LATEST: Opinion: Is Marvel Really Promoting Diversity?
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By on Jul 25, 2014 at 2:00 pm, in Comics, Editorial, Geek Culture  |  Comments: No comments yet

It seems as though there is always fervor on the internet, and most recently this has been surrounding Marvel’s recent announcement of the changes in their Avenger’s lineup. Comic book fanboys (and those who appreciate the Marvel cinematic universe) were surprised to hear that the company had made significant changes in two of their titles—Thor and Captain America.

You may have heard the complaints that Marvel’s made Thor into a girl and Captain America is now African-American—but these complaints aren’t entirely accurate, so let’s clear that up before we move one. Marvel hasn’t decided to re-write these characters (as, say, DC did when they decided to give Amanda Waller more sex appeal). It’s just that Thor and Steve Rogers are being replaced by other characters, who will carry on their mantels. Thor has become unworthy to wield Mjolnir, so he is being replaced by a yet-unnamed female character. She is now worthy to wield the power of Thor and, thanks to some tweaks of the Thor myth, now carries his name. As for Cap, Steve Rogers is experiencing some dramatic effects from his super-serum, and is aging rapidly as well as losing his powers. His friend (and the Falcon) Sam Wilson is stepping in to fill his shoes.


Those who support these changes—mostly in the name of diversity in comics—point out that Thor and Cap have been replaced before. Bucky Barnes, another friend, took Cap’s mantle when Rogers was thought to be dead. Thor has been replaced by a horse-like alien named Beta Ray Bill. It can’t be any stranger to replace him with a woman, can it? The comic book universes are lacking fully representative character, and all steps toward remedying that are good steps.

By on Sep 20, 2013 at 10:57 am, in Article, Editorial, TESO  |  Comments: Comments are off for this post

Maybe you’re new to the whole MMO scene. Maybe you’ve never done PVP in an MMO. Maybe you’ve never heard of Dark Age of Camelot (DAOC), or stopped to think about the implications of the planned “Alliance War” end game for the Elder Scrolls Online. Never fear, I’ve experienced plenty and have been wracking my brain over the implications for many a month now; I’ll share what I’ve concluded!

What is the difference between RvR or AvA and regular PvP?

PvP simply means “player vs. player” – RvR and AvA fall under the umbrella of PvP, but they are more specialized and focused. If you hate PvP, it’s probably because you played in an MMO or other type game where there was something called free for all or FFA PvP, and didn’t like the chaos. That’s okay – it takes a special breed to enjoy that sort of mayhem. RvR is a term coined by the devs of Dark Age of Camelot and it stands for Realm versus Realm. The people behind DAOC, Matt Firor included, decided that it was more enjoyable for MOST people if you didn’t have to worry about PvP in your adventuring area and only had meaningful conflict with enemy realms in a “frontier.” In my, not so humble, opinion, they were right. I migrated to DAOC from Everquest and knew nothing of the RvR aspect of that game. I blithely went about, engaging in the PVE escapades until I was somewhere near top level and a friend I had made sent me a /tell, “Hey, Mids are at our milegate and our guild is rallying to defend. Do you want to come?” I had no idea what he was talking about, but I said, “Sure!” I made the horse ride over the to the portal keep, jumped into the frontiers and joined his group. I still had no idea what was going on, but I had the vague notion that enemy players were attacking our realm. Thus commenced some of the most entertaining 2 hours of my gaming history. I won’t bore you with a play by play (if my memory even could call that detail up), but I’ll say that the unknown of enemy players was what kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole time; you never knew when you were going to engage or be engaged, and the thrill of winning our first couple engagements vs. other players gave me a rush like I never felt in PVE. Fast forward to today and ESO’s planned implementation of Alliance versus Alliance (AvA) warfare; I’ll outline the similarities of the two systems in the next section.

By on Jul 1, 2013 at 9:13 am, in Article, Editorial, RIFT  |  Comments: 14 comments

pride writeup title

This past weekend was RIFT‘s first player-run, in-game Pride event. It was hosted by the awesome folks of The Last Prophecy on Greybriar and thanks to solid player organization (thanks Danitsia and crew!) and RIFT‘s nifty cross-shard grouping feature, the event was a pretty damn fine (and fun) success. There were over four raid groups of parade participants and a bunch more of us who showed up fashionably late (yep– I might be talking about myself) and just kinda hopped in on a Greybriar alt and had a blast.

Contrary to what some players on the forums anticipated, the event went off without a hitch for the most part. While there were a handful of players participating in various global channels that had a few negative comments and whispers for those organizing the event, for the most part the atmosphere was entirely positive. There were quite a few players who were genuinely confused about the event and what it stood for exactly, but I’m a firm believer in the fact that Pride parades and events exist to spread awareness and community– but also knowledge. Knowledge, even in a video game, equals power. The fact that players were curious was an excellent sign.

By on May 15, 2013 at 11:15 am, in Article, Editorial, RIFT  |  Comments: 29 comments

free to play editorial title

In lieu of hearing a simple announcement regarding an arrival date for Patch 2.3, we received some other big news yesterday along with that patch date announcement. Yep, RIFT’s going free-to-play on June 12th, which is also when 2.3 will be opening its doors (and Dendrome). Most of us saw the hints of this move coming months ago in between the layoffs at Trion, the addition of the in-game shop, and Scott Hartsman’s departure. Yesterday’s news still came as a surprise to many of us, however, especially given the timing of the news.

Bill “Daglar” Fisher mentioned yesterday that the team had been planning this move for more than a year, but despite the fact that the team pushed one-year subscription plans during the launch of Storm Legion, veteran players were only given one month to absorb the F2P news. Many one-year subscribers are understandably feeling a little let down by this move, especially considering the fact that some are paid up with over 300 days remaining on their accounts.

By on May 13, 2013 at 10:15 am, in Article, Editorial, RIFT  |  Comments: 8 comments

hellbugs rng title

RIFT’s Hellbugs– they come in pretty colors, look awesome when they jump, and are currently helping fire rifts see a lot of action. One problem, however. The drop rates on these little and not-so-little guys are very random and a little low for many players’ tastes. The combination of the two makes completing a Hellbug mount/pet collection fairly time consuming. Unless, of course, the RNG gods are on your side so to speak.

RNG, which stands for ‘random number generation’, is the acronym us gamers like to use when our odds of obtaining goodies are purely left to the virtual dice. By now, most of us are familiar with the concept of RNG mount drops in RIFT and remember it from past world events where players were either lucky or, well, weren’t. Trion took a hint from players after Waves of Madness and promptly started offering mount rewards during world events that didn’t require a whole lot of luck. The past few world events mounts have been really easy to nab, in fact.

By on Apr 23, 2013 at 9:00 am, in Article, Editorial, TESO  |  Comments: No comments yet


Beta leaks are of those unfortunate things that seems to happen when you bundle together a highly-anticipated game in development with a closed beta and the wonders of the Internet. The MMORPG community can be a little rabid when it comes to new information at times, especially when it comes to games that are high on their radar. Take The Elder Scrolls Online for example. Radar aplenty.

Fans of The Elder Scrolls are curious how an MMORPG set in the same universe will pan out. MMORPG fans who are just hungry for a lore-rich world, fun dungeons and raids, and an open-ended class system have also taken notice. Crafters and RPers are curious. There’s also the PvP community who hopped aboard the second the development team uttered that tasty “raid vs. raid” phrase. TESO is gaining popularity among the MMORPG community, and that’s awesome. What’s isn’t as awesome is the effect that beta leaks sometimes have on that community.

By on Apr 9, 2013 at 10:00 am, in Article, Editorial  |  Comments: 2 comments

episode mission title

After completing Episode Mission 1 in Defiance with Nolan and Irisa, most of us are eagerly awaiting the debut of the TV show. The concept is pretty awesome, naturally. We get to know these two characters in a sense then see their story unfold as they arrive in St. Louis. “We helped them,” we can say. At other moments in the show we will probably find ourselves saying stuff like, “I know what they’re talking about!” and “I remember hearing a holo recording about that!” It is exciting, and that’s definitely the intention that both Trion and SyFy had when carefully crafting this post-apocalyptic flavor fusion.

It’s also just plain fun. I personally hadn’t played through Episode Mission 1 until the game launched, so along with the main story throughout Defiance, that Episode Mission has been my favorite part of the game by far. My character might even be sporting an official Nolan fan club jacket, but ssh, don’t tell him that. I’m sure I’m not the only player who’s really looking forward to continuing the Episode Missions in the game. There’s one problem, unfortunately. We’re not going to be seeing the Episode Missions nearly as often as some folks are hoping for.

By on Mar 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm, in Article, Editorial, RIFT  |  Comments: 12 comments

carnival editorial title

Despite the fact that we’re right in the middle of RIFT’s second anniversary and Sanctum, Meridian, and the dock area of Tempest Bay are full of cheerful NPCs, colorful balloons, and carnival games galore, there’s one thing missing among the festivities on many shards. One group of things, rather. Well, okay, not things exactly. People. Despite the popularity of last year’s Carnival of the Ascended, this year our carnival grounds seem a little sparse.

Not all shards are experiencing this sparseness, of course, but even on high and medium population shards, folks are noticing the lack of carnival goers. I know I have. It was hard to miss the giant raids of balloon stompers last year even on low population shards. This year, the first day had a few smaller raids forming up on the two PvE shards I frequent, but now even during peak hours there are rarely more than three people wandering through any of the carnival attractions. So, what gives? Why aren’t the carnival games as popular as they were last year?

By on Mar 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm, in Article, Editorial, GW2  |  Comments: 4 comments

guild mission title

Since the implementation of guild missions a couple of weeks ago, the Guild Wars 2 community has expressed a wide variety of, well, concern. A significant portion of small-to-medium guilds have not been able to even start the process of learning guild missions because of the high Influence requirements as well as the fact that the Art of War guild upgrades need to have been unlocked before a guild bounty can be unlocked. Right before the update, we saw a developer blog where smaller guilds were reassured that they would be able to participate in guild missions with ease. Unfortunately, the result is that while players can technically participate in another guild’s mission, they cannot earn the valuable rewards for participating.

This leaves a smaller guild with few options. The guild can merge with another, larger guild, which would work nicely for guild missions, but might harm either guild community. The guild can also actively recruit, which is probably the most effective possibility, but also extremely difficult when large guilds right now already offer a large chunk of guild missions and challenges. The third option is to unlock guild missions using gold. This seems to be the route that many smaller guilds are currently taking, but it’s proving to be a difficult road so far.

By on Feb 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm, in Article, Editorial, RIFT  |  Comments: 6 comments

crossing the pve and pvp divide

When Trion added Conquest to RIFT, one of the team’s stated goals was that they wanted to help build a bridge between dedicated PvP players and dedicated PvE players. Conquest was planned as the perfect large-scale playground for players who enjoyed slaying other players, of course, but it was also designed with PvE players in mind. The roles of crafting and objective taking were going to be brought to the forefront, and the developer team hoped that small, organized groups would play a vital part. The plan was to make Conquest’s rewards worthwhile to both PvE players and PvP players.

During the first months of Conquest, this plan went fairly well. Without taking the early catastrophes of Conquest into consideration, everyone at least tried out the new feature, even players who weren’t known to PvP. Despite Trion’s hopes, Conquest quickly delved into a large-scale zerg fest where small groups generally weren’t formed and Conquest became a battle between which side had the most players clumped up. A large portion of PvE players still took part despite the lack of PvE gameplay for two reasons– Conquest Point perks and the stat trinket– both of which were great for PvE purposes.

Now we find ourselves three months into Storm Legion. Our Conquest map hasn’t changed. We’ve seen some quality-of-life updates to Conquest including a better queue system, but for the most part, the three-faction system plays similar to how it played at level 50. It’s a PvP zerg fest, essentially, which is great for players who enjoy that type of PvP action. For other players, those two desirable rewards still stand out. The problem with the perks and trinket this time around, however, is far more pronounced and is beginning to leave a sour taste is many PvE players’ mouths.

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