the Evil Network

Not necessarily evil, but not necessarily good...

Zoinks! Magazine | Nerdflood

Friday, March 31, 2006

Has Aggie been inspired by Hassan?


Link: http://www.pennyandaggie.com/d/20060331.html
Posted by Nathaniel at 12:29 PM
Somewhat obscure reference in today's Penny and Aggie to Farris Hassan, the 16-year-old kid who secretly traveled to Iraq in an effort to find some way to assist the crumbling nation. As part of KeenSpot's Spotlight 2006, which has a road trip theme. Evidently, Aggie's planning to take her peace march straight to the war zone.

Here's hoping she doesn't get herself killed.

Category: webomics

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Keeping those superhero/supervillain secret relationships in check


Link: http://www.evil-comic.com/d/20060330.html
Posted by Nathaniel at 1:00 PM
For those playing at home, you may or may not need a quick recap of the complicated interpersonal relationships represented in Evil, Inc. You see, there's Miss Match. She's a supervillain. Then there's Captain Heroic. He's a superhero. And, well, they're married. To each other. And since no one else knows their alter-ego identities, no one is keen to the fact that there's a superhero and a supervillain sharing a bed.

No one knows. Not even the villainous Evil, Inc. crew. Brad Guigar's cleverly-placed punchline on today's comic brilliantly illustrates how they've been keeping such an enormous secret, but the fact that this storyline is appearing does not bode well. If comic books have taught us anything, it's that superheroes can have a hard time keeping their personal life personal. An interesting storyline in any comic story is one where the possibility of a superhero's identity is in danger of being revealed. I'm throwing caution to the wind and predicting such a storyline is coming upon us here at Evil, Inc. I think Guigar is preparing us for a huge upset in the Evil, Inc. universe. I believe we shall soon be seeing certain members of Evil, Inc. discovering the truth of Miss Match and Captain Heroic's relationship, and we'll be forced to watch helplessly as their family is put in danger, and life becomes harrowing and upredictable.

But it will be likely one of the most entertaining reads this year.

Category: webomics

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Look at Books: George R. R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones"


Posted by Nathaniel at 4:02 PM
Books and LiteratureI just finished reading George R. R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones" this weekend, and I've got the desire to talk about it.

Warning! The potential for spoilers is highly probable!

This is a story unlike any I've ever read previously. Martin's ability to subtly blend a true-to-life tale of deceit and betrayal with very soft-spoken magical and fantasy elements in one medieval world is unmatched. You get the story of a throne, and those who do and do NOT wish to sit upon it. It's a tale cleverly told, and very realistic in its construction. This isn't sword and sorcery fantasy. This is kings and wars and deception and greed and sex and murder and innocence and death. It's at once beautiful and horrifying in its portrayal of royal families and their allegience to their masters.

I had read in forums from experts that claimed you can't become attached to any character in George R. R. Martin's books. And this is true. The characters you believe infallible are not, and the one you believe to be the hero may end up being the martyr. This isn't done to "keep things interesting" or some such nonsense. The story actually comes to these points honestly and it feels natural as opposed to forced for some sort of "shock factor".

You can tell this is the first book of a series because the groundwork is being laid. Whispers of a force of soldiers coming from the north, with ice in their veins and a thirst for the destruction of all humans. Dragons being reborn under the watchful eye of the last of the line of Targaryens. From the story being told right now, you feel at the end of 'A Game of Thrones' that Robb Stark will soon be fighting a battle on three fronts. The Lannisters in front of him, the Others coming down from the north, and the Dothraki soon to be cutting across the sea, the power of dragons in their midst.

The most important aspect of this story is not so much how well it's told, but how interested it makes you in reading more. I have to read the next book. I have no choice. I must know what happens to House Stark. I must know how Daenerys endears her new dragons to her. I must know what the Starks do with Jaime Lannister. I must know. I have no choice.

Winter is coming...

Casting your pod...


Posted by Nathaniel at 1:20 PM
I guess I need a podcast category image, because more than likely, I'll be talking about podcasts somewhat regularly around here. Ever since I downloaded iTunes, I've been addicted to podcasts. Here's a rundown of some of the podcasts I've been listening to regularly and that I wholeheartedly endorse for consumption.

Webcomics Podcasts
  • Blank Label Comics: by far the most entertaining podcast I listen to. Dave and Kris have a fantastic rapport and their humor bounces between them effortlessly making for an excellent waste of an hour
  • Digital Strips: the original webcomics podcast, accept no substitutes. Daku and Zampzon (and Phil Kahn) are great hosts and they have access to interview some very influential members of the webcomics landscape. Always an entertaining listen
  • KeenCast: to be perfectly honest, I only listen to the KeenSpot podcast to round out my webcomics collective podcast library. It's not nearly as entertaining as the others, and it's fairly incestual in that they only interview fellow KS-ers. I'm holding out for the Chris Crosby interview
  • Talk About Comics: this podcast seems to me to simply be Joey Manley interviewing webcartoonists who are "innovating" in his mind. WARNING: only listen to this podcast if you 1) can stand to listen to Joey Manley, and 2) are really interested in keeping up with the whole webcomics universe
  • Meanwhile...: even though T Campbell is involved in this podcast, you have to remind yourself that this isn't a webcomics podcast, perse. It's a podcast about comics, including the books. You know, not on the web. WARNING: only listen to this podcast if you 1) can stand to listen to T Campbell (I happen to like him, personally), and 2) are really interested in keeping up with the whole webcomics universe
I also used to subscribe to the KeenToons animated cartoons "podcast", but after it downloaded a few episodes, I realized I didn't like any of them and quickly unsubscribed.
Other
  • IGN Games/Entertainment: surprisingly entertaining! I listen to both the games podcast and the movies and music one. The people doing them are nuts, and it's fun to listen to and keep up to date with everyone's opinions on the latest trash some corporations pass for "entertainment" these days
  • Revolution Report: I'm a Nintendo fanboy. Gotta keep up with what Nintendo is doing!
  • Real Time with Bill Maher: I miss having this man on network television (I don't have cable), so it's fantastic to see that HBO decided to post his shows as (video-less) podcasts. That way, I continue to get my angry liberal fix
  • Ask a Ninja: dear LORD this stuff is hilarious!
  • NPR: Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me: not nearly as hilarious as Ask a Ninja, but still highly entertaining
  • TalkCrunch: Mike Arrington of TechCrunch talks Web2.0, software, business, innovation, and more. Fascinating discussions with major Web2.0 players and soon-to-be spotlighters
Yes, I'm addicted to podcasts. Lord help me, I don't even listen to music anymore.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A company that buys your contact info


Link: http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/03/23/jigsaw-is-a-really-really-bad-idea/trackback/
Posted by Nathaniel at 8:58 AM
InternetSoftwareIf Mike Arrington thinks it's a bad idea, then it has to be a really, really bad idea. It just sounds so completely off the wall, I'm wondering if it's an April Fool's joke that accidentally went public. A company called Jigsaw will pay people to load up their address book. Then, they make the data available for download by anyone with less than half a heart and no brain. It's colossally fearsome to even imagine this sort of thing not only exists, but is actually attempting to pass itself off as a valuable tool.

Yeah, it's a tool, all right. The next story you hear regarding Jigsaw will be the class-action lawsuit once this hits the public wavelength and all those powerful executives who didn't realize their contact info was out there whip their lawyers into a frenzy. That backlash should be fun to watch.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The History of Webcomics has been written


Link: http://tcampbell.net/2006/03/book-is-done.html
Posted by Nathaniel at 7:18 PM
Comics
There are a couple of formatting issues to sort out and I have to write the book-jacket description, but the manuscript is now officially out of my hands.
Hopefully, things don't blow up on T regarding this project. And we all know how these things can get out of hand.

I'm rooting for you, T. I'll be picking up my own copy when it hits the shelves and forming my own opinion soon after. We all know how nice it is to actually read something prior to forming your opinion of the work in question. For some, it's simply easier to hate it right up front than to waste any time actually digesting the material.

Revolution not necessarily the Revolution but still A revolution nontheless


Link: http://www.revolutionfanboy.com/2006/03/22/no-longer-the-nintendo-revolution/
Posted by Nathaniel at 1:09 PM
GamingSo, evidently there's word that Iwata's keynote address on Thursday at the Game Developers Conference will shed light on the Nintendo Revolution in such a way as to give us a glimpse into its final moniker. As Revolution Fanboy suggests, it would NOT be highly recommended to change the name of the console with the name "Revolution" so tightly woven into the fabric of the media machine, but perhaps they have an even better name in the works. Or, perhaps Revolution Fanboy is simply biased since a name-change would also require that they register yet another fanboy domain name. Fools.

I suppose there will be more on this tomorrow.

Penny Arcade Podcast


Link: http://www.filecloud.com/files/file.php?user_file_id=130051
Posted by Nathaniel at 8:45 AM
ComicsIt looks as though the Penny Arcade team has decided to join up in the new internet trend of podcasting. They've posted a preliminary podcast out at Filecloud (a vicious file download system that is conceivably worse than FilePlanet in utter unnavigability, if that's even remotely possible). Here's hoping that future episodes will logically be made available in iTunes, instead of forcing potential listeners to wait two hours in a "download line" to grab your latest musings. According to Gabe, this flagship podcast gives listeners an inside look into how a PA comic strip comes into existence. He claims it's boring, but I'm sure the conversations that take place have the potential to be highly entertaining.

In case you're wondering, no, I haven't had a chance to listen to the podcast yet. I'm number 2764 in line with 114 minutes remaining until my download begins. Yay. I'll let you know if it's worth the wait. If it is, I'll post it to Putfile for you.

UPDATE: Looks as though the masses have spoken. They plan to do this weekly AND use an acceptable distribution system. Fantastic!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Star Wars Television Series Official


Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4808746.stm
Posted by Nathaniel at 12:33 PM
Movies and TelevisionSo, evidently they're going through with it. Lucas will be directing. Don't get your hopes up.
"Hopefully if we can make it work and everybody's excited and watches it we will keep on going," said McCallum. The series will be set between episodes three and four of the film saga. It would cover the 20 years in the life of Luke Skywalker growing up that remains a mystery to most film-goers. McCallum said there would be "a whole bunch of new characters" and the series would be "much more dramatic and darker".
So, basically, we've got a Star Wars show with no jedi. Yeah. I'm picturing the Star Wars version of "Smallville", which I watched until about halfway through the second season, when I suddenly realized it was pure WB teen angst drivel, but with kryptonite! This will be pure WB teen angst drivel, but with references to Tatooine!

I shudder to think.

Monday, March 20, 2006

When a Troll meets a Jackass, coming through the rye...


Link: http://pvponline.com
Posted by Nathaniel at 9:32 AM
ComicsEveryone seems to be chiming in on the current storyline over at PvP. Scott Kurtz has been on a cheesy 80's movie storylines kick lately, with time-travelling in a Delorean and the current homage to "Freaky Friday" with Skull and Brent switching bodies. It's fun to watch and see Scott take his characters through these situations. It's even more entertaining knowing what the outcome could be, and actually seeing Scott take you in a completely different direction. It's part of why he's so popular.

However, no one seems to be asking the really important questions. That's been left to us here at the Evil Network to do. We ask the questions no one else will ask (because those questions are likely slightly retarded).

In any case, most of us knew already (prior to Scott's news posting on 3/13) that Max can't see Skull. Most of us also already knew why. Max is completely and totally self-centered. The idea of a troll doesn't fit within his narrow-minded view of the world. So, here's an interesting thought. If Max came across Skull and Brent as they are right now, which one would he NOT be able to see? Realize, it's Brent's soul that exists within Skull's shell. Skull's soul exists within Brent's shell. Would Brent's soul in Skull's body humanize him enough to allow Max to see him? How would Skull in Brent's body act around Max?

I know. It's a stupid question. But shouldn't we be thinking about the stupid questions, too? Because, that's where the love is. It's in the stupid questions.

Yeah, I hate me, too. Discuss!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Blogware: Wordpress vs Blogger


Posted by Nathaniel at 12:38 PM
InternetSoftwareI've got a sekrit projekt in the works at the moment that shall be unveiled (hopefully) soon. As part of this sekrit projekt, I've been playing around with Wordpress blogging software. Now, as a disclaimer, I've been using Blogger for nearly five years. I know the tool. I love the tool. I swear by the tool. But it has its limitations. After playing with Wordpress for about a week, I've discovered it also has its own flavor of limitations.

For the purpose of comparison, I've listed below my impressions of the two tools, with a handy "pros and cons list" of each. Keep in mind, I've used Blogger for about five years, and Wordpress for roughly five days. This is by no means a comprehensive listing, nor is it an authoratative comparison. Heaping piles of salt. Okay. Here we go.
Blogger (by Google)
Pros
Editable templates
Quick, easy-to-use interface
Excellent "BlogThis" Firefox extension for quick posting
Easy to manage multiple blogs through one user ID

Cons
No Categories
Can't create pages outside the blog date heirarchy
Have to edit templates (CSS/HTML) to expand public interface
Re-publishing of full blog will usually result in failure/error

Wordpress (by Automattic)
Pros
Categories (this accounts for about 82% of the reason I'm playing with the tool)
Option to ping Technorati and Google on posting
Includes tracking software
Easy-to-implement customizable sidebar widgets
Ability to create "non-blog" pages
Very quick and easy publishing of posts

Cons
Seems to run really slow (both admin and public site)
Cannot edit template
Cannot add tracking software code to template
Included tracking software is not very robust
No really good Firefox extension for quick posting (Performancing is "okay", but not nearly as great as "BlogThis" for Blogger)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Beyond Good & Evil sequel (potentially) in development


Link: http://www.revolutionreport.com/articles/read/339
Posted by Nathaniel at 4:54 PM
GamingThis is GREAT news. Fantastic news. I want to kiss the man at Ubisoft reponsible for this news. Beyond Good & Evil remains one of my favorite games on my GameCube, and here's hoping that the alleged Revolution sequel is just as engrossing and enchanting as the original.
Apparently, this new game - which has supposedly been in development for a few months - will carry forward much of the gameplay of the original title, but JeuxPo stated at least one noticeable difference: the main character Jade will have the ability to travel to other planets.
So, it sounds as though you get to start this game with your father's spaceship from the first game. Which, by all accounts, would indeed rock greatly.

Here's hoping this news is, in fact, correct.

Discoveries: Savage Chickens and Robot Comix


Posted by Nathaniel at 4:22 PM
ComicsTwo discoveries today, both noted for their eloquent simplicity and humorousnessocity.

The first is Savage Chickens by Doug Savage. Gag-a-day chickens. Drawn on a Post-it® note. All you purist unbelievers who feel that any gag-a-day webcomic that utilizes animals in any form is a blatant Far Side copy should check out Savage Chickens and see the artform become original once more.

The other is Robot Comix by Ben (the only creator info available is his first name) and it has just as simple and magnificent a premise as Savage Chickens. It's robots. Drawn on graph paper. And it's beautiful to behold. Even when characters are making unpatriotic statements against our nation.

Two discoveries I've made recently that are definitely worth a look. Savage Chickens is daily, Monday through Friday, and Robot Comix is posted whenever Ben damn well gets around to it, which lately has been sparse, at best, due to technical difficulties. But as with all gems of webcomic goodness on the internet, the archives are still fun to sift through.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Gossamer Thread


Link: http://www.gossamercommons.com/
Posted by Nathaniel at 9:56 PM
ComicsDisclaimer: I don't review webcomics. Webcomics criticism is being dragged through the mud a bit as of late. But more than that, I feel it's relatively difficult to review something that isn't complete. But that's a debate for other channels. Right now, I'm commenting on something I noticed over at Gossamer Commons. But this isn't a review. It's commentary. Remember that.

I love my job over at Zoinks!. For instance, I got to interview Steve Troop of Melonpool for the April issue. I love Steve Troop. He's a great, funny individual with a unique perspective on the webcomics landscape, a perspective that I both share and appreciate. However, if you want to know more about that, you will simply have to get a subscription. I'm here to talk about Gossamer Commons. But I need a snippet from my interview with Steve to make a point. So, for those of you on the fence about whether or not you want to get a Zoinks! subscription, I'll give you a small sample. But first: a tiny bit of background.

If you know Steve Troop, you know he's currently on hiatus. The reasons for his hiatus are many and varied, but at the heart of it all, Steve isn't so keen on cartooning at the moment. He has stories he wants to tell, and he currently uses cartooning as a vehicle with which to tell those stories. I asked Steve a question that he indicated he gets asked often, and it's an obvious question, so it didn't really surprise me when he said what he said. I asked him why he doesn't partner up with an artist to draw the stories he wants to write. Here's one sentence he gave me that I haven't been able to shake out of my head:
I would team up with another artist, but I seem to have created characters that NO ONE can draw.
Now, back to Gossamer Commons.

Now, I'm not much for webcomics containing anthropomorphic animals as main characters, but Peter Venables has a pretty good comic over at 13 Seconds. Peter's style is messy and inconsistent and looks like it belongs on scraps of napkins in a diner. This sounds like a slam, but honestly, this works for 13 Seconds. I like this style in this context. Peter, as you may know, is the current artist for Gossamer Commons.

The former artist was Greg Holkan, who has moved on to his own projects. Over at Seppuku, Greg does a comic called [nemesis]. Greg's style contains bold, fluid strokes that bring his creations to life. It works for [nemesis] because of the story he's trying to tell, and the way in which he's trying to tell it. Just like Peter's style works for 13 Seconds.

Only, Greg's style worked fantastic for Gossamer Commons, as well. Peter, I'm not so sold on. For example, in this image, we see both Greg and Peter's take on "Malachite" (shown wearing his "public glamour"). Greg's is on the left, Peter's on the right. I submit this as exhibit A to my point that Greg simply knows how to pull a character together. He isn't just using a particular style, he has style.

I'll be the first to admit that this is really just my opinion, but basically I want Greg back. While Peter does have an expressive artistic flair, it isn't Gossamer Commons to me. Greg has created characters that NO ONE else can draw, and rightly so, no one else should draw. Seeing what has happened to Gossamer Commons in recent weeks since Peter has taken over artistic duties tells me that I should never have asked Steve Troop if he would consider working with another artist. Even if Steve only creates one Melonpool comic every decade, I believe I would still prefer it to seeing the Melonpool cast drawn by another hand.

In the case of Gossamer Commons, yeah, I want Greg back. He's not coming back, mind you. He'll never be back. But this new style just doesn't catch me like Greg did. I'm bored with the story. The art doesn't suck me in, doesn't involve me. It just sits there, messy and inconsistent. It makes me think of 13 Seconds, and not the Fey tales I was just a couple of months ago completely absorbed within.

I don't have a "you had me and you lost me" links list. I have an offlist (it's must simpler to say, I suppose). And I think Gossamer Commons is headed for that list. No offense, guys, I'm just not feeling the magic anymore.

On a somewhat-related side note, Eric--you have a lot of catching up to do on the responsibilities front. You may notice the creators page and the copyright footnote at the bottom of every page of the site; neither contain mention of Peter. Both contain references to Greg Holkan. While Greg was definitely an original creator, he isn't now. So, you might want to consider updating your website to credit your current choice in artist.

Or, are you secretly also hoping that Greg might make a return...?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

New James Bond movie to suck


Link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060310/film_nm/bond_dc_1
Posted by Nathaniel at 1:47 PM
Movies and TelevisionThe new James Bond movie may well end up being a steaming pile of waste. While I'm the first to encourage "shaking things up", so to speak (being a proponent of shaking, not stirring, of course, and yes, I'm aware that that's not really all that funny of a joke), this recent news just does not bode well for the Bond franchise.

No Q? No Moneypenny? James Blonde? Making mistakes? I'm sorry, but this franchise is a god damned sacred epic. You don't mess with sacred territory. That's why they call it sacred.
But on the way to being the smooth, unruffled, lady-killer 007 fans have grown accustomed to, Craig as the first blond Bond, will clearly show a more human side. "The great thing about it is that he makes mistakes and screws up. Bond finds violence hard to take, he won't admit to that. He has to do two killings, one is very messy. He falls in love with a girl, genuinely falls in love," said Campbell.
I'm not making this up. It makes me want to scream profanities. This is tantamount to making Mario star in a dance dance revolution-style game. Oh, wait. Well, it's still a fairly oddball way to play the master of smooth spy operators.

The jury is still out, I suppose. Like all things that loom foreboding on the horizon, I will wait to see it for myself before truly proclaiming this potential monstrocity an actual beast of destruction.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Writely Purchased by Google


Link: http://evilnetwork.blogspot.com/2006/03/google-yep-google.html
Posted by Nathaniel at 9:03 AM
InternetSoftwareI like to see this. Google has been snatching up Web 2.0 companies left and right in the past couple of years, and Writely is one piece of internet-based software I've been hoping would see a larger audience. For those who may not know, Writely is collaborative online word processing software, and it's an ingenius system. Here's hoping we'll be seeing more pieces of Google's "alleged" online OS soon.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Don't just design...REDESIGN!


Posted by Nathaniel at 12:18 PM
ComicsMan, everyone is redesigning their websites these days. Comixpedia, Mousewax, Goats, Zoinks! -- everyone is moving to a minimalist "Web 2.0"-ish" style interface, rounded corners, clean, crisp backgrounds (usually white), subtle tones that mesh well and don't use more than two variants of a specific color shade (well, everybody but Zoinks!). And they're using sleek webtools like Drupal and Mambo and god knows what else.

Makes me wish we had a new name so we could redesign this pile of crap on a stick.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

You misspelled 'Fables'...


Link: http://www.phables.com/
Posted by Nathaniel at 6:43 PM
ComicsAs if Brad Guigar didn't have enough work to do with Evil, Inc., Courting Disaster, Everything Cartooning, various duties at that one webcomic collective, and creating custom forum signature banners, he's now gone and started up a new webcomic called Phables.

Phables is a much larger comic presentation, only appearing every other week (which bodes well for Guigar actually getting some sleep) recounting the myriad tales of life in Philadelphia, PA. Lord only knows what happens there, but one has to wonder if it was by design that Guigar chose to start crafting this webcomic post-Super Bowl XL.

Anyways, it's off to a great start, and we'll be checking back for more to see if Brad has died of exhaustion.

The Perfect Game


Link: http://www.4colorrebellion.com/archives/2006/03/08/final-fantasy-xii-scores-perfect/
Posted by Nathaniel at 10:47 AM
GamingIs there a such thing as the perfect game? Japan seems to think so. In a land that holds RPGs from Squeenix in a higher regard than their own pitiful existence, all four reviewers of the highly respected game review magazine Famitsu gave Final Fantasy XII a perfect 10 out of 10, for a combined perfect score of 40 out of 40. An amazing feat given the tepid reception of recent FF-series games such as the GameCube multiplayer Crystal Chronicles, FFVII spin-off Dirge of Cerberus, and XII's predecessor, XI.

Is the FF series due for a resurgence in popularity? We'll see when the game hits the US in August.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

No, no, really...I'm still here...


Posted by Nathaniel at 5:47 PM
It seems like I'm still on hiatus, doesn't it? I had the timing way off on coming back from hiatus, as I completely forgot that I have a busy week at work the next few days, and home life hasn't gotten any simpler.

In any case, here's a great essay about CoH you should read, and this is an extremely funny Starslip Crisis.

Who am I kidding, they're all funny.

See you when I can.

Friday, March 03, 2006

HEAL PLZ!


Link: http://www.cesspit.net/drupal/node/1202
Posted by Nathaniel at 2:35 PM
GamingThere's an article by game designer Raph Koster circulating the net at the moment (first springing up on Boing Boing) that talks about Raph's unique concept of an MMO revolving around the idea of healing and medicine as opposed to combat and raids.

But I don't want to talk about that.

I want to talk about the article that Raph linked to.

Raph mentions an article from an mmo player and blogger named Abalieno discussing the role of the healer in MMOs; which is, basically, he simply wants it to go away:
The first is again about the role of the "healer" and why I think it is superfluous to the point that I wouldn't miss it if completely removed and replaced with something different.
At this point in the article (Abalieno's second paragraph, to be precise), the people I know who play the MMOs I see would be shaking their fists in fury at this unknown man's utter insolence. The nerve! they would be saying. Healers are VITAL to the MMO gaming landscape! However, read on, and you see that his rationale for this is actually quite lucid:
The truth, to go back at the main topic, is that the healer classes don't exist because they are indispensable and valuable in the situations we are trying to reproduce. The healer classes don't exist because it was required to make a fight work. They exists because till today we played the meta-game of "buttons and colored bars": a parody of combat.
I hate to summarize such a thoughtful and articulate article, but what Abalieno is basically saying is that our current MMO environments have become stale and emotionless, resorting to nothing more a graphical interface for mere mathematical formulas and calculations. In this sort of world, we're constantly watching the "green bar", so to speak, and our first instinct when the bar goes down is HEY! I need someone to help me make this bar go back UP! Thus, the healer is born.

The reason I wanted to bring this up is because of, well, yeah, you guessed it: City of Heroes (doesn't it always come back to this game?) In CoH, I'm actually beginning to see the tide turning in recent months, and I think ultimately, it's a good thing to see.

You see, in CoH, you create an archetype called a Defender. One of the Defender's powersets that you can select is called Empathy. It's basically the priest set (or "cleric" set, as your particular MMO history may go). And at the beginning levels of the game, you would almost never see a team without a healer. You were constantly sitting around waiting to enter a mission as the leader scoured the nearby zones for an "emp def". Broadcasts in the Hollows screaming for a healer were constant and deafening. A group that attempted a mission sans-healer was largely considered doomed.

Now, consider this. There's another archetype in CoH called the Controller. The Controller has the ability to "lock down" enemies and hit them with nasty effects that undermine their ability to strike you or make them easier targets. This is useful. No, this is necessary.

But did you ever hear anyone on the team say Hey, guys! We really should have a 'troller for this mish?. No. Never. No one ever said We could really use a grav troller to keep those bosses at bay while we clean up the minions. Not once.

But like I said, I see the tide turning. These days I see fewer and fewer empaths. I see more and more Controllers. OR, more and more Defenders choosing powersets other than healing. It's refreshing, and it's powerful. It alleviates the mindset of requiring someone in the group who can make those bars turn green again. It requires you to use your skills as a team to create strategic situations and harmonize your combined abilities in unique ways.

So, in essence, it's making this particular MMO more of a dance, and less of a mini-game of raw numbers.

Just thought I'd share that thought.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

That rumbling I hear...far off into the distance...


Link: http://arshraam.livejournal.com/27725.html
Posted by Nathaniel at 4:44 PM
Evil NetworkFellow Evil Network cohort ArshrAAm has finally ended his love affair with a certain temptress known as Everquest. Unless I'm mistaken, he's quit previously, and then got sucked back in. But now, there's a sort of finality felt in his recent LJ post. I think he may be free of the beast permanently. And more power to him.

Cause, you know, City of Heroes is SOOO much better than Everquest.

Steampunk Transformers


Link: http://www.idwpublishing.com/titles/transformers/hos.shtml
Posted by Nathaniel at 3:27 PM

ComicsIt appears as though the Transformers we know and love will be getting a bit of a facelift in an upcoming series from IDW Publishing. This series, called The Transformers: Evolution features an out-of-continuity world where the Transformers exist as steam-powered machines in an industrial revolution-like period.

Their poor little website is getting hammered from every direction with this news, so be patient as the images load.

OH, the things you can do with a webcomic...


Link: http://jamtorkberg.livejournal.com/100466.html
Posted by Nathaniel at 9:52 AM
ComicsYou can do some fairly amazing and innovative things with a web-based format for your comics. However, everyone has to understand that there are limitations. And sometimes, those limitations are simply your own ability to code a proper HTML table. That's what makes Jam's comic yesterday so damned hilarious.

By the way, if I haven't mentioned it previously, you really should be a fan of Jam Torkberg. They guy does some pretty fantastic things.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hiatus...BE GONE!


Posted by Nathaniel at 2:50 PM
Evil NetworkWell, I've been away for the better part of a month now, and I come back to find that not much newsworthy has transpired in the webcomics universe in the past couple of weeks. Not a shame, really, merely an observation.

Now that the new addition has adequately taken root within our household, I feel as though I now have the time and energy to once again regain a solid footing on this blog. So, expect a somewhat less infrequent posting schedule startiiiiiiiiiiing...NOW!.

In the meantime, it appears as though my current image host is causing my front page problems. Can anyone suggest a better alternative?

ALSO! We're still looking for a new name and/or identity! Several suggestions have been collected, make sure yours is on the list! Be a part of history! Web 2.0! Other internet catch phrases! Nonsense!


We've moved!

Archives