loreology: the hydra

If you’ve got a memory like an elephant, the old saying goes, then your noggin’s in good shape. Mine, when challenged under the gun, tends to shoot blanks. I’m a research kind of guy, not a living, breathing almanac…. Each week “Loreology” will unravel the mysteries behind something in gaming that I may have known once and completely forgot, or something that I should probably know and cram up into my nearly full brain cavity.



This Week: Hercules’ Headache


Today I found myself playing two MMOs with similar names and the same, dangerous creature: the hydra. World of Warcraft, the current reigning champ in the online gaming arena, and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, an upcoming dynamic challenger, pit the multi-headed monster against you, though the hydra stamped me into the muck in WoW‘s Outlands mires and roared through elven mountains in Warhammer.


Most of us know the Greek myths of the hydra. The poison-breathing, multi-head-chomping beast guarded the entrance to the Underworld in some stories and fought Hercules as one of the Twelve Labors in others. It’s the offspring of Gaia, and the sibling to other impressive beasts like the Chimera and Cerberus. I didn’t know that the hydra is also a stellar constellation, a record label, a Transformer and one of the most sinister criminal syndicates in the Marvel Universe (okay, I did know that last one, comic geek that I am).


In some tales, if you cut the head off a hydra, it grows back–or even worse, it grows two to replace the one. Call it super regeneration, or, to tap into my comic geekness again, a super healing factor that only Wolverine can dream he had. Neither of the hydras I faced had a whiff of regeneration, and it’s a good thing or I’d still be hacking my way to salvation.


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June 2008
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