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《花千骨》成功之秘

(此文為花千骨英文版點評的中文版本)

我要告解-我喜歡《花千骨》。而我並不孤單。差得遠呢。什麼?接著看吧。

 

電視史上可能最棒的成功

花千骨有可能是中國電視史上最棒的成功例子。根據本地新聞報導,這部由Fresh果果的同名小說改篇的電視劇不單在傳統電視上如魚得水,據報導說在網絡上已超過200億次點擊率。這簡直已成了一個現象:同名的手機網絡多人角色扮演遊戲據聞月收入過百萬;扮演女主角花千骨的演員趙麗穎甚至有一部以她命名的智能手機-小骨pro,據聞也很好賣呢。

以故事主角花千骨命名, 趙麗穎代言的智能手機「小骨pro」

故事

**前方劇透預警**

花千骨的故事講述女主角花千骨的悲喜劇。她剛出生媽媽就難產而死,而她本人的血可以「毒殺」群花,故名花千骨(取骨為花的屍骨之意)。從小她就被各種妖魔鬼怪纏身。她爸死後,她只好去修仙保護自己免受妖怪纏擾啦。在去修仙第一大派長留的路上她遇上了東方彧卿。東方給了她一個護身符,並在裡面裝了她的一滴血,而這個護身符之後化身成了她的靈蟲,在她身邊保護她,而千骨就幫她取名糖寶。

經過一番苦心修煉並在一年一度的仙劍大會(仙劍大會類似中國好聲音,眾上仙座上看罷弟子表現後決定是否要「轉身」收其為徒)上大放異彩後,千骨最終被六界最強的長留上仙白子畫收為唯一的入室弟子。然後我們發現千骨竟是白子畫的生死劫─所有修道的人和仙命中的剎星,會為他帶來不幸,甚至害死或逼瘋修道之人。白子畫知道這事後,曾一度想在千骨睡時取她性命,終因不忍濫殺無辜而作罷。從此師徒間就展開了一段「虐戀」─ 千骨很快就愛上了師父,卻因不容於世而不敢表露感情。

故事的轉折點和高潮就在白子畫為救千骨而中毒,法力全失且性命垂危這一節。就在千骨為救師父感到絕望之際,她意外發現了自己的血雖然毒害花草,卻能抑制師父體內的毒。於是她不顧師父反對和痛不欲生,開始用自己的血餵他,為他續命。可是只有集齊上古十神器才能真正解毒-而因為相傳集齊神器可以釋放洪荒之力使人獲得神一般的能力,因此各路妖、魔、仙為了神器可是爭得你死我活。

在同為長留弟子的朋友朔風幫忙下,千骨成功收集到九大神器,卻發現剩下的炎水玉─救師父性命的關鍵─卻是朔風本人。原來朔風是炎水玉的碎片,化身成人。最後為了成全千骨,朔風化為原形,而千骨也取得炎水玉救治師父。可同時千骨卻因為偷盜神器成為殺害正道掌門的最大嫌疑(神器分別由正道不同門派掌門守護),被長留和各正道仙派追捕。

獨特的世界觀和引人入勝的愛與苦

享受上述的故事嗎? 我十二萬分的享受。(對,我故意不寫結尾的,好等你自行探索和享用)數以百萬計的中國觀眾也和我一樣享受。究其原因,此作並不單純是另一個荊棘滿途、充滿矛盾的愛情故事-古今中外有名的愛情故事都這樣-而是對角色和世界觀刻劃入木三分、細膩而成熟的作品。

有著豐富中國文化背景的花千骨的世界觀,例如修道成仙、上古神器、靈蟲、生死劫等等對西方觀眾(不知道是否真)而言可能很新奇,但這些概念對中國觀眾而言卻是耳熟能詳-都是傳統中國哲學思想特別是道家和佛家的產物。區區語文根柢有限,翻譯未臻佳境,只盼翻譯成的故事大致保留和傳達了一些故事獨有的文化和魅力所在-實在不能忍受維基百科上英文版花千骨的一派胡言,資料既錯又過度簡化,把原作的特色和優美通通抹煞,才拋磚引玉作此文,還此作一個公道。

故事平庸 人物塑造、演出出色搭救

話雖如此,儘管花千骨電視劇大紅特紅,其陳腔濫調的愛情故事和橋段向為論者詬病,認為這些元素在同類型作品俯拾皆是。又有人說此劇節奏拖泥帶水,幾至讓人無法忍受的地步;就故事本身而言亦欠缺了經典的深度-以及對觀眾的教化。作為粉絲的筆者不反對以上的觀點,但我認為整體而言瑕不掩瑜,其主要在於此作有著人入木三分的角色塑造和演員出色的演技

此作主要角色中不易找到平板角色。先說主角千骨。綜觀整個故事她似乎只是個典型的傻白甜-天真無邪、善良而且有著恰到好處的正義感。她遇到的所有男性角色都為其傾倒-包括一個皇帝邪教領袖以及一個掌握所有人秘密的神秘組織的首領。但從一次次劇情的轉折,以及她一次次的受罪中,不難發現她並不是個花瓶,而是在動人又無邪的外表下另有乾坤。

然後我們來說說白子畫。被塑造為宇宙最強的正道大派掌門的他似乎頗為平板-近乎無聊,有人會說。但很快作者讓我們窺見這個角色的豐富和飽滿-他明知道花千骨對他有害無益,收她為徒這個小小的行動甚至會危及到他關心和在乎的一切-長留一派的命運,他修行更進一步的機會甚至他自己的性命。這個角色的豐富性在以下一幕中更是刻劃得入木三分:

這一幕中,為了向外界交代千骨偷盜神器,白子畫親手處罰千骨,將她縛在誅仙柱上,且以當初贈她而她珍而重之的斷念劍刺了她一百零八劍。然而這還只是懲罰的一部分-還要再加上八十一枚銷魂釘。當她受了一十七顆抵受不住而失去意識之際,白子畫竟當著眾人面前宣佈「徒不教,師之過」而自願領受剩下的懲罰-共六十四枚可能毀他自身千年辛苦修為的銷魂釘。他說得出還真做得到了。嘿,難怪無數少女為他痴狂。

演出方面

我在花千骨之前沒看過趙麗穎的其他演出,因此無從比較。但她在此作中的演出無疑是天分結合努力的結果。我敢保證-從一開始的天真無邪到最後的一往無前和悲痛欲絕(最後部分),銀幕上只有一個,也是唯一的一個花千骨就是趙麗穎演的這個。再無旁人。

霍健華出演的白子畫同樣出色。他的一言一行、一舉一動既是號令正道的長留上仙,也是那個對弟子的禁忌之戀和作為宇宙最強的責任之間左右矛盾、肝腸寸斷的師父。一直很喜歡霍健華,總覺得他長得特別適合古代的角色形象。

問世間情為何物 放諸四海皆準

我絕不同意花千骨「現象級」的成功是巧合。除了以上我嘗試分析的特有元素外,故事主題-剪不斷、理還亂的愛情-不無與近代同樣成功的故事如暮光之城格雷的五十道陰影異曲同工之處。說不準其他經典也能同樣成功呢-如果觀眾吃錯藥了,以同樣的角度去欣賞他們的話。

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The Secrets of the Phenomenal Hua Qiangu (花千骨)

I have a confession to makeI love Hua Qiangu (花千骨). And I am not alone. Not by a long shot. Why? Read on.

The “Best” Success in TV History

Hua Qiangu (花千骨), aka The Journey of Flower is arguably the best success in Chinese TV history. According to local news source, the show-adapted from the published novel of the same title by Fresh Guoguo(Fresh果果)- has not only done well in traditional TV reception, but was reportedly played (watched) online with over 20 billion clicks. It has become a phenomenon in China: an mobile MMORPG of the same franchise was made and reportedly has a monthly revenue of millions; the female actress Zanillia Zhao Liying (趙麗穎) playing the female lead Hua Qiangu (nicknamed Xiaogu or Little Gu )has a latest smartphone named after her-小骨pro (Xiaogu pro) which also reportedly sells very well.

Xiaogu pro, named after the story’s protagonist Hua Qiangu

The Story

**Spoiler Alert**

The story of Hua Qiangu follows the tragicomedy of the female protagonist Hua Qiangu, whose mother died at her birth. She was born with the blood that poisons and kills flowers (Gu means bone in Chinese and derives a meaning of corpse in classical Chinese, thus the name Hua Qiangu literally means death of a thousand flowers). She was haunted by ghosts and spirits since childhood. When her father died, she seeked to learn magic and become enlightened- to protect herself from ghosts. She met Dongfang Yuqing (東方彧卿) on the way to Chang Liu(長留), a dominant sect devoted to the Taoist way of practicing and meditating to become an enlightened person (修道), or Xian (仙) in Chinese. Dongfang gives her an amulet to protect her from being haunted on the way. The amulet, blessed with magic with a drop of her own blood, later transforms into a caterpillar spirit (靈虫) that protects her and she named the spirit Sugar (糖寶).

Qiangu is accepted as the only disciple of Bai Zihua (白子畫), the sect leader and the most powerful Xian in the universe, after striving very hard for the championship in the annual Sword Contest (仙劍大會) held in Chang Liu, one that resembles The Voice of China (a popular singing contest reality show in China, modelled after America’s got Talent) in which the masters choose disciples they favour after the latter perform. It is revealed later that Qiangu is born as the Fatal Challenge/Karma (生死劫) of Bai, which means her existence would eventually harm Bai, or even kills or maddens him. Having that knowledge in advance, Bai tried to kill Qiangu in her sleep but was stopped by his conscience as Qiangu is innocent. There begins the ill-fated love between Bai and Qiangu, with the latter falling in love with her master and teacher soon and hiding the forbidden feelings.

The plot comes to its turning point and climax when Bai is poisoned in a battle for protecting Qiangu, gradually losing his power and dying. In desperation to save her beloved master, Qiangu accidentally discovers that her blood, albeit poisonous to flowers and other living things, can curb the poison in Bai’s system and prolong his endangered life. To Bai’s reluctance and anguish, she begins to feed Bai her own blood to save him. However, the ultimate cure can only be acquired by collecting and reuniting the Ten Ancient Artefacts (上古神器), the ultimate prize chased after by every Xin master and disciple, as well as all demons and dark cultists-as the reunion will allegedly unleash the Ultimate Ancient Unharnessed Power (洪荒之力) which will grant the one in procession of all the Artefacts the literal power of God.

With the help of ShuoFeng (朔風), a fellow disciple in Chang Liu and good friend, Qiangu collected nine of the ten Artefacts, only to find that ShuoFeng is the reincarnation of one of the pieces of the last Artefact-The Flame and Water Jade (炎水玉)-which is the key to saving Bai’s life. ShuoFeng turns himself back into his original form to fulfill Qiangu’s wish and love. Qiangu finally saves Bai, but is then hunted by Chang Liu and the sects akin, as one of the sect leaders of the “righteous” (正道) is assassinated and Qiangu becomes the suspect by collecting the Artefacts, guarded by various sects and their leaders.

The Unique Universe and the Enticing Love and Suffering

Did you enjoy the story? I sure did. (and yes I deliberately leave out the ending for you to find out and enjoy for yourself.) And similarly millions of Chinese did. Because this is not just another story of love with struggles and contradictions and suffering-as all famous love story goes-but one with deliberate, sophisticated and mature construction of characters as well as the universe it is set in.

The universe of Hua Qiangu may look novel to the western audience (not sure if there is any at the moment) with its rich traditional Chinese culture such as 修道 (meditating to become enlightened) , 上古神器(Ancient Artefacts), 靈虫(animal spirit), 生死劫(Challenge and Fate), but these are all rooted in the Chinese audience-all descendents of traditional Chinese philosophies, notably Taoism and Buddhism. Loss in translation granted, I hope my so-so translation of the plot still suffices to retain and convey some of the charms of the story as well as its culture-I just cannot stand the outrageously wrong and over-simplified version of the story found on Wikipedia under the title The Journey of Flower , which literally deprives the story of its unique features and beauty.

Mediocre Plot Carried by Fantastic Characterization and Good Acting

All being said, and despite the popularity of the show, its plot was repeatedly criticized for the clichéd and cheesy love and conflicts easily found in its counterpart in the genre. Pacing is at times slow, almost unbearable; and the story seems to lack the profoundness “classics” process-and the lessons to the audience. To all that I will not deny as a fan, but I believe all these combined do not overweigh the overall charm of the story and the show, primarily due to the fantastic characterization(thanks to the original writer of the novel) and good acting(thanks to all main leads as well as supporting actors and actresses).

There are no flat main characters you can easily find in the story. Consider the protagonist Qiangu. Throughout the story she seems to be a sweetheart with all her innocence and kindness and right amount of righteousness. Every male character she meets fall under her charm-including an Emperor, the leader of the dominant dark cultist sect, and leader of a secret organisation which knows the secrets of everyone. Yet we learn from the events and her suffering that there is more underneath the pretty and innocent looks-something may even more enticing and attractive than what is perceived on the surface.

Then consider Bai. Made as the most powerful Xin and leader of the dominant righteous sect, he seems a rather flat character-even boring, one may say. Yet early on we are let on to glimpses of the richness of the character, when he accepts Qiangu as his disciple, knowing that harm is in the way, and everything he cares about-the fate of Chang Liu, his possibility to become enlightened (in the ultimate way), his own life-may be destroyed by this one single act. And there is one memorable scene which I believe marks the level of richness of this character:

In this scene, Bai just punished Qiangu in the public to justify for Qiangu stealing the Artefacts, crucifying her and swording her himself-one hundred and eight times- with the sword DuanNian (斷念, literally forfeiting feelings) he gave her as a gift which she treasured. But the penalty is more-eighty one Xiao Hun Ding (銷魂釘, literally soul-destroying nails) are to be put to her. After and while she suffered seventeen of them, and lost consciousness, Bai announced he, as her master and teacher, will take the remainder of punishment-a total of sixty-four nails which would destroy almost all the power he had gathered over thousands of years. And he did. Wow, no matter so many fall for him.

The Acting

I have not watched Zhao Liying before this, so there is no comparison. But her performance is undoubted a product of both talents and hard work. This I can grant you-from the sweet innocence to the ultimate determination and profound sadness (toward the end), there is one and only one Qiangu on screen and she is played by Zhao Liying. No one else.

Wallace Huo is equally brilliant in portraying Bai with his gait and aura of a sophisticated Xin, a sect Leader as well as the emotions and turmoil of a troubled teacher caught in the love for his only disciple and responsibilities of the most powerful man in the world. Huo has been an actor I like, with his appearance that best suit the roles set in classic China.

Universal Charm of Entangled Love

I do not believe the phenomenal success of Hua Qiangu is by any means a coincidence. Besides its unique elements I attempted to lay down above, the story’s main theme-entangled love- resonates with the comparable success of contemporary stories such as Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. And perhaps that would apply to the old stories too, if only they can be seen in such light, somehow.

p.s.: Am I the first one to write such a lengthy piece in English about Hua Qiangu?

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How do you start e-reading?

First, congrats on considering how to start reading e-books! Many people to this date still disregard reading electronic books as something inferior/not worth the time /less ‘noble’ than reading books on paper—biased, if not ungrounded at all. And they have zero benefits with regards to acquiring the habit of reading itself.

Owning an electronic device built for the sole purpose of reading is one of the most effective way to get one into the habit of reading. And that’s prime in this age of distractions, where sitting down to read a book is easily compromised by instant messages, social media notifications and the inconveniently acquired habit of checking your smartphone every two minutes.

If you are any serious about building a habit of reading e-books, I cannot recommend enough for you to buy a Kindle. There are several reasons. First, the device is built for reading, with its e-ink screen that guarantee the least burden for your eyes in any read lasting longer than fifteen minutes, compared to a normal LCD screen of the smartphone/ tablets. Second, the Kindle comes with one the biggest e-book distributors on earth —Amazon, with its well-developed complimentary services and a  mature readership who can share experience both in using the device as well as where you can find free books. Last, I personally find the Kindle (I only own a Paperwhite gen 3, so judge for yourself)a sleek and solid build.

As for finding books to read when you start, your own interests should be the most reliable guide. Pleasure, learning, and inspiration have been my three pursuits as regards to reading, but that’s just me. Fiction, nonfiction, biographies. history, economics, technological material—start with anything you could jump at, anything that interest you when you are browsing on the site. Download a sample and have a taste; read the reviews, but above all, read the whole thing if you find it any good.


Just a click away from finding your potential great read feels good

Start reading, and keep at it. Drop anything that becomes a burden, and pick what provides pleasure, and you will hardly be misguided.

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How does one become better at reading?

How does one become an excellent reader? Many readers may ask.

Well, it really depends on what you consider “an excellent reader” is. Since I cannot, and should not define what “an excellent reader” means to you,  I’ll offer my recent expereince as a reader instead.

I read for several reasons:

1. Pleasure

Contrary to what many may perceive, I read mostly to derive pleasure from the activity. I’ve tried other ways. I’ve bought books that “should interest me”. Books that “I will benefit from”. Books that are really “well-written”. Books that “would change your life”. All of those are good reasons to read. But there is one problem. You actually have to pick up the book you bought (or take out your Kindle and find the book pushed to wherever it is by so many others you downloaded), and read it. And it’s not as easy as you think when you buy/download the title. Having a good e-reader like Kindle helps. But in the end it is the pleasure you derive from reading the first words that keep you going. The first words then become first paragraphs, then a chapter, then chapters, then half of the book, and so on.

So my advice is this: before you decide you would really devote time to finish a book, do the inspectional reading as suggested in the classic How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren. Read the book cover. Read the content page and the titles. Read the preface, the index and the first and last paragraphs of the book. Then decide. It has saved me a lot of time and from a lot of distress for not reading the books I am supposed to finish.

My most typical read of this sort recently is Eleven Minutes: A Novel (P.S.) by Paulo Coelho. I finished it within 3 working days.

2. Learning

I also read to learn. One of my top 5 themes as defined in the Strengthsfinder 2.0 test isLearner. And I prefer to learn from reading words and instructions than hearing them from someone I can see and touch. I don’t know why. I’ve even be told by my high school teacher that I “turned to books (or the Internet) instantly when posed with a problem.” And I agreed the second I heard it. Learning from words has always seemed more natural to me, perhaps because I learn from what I analyze and understand and generate-not what I am told. I suggest you do the same.

On progress under this umbrella: Mastery by Robert Greene, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan Culler

3. Inspiration

This may sound a bit corny. But every now and then we need inspirations. When our juice is running low, or nearly out. Whenever I feel stuck-and we all do-I read. I will surf on Amazon and Quora and sites I go to. I will locate booklists or even seek them out proactively. Then I will try reading something strange and exquisite. And I will be inspired and rejuvenated. For example, I found Eleven Minutes (completed) by seeking out erotica on Quora. I found the Sandman by Neil Gaiman (finished Volume One and well onto Volume Two) by searching for superheroes. This is where you should listen to you own inner voices and follow them . You will be dumbfounded-in the best possible ways.

I am not as well-read as I would like to consider myself. But that’s all right. I hope my experience helps. Happy reading 🙂

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What a Kindle Kindles

My Paperwhite the first day unboxed

Why would anyone want a Amazon Kindle—a gadget that enable you to do nothing but reading? Well, I do. And I am confident there are many out there like me. Because the Kindle kindles.

Refound Interest in Books
For one, it kindles my refound interest in books. You see, I used to like reading so much. When I was a kid I would not listen to teachers who failed to interest me with their uncreative lessons. But what can you do, sitting in that uniform chair like everyone else in the identical classroom? Well, you can always use a drawer. It’s your reliable friend, a comrade. All through primary school and into high school, I would read my Jin Yong wuxia novels for days (ok, hours maybe). I finished all fourteen of them well before I went to college.

But then, before I realize what happened, it changed. I changed. For a whole semester in college, I did not manage to finish one single book on my own. I still read the required readings and all, but it was different. Suddenly I lost interest in the thing called books. It was too inconvenient. Too much work. Too heavy. Too unimportant compared to other things I wanted to do.

Then came the Amazon Kindle. I remember the urge to buy one the moment I noticed it the first time. The mobile had too small a screen. And it was way too much burden to the eyes reading for just half an hour. And where do I find books anyway?

The Kindle, as it was sold on the Amazon page, solves it all. It is light as a paperback—the read people carried to a plane and finished by landing. It could store thousands of books. And where do books come from? You just search on Amazon’s stock of hundreds of thousands of titles and download them with a magical click of the finger. Then BOOM! Before you know it, you are reading the title you thought of/came across moments before.

Withheld Passion for Knowledge
I don’t know about you. But I’ve always known that I longed for knowledge. Knowledge of why—why are people, myself included, so unhappy?— of how—how do I find freedom (and a girlfriend)? and of what—what is happiness, anyway? None of the lessons I went through my entire schooling experience told me the answers. Not a clue. And there was no one I could ask.
So books seem the only way. And with a Kindle, and a Wifi (or 4G) connection, it all seemed possible. I bought a paperback copy of the Chinese translation of Russell’s The Conquest of Happiness back then. I was interested. But I never finished it. Maybe it’s the translation. But probably more because of the weight. It looked like a brick, and weighed and occupied space like one. But hey, I have got the Kindle now. For one-third of the price I bought the paper translation copy, I downloaded the digital copy into my Kindle. Within two weeks, I finished it. It was such a great read. And then I wanted more. I learnt so much from this man, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. And just moments after my personal feat, I bought The Basic Writings of Betrand Russell, too. The Kindle literally kindles in me the withheld longing for knowledge and wisdom—from those same physical and technical barriers that I trust must have withhold many a potential bookworm like me.

Most Wanted Peace of Mind
Today I experienced what I believe a mystical state of peacefulness. I was reading Joseph Campbell’s masterpiece The Hero with a Thousand Faces, on a ferry that carried me towards home. It was a short ride. I downloaded the e-book into my Kindle Paperwhite during a break between work, with a whim that just popped out in my mind out of nowhere. I got so used to the routine now I almost did it unconsciously —search, 1-click order, wait. On the ferry, slowly venturing through the prologue and onto the first chapter, I realized that the fifteen minutes passed without my consciously knowing it. I mean, normally my mind strayed so much — did my girlfriend just texted me/let’s take a look at Facebook/ I got to watch this on Youtube! But not today. For the whole fifteen minutes I was on another plate. There was nothing but my mind, the words and the meanings. And the Kindle of course.Without it the possibility of reading something as heavy and as distant from daily life would almost equals zero. And the concrete feeling of peace while reading must tell something about the reading experience.

Disclaimer: Amazon should have paid me for this. But no, I didn’t have any connection with them except I am such a loyal and good-looking customer.

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How I stumbled upon Hearthstone and loved it ever since

This article is inspired by the question What is Hearthstone, and why is it so popular? on Quora

What is Hearthstone and why is it so popular?

What is Hearthstone?

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a collectiable-card game (CCG) now available on PC, Mac, Android and Ios. And as the name suggests, it starts off with the theme of characters adapted from Blizzard’s phenomenal MMORPG World of Warcraft (WoW).

Deceptively simple and insanely fun” is the slogan Blizzard uses to present the game. l think it’s a good one.

Why is it so popular?

Instead of giving a general account of why the game has become a huge success as it is now, I would like to dive deep and recount the journey of my stumbling upon the game and (still) being hooked ever since its release.

The First Hook

I learnt about Hearthstone by playing WoW. My simple goal was to get the Hearthsteed- special mount as a reward of trying Hearthstone with the sameBattle.net account and winning a total of three games in any mode against human players. Not special at all, I know. But whoever came up with this marketing campaign did a great job. What better target potential customers than WOWers. For those who would spend days for a mount, the two-hour at most spent on Hearthstone sure guaranteed a well-paid quest.

Deceptively Simple

And so I installed the game and completed the tutorial like everyone did. It went smooth. I picked up the game’s basics pretty quickly despite having no prior experience of CCG, or that of any type of strategic card game for that matter.

And then I was left with Jeana. Little did I know that she didn’t even have access to the most powerful basic card in the game - Flamestrike, which was granted to the player who levelled up the mage hero to lv 10. But it all looked fun. Every card looked so familiar-they all came from WoW - and yet so novel -  the card itself, its artwork and text and mechanics-at once.

That was why I played on - after gaining the three wins required for the mount fairly easily. There was so little prior knowledge you needed (or so it seemed) - as every card was self-explanatory with its text, yet so much to learn about  - what else could I get if I continued to level up my character by playing and winning more?
That’s right. I played Hearthstone initially as if I were playing WoW or other RPG I was so used to - I wanted to see my character grow and gained everything gainable.

The Different Modes

But Hearthstone is not a RPG. And it does not intend to be one. It has a set of mechanics very different from any game I came across before. For one, it offers distinct modes of playing - constructed, casual and the arena.

If one becomes frustrated with the repeated loses in constructed (which normally does not happen at Rank 25 as an Angry Chicken), he can always turn to another mode to experience the game in a different light. Take the arena mode as an example. With its basic entry fee (150 gold / few real dollars) and its mechanics of picking over three cards - of all the cards available in the game - a time, for thirty times in a row to form a thoroughly unique deck to compete with others’ decks drafted in exactly the same manner, offers to the new player like me an entirely different experience than playing with the basic cards in constructed mode. Before I got frustrated enough to rage quit, I constantly encountered something new and rewarding in the initial learning stage.

The results? I did not return to WoW for quite a few months because I was so absorbed in Hearthstone.

More Learning

As I learn more and become better at the game, I wanted to be even better. So I started to look beyond the game itself and found an equally interesting part of it - its community. I found Twitch-and with it streamers such as Trump, Amaz and Forsen - and for the first time learnt that there are hundreds of thousands who would eagerly watch another individual play the video game, and even pay to the guy simply to support them to continue to do so. I learnt that cute girls and girls with cleavage get easy donations. I also learnt that there were not only matches between friends, but also major tournaments for a popular game - and “professional” gamers and “coaches” actually make a career out of it. I found Hearthpwn, with its tribes of brilliant people writing enthusiastically and so well about their inventions out of the game. I found Youtube channels capturing the odd and insane moments in the game, only understood and thus enjoyed by insiders like myself. In short, I did not just stumble across a random game. I found a whole new world. And there were worlds and layers within this world I can opt to explore.

And that was only a little recount of my surprising journey of Hearthstone.

What more can a game deliver?

Well, there are other things , actually. But it is another story.

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How to Write Effective Essays─ A Four-step Strategy 如何寫出達意的文章—四步法

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1. Ask the right questions-What is it that you want the reader know? Why might he/she be interested at all? What needs to be established first?

問對的問題- 你想讀者知道什麼? 他/她為什麼想知道? 首要先建設好什麼?

2. Plan to answer them: one by one, and as clear as possible.

謀定而後答: 逐一回答,盡可能清晰。

3. Write to connect what is already known and what follows to be made known to the reader.

每寫一句都是為了將讀者已知的,和即將告知他的連結起來。

Each sentence is a part of an individual paragraph. Each must connect what is already known and what follows to be made known to the reader. From the first to the last, period.

每句都是獨立段落的一部分。每句都必須連接讀者已知和你將告知他的。從第一句到最後一句。

Consciously build the connection. Do not assume the reader knows— question yourself in every possible way to make sure. Leave no logical gap in between .

有為的建立連結。不要假設讀者知道任何額外的東西–以所有可能的方法去尋問、証明。不要留下任何漏洞

4. Arrange paragraphs to present a complete picture of your idea to the reader.

組織段落,向讀者傳達你意念的全貌。

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