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Blizzplanet Review: SteelSeries Diablo III Gaming Headset

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I have now about 5-6 months experience with the SteelSeries Diablo III Gaming Headset.

I can say “this is the best headset I have ever had”. The first time I unpacked this review copy, I was awed by its design and the box design.

The design is just a complimentary feature for Diablo III fans. This SteelSeries Diablo III Gaming Headset is actually a customized SteelSeries Siberia v2.

It has a 50mm speaker unit surrounded by leather, with XL-sized ear cups which cancel out noise. I have a hard time listening to people talking to me while playing video games because the ear cup does an amazing job at what it was designed to do — giving you that much of an immersion into the video games music, special effects and ambient sounds.

I play Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, World of Warcraft, Diablo III beta, Crysis, and other video games with the Diablo III Headset.

I feel this SteelSeries Diablo III Gaming Headset gives me an extra edge while playing FPS games. The sound is so amazingly crisp and clear, I can hear people walking nearby — allowing me to prepare an ambush. I can more or less determine where other players are by listening the direction in which their shooting sounds come from.

Without the headset I can’t hear nearby movement nor determine the direction where people is shooting from as I do while using the Diablo III headset.

For those using FRAPS, you can record videos using FRAPS while the Diablo III Headset is plugged into the computer, and the sounds can be heard in the uploaded videos.

Bang for your Buck

Alright. The SteelSeries Diablo III Gaming Headset is pricy: $117.78 (approximately). However, every single buck is worth it.

Ever spent $2.99 for a cheapo noname-brand headset from those 99-cents Stores? (guilty)

Ever got one of those $19.99+ Logitech headphones? (guilty)

How long have those lasted? A few months. Let me tell you what’s likely what caused 98% of your headphone’s malfunction. It’s the poor cabling protection.

The cabling is usually thin. As you handle it back and forth the cable bends, and the connection is lost between the jack and the ear cup receiver.

The Diablo III Headset (Siberia v2 D3H) is a diamond for anyone who wants the best sound quality, but the most important thing about this headset is its lifetime.

Cheap headsets usually malfunction within a few months. The secret of the Diablo III Headset (Siberia v2 D3H) is that it shares the same cable material as the Diablo III Mouse. The double-braided nylon cord prevents the internal cable from bending — the natural cause of the death of most other headsets.

The USB jack connector is gold-plated. The only benefits for gold-plated USB connectors is a better contact and that they do not oxidize or corrode, which of course extends the lifetime of the product another notch.

There’s a small box in the cabling that allows the user to adjust the volume of the headset’s sound, and it also has a slide-button to enable or mute the microphone.

The noise cancelling pull-out microphone is located on the left ear cup. You can pull out to use it, or hide it back in when not using it. Ideal for Skype and in-game chat via ventrilo.

Another wonderful feature of this Diablo III Gaming Headset is the length of the cable. The headset has a 1 meter (3 feet) cable, but a 2-meter (6.5 feet) extension cable comes along in the box to attach the headset’s USB connection. In total, you have a cable length of 3 meters (9.5 feet).

I am able to walk around the room to the small refrigerator and back without removing the headset. If you are listening to music, that’s great to be able to multi-task away from the computer.

Illumination Settings

The Diablo III-themed illumination around the back of the ear cups can be programmable.

The illumination intensity has the off, low, medium and high options.

Pulsation can be customized to steady, slow, medium, fast or trigger.

It’s Diablo-III themed, thus the illumination only has a solid red as a color option. No biggies.

Sound Settings

The SteelSeries Engine driver icon sits accessible at all times in the bottom-right of the Windows Vista/7 quick launcher area. Drivers can be found at Steelseries.com/support/downloads

The Diablo III Headset software has an equalizer UI to change the intensity and depth of the sounds. You can create profiles for each game, and assign a specific profile to be triggered by the launch of a game/exe by browsing the game location in your computer.

Box Design

The box has the golden Diablo III logo with a runic-like-embossed texture. The Blizzard logo and SteelSeries logo. Headset specifications and description.

The box is made of strong cardboard, and it’s designed to be opened easily.

The front of the box can actually be opened like a book. The frontal flap is kept closed with a tiny magnet hidden somewhere within the cardboard.

In the interior you can see Tyrael and Imperious artwork, as seen in the Diablo III: Book of Cain.

The text is localized in english, french, german and spanish:

And the Heavens shall tremble. Enhance your senses and prepare to safeguard the mortal realm from the rising powers of the Burning Hells. Hear the world of Sanctuary the way it was intended.

Co-designed with Blizzard Entertainment, the official Diablo III Headset brings players an immersive audio experience through its optimized soundscape, clear microphone communication and an illuminated, Diablo III-themed design. hear your fate. Prepare for victory.

  • Customizable Soundscape: Multiple Diablo III-themed options.

  • Plug-and-Play: In-line controls with USB connection.

  • Long Lasting Comfort: Lightweight suspension design

Cons

I only have one cons. Just one. I am not able to record sound in the Windows Moview Maker’s Narration timeline while the Diablo III Headset is plugged into the USB, and it is not even displayed in the sound source options. I can only see my internal sound card.

Not a big deal if you aren’t into video making. All you need to do is remove the Diablo III headset.

Conclusion

I’m waiting for the price to go down to get a second headset for two family members who would no doubt love this as a gift.

You really need to get the SteelSeries Diablo III Gaming Headset. Best sound quality, best cabling material, great length allows you to walk around the room. Microphone, mic mute and sound adjustment buttons. Long lifetime. Diablo III-themed equalizer UI (via SteelSeries Engine) and product design. It’s awesome. Go. Get. It.

Note: Blizzplanet is giving away one Diablo III Gaming Headset. Check out our Diablo Dialogue web show hosted by The Bearded Gamer to learn how to participate to win one.

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Blizzplanet review: Transformers: Autocracy # 3: The Hunt for Soundwave

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The artwork by Livio Ramondelli is awesome, and well-complemented by the coloring and special effects. You don’t see this level of visual F/X in comics very often consecutively from panel to panel in merely 8-pages. It’s pure raw action.

Letters by Robbie Robbins add an extra depth to the story using noise F/X such as CHA-KOOOOM, KRAAK, CHAMMK, BWAM and others with special fonts.

Transformers: Autocracy # 3 quickly puts the 12-part series into high-speed heartbeat-rate.

In this issue, everyone gets their answer about StarScream’s massacre in Megatron: Origin. There were no survivors to relay who perpetrated the assassination of the Senate of Kaon — as you can read in this image.

As Chris Metzen said during our recent Autocracy # 3 interview, this issue is a Soundwave spotlight.

In the previous issue, Zeta Prime ordered his best officer Orion Pax (later to be known as Optimus Prime) to capture the Decepticon spy Soundwave.

Orion Pax and his autobots team are now hunting down the spy to prevent critical classified info from falling into the hands of the Decepticons.

The aerial defences of Iacon won’t allow an emergency evac, thus Soundwave has no other option than to run for it toward the Kaon border — identified as a Decepticon-controlled territory in continuum consistency with the events of Megatron: Origins.

As Metzen said in the Autocracy # 3 video teaser, you will see Soundwave making use of its cassette minions in a surgical way to make his escape. He uses all of them, thwarting the Autobots hunt. Soundwave is definitely one of the more interesting Decepticons. Flint Dille and Chris Metzen make him shine in this story.

Something curious about the citizens of Iacon is how much they fear Zeta Prime’s forces: the Autobots. Something you should put attention to. The citizens fear the Autobots as much as they do the Decepticons.

The only autobot remaining in the hunt is Orion Pax, and you know what that means. “Crack!!!”, It’s Clobbering Time!!!

The end of this issue just makes you wish you could read Autocracy # 4 already, craving for more.

Front Cover

I don’t know if Livio Ramondelli created this front cover artwork with this in mind, but the metaphorical vibes of this image are mind-boggling. That’s a close up on Soundwave with Orion Pax (Optimus Prime)’s reflection in the middle of Soundwave’s chest. See the decepticon insignia on Orion Pax?

Throughout the story, you will see Orion Pax and the Autobots feared as much by the citizens as they fear the Decepticons. Zeta Prime has reached a point where he will rather massacre an entire district than to let the Decepticons continue their hit-and-run terrorist tactics. Zeta Prime is like Machiavelli: The end result justifies the means.

This is definitely not the heroe Optimus Prime we know and love. This was a time of desperate conflict. Orion Pax had been deactivated prior to all this, and reactivated by Zeta Prime to be his best officer. There is a hollowness within Orion Pax, and his loyalty to the law enforcement clouded his vision to see the truth.

In issue # 2, readers can find out what Zeta Prime’s plans are. It’s genocide. Not only the Decepticons, but the innocent citizens who will serve as fuel to the Vamparc Ribbon weapon wielded by the Omega Destructors. As Metzen implied, Autocracy # 3 starts to pave the ground to the truth. Orion Pax was not in the Senate room to hear Zeta Prime’s speech. He was ordered to hunt Soundwave who managed to infiltrate the Iacon Citadel and fled with the recording of Zeta Prime’s plans.

What will happen if Orion Pax sees the video footage? Will he side with the Decepticons? Will he turn against Zeta Prime? This front cover has an interesting vibe.

You can read Transformers: Autocracy # 3 for only $.99 cents in your iPhone, iPad, or at Comixology (PC,Mac,Android).

Check out our interview with Chris Metzen concerning Autocracy # 3.

Autocracy # 3 Teaser Video

A few hours before Autocracy # 3 went on sale, Chris Metzen and Flint Dille posted a video in YouTube to tease the release of this issue. Check it out!

Diablo Archive – Diablo: Demonsbane Review

After receiving the Diablo Archive, boasting 752 pages, just recently, I decided to read through it backwards starting with Diablo: Demonsbane by Robert B. Marks (of Garwulf’s Corner fame).

I am sure the Diablo Archive will be a jewel among my Blizzard novels collection. Better to have four Diablo novels on a single tome, than have invididual books all around the place unable to find them at times. There is one thing I disapprove from the Diablo Archive however.  For such a big tome, and quiet heavy in weight, the cover designer Richard Yoo or whoever chose the cover material should have gone for thick cardboard material. This huge archive is no pocket book. It is about two inches thick. The cover material is made of the same material as any other pocket book with the same thin thickness. The result is a jellyfish-effect when you handle the heavy book around. I usually read on my bed. At times when I am uncomfortable, I usually lie on my back and rise the book above me in the air. The weight is almost unbearable after 20 minutes, but the material doesn’t help. Enough with the material rant.

What can be found inside is worth the nuisance. For years, I have heard of Diablo: Demonsbane. A lecture painted in myth. Something I knew existed, but couldn’t reach. It was a few years ago, when I first heard of its existence. It was released on 2000 in ebook format. I have a lot of Warcraft RPG books in ebook format, and even purchased Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor as an ebook.  But for some odd reason I never got around reading Diablo: Demonsbane, even when I craved it more than any other book. Curiosity compels one’s craving. I have never read a review of Demonsbane, or heard what it was about. I just knew it was the first of the Diablo stories ever released.

I reported about the first printing of Diablo: Demonsbane on paper two years ago on July 2, 2006. It was titled Blizzard Legends Vol. 1.  It contained a printed version of three ebooks from each game franchise: Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor (by Chris Metzen), Starcraft: Uprising (by Micky Neilson), and Diablo: Demonsbane (by Robert B. Marks).

However, it is now with the release of Diablo Archive that fans have the opportunity to get this craved story more broadly as it comes bundled along with Diablo: Kingdom of Shadow, Diablo: The Black Road, and Diablo: Legacy of Blood.

Personally, I was expecting something different in Diablo: Demonsbane. More of a dark fantasy meets Lord of the Rings with some fancy Shakesperian old-english language accent. Part of the myth I envisioned for lack of any knowledge of a Demonsbane’s summary.

I started reading on Sunday evening and couldn’t stop reading. It caught my attention. It is a short novella spanning through page 685-738. According to the epilogue, these events take place on year 302 and seem to happen during the Sin War.  Right at the end when I read the epilogue, it made me wonder.  Did Diablo: The Sin War somehow retconned Demonsbane? I have no idea. What I do know is that none of the events of the Sin War trilogy seem to be mentioned in it. Nor did the main character in Demonsbane show up in the Sin War trilogy.

Which book comes first in the timeline is also a mystery to me. One thing does gets mentioned that might help those who have better knowledge of the timeline than me.  Sarnakyle the Kejistan mage of the Spirit Mage Clan mentioned he was among the party of mages that killed Bartuc the Warlord of Blood at Viz-jun two years earlier.

The story is centered around Siggard, a warrior who fought at Blackmarch with the Entsteig’s army. They had fought demons there led by the favored archdemon of the Lord of Terror: Lord Assur. This archdemon has a peculiar glyph of invincibility that makes him feared by the Vizjerei Mage clans. There is however one thing that may kill him, and that would be spoiling it. I did see it coming when I read what could kill him, but was unsure as the requirements for it to happen were not clear at sight, specially with the interaction of Siggard with the other characters.

Ever since the Night of Souls through the events in Brennor, it kept bouncing around my mind why Siggard can’t remember anything about Blackmarch until certain point as if he had magically forgotten. As I was reaching the last pages of the story, it was more evident my suspicions were right, but the idea resulted contradictory. Making me doubt.  Robert B. Marks wrote here a very nice story, and wrapped up with a surprise few could have seen coming. It keeps a fast pace, while adding elements of suspense. I enjoyed the read and don’t regret it. One well-known character appears a couple of times, but heavily weights on the outcome of the story: Tyrael.

I will be reading through the Diablo Archive in upcoming days. One thing I am glad of doing, however, is to have started backwards, reading Diablo: Demonsbane first. It is a pity this story was brought as an ebook and as a short novella. As an ebook, it didn’t get the attention it deserved in 2000. And as a novella, it was too short. The story was worth an entire book of 378 pages. I hope the author writes a continuation of Siggard’s adventures.  Otherwise, I would like to read a new story from him again. Take note Blizzard. Cheers, Robert B. Marks.

Go grab your copy of the Diablo Archive.

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