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Emily Velenovsky
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A Discussion of Scarlet as a Character - (Warning: Very Long)

Okay, I’ll admit. When Scarlet first showed up, I was excited. Good female villains are rare. They tend towards either Bond Girls or The Baroness from G.I. Joe or the Wicked Witch of the West. I wanted a smart, vicious, scary, unpredictable woman to scare the pants off of us – without being a future ally/sexy secondary/evil old lady.

And she started out not too bad. She had some mystery about her, she taunted us enough to make us want to fight her rather than save her, it was clear she was totally insane, and therefore unpredictable. She was strong, scary, and kinda creepy. We hated her and wanted to kill her, while respecting her as a strong opponent. She was pretty good. She had a lot of promise.

But…

Then she became “too perfect.” Every bad thing that happened had her fingerprints in it. She has insanely strong allies with no real in-game backstory as to how she got them. I’m expecting to find out that she’s the reason that the wurms in Queensdale are attacking the farm. She’s no longer unpredictable, because we know she has something to do with every new plot tidbit.

Her only backstory drives in the point of how much better she is, and how unbeatable, with the barest explanation as to how.

She’s now a Villain Sue. And that makes her uninteresting. It makes her outright boring.

She’s simply throwing things at us now, with no way for us to see her overarching plot or any weakness. No matter what we do, she gloats that we’re walking into her trap – without having any sign as to what her trap might be!

Anet, I put this question to you. Not as a rant or a tantrum, but as an actual, worried request. Why should we care about a questline that tells us (many times over) that we can’t win it?

Yes, we’ll go for the achievements and the treasure (we’re gamers, we luv teh shiny), but one of the reasons I love this game is because even the much repeated events feel like I’m achieving something. If only for a day! I fight the Shatterer once a day, but I still feel accomplished. I beat up a dragon! Whoo! She-Hulk! Awesome! Yeah, I didn’t kill him, but I ganged up with 30 other people, he retreated for a few hours, and we won.

But with Scarlet…I don’t feel like I’m achieving anything. She gloats at the end of every storyline. Even if she’s lying, I’ve seen no sign of it yet. She claims that she’s winning, and…well, I don’t want to fight her anymore because as far as I know, I’m just playing into her hands.
If we’re told over and over that we’re losing…why play the game?
Don’t get me wrong – I love this game. I still play it, and I play it often. But I don’t want to play the living story anymore, because no matter what we do, we fail.

And that upsets me because the crazy sylvari had so much promise. Going into a Nightmare Chamber and hearing her whisper “Don’t look behind you…” sent honest chills up my spine. It was the first time an MMORPG scared me. It was AWESOME. I really respected her in that one moment where I was too scared to turn around.

Please, Anet. Have Scarlet be creepy. Have her be crazy. Have her be awesome. But, please, have her fail. Have her be too crazy to win. She needs to fail, or no one will care. Have her rant and rave and freak out. Do it in a controlled manner, even. From a girl gamer – you don’t have to coddle the girl villain. Let her fail.

Just let us know we’ve DONE SOMETHING. Even a little something. Just the slightest hiccup in her plan. Seriously, I’ll write it for you. I don’t care. Just something that lets us feel like we’ve won. As is, she’s too perfect, and I can’t stand the story anymore, because it’s now Scarlet’s perfect story and not ours.

Please. Let us win, just once.

My thoughts on Destiny's Edge (warning, wannabe writer pontificating!):

Eir and Rytlock:  Awesome, and I've yet to play through Blood Legion on Charr.  They're very strong characters, with very deep emotions and reasons for what they do.  I think they suffer the most out of the five.  (And I'm not at all biased by my main being a Norn ranger.)

Zojja: She's cute and all, and I love Asura, but...there's something about her that just makes her not as great.  I don't mind her attitude, it's very Asura, but after playing GW1 with Vehk, I expected her to be a lot more.  And I wanted to adore her!  Maybe I just had inflated expectations?

Caithe: Her storyline with Faolain is interesting, but she's just so passive compared to the other firstborn.  She made the least impact on me of any character.  And this is coming from a gal who loved Trahearne. *ducks thrown objects*  Hah!

Logan:  Okay, when I first met him, I did the usual fangirl "Oh, he's awesome and I hate the queen!" ...aaaaand then I got to know his character some more.  Logan, I loved your great-great-whatever-grandma and grandpa, and you're pretty, and your armor is prettier, but you are as dumb as a box of hammers.  Seriously. 

My theory about the Avengers which may just end up having a fanfic written about it (copied from my WMG on TV Tropes, posted before I found a community of like-minded fans):

Loki was working with Fury all along.

The plan was for Loki to find a force that was considerable, but something the Avengers were capable of handling. Thus labeling Earth as a danger to possible invaders looking for a "higher form of war." For an extra bonus, the Tessaract was removed from Earth to lessen future attacks. As for Loki, he played the part of the cackling villain to attract the attention of the Avengers - in exchange for a clear path back to Asgard.

Both Loki and Fury are more than willing to get blood on their hands for the greater good. Neither of them are "good guys" in the traditional sense. ("A liar and killer, in the service of liars and killers.") Not by any means. But they're both the types to allow hundreds or even thousands of deaths to save billions in exchange.

It explains why the brainwashing wasn't entirely complete and Fury didn't die in the first scene. Where the enemies of S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to get the required tech and manpower together in a day or less. Where said manpower went at the end of it all. Why Loki didn't simply teleport out of his cage. Why Loki was so surprised that Thor showed up - S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't expect him to, as Fury said. Why Loki would be so stupid as to hand over the Tessaract in exchange for one measly planet, especially after seeing so many other worlds. And why he barely fought at the end, and sent out his "army" in small, easier to handle, batches.

It would be a perfect partnership for two Chaotic Neutral antiheroes. Loki plays on each Avenger's weakness, and Fury pushes on their strengths.

Yes, a lot of people die, but that's better than the alternative, isn't it?

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And now for something completely different.

It's not a drawing, but I would call it fanart.  This was my first attempt at making a scarf similar to Rikku's from FFX-2.  Because I love to knit, and it's definitely another form of art to me.

I knitted this scarf on the round (Translation:  It's knitted in a tube, like a giant sock) with yellow cotton yarn, used i-cords (itty-bitty tubes) for the fringe, and dyed it with multi-purpose red and orange dye.  Ombre dying + squirt bottle.  Woot. 

The whole thing was about seven inches across and over nine feet long.

Since then, I've improved my design, and I've made a second one out of white cotton that I made on a loom so that it was double-knit fabric (faster and softer), I made the fringe with a whole bunch of four-strand braids (looks a lot cleaner), and as soon as it stops snowing, I'm going to dye it with proper fiber-reactive dyes, so the colors should be a lot brighter.

(I sold the scarf in the picture, by the way.  And I started making a third one...but my cat barfed on it.  Yay.  O.o)

So yeah...fanart?  Fan-knitting?  The final plan is to make myself a scaled-down version that I can wear every day...match my Dr Who scarf.  :D
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Does cosplay count as fanart?  (At least, in terms of this community.)  Because I've got a knitting project I'd like to show off.

Writing Photoshop tutorials is awesome!  Even after over a decade of using the program, I'm still learning new tricks and shortcuts.

Really, I'm shocked at how much I learn when I help other people out.  :D

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I wrote this one for Hupbages authors, but it works equally well for any online articles.

(And yes, I did do that photomanipulation.  I love surreal art.  :D)

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The first of my tutorials written specifically for my fellow hubbers.  :D

I'll cover some more of the suggestions you guys gave me for the next one.

I'd just like to take this moment, as someone who finally made her way through Arah, to thank the GW2 devs for making a dragon that scared the living crap out of me the first time I saw him.  Zhaitan is beautifully Lovecraftian and H.R. Geiger-ish.

If you need me, I'll be whimpering and giggling in the corner.  (The horror fan in me is delighted.  The sanity in me has gone bye-bye.  I swear I'm going to fight through that battle again just to see that design.  It's so wonderful.)

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This covers all incarnations of Loki, even the mythological one.  :D
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