simply a matter of technology. Ours is limited.

Eventually we will see MMOs with cities the size of whole zones now, with thousands of NPC's etc.
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 11:31PM Figure said

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I like RP far more than the next guy but I think I'm going to have to chalk this one up to 'no one except you cares'. It's energy weapons. Seriously. They've been a mainstay of comics and cartoons for several years. Get over it. They are no more immersion breaking than super powered people in general, and you have a problem with them, you should change your mindset.

I don't know why you're wasting your columnspace on this topic when there's a plethora of far more pressing issues you could be putting a spotlight on with your bully-pulpit. Your column is one of the ones that Cryptic listens to, and this is what you choose to focus your efforts on? Seriously Pat, find something else to talk about.

Posted: Sep 23rd 2011 8:18AM Grinstone said

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The Champions Online universe is our universe. Except they have magic. Which allows them to have superheroes. So it's not really our universe at all, is it?

If some creatively minded individual decides to declare "this is how it works in my fictional setting" then that's how it works. It doesn't matter how ridiculous or counter-intuitive it is to you. Railing against the rules of a fictional setting makes as much sense as railing against gravity. In our world, the 'real world', you can't fly. In your fictional world you can fly. Why? Because you said so.

It'd be less disingenuous if you just stated that you prefer hard sci-fi to soft sci-fi. Then you could explain your reasons why soft sci-fi authors should just stick to genres in which it is easy to introduce magic as the reason for ignoring science.

Last but not least, your last paragraph is a straw man. A fictional setting is weakened because the author(s) didn't take the time to go over every technological, sociological, philosophical, etc. implication that X, Y, or Z might cause? I understand where you're coming from. I've asked myself similar questions and wished that the author/creator would go into more detail about the impact on society and the common man. But that's a discussion for when you and your friends decide to nerd it out over a couple of beers, not a valid criticism to launch at a game.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, can produce a work of fiction in which every possible implication of the introduction of that fictional element is covered. Even if they could, even short stories would probably take up more shelf space than the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Posted: Sep 23rd 2011 8:37AM hereafter said

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I'm not sure that you should look at the number of heroes in CO and try to rationalize that within the lore or narrative. The reason there are thousands of heroes in the city is because it's a game and they didn't wand to make the playable space too huge.

And I wouldn't go so far as to say that this is our world. I can't imagine what would happen in real life if the entirety of a major city was in various states of ruin and occupied by roving gangs, while thousands of superheroes run around fixing nothing and/or pretending to have sex in a nightclub.

Posted: Sep 23rd 2011 9:00AM blackcat7k said

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Magic comes from a source and that source is not benevolent, fair, or even practical the majority of times. If you use magic, then you've got to pay for the source of the magic with something physical.

Magic may be supernatural, but the practitioners of it are still bound on a natural plane in some way, therefore science is still a real threat to them. The practitioners of magic aren't completely supernatural or else they wouldn't even need to manifest themselves on a physical plane.

Magic is inherently debilitating, selfish, and single minded in its execution. Not everyone can do it. Only a few special snowflakes can master it. That is, unless the magic source decides out of the blue to change the rules. By the time that happens, the writers will retcon everything.

The practitioners of magic usually end up destroying their body in some way to maintain their power. In addition, the practitioners will always fail at controlling magic in the long run because of the "one moment of weakness" rule that equals the magic being able to go haywire.

Science will always be able to fight magic in comics because of this, and science will always need to be there to pick up magic's pieces..

The crazy finger wigglers keep feeling the need to downgrade themselves from super natural to natural in order for the "lesser beings" to see their greatness in action. That's just enough time for science to hit 'em with a plasma cutter right in the eye socket.

Posted: Sep 23rd 2011 9:55AM (Unverified) said

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Magic DOES exist in our real world. Just like there are groups of villians and terrorists and crim syndicates all around the world. Also, there ARE people in this world that have certain powers and those that wear masks and fight crime. (i dont mean the so-called "rlsh" pieces of crap that run around in costumes looking for attention wherever they cosplay and pretend to "gon on patrol" in broad daylight)

I'm talking REAL. COme to NYC any night, and go to downtown Manhattan, or even staten island near the harbor. If you conceal yourself and stare at the buildings and building top,s you MIGHT just see 1 or 2 crime fighters flying, swinging , running or jumping across them.

I kid you now. Crime fighters ARE REAL. There arent many that Ive come across or seen, but then again, thats the point. They dont want attention. They dont want fame or money. They just want to do what they do to help US, because someone has to.

-X

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