Monday, October 25, 2010

collecting pieces of my family in an old pillow case

The last class has been announced for Diablo III: the Demon Hunter. Unfort, there's good and bad in this.

First is, dual crossbows. That looks hot. That also looks fun, though reloading is obviously going to be problematic, unless she's very agile with her toes or her tongue.

The down side of this? The glowing eyes. Don't get me wrong, I like the glowing eyes, but they should have left her as a demon who 'went good' and started killing the demons infesting the world and trying to drag it down. Unfort, that concept seems to have been left on the design table; she's now just a human...with glowing eyes for no reason.

Trust Blizzard to take something really simple--we fight bad things, we don't always win, but we try hard--and turn it into 'yeah, but it looks cool, screw the mythology'. Phhhht.

(And speaking of Blizzard--and for anyone who's not weary to their very souls on copyright and trademark issues--they're doing it again, and this time they're squaring off with Valve over a trademarked term Valve already trademarked several months back. So the whole situation is just...odd.)

And Champions Online is going free to play at the turn of the year, but what's really telling about that article is not the announcement itself, short as it is (and warning you now, the grammar errors will make your head spin); it's in the comments. Never have I heard such loathing for a game. (Well, that's not World of Warcraft, and to be fair, WoW has seventy adherents to every three detractors, so that works out swimmingly for them.)

Let's be honest, here--City of Heroes/City of Villains is the (rather openly, at this point) winner in the superhero game world; even DC Online likely won't take much of that away, pretty as it is. The best that people seem to be stating is that it (like All Points Bulletin before it) has an insanely detailed customization system that fans were suitably wowed by.

(Having seen the level of customization available in City of Heroes, that's rather astounding, right there--because one can literally lose several hours picking out the "look" of a hero, villain or support character in CoH, before one ever enters the game!)

The only problem--though it is significant--with Champions turning free-to-play is that brief mention of "full game content" being unlocked only to subscribers, or people who pay for that option through the cash shop. This worries me. It's not so much gaming on training wheels, as it is potentially playing a different game from everyone who pays in. How will that work in terms of cohesive game world unity?

(Also, I adore the phrase "mouth-breathing gamer dudebros" from the above link. Gad, that's such a perfect capsule description of so very many gamers, it made me giggle.)

Peruse twenty excellent examples of steampunk art and irony. Most are original, but the concept of Chewbacca in sausage curls makes my brain giggle.

And peruse Robert Heinlein's five rules of writing...and why rule #3 messes up so many neophytes.

Over on Tor Books, there's a really detailed steampunk music timeline. I am very impressed by this, and, while I found Abney Park first (in terms of what tipped me towards steampunk music adoration), they (and correctly, I think) name Vernian Process as the first steampunk musician. (Also, perusing that timeline sinks in the realization that, while 'steampunk' as a concept has longevity, steampunk music is very, very young indeed.)

Want to know exactly where, universally speaking, your favorite sf works take place? Planet Rho is here to help.

Again from Tor, five steampunk vehicles you wish you could take for a spin. My mind is saying that a rocket pack isn't a vehicle, it's a wearable...but it does efficiently relocate you, so...what's the definition of a vehicle, then?

Over on the Mad Hatter blog is a lovely article on exactly what steampunk is...according to everyone surveyed. Fun answers.

And finally, the thing that got me wandering through the Tor blog, a pairing between Tor and Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab that can win several lucky winners steampunk scents from their new Phoenix Steampunk line.

I entered. If you like BPAL, you likely should, too. Just reply to that entry, reply on Facebook (if you are on the loathed thing), and also, reply to Tordotcom on Twitter, and you're in for a shot at some savagely memorable scents.

(By the way, just a small procedural note for anyone interested in the mechanics of blogging...everything above this line used to be above the third part of the Unknown Hunt pictures. But I hit Tor, and dragged away so many links, it's now its own entry.)

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