adventures in geekdom

The blog of a twentysomething who is finally unleashing her inner geek after stifling it for the majority of her adolescence.

Archive for the tag “pottermore”

Enemies of the Heir, Beware!

The first four chapters of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets have been released to everyone on Pottermore today. Through, uh…*coughs* certain magical…ah, opportunities…I was able to preview Chamber of Secrets with the Slytherins yesterday, which was their reward for winning the first House Cup. This keeps up my record of being first for everything in Pottermore: I registered the first day of the quill challenge, I was let in during the first day of beta access, and now this. Totally not bragging or anything.

So here are my thoughts on the biggest Pottermore update since the site opened last year, and if it’s worth former Pottermore users digging out their old login info and giving it a go. This is SPOILER-RIDDEN TERRITORY, so you’ve been warned! Enemies of the Heir, Beware!

(The warning is for the Pottermore content, obviously, not for the book. It’s been out for ages, go read it already. AND NO, THE MOVIE DOESN’T COUNT.)

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Back to Platform 9 3/4

Ages ago I wrote about how Pottermore was a disappointment to myself and other Harry Potter fans. I hadn’t thought about it much, until I saw some recent twitter updates from the site. Recently, Pottermore tallied up all of the House Points earned by the four Houses and announced that Slytherin had won the very first House Cup, and would therefore be given 24 hours access to Chamber of Secrets before anyone else once the book is released.

Since it’d been a while since I logged on to my account, I did so and thought for a while about the House I’d been Sorted into. As a huge Harry Potter fan and growing up reading the books, a huge part of your identity as a fan is which House you belong to. I honestly have nothing against Hufflepuff and do see some of its qualities in myself, but I was never happy about how the Sorting Hat test went. Not just because I didn’t get my House preference (Ravenclaw), but because I didn’t feel like I answered honestly and was trying to get Ravenclaw on purpose. J.K. Rowling told us not to do that in a video that precedes the Sorting ceremony, but come on. We all have a preference and want to go where we feel like we belong. (Helloooo, high school!)

Still, I’d always thought about setting up a new account and trying the test again. Years ago I Google’d “Sorting Hat quiz” and took every single quiz that came up, from the intense to the mundane. Twenty pages of later, I’d yet to be Sorted anywhere other than Ravenclaw. I was stunned, because I’d always liked that House but didn’t realize I had such a strong connection to it. With this newly acquired knowledge, I started feeling more comfortable buying Ravenclaw shirts, I had my mom knit me a Ravenclaw scarf, I used Ravenclaw signatures on message boards, and so on. I was happy and set in my House and felt like I truly belonged.

So when I was Sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore, I was stunned and a little crushed. I know a lot of people felt the same, but it was still disheartening. And not because Hufflepuff is the “reject House” because honestly, I get really sick of all of the shit I hear about that House. Just because it’s the House we know the least about doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value.

Anyway, I signed up for a new Pottermore account and started exploring again. I got to the Sorting Hat quiz and started getting nervous, but I took a deep breath and took my time with each question. I went with the answers that I would’ve gone with, not what I thought would get me into Ravenclaw. I thought carefully about each answer, and as I did I kept thinking that I wouldn’t be put into Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, but something totally unexpected like Gryffindor or Slytherin. (I’ve never identified with the two major Houses, so I’d definitely be shocked if I made it to either of them!) Which made me laugh a bit and relax. It would be my luck to be Sorted somewhere completely different this time!

I clicked submit and closed my eyes, because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I opened my eyes, peeked between my fingers, and saw this:

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pottermore? potterfail.

FYI: Be sure to read all the way to the bottom, I address the latest Pottermore update there. :)

So now that Pottermore is due to open to the public any day now (the site only says “Open to all in October”), I figured it’s now safe to post my thoughts on the site now that it’s been two months since beta testing opened.

Okay, okay, I’m totally aware that others have been posting their opinions already, but saying “I’ve been too lazy to write anything detailed about it for two months” doesn’t sound as good. xD And, truth be told, I’ve hardly been logging in at all. This is due to three main problems:

1. Feedback sucks.
2. Not enough beta time.
3. Lack of working content post-exploration.

one I don’t know if the Pottermore team ever consulted anyone on what to do for their feedback system, but either that consultant sucks or the Pottermore team never consulted anyone in the first place. There’s absolutely no place to write a comment directly telling the team what’s wrong – all you can do is rate the page on a scale of 1-10.

Yes, seriously. Apparently they take this “rating” and if it’s low, they go and check out the page to see if there are any bugs. Honestly, with a site this expansive (and considering this is BETA TESTING), you’d think they’d want all of the detailed feedback they can get. I mean, how long is “Diagon Alley” going to say “Daigon Alley”?

two This site is nowhere near ready to “open to all” in October. The Pottermore team has only just now sent out the last 500,000 or so beta testing emails, and that was because they promised us we’d all get in before October and they needed to hustle. I think they were doing the right thing by letting in users in small groups and waiting a few days to see how the site changed. Now that there’s suddenly half a million new users poking around, the site has been down constantly. In fact, today is the first day I’ve been able to log in in almost a week.

Honestly, this site needs about six to ten months of beta testing, not two. It’s breaking under the pressure of just one million users – what’s gonna happen when the rest of the world starts signing up? If I were the Pottermore team, I’d be worried.

three Potions and Dueling, the two “extracurriculars” if you will, are nearly always broken when I try and use them. I’ve yet to complete a full spell, duel with a friend, or properly brew a potion – and not because I’m not doing it right. (This is where being able to give direct feedback would be awesome. What do I do if my potion is stuck on 100% for three weeks?) Also, Potion ingredients are expensive. Sure, while you’re exploring the book you can pick up a spare Galleon here and there, and you start off with about 500 Galleons, but there’s no way to earn more. Rewards only come in the form of House points.

Once you finish exploring the first book — which is amazingly fun, don’t get me wrong – and with Potions and Dueling constantly on the fritz, there’s simply nothing else to do on the site. It’s a shame, because after you get your wand and are Sorted, the novelty ends there. Really, I’ve only been logging in every now and again to accept a friend request and add nicknames to friends I already have so I can tell them all apart. I mean, what’s the point of trying to do anything else? I either can’t log on, can’t get anything to work, and have no way to tell any team members what’s wrong. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and I defended the site initially, but at this point all I can do is shrug my shoulders and admit defeat. Pottermore is kind of a bust. It’s amazing that the site was reportedly in the works for a few years and yet it still needs so much work.

Is it worth signing up for when it opens to the public in October? I’d like to say yes, because getting a wand and being Sorted is extremely fun. Like, ridiculously fun. But otherwise? You’ll probably get bored and abandon your account, which will inevitably be deleted. (Pottermore’s Terms & Conditions state that accounts that haven’t been used in 6+ months will be terminated.)

It sucks, because I was truly looking forward to the site and really did try to find the good qualities it. But honestly, I think it would’ve worked better as an online encyclopedia with just the Sorting and wand quizzes on there for fun. Of course, this is all my own opinion and who knows what’s going to happen once the site opens to all. Try it out and see for yourself!

Now, here’s hoping this head cold that’s been plaguing me for over a week is on its way out. Bleh.

ETA: So since I drafted this post, Pottermore has announced they’re extending the beta period and non-beta members who sign up will, like the magic quill challenge to get into the beta program, be let in in “waves.” Again, their ridiculousness astounds me. How the hell is a parent going to tell their child “Yes, sweetie, you registered but you can’t play on the site right now. No, I don’t have a good reason why.” Did the Pottermore team never go to a release party or a movie premiere? This won’t go over well.

And LOL at “We didn’t realize Dueling would be so popular.” It crashed after the second day and hasn’t worked since, what are you talking about?

lego harry potter/pathfinder/pottermore

So, The Boyfriend and I have finally completed LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 for the Wii! Okay, uh, we’re actually at 97.5% completion but we think there may be a few glitches getting in the way of us finding the last Student in Peril and two golden bricks. One of these days I’ll do a full run-through of Hogwarts (since all of the regular and bonus levels are totally completed) and double-check that I didn’t miss anything. But otherwise we are finished! It was actually really fun going back through all of the levels, except the lake task during Year 4. That level has been and always will be a right pain in the ass!

In other news, The Boyfriend has been kind enough to set up a small Pathfinder campaign for me, so that I can get used to roleplaying and combat rules and such. I might possibly start joining him and his friends in their bimonthly roleplaying game, but I’m still unsure. Of course my inner geek is screaming to join in, but my girlfriend senses are wondering if that’s such a good idea. xD I’ll definitely keep you all posted! I might even post a copy of my character sheet if anyone is interested.

A brief review on Pottermore: I am EXTREMELY depressed that I was not sorted into my house of choice (and unlike others, I am NOT trading in my merch and taking the Sorting Hat’s word as the final one), bu otherwise the site has been tons of fun. It’s definitely not an MMORPG, but an illustrated (and animated!) read-along for the books. The amount of bonus content for just the first book (as well as the bonus content itself) is blowing my mind, and the site is absolutely gorgeous and easy to navigate. However, because this is beta testing, there are definitely some bugs (mostly contained to dueling and potions-making). The Pottermore team seems to be on it, though, which is good. :) Overall, I love it and think any Potter fan would love it as well. Keep your chin up if you haven’t received your Hogwarts letter welcome email yet — the amount of users being let into the site is being staggered, so it might be a long wait (though well worth it). And if you’re interested, head on over to the site and sign up to be notified when registration begins for the public!

See you all next time! :)

pottermore

;)

As mentioned before, I won’t be posting screen shots of anything, but I’m totally happy dancing over being in the very first group to get in!

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