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10041  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes June 23 on: June 23, 2008, 03:05:41 PM
* The guild I'm in has some Tempests of Sets and I'll post if I see any feedback during the week.  icon_smile

Balancing in these things is tricky, esp. PvE vs. PvP needs (see what happened in CoX once PvP balancing became required). All Mass Nerfing tends to do is drive a lot of people either out of the game (if they were in love with a particular AT) or away from the AT. That said, a few of the classes right now are like one-person Armies and really don't need teammates (outside of Epic Instances) at all it seems.

* I really hope the "client code performance" remedies the memory leak/"decay in system performance over time" situation

* It took me weeks to get a clue, but the Trading Post NPCs first tab on the left is actually your personal stash (maybe I'm the last person to realize this). I thought it was just a "selling" tab but you right click items there to sell them, otherwise it's just your stash. Though to be fair, I've been too busy saving for a mount.

A guild bud donated his last 65S to me last night (I didn't beg, was just joking about being about 78 Silver shy of amount). He said once he had a decent mount he didn't feel like he really needed to save up for anything per se. So I'm about 12-13S shy now.  icon_cool
10042  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / AoC Patch Notes June 23 on: June 23, 2008, 01:14:42 PM
Here's the EU Forum page link:
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=53257

Necromancer/Demonoligists massive overhaul seems to have gone in today, among other things. Some promising performance improvements at the end. As to what this all broke in the process, stay tuned.  icon_wink

And worth a separate shoutout: All loot bags have doubled in size!  icon_cool [I assume they mean the add-ons you purchase, not sure]

I highlighted the Quests section too as a few annoying broken quests seem to have been fixed.

And pasted:
Quote
Massive PvP

    * Player city keeps now contain a vendor that sells siege weapons.
    * Players will now get teleported out of the zone before the battle starts.
    * Traders that would not spawn at the Battlekeep Tradeposts will now spawn. Traders will now be available at Battlekeeps.
    * Ballista NPCs will no longer spawn at an unbuilt tower.
    * The Boarder Kingdoms has had its environments adjusted. This should reduce draw-distance in those playfields and contribute to a performance-increase.

Player Character
Archetypes

    * Mages will now do less damage with ranged weapons to set them apart from specialized ranged weapon classes like the Ranger.

Assassin
Core Revision Adjustments

    * Kidney Shots will now properly go on cooldown, is now stackable for 12 second from the original 6 seconds and it's stacking buff duration has been increased to 10 seconds.
    * Flesh Necrosis has been given a new and improved visual.
    * Atrophy has an added persistent effect on the target while the debuff is in effect.

Conqueror
Core Revision Adjustments

    * Rage of the Tempest now correctly grants your team increased electrical damage, not increased fire damage.

Dark Templar
Core Revision Adjustments

    * Rite of Blood will now display health loss, stamina gain and the affect of its enhancement.

Demonologist
New Spells

    * Forced Summoning will allow you to summon a pet of the opposite sex than what would normally be summoned  icon_lol if cast before the specific summoned pet. You will receive this spell at level 9 with your first pet summon spell. All characters above level 9 will get this spell automatically.

Core Revision Adjustments

    * Diabolic Insight and Infernal Knowledge now last 12 hours instead of 1 hour and will no longer be removed upon death.
    * Wicked Bolts received a name change to be consistent regardless of how many points you have invested in it.


Herald of Xotli
Core Revision Adjustments

    * Herald of Xotli fatalities now have effects to them.
    * Corrected spelling of the name of the feat "Spell - Undying Glory of Xotli"

Necromancer
New Spells

    * You will now gain a new single target snare - Ice Shackle - at level 5. If you are already higher than level 5, you will gain this spell automatically.

Core Revision Adjustments

    * Dark Knowledge and Vile Insight now last 12 hours instead of 1 hour and will no longer be removed upon death.
    * Plagued Heart Curse will now correctly increase in damage with more feats trained.
    * Decomposition now increases Flesh to Worms by 35% at max rank instead of 30%.
    * Unholy Power has been rebalanced to have a more consistent effect across all levels.
    * Brutal Death now increases the critical strike chance of Pestilential Blast, Life Strike, Ice Strike, and Chill by 2/4/6/8/10%
    * Ice Shards now increases the splash range and damage inflicted by Chill in addition to Ice Strike.
    * Flash Freeze now additionally increases the damage of Frost Blast by 75/150/250%.
    * Bones of Frost now additionally increases the damage of Gelid Bones by 5/10/15/20/30%.
    * Frozen Body now increases the damage of Ice Strike, Chill, and Deathly Blizzard by 2/4/6/8/10%.
    * Corrupted Soul now increases the damage of Pestilential Blast, Life Strike, and Blasphemous Ruin by 2/4/6/8/10%
    * Soul Absorption now restores a significantly higher amount of mana when consuming a pet.
    * Frost Reach now additionally increases the damage of Frost Blast by 75/150/250%.
    * Ritual of the Lich has had its spell damage multiplier increases from 10% to 25%.
    * Embrace Death now has an increased effect. The maximum effect of this ability has been increased from 4% to 10%.
    * Pets now move faster and follow NPCs better.
    * Void has had its stamina/mana drain increased. It will also have the chance to crit.
    * Archmage feat has been moved to up in the general feat tree.
    * Unholy Fortitude has been changed to reduce the recast time of Frenzy by 12 seconds per rank, up from 4 seconds per rank.
    * The levels at which you get your pet points has been significantly changed. You will now get them at the following levels: level 5 - 2 points, level 10 - 4 points, level 15 - 6 points, level 20 - 8 points. You will now have your maximum number of pet points available at level 20.
    * Despoiled the Soul has had its mana cost and recast time reduced. When you train Despoil the Soul you will get a secondary spell, Reap the Soul. This spell can be used to refresh your current Despoil the Soul, making it easier to keep your Despoil the Soul counter where you want it. In addition, Despoil the Soul will also increase a bonus to magical damage instead of being a damage multiplier.


Nuke Balance Adjustments

    * All damage spells have been rebalanced to take into account your having all 8 pet points at level 20. This leads to better scaling of your damage spells, and reinforces that you are a pet class reliant on pets for a significant amount of damage.
    * Archmage pets incorrectly did not have the area-of-effect damage coefficient applied. Their damage has been corrected to take into account their nukes are AOE nukes.
    * Increased the damage of Necrotic Pustule, Gelid Bones, and Chill.
    * Significantly increased the explosion damage of Necrotic Bomb.
    * Chill has received splash damage (50% damage to 1 target), and splash damage from Ice Strike has received a increase in splash damage from 15% to 30%.
    * Lifestrike Rank 4 will correctly have the damage-over-time effect.
    * Parasitic Soul Swarm and Unholy Hands will now take pet damage contribution into account and should be in line with damage as it was originally intended.


Pet Effect Adjustments

    * Blighted One has had its proc rate and amount of mana damage significantly increased.
    * Dead Blight stamina damage was also significantly increased if it is trained and will have a chance to crit.
    * Harvester has received an increase to the amount of mana healed and stamina healed by the pet. The Harvester will now heal more mana than stamina (although the stamina gain is now still significantly increased over the previous value). These can also have a chance to crit.
    * Life-Stealer has had it's amount of health increased significantly. We also reduced the variance of the heal and added a chance to crit.
    * Mutilator's Mutilation damage-over-time (DoT) effect has had an increase to the damage. This will also have a chance to crit.

Tempest of Set
Core Revision Adjustments

    * Storm Field is now limited to affection 3 targets at a time.
    * Titanic Storm now additionally increases the number of targets affected by Storm Field by 50%.
    * Lightning Strike no longer has a cooldown.
    * The primary damage range of Lightning Strike has adjusted to be more consistent, the average damage remains the same
    * Lightning Strike has been modified to deal 40% splash damage to 3 targets instead of pure AoE damage
    * Pillar Lightning rank 2 and 3 now additionally increase the number of targets affected by Lightning Strike splash damage.
    * Fury of the Storm has been decreased from 60% to 40% critical damage modifier at max rank

Combat

    * Blood effects on pet attacks should now trigger correctly.
    * The evade bonus on characters has been revised when fighting lower level monsters.

**** Quests *****

    * Quests in the 20 - 40 level range have been revised so that they are all categorized under the proper locations in the quest journal.
    * Supply Routes quest in Conalls Valley should now be sorted under the correct region in the quest journal.
    * The ďJack of AleĒ you get at ďRum n' RumbleĒ for the Mage destiny quest can now be removed from your inventory.
    * Magic Orb: The orbs have been lowered for characters that could not reach them due to shortness in height.
    * Awakening III - Neutralize Strom's Guard: You should no longer become stuck after killing the Boozed Bullies.
    * The Phoenix of the North: You should no longer become stuck in the barrier that shields the Phoenix of the North if you log off.
    * The Cimmerian's Axe, What Creeps Beneath, The Dangers of Decadence and Desert Raiders have had their waypoints corrected.
    * New dialog has been added for Sharak and Scyra when you've finished all the Destiny Quests.
    * Cannibal Commotion: The quest will now correctly update when you reach the cave that Attadeus and Demeras are located in.
    * Ibis, Master of Hidden Secrets: The quest can no longer be deleted from your journal as it was intended.
    * Phoenix of the East: It should no longer be possible to enter the Blood Rite Subterrene with multiple players.
    * To Battle a God: You should no longer experience issues with this quest if your journal is full.

GUI

    * Tooltips will now properly display spell affects of the spell line and proc affects to the spell line. They will also now properly display the gem modifications on the item itself.
    * Despoil the Soul will now display a stack count when stacked four times.


Items

    * All bags have had their size doubled!
    * Many level 80 items that increased Max Mana have been adjusted to provide Max Stamina as they were intended. Barbarians will greatly benefit from this change.
    * Oil of Acuity will now replenish mana when consumed.
    * Vanir NPCs in Conall's Valley, Field of the Dead and the Eiglophian Mountains will drop a greater variety of Vanir-based loot.
    * Gossamer Silk should now be referenced correctly in the Full Trade Response.
    * Rusty Courage: The Rusty Old Sword has had it's sized reduced to reflect that of a humans and not of a giant's.
    * The Bloodied Spear now has a blue glow, indicating that you can interact with it.

NPC

    * The Beggar in Khemi will no longer give the chat bubble icon.
    * NPC cries for help should no longer trigger aggro through collision such as walls and other structures.
    * NPCs should no longer reset in mid combat.
    * Koruno Elder's has received a new sword as his offhand weapon.
    * The White Hand Priestís Emanation of Life spell will now have a longer cooldown and will also display the icon for the spell in the Priestís debuff window.
    * Awi-Awan from the Purple Lotus Swamp is now flagged as an Armorsmith Trainer.
    * Barkripper Ursa is now a group encounter.

Playfields

Armsman Arena

    * You will now need to interact with the Arena Gong after speaking with the Announcer to receive a challenge.

Eiglophian Mountains

    * Eiglophian Mountains has received a number of enhancements and adjustments based off player feedback.
    * More Hungry Ice Worms, Ice Worm Devoures, Snow Apes, Mountain Apes and Cliff Apes have been added.
    * The respawn timers of the NPCs in the area has also been adjusted.
    * Ymirish Rimebinder has been reverted from a group encounter to a solo encounter.

Khopshef Province

    * New quests and monsters have been added.
    * Black Castle is no longer Epic Mode enabled as it's turned into a group dungeon.

Kyllikki's Crypt

    * The light and environment in Kyllikki's Crypt should be a little better.

Sanctum of the Burning Souls

    * Treasures are now scattered throughout the sanctum.
    * NPCs will now never lose aggro.

Tradeskills

    * Silver Necklet has had its level adjusted to 40 as it was originally intended.
    * Skymetal-Studded Wristbands (normal) and Bluesteel-studded Wristbands (rare) should now have different stats from each other.
    * Stone, Iron and Gold nodes have had new visual effect applied to them to make the nodes more visible to all.
    * All items that contain gems will no longer have the gems removed when undoing a sale in the shop.
    * Wolves in Lacheish Plains have had their Worled Leather drops adjusted as intended.
    * Gems will no longer visually overwrite the first one.
    * Crafted cloaks will now support the equipping of gems.

General

    * Performance: A number of code changes have been made to improve client performance.
    * New advance video options have been added for particles. Turning down the particle settings will increase performance.

10043  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 23, 2008, 04:03:07 AM
Gamespot has an AoC Hardware Guide that might be useful:
http://www.gamespot.com/features/6192732/index.html
10044  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 23, 2008, 03:48:45 AM
Got some neat group screenshots from a moderately successful Tomb instance team (we at least got the Ancient Weapons quest done, and a couple of the guards). These give an idea of how 50-ish toons look.

The Fellowship of... I mean, the Hyborian Brotherhood of...

We had what seemed to be a pretty good mix, I think of 6 different classes.


The Polearm guy is a Guardian who sort of apologized for not being a Shield-tank Guardian.


I'm not really a big fan of the Fear Affect animation where your character basically becomes Michael Jackson on Roller Skates, doing this wacky, uncontrolled moonwalk in every direction in the near vicinity.  disgust icon_razz So that's me and the archer doing our required moonwalking... We needed a second try to beat this boss (not a quest boss, just an Annoying one).
10045  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 22, 2008, 08:40:20 PM
I'm a combat-heavy guy and so far that has what has hooked me and kept me in it. I appreciate that others want to build houses, boats, furniture etc., and I don't think AoC  has enough properly functioning crafting features to satisfy that need right now. I don't think those things (unless you consider the Guild keep stuff "houses") are a focus of the game, and I never would've recommended AoC to someone who wants to focus more on those kinds of things. I'd more likely recommend LOTORO myself (which I retain a lot of fondness for) even if you can't make your own boat. icon_neutral

And I really do think it was a mistake to make mounts so prohibitively expensive. I maybe understand it with the pre-order mounts (Mammoth, Rhino) cause you want to keep them something fairly rare. But mounts are a cool feature in the game (that I'm sure many players never even reach) and it just seems a shame to make even a starter horse such a bear to afford unless you're a resource-gathering maniac or spend all day at the auction house. LOTORO had a tricky little obstacle course, and some slightly annoying navigational horse-riding before you could use one, but at least you could get a horse without too much financial agony.

As for solo vs. grouping, I think fixing a lot of the malfunctioning quests would really enhance the solo experience (and while I'm addicted to the game, I *do* agree they should be scolded for allowing so many broken quests to [presumably] knowingly go into the release version of the game). The problems is a lot of these broken things are parts of quest chains so you end up having content that players can't even get to. Blackjackian's in the 50s, there's plenty to do, but he has about 3 quests that are bugged, or you don't get credit for killing a boss, or reaching a location etc.

I've piped up in the chat channels frequently that they need additional chat channels, such as:
-An LFG Channel (LOTORO has this, and generally it makes it much faster to find a group or recruit cause you're chatting in a channel devoted to the topic). Right now, most LFG type message are in OOC or the region channel (Cimmeria, Stygia etc.) The problem being, there might be a good instance in Stygia, but you're in Cimmeria and you won't even know. One central LFG channel would be really helpful in that regard, among other things.

-A "newbie" or "Q&A" or "FAQ" channel
Since so much of the game just isn't intuitive right now (supposedly they're working on improving descriptions and explanations, tutorials etc.) you end up with people hollering out questions all over the place in chat. Might as well give people a channel for that, it's worked fine in other games I've played. Hell, even Hellgate and Tabula Rasa had "new player" chat channels that were really useful.

I don't think it's so much you can't find teams, or people aren't recruiting, we're all just struggling with the chaotic disorganization of the chat channels, and the strangely designed search tools (you can search for someone by level, and area, but not by what particular quests or instances they want to do, for example). The tools just don't seem very useful and most of my teams are through squawking in a region or OOC channel, or just inviting someone I stumble into who's working on the same quest as me.

I can only change from my own limited MMO experience but I feel like COH/COV and LOTORO have much, much, more useful/flexible search tools for LFG, LFT, LFM, recruiting etc. and yet you can just use them pretty simply if you don't want to dig into their menu options. AoC's (to me) feels like a neanderthal axe by comparison. icon_razz

Anyway, I could go on, but according to the latest dev postings they are working on improving the LFG interface, and the chat UI, channels etc.   They really need to move on those things, it would really improve the experience a lot.
10046  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 22, 2008, 05:50:41 PM
It'll probably just make it slower.  icon_razz (which is the impact it has in stuff like Company of Heroes)

Couple battle videos. Lot of Conq attacks have different animations for the 40-59 variations, it turns out (like Batter Aside, and Dancing Steel).

Click here to watch Age-of-Conan-Field-of-Dead-epic-surrounded [Not really Epic, somehow snuck into the file name]
I was running back through Field of Dead and ended up in the middle of a couple of "kited" groups. Even with a 6-7 lev difference it can still get a little challenging if you get carried away...

Click here to watch Age-of-Conan-Cannibal-Battle
10047  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Stan Winston RIP on: June 22, 2008, 01:06:43 AM
Blue's News pointed out a neat Rotten Tomatoes online feature highlighting the films Winston worked on, along with a few choice original trailers in streaming video form (when available online). It's pretty neat. I can still remember seeing The Terminator with my visiting brother while I was in college, in a so-so theater, but we were so completely drawn into the movie.  icon_cool Between that, Aliens and Terminator 2, I was a blithering James Cameron fanboy for quite a few years.  icon_biggrin I was also convinced Michael Biehn would be "the next Harrison Ford." Oops.  icon_redface

Total Recall: The Best of Stan Winston
We take a look back at the celebrated career of Hollywood's beloved creature artist.
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/terminator/news/1735683/total_recall_the_best_of_stan_winston

It's really a great little way to celebrate his work.
10048  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: June 21, 2008, 05:57:27 PM
Oh gawd, another thread! Shoot me now!  icon_razz Well, I finally realized the US forums have no dev announcements section at all. The EU-English one does, at:
AoC dev announcements
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/forumdisplay.php?f=5

Also, the Funcom Product Manager (nickname of LordOrion), doesn't currently seem to get his posts pulled up by their dev tracker there. You can view all his posts via this link there (much of it's frivilous but there's an occasional nugget of info):
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/search.php?do=finduser&u=29637

I kinda had fun digging up dev posts to highlight for Champions Online earlier in the year, thought I'd try it a bit with AoC.

Some interesting stuff updated just yesterday (June 20):

* Mounts
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=37845
Quote
Camels are "on the way
Ha! I was just joking about camel mounts last night, I had no idea.  icon_smile

Scroll down that thread and you can see a new dev post about plans to adjust some things complained about in mounts, including sluggish dismounting in combat.
Quote from: Svein Erik "Sharum" Jenset, Striketeam Lead: BCC Design, Funcom
One of the hottest topics on these boards recently has been how long it takes to dismount, and how easily it is to get killed if dismounting while in combat. While this is true to our design, where mounted combat has a lot to do with gaining extra mobility at the cost of certain other factors, we take the feedback we receive very seriously and have mapped out a solution that we hope players will feel go a long way towards remedying this issue. As it currently is every character that is a member of the Rogue archetype have access to a Quick Dismount ability.

Now, before you all de-rail right here by saying 'But that ability doesn't work' let me just jump in and say that 'We're on top of it, we're fixing it'. However, to get back on track, we're going to give said ability out to every character regardless of his or her archetype. You will still have to stand still in order to use it, it still won't be a instant "poof" off your mount and it will have a cooldown to it; but we're taking this step in the hopes of making players feel less "doomed" because they want to dismount while engaged in combat.

To keep with the original design where members of the Rogue archetype, due to their naturally higher dexterity (and I use the word as a adjective here, not as a reference to the in-game stat), would be more nimble and able to quickly dismount we're revamping their version of the Quick Dismount ability and allowing them to use it while moving. I'm not going to go into further details about this revamp for the time being as, during the process of testing and balancing, many of the finer details might change.
And, that's about all that's new enough you might not have read about it somewhere else already.

I think though this short post about the "breast situation" a while back has the funniest dev topic title ever...

Funcom statement on botched boob job icon_lol
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=29457
10049  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 21, 2008, 05:26:59 PM
I'll check around the official forums and let you know. Thanks for reminding me. I haven't wasted any Feat points on 'em yet (Taunt/Goad).  icon_smile
10050  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 21, 2008, 02:43:46 PM
For my Conq, a light bulb sort of went off at 50. I picked up the Slash Throat feat/combo, a single key combo that stuns target(s) and has a really cool but quick spin animation (you spin around twice like a top). It's so useful, and I should've gotten it earlier. icon_redface

And after our discussion of tanking type stuff here, I realized my taunt combo (Brutal Enraging Strike I think, I bound it to the "v" key) was also my best damaging combo from what I can tell. So I'm using it a lot more, and it makes things a lot easier (if not easy).

And I did finally notice the specific taunt (single taunt) and Goad (multiple target taunt) amongst the Feats, but I'm still debating whether to bother with those at this point.

I also got Hoarfrost at 50, and what seems to work for me in terms of buffs is that and the Shield of Retribution. You can read 1,997 other opinions at the officials forums, but that combo's working for me really well in the 50s.  icon_cool

10051  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 21, 2008, 12:08:23 PM
Some M-rated gore (you've been warned icon_twisted). Not posting from my Photobucket space, not sure they would approve.  paranoid icon_lol The first one was a really annoying boss that seemed to be teleporting away from me (I know, maybe a bug  disgust) so it was enormously satisfying to finally finish it off. The second one I blacked out the quest description so as to not spoil anything. And the sword is an Bastard Sword (at 50), love the basic look...
10052  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 20, 2008, 07:29:34 PM
Thanks. Yeah I should look into that. Right now I have pretty much the highest level of each attack combo hotkeyed, but perhaps I should look closer at which ones are more effective, or set up a #2 hotkey tray (The Hate Tray icon_twisted) that I use just when teaming.
10053  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 20, 2008, 05:36:13 PM
I'll try actually asking a question here.  saywhat

So, my 49 Conqueror doesn't really have a "hotkey-able" taunt skill/ability, right? I've put some more points into the Taunt skill, but afik, it just seems to mean you have a slightly better chance of generating "hate" when you hit something. I think maybe this is what the Funcom guys have been talking about recently, the need to improve some of their skill descriptions so players have a better idea of what something is, or how to use it.

Other than one command ability that's supposed to decrease the possibility of a target focusing on my teammates (and I really don't have any idea if it's doing anything), I just don't seem to have much that lets me pseudo-tank well in groups. I know "that's the Guardian's job," but my groups often haven't had one and refer to me as the tank, and I'm often thinking, "Who? Me?"  paranoid

I guess I'm used to most games having a "taunt" key, and woops, you draw everyone to you. Am I missing something that should let me (a Conq) be able to do that? There are a couple of upper rung feats that modify Hate, and maybe that's what I need. I didn't bother with them much to this point.

To this point, what I've tried to do is simply whack enemies as much as I can (I'm good at that  icon_lol), knock them down if they're beating up on a "squishy," and just reposition myself between them and my softer teammates, when I can.
10054  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 20, 2008, 03:17:34 PM
Can't we all just get along?  The Weghted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you.

I've mostly found AoC grouping fun, but the sheer number of classes, different ways people play, and different ways the game plays from others I've played (I only played WoW about 3 weeks, but I was a big LOTORO fan for maybe 6-7 months) makes it challenging. Whether that's by design or because it's over ambitious and buggy, I can't really say yet myself.  icon_confused

If you read the latest official AoC newsletter, the Game Director admits to a different kind of "failure to anticipate," which is that they simply didn't have enough support people and people to take care of in-game petitions and the like (they're "staffing up," and relying on an influx of temps in the short-term). Now I can't really see how you can hype a game as much as they hyped AoC and not anticipate a massive amount of players in the opening weeks, but it did remind me of Blizzard somehow not anticipating how popular WoW would be when it launched and the whole server-que thing. I agree that wasn't a technical error, it was a marketing-forecasting goof, and a sort of "failure to anticipate how popular the Blizzard brand is."

So I'd really like if the Big Budget MMO-Makers would be realistic, but I guess they can't really justify hiring a bunch of people or having a huge number of servers at launch to their investors/CEOs unless they really have The Proof. You can end up with something like Auto Assault's situation (8 mostly empty servers at launch rapidly consolidated to one).

From my own more limited MMO experience, LOTORO was by far the smoothest launch I'd experienced (though I'm sure you could Google and find all sorts of complaints still). COH in 2004 went relatively smoothly too (imho) though there was much grumbling about No Capes, a Level 40 cap, there's no PVP, there's no "end game," etc. etc.

I'm really not into bashing other games to make a point. I think most MMOs have different strengths and weaknesses. Part of the challenge when I switch to another one is altering my combat style and expectations. What it comes down to for me is I have a lot of fun with AoC, enough to recommend it to people with solid systems and lots of RAM who like a heavy combat focus, but I'm well aware Funcom has a lot of work to do. I guess I sound like a politician. So be it.  icon_neutral

One thing I would like with the group-focused quests is maybe a little better indication in the description whether it's a quest that physically, absolutely requires a group (i.e., epic hit point level enemies), or if it's suggesting a group because of the heavy enemy population and patrols in the area (but regular hp-level enemies). The latter, when I figure out it's the situation, I can usually tackle solo with a little bit of caution and precision (it's even fun in a way that way). It's just, you can't really tell from the description (I either find out by asking, or by investigating the area a bit). I dunno - maybe they can have 3 of those "stick figure heads" to indicate you mathematically *must* have teammates to do it, and 2 heads to indicate "we recommend you have a team, but you might be able to find a way solo." icon_smile
10055  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 20, 2008, 01:12:36 PM
I really like this Vanir Armor (upper 40s drop), and it matched the belt bj's been using, but the stats were so-so:


I didn't have a "live" shot of Blackjackian with some snazzy boots that dropped in Frost Swamp, but here's a "dead" shot  icon_razz:


The pants are kind of strange-looking, but excellent stats and hey! - pants, not skirts.  icon_biggrin Frost Swamp can be a real bear, even if you numerically think your group is overqualified for it. But it seems to have some great loot drops, not even from anything special (the armor pants and boots weren't from Bosses).

10056  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 20, 2008, 12:59:18 PM
I was trying to get some information on Hoarfrost (I think it's a Conq ability at 50). Saw this interesting (perhaps more info that anyone wants really) comparison of Fireweave and Hoarfrost:
http://www.tankspot.com/forums/aoc-soldier-general/37865-conqueror-fireweave-hoarfrost.html

It's some general gaming-tanks fan site.

10057  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 20, 2008, 04:43:37 AM
Trying to get some portrait-type pics (something that would look good on an AoC Playing Card  icon_smile) of classes I've teamed with. Here's a couple...

Bear Shaman


Guardian
10058  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 19, 2008, 09:08:02 PM
The latest update did buff up the speed of the heavier mounts a bit. Anyway, I'll live. icon_smile I'm glad I scraped up enough for my measly 4-slot bag-extender (every bit helps). I think maaaybe I can afford the starter-horse (2G) in perhaps a week or two. I've done enough venting about my mount-envy.  icon_razz

I'm hoping the ballyhooed reworking/improving of crafting will adjust the economy a bit. I've been too busy chopping things up to think about it much.

I'd still like some sort of individual loot stash (as most hack'n'slashes do now and in recent years), or at least maybe a small individual stash within the guild stash. My guilds leaders in their infinite wisdom (ahem) only gave the "leaders" access to items in the guild stash. I just have a handful of things I tend to drag along (I got a drop of the generic L50 2-hand sword for example and want to save it), and I wish there was an easy way to store them there so I wasn't wasting me precious slots.

Anyway, I'm just kvetching. I mentioned in the other thread I canceled CoX again, and I plan to just stick with this for a while. icon_cool

Oh btw, this is still atop of the U.S. PC game sales charts (Mass Effect nipping at its heels) for now. We'll see how long it lasts. I can remember LOTORO atop the charts for a bit last year, and then before you know it, the top 5 retail games were all WoW and Sims stuff again.  icon_neutral
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/age-of-conan-still-best-selling-us-pc-game
10059  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: June 19, 2008, 08:22:05 PM
Iron Man looks to pass the $300 million mark today:
http://www.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idUSN1929677720080619
I think I read it's making roughly the same amount internationally so far.
10060  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 19, 2008, 01:31:14 PM
This experience last night (at 48) taught me not to Freak Out when I get swarmed by minions because, afterall,
They're Just Minions.  icon_razz I've really got to register FRAPS sometimes so my movies don't get cut short
before the happy ending...
Click here to watch Age-of-Conan-Field-of-Dead-solo-swarm

I tend to panic when I get swarmed, it's something I'm working on.  icon_smile
10061  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 19, 2008, 01:19:59 PM
TenTonHammer, which likes to give MMOs a few weeks to breathe and to play long enough to some characters into higher levels (I'm suspicious of MMO reviews that seem to have reviewed it the day it launched - just in terms of, how does a reviewer see any substantial portion of what a game has to offer in that little time, unless he's basing his review off his beta experience? icon_confused), posted its AoC Review:
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/35908

For my part, I enjoy the game's combat and quest variety enough that I (again) canceled my City of Heroes/Villains account yesterday. It's the only fantasy MMO I've played where the combat felt (in a different way) as fun and lively as COH/COV (just imho), and I think the the fact the character models have real heft to them (not clipping though each other, except at resurrection platforms) is something I enjoy and that it does have in common with CoX. Along with at least some ability to tackle larger mobs, and send them flying.  icon_cool

I just haven't found myself up to playing more than one of these at a time, and I like my AoC experience enough to feel I can enjoy it for quite some time. Whether that's 3+ years (like COH) or only 2-3 months (Tabula Rasa most recently), it's too early to say.  icon_neutral

I certainly have all sorts of complaints:
-50 gold for a good mount? (I'm gonna have to settle for the 2G "starter horse." Do they want me to just live at the auction house? disgust
-Too many instances have broken bosses, quests, etc. though some of these are gradually getting fixed.
-Too many of us have wildly erratic frame rate problems as if certain areas and quests introduce a gigantic memory leak or something.
-Crafting, which I enjoyed in LOTORO (maybe the first time I ever did) feels baffling to me, and poorly explained here. The latest Game Director notes indicate some bugs were "covering some crafting features up" so maybe there's some hope there.

-There's a Cimmeria chat channel and a Stygia chat channel etc., yet no specific chat channel for say, Old Tarantia, Field of the Dead, etc. You end up hawking the quest you want to do there (me at level 48) and the channel could be well full of level 20s. Why not have specific chat channels for specific areas? [If there is, clue me in - I don't see one on the chat channel listings options]
-There's no Trading chat channel, there's no Looking for Group or Team Recruiting channel, you end up with a lot of people throwing out LFMs and LFGs in OOC and "Regional" chat channels, getting nowhere.

I could go on and on, but at the core, I manage to have a good time with it (and i'm strictly PvE fwiw). That's really what it comes down to.  icon_smile I can beat them over the head about the launch state of the game but it's out of Pandora's Box, you can't stuff it back in. If they get lazy about fixing some of this stuff, I'll be the first to throw salmonella-ridden tomatoes at them.  icon_twisted

If they do a paid expansion well down the road, I do hope they'll learn some things from the original launch.
10062  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC - Developers update on: June 19, 2008, 01:03:16 PM
The Game Director answered a few more fan questions Monday:
http://community.ageofconan.com/wsp/conan/frontend.cgi?func=publish.show&template=content&func_id=2537&table=CONTENT
Quote
Q: When will the guild buildings bonuses be activated?

The building bonuses "work" already, per se. Their major problem is that the tooltip from the feats donít show. This has been worked on and will come in a patch very soon. In addition we felt the bonuses were a bit "stingy" and have decided to increase their effect.

Both of these changes will go out at the same time.
My guild has 2-3 buildings, but I haven't checked them out yet.
Quote
Q. Can you tell us more about how character skills affect the gameplay?

Several of the Tooltips on skills and stats have been of too low quality, and this has in certain cases made it a bigger challenge than intended to understand how this works. These are now being improved and will come shortly. They are the ones that will tell you about what the stats are doing. It is simply too much detail to write down here.
This is meaningful to me, some of my Conq's skills, I just couldn't hardly tell you what they were doing for me (perhaps it's just a Finnish-to-English lost in translation problem).
10063  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 19, 2008, 04:58:00 AM
Had a pretty fun time teaming with a Guardian tonight. I share this pic only because, by golly, he seemed to have a cape color/design I've not seen before (he was lower level than me, 47):


And fwiw (and it's worth nothing!  icon_razz), I'm far and away the highest level Conqueror in my guild. *blows a kazoo*
10064  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: June 18, 2008, 09:35:34 PM
Laptop Mag (they should send me a check! icon_razz ) has a mini-review of the larger Eee PC 1000H that is due out around July 1.

http://blog.laptopmag.com/asus-eee-pc-1000h-mini-review
(a video's near the end of it)

The keyboard apparently has a few weird quirks. They highlight some weird "bubble" effect of the keyset not being placed firmly enough (perhaps this was just a pre-production review model flaw?) that they fixed by removing the keyset and putting it back in more firmly.

The $649 still seems the stumbling block as there's quite a few "full" laptops in that price range already (notwithstanding the $479-$499 MSI Wind, and various other Eee PC wannabes due out soon at lower prices).
10065  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 18, 2008, 09:23:15 PM
The 6-cell I believe adds some visual bulk (it sticks out of the back past the hinges a bit), and noticeable weight, so I guess it just depends on how portable one really needs it to be.

I was having lunch outside at a Panera today, and practically every table around me had someone surfing on a laptop (they have truly free Wi-Fi). I made do with my dead-tree newspaper. But someday, I'll be mindlessly surfing just like everyone else, on a Wind. I'm sure I'll do something productive, like posting jabbering like this here. Which I already do too much of at the office.  icon_razz
10066  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Firefox 3.0...What's your take so far? on: June 18, 2008, 06:11:29 PM
Somebody toss a link...
http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/3.0/releasenotes/
If you use a lot of Firefox extensions I'd preach caution only because most of them probably haven't been updated for this yet and won't function until then (I ran into a lot of that when switching to the 2.0).

I've never been satisfied with the bookmarks in IE or Firefox. I generally just end up flooding my toolbar links bookmarks area and having to wade through an unruly mess of them to find what I want.
10067  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Help us help you- Come take our survey!!!!! on: June 18, 2008, 05:36:23 PM
Done. Good Lord. In 2 more years I'll have moved into the Next Age Bracket in the survey. *shudders*  paranoid
10068  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Warren Spector: games are too long! on: June 18, 2008, 05:26:47 PM
Saw this Gamasutra item at Blue's News today:
http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18986
Quote
As he has often done in the past, Spector commented on his frustration with some of the dominant tropes of video games. "I love working with Disney because I'm so tired of making games about guys in black leather carrying guns. I donít want to make those any more," he said.

"Game costs are going to be $35-40 million, even $100 million, and the expectations are huge. You have to differentiate yourselves. One-hundred hour games are on the way outÖ How many of you have finished GTA? Two percent, probably. If we're spending $100 million on a game, we want you to see the last level!"
This seems like a bizarre way of looking at things. Most gamers I know love something with replay value and/or tons of gameplay time, because it feels like they're getting their $40-$60 worth. If it's something short and sweet, they'll presumably more likely rent it (consoles) or wait for it to hit the bargain bins (PC), neither of which seems like a fate someone wants for their $35-$100 million game.  icon_confused

Anyway, I thought it would probably draw some interesting feedback here.  stirthepot

I've loved some action games that drew some criticism for their relativley short play time (Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and the original Call of Duty come to mind), but I think I've usually been more drawn to games with long campaigns, or to things that seemed to supply a lot of replayability.
10069  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 18, 2008, 05:16:49 PM
While I'm sure there are better ways to spend $24.99, I spent that to pick up the official Age of Conan strategy guide. Like most MMO guides, it's no doubt going to be out of date in terms of sheer numbers, but I think some of the instances maps, and NPC location listings will be useful at least (I constantly forget where the Wayfarers and Trainers are in zones, and these are marked in this).

I certainly am visiting the various fan sites, database sites and Wikis cropping up for Aoc but I haven't so far found something that's well rounded in terms of info (for example, there's a database site I like, but some of its entries are maddeningly vague).

fwiw, the guide is far cheaper online at Target ($16.80) and Amazon ($16.49). But hey, it was an impulse buy (only copy I could find at Best Buy), and I'm trying to stimulate the economy afterall.  icon_razz
10070  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: June 18, 2008, 04:44:47 PM
Hey all I am actually posting this on an Eee PC (original version) at a Best Buy in Virginia. I'm pretty sure I couldnt live with this keyboard size, but I am impressed with how tiny it is in person. If I type anymore on this my hands will cramp.

[Addendum: It's funny. They tucked this well away from the "real" laptops, and it didn't even have a label/price sheet near it.]
10071  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 18, 2008, 02:14:18 PM
I finally purchased the riding skill yesterday (it seems to be an innate skill you learn by just clicking a book you buy). I still have a pretty long road to buying a mount (I didn't pre-order), but I do seem to be racking up money noticeably faster in the late 40s and I'm trying to make runs to vendors to sell, more often.

I've toyed with trying to see if there are any AoC pre-order boxes still laying around somewhere (Best Buy around here is pretty bad about clearing out old inventory -- I think they stilll have Gods & Heroes, and Auto Assault pre-order boxes on the shelves  Roll Eyes). Even if the Mammoth and Rhino mounts aren't really all that and a bag of chips, I'd like to try them.

I finally saw someone actually battling from their mount the other day (a mammoth). You can't use combos, I'd read, and the mount attacks looked so-so, but it was still fun to watch. Seeing people actually climb on/off the mounts (in most games, you just magically appear on the mount, or it vanishes) seems like nothing, but it really adds a nice little touch imho, esp. when you see riderless mounts waiting for their owners.  icon_smile
10072  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Classes thread on: June 18, 2008, 01:58:43 PM
Thanks for the Furious Inspiration description earlier (I think the game sometimes is a bit too vague about what a feat/skill is, whether it's innate or hotkey-triggered, whether it just randomly pops off now and then etc.).

At 48 I've stuck with 2-hand Conq, just like the look. Although I can handle certain size mobs well, there's a certain tipping point where I'm screwed, esp. in some of those Noble Villa instances (I died like 7 consecutive times on one last night), and I think I'm a bit lacking in magical resistances. Some of the dark magic I'm encountering now really slurps away the HP quickly.
10073  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Vanguard unoffical trailer on: June 18, 2008, 01:32:20 PM
Nice video.  icon_smile It's a sad statement on corporate marketing that players themselves seem to do videos that do a much better job of getting across a game's appeal and strong points than the companies themselves (I've seen that with various other games, not just MMOs).
10074  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 18, 2008, 03:57:14 AM
Because we can never read enough crap about the Wind, a site called CrunchGear claims to have confirmed with MSI there'll be a $499.99 XP 6-cell version and a $479 3-cell. The 3-cell is noticeably lighter, so presumably they see sufficient interest in both types to justfy offering both even with such a measly price difference (and you can upgrade to the 6-cell later).

http://www.crunchgear.com/2008/06/17/msi-wind-delayed-two-weeks-no-more-big-battery/
Quote
UPDATE: Just got this from MSIís PR rep. The previously-equipped six-cell version will apparently be available in July for $499.99 Ė so if you canít wait, you can pick up a three-cell version on June 27th for $479.99 or get the six-cell version next month.
Apparently they didn't feel like they could wait any longer, and wanted to have some form of XP version out by the end of this month (3-cell).

Actually we lost power at my office for hours yesterday late afternoon/evening, and then my area of our office lost power due to a construction accident nearby this morning. I was going crazy, and in the back of mind, I thought, "If only I had a Wind!"  crybaby Not that I would've been smart enough to bring it in both days.
10075  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 18, 2008, 03:42:23 AM
Sometimes you have to stop and smell the corpses... I mean the roses, and enjoy the Big Picture. If nothing else, the game renders mountains and sunsets like about nothing I've played, although you can only enjoy it for a few moments before you get restless.  icon_cool
10076  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Dungeon Runners (NCSoft's free MMO/$4.99 premium option) on: June 17, 2008, 11:33:44 PM
As a quest-fanatic, my fundamental problem with the game was eventually:

A) Grind through a "Kill 50 blobs" quest
B) Turn in quest
C) Get rewarded by an ensuing "Kill 75 blobs" quest
D) Repeat ad nauseam

However, I give it credit cause I was out of MMOs altogether at the time I was trying it. It sort of got me re-interested, but when I started to see "Kill 100 blobs" quests and got horrible flashbacks to Korean grindfest MMOs that I tried over the years, I just couldn't stay anymore.  icon_razz
10077  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch notes 16th of June (Stats working!) on: June 17, 2008, 01:14:20 PM
Conq-wise, they seem to have revamped the Batter Aside animation (at least for Batter Aside III). Not sure if that's good or bad (the "old" animation was quicker), but now you seem to do this exaggerated 2 or 3-step maneuver with your weapon and then you tuck it up under the target and knock them back. The old one was just grabbing your sword blade (or other weapon edge) in your hands and making a sweeping motion.
10078  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 17, 2008, 05:09:17 AM
Not sure if this is a new update "feature" or a resurrection bug.  saywhat I just call it "Statue Face." I'll grant that it looks cooler than Blackjackian's Regular Face.  icon_razz

Second one is called, "Why you shouldn't try to solo bosses in areas designated as Group Quests."  disgust I think it eventually spawned about 10 minions. And of course BJ died with the boss at about 1 hp.  crybaby
10079  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Stan Winston RIP on: June 17, 2008, 01:20:18 AM
AP's article explains that he had worked with some senior effects supervisors to turn his studio into a full special effects studio. Hopefully that'll continue.
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hl63ah_BPW5CBAcdk_1TIBKFLorAD91BG6080

They interviewed Iron Man director Jon Favreau and apparently people recognized Winston was ailing but had no idea of the severity.

It was "multiple myeloma," which sound truly awful (an incurable cancer of the cells in your immune system)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_myeloma

Although I tend to associate him with robots and the like, he worked on Jurassic Park and some of its sequels, Batman Returns (I totally forgot), Edward Scissorhands, and got his earliest notices working on Emmy winning makeup for Roots, and the Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (if I recall, Cicely Tyson aged from a teen to about 100). So he was nothing if not versatile.
10080  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 17, 2008, 01:09:34 AM
Bad news -- the problem's actually that big fire at a battery factory (which has made it rare for any early reviewers to get a 6-cell battery Wind). According to some updated news bits, only a 3-cell Linux version will be available in late June, and the Windows XP version (and any 6-cell option) has been shoved back into July:
http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9969888-1.html
Quote
Citing battery shortages due to the fire at LG Chem's Ochang plant this past March, MSI says the Linux version of its mininotebook will now ship on June 27. It'll cost $399 and include a 3-cell battery. The Windows version, which was originally slated to ship before the Linux model, won't ship until sometime in July. It will be priced at $479 (down from the previously stated $499) and include a 6-cell battery.
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