Monday, September 17, 2012

Link roundup

1. From the start of a three part review of Star Wars: The Old Republic:

The very first impression I got from The Old Republic was that it was an immense amount of hassle to get anywhere near playing the game. Not since the days of DOS and floppy disks have I experienced such a lot of fuss between buying a game and enjoying it.
But the sum total of so many game-like departures from reality is an experience so very distanced from any sort of real world rules that you are constantly, unavoidably reminded that you are playing a game. It is impossible to suspend disbelief, because you are inundated with unbelievable elements. This meant that all the unfolding story – the civil war on Ord Mantell, my blaster delivery – was partially devalued. I couldn’t concentrate on it, and found my attention drifting away from my character, because, after all, it’s only a game, and I’ve got to think about my next move.
Although a few kinks and new abilities are introduced, I’m surprised that anyone ever decided that you could sustain a hundred-plus hour game by looping the same thirty seconds of gameplay.
It might surprise readers to learn that, in spite of my grouchy cynicism, I persisted with TOR for a really long time. I like to get my money’s worth to the point of self-flagellation. In fact, I had almost reached the level cap when the news broke that Bioware was effectively throwing in the towel and turning it free-to-play. That, I decided, was a perfect time to cancel my subscription and throw in the towel myself.

2. Walter Russell Mead:
For the first time, a senior commander has acknowledged that members of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Force are in Syria, Reuters reports. For now, they are providing non-military aid, Tehran says, but if Syria is attacked, Iran will use military measures to defend it.

With the US administration shaken, off balance and frightened by the chaos sweeping the region, and most of the Middle East distracted from the bloodbath in Syria by a 14 minute amateur video filmed by criminals and fly-by-nights in southern California, Iran probably feels much more optimistic about Assad’s prospects in Syria than it has for some time.
3.  Here's how Kristin Tercek's designs became Petco dog toys.