You Know You’re Getting Old When…

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I’m getting dangerously close to turn 50. I remember when I was 17, people of that age looked boring and lame. I only hope to never become an old fart who only talks about football and adult stuff.

However, realising that nowadays 17 years-old kids were babies when The Burning Crusade was released makes me feel ancient.

And now, I’m going to rest a bit before the dinner…

Adapting to WoW’s Third Era

With Dragonflight, we’ve entered what Executive Producer Holly Longdale would call the Third Era of Warcraft.

For more than 15 years, we were used to play a certain way, we would gather all the daily quests from an area, complete them to increase our reputations. Upon reaching exalted, we would then visit the quartermasters and buy the pets and mounts with our gold.

Now, the world quests are scattered across the maps and they reset twice per week (instead of daily). There are hourly events happening across the entire expansion, each on a different timer and rewarding renown with different factions.

It doesn’t seem like much but, trust me, it has completely changed our way to play WoW. Before, we would just log in the game, fly to a zone and let the dailies tell us what to do.

The new system is more chaotic and requires planning. Starting my gaming session by first deciding which zone to visit and which event to attend keeps me from wondering what to do next.

On top of that, there’s a ton of pets, mounts and appearances to collect, each one purchasable with a different currency, you got to keep track!

I’m not gonna lie, the launch of Dragonflight was pretty brutal for us. We’ve stopped playing after two weeks and only came back recently.

However, we’ve managed to change our habits and we’re much more organised than before. We use Obsidian to keep track of objectives, currencies and event timers. We make notes about pretty much everything and it has greatly helped us bringing order to chaos and enjoy the game again.

I still don’t like Dragonflight and I don’t think that I ever will. It’s a patchwork of new systems, stitched up together by a mediocre story (which was so sliced up and gated behind renown that I completely lost track of): “There is an Island with Dragons, some are good and some are bad. Let’s unite so we can defeat Fyrak, the evil one.” I’m also shared about Dragonriding, which feels more like riding a glorified kite than a dragon. I can’t believe that people criticise Shadowlands when everything was better then, even the protagonist. The story of the jailer was much deeper than “I’m a bad dragon” Fyrak. Korthia was much more enjoyable than Zalarek Caverns and Zereth Mortis was definitely better than the Dream Grove with that horrible Superbloom event (whoever green lit that thing obviously didn’t try it himself). I still think that the zones were very well designed, they were just not that fun.

Changing WoW as much as the devs did for Dragonflight requires guts. When other companies try to provide the same experience with each iteration of their franchises, Blizzard didn’t hesitate to rock the boat and have us adapt to their vision. In the end, the community followed but it was a risky move to change so many things, all at once.

We’re now days away from The War Within’s pre-patch and weeks from the official release. I love World of Warcraft, and I play it first and foremost to be part of that fantastic universe and goof around with my wife and the other players. I’ve been waiting for over a decade to see more sharing between my characters and it seems to happen with the Warbands (don’t screw this up, Blizz!). I’ve also been waiting a long time for a solo end-game content that would reward us with real end-game rewards and it’s finally happening with the Delves (don’t screw this up either, Blizz!). So, despite a disappointing last expansion, I’m eagerly waiting for The War Within. I’m sure that the return of Chris Metzen will help with the quality of the story.

To conclude, I’d say that we’re far from our days running around Dark Shore, levelling our first characters and Dragonflight brought this to the next level. However, WoW remains, to me, the best game ever made and I know that by trying to content the many different kind of players that constitute its community, Blizzard is fated to create expansions that can’t satisfy 100% of the player base but it doesn’t matter because, as Ion Hazzikostas wisely said, you can do anything in WoW, you just can’t do everything.

13 Sins

A cryptic phone call sets off a dangerous game of risks for Elliot, a down-on-his-luck salesman. The game promises increasing rewards for completing 13 tasks, each more sinister than the last – IMDb

The only reason I’m mentioning 13 Sins is to remember not to watch it again. The only terrifying thing about this movie would be to forget about it, and then end up watching it again some day. The beginning may have looked promising, but it became tedious before the middle and ended up in a boring snore fest. It had absolutely nothing likeable, not even one character.

TLDR: this movie is a 1h 33m waste of time, not worth it!

Which Video Game?

Snory – BM Hunter on Silvermoon EU

There’s probably a short answer. However, this question is a trigger to my complicated self.

The last 15 years have been a complicated labyrinth created by a back and forth between solo games and World of Warcraft. Would I have known what I know now, it would have been much easier but, most of the time, us humans have to learn by trial.

I’ve been collecting games since I was 11 years old. From my C64 and my Amigas (500 & 1200) to my PCs, I must have owned several hundred (if not thousand) games. However, I only hooked on a few of them: Maniac Mansion, Zelda – Link’s Awakening, Quake 2, Diablo 1&2, Animal Crossing and Life is Strange.

However, it’s in April 2006 that I discovered World of Warcraft. It was as if I had found the game that I had been looking for my entire life. Little did I know that it would change my life forever.

From a hobby, gaming became a passion. I wasn’t just filling my free time anymore, I was creating time to be in Azeroth. I was reading everything about the game, watching every video I could find (Athene still makes me laugh), it was perfect!

I first played a resto druid and I will never forget the day that my guild was the first guild of the server to kill Ragnaros. Then Burning Crusade came out and I rolled a combat rogue. There too, I had my moment of glory when I killed 3 times in row Achrono one-on-one in the middle of Alterac Valley. Wrath of the Lich King was an absolute blast, mainly because Soforah joined me in the game and we’ve been playing together since then.

However, the following years have been quite different. I’ve been jumping out of World of Warcraft only to be disappointed by solo games and jumping back in… Since we didn’t really hook on the last expansion (Dragonflight), we’ve been trying as many games as we could: Diablo 4, Grim Dawn, Hogwarts Legacy, Starfield, The Division 2, Enshrouded, Stardew Valley, Elden Ring, AC: Valhalla,… However, I felt exactly the same as I felt before discovering WoW: alone.

To me, the greatest revolution in video games isn’t how big the open worlds have become or how incredible the graphics are (not that incredible, even on ultra with an RTX 4090). What baffled me during my first week in WoW is still what I find amazing nowadays: playing with people and I don’t think that I’ll ever come back from that.

People say that WoW‘s community is toxic. Honestly, they’re the best people I know! They can be rude and even sometimes nerve wrecking but I’ll take any Goldshire creep over of a fake romanced character from Stardew Valley or Cyberpunk!

So, sorry for the entire history of my gaming life but my answer to the question “What game do I play?” is the same as it’s been during the last 18 years: World of Warcraft!

You can now resume your activities.

The Pope’s Exorcist

Inspired by the actual files of Father Gabriele Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican, The Pope’s Exorcist follows Amorth as he investigates a young boy’s terrifying possession and ends up uncovering a centuries-old conspiracy the Vatican has desperately tried to keep hidden. (Rotten Tomatoes)

I don’t want my reviews to turn into a critic of the critics, but the more I read people’s comments, the lonelier I feel. I mean, am I the only one who’s watching these movies for the contortions, the body fluids, the inverted crosses, the out-of-the-tomb voices and the priests being tortured by evil entities? Because it’s all in there, and the scenario is deeper than “my daughter is possessed, do something!”.

When I said to a workmate that we were planning to watch The Pope’s Exorcist, he answered “Isn’t it the bad exorcist movie carried by Russell Crowe?”. He didn’t even watch it but his mind was made. That’s the most common thing that I’ve read in the critics and, somehow, it made its way into the mind of my workmate. Well, it isn’t true! Of course Russell Crowe is great and is a perfect match for Gabriele Amorth, but the rest of the movie is good.

My only complaint is that the rhythm of the movie is a bit on the slow side, with an uneven alternation between the scary scenes, the story scenes and a bit too many crisis of faith scenes.

While it may not be as fantastic as the original Exorcist, The Pope’s Exorcist is a good movie with a solid story, great acting and decent effects. Too bad for the slow pace which had me fight to keep my eyes open at times.

Trivia: While researching the life and work of Fr. Gabriel Amorth, Russell Crowe discovered that Amorth’s personal favorite movie was The Exorcist (1973), so much so, that Amorth became good friends with its director William Friedkin who later directed a documentary of Amorth’s work as an exorcist, The Devil and Father Amorth (2017).

You’re Killing Me

A student desperately hoping to get a letter of recommendation to an elite university from the wealthy parents of her classmate, invites herself to his ‘Heaven and Hell’ party which turns into a nightmare.

When it comes to movies where teenagers go on a rampage and start slaughtering one and other, I’m all in. While the movie was entertaining enough, all I could say to describe it is “meh”.

I understand that the main character, Eden, was quite desperate to get a letter of recommendation, but she was pestering her classmate so much, it was cringe. The characters were unlikable, there wasn’t one I wished would be the final girl. Not to mention the bad writing, I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes throughout the entire movie. At least it only lasted 1h 34m, and with the action packed scenes, it remained entertaining enough to keep me awake.

Would I recommend this movie? Sure, I’d still give it a shot (just don’t expect too much), but I would never re-watch it.

Tales in a Jugular Vein

Principal Featherhead takes aim at the negative influence comic books have over kids, just as Jughead is tasked by Pep Comics to write four tales for a new issue – IMDb

Episode 5 of Riverdales’ seventh season was my favourite so far. I always loved the series, but watching four comic book inspired horror tales that take place in Riverdale with the usual cast was new and refreshing for this show. Granted, it always had a bit of a horror and comic book vibe, but this one took it a step further.

You get thrown back in time, the 1950’s, when the violent and sexual content in comic books caused an uproar which led to the creation of The Comics Code Authority to censor comics. A real life event portrayed in the TV-show. I remember, as a little girl, stumbling upon boxes filled with my uncles’ horror comics from the 50’s era in my grandmothers’ attic. People thought I had disappeared while I was just sitting on the attic floor, devouring one book after another. My mum didn’t approve, and like all that is forbidden, it’s what you want the most. Needless to say that horror comics were the most popular at that time.

Watching these four tales in a candlelit room while rain was tapping on the window, gave me serious Halloween vibes. Only things missing were the jack o’ lanterns and our traditional pumpkin oven pasta. Hopefully there will be some more episodes of this quality, even though this is the last and final season of Archie and his gang.

Things Heard & Seen

An artist relocates to the Hudson Valley and begins to suspect that her marriage has a sinister darkness, one that rivals her new home’s history. (IMDB)

The worst part about the movie are the reviews. Have people lost the ability to be entertained or have they just become movie snobs? Sure, this is neither an horror movie, neither a pure thriller and I guess that the fans of these two genres may have transposed their purist disappointment in their harsh critics. However, if you don’t mind watching a movie that belongs to the “thriller with supernatural elements” category, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy Things Heard & Seen.

Throughout the movie, a sympathy is build for Catherine (Amanda Seyfried), who lives with a husband who not only doesn’t love her but is actually a real jerk. That sympathy is what keeps the tension up during the movie. Part of me didn’t want anything bad to happen to her, and the other part wanted her husband to be punished for treating her the way he does. The supernatural elements help keeping the movie from turning too dramatic.

Overall, Things Heard & Seen is a pretty good supernatural thriller with a 70s vibe. A nice fit for a rainy Saturday evening.

All Hallow’s Eve (2013)

The All Hallow’s Eve series introduce the psychotic ART the clown from the Terrifier movies. Being a fan of the Terrifier franchise, I had high hopes for All Hallow’s Eve. Truth be told, it was very bad. I don’t mind amateurism in horror, I think that sometimes it adds to the vibe of the movie (especially in the found footage genre), but amateurism apart, it is unwatchable. Slasher movies rarely make me nod off, but this one was a 83 minute long battle against sleep.

While some actors did a better job, others had the charisma of a wood stick. Not one you could take a liking to. The storyline is a big bag of “I don’t know where I’m going with this”. I’ve read on IMDb that “the alien in the second story was originally going to be a puppet, but when the puppet didn’t work, it was replaced by a man in a suit instead”. I can tell you, it looked like a dude in a very poor quality Halloween costume. For a slasher this is pretty bad.

I will not watch the other two All Hallow’s Eve movies, and most certainly not recommend watching this to anyone.

The Nun 2

1956 – France. A priest is murdered. An evil is spreading. Sister Irene as she once again comes face-to-face with Valak, the demon nun.(IMDB)

I’m not gonna lie, I love evil nuns. BUT, I love them sexy (and a bit slutty). I sometimes wish that it was Taissa Farmiga who portrayed a bad, bad, nun 😉 However, she wouldn’t be as creepy as Bonnie Aarons and my version wouldn’t belong in the horror category.

However, I don’t think that we get to see the Nun enough. I understand that they wanted to create a huge build up but it led to many unnecessary dramatic scenes.

It is still a solid entry in the series and probably a necessary foundation to the story of the franchise. I just expected it to be more than a long and slow story sparkled with a few jump scares.

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