Ask Massively: It's my birthday and I'll devote a column title to it if I want to edition

Eliot Lefebvre
E. Lefebvre|01.21.11

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Ask Massively: It's my birthday and I'll devote a column title to it if I want to edition
Yes, 28 years ago, something very special (to me, anyway) happened. That means that while I'm going to spend the day on my usual cocktail of whatever the heck I do, I get the opportunity to make Ask Massively's opening even more of a non sequitor than it normally is. Here, have a screenshot from one of the worst-animated episodes in all of the original Transformers cartoon. I swear that looks bad even in a still frame.

It was either this shot or the one of Blaster and Ultra Magnus getting married. (That's what it looks like, anyway.)

Now that I've gotten that out of my system for another 10 minutes or so, we can move on to this week's column, which is sadly devoid of giant robots. It does have questions about DC Universe Online and the sad story of World of Starcraft's rise and subsequent fall, so I still get to indulge in things that I like. And birthday or not, questions can be left in the comment field or mailed along to

dpking2222 asked: I heard that Circe is the female villain mentor [in DC Universe Online]. Is this true? If so, does anyone know why Catwoman is on the villain side of the game's front cover?
This is correct. Circe is the only female mentor on the villain side, although with only three mentors on each side, comparisons are pretty stark. She takes care of the mentoring for Magic characters, just as Wonder Woman does for heroic characters of the same origin. (This also creates the odd disconnect by which Lex Luthor isn't the Tech mentor despite that high-tech battlesuit he wears... we'll just leave that alone.)

Why is Catwoman on the box art? Because she's a prominent character, far more so than Circe. However, that's more a result of Wonder Woman's having a serious dearth of recognizable and memorable villains, as well as a natural symptom of superhero comics as they're usually structured. Batman has a huge list of villains he regularly squares off against, but they can't possibly all fit into the mentoring structure, even when you take away the ones who would make no sense as mentors (Bane doesn't strike me as the mentoring type, for instance). There are more villains than heroes, and so a lot of the iconic black hats have to remain on the sidelines.

Jade Effect asked: There must be many thousands of StarCraft II mods out there. What's so special about [the MMO modification] that Blizzard felt compelled to take down so quickly?
It cuts off a great big potential revenue stream for the company.

I'm not going to speculate on whether or not Blizzard does intend to develop a
StarCraft MMO in the future. I would imagine, however, that to any members of the corporate staff, it looks like someone is making something really big and potentially lucrative without a dime making its way into Blizzard's coffers. It also means that there's no sort of corporate control on the content, which is the sort of thing that larger corporations get very touchy about. It's within all legal guidelines, but it smells and looks a lot like copyright infringement anyway.

Yes, it's very tempting to peg Activision Blizzard as the villain here. And yes, the company is kinda squashing someone doing something very neat and innovative with the editing feature. But if the company feels it would infringe on revenue, it would be irresponsible not to find some legal reason to kill the map and stop development.

And before anyone asks, yeah, I was really hoping this wouldn't be the outcome, too. That looked so cool.
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