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10001  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / NPD online subscription tracker (new in 2008) on: May 10, 2008, 01:34:53 PM
Saw this mentioned at Massively.com, referencing a Next Gen article:

NPD: Online Subs Exceed $1 bln Annually
http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10377&Itemid=2
Quote
MMO/PC Game Subscribers

1.) World of Warcraft
2.) RuneScape (?)
3.) Lord of the Rings Online
4.) Final Fantasy XI
5.) City of Heroes
More info on NPD's beginning to track (i.e., estimate) online subscriptions is here (also Next Gen):

NPD Begins Tracking Paid Subscriptions
http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9057&Itemid=2
I don't really know how precise it is (the companies aren't suddenly providing these top secret figures to NPD, afik). It might not be much more useful/meaningful than the fan-created mmogcharts.com.

If you're curious about Runescape (it's a UK-devved, free, browser based MMO with some Dungeon Runners-ish payment options -- although it seems to have been around much longer than DR, to be fair), it's over here:

An In-Depth Review of RuneScape
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/8862

It's by most accounts crude (you're not going to show off your $3,000 gaming PC or $800 SLI video card set up with it), but sounds very much like the "little engine that could," and I'm sure their development cost overhead is very low.
10002  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 10, 2008, 05:53:13 AM
So, the Marvel comics writers themselves love the movie too. Although it's not we should expect them to be quoted on the Marvel Web site as saying "Iron Man blows!"  smirk Still, I'm fairly sure these same guys had no kind words to say about the Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Punisher, Elektra, or Hulk movies. So, perhaps it's worth something afterall.  icon_smile

Marvel Comics’ creators weigh in
http://www.marvel.com/news/moviestories.3551.TGIF%7Ecolon%7E_Iron_Man_Reviewed
I'll boil it down for the easily bored...
Quote
Mark Waid: "Perfect. Note-perfect. The best Marvel movie yet. Robert Downey, Jr. is the single best-cast super hero since Christopher Reeve as Superman, and the humor and humanity he brings to the role of the cool exec with the heart of steel is just remarkable."

Reggie Hudlin: "I have to see it again. I actually wanted to see it again right after seeing it, but to properly rank it, I need to see it again. To say it is one of the two best films based on a super hero comic book is a safe designation. Best acting ensemble ever in a super hero film."

Gerry Conway: "It's a genre film that somehow lifts itself out of the genre and is a genuine, legitimate story, first and foremost. What can I say, I liked it."

Robert Kirkman: "'Iron Man' is nearly flawless. It has none of the little bits you have to excuse in most superhero movies. Pepper doesn't get abducted, Tony's helmet doesn't fall off in every scene, there aren't multiple villains who 'team-up,' it's simply a marvelous movie. With Marvel Studios in charge of the movie, you get a sense that the lunatics are running. The asylum—finally—and it makes for better movies. "Iron Man" is the comic book movie people have been waiting for a long, long time. It's finally here and it's awesome."

Joe Kelly: "I loved it. 'Iron Man' has renewed my faith in Hollywood's ability to shepherd our characters to the big screen."

Andy Schmidt: "Great movie. No qualifiers. No comparison to other 'comic book' or 'super hero' movies, no 'if you're a comic book fan,' just a great movie. Entertaining from the opening to the end, well-structured, well-plotted, and extraordinarily well-acted.

David Michelinie: "I liked it a lot, and actually plan to spend theater bucks to see it again."

Aw who am I kidding, I'm not saving you any time by cutting and pasting so much.  icon_razz

One thing I noticed in the Wash. Post here is studios seem to be lessening newspaper advertising even for blockbusters like IM (the ads for it in the paper are tiny, and they're barely able to fit one or two blurbs). I guess I don't really miss half page ads with "made up quotes," but I was hoping to see (for old time's sake) at least one big fat huge ad with all the appropriate enthusiastic blurbs -- no need to make them up in this case. smile

I don't know if it'll keep its momentum up in the coming weeks with Speed Racer, the Narnia sequel and the Indy sequel, but ... I'm rooting for it.  icon_smile
10003  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 07, 2008, 12:58:35 PM
I keep digging around for interviews and such. The NY Times had this interesting slide show, featuring some ILM concept artwork and sketches, and narrated by ILM's Aaron McBride, visual FX art director for Iron Man.

Suiting Up Iron Man
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/movies/20080502_IRONMAN_FEATURE/index.html#section

In the 1980s, the comic book had his armor being these flat things that fit in a briefcase, and when he needed to put them on, they just sort of popped out as full size armor and he shrugged them on by hand.

I guess in the more recent variations, it's some sort of "bio armor" that sprouts out of his skin and envelopes him (which I think I read Favreau wasn't too keen on trying to do, he was shooting for something a teeny bit more currently plausible).
10004  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 07, 2008, 12:50:47 PM
I've got a biz trip so I probably won't get much more time into the Fileplanet beta before it closes.

I like what I've seen, mostly, but haven't really done enough quests to know if they'll really hold my interest or not. After the first initial day or two, the game ran really smoothly for me fwiw. It looks great, and while the combat's refreshing, it's easy to get a grip on.

One of the things that annoyed me in Tabula Rasa was all the non-instanced quests that (if the server was busy) had you basically scraping alongside other players for the same objective. Or other players would just unknowingly whack some patrol that you needed for a quest. Or at the worst, you'd basically be waiting in line with 20 other players for some quest-enemies to spawn. I don't like it when a game emulates waiting at a deli counter for your order.  disgust

There's one quest in the fort that reminds me too much of that (by the house of pleasure I guess it's called), and I found other players constantly taking out the enemies I needed for the quest, leaving me to either "camp" or wait for the other players to go away. It's a minor annoyance, but if the whole game is full of situations like that, I might be a tad turned off. I don't need a 100%-instanced game, but I do like something of a mix or at least a game world large enough that "overlapping" situations with other players isn't a frequent problem (that's kind of how I viewed LOTORO).

While I enjoy the combat, losing keys 1-3 to the required directional attacks left me a little frustrated finding ways to make the various hotkeys easy to reach (normally I reassign some to letters, but AoC seems to make use of practically every letter on the keyboard on the left half of it).

I'm not pre-ordering more because I'll again be on a biz trip during the 3-day headstart, and launch, so I'll just look forward to reading here (and elsewhere) about how the launch goes and if the full game's quests live up to the interview promises (as far as being interesting, well written and something more than "get me 3 bricks" and "get me 5 spools of thread," etc. icon_smile
10005  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 06, 2008, 10:06:39 PM
Pohsyb had details on many upcoming "Quality of Life" (QoL) improvements coming to the game:
http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=Issue10open&Number=10736634&bodyprev=#Post10736634

One I had been dying for (and it's right there on his list) was the ability to jot a short note "attached" to a name on global friends (or friends) list so you can remember who the heck someone is and why you added them to your list.  icon_razz
10006  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Bioware doesn't trust us (Mass Effect) on: May 06, 2008, 09:54:43 PM
If anyone thought EA/Bioware was going to think like Sins of a Solar Empire's publisher/dev team Stardock/Ironclad Games (as far as copy protection goes), they be fooling themselves.  icon_neutral

The sad thing is, they could probably do something similar as far as updates/downloadable content for the PC Mass Effect. But I imagine if a dev went to EA and said, "Lets skip copy protection, but make it so they need a purchased copy for the updates and downloadable content to work at all," the boardroom would be full of laughter without end. icon_razz I could've maybe seen the "old" Bioware considering it, but since EA owns their soul now, it's out of their hands.
10007  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My cat is exceptionally angry on: May 06, 2008, 07:19:34 PM
I've had my hands full raising one cat (Molly) for about 11 years now, so I admire your bravery raising that many.

I know the cat's are fixed and all, but maybe the visiting cat was female, and Tymora and tiggrr had some sort of jealousy-spat? Or else it might've just been some random incident that happened out of sight. Have they had rabies vaccinations? If one had been bitten, I assume you'd probably see them scratching at a bite or something like that.

My cat's so peaceful and gentle most of the time at home (she even lets me feed her her thyroid medication twice a day by hand without biting), but when I take her to the vet and they take her away from me for tests or nail trimming, it's like she turns into Mrs. Hyde and wants to snap her jaws like a piranha (she's declawed). The assistant had to wear elbow length gloves and put a velcro-felt muzzle on her mouth on Saturday (she looked like Hannibal Lecter when he's carted in, in Silence of the Lambs), and she tends to make this Lion-like growl when they're examining her or giving her shots.

When I get her home, she's back to being Ms. Jekyll....  icon_confused
10008  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 06, 2008, 12:41:11 PM
Entertainment Weekly has a nice interview, post-opening-weekend with IM director Jon Favreau [NOTE: Last page of the interview has *spoilers* if you haven't seen IM yet, and is clearly marked as such before you reach that page, fwiw icon_smile]:
http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20198027,00.html
Quote
Do you get the sense that he understood the level that his fame was about the reach? Before this, he hadn't starred in a $100 million-grossing movie.

No, I don't think he [Robert Downey Jr.] got it until he and I went around to the theaters [last weekend].

He and I went around to the theaters Thursday night and Friday night because we both love the audience reaction. So you could sit home and have numbers faxed to you all night and e-mailed to you all night — it doesn't mean anything — but when you go into the Cinerama Dome [in Hollywood]...I went up there and intro'd the movie, and as a surprise brought Robert Downey Jr. up, and then everybody jumped to their feet. It just hit him. Then, when he was courtside for the Lakers game, and they flashed him on the big screen and people clapped or Jack [Nicholson] gave him a thumbs up — I think you kind of know at that point. And it's exciting.

It's exciting for everybody, because he's a guy that I think a lot of people wrote off. It's inspiring when somebody who sort of has his work cut out for him actually accomplishes that and comes back bigger and better than he was before. I mean, that's the American dream — and it oddly somehow relates to Tony Stark. And when art imitates life, you're onto something. I learned that off Swingers.
He has a pretty refreshing attitude as far as realizing a movie can make a mountain opening week and not be all that well-liked by fans or critics. They've (mostly) managed happily to achieve both.  icon_smile

They had an updated item on the Avengers movie:
http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20197922,00.html
Quote
The Avengers — July 2011 (bringing together the characters of Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and Thor in one movie)
Yikes. Going to need a heckuva good villain against that team.  icon_razz And the real question is whether Iron Man can use Thor's hammer as a recharger.  saywhat
10009  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 05, 2008, 05:28:57 PM
Super Hero Hype mentioned Marvel said they'd introduce Thor in Iron Man 2; and that "The First Avenger: Captain America" is the tentative "working title" for the Cap movie.
http://www.superherohype.com/news/topnews.php?id=7165

I guess the scheduling ends the idea that Favreau could direct the Avengers movie (there just wouldn't be enough time). It did sound like he, Downey and everyone were keen on doing further things, and I'm sure Stan Winston would love to work on new variations on the suit.  icon_smile

It all sounds great, but I just hope they can keep the quality level up, find the right people (not just hire music video directors who don't have any interest in the character or the comic books) and keep making unconventional yet ultimately smart casting decisions (as for Iron Man, and really it was Favreau who fought to get Marvel to understand Downey as a casting choice). And have a solid script as a starting point. If they can keep doing that, I'll keep buying tickets even when they're $12.50 for a matinee.  icon_biggrin
10010  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 05, 2008, 04:53:35 AM
fwiw, it topped the $100 million mark during the weekend. I say fwiw, because a lot of lousy sequels make a zillion dollars and then do a fast fade so it's hard to read too much into numbers (esp. with movies showing in 4,000 theaters at roughly $8.50-$10.50 per ticket). I'm hoping it does steadier business given the good reviews and good will  icon_cool, and a nice "slow burn" even with Speed Racer, Indy et al due in the coming weeks.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/05/04/boxoffice.ap/index.html

I think it's something like the 2nd biggest debut for a "non sequel" movie (behind Spidey in 2002). Marvel's in kind of an interesting position though with Universal handling Hulk, and Paramount having distribution rights to Avengers or Nick Fury (SHIELD) movies if they do them.
10011  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 04, 2008, 02:59:44 PM
I put some time in with a necromancer. Kinda fun but you can't wear more than tissue strength armor and go down quickly if they get through the pets. You get summon two of the "red inside-out things" early on. And it seemed like randomly, my spell attacks (not summoner skills) would occasionally spawn a big icy blue pet.



Right clicking the pet health window (the random summonee doesn't get one afik) pops  up a simple pet control checkmark menu.


Couple close-ups of the boys (red is a "Mutilator," blue is a "Frozen Hatred"):

There's a pet buff spell that ups a pet's damage and physical size but removes your ability to heal them, while buff's active.


10012  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 04, 2008, 02:54:32 PM
I'm stumped on part of a destiny quest...
Spoiler for Hiden:
Nadini in the Destiny quest.

I'm in the night instance. I'm at the spot (in a house) where she's marked on the map. There's no Nadini.  icon_confused

Any ideas? Am I missing something? Or did the latest patch add a bug? (didnt' have this problem with my other character the other night afik)

I've checked Wiki and forums, but the assumption is she should be right there.
10013  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 04, 2008, 01:11:29 PM
Pssttt, there's some talk The Incredible Hulk later this summer has yet another Easter Egg after the credits (though I read differing things about whether the footage filmed will go in like that or not).

I've had a hard time tracking down Stan Winston interviews specifically about his effects studio's work on the Iron Man armors, but I finally found some fun comments from him in this IESB interview last year about the vampire move Skin Walkers (maybe the last 1/4 or so of this video interview is about working on Iron Man -- he loved working on it, and pretty much everyone he worked with on it so I'm sure he's up to doing more on it if they do sequels; he also recently signed up to work on Terminator 4, the one with Christian Bale as Sarah Connor's grown son).

The Iron Man portion starts at about the 4 min. 25 sec. mark, if you're impatient.  icon_razz

Stan Winston on Skinwalkers (and on Iron Man, later in the interview)
http://iesb.net/index.php?option=com_xevidmegafx&Itemid=139&func=detail&id=1185

Much of the interview is lamenting an over-reliance on 100% digital effects rather than a mixture of effects that let a human actor still come to the fore. When asked about Iron Man though he's all smiles, and it's like his face lights up.  icon_smile
10014  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 04, 2008, 12:57:24 PM
Quote
3)  The endless load time may be releated to the windows indexing and search.  (I have both turned off on my Vista machine and do not experience long load times).
I still sometimes get frantic hard disk churning on Vista Ultimate even after having turned off Windows Indexing and the "Superfetch" feature (it's not defragmenting and seems to go on too long to be a paging file issue). Just now I fixed it by simply turning the PC off and no more churning when I returned.

It's true though -- even though that churning for those features is supposed to turn off when you're in a program or doing something else, it doesn't seem to stop and has killed my performance if I don't do something to stop the churning before I play a game. I can see in the "Performance and Reliability Monitor" it's some weird subfolder in the main hard drive volume (I guess that's an entire Vista thread topic in itself though  icon_razz).

My load times have been fine, fwiw. I'm a bit disappointed you get a level load screen (briefly) just walking through a doorway to go into a building in town, or just walking through a town's main gate.  saywhat (it doesn't help the immersion aspect to have loading screens for such routine movements).
10015  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 04, 2008, 12:50:04 AM
I hoped I would get less geekier as I got older, but truly the opposite is happening.  icon_redface

I truly must have this official Iron Man Movie: Iron Man Fine Art Statue  drool, available for pre-order (due in December 2008) for a mere $147.48 (about $32 off):

http://www.statuetoys.com/iron-man-movie-iron-man-fine-art-statue.html
Quote
Now Kotobukiya can make not only the goods from all Marvel Studios produced films but also all goods from vast library of Marvel Comic Book characters. This IRON MAN FINE ART STATUE is the first character to be released from Marvel series. It stands about 12 4/5" tall and a serial number will be given in each item. This is the must item to buy if you are Marvel fan!
However, I don't think it has working repulsors. Sigh.  icon_cry icon_lol
==============
Oh and the City of Heroes/Villains devs (NCSoft North Cal now) had a field trip to see Iron Man and came back in love.  icon_smile
http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=comics&Number=10716588&bodyprev=#Post10716588
10016  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 03, 2008, 11:34:08 PM
I saw it again, just got back from a 3:15 p.m. show. It was the same multiplex but a much smaller screen -- however, the theater was packed and really enthusiastic and into it; and the digital sound was great, so it worked out.  icon_cool

I took my retired 73 year old mom to see it, and she... LOVED it.  thumbsup She finds it harder and harder to follow stories with multiple plot lines so in a way this was perfect. It was interesting, without being hard to follow (aside from maybe the one flashback sequence early on), and she loved the performances and got caught up in the story and characters. Sometimes I take her to action films and she all but falls asleep, but I could hear quietly saying "oh no!" and "ah, so that's who's behind it" etc.

We often don't find much to talk about, but over burgers afterwards she and I talked about the movie and the director (Favreau) and all sorts of other things about it. Iron Man, bring generations together. Who would've thunk it?  icon_biggrin

One thing she said to me stuck out. It was something like "Oh I thought from the poster there wouldn't be anyone human in it, but it was full of great characters and all my favorite actors were so good in it." I know the 70+ set is not something the marketers seek out, but it must be a good sign of its very broad appeal.  icon_smile

There was much applause and cheers (unlike the half filled Thursday 8 p.m. show I saw), and I think I enjoyed it even more the second time because of that. I also got some neat things I missed the first time around. And a decent number of us stuck around for the "easter egg" after the credits. It's cool, though I don't think non comic book fans will understand the "reference" in it.

Oh, here's a Gaming Trend sighting in Iron Man...  smirk

10017  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 03, 2008, 04:48:31 PM
Sorry, I have no topless shots yet though the "starter outfit" seems more appealing than the various armor scraps you get early on:
10018  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 03, 2008, 01:38:12 PM
BB for me was for me in a different way satisfying because of what it was trying to undo (years of horrific Batman Movies). I do think Iron Man has a bit more potential to appeal to a wider spectrum just because it's a little funnier and snappier though still gritty at times.

For those who obsess about box office figures (they don't reflect whether a film's good or not, but I certainly want to see IM recoup its fairly high production costs (I've read estimates ranging from $150 million to $190 million, and the scary thing is that's not even considered all that huge in today's world), the Friday estimates were about $35 million and the Thursday advance screenings (what I attended) pulled in about $5.2  million.
http://news.fantasymoguls.com/originalcontent/2008/05/iron-man-with-3.html

And it's pulled in about $22.4 million internationally so far, with a lot more openings still left:
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&id=ironman.htm

Here's hoping for a $100m opening weekend. In fact, I'll try to see it again this afternoon and do my part. This time for less than $11.50.  icon_razz

PVP's Kurtz loved it too, fwiw:
Quote from: PVP's Scott Kurtz
Find a way to go see Iron Man today. We saw it last night at Midnight. It is without a doubt the best Super-Hero movie I have seen to date. It’s better than Spidey 2. It’s just…the perfect comic book nerd movie.
Like I said though, I don't think you *need* to be a comic book nerd to enjoy it. It seems to have more widespread appeal beyond, but certainly including, that.  icon_cool
10019  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Is a bit of green mold bad for you? on: May 03, 2008, 01:02:33 PM
I ate some slimy packaged ham a few months ago (it was "preservative free", and I think I'll stick with preserved deli meats, thank you) and survived, so I think you'll be OK.

It won't hurt you, from what I've read (who knows? Maybe your peanut butter went bad). I don't think bread mold's going to give you salmonella (which is more from meats). But if you have any lingering problems then for crying out loud see a doctor about it.  icon_smile

Actually, of late I've started scribbling "sell by" or "eat this by" dates on certain things on my fridge with a Sharpie. Most packaged deli meats (the preserved kind) warn you to eat it within a week of opening no matter how air tight you store it, for example. I hurriedly made a sandwich for work yesterday so some opened meats would "beat the deadline."

I'd recommend The Sharpie Calendar Dating Method if like me you pay no attention to how old the stuff is you have in there (or a Post-It Note on your breadbox).  icon_razz

Lastly, my mom is a big fan of throwing bread - as soon as she bought it - in the freezer, where it'll last virtually forever. You can either pop slices in the microwave or in the fridge overnight to thaw, and generally it still tastes fine and chances are will be mold-free. icon_biggrin
10020  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 03, 2008, 04:09:32 AM

NPCs you can communicate with will lip synch if they have actual speech (many do). Creepy.  paranoid


Finally got to the point where you run into other players. I'm not sure if the Green Giant is a pet of some sort, or what.

Note the little "padlock" on the panther they're fighting. This seems like an "anti kill steal" mechanism where once you "tag" an enemy, no one outside of your party can damage it. Not sure though, I'm just guessing.  icon_confused I saw it pop up a few times.


Just the requisite "gosh it looks so nice" screenshot everyone has been doing since the first Everquest. Well, so be it. It does look nice, even on modest settings.  icon_smile

10021  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 03, 2008, 04:03:32 AM
I tried a Ranger tonight. Some pics...

Although archery is fun enough, every enemy that's not an archer makes an immediate bee line to you and starts whacking. In the early going anyway, I'm not finding archery very practical, fwiw.




Scrolling the mouse wheel pulls up a crosshair and a near FPS style view. It works well enough.


For all the talk of gore, in two nights of slashing at everything in sight, I have one decap to speak of.  smirk


The skills, combo whatever tree is intimidating. Archery includes grenadier down the line (firing crude bombs), including this grapeshot.
10022  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO 9.99 referral? on: May 03, 2008, 12:24:53 AM
Got my "re-invite" to come back and play free May 8-12. Natch, I'm out of town May 8-9 on business, and at a baseball game on the 10th, Mother's Day on the 11th. Cripes. So, I don't have much of a window to play then.  icon_cry
Quote from: Welcome Back to LOTORO e-mail
The Lord of the Rings Online™ launched a year ago and we want you to help us celebrate! That's why we're giving you free LOTRO access from May 8-12, 2008!

Play your old characters, check out the LOTRO Anniversary celebration events, explore new areas, and tackle new quests. Just log into your LOTRO account from May 8-12, 2008 and we'll take care of the fun and adventure.
10023  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 02, 2008, 08:48:49 PM
Check out these custom figurines at Wired, especially the first one (an Iron Man/Iron Monger hybrid).
http://www.wired.com/culture/art/multimedia/2008/05/gallery_custom_figurines

10024  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 02, 2008, 04:25:41 PM
It definitely is common, though not necessarily required. I think LOTORO and to some extent City of Heroes didn't quite have the same din of "DOMMM!!!!"' 3 weeks from launch. They might've had different expectations though.

Tabula Rasa, otoh, from what I read, did -- and they ended up releasing a massive patch right at launch to totally revamp some things.

Anyway, when it does stay connected AoC looked great, performed well (on my new but not high end quad core with modest 8600GT card) and the combat basics (the three directional attack keys, and the visual "shield" system of the enemies) felt good to me. Here's hoping they deliver a home run and not a double. icon_smile

Couple questions for you more knowledgeable:
-I'm used to being able to drag and drop skills from a panel into the hotkey tray but it didn't seem to do anything. If I left clicked in the skills panel it activated it. What am I missing?  icon_confused
-In most mmorpgs I like to switch the "run/walk toggle" from the typical "Num Lock" to my wheel mouse button. When I go into key config, it won't let me assign to that. Urk?  icon_confused
-The various UI panels seem to be fixed in place. I would think there'd be some option to "un bind" them but I haven't found one so far in the options. Can you clue me in if you find a way?
10025  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 02, 2008, 03:38:02 PM
Oh, I forgot to mention:
-I arrived early for my 8 p.m. show last night (maybe 6:40). There was nobody there, and one ticket cashier. I sheepishly asked to pickup an online order, she swiped my card, got my ticket. Definitely online ordering was a little pointless last night.  icon_redface

-I sat in the fourth row from the screen (at this AMC stadium theater they set the first rows reasonably far back). It was about perfect -- filled up my eyeglasses, but I never had to turn my head to enjoy the view. Nobody sat in front of me. Other than a couple who cackled like hyenas at every moment of humor (it has some funny moments, but sheesh), nobody was annoying. It was like having my own huge private screening room.  icon_cool

But, as I mentioned, I might want to catch it at least once with a big, noisy summer movie crowd this weekend.
10026  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 02, 2008, 01:09:23 PM
Quote
I had one gripe with Batman Begins.  That was Katie Holmes.
Most people (including me) felt that way too. I think we'll like Maggie Glyenhall, who has a lot more fire and just seems a lot more believable as a tough DA (judging from the Dark Knight Trailers).  icon_smile

I belatedly found out what I missed after the credits. Cool.  icon_cool
10027  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 02, 2008, 12:44:37 PM

Quote from: Daehawk on May 02, 2008, 04:56:44 AM

How many character slots?
Appears to be eight.

If they eventually get all those servers at right running (or even most of them), hopefully it'll improve connection reliability. I know it's "just open beta" and all, but this close to release, people start passing judgement on the product whether the developer likes that or not. The official forums are kind of ugly about it, sometimes alleging Funcom learned nothing from AO's launch debacle.

This close (3 weeks) was about when I decided while in the LOTORO open beta that the game was coming together, was really special and generally reliable, and I went ahead and pre-ordered. Funcom certainly still has time, and I doubt the "gold master" means much -- no doubt this'll be another MMO with a huge update opening day update/patch. But really, you'd like it to be really coming together at this point (just basing that on my 2-3 other experiences with MMOs in this window before launch).
10028  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 02, 2008, 05:06:59 AM
Hey, even Box Office Mojo (they basically hate every movie ever made, is how I consider their reviews section) liked Iron Man, so it must have some redeeming features.  icon_razz

Robert Downey, Jr. Rocks as Witty Superhero
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/reviews/?id=2490&p=.htm

Another reason to see it is that (I assume in most places) you get to see newly updated Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Hulk and The Dark Knight trailers. You may also hoot at the trailer for the latest M. Night Shyamalan trailer. I like the guy, loved The Sixth Sense, but for the Love Of God, come up with a new schtick for your movies! (he doesn't  icon_razz) When the trailer ended, I heard people in the audience cackling at the title. Doesn't bode well for his continued career...
10029  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Oh, my aching back(log)! on: May 02, 2008, 05:00:58 AM
TQ: Immortal Throne is an awesome expansion (and I guess a good-but-sad epitaph to its defunct developer); however, I played it so much last spring that I got wrist tendinitis. Was wearing braces, gulping Alleve like Pez. A bit too much sacrifice to make for a game.  icon_razz
10030  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 02, 2008, 04:37:02 AM
As pointed out here and elsewhere (http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm?THREAD=176828&bhcp=1, for example), Funcom dropped the NDA for the Fileplanet open beta, but not for the continuing closed and "general open betas" (just to confuse people I guess icon_razz ). So tis ok to share videos/screenies from the FP open beta *only*.

So here be a couple screenshots of mine after a bit of playing tonight (meant to take more, guess I was hitting the wrong hotkey):


Character creation. Right panel has all the various class choices.


A day at the beach. This doesn't have all the eye candy turned on, but it is pretty swell still.  icon_smile I mentioned in the main thread that I really enjoyed the combat system. It won't blow you away, but it felt intuitive right away and different enough to feel fresh. You eventually get a recall power of sorts that you can bind to one location. I haven't quite figured out how to assign hotkeys just yet, I'm missing something.  icon_confused
10031  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 02, 2008, 04:23:13 AM
Updating DirectX fixed it, that's all it was.

I like the combat more than I expected, though since you're stuck with 1-3 as melee directions I don't quite know how I'll handle all the hotkeys later on. It ran OK for me (1280X1024), but it basically got stuck somewhere in the jungle and I had to alt/tab to the desktop to exit (it won't let you exit while in combat). I was playing on server #4. It seemed like the only first one was really busy right now.

The options menus give you zillions of options; I think they're going to have to put some sub categories within them - it's just awfully intimiding to try to find a setting in there.

*So far I can play maybe 10-15 minutes and then *DOINK*, the server freezes up; or in the last case I clicked on dialogue with an NPC enemy and *doink* it froze up. When it's not doing that, it's pretty fun, fwiw.
10032  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 02, 2008, 03:23:17 AM
I'm home now from Iron Man, doing the final updates (I set up my account from work).

Great.  disgust Anyone else getting this error message at start-up? (it verifies all the files fine and is fully updated):
Quote
AgeOfConan.exe - Unable to Locate Component

This application has failed to start because d3dx9_36.dll was not found. Reinstalling the application may fix this problem.
I don't think I'm preordering something that won't even start up. Supposedly this usually means some DirectX files related problem so I'm trying to update that.
10033  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 02, 2008, 03:16:26 AM
Too late, I didn't have the patience to sit through credits that go on that long.  icon_razz


I really liked and enjoyed the movie.  icon_cool Even the prolonged origin sequence, and the metal vs. metal finale. Bring your own! The suits are awesome, and the special effects pretty seamless. Aside from a couple moments towards the end, I never really got that sort of sloppy CGI feeling that sometimes takes you out of the fun (think about some of the clumsy CGI in the first Spider-Man movie for example).

Downey is really the best thing about the movie (as most say), and I found Paltrow quite charming in her role. Terence Howard is pretty much wasted, but hopefully a followup will give him a little more to do.

You could maybe knock Bridges for not being a villainous scenery chewer (we'll look to Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight for that  icon_cool), but I think he always disappears into his characters pretty well.

My only disappointment was how sparse my theater was. They really didn't do much of a job (AMC) promoting the earlier 8-9:30 showtimes I'm thinking. When I left, there was a huge que lining up for presumably the midnight show so I guess a lot of people "didn't get the memo" about the earlier shows tonight. But a modest audience was good for enjoying the movie undisturbed. I'll need to see it at least one more time with a jazzed weekend crowd.  icon_smile
10034  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 01, 2008, 09:29:49 PM
I'm narfing down a frozen dinner, debating where to sit tonight (it's a nice AMC stadium seating theater):
-Very front. Endless legroom, nobody in front of you, and it's not obnoxiously close to the screen. Still, Robert Downey's nostrils will look like these gigantic, gaping, endless black holes...

-Middle of the front section. If it gets crowded, and you have to use the restroom, it's tough (even with fairly roomy seating). Also, usually in something expected to sell out like this I get surrounded by obnoxious kids, some kicking my seat, and I have to resist the temptation to be an old grouch and holler "Hey you punks! Shut up! Try watching the movie and getting your *oddamn $10.50's worth!!!" Some day, I'll do it... icon_twisted

-Middle of the back row. That's about where I was for Batman Begins. Don't have to worry about people kicking the back of your seat. And in a pinch, you can climb over the back to get to the restroom. I'm favoring this, or the very front. Just depends on if I want closeups of Robert Downey's nose hair or not.  icon_razz

I'm heading out soon. If I was high-tech, I'd give you guys special blog-reports but you'll have to settle for a post-movie report.  icon_smile For those hitting the Age of Conan beta servers tonight - have fun!  icon_cool
10035  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 01, 2008, 07:31:32 PM
This official thread suggests the start time today has been pushed back to 2200 hours GMT (or about 6 p.m. Eastern US time, if I'm translating correctly, and that's accounting for daylight's savings):

New Start Time for Open Beta - UPDATED TO 22:00 GMT
http://forums.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=1844903#post1844903
Quote
To add an extra patch to improve the gaming experience and quality of gameplay, the official start time of the IGN Open Beta now is:

20:00 GMT (8 pm GMT) [as mentioned in the next post: time has changed to 22:00 GMT]
(to check the current GMT time please refer to http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/)

We wanted to add the extra update prior to launching the servers rather than to fix it shortly after the start of the Open Beta.

Users who have registered for the Open Beta will also receive an information e-mail about this in their inboxes shortly.
I'm missing out on the launch for Iron Man (8 p.m.), so all I have to say is, "Keep pushing it back, Funcom!" j/k  icon_lol

10036  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Transformers 2 News! on: May 01, 2008, 06:46:10 PM

Quote from: Destructor on May 01, 2008, 03:10:16 PM

Big giant metal things whipped back and forth and somehow beat themselves up in an orgy of CGI effects.
The consistent complaint about Iron Man so far is the ending (pretty much given away in the trailers) is like "Transformers-lite."  icon_razz But hey, it's Iron Man. Waddya going to do? Have the good guy and bad guy plant perennials at the park?  icon_confused

I finally saw Transformers on a tiny drop-down screen on a plane on my way back from a business trip to Alabama. I was able to get mono sound by jamming my headphones jack into the armrest connector. I found it OK as far as deafening Michael Bay spectacles go.  icon_smile
10037  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 01, 2008, 04:49:44 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on May 01, 2008, 01:26:48 PM

At the AMC theaters around here, if you buy your tickets online you just go up to an automated kiosk and insert your credit card and it automatically prints the tickets.  There's almost never a line for the kiosks like there is for the box office. 
Thanks, man. I will try to do that. The site didn't explain that possibility, and I forgot about those kiosks.  icon_smile

Sigh, I probably didn't need to advance buy at all. Oh well. At least I feel committed. Our visiting IT guy was apparently geek-impressed that I was seeing a show tonight.  icon_cool

I've done some weird things for opening nights some times. My brother and I back in 1984 (I was 19) were visiting our aunt in New York, so we got up at about 8 a.m. to see a 9:30 a.m. showing of Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom on opening day. And then we got down on the floor briefly (the ushers didn't really check the theater thoroughly  icon_razz), and stayed for another show.  icon_biggrin

In 2005, I got my newspaper work done a little early Tuesday to go see a midnight show of Batman Begins. I didn't know how to waste 4 hours though so I saw "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" first (enjoyed it), went out the exit, came back in the theater, and saw BB. I swear it had like 25 minutes of trailers. And BB was pretty long (almost 2 1/2 hours), so I came stumbling out of the theater at almost 3 a.m. I felt like it was worth it though.  icon_smile

I'm an old man now (43, same age as Robert Downey), and I have to pick my spots now when it comes to seeing opening day stuff at weird hours.
10038  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: May 01, 2008, 03:37:40 PM
Actually, NCSoft *should* care about my opinion cause I spent about $700 on CoX, and $120 on Tabula Rasa (in buying the games, and monthly fees). They've blown the chance to bleed me of monthly fees *twice* a month. icon_razz
10039  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Vista Games Explorer weirdness on: May 01, 2008, 03:35:07 PM
I'm used to using it now (you just get snazzy, almost 3-D versions of the box art for the icons and it does shuffle all the games into its folder for easy access).

Although you can arrange games a zillion ways to Sunday, I haven't found an easy way to separate the card game junk from my retail games on it.

I also find it annoying that the game's actual folders no longer show up on the start menu itself (unless I go to Classic View).

To me MS spends far too much time trying to be the Wizard of Oz, and hide all its mechanics (and filename extensions) behind curtains. disgust
10040  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: May 01, 2008, 01:14:03 PM
Here's a simpler way of how I see it.... (not that anyone at NCSoft should care how I see it, I know  icon_razz)

TR is starving and desperately needs "food."

Instead, they are putting in new plaid-color vinyl seat covers and yelling "Come back and see us!" icon_razz

I think also, as much as they want to believe official forums "don't matter" or "aren't worth the money and staff energy," they don't have a good way to seek out specific player feedback. I mean, WoW and CoX seem to base much of their updates on what they get from player feedback on their forums. Funcom is actually deciding Age of Conan's server names based on players' responses to polls at their official forums.

afik, Destination Studios is fluttering around blindly and I don't venture they have much clue what players wanted/want. They've got the test server, but what they're throwing on test didn't seem much based on any specific player feedback. If they had, they would've known players wouldn't consider hybrids (humanoids with ugly face skins and meaningless stats differences) to qualify as a "new race."  disgust

Anyway, I haven't received any sort of re-invite (I canceled almost a month ago). I do want to try it again at some point, I'm sure on the new PC it'll look and animate a lot more smoothly, if nothing else.
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