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3-25-2010 @ 12:28AM
This is gonna hurt a little bit, so I'm gonna try and keep it as painless as possible for those of you who don't really feel like obtaining some kind of a degree in theoretical physics/theoretical astronomy/etc.To start, we don't know what kind of world Azeroth is in relation to time. There are multiple variations, with varying degrees of "OH MY GOD MY BRAIN IS MELTING".1. First, we have the standard single timeline, self-editing. This type of universe has a single correct time line. Any attempt to alter time already happened. Its effects are already known, and as such, is highly susceptible to paradoxes. This is the kind of situation where killing your own grandfather can get you erased out of history for causing unresolvable problems.2. Next, we have the single timeline, non-editing. This one behaves weirdly when thinking about the time itself, but tends to make more sense on the surface. In this timeline, events which change the past overwrite history. Killing your grandfather here will prevent you from being born, but that won't effect the you in the past (doing the killing).3. Thirdly, we've got the splitting multiverse scenario. In this "universe", every decision causes a split in the timeline; eventually you have billions upon billions of different universes, each minor permutations of the next. Traveling back in time here actually creates a separate timeline "tree", which can (theoretically at least) cause interfere with the original timeline. Killing your grandfather in this timeline is likely to result in gargoyles, demon bugs, and possibly the destruction of the multi-verse as a whole.4. Lastly, we've got the concurrent multiverse theory. This one says that all possible universes exist simultaneously, and right next to one another. Furthermore, all possible times in all these universes exist at the same time. Think of this like a funny kind of train track. It's possible to jump the track, effectively moving from one time and/or universe to another. For those of you who have read the *book* Timeline by Michael Crichton, this is the kind of timeline implemented there (movie-goers of the same titled story should see the first type of universe). Killing your grandfather in this timeline has no consequences (other than possibly being arrested for murder), as it's not actually *your* grandfather, just the grandfather of another person who would be identical to you in their universe.To sum up, we don't know which of the four types of timeline (or many others which I haven't described here) Azeroth follows, and to be perfectly honest, I don't think it follows any of them. Knaak, and other writers, have a habit of leaving the actual details of time travel out of the book, probably because it hurts their heads too. To quote Dr. Who, it's "more like a ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey... stuff". Also, most writers create inconsistent timelines, which if closely examined, don't hold up in any type of universe. Suffice it to say, time-travel as a plot device creates far more problems than it solves.I'm hoping Blizzard comes out and says that Azeroth follows style four, as that makes for the least headaches for all concerned. It also allows them to have some fun playing with two conflicting Bronze Dragonflights, of different timelines, possibly creating the infinites (as a second set of bronze dragons who are unrecognizable as such (as Matthew Rossi hinted at, and a previous poster fleshed out better)).
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