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Old 09-27-2017, 08:19 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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Good to see you DarkAngel

The first one escapes me but the Azula one is nice
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My Worldbuilding:
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Old 09-27-2017, 08:23 PM
Malygos Malygos is offline

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Gold (War3)

Originally Posted by Anansi View Post
I notice DarkAngel still hasn't got that custom rank he was promised. Dammit, mods.
One year later and this still holds true.
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Old 09-28-2017, 04:01 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Originally Posted by Mutterscrawl View Post
Good to see you DarkAngel

The first one escapes me but the Azula one is nice
Oh, come on! "Happy" Quinn is everyone's favorite ray of sunshine! I'll admit the show is hard to watch for those of us who actually know something about science, but I've always had terrible taste in women.

(And really, it was more about the catchphrase being useful than the character.)
Every ending is but a new beginning.
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Old 10-01-2017, 01:30 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Shadow Orb Sombra Ideas

IMPORTANT NOTE: I wrote this months ago, long before Olivia Colomar was an item. I therefore had to create my own given name for Sombra. "Carmen" was taken from the treacherous title character of an opera, and "Lopez Hernandez" was the most Mexican name I could think of. It is, like its predecessors, far more detailed than Blizzard like to be, but that was kind of the point.

* * * * * * *

Name: Carmen Lopez Hernandez
Alias: Sombra
Sex: Female
Age: 30
Year of Birth: 2046
Country of Origin: Mexico

Villain, but with some sympathetic qualities. You hate her for the evil things she does; yet also pity her for her warped worldview and inability to trust. Sombra is similar to WarCraft’s Illidan Stormrage in that she is ostensibly fighting the good fight, but her insistence on doing it alone forces her to make one moral compromise after another. If only she could trust someone to help.

Why this character is fun
Sombra is a cunning trickster who isn’t above messing with her allies in the middle of an op. You never know who’s side she’s on, nor when her backstabbing moment is coming. Fans will be shouting at the screen: “Don’t trust her, you idiot!”

Look of character is well-established. Sombra must keep all but the top of her head shaved to accommodate her cybernetic ports. She’s incorporated this into her sense of style to create an aggressive—yet feminine—look. She wears a long coat with a high collar to conceal the wires running from her head down to the gloves that interface with machines. This system is such a part of her that she feels “naked” without it.

Sombra is a very smart cookie—but not nearly as smart as she thinks she is. The smug hacker imagines herself to be invincible, kept untouchable by superior knowledge and a sprawling web of contingency plans. She dominates every room she enters, exuding confidence and complete control of the situation.

Yet, under that cool exterior, Sombra is intensely paranoid—to the point that she views every relationship in her life as a Betrayal Race that she must win if she is to survive. The only people she trusts are those over whom she holds leverage, and even they are to be disposed of when their usefulness is ended.

Sombra lives for the power trip of controlling people, yet likes to imagine herself as a freedom-fighter. The interplay between those ideas is the key to controlling her. Her time on your side can be greatly extended by playing on her old gangster value system as well. Rail against corrupt authority, show some loyalty, and Sombra will reciprocate.

Kit/Fighting style
Sombra’s chief weapons are information and her ability to control machines with her mind. She prefers for her targets to meet old enemies or arranged accidents, rather than killing them directly.

In battle, she avoids direct confrontation and tries to create as much confusion about her location and direction as possible, made possible by two primary “weapons.” First, Sombra’s wearable holo-projection system is capable not only of displaying data where others can see it, but also of concealing Sombra herself from watching eyes. She also carries a translocator beacon to which she can teleport herself. By leaving the translocator in out-of-the-way places and making judicious use of her cloak, Sombra can appear to be attacking from everywhere.

Once her enemies are sufficiently confused and/or separated, Sombra delights in sneaking among them and to disable—or seize control of—their technological aids before vanishing once again. If cornered, Sombra will detonate a powerful EMP shockwave that instantly disables all electronics save her own. In combination with her stealth field, this allows her to vanish and cripple her enemies in one stroke—or allies who have outlived their use.

Lastly, Sombra carries an automatic pistol. It isn’t the most accurate weapon, but it doesn’t need to be. She uses it mainly to lay down cover while making an exit and to provide a little physical intimidation where needed.

Sombra does not have friends. She has tools—or more precisely, toys. She views people as another kind of machine, something that can be bent to your purpose once you know what buttons to push. She often sets those around her against each other—just to prove her power to herself.

However, she takes a particular liking to Tracer. Sombra sees something of herself in Tracer’s playful demeanor; but more importantly, the pilot’s desire to believe the best about people makes her the most vulnerable and easily-manipulated member of the group. When Sombra wants to make her presence known, she prefers to contact Tracer first.

Sombra never knew her parents. She knows their names, but little else. Most records of them were destroyed in the Crisis. There was a time when she cherished every detail she could find, but those days are long gone. She’s despaired of ever knowing them—and no longer cares. They’re just one more piece of the girl she left behind. Besides, how can she even be certain that she is who the aid workers told her she was?

Sombra still holds some residual loyalty to Los Muertos. She even tosses them a bone now and then, or makes evidence disappear. That courtesy, however, is strictly one-way. Loyalty is everything in gang culture, and they view her departure as a betrayal. They wouldn’t hesitate to kill her—if they knew she was still alive.

Greatest Fear
Sombra regards herself as a master puppeteer. Unsurprisingly, she fears that someone might be pulling her own strings. Her single-minded focus on controlling others is in part an effort to prevent anyone from controlling her.

Sombra has no formal education beyond the Fourth Grade—but is astonishingly adept at teaching herself whatever she needs to know. She taught herself about computers, the world financial system, and almost everything else she needs to operate. Allies will find she enjoys assignments to research and fact-check for no other reason than the thrill of knowing something they don’t—if only for a time. Yet, as much as Sombra presents herself as an all-knowing adversary, she is occasionally blindsided by information she didn’t think she needed to know.

Carmen Lopez Hernandez was born to Ricardo Lopez Garcia and Luisa Hernandez de Lopez in the spring of 2046. Her mother suffered complications during birth; but thanks to the power of telemedicine, their location in a tiny fishing village wasn't a problem. Or so they thought. 2046 was the year of Omnic Crisis, and Mexico was soon plunged into a prolonged, nationwide blackout that would come to be called ‘La Medianoche.’ Ricardo had no choice but strike out for the city of Veracruz to find medical care for his wife and child. What happened next is unknown. Relief workers found Ricardo and Luisa dead; but their daughter—just a few days old—was still alive. It was the first of many times that Carmen would cheat death.

The baby girl was taken to a refugee center, which soon overflowed with lost and orphaned children. She was one of many, and often treated as little more than a number. Carmen yearned for more. She quickly grew bored with her lessons, often preferring to cause trouble for attention. Finally, her guardians had enough. At the age of nine, Carmen was thrown out into the street. Though the intent had been merely to scare her straight, she was gone when the gate reopened. No one cared enough to look for her.

Fortunately, Carmen had new friends before sundown. The chaos during and after the Omnic Crisis had turned had turned Mexico into a fertile environment for criminal enterprises of all kinds. Among these were a gang called ‘Los Muertos.’ In the decade since the Crisis, Los Muertos had become well-established—aided in no small part by spreading revolutionary propaganda. It was their policy to pay street-rats with food to act as the gang’s eyes and ears throughout the city. Carmen fit the bill. She quickly distinguished herself with a talent for noticing things and the initiative to investigate further.

It was only a matter of time before the gang leadership noticed. In 2058, Carmen got a surprise visit from the neighborhood boss. If she would put her investigative talents to use for the gang, he told her, he would put her on the fast-track to membership—and money. It was an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Soon, Carmen was trolling through records and stolen data. She loved every minute of it. What’s more, her teachers were astonished by her extraordinary aptitude with computers. She became the unofficial IT girl, and then began programming the gang’s toolkit. At the same time, she became a fervent believer in the group’s populist cause. Jumping in at age fifteen was really just a formality.

As a full member, Carmen went to work. She proved herself in scams, phishing, and other forms of cybercrime, but felt called to the gang’s extortion rackets. In her mind, it was a way to hit back against the corrupt officials who made life hard for the poor. She knew firsthand that the rebuilt Mexico was far from equitable, and she was going to fix that. Cash rolled in at her command—both for herself and her adopted family. The power was intoxicating.

But it was not to last. While scrutinizing the activities of a big-city mayor in 2065, Carmen uncovered evidence he was taking orders from someone else. She kept digging. Over the next two years, she painstakingly followed the trail deeper and deeper, ensnaring many other notable people in the web. The conclusion, when it came, was as astonishing as it was terrifying. Virtually every aspect of the world was being controlled by an invisible conspiracy—a conspiracy that was aware of her and already closing in.

Carmen ran. To stay anywhere near Los Muertos would only put them in danger. In fact, the only way to end the chase was for Carmen to die. So she did. She altered some documents to confuse her identity with that of a murder-victim while using her skills to drop off the grid.

She vowed this wasn’t over. Since anyone could be a spy, she could never again trust anyone. Since she stood alone, she needed a far heavier armament. She enlisted outlaw medicine for radical surgery, implanting contacts that would allow her to control any machine with her mind. Adopting the handle “Sombra” as a complete persona, she set out to bring down the conspiracy by using its own methods against it.

Over the next year, Sombra methodically hunted down and erased all record that Carmen Lopez Hernandez had ever existed at all. As far as the world was concerned, she simply appeared on the internet in 2068, a cyber-vigilante who might not be a single person. Yet if Sombra was to overthrow the conspiracy and right the many wrongs of the world, she had to survive—and to do that, she needed to become as powerful as possible. She therefore allowed some of her targets to buy her silence by using their positions to grant favors. She used these favors to gain compromising information on some yet more powerful person. And so on.

Once again, Sombra’s talents did not go unnoticed. Her increasingly audacious acts of blackmail and terrorism attracted the attention of the organization known as Talon—exactly as she intended. Talon’s ideology wasn't so different from Los Muertos’, but on a far grander scale. Why liberate Mexico when a worldwide golden age of anarchy was possible? After a brief courtship, Sombra joined its ranks in 2074.

Yet Sombra also continued her extortion climbing on the side. After eight years, she now commands lawmakers and corporate CEOs. Soon, whole nations will lie at her mercy.

How to use this character
As someone whose chief motivation is to bring down the world-controlling conspiracy, Sombra can be recruited by either side through threats or offers of getting closer. However, she’s just as likely to recruit others for her own nefarious purposes. Her skills are a devastating force multiplier—until her inevitable betrayal, of course.

Sombra is only mentioned in Season One. The most she gets is a handful of lines to the effect of “Tell Sombra to find out X!” Season Two reveals her as Talon’s ace in the hole, the secret weapon that allows them to operate in such an all-knowing way. As the season progresses, though, it becomes more and more apparent that she’s pursuing her own agenda behind their backs. Finally, she makes an unpleasant discovery: Talon is in fact the enforcement arm of the very conspiracy she’s been trying to take down. They know full well who she is (her attempt to erase herself wasn’t as thorough as she convinced herself it was) and have been feeding her crumbs for years to keep her as their tool. Even worse, her breach has triggered alarms and left her at the heart of a Talon fortress that now has orders to kill her.

After her daring escape, Sombra tracks down New Overwatch and recruits them as muscle to get back inside. They want to know what’s going on as much as she does, and it starts to look like she’s about to pull a Heel-Face Turn. Unfortunately, Talon expected this move, and the team walks right into a trap. As things go south, Sombra abandons them to their fate.

In subsequent seasons, Sombra pops up periodically—and never with good results. Whether tantalized into helping New Overwatch (before betraying them), browbeaten into helping New Overwatch (before betraying them), intimidated into helping Talon (before betraying them), or blackmailing New Overwatch into helping her (before betraying them), Sombra injects an extra level of unpredictability into any episode. Given her Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, someone will likely need to Trick The Trickster to get out alive.

What if:
  • There is no conspiracy. Sombra is simply a paranoiac.
  • Sombra is a fan of Lúcio’s music.
  • Sombra carries a small keepsake that supposedly belonged to her mother. Sometimes, showing vulnerability is the best tool of manipulation.
  • After the Omnic Crisis, the Omnics were allowed to continue existing, but the creation of new self-aware machines was banned worldwide. Efi Odele is technically a felon.
* * * * * * *
Addendum:This opens so many Sombra shenanigans.
Every ending is but a new beginning.
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Old 10-09-2017, 04:54 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Gold (War3) Balaa is Crazy

Some time ago, I posted some ideas for a "borrowed" character named Balaa. I got to thinking about her again, and figured I might as well write the scene that was brewing in my head when I did the workup on her. I'd like to think I've gotten better since then.

* * * * * * *

Seth awoke, reflexively spitting out a mouthful of dirt. Half his face was pressed into the loam, and it seemed the inevitable had happened while he slept. There were sounds coming from above him, sounds of birds singing and of wind in trees—but that wasn’t the best part. All around him, there was light. Not torches, not enchanted lanterns, but true, honest-to-goodness sunlight. If not for the shade of the trees above, it would’ve been too bright.

The boy shifted. There was a blanket over him, extending across something soft beside him. It had Kiera’s hair. He poked it. “Kiera! Wake up!” he whispered.

Kiera started. “What? Where are we?”

“I don’t know—but it’s got to be better than that cave.”

The girl lifted her head, trying to bend her ear back in place. “Anything would be.” Gravity, however, was against her in this orientation, so she sat up. The blanket went with her. “Who was that lady who grabbed us? Do you think she’s a friend?”

Seth sat up too. “She has to be, right? She cared enough to give us a blanket.”

“She was also kinda rough—and stinky.”
“I’ll take her over—”

“We are all one in the Light,” said a voice. “Everything is one in the Light.” It was a woman’s voice, draenic accent, coming from behind a bush.

The two shared a look and began crawling closer. “It runs through us, binds us all together,” the voice continued. “It is in you—and in me. We are all part of the Light. It is perfect and holy—and if we follow it, it makes us holy too.”

Seth peered around the bush. He could see a draenei woman seated on the other side, facing someone beyond his sight. She was a match to the silhouette that had rescued them—but so...dirty.

“Is that her?” Kiera hissed.
“Has to be. How many one-horned draenei can there be out here?”

If their rescuer heard any of this, she made no sign. “The Light is the expression of all that is good and pure,” she continued. “When we allow it to guide us—to speak through us—we become a part of it. By letting it shine through our lives, we spread it to others.”

The boy inched his way further around the bush, craning to see who she was talking to. Suddenly, he stopped. Her conversation partner was...a rock. She was preaching to a rock.

He paused, shifting his weight backward—which had the unfortunate side effect of rustling the bush. The woman turned and shot to her hooves faster than he’d thought possible. Before they could make any reaction at all, the children were staring down the barrel of a rifle.

The boy froze, wondering if the mud-caked face at the other end of the gun would be the last he’d ever see. Yet the combat stance vanished as quickly as it came. Instead, the draenei gasped like a child given a present. “Oh! You awake! That is good!” she said—as if nothing had happened. “Come, come. Sit.”

Seth cautiously stood and moved to the place she indicated, Kiera following behind. Now that he could see the mysterious rescuer properly, he couldn’t help but stare. The draenei were one of the rarest races among the Convocation, but closer to the Light than any other. They radiated an aura of wisdom and purity. This one was...not. Her clothes were little more than rags, surmounted by a vest of boiled leather that looked like it was meant for someone much bigger. Her face was encrusted with mud, and her hair was matted like a drowned rat. Considering her pale skin, it had probably once been silver, but was now yellowed with filth.

What truly drew his attention, though, was her head. Her left horn wasn’t just broken off; it had been torn violently from her skull, leaving behind a patch of bald scar tissue. The boy had to force himself to look away. “, who are you?”

The anti-draenei sat first, folding her legs to the side—and cradling the rifle in her lap. “I am Balaa, the last Rangari, scout of the Light’s Vanguard.”

“You’re with the Vanguard?” Kiera asked as they sat. “Are you sure?”

To Seth’s surprise, Balaa didn’t take the comment as an insult. She instead drew something from a pocket and presented it to the girl. “I am,” she said, beaming with pride.

Kiera glanced at the object and immediately handed it to Seth. It was a brass emblem of the Light’s Vanguard—immaculately polished. It looked real enough, but there was no way to tell if she’d gotten it legitimately.

The boy handed it back. “Thanks for the rescue, Balaa. My name Seth, and this is—”
“Kiera,” Balaa finished for him.

The girl blinked. “You already know our names?”
“I do. Find two children. Seth Whitemane, human boy, white skin, white hair, red eyes. Kiera Trueshot, half-Kaldorei girl, silver eyes and hair, floppy ear. That is what my orders say.”

Kiera immediately checked her ear. “Well, you found us. Quite a feat, considering.” Her smile was transparently fake.

Their rescuer got that look again, like a gift had appeared without warning. “Thank you, Kiera! not deserve these words.” She looked down. “No. The Light is perfect and holy. It is everywhere and in everyone. No matter how far we roam, no matter what happens to us, we will always be a part of it. All of us. Even me. I am part of the Light. I am part of—” Suddenly, Balaa leaped into her combat stance again, every hair at maximum alert. “We must move. Follow me.”

The children staggered to their feet. “What’s—” Kiera started to say.
Balaa held up a finger to silence her, then took off running into the forest. She was fast—much too fast. Even with both of them at a dead sprint, they lost sight of her in moments.

Seth doubled over panting. “Can’t keep up. She’s gone.”

Kiera did the same. “Some rescue...from our friend.”
“Still better than the cave.”

They turned when something came crashing toward them. Balaa was back. “Sorry. Not used to people. I slow down for you. Come, come.”

Kiera caught Seth’s gaze and slowly traced a circle around her ear—careful to do so on the side their guide couldn’t see. Seth nodded in agreement.

* * * * * * *

Actually, that's a pretty comical take on a melancholy character -- but then, you can't really dig into something like that in an introductory scene. Make an impression, THEN dig deeper.
Every ending is but a new beginning.
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Old 10-15-2017, 05:00 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Neutral Building D.Va Do-Over

A while back, I posted some ideas about what I'd do with D.Va on an Overwatch TV show. However, I readily conceded not having enough information to "get" the character. She was too strong -- or rather, too direct. A tour video with Charlet Chung inspired this improved introduction. (And yes, there are still placeholders in it. Sue me.)

* * * * * * *

View from SELFIE CAM. D.VA, a narcissistic pro-gamer, carries cam through MEKA BARRACKS.

Hey, everybody! D.Va here! I wanted to show you the latest changes around here at MEKA.

Shows room. There is a TABLE and CHAIRS where MEKA PILOTS are eating breakfast.

D.VA (cont’d)
We just moved into our new training facility. Everything’s shiny, and it has that “new building” smell.

Back on D.Va.

D.VA (cont’d)
We have all-new bedrooms, bathrooms, dining room—and of course, the new training rigs. It’s a lot to get used to.

On table. MEKA pilots look up. D.Va picks up BOX OF [SNACK FOOD], with PICTURE OF D.VA on front.

D.VA (cont’d)
But one thing that hasn’t changed is [SNACK FOOD]. It’ll still give all the gamers out there the energy you need to get through the day. Isn’t that right, boys?

On MEKA pilots, in turn.

It’s true! These things are amazing!

(mouth full)
Keep ‘em coming!

You’re the best, D.Va!

Hi, mom!

[RIVAL] (O.S.)
Song, what are you doing?

On D.Va.

Oh! I almost forgot the biggest change of all! [RIVAL] is in charge now. Say ‘hi,’ [RIVAL]!

On [RIVAL]. [RIVAL], an arrogant gamer, takes cam away and shuts it off. Resume normal camera mode.

That’s enough. I thought I told you no more endorsements.

D.Va takes cam back.

Oh, you did. But I’m still under contract for all the deals from before. We both know how important it is to keep your sponsors happy.

D.Va opens box of [SNACK FOOD] and begins munching. [RIVAL]’s eyes narrow.

We’re not gamers anymore, Lieutenant Hana Song. We are soldiers.

Pilots watch warily.

[RIVAL] (cont’d)
That monstrosity is coming back any day now, and MEKA has to be ready. I can’t have you prancing around like a child—much less roping your comrades into your antics.

Pilots stop eating altogether. D.Va scowls, but smiles again.

Don’t worry. A celebrity persona is always an act. I have the maturity to follow orders--wouldn’t be a six-time world champion without it.

Then let’s see your maturity. Finish breakfast in your room, then report for training at 0800.

D.Va’s fist clenches.

Yes, sir. Anything you say.

D.Va carries selfie cam and box of [SNACK FOOD] to her room.

D.Va enters her room. The walls are covered by POSTERS OF D.VA. The DOORS close behind her. She immediately turns around and sticks out her tongue.

* * * * * * *

  • D.Va has private quarters by virtue of being the only girl.
  • Sticking out the tongue may not be the right move, but I'm sure Korean culture has some equivalent gesture of childish disrespect.
Overall, I'm satisfied with this. The character is introduced in a way that either states or implies everything you need to know about D.Va. She's a gamer turned soldier, her fame has gone to her head, and it's become an impediment in her new environment. She can be outwardly vapid (when not behind a game controller), but is quite headstrong under it all. As before, her journey would be a path to maturity. She has the heart of a hero, but will at some point have to choose between saving the world and worshiping her own celebrity.

D.Va haters, did this make her likable? I find myself wanting to see more of the character -- but not necessarily wanting to see her succeed.
Every ending is but a new beginning.
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:38 PM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Orb of Lightning

Still no special rank for DarkAngel.
Originally Posted by SmokeBlader View Post
And the HRE was a meme that went too far.
Originally Posted by PajamaSalad View Post
You are pretty cool for being one of the bad guys.
Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
I was probably just upset about the Horde fleet in the Second War.
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:02 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Arrow BfA Comic Comparison

Over the past few weeks, Blizzard has been publishing a series of comics to introduce the major characters of Battle for Azeroth. I couldn't help but be struck by the contrast of quality between the first and second issues. Just why, I wondered, is Magni's story so effective while Jaina's falls flat? The question bothered me for far longer than it should have, and I eventually had no choice but to conduct an analysis.

In case you haven't already, you can read them here and here.

First, let's consider Issue #1:
Title: Reunion
Writer: Andrew Robinson
Subject: Jaina Proudmoore
Big idea: Jaina betrayed her country, her father, and herself.
  1. 6 panels Jaina laments at Theramore
  2. 4 panels Jaina narrates over flashback
  3. 5 panels Jaina considers what might have been
  4. 6 panels returns, Cathrine's speech and crowd
  5. 7 panels Cathrine's speech and crowd
  6. 9 panels conversation after (Copeland)
  7. 6 panels conversation after
  8. 6 panels Cathrine concludes, Jaina concludes

Now, look at Issue #2:
Title: The Speaker
Writer: Matt Burns
Subject: Magni Bronzebeard
Big idea: Magni lost his family because he had to have his own way.
  1. 6 panels intercut on "losing her"
  2. 4 panels pleads for guidence
  3. 6 panels Azeroth "speaks" through flashback
  4. 4 panels full flash, relate with present (New life)
  5. 6 panels full flash, relate with present (child Moira)
  6. 6 panels full flash, relate with present (on loss)
  7. 6 panels full flash, relate with present (advice not taken)
  8. 6 panels full flash, show death
  9. 5 panels full flash, relate with present (shock of death)
  10. 5 panels present, vow

There are a number of things that bear pointing out here. First, one of the most oft-cited rules for writing is "Don't open your story with a history lesson." This is because audiences need to be invited in to the world, not have it shoved in their faces. Robinson's method comes across as trying too hard to build sympathy for Jaina. Burns, in contrast, builds a sense of mystery on the first page. "What's going on?" is just as much in the reader's mind as Magni's.

Notice also the way Burns' flashbacks are handled as true scenes, not merely narrated in front of artwork. Remember, stories are most effective when they're personal, and it's hard to feel a connection to a character when you're essentially watching a museum exhibit.

But perhaps most importantly of all, Burns circles the point of loss before hitting it at the end. His flashbacks are arranged not in chronological order, but in order of impact. Thus, the emotion doesn't drop like a bomb at the beginning (where it inevitably falls flat), but rather ramps up over the course of the story.

This, I feel, is his real secret. I have much to learn from this man.

A funny thing happened after writing the above. All this anayizing comics got me thinking about writing one myself. (A comic script would be an excellent addition to my portfolio.) The trouble with my choices here is that there really isn't much of a story per se. Therefore, I also examined other examples -- and found, to my shock, that one of my favorites was also written by...Andrew Robinson. How can two works by the same man have such radically different success levels? Let's take a look.

Title: A Better World
Writer: Andrew Robinson
Subject: Symmetra
Big idea: Symmetra is a good person working for a ruthless boss.
  1. 7 panels negotiation with mayor
  2. 6 panels the world outside
  3. 6 panels introduce girl
  4. 8 panels infiltrating Calado
  5. 7 panels caught and escape
  6. 6 panels Korpal destroys Calado
  7. 6 panels rescue girl from fire
  8. 6 panels new building opens

The first thing coming to mind is the remarkably similar self-narration by the protagonist. However, A Better World doesn't try to be epic. It's a very personal story, even if it says more about Vishkar Corp. than Satya Vaswani.

Note also that the protagonist isn't reminiscing. The failure happens right now, in front of us. That's why Robinson here avoids the problem he had with Reunion. There's an emotional ramp at work too, much like the one Burns used in The Speaker. The poignant ending is why I liked it so much.

Now, I need to come up with an original story that can be summarized in eight simple sentences.
Every ending is but a new beginning.

Last edited by DarkAngel; 07-11-2018 at 02:18 PM..
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Old 09-02-2018, 04:18 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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BattleTag: Samael#1487

Thumbs up Shooting Star Review

As all of you should by now be aware, Blizzard released “Shooting Star,” a D.Va-focused Overwatch short, at GamesCom. I was personally left disappointed and slightly angry—which should come as no surprise. Any time you walk into a story of any medium with preconceived notions about what it should be, you will be left empty. On some level, you could even say my delayed response was caused by my need to progress through the stages of grief before being able to write about it.

“Shooting Star” introduces Tae-Hyun, D.Va’s hapless probably-boyfriend, for use as a sounding board, though she seems largely indifferent to his affection. We also learn a Korean name for the Omnic colossus that keeps attacking Busan (retconned into an army of smaller units?), as well as names and handles for the rest of the MEKA squad. Sadly, aside from the written names of the MEKA pilots, no official romaja spellings have yet been put forward for these additions.

While I very much enjoyed the absurd heights of D.Va’s celebrity—a big part of the character’s appeal—Blizzard chose to take the character in a very different direction than I did. The official D.Va reveals herself to be the unyielding perfectionist one would expect of a pro-gamer. She simply can’t allow herself to have any flaws, though the way she’s been obsessing about her work and intentionally avoiding the outside world suggest she may be developing a touch of PTSD. It seems that, no matter how skilled she may be, Hana Song is just an ordinary teenager cracking under the weight of the world.

I may in fact grow to like this character—even if it feels strange to see her avoiding the glitz and glamour of her fame when I had interpreted her as being unable to let go of her celebrity lifestyle. We agree, for example, that the stereotypical K-pop star was only ever an act. The real D.Va is the one in the booth—and now the cockpit. It would be interesting to see her keeping up the carefree front in public while melting down in private.

Nonetheless, it bears pointing out that “doing the right things for the wrong reasons” remains conspicuously unexplored in Overwatch. Maybe that’s because such an angle would force the character to have a story arc, i.e. to be dynamic instead of the static caricatures the game format demands. Yet, that argument fails to explain why Soldier: 76, Hanzo, Symmetra, and probably Pharah seem set up for dramatic turnabouts at some future point. Blizzard clearly thinks it can be done.

“Shooting Star” isn’t perfect by any means. It lacks a clear musical theme (Is the main one reserved for Tracer?) and raises a few plausibility questions (Are there really just five MEKA pilots?)—but that doesn’t stop it from being a quality product. The animation is, as usual, top-notch, and whoever wrote the script has a wonderfully understated sense of humor. In all, “Shooting Star” is more than worthy of the Blizzard label and represents a thread I’ll be eagerly following in the future. Let’s hope D.Va’s newfound willingness to rely on others keeps her from going the way of Neltharion.
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Old 10-04-2018, 04:42 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Medivh HotS Developing Well

This thread is about random ideas, and that presumably includes speculation as well as commentary. I bring this up because the Heroes of the Storm comics have developed to the point where a clear universe is starting to become apparent. First things first, though.

Fall of King's Crest is longer than the previous HotS comics (12 pages vs. 8 for both previous issues). It is also the first to portray the Raven Lord as unambiguously evil. While Rise of the Raven Lord had established him as trying to avert a great calamity, he seems joyous, not regretful, that these extreme measures have become necessary.

Other notable criticisms include switching which character is narrating (which is always frowned upon without some kind of break) and killing off Verick and Delia in the same issue that introduced them. Yes, this happens all the time in television, but the cramped confines of a comic make it seem like they were there for the purpose of dying. It cheapens what should be a powerful moment and adds an unnecessary complication. Then again, since people have so much trouble staying dead in the Nexus, that might very well be the point. Sun-boy and moon-girl would make an interesting dual-body hero.

We also see further build-up of Orphea as a future hero. However, I was disturbed to discover how so much of what I "knew" about her was unsupported by direct evidence. It seems we can't confirm that she's the Raven Lord's daughter, nor that she stole a powerful artifact from him -- but these remain plausible suppositions. She is, for example, reluctant to raise a hand against him. She wields power far beyond what would be expected for her age, and she's hauling a giant box on her back. (How does a kid carry that thing, anyway? It looks big enough to be her coffin.)

Aside from Orphea being playable, though, it's hard to predict where this is going. That's as it should be. The Nexus is essentially a new IP, and it would be foolish to cut off possibilities at this point. What we do know is that the Raven Lord is taking and draining the singularities. It's unclear whether this is simply to increase his personal power or somehow allows him to control the Dark Nexus creatures he's summoned. There's always a price to be paid for bargaining with evil, after all. He seems to believe uniting all realms under his power is the key to stopping the invasion. But what is this consuming invasion? If I were writing this, it would in fact be his own summoning of Dark Nexus entities. Thus, in trying to stop his own future, he causes it.
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Old 10-05-2018, 11:54 AM
Arashi Arashi is offline

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Shooting Star sucked. There's nothing more annoying than forcing flaws into a character that does not need it or doesn't have any.
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Old 12-01-2018, 05:17 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Darkmoon Card: Maelstrom Orphea Commentary

I happened to notice there's been higher-than-usual viewership on the Fan Works subforum this week. Since it's been a while since I posted a Dispatch, I wondered if someone had posted a belated endorsement. Then I found out the new Heroes of the Storm comic had been released some time before. Well, that was embarrassing. I really should say something about that, shouldn't I?

First, I should preface what I'm about to say by reminding everyone that writing for comics is hard -- really, really hard. The confines are very tight, and it's all too easy for oversights to occur. In particular, it's easy to forget the reader doesn't have access to the factual information that prose narration provides. Just why, for example, does stabbing that pedestal with a corrupted crystal close the portal to the Dark Nexus? Or consider Neeve. We first see her in partial silhouette on page 3, but that may or may not be her. She just appears -- totally free -- on page 5.

On the other hand, Orphea also presents an excellent use of visuals to imply information without directly stating it. Most notably, it was never said that the Raven Lord had converted his family's cavernous, subterranean crypt into a prison for the entities he pulled from the Dark Nexus in his experiments. Nor were we told that Orphea's mystery box was in fact one of the ancestors' ossuaries. But it's there in the pictures, if you look.

Unfortunately, I couldn't help but feel the latter revelation took some of the magic out of the story. There are some things -- especially creepy things -- that are better left unexplained. When you have the ultimate Creepy Crate, it has to be handled as either a running joke ("What's IN that box?!"), or be given the dark twist that it's slowly corrupting her like Venom. That way, as her Pride, Doubt, Fear, Despair, Anger, Hatred, and Violence grow, she gains more control of her power and loses control of herself. It was just so much more fun to imagine some mall-rat princess is carrying around the Heart of Y'Shaarj without knowing what it is.

One thing we did gain, though, was a path for Orphea's story to continue. Having vanished years earlier, her mother injects all sorts of new unknowns into the equation. Who was she? Where did she go? Back where she came from? Where was that? And how did the wiki come up with names for both parents without citing a source?

I'll be watching for answers.
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