Fate Fight: Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning

By Adam Smith on November 28th, 2011 at 10:12 am.

Science-destiny-magic: You kill monsters and steal their fate which makes your weapons glow  and cut through flesh as if it were butter

Footage of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning makes it clear that the fateless hero will spend a great deal of time ending the destinies of almost everything he comes across. As Alec’s hands-on experience taught him, having an open world doesn’t mean an RPG has to be about exploring and collecting vegetables. It can also be mostly about killing things, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. To that end, here’s a video showing a variety of things being killed in a variety of ways. It doesn’t make me care a jot about the no doubt lore-laden terminology describing elaborate special attacks, but it does make me want to try them out.

I like that subtlety is illustrated with a clip of a man shooting a small creature in the face with a bow at almost point blank range.

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57 Comments »

  1. Shadowcat says:

    Frankly, that seems like an extreme over-reaction to being the only kid who wasn’t allowed to go to the fĂȘte.

    Also, I’ll be hoping to discover the weapon/spell combo “Skillet Arms”.

  2. Jumwa says:

    Is this the title where Salvatore was hired as writer?

    If so, I might’ve found an open-world fantasy game I’m not tempted to buy.

    • Kleppy says:

      Now this is just silly. Are you implying that the average in-house fantasy game writer is better than Salvatore? You do realize most video games aren’t even written by writers?

    • Jumwa says:

      Salvatore is a writer who, as a tribute to him in an anthology of his work, the best thing the editor could say about him was: he always turned in his writing work on time.

      So yes, he’s awful. Because I got his books as a gift, I tried my damnedest to read them, but after the first anthology of three I wavered, even in the face of gratitude.

      Also, comparing novelists to game writing is not a fair comparison. The two forms are dramatically different, and the strengths of one don’t translate to the other. Especially when you consider the only compliment I can come up with from fans about him is that he supposedly writes combat scenes very well. Which doesn’t exactly work in this context.

      Plus the combat and aesthetics don’t seem to appeal to me from the video. Granted, maybe internet cynicism is rubbing off on me there.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Unfair…

      Salvatore is maybe not RR Martin , but he has his strengths as writer.

      Reading his novels is like watching D&D action movie.

      And he has quite distinct style that brought couple of most popular fiction characters of last decade.

      Anyway he wrote stories for some awesome games before.

      And as for Amalaur. Dont forget that head game designer is the guy that made Morrowind.

    • Jumwa says:

      Once again, someone compliments his style at writing action sequences. As I pointed out, that hardly translates to a vidya game.

      Unless this is a text adventure, and contrary to the video, action scenes will be played out in text. Is this a text adventure? Is it?! I am so confused!

      ( Please don’t take my facetiousness as an assault! I’m being silly, and I truly respect your opinion as contrary as I may be.)

      Whenever I think of Salvatore, I’m always reminded of that one novel about the Underdark, where he wrote about how Drow don’t even have a word–let alone concept–for ‘love’, then later Drizzt–the inexplicably born-good drow–faces the choice of having sex with a drow priestess or facing death. He decides on death because he doesn’t feel one should have sex without love, somehow encapsulating two concepts the plucky little super hero couldn’t have possibly ever come into contact with.

      Or how every chapter began with some long treatise on how in drow society only women hold power, and men dare not even talk or suggest something to a woman of power! Then the rest of the chapter is some male telling the women what’s-what, as the females wait to see if they’ve exhausted their maximum of two lines of dialogue per book.

      In all seriousness though, something irked me about a previous comment. Video game writers aren’t real writers? I’d like to address that. What makes one a writer? Being paid to do written work, I would assume. And so video game writers are indeed writers, whatever else we have to say about them. Nothing about being published as a novelist provides inherent skill or talent beyond the rest, I’d argue.

    • Clash says:

      @Jumwa First of all I just wanted to say that game writers may even need to aspire to greater heights than novelists simply because theirs is an interactive medium. I personally love the games that give the player choices that affect the story in small and grand ways and that’s becoming something of a norm.

      As for the Salvatore discussion I wanted to point out you seem to have misunderstood that chapter. It’s been a couple years since I read that trilogy but I still remember it pretty well. The part you spoke of was at the graduation ceremony where they held something of a hedonistic ritual. Burning intoxicants, having anonymous sex, all to please their evil goddess… you know the drill. Drizzt didn’t run out on the ceremony because he didn’t believe in “sex without love” but because he was losing his grip on reality; courtesy of the drugs. Being a warrior who honed his reflexes and situational awareness for his entire life, losing control like that is quite unacceptable.

      So he ran out for the aforementioned reason as well as the fact that he absolutely despises the goddess. His sister, upon learning this, decides to kill him. So it wasn’t a choice of sex or death, it just kind of ended up that way. Also, the reason the females didn’t get much say in the novels is because it was following Drizzt. He usually wasn’t around them and when he was it was usually just to get smacked around. The majority of the conversations in the book are with Drizzt and other males. He turns his back on drow society after the first one too so naturally after that point he wouldn’t give a damn what they told him.

      They’re pretty good books in my opinion; but, everyone is entitled to their own. I just thought I might clear up some misinterpretations.

    • Jumwa says:

      @Clash

      I would agree with you on game writing in some respects. As I’ve stressed repeatedly, game writing requires something wholly different from a novelists work.

      As to supposed misinterpretations: it was stated quite plainly that Drizzt didn’t feel right having sex with the priestess because he didn’t care for her, and felt he should only do something like that with someone he had an emotional bond with.

      As for the death sentence: disobeying a priestess in drow society–as Salvatore stressed continually–carried a death sentence. So it was indeed: do or die. He had no right or ability to refuse a priestess, according to Salvatore’s stated rules, without facing the consequence of possible death.

      Keep in mind: Drizzt’s sister got in trouble because she tried to kill him by locking him in that crypt place. Not because she wasn’t supposed to kill him, but because he was supposed to face a more gruesome death for refusing the priestess.

      Also: the excuse that the novel is about Drizzt so that’s why the females never got much dialogue, doesn’t explain why Drizzt’s brother and numerous other male characters kept taking the spotlight from females of higher ranking. How he’d start off every non-Drizzt centric chapter talking about how only females had a say, and that normally a male speaking up would get him killed, only to have the brother or someone else pipe up, tell the females in charge how wrong they were and how there’s a better way to do it.

      Some of the worst writing I’ve ever read. He had some neat ideas, but no writing ability to carry it off. His notion of the matriarchal drow society was quite interesting in concept, but none of his writing gave it the air he was going for, let alone nuance.

    • Clash says:

      @Jumwa Again I should say I haven’t read it in several years so you seem to have the advantage over me on this one.

      I specifically remember it mentioning that he didn’t like losing control, but you may also be correct about him saying he didn’t feel anything for her. Though the Drow have no word or concept for love that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of feeling it. So he’s acting on a feeling he doesn’t quite understand, it sounds reasonable to me. Kind of the point of the character is he’s distinctly different from the rest of his race from birth. In mannerisms and appearance (purple eyes being unheard of among the drow.)

      The death sentence thing, he wasn’t explicitly ordered to have sex with her. They just figured everyone would be so taken in with the ritual they wouldn’t think, and so he nearly did. If his sister hadn’t noticed him run out nothing would have happened. She got pissed off about him rejecting the ritual and their goddess, not for disobeying orders. She was the merciful one, his mother said if he committed such heresy again she’d turn him into one of things that that was intended to kill him.

      Then about the female thing. When the women were talking the men only added things they thought might be helpful; a few times they actually were not welcome for interrupting the conversation and they were whipped on the spot. Otherwise the women were trying to get information from them and allowed them to speak somewhat freely. I don’t recall them ever flat out stating a woman is wrong or being disrespectful, they mostly seemed willing to comply and rather terrified.

      I wholeheartedly agree Salvatore has a problem with having some great ideas and not following through with them as well as I’d like. But the examples you give don’t take a few things into account. However, I mean no disrespect and still think you’re fully entitled to your opinion.

    • Namos says:

      You know, judging an author just for his work in a preexisting universe not of his making is a bit harsh – and rather irrelevant for his main role in making Amalur, that being the creator of the world. His Corona novels are much grimmer in tone (people die and stay dead, for one). Unfortunately, they’re also much harder to find offline than his Drizzt stuff.

      As far as I know, Salvatore is mainly responsible for the history of the world. I am unsure whether he actually wrote the quest text and characters.

    • Belua says:

      Only on RPS do you find discussions in the comments where people have very different opinions but still refrain from using slang terms for genitals or presuming the other to be the descendant of a woman with questionable morals and sexual behaviours.
      I love this place.

    • Jumwa says:

      Respectfully, Clash, I think you’re adding a lot of context to what happened that wasn’t there. Perhaps it’s just the time between now and when you read it, as you said.

      The only thing that saved Drizzt’s life was that his mother found they were in a tight position, that they needed every family member and couldn’t spare to kill him then. So even though he disobeyed a priestess and ran off, he was spared the more gruesome, painful death that was due to him due to the Houses necessity.

      As for the rest, there was hardly any female dialogue in the non-Drizzt chapters. Males always took the lead, had the best ideas, knew better than their superior females. I can understand where confusion came from, as Salvatore always spent a great deal of time as narrator expositing on how females ran everything and males were just utter dirt not even allowed to look up or talk until they reached adulthood, but then always brushed that aside by extolling how odd and exceptional it was that this male in particular, of the long line of male central characters he brought in who shared this virtue, was fortunate to get away with risking their lives contradicting a priestess.

      Salvatore, for whatever reason, just didn’t seem confident or capable in his ability to write female characters, so rarely did. So that’s why a supposedly matriarchal society had everything but the priesthood entirely male run, and even the priestesses in his works got over shadowed by males.

      And you’re right about Drizzt being special and unique. The point is hammered home constantly. The whole Dark Elf trilogy, supposed to be the tale of how an inferior boy born into an evil, underground, matriarchal society became a do-gooder on the surface, had no character development what so ever. Drizzt was born possessing a code of honour and morality that was utterly foreign and unknown in the world he came from, with nothing in writing to explain why. Salvatore weakly tried to explain it by saying his father and sister were not QUITE so blood thirsty and backstabby as all other drow, but considering he never met his father until late in life and his sisters idea of good was trying to murder him and maybe not invent excuses to beat him so often, it doesn’t cut it.

      Salvatore spends much of his non-combat writing detailing how he intends things to be written. It’s like a proposal for a novel, “So in the book, there will be this society and…” but when he actually writes dialogue and interactions, none of it meshes up with what he said.

      I don’t mean any disrespect, and opinion is–of course–opinion, and not worth a lot, but the people I have met who liked him, almost always confess they read him years ago as teens. Reading him just recently, I don’t see the appeal or merit in his works.

    • Jumwa says:

      @Namos

      I’ve heard from a lot of his fans that the Drow themselves are, by and large, his creation. That before Salvatore came along they were nothing more than a blurb in a D&D manual and we can attribute the vast bulk of their lore to Salvatore.

      I don’t know how true that is, but if so, then his work in it speaks volumes about his ability as a lore writer for a game.

      Although, if, as you say, he’s just writing the lore of this game and not actual dialogue and stories, then perhaps it’s not so bad. As I’ve said, I think he’s had some good ideas, he just didn’t have an inkling of the talent needed to pull them off in writing.

      Anyhow, I don’t wish to upset anyone by trashing on the man’s work and I’m sorry if my critiquing has come off as harsh or exagerated. I’m truthfully not a fan of reading combat scenes in novels, and find them tedious, my fancies lay with good dialogue and character interaction, so he was probably destined not to sit well with me.

    • Lobotomist says:

      @Jumwa

      Well, heh. I agree with your critic of Salvatore. (the love paradox)

      He is very much cheap pulp writer.
      He does not put himself on high chair and tries to do something more.
      He simply writes high action fantasy with simplified 2 dimensional characters.

      But that he does very well.

      There is no doubt that Drizzdt is one of most recognizable characters in popular fantasy.

      As for game writting , he did a great game called “Demons Stone”

    • Snargelfargen says:

      O Salvatore, how I love and hate his writing. As other people have mentioned, his action sequences are vivid, and if you are already a d&d fan, it’s quite a lot of fun seeing him put the game mechanics into story form.
      He has a bad habit of falling in love with certain characters and turning them into deus ex machinas. I’m pretty sure “monk” is his favourite character class. If you’ve ever read the Cleric Quintet, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

    • Clash says:

      I’m actually very sure I’m not making things up. I know it’s there, it may not be stated outright but I don’t recall picking fault with him over your reasons. I also recall most of the female dialog happening when he wasn’t around. He spent the majority of the novel at the academy and then stationed as a patrol lead on the borders of the city. During that time it had cutaways where the Matron and his sisters had their discussions.

      Drizzt being so different by chance is odd, but it’s just how stories work. If you think that hard about ANYTHING that tapestry begins to unravel. A whole planet full of people and the droids just happen to find Luke? Bilbo just happens across the ring in the enormous dark cavern Golum inhabits? A willing suspension of disbelief my friend. You can’t really pin that on Salvatore’s writing abilities, he did what he could to explain it.

      It’s a fair point that many male writers aren’t too good at writing convincing female characters and vice versa. He doesn’t do a good job nor, in my opinion, does he do a terrible job. I don’t see the men talking over the women all the time as you claim, I honestly thought he did a convincing job of portraying them as being in a position of absolute power. If you seek fault with something you will find it though. I also may add that was only the fourth book in his story about Drizzt and he was kind of rebuilding the character from scratch. I also understand it to be one of the first official in-depth attempts at writing about Drow society from an insider perspective.

      This has gone on a bit too long though… You’ve had plenty of time to make up your mind on the author and his style. I’m just a cynical person that maintains the belief that once someone has truly made up their mind there is next to nothing that will change it. It was a pleasure talking to someone who is capable of articulating their thoughts without resorting to profanity and texting abbreviations. Have a great day.

    • Jumwa says:

      @ Lobotomist

      I wont argue with you on any of those points (except on Demon Stones, because I never played it and can’t comment).

      I’m a bit of a Forgotten Realms fan, as I enjoy a lot of the novels around it. So by that admission I hope it becomes clear I’m not posing to be some high-brow writing critic. Truthfully I enjoy things as ‘low’ as trashy fan-fiction, which is because, as I said, my tastes tend to be in character interaction and dialogue. I love reading juicy stories about interesting characters falling in love, or getting caught up in conspiracies and shady doings.

      Reading detailed combat scenes, however? Egads, just kill me now! But I realize that’s purely personal taste.

      And that’s not to say because I dislike fight scenes in novels that I look down on mindless combat as entertainment, even. I don’t! Far from it. Some of my favourite times in Skyrim so far have been these Civil War battles where Helga, my two-hander toting smith, just charges around lopping off heads repeatedly.

      So, long story short: Salvatore was never going to be my cup of tea, no matter how masterfully he wrote combat scenes.

      @Clash

      Perhaps it has gone on too long already, so I’ll respect your decision and not carry on with the discussion any further.

      Though to your other point, about people not changing their mind: I consider it a point of pride that I re-evaluate my beliefs on a regular basis. That I consider nothing, even my most core values, beyond critical analysis and reconsideration. Of course, I’m a human and so I err, I wont deny that.

      Though, in this case; if courteous gratitude couldn’t force me to enjoy his books after numerous attempts, I don’t think anything could make me find enjoyment in them. I am a man who has sat down at a strangers table and ate food that not only disgusted me, but also made me physically, terribly ill because I can’t do anything but accept another persons hospitality with a smile, a thanks and some words of praise.

      But not even my beaten in sense of civil politeness could get me to like Salvatore. He’s just not for me.

    • Clash says:

      Just to clarify a little further though, I’m not saying he’s a great writer. He is a pretty decent one though and I honestly don’t believe he deserves a lot of the flak people throw his way. I have met individuals who haven’t even read his work but will still insist he’s simply awful. I do applaud that you at least gave it a chance though and admit some of your criticism is valid. The series was just a distraction from Discworld for me anyway. ;P

    • Jumwa says:

      @ Clash

      I tacked on a response to my last comment to you.

      But on the issue of criticizing something you’re not familiar/experienced with: that drives me mad. That was something I, like I think many people, was guilty of once. When I was a teen and every opinion I held was worth fighting a war over and it was necessary to have an opinion on everything, even things I had no clue about.

      I’m not familiar with Salvatore’s original creations, and only read him at all because a complete collection of his Forgotten Realms works were gifted to me in big anthologies because I have a real liking of other FR works. But though I adore the writing of Elaine Cunningham and Lisa Smedman, Salvatore is a whole other thing. And as I’ve read more FR works, I think I’ve come to realize there are two sorts of books in that D&D universe: combat centric novels and plot/development centric ones.

      Seeing as to the nature of D&D itself, it makes sense for that divide. I’m more of a RPer than a combat guy in D&D sessions as is. I’ll do great long, descriptive spiels about my sorcerers smart-assing, but I’ll be darned if I care overly much about the details of the fights. I just want them to be over so we can get back to bantering and discovery!

    • Clash says:

      Glad to hear you’re not one of those people stuck in their own little world. I totally understand where you’re coming from too with the preferring other things to combat sequences. He does good work on the combat bits but I honestly find myself skipping through a lot of them looking for the better stuff. I actually consider Homeland to be something of a juvenile entry into the series but it had its merits, as did the rest of that trilogy. Spent too long talking here though, time for class. Take care. :)

    • Jumwa says:

      And I should be preparing to instruct! Thanks for the lovely discussion. Even though we disagreed, it is nice just to have a friendly chat about topics of interest. Have a good one!

    • vecordae says:

      This was easily about 4 pages worth of comments and no one insulted anyone else. This happened. This happened on the internet.

      I am very proud of this moment.

    • Felix says:

      @Jumwa:
      First, what do you teach? I find it odd to find teachers/professors on the internet and I am curious.

      As for the Salvatore bit, I recently read the trilogy you two are speaking of and agree that his writing is combat-centric. And I am also in wonder of Drizzt’s morals. But this can generally be explained away by some divine intervention or destiny, as source-less things seem to be in the FR universe.

      I do find that the fact that males have, contrary to exposition, a fair amount of input to be strange. Though this is always explained away as pertinent due to stressful situations, much as upper echelons of the CIA acquire as much information and input as possible to make decisions. It is still contradictory.

      As for that “sex or die but I only want sex if it’s with love” bit you mentioned, I just reread that and found that was not the case at all. First, he was indeed addled by the drugs of the room. They exist to remove inhibition, it seems, but in the case of Drizzt inhibition was subduing his morality. With that removed, he followed his conscience, as it were, only to commit a grave error he would likely have not done without the drugs. Also, he hated the situation and that hate, helped along by the drugs, rose to the top. The desire for love is not mentioned

      Now, Vierna’s actions are easily explained: she likes Drizzt and she’s not so mean. The punishment for what Drizzt did would have been one of those “fate worse than death” things and Vierna decided death was more merciful. And this is explained later as they retrieve him to help in a major fight and the lady whose lust was spurned “probably forgot” ’cause of the drugs. It’s all very thin, but explained fairly logically.

      Just here to clear things up. My personal opinion of the work was always that the action was top notch and the concepts interesting. If I want talk-y stuff I’ll read Stephenson.

    • champagneivy says:

      Because R.A Salvatore is a big name they simplify it to say R.A. Salvatore ‘wrote’ it, but on a project like this the big name writer is the big idea guy, drafting the general setting and world and plot but the bulk of the dialogue, characters and quests is actually written by different designers on the narrative team. So if you’re worried that the entire game will be in his ‘voice’ or writing style, you really shouldn’t be.

  3. Rao Dao Zao says:

    “Weaponised fate energy.”

    I… I… IthoughtyouwereaGEPgun.

  4. sneetch says:

    Ahhh Claudia Black, I wonder if you ever just go “seriously? Weaponised fate energy? What the hell am I doing with my life?” when reading this kind of thing?

    I’m really looking forward to this one for some reason.

    • Felixader says:

      After that she remembers: “Ah yeah i am raking in much dough trough the expertly skilled use of my unique voice something that not many can say,” and is happy again. :-P

    • Stick says:

      Heeeeh. Now I have this mental image of Morrigan getting a job as a Hero Instructor. She’s standing there reading from a scroll with a barely suppressed sneer.

    • xenoclast says:

      I dunno. It sounds a lot like the scripts she had to read for Farscape.

  5. Ultra Superior says:

    Strangely I want them to succeed. I want the game not to suck.

    And to fill the tiny niché of 3rd person combat RPGs left empty after Jade Empire.

  6. Enzo says:

    Another Fable game? Bleh…

  7. Njordsk says:

    Looks like a single player MMORPG. I like what I see there.

  8. Arcanon says:

    The most impressive thing was…..Claudia Black’s voice <3 but seriously, she's got to be embarassed reading that stuff, "weaponized-fate-energy" wtf am i saying xD

    It could be cool, after all Skyrim's combat isn't that great, not until they release the damn toolset to the modding community anyway.

  9. IDtenT says:

    It’s a shame that this game doesn’t get more coverage. I’m actually excited about it. Whoop.

  10. Necroscope says:

    How can a skeletal warrior be vulnerable to bleed damage?

  11. Calabi says:

    I like the look of it. I’m haranguing for a decent combat game on the pc.

  12. tomemozok says:

    Yay,more slaughter!
    Skyrim wasn’t enough :D

  13. Mordsung says:

    I always describe this game to my friends as “Imagine Fable didn’t suck.”

  14. MichaelPalin says:

    I was interested in this game as a viable alternative to Elder Scrolls, but the more I see of it, the sillier it looks. “Fate points”? Really? I guess there is an audience for all this colorfulness and a focus on colorful combat, but I think I’m stepping out of it.

    • Dariune says:

      These are my thoughts exactly.

      It just looks too … too … DA2 style awesome to me. And there is nothing good about that IMO

    • Josh W says:

      I’m actually hoping it is like dragon age, because a lot of what dragon age did was good, it just had aweful stuff around the core combat mechanics like randomly spawning additional waves, inconsistent depiction of mage repression, world breaking stuff basically.

      Seen as these guys seem to be replacing that with oscuro style level-banded regions and some factionyness (iirc), this has a chance to be proof that that kind of game can actually be good.

  15. Jabberwocky says:

    I’m interested.
    The combat looks fun, the artwork cool.

    I wonder what kind of financial shape 38 studios is in. They staffed up for a full MMO, and worked on it for years, without releasing anything. The founders have some pretty deep pockets, but that’s gotta run out sometime.

    MMOs are insanely complex and frustrating to make, both from a technical and design standpoint. I don’t think the celebs who founded 38 studios knew what they were in for. Hopefully they were/are smart enough to delegate a lot of decisions to the more experienced MMO guys they’ve hired, rather than trying to call all the shots themselves.

    Anyway, releasing a good single player console game might be a smart move, to build up some confidence and success after digging themselves into an MMO hole.

  16. Belua says:

    This kind of looks like Fable Reloaded – The Action Remix (REMASTERED!).

    Haven’t decided whether that’s a good or a bad thing yet.

  17. pvthudson01 says:

    I couldnt be less excited about this game than I currently am.

    Oh wait…nope got even less excited just now

  18. Billzor says:

    “The uploader has not made this video available in your country,” my country being the U.S.

  19. MadMatty says:

    mOST eXCELLENT TRAILER NARROTOR IVE HEARD IN AGES- ACTUALLY TELLS YOU SOMETHING ABOUT THE GAME, INSTEAD OF SPEWING pr BULLSHIT or cliched storylines.

    sorry about the caps

  20. vecordae says:

    Can’t see the video in my country of residence (New Ethnia), but this talk of Salvatore and Fate Energy Weaponization causes me to sigh sadly.

    I never found Salvatore’s work compelling and the phrase “weaponized fate energy” sounds rather like something that would appear in one of them fancy Japanese animoos the kids are so crazy about.

    Still, if the game is fun, then I suppose painful plot won’t matter so much. I recall enjoying Devil May Cry and plot to that was made of congealed nonsense.

  21. Blackseraph says:

    Killing stuff is worst part of any rpg. In my opinion.

  22. johnpeat says:

    There’s a big (advertising/feature) piece on this in Empire this month – in it they talk about how it’s going to be some huge franchise with games, an MMO and allsorts…

    This means it’s doomed to fail horribly isn’t it?

  23. DigitalSignalX says:

    Video is blocked in the US, but I found this on YouTube – voiced by Claudia Black!! *dreamy sigh*

  24. elfbarf says:

    “The uploader has not made this video available in your country.”

    Such is life as a filthy colonial.

  25. d32 says:

    Oh my, ridiculous creatures, human-sized weapons, lightning speed character moves, flashy blinky effects. This is horrendous.

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