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10041  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 23, 2008, 10:26:33 PM
I got it!  icon_cool I had to fight off some overpriced warranty-speak from two Micro Center people (I think they realized I was a lost cause and didn't fuss about it at least):


More, later. Also, I got to try out the HP Mini-Note, which runs so hot (temperature wise), I was surprised it wasn't melting the table it was on.  icon_surprised
10042  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 23, 2008, 07:40:57 PM
Who said anything about needing it? I bet most of the time we around here don't buy stuff because we need it, it's because we "want it."  icon_lol

j/k, I do think I can find it useful in my reporting job here and there. Fun wise, I just think it'd be fun to finally use my PC's built in wi-fi a bit, whether checking forums while leaving a game up on my screen, or looking up some stuff while watching TV. Hopefully I won't join the people at Panera staring slackjawed at their laptops. Well, maybe once in a while I would.  icon_wink

Laptopmag finally reviewed the XP/hard drive version (not the new 6-cell, so battery life of maybe 2 hours 20 mins is still the main criticism along with the wonky trackpad button locations).

Acer Aspire one (Windows XP) review
For just $349, Acer’s XP-powered mini-notebook is nearly irresistible.
http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/acer-aspire-one-windows-xp.aspx
Quote
The touchpad is small and the vertical buttons are awkward, but we prefer the Aspire one overall because it offers a superior keyboard and much better bang for your buck. In the suddenly crowded field of mini-notebooks, the XP version of the Aspire one offers the best value.
Of note is that since XP doesn't have the Linux feature that recognizes the SD card as seamlessly integrated storage space, the XP model just uses it as a regular SD card slot (which is handy), in addition to the 5-in-1 reader.

And I can always add the 6-cell later, albeit it seems awfully expensive right now. Who knows? Maybe they'll cut the prices on their batteries too eventually.  icon_smile
10043  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 23, 2008, 07:11:14 PM
Hey, Micro Center has already instituted the price drops:
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0293528

My local Virginia location has 169  saywhat of the XP model in stock now. I think maybe I'll go for it.  icon_biggrin 6-cell might be nice to have at home in particular, but it just sounds like I wouldn't want to carry it around much (it sort of renders the weight advantage over regular laptops a moot point). So I think I could live without it, though the 40GB extra space would be nice. For me it's an impulse buy (even at a quite relatively reasonable $349), and if I don't give in to impulse this weekend I might talk myself out of it.  icon_razz

I'm still sort of scouring for info on the 6-cell though. This forum thread links to a couple supposed fuzzy photos of it installed:
http://forum.ncix.com/forums/index.php?mode=showthread&msg_id=1761461&threadid=1761461&forum=109&product_id=31428&msgcount=2&overclockid=0

Another thread indicates that the separate 6-cell Aspire One sleeve (I think it's something like you if you buy the 6-cell battery separately, there's a coupon to send in for a different sleeve) really doesn't cover the whole unit, it just has an opening for the 6-cell battery to jut out. It's a cheapy little thing anyway (better than nothing), and I assume the case-makers are working on Netbook-size cases, if they haven't already, perhaps?
http://forums.ncix.com/forums/index.php?mode=showthread&msg_id=1771198&threadid=1771198&forum=109&product_id=31428&msgcount=5&overclockid=0#msg1771198
10044  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 22, 2008, 06:10:10 PM
I'll still float by the Micro Center today or tomorrow to tinker with it more (the place was mobbed last Sunday, I could barely breathe, and didn't want to linger). I could always add the 6-cell later but it's pricey ($120 I think I read). It's not that I couldn't afford that, it's just the principal of the thing.  icon_razz

I guess just to clarify the new prices (which sites indicate will take "a few days" to go into effect):
Quote
* Aspire One AOA110-1722: 8GB SSD; 512MB RAM; Linux; 3-cell battery $329
* Aspire One AOA150-1570: 120GB HDD; 1GB RAM; Windows XP; 3-cell battery $349
(new)* Aspire One AOA150-1447: 160GB HDD; 1GB RAM; Windows XP; 6-cell battery $399
And here's the oficiale press release, fwiw. Nothing really enlightening there, other than there emphasis on the Aspire One as an ideal "back to school" item, and a "first PC" for some. Actually, if my retired, PC-phobic mom likes the keyboard maybe I can actually get her to let me get her one. She'd prefer to just use an abacus.  Roll Eyes
10045  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 22, 2008, 05:17:54 PM
Cool, just noticed over at laptopmag (probably just the same details):
http://blog.laptopmag.com/acer-lowers-prices-on-aspire-one
Quote
The Windows XP Home version, with a 120GB hard drive and 1GB or RAM, originally $399 will now retail for $349. The Linpus Linux Lite version (full review here), with an 8GB SSD and 512 MB of RAM, will now retail for $329, down from $379.

Saving the best for last, Acer is also introducing the $399 Aspire one AOA150-1447. Aimed at business professionals, this one features the six-cell battery we have all been waiting for. It also sports a 160GB hard drive and Windows XP Home.
Dang. Maybe I should wait for the 6-cell, 160GB hard drive model. Sigh. I was finally going to get one tomorrow, but I think I'll want to wait for the new model. Though the 6-cell apparently almost doubles the overall weight, and drives it up near "regular laptops" in weight. My understanding is the SSD model weighs bout 2.2 lbs. and users seem to estimate it with 6-cell battery in place as close 5 lbs. Not a back-breaker by any means, but less handy to carry. I guess it would be good to have one of each battery type, and just change as situations warrant.  icon_smile

I imagine it'll take some time for retail stores to reflect the new prices and they may not carry the 6-cell if they think it's business-only in appeal (it's the same price point though, so I wouldn't think it would affect consumer-type interest).

The 6-cell (as is probably the case on all these various netbookTM things) also protrudes so much the stock case can't fit over it - so presumably the 6-cell version has a slightly larger slipcase included.
10046  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 22, 2008, 01:21:38 PM
One of the fan site forums at least had some supposed user impressions of the XP/hard drive model:

Window 120GB HDD Model
http://www.aspireoneuser.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1592
Quote
Posting from my A1 HDD model, under Windows XP.

- Battery: 2' 15" (aprox.) [lousy, but just slightly lousier than the Linux model]
- Heat: no difference (to me)
- Fan: in contrast, more active (under XP)
- Speed (under XP): the same than my presHOT based computer (obviously for common tasks).

I bought a windows XP unit yesterday and compared its performance side by side with a linux version. The windows version did quite well; it takes around 40-50 seconds to boot from its hard disk of 110 Gig or so and has no annoying lag when accomplishing tasks such as opening adobe reader or openoffice writer documents. All in all a satisfactory little machine.
Unscientific, but at least hopeful.  icon_smile

There is some concern about a frequent "clicking" the hard drive model makes, apparently related to power management:
http://www.aspireoneuser.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1585


10047  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 21, 2008, 06:00:18 PM
Laptop mag did a little "mini-notebook shopping tips" piece:
http://www.laptopmag.com/advice/tips/mini-notebook-shopping-tips.aspx

fwiw, their top pics were Eee PC4g, MSI Wind and HP Mini-Note. They haven't had a chance to test the XP/hard drive version of the Aspire One yet, and I don't think they've done a full review of the latest Eee PC models yet, so I wonder if their recommendations might change later on.
10048  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Aug. 19 patch notes on: August 21, 2008, 05:43:21 PM
One thing I've learned is that every single MMO discussion here goes through a few given phases...

Lust
This sounds so cool I gotta play it

Want
Oh the beta is so cool, I can't wait til it launches

Premature Exclamation
Jesus H. Christ, I can't believe they're releasing this now! It should've stayed in beta 6 more months!

Launch Excitement
Ohmigod it's out! Everybody go buy it!

Launch Non-Excitment
Well now that I have to pay to play, I'm out!

Reality Check
I told you it should've stayed in beta 6 more months!

Jadedness
So what if the update fixed 497 bugs and added 50 new things, it still sucks. And every time someone posts patch notes or anything remotely positive about the game, I'm going to chip in with "it sucks."

Resignation
I'm going back to [fill in name of previously released MMO, though 'WoW' is most likely]

Absence
All discussion threads here on the game go into hibernation. This seems to happen to games that are in much better shape than AoC or TR or the pseudo MMO Hellgate.

I'll be curious to see if Warhammer gets through the Launch Excitment phase without having to traverse the Launch Non-Excitement and Reality Check phases.  icon_razz

btw, my list is tongue-in-cheek, mean to either be funny or badly not funny, so please don't take offense.  icon_smile
10049  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PS3 160 gig on its way/PSP the 3rd also on: August 21, 2008, 01:22:58 PM
I have a PSP Slim, and I'm not pissed, fwiw.  icon_razz I'm just sad that most of the devs who made PSP games I liked the last 2-3 years considered it "one and done" and "two and done." Presumably they can't make enough money on PSP development to stick with it, instead seeing it as a stepping stone to PS3/XBox360 development.

Game Informer had a lengthy interview with Sony Worldwide Studios prez Shuhei Yoshida (who succeeded Phil Harrison). GI posed a pretty good question about how 3rd party developers see the PSP as a platform for games (Yoshida supposedly wants more 3rd party devs to see it as an attractive platform). (issue 165, page 28 fwiw).

He seems to want to convince more 3rd party publishers to develop games specifically for PSP rather than ports, but so far the Japanese 3rd party publishers are more open to it than elsewhere.

The Slim's a great machine but if there's no good new games coming out for it then what's the point of slicking up the screen and repackaging bundles? (I don't have a PS3 so the supposed PS3-connectivity's moot for me). Content is king, as they say. My PSPs (old and slim) have been gathering moss for almost a year now, and I am thinking of perhaps trading them in or putting them up for sale (here or elsewhere).
10050  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 21, 2008, 12:53:25 PM
Supposedly this Seatgate Momentus SATA 120GB hard drive is the one in the XP/hd model fwiw:
http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/laptops/momentus/momentus_5400.4/
It's supposedly designed w/ high shock tolerance, and is available in sizes up to 250GB.

I think I missed this UK review, still the Linux model. An interesting white/black color scheme:
http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/08/18/review_acer_aspire_one/
Quote
The Aspire One is everything a Small, Cheap, Computer should be. The build quality is excellent, the feature list is not half bad, and it certainly looks and feels the part. Indeed, it's the best-looking SCC we've seen. On the down side, the standard battery is poor and - with the Linux versions at least - getting online using a 3G network isn't straightforward.
10051  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 20, 2008, 09:37:49 PM
I'll break from my Acer Aspiring to bang the drum once for the Lenovo mini. FCC released its various testing details:

Lenova IdeaPad S10 Hits FCC
http://blog.laptopmag.com/lenovo-ideapad-s10-hits-fcc

And Laptopmag's own look at the 10" model:
http://blog.laptopmag.com/up-close-with-lenovos-ideapad-s10-one-sweet-10-incher

It's very nice, though it seems stingy on the RAM (512MB) out of the box. Apparently has a larger cooling fan than most of these things do.
10052  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Funcom Q2 Financial Report on: August 20, 2008, 09:22:21 PM
Hmm, I hadn't even really looked at the article.

Some interesting quotes from the quarterly report:
Quote
Funcom will, as previously stated, for marketing and competitive reasons in the future not on a regular
basis disclose information about subscriber numbers and also not provide detailed financial guidance. Due to Q208 being the first quarter following the introduction of the Age of Conan game, the Company has decided to provide such information.
It's definitely rare to ever see numbers in print (I think NCSoft may disclose their numbers in quarterlies too)

Quote
Funcom launched the Age of Conan game in Europe and in the US without major technical launch issues.
Ohmigod! I want whatever they're smoking! wasted

Quote
Average playtime per player has been lower than expected. Potential influencing factors may be the high average age of subscribers (29 years), aspects of the game [eh?-bj], summer holidays, etc.
We all spend too much time reveiwing patch notes.  icon_razz

Quote
Funcom’s casual game-initiatives are progressing according to plan. Two casual MMO games are
expected to be released in 2009.
The Secret World, Funcom’s next full-fledged MMO is progressing according to plan. The team size of
The Secret World is currently being ramped up.
Interesting. It doesn't mention the other casual MMO game.

Numbers

Also, looking at the numbers, while the decay in subscriptions is surely upsetting to them, the fact they sold 1.2 million copies of the game (at retail/digital, vs. 800,000 going on to sell to actual players), and raked in about $12.2 million in sales revenue (compared to $963,000 in the first quarter, or $1.1 million in 2007's 2nd quarter) pretty much illustrates why their investors probably felt they had to get the game released. I'm not saying it makes any sense at all from a gamer/dev perspective (it's stupid, and short-sighted, I'm sure we all agree on that).

It's just, in a way the quoted article is drawing the conclusion AoC's currently disappointing "churn" rate is going to doom the company, when the game finally getting sold at $50 a pop threw them (probably just for this quarter though) a one-time financial revenue lifeline.

Mathematically, if they managed to get 415,000 of us to pay a full month beyond the free one, that's maybe a little over $6 million revenue there (assuming about $15 a month) for, I guess, August? But if the churning (people canceling continues), then definitely, heads might roll.

I think another cautionary tale here is that if you're a modest company with only one revenue-generating game that's an aging, small subscriber-base MMO (anarchy online), and you sink millions into an attempt at an A-List MMO, you've really got no safety net. I wanna say Warhammer Online has a better position because EA has endless pockets, and tons of other products generating revenue, but EA isn't known for its patience either. Should be interesting to see.
10053  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Funcom Q2 Financial Report on: August 20, 2008, 08:43:56 PM
I had a good time with the game in spite of it all, and it's certainly in way better shape than it was at launch or in beta (if that's what most people still base their impressions on, then I understand). But the fact it still has more [memory] leaks than the Titanic, and is still missing PVP features that people were excited about a year ago is galling to most players.

If you turn down all the "WoW Killer!" over-hype and static, 415,000 subscribers would be a fine number to have if you can keep it there. It if it continues to decline, than sure, it's time to yell Dooomm! Esp. given all the new people they were hiring for tech support and such. Clearly it's not a WoW-killer. If they're lucky, they'll keep a subscriber base maybe comparable to LOTRO or CoX (nothing to sneer at) and be a long term success, if not a runaway hit.

The sad reality of MMOs or even a sort of hybrid like Hellgate is that you're beholden to your investors. If you're lucky like Blizzard, then you have carte blanche to take forever, if necessary, before launching. But you can't ask investors to keep sinking millions of dollars into development on a title from scratch -- effectively throwing giant wads of dollar bills into a black hole -- and then keep it in non-revenue producing beta forever. I understand that, but you'd think these mysterious investors would see how many half-baked releases turned into either canceled games or sold-off reclamation projects, rather than smooth successes. It's a shame they don't look at the big, long term picture (maybe they can't afford to).

Personally I think it's a totally screwy system -- would a car company release an unfinished car into the world with missing parts and features, and expect people to keep buying it, much less keep it? But the sad reality is gaming is a business, and business often sacrifices the long term (i.e., keep the game in beta however long it takes to get it truly polished and full featured), in favor of the short term (i.e., we've spent enough money on this damn game, get it out the door already). And truly, that sucks.  disgust
10054  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: August 20, 2008, 07:25:43 PM
Oh, if some of you all still play, what servers are you on? I won't stalk you  icon_smile But my guild is long-gone and my friends list is populated with folks who either won't remember me or stopped playing months ago, from what I can tell.

My characters are mostly on... well, it's the server name that's hardest to spell.  icon_razz But, I'm game for anything (that was just the server the guild I was in played on).
10055  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 20, 2008, 06:24:02 PM
The Wikipedia entry for this is pretty helpful even if a lot of info is unattributed:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_Aspire_One

It led me to a couple neat Acer Aspire fan sites/resource sites:

AspireOne.net (stopped updating in mid-July)
http://aspireone.net/

AspireOneUser (still regularly updated)
http://www.aspireoneuser.com/

There were a couple interesting blog posts about 5 things they don't like (some of these are specific to the Linux/SSD version) and 5 things they do like about the AA1.

5 things I don't like about the Acer Aspire One
http://www.jkontherun.com/2008/08/five-things-i-d.html
1) Linus Lite Linux implementation (not well documented, hard to figure out how to add apps)
2) Mouse button locations (left and right of trackpad)
3) Open RAM slot isn't easy to access (by contrast, the XP model uses both slots to provide 1GB)
4) SSD isn't that quick (he's disappointed they seem to have used a slower SSD than similar netbooks)
5) External screen resolution (you can hook it up to a regular monitor but the rez is still fixed at 1024X600)

5 things I like about the Acer Aspire One
http://www.jkontherun.com/2008/08/things-i-like-a.html
1) Solid build quality (esp. given the price)
2) Display (glossy, but bright and clear, and offering very wide viewing angles; reviews I've read said it remains very readable in bright sunlight outdoors)
3) Battery life (pretty much all the 3-cell netbooks are maligned, but the 6-cell adds a lot of bulk).
4) Storage Expansion (another Linux/SSD version specific observation, he likes the software that reads one of the SD slots as integrated storage addition to the SSD)
5) Linpus Lite environment (he likes using it, just not how they implemented it)

Lastly, he also linked to a YouTube-posted Webchat with a buddy - who helps run the site - who had bought one (Linux version) at Circuit City recently, just unpacking it and such:
http://www.jkontherun.com/2008/08/jkontherun-geek.html

Blah blah, sorry I've gotten carried away. If I end up getting one (my local Micro Center apparently sold 11 since Sunday so maybe they're catching on?), I'll blab some first-hand thoughts then.  icon_smile
10056  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 20, 2008, 03:47:29 PM
One other belated thing. That Lilliputing.com site had a link to the FCC filing for the hard-drive model Acer (Lilliput thought maybe it was a 6-cell battery mode, but if you peruse the FCC test results PDF, it's a 3-cell battery alas).

https://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&RequestTimeout=500&calledFromFrame=N&application_id=913468&fcc_id=%27HLZZG5%27
This has among other things a PDF of the user's manual (it's a general Acer notebook manual though, not Aspire One-specific), and lots of photos, including of it taken apart.

Apparently the 6-cell battery is becoming available as an accessory option but it's pretty pricey ($119.99 it seems).
10057  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 20, 2008, 01:37:34 PM
I'm still trying to find a review of the XP/hard drive version.

One interesting piece I saw was at ITech News Net (still the Linux version, but this guy took it apart):

Acer Aspire One Unboxed and Disassembled
http://www.itechnews.net/2008/07/04/acer-aspire-one-unboxed-and-disassembled/

Also seen some blogs looking at how to upgrade it, including swapping the hard drive (if you got the SSD version and prefer a regular HD) and adding internal Bluetooth.

http://tnkgrl.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/modding-the-acer-aspire-one-bluetooth/

http://tnkgrl.wordpress.com/2008/08/16/modding-the-acer-aspire-one-hard-drive/

The next chapter is to be on adding 3G to it. I'm pretty sure all this stuff voids the warranty, fwiw.
10058  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: August 20, 2008, 01:26:41 PM

Quote from: TiLT on August 19, 2008, 07:20:32 AM

Quote from: Blackjack on August 17, 2008, 03:49:55 PM

fwiw, I decided to return to LOTORO, at least for a bit (hopefully longer than I returned to Tabula Rasa icon_razz).
What is this fabled "LOTORO" you keep speaking of? I know of a game called LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online), but there's no additional O in there.
Actually, I meant "Lord of the Other Rings Online."

I'll start a new thread for it because you guys obviously aren't part of the LOTORO Beta Test!  saywhat icon_lol

The two classes that clicked best for me (as you can tell from my character slots screeny I reckon) were the Captain and a bow-focused Hunter. I'm working on a Guardian on my return visit. My Captain started struggling with some 40-ish quests, and some weird areas I couldn't seem to pass without croaking. I tried to get into Monster play but it wasn't really my cup of tea.

What I liked about the Captain is I could effectively solo most of the time, and the healing/buff abilities generally made Georien pretty in-demand for group stuff. Though sometimes I'd get distraught when a group didn't get a second healer of some sort and I wasn't able to keep us upright.

While I have general affection for the game, I guess I mostly just missed the sheer polish it has at this point (and it had a generally smooth launch, it was already pretty polished out of the box). I played LOT...RO in late beta before then seguing into the launch game and never really missed a beat. Often that's not been my experience with other MMOs.
10059  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Age of Conan Aug. 19 patch notes on: August 20, 2008, 01:13:46 PM
Pretty huge patch went up yesterday (warning: several screens length here icon_razz)

http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=910720#post910720
Quote
PLAYFIELDS

    * The Catacombs in Tarantia Nobel district offers a host of new quests and encounters to challenge you in this group instance.

CLASSES


MAGE
(General)

    * Dark Meditation will now properly expire.
    * Dark Meditation should now be removed from the spell list after untraining feats.
    * The description for the general feat Purge no longer refers to multiple targets.
    * The feat "Purge" has been renamed to "Spell - Purge".
    * Mirrored Iron's proc, Set's Shield, now hits using the correct damage type based on the Magic Rating buff running.
    * Mirrored Iron's proc, Set's Shield, has had its damage readjusted to the proper amount.

ROGUE (General)

    * Ambush ability will no longer increase the damage of the next strike.
    * Mountaineer feat's decrease to the duration of the Bruised Body debuff has been changed from 50%/100% to 45%/90% per respective rank.
    * Mountaineer feat's decrease to the duration of the Broken Bones debuff has been changed from 25%/50% to 30%/60% per respective rank.
    * Quick Dismount will not go on cooldown unless you are mounted.
    * Cheat the Reaper will now work 25%/50% of the time per respective feat point spent.
    * Cheat the Reaper can now only activate once every 5 minutes.

SOLDIER
(General)

    * Brutal Enraging Wound and Enraging Wound will now always tick 3 times.
    * Brutal Enraging Wound now displays the proper damage over time value in the combo tool tip.
    * Spell damage will now properly trigger Cunning Deflection.

Assassin

    * Grim Corruption I's debuff will now stack with the other Grim Corruption debuffs.
    * Grim Corruption will now debuff Unholy and Poison Invulnerabilities by 5% at each rank.

Barbarian

    * All the Savage Rage combos now use the same animation as Savage Rage IV.
    * Impale's cooldown has been increased to 40 seconds.
    * Impale's bonus damage will now scale consistently with feat points invested.

Bear Shaman

    * Aspects - Blood Fever, Skulk, and Untamed Regeneration will no longer be removed after zoning.
    * Claws of Life will no longer be removed after zoning.
    * Spirits of the Debased proc buff now uses the proper icon in the buff GUI.
    * Spirit Totem: Profane will now always give Unholy Invulnerabilities with each rank of Spirits of the Debased trained.

Conqueror

    * Conquest's bonus to One-Handed weapon damage has been increased across all ranks.
    * Deep Wounds will now stack properly.
    * Deep Wounds' proc rate has been slightly increased.
    * Deep Wounds now displays a stack count in the target's debuff GUI.
    * Deep Wounds' DPS has been increased slightly.
    * Feint Attack I will no longer scale past Feint Attack II at any level.
    * Frostbite will now debuff magical damage in addition to melee damage.
    * Frostbite will now have an additional larger debuff component versus PvP targets on top of the normal debuff.
    * Frostbite's chance to apply off of a Hoarfrost proc has been doubled.
    * Hail of Furious Strikes II will no longer scale past Hail of Furious Strikes III at any level.
    * Lacerate will now proc off all non-unarmed melee attacks.
    * Lacerate's proc rate has been slightly increased.
    * Lacerate now displays a stack count in the target's debuff GUI.
    * Lacerate's DPS has been increased slightly.
    * Lingering Wrath's damage has been slightly reduced.
    * Lingering Wrath will now always tick 5 times.
    * Offhand Precision's bonus has been doubled at all ranks. It will now increase Offhand Chance by 2%/4%/6%/8%/10% per respective rank.
    * Rend Flesh's duration has been increased to 15 seconds. The cooldown has also been increased to 1 minute.
    * Rend Flesh's damage over time effect will now last 5 seconds.
    * Rend Flesh now displays a stack count in the target's debudff GUI.
    * Rend Flesh's damage over time effect will now scale better with more feat points invested.
    * Improved Rend's direct damage hit will now scale better with more feat points invested.
    * Two-Handed Master's bonus to Two-Handed weapon damage will now scale more consistently.
    * Renamed Auras & Battle Crys, and included level up info in descriptions.

Dark Templar

    * The name of the feat "Spell - Dooming Presence" has been changed to "Combo - Dooming Presence", since it actually does grant a combo and not a spell.
    * Pact of Malacodor should now be removed from the spellbook after untraining feats.
    * Reaper of Malacodor should now be removed from the spellbook after untraining feats.
    * Covenant of Arms will no longer be removed after zoning if you have the appropriate feat.

Demonologist

    * Chaotic Blast's damage component can now perform critical hits.
    * Demonic War will no longer be removed when zoning.

Guardian

    * Guard I will no longer scale past Guard II at any level.
    * Lowered the damage of Stagger I slightly.
    * Increased the damage of Stagger II slightly.

Herald of Xotli

    * Undying Glory of Xotli should no longer be removed when zoning.
    * Fixed a tool tip issue causing the wrong information to be displayed in the Burning Words feat.

Necromancer

    * Despoil the Soul will now show the proper duration when viewing the tool tip of the spell.
    * Despoil the Soul duration has been increased to 1 hour.
    * Spellweaving buff 'Death God' duration has been reduced to 20 seconds.
    * The cabal debuff will now use the proper icon in the target's debuff window.

Priest of Mitra

    * Armor of Faith will no longer be removed by Hand of Mitra.

Ranger

    * Incapacitating Stabs I will never scale past Incapacitating Stabs II at all levels.
    * Marked Target will now stack properly when 2 points are invested in the feat.
    * Piercing Stance, Shattering Stance, Sniper Stance, and Fire Stance will no longer be removed when zoning if the appropriate feat is trained.
    * Shattering Shots will now properly remove the directional shielding in the target GUI.
    * Immolation should work more consistently.

Tempest of Set

    * Lightning Cast will now properly put Lightning Strike on a 5 second cooldown.
    * A book in your offhand will no longer spin during attack animations.

COMBAT

    * The attack at the end of a charge can no longer be aborted.
    * Transitions between 2H-attacks for male & female characters should feel smoother.
    * The male UP-attack animation for staves should now work correctly.
    * Charge, Ursine Rush, Impale (Guardian), Stunning Charge, and Hellstep can no longer be used while Hidden.
    * Melee pets will now do splash damage.
    * Knockback should have a proper animation again.
    * Using an ability while charging (such as Cunning Deflection) should no longer lock up your movement.
    * You should no longer be able to damage or heal dead targets with spells or combos.
    * Fixed a cause of sliding during combat.
    * Initiating chat with an NPC while performing attacks will now stop your attack animation as intended.
    * You can no longer de-apprentice while in combat.

MASSIVE PVP

    * If the attacking guild takes over a battlekeep, any city guards that are left will now despawn.
    * Players can now only spawn a ballista while the city is vulnerable to attack.
    * Catapult progress bar no longer shows Trebuchet Blast.
    * Once the siege battle is finished, the siege weapons and siege camps will now be properly disposed of.
    * Ballista siege weapons will no longer cycle between all targets they have. They will use the last target instead, making them more useful in combat.
    * If you get teleported out of a battle you will now end up in the nearest NPC village of the connecting resource and building playfield, instead of ending up in the nearest city.
    * The siege camp in Burnheim which previously spawned at the wrong location will now spawn at the proper location.
    * It's now possible to get a replaced siege targeting module if you lost one. Simply target the weapon and press the use button to get a replacement.
    * Only the defending guild can talk to the ballista builder NPCs.
    * The siege camps will now give a message when they are used when the city isn't vulnerable.
    * Player city guards are now friendly to the guild that owns the city.
    * Siege Weapons should no longer fail to initialize properly.
    * Ballista NPCs should always spawn when the city becomes vulnerable.
    * Vendors should no longer spawn if the vulnerability window opens when the building has just finished being built.
    * Members of the attacking guild should no longer get teleported out of the instance when zoning into a siege that is already in progress.
    * Siege Weapons should no longer report that the target is out of range when it's not out of range. A different error message will appear if the siege weapon was unable to fire at the target for some reason.
    * Massive PvP city NPCs should only be usable by the owners of the city.
    * Defending players in a siege will no longer get points for character kills.
    * Time left in the siege battle before it ends will now display correctly in Score window.
    * If no guild applies for a battle queue before the 24h prior to the siege are over, that battle queue will be locked and no guild will be assigned the Attacker role.
    * Mammoth Sweep and Rhino Sweep damage increased and changed to Siege damage to properly damage buildings.

GUILDS

    * The Barracks in Player Cities will now spawn the correct amount of guards after being upgraded.
    * Only the guild that owns the city will be able to use the NPCs inside their city.
    * Renamed some player city feats to be in line with the names of the buildings.
    * Barracks should now always show up in the guild feats window after being built.

ITEMS

    * Sunsteel Half-plate Vambraces now have the proper full-plate requirement to wear, and can no longer be worn by everybody.
    * Basic and Advanced Riding Training items will properly be comsumed on use.
    * Pyramid of the Ancients: The essence trap can now only be used within the pyramid.

MOUNTS

    * Rhino Charge should no longer go on cooldown unless successfully activated.

NPC/ MOBS

    * Due to popular demand, we've forced some of our female Derketo followers to burn their bras.
    * Tavern patrons in the Armsmans Tavern should no longer play strange animations.
    * Deli in the Pyramid of the Ancients now looks poor, and possibly insane.
    * Spiders will no longer jump back several feet when getting hit.
    * Travel NPCs should offer correct dialog options for travel.
    * New and updated loot has been placed in the Catacombs!
    * Acheronian Ruins - The Pict Bat Shrieker will now patrol with pets. If attacked, he will keep spawning pets so that he always has 3 pets with him. If he leaves combat, he and his pets will resume patrolling.
    * Acheronian Ruins - - All picts now have a specified class, and fitting weapon to this class. Added more mobs.
    * Conarch Village - Removed a loop from Rhiderch, and Ryarm's dialog.
    * Commander Zoria's costume and weapons have been revamped.
    * Kalanthes will no longer stand on chairs in his house.
    * Kyllikki's Crypt - The White Hand Priests will now use their healing and damage abilities.
    * Lacheish Plains - Screamer Wolf, Wailer Wolf, Baying Wolf, and Whimpering Wolf NPCs now have the proper death and attack animations.
    * Oasis of Zaara - Lions are no longer easy to defeat.
    * Pyramid of the Ancients - The Master Torturer will no longer spawn multiple times in a row.
    * Tarantia Noble District - Lady Verde's Bodyguard now looks the same both when seen on the outside and the inside of the villa.
    * Tarantia Sewers/Catacombs - Putharjath should now have more interresting abilities.
    * Treasury of the Ancients - Corrected a typo in Thuthmekri's dialog.
    * White Sands Isle - Asapon will now correctly spawn at all times outside the Atlantean Cave.
    * Khopshef Province: Hamadi should now patrol correctly at all times.
    * Khopshef Province: Hidden Bandits will now dual wield.
    * Khopshef Province: "Fine Potions" Merchant Nekhbet is now easier to interact with.
    * Some bosses were using combos they weren't supposed to. This has been fixed.
    * Traders in Conarch Village and elsewhere should always be available for use.

VOICE ACTING

    * Additional Voiceacting for the following quests:
          o Conarch Village:
                + Every Strong Arm
                + Clans at War
          o Conall's Valley:
                + An Impending Attack
                + Chaos in the Fortress
                + Mayhem in the Fortress
                + Decimate the Warhost
          o Old Tarantia:
                + The Wrong Kind of Message
                + The Woman Who Never Died
          o Wild Lands of Zelata:
                + Tearing the Veil
                + Immortal Acheron
          o Khemi:
                + The Raided Tomb
                + The Satiated Serpent
          o Khopshef Province:
                + A Plea for Prophecy
                + Sneaking Suspicions
                + Lord Atum-Kheket
                + Emerald Eyes
          o Eiglophian Mountains:
                + A Broken Bloodline
                + The Blood-Furred Best
                + Elina's Father
                + A Daughter's Revenge
                + White Hand Officers
          o Field of the Dead:
                + Death to the Vanir
                + The Ymirish Bearlock
                + Lieutenant Rhor
                + Lieutenant Haken, Karras & Vorr
                + Tabbot and the Scounts
                + The Wolf Dream
                + The Curse of the Werewolves
                + Den of Wolves
                + A Curious Encounter
          o Atzel's Approach:
                + The Giant Killings
                + Against the Giant Chief
                + Hard Evidence
                + Trail to the Dragon's Lair
                + The Stygian Diary
          o Kheshatta:
                + Lift the Curse of Constantius
                + Master of the Silver Peacock
                + Ibis, Master of Hidden Secrets
                + Master of Gargoyles
          o Thunder River:
                + A Steep Cliff
                + Heads of the Fallen
                + Turning Point
                + Absolute War

QUESTS

    * Atzel's Fortress: Kidnapping & Torture - Any leftover Flasks of Oily Pitch will be removed when you complete this quest.
    * Atzel's Approach: Revenge of the Ape God - This is now a group quest.
    * Atzel's Approach: Power Behind the Throne - Item "Orders with the Mark of Set" no longer tells the player to right click on it to get a quest.
    * Conarch Village: The Downtrodden - Croiss will no longer confuse a sword with an axe.
    * Khemi: The Guardian statue will no longer send you into a dialog loop.
    * Kheshatta: The Grim Grey God - You will now reset to the location where you zoned in if you log out in the instance.
    * Kheshatta: The Grim Grey God - Sarcophagi and pedestals will have a progress bar when they’re being used.
    * Kheshatta: Heady Kaphil Liquor - The flowers to be collected now have visual effects to help identify them.
    * Kheshatta: Hunting the Waste - Weapons for this quest will now have a visual effect.
    * Old Tarantia: The Aquilonian ******* - Fixed the dialogue so that the quest resolves if and only if the player has actually told Varinia about her husband's infidelity.
    * Pyramid of the Ancients - The teleport altar behind Lord Atum-Keket will now be visible at all times.
    * Pyramid of the Ancients - Solving the quest "Emerald Eyes" will actually give emerald eyes to the Guardian Statue.
    * Tarantia Sewers: The Orphans in the Hovel - Quest now updates for the entire party after talking to Galeria.
    * Thunder River: The Kitten - The cat now correctly patrols and eventually despawns.
    * Wild Lands: Old Secrets - The password has been corrected in the quest journal.
    * Kheshatta: Wanted , The Blasphemer - Ashka should now spawn correctly.
    * Khopshef Province: The Slave Rebellion - The cage key will now drop correctly.
    * Khopshef Province: Blessed Caves - Anata's Key should no longer remain in the player's quest inventory.
    * Khopshef Province: Trapped by Lions - We have added a few new, interesting encounters. In addition, Lisimba now moves a bit quicker. The quest is now level 21 to reflect the surrounding mobs.
    * Tortage Underhalls: Players will now be able to re-enter Raboz's Cell after finishing the quest Gone with the Wine, but before starting on the quest Ruins and Demise.


TRADESKILLS

    * If you go linkdead while in the middle of a random encounter at a resource node, you will now be able to log back in with time to prepare before your next random encounter.
    * Fixed a small typo that occured in an onscreen message when harvesting is interrupted.
    * Vendor bought resources have been reduced in price.
    * Added and adjusted drop rates of leather resources to animals residing in the Resource & Building playfields.
    * Droprate for all Wild Lands of Zelata animals have increased.
    * Droprate of Wild Dagga has been slightly increased in the world.

WORLD DESIGN


    * Several collision fixes in Massive PvP Battlekeep playfields.
    * Corrected a few areas where players could previously get stuck in the Tarantia Noble District.
    * Conalls Valley night time environment has been altered to brighten the playfield slightly.

GUI


    * Descriptions for Bandaging, Fast Healing, Mana Attractor, and Fast Recovery have been tweaked to be more consistent with actual function.
    * Added descriptions to a few of the more obscure potions in Hyboria.
    * The Combo Sequence Indicator should no longer get stuck when failing to complete a combo.
    * Hide my helmet/cloak options should work again.
    * Improved GUI Modifications to support the new PvP Consequence System.
    * Corrected the names of some chat channels to be more accurate. Added a few new chat channels.
    * The PVP XP bar can be toggled on and off. (Interface -> HUD)
    * Floating healing numbers over the character's head are back.
    * Fixed weird messages when teleporting in the massive PvP playfields.
    * The optional GUI component Combat Rose will now react to every keypress in a fight instead of just the first one.
    * Players can now use /<channelname> to talk to different channels.
    * Items will no longer show +0.0 to any stats.
    * A cause of flickering icons has been corrected.
    * Fixed an issue with building model requirements failing when the models were stacked in your inventory.
    * Crafted items will now display the "created by" name. (NOTE : This is a work in progress)

GENERAL

    * Removed the Miss Chance from Shield of the Risen.
    * You will no longer be zoned after speaking to a Feat Fixer.
    * Several combat related animation issues - such as sheathing and unsheathing spears, holding swords - have been tweaked.
    * Added a male animation for the dance_sexy_f emote, and renamed it to dance_sexy.
    * Many typos corrected in quests and dialog.
    * Fixed a case when the game stopped running after restoring from minimized state.
    * Some assertion failure, memory leak, and crash causes were addressed.
    * Black Castle: Player zoning rotation from Khopshef Province has been fixed.
    * Voiceovers should no longer continue to play when you zone into another playfield.
    * Shield of the Risen no longer displays its particle effects on hidden players (unless they're on your team)
    * Typing /channelname followed by a space and no other text in chat will no longer crash the client.
    * You will not be charged for resetting your skills unless the skill value is >= 150
    * Zoning from Black Castle to Khopshef Province will now show the Epic Mode selection box.
    * Fixed an issue where single player playfields would not reset.
    * The'Out Of Disk Space' error should be fixed.
    * Falling very large distances will no longer make you end up standing in mid-air.
    * Tortage: Fixed lighting in the Thirsty Dog Inn.
10060  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: What would I miss minus Vista? on: August 20, 2008, 12:45:16 AM
I apologize for hating on Vista and spreading all that vile misinformation. Bill Gates is God, and he can do no wrong. Yes, yes, yes, no matter how happy you are with XP today, you must go out and buy Vista and install it right now! Do it tonight, before it's too late!  drool VISTA VISTA VISTA! Case closed!
10061  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: What would I miss minus Vista? on: August 19, 2008, 06:10:28 PM
I run Vista Ultima 64-bit (it came with my HP PC), and while it's been generally OK, it has given me a few 64-bit compatibility problems (Palm OS software, my old MP3 player's Rhapsody software, a couple of games).

I can't say that any game has run "better" in it, or that it's anymore stable than XP was. I mean, you can pick on people for being squeamish about moving up to the latest OS but the fact of the matter is Vista doesn't really *do* anything "better" than XP that matters. If it was more stable, handled memory better, was less bloated, used memory less efficiently (the fact so many new PCs come with 4GB of RAM should tell you how inefficient Vista is with memory) etc. I'd have an easier time recommending it. So far I've only encountered one game where the DX10 mode didn't knock my performance so much that I was OK with playing in DX10 mode (LOTORO).

At this point, I'd say, if you're worried your new PC comes with Vista to begin with, don't. It's OK in most ways. If you're considering 64-bit, read up on your various non-game programs (iTunes is fine, and has been specifically updated to be 64-bit compatible) and utilities to see what you'll need to upgrade, replace, or stop using if you make the 64-bit switch.

But I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to put Vista on an existing system if you've been happy with XP -- at least not until the date where MS will no longer do security updates for XP. 'tis just my 2 cents.
10062  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: August 19, 2008, 12:57:19 PM
1Up/Games for Windows tracked down Bill Roper for an exhaustive (8 pages) interview:

Flagship founder breaks silence to talk about his company's demise
http://www.1up.com/do/feature?pager.offset=0&cId=3169356
Quote
GFW: So is it really a matter of how to end it gracefully? Is that fair to say?

BR: Yeah. It really is. We're working hard on how to end gracefully. Obviously, we've got people we owe money to, so we're doing absolutely everything in our power to get those people the money we owe them, whether that's on an institutional side, lenders, or, equally as important, with our employees who aren't there anymore.
It sounds like the founders are burning through their own savings and retirement plans to pay the last debts off. Definitely a cautionary tale to the "hey let's leave the company nest and become rock star devs!" ventures that sometimes come up.

Namco and EA apparently stepped in a bit to keep Hellgate running (you can still play online, the subscriptions have been disabled completely).
10063  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 18, 2008, 05:33:14 PM
There was a bit-tech.net (UK site) review a while back (of the Linux/SSD version), also pretty enthusiastic:

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2008/08/04/acer-aspire-one/1
Quote
The keyboard is where most subnotebooks get it wrong. They shrink it down too much or not enough. They make the keys a little bit smooshy, or they over compensate like the HP Mininote, creating a satisfying and solid feel that unfortunately drives the price up. The Acer though is different.

The keyboard is decently sized, firm and easy to use. Our standard keyboard test involves writing articles, playing some games and writing the Jabberwocky poem over and over again – and we had absolutely no problems with any of them when it came to the Acer Aspire One.
Complaints include the trackpad, of course, and apparently very tinny speakers.
10064  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 18, 2008, 03:52:18 PM
Brighthand mentioned this Gartner item about the "mini-notebook" market:

Gartner Says Worldwide Mini-Notebook Shipments to Surpass 5 Million Units in 2008
http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=740312
They also lay out their standards for what the term means:
Quote
Mini-notebooks are mobile computing devices with a screen size of 5 inches to 10 inches that run a full version of client operating system (OS), such as Windows XP or Linux. Mini-notebooks do not include microinformation devices (MIDs), which according to Gartner definitions are a separate product category and include mobile computing devices with a screen size of 3 inches to 5 inches.
They speculate on how retailers may need to adjust their marketing for them, which might help explain why I've had such a hard time actually finding them in stores to try on for size:
Quote
“For consumer mini-notebooks to succeed, they need to be positioned differently than standard notebooks, and PC vendors will need to decide if the existing channels to market are appropriate and possibly look for new channels, such as telecom, gadget shops and so on,” Ms. Jump said. “PC vendors will have to convince retailers to take on those products, as they are still emerging products and potentially present some risk from an inventory point of view.”

10065  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 18, 2008, 03:04:52 PM
I guess the question is, if you get used to it, will you start-mistyping on a regular full size keyboard at home and at work?  Because it'll suddenly feel "too big." icon_lol

I think they had both models on demo at the Micro Center store, though I didn't check to see if they were in stock.

UPDATE: Oh, doh, I checked via their Web site (you can check in-store stocks on things by choosing In Store Pickup option there), and they have 57 (!) of the XP-hard drive model in stock at my local store (and 23 of the Linux/SSD model). I guess they're not flying off the shelves there.  icon_smile Though I think that's more an unfamiliarity with ultra-portables in general.
10066  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: August 18, 2008, 01:18:32 PM
Hey I finally got to put in some "hands on" time on a couple of Eee PC models (including the $699 model 1000, the full keyboard model that has a solid state drive) and an Acer Aspire One at Micro Center, of all places. I can't find any of these things at Circuit City or Best Buy, but Microcenter had a bunch laid out to try.

While the Eee PC 1000 keyboard understandably felt the best, it's tough to swallow that price when "regular" notebooks are about the same price and some feel about the same size even.

I was actually able to touch type a little bit on the Acer Aspire One though I'm not sure I'd want to write anything lengthy on it. The other mini's I tried (other than the notably more bulky Eee PC 1000), I just couldn't type anything to save my life. So, if I decide to go for something small, the Acer One is now moving up my list, if only because it felt "right" during my hands-on time with it. I'll probably try to go back and fiddle with it some more at a later date.  icon_cool

Here's an updated PC World review (the keyboard, while not full-size, seems often lauded in reviews fwiw):
http://www.pcworld.com/article/147366/2008/08/.html?tk=rss_reviews
Quote from: PC World review
Now another surprise is how much I like the keyboard. It's a great size and doesn't feel crunched up in order to hit a form factor. In fact, because it provides solid key response and a wide gap between buttons, I proclaim this one of the few netbooks to be fully adult-hand friendly.
Unfortunately, the touchpad has the same goofy design as the HP Mini Note (mouse buttons to the left and right of the pad, instead of below it). I didn't have problems with the left button, but I imagine using the right button could require some practice (I think I'd probably just get in the habit of dragging a tiny mouse around with me).

Microcenter has 2 of the 3 U.S. models (120GB regular hard drive with Windows XP; 8GB solid state (expandable via SD cards) w/ Linpus Linux Lit).

The one they don't carry (the 1722) is identical to the $379 Linux model but has the larger 6-cell battery and a $449 price).



10067  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: August 17, 2008, 04:58:04 PM
I quit quite a while ago, so it's nice with the newer PC to finally be able to run the high rez textures in DX10 mode.


On my old PC, this scene and the waving flowers brought it to a virtual standstill.  icon_razz


I seem to mistakenly remember having two characters in the 40s but my hunter ran out of gas, and a Captain was my peak.


AoC's quest tracker is, by comparison, a neanderthal club.  disgust
10068  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: August 17, 2008, 03:49:55 PM
fwiw, I decided to return to LOTORO, at least for a bit (hopefully longer than I returned to Tabula Rasa icon_razz).

Although I like AoC's combat, lots of the things that I struggle with in that remind me of things I preferred in LOTORO (right down to things like a better search/advertise for teammates system, and to the quest tracker letting you keep multiple quests up on your HUD rather than just one).

It took several hours to get the game fully updated yesterday, but it was painless other than taking that much time.

Alas, gah, the account page won't let me reactivate today. Hopefully a temporary glitch.

And I guess given all the laptops with precious info being lost and stolen these days, it's a little perturbing that Turbine retains your credit card information after you cancel (NCSoft by comparison deletes the info when you cancel).
10069  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: August 17, 2008, 03:26:36 PM
A few shaky-cam gameplay videos from Gencon hath surfaced:
http://www.massively.com/2008/08/16/four-champions-online-gameplay-videos-surface/

It looks fine, though the combat looks more like Marvel Ultimate Alliance imho (given the console focus) than CoX. Not necessarily a bad thing, just an observation.  icon_neutral
10070  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 17, 2008, 06:06:55 AM
CNN had a little update on these checkpoint-friendly computer bags that are due out soon (which should be handy both for standard laptops and the ultra-portable types):

Checkpoint-friendly computer bags set for debut
http://www.cnn.com/2008/TRAVEL/08/15/laptop.bags/index.html?eref=rss_us
The article includes a video demonstrating use of the new bags in the screening process.
10071  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Decisions... Decisions... on: August 16, 2008, 01:08:07 PM
I'm the opposite -- I'm on MMO sabbatical (I'm uninstalling Tabula Rasa after a brief attempt to return to it). I'm tired of gaming in general (I haven't played anything in about 3 weeks now), but it's given me time to catch up on DVDs and reading and such.

I think what I find most tiring is the negativity and anger on the official boards for every MMO out there (WoW included). Eventually one starts to wonder why so many people play games that by most accounts do nothing but make them angry and frustrated (even the games supposedly everyone loves). What's the point? Life's short and precious. Do something fun. Misery isn't. I've played MMOs to have fun and socialize a bit, but my recent experiences with various games haven't been as positive as with COH in its heyday (roughly 2004-2006).

Sorry to go off on a tangent.  icon_cool

To get back on topic, I played COH for about 3 1/2 years, and LOTORO for 6-8 months. (I only played Wow maybe 3 weeks and can't really speak to it).

Here's my take:
COH/COV (fwiw, both games are automatically included in a subscription now)
What I loved:
-Costume creator means very unique characters (unlike most MMOs where you end up with way too many people in a given class looking the same until you reach higher levels)
-Awesome combat, animations and special effects
-Travel powers make it rewarding for players impatient with travel in other games
-Very polished UI and chat system (its chat system is to Age of Conan's what a BMW is to an AMC Gremlin...)
-A dev team that communicates regularly and extensively with players at their well moderated forums
-Very fun to play as a group/team
-Regular annual events, including some where devs and moderators play in-game characters (sometimes just to socialize with fans)

What I didn't:
-Environments are OK, but it's not the kind of game where you admire the sunsets or environments. You won't generally look to enjoy the "journey" you just zip back and forth to get somewhere
-Interior mission instance environments are extremely repetitive and can get tiresome (well, as a 3-year player, I got tired of it even when they occasionally spiced them up with re-done wall textures and layouts)
-I found it much harder a few months ago to get teams going, than during its heyday.
-I still find Herding and various power leveling exploits very tiresome, and I found that my upper level characters generally were only invited to help out with those things. I found it far more sluggish to level in CoX vs. say AoC or Tabula Rasa, unless you're willing to resort to at least some of the above.
-A lot of new players simply give up on the game before they get Stamina, and their more interesting powers. I've given buddies trial keys only to watch them complain of boredom by L20. I think probably L20-L38 is the sweetspot in the game for me, so twas a shame.

LOTORO:
What I loved
-The general world and storylines
-The various opportunities for content that's unique to your character class
-If you like to group a LOT, LOTORO has tons of group-focused content and a fine interface, ad and search system for finding groups or forming them
-Pretty fine and configurable chat system (along with COX, it's a favorite for me)
-Combat's fine but not much different than other medeivally-fantasy type MMOs
-Beautiful environments. You'll enjoy the journey.  icon_smile
-The minstrel music skills are a lot of fun, and I know this is the only MMO I've played where I've stopped in place just to listen to another player strumming.  icon_cool

What I didn't
-Some of the Epic Storyline missions, the AI characters are simply idiots and it's really not fair that your team can't control them at a least a little bit (Legolas in particular disgust)
-Some of the group things, my team would spend 2, 3, 4 hours on something and ultimately realize we had no way to complete it at the end. That sort of frustrationg wore on me, and helped lead me out of the game eventually.
-Very much in the classic MMO mold in that groups tend to have to play very specifically, anal-retentively even. If you like to "play it by ear" or improvise, you won't last long.
-Once past your character's starter area, you generally end up going through the same areas and doing all the same quests with your next character type (aside from storyline stuff). After I had two characters into the 40s, I started working up a hobbit. And abruptly I just thought, "Do I really want to go through pretty much all the same quests all over again?" It never bothered me in COH, but for some reason it bothered me here and that's when I quit last year.

================
My gut feeling is if WoW and the upcoming Warhammer are what you want, then go for LOTORO. CoX is mainly for people very in love with combat, combat and more combat. It does that wonderfully but I don't really find that a lot of WoW fanatics go for CoX, at least not for very long. Although they've added gadgets and stuff to CoX to try to diversify it a bit, LOTORO has more to offer in terms of crafting, farming and enjoying various things not related to combat, and enjoying the scenery (the journey if you will). I'm actually giving some thought to floating back to LOTORO -- I guess I should've gone for a Lifetime Subscription afterall.  icon_smile
10072  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Mythos on: August 15, 2008, 09:10:39 PM
Something called Gamecyte had a pretty extensive interview with Schaefer and Baldtree yesterday:

Captaining The Lifeboat: Runic Games’ Max Schaefer and Travis Baldree
http://www.gamecyte.com/2008/08/14/captaining-the-lifeboat-runic-games-max-schaefer-and-travis-baldree/2930
Quote
GameCyte: That’s such a shame. I know you’ve been intentionally coy about this subject so far, but as far as the Mythos intellectual property is concerned, it sounds like that’s not going to happen for you…

TB: We’re proceeding under the assumption that we’re not going to be able to get that or proceed on it. I think that door is just about closed. Because of the nature of how the IP is being held, and the technology being held separately, it seems safer and better for us to proceed as if we’re really not going to have any avenue to work with it, and it’ll be the best thing for our team to get moving on something we know we can do, and that doesn’t have those sorts of entanglements and history.
It's pretty clear again they'll have to just start from scratch. Which sucks really, because (imho) if Flagship hadn't had to take forever developing Hellgate's tech from scratch maybe they would've had time to work on the game itself. But, hopefully, they learned something from the HG/Mythos combo mess.  icon_neutral

I hope for their sake they just think small and modest, and find a publishing situation where they can take their time, polish and not become Flagship 2.0.  disgust icon_razz
10073  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 15, 2008, 01:10:36 PM
I'm seeking something more for work (the joypad gives it away  icon_razz), though that's really a fascinating keyboard concept. I'm always griping about tiny keyboards and that's a neat way to try to get something sort-of full size in a small device. icon_smile
10074  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 14, 2008, 10:19:01 PM
Laptopmag mentioned a useful page compiling information on "liliputers":
http://liliputing.com/liliputers

You can sort the list by clicking at the top of a column.

Note that it includes some machines not expected to come to the U.S. market, such as the smaller 8.9" MSI Wind model. Some columns, like the hard drive one, don't sort terribly usefully since the numbers and types (regular HDs, and solid state drives etc.) vary so widely in that category
10075  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Movies you love that everyone else hates... on: August 14, 2008, 05:24:19 PM
How about...

Roadhouse (1989)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098206/

-From Patrick Swayze's short-lived attempt to be an Action Star (I guess he was worried Dirty Dancing and Ghost had turned his image into a wuss)
-The late guitarist Jeff Healey's only screen credit. He's pretty awful as an actor, but the soundtrack has some fine performances by his band.
-Repellent, sleazy, mysognonistic drool, hyper-violent, poorly reviewed and... I love it.  icon_lol

Rest Stop
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0787505/

-A terrible, direct-to-video gorefest that shows up on cable (FX I think) from time to time, in heavily edited form
-Joey Lawrence shows up as an unfortunate deputy
-I think they wanted the female heroine to come off as smart and resourceful but most reviewers (critics or would-be fans) seem to agree she just comes off as Dumb.
-I don't really understand the ending at all
-It probably makes stuff like Hostel and Saw seem like Citizen Kane by comparison, and yet, I love it!   Bring your own! However, the video box art is so tasteless (even for its genre), that I can't bring myself to buy it.  icon_razz

I do wonder if someone competent took the same basic storyline (trapped at a deserted rest stop, and plant the movie in that location almost the whole way), what they might be able to do with it.
10076  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Star Trek in High Def on: August 14, 2008, 05:09:58 PM
That would be cool if you're into that, esp. as a bonus feature. Though I think the key to enjoying the remastered stuff is to just watch the whole thing (without bouncing out to see the original version effects) - then I get comfortable with the effects, and eventually it's not a distraction. Then maybe once I've done that, I'd enjoy seeing side-by-sides and such, just for fun.

To some extent I think it's a shame digital effects have all but replaced miniatures work. TNG's miniatures effects work with its ships still holds up nicely imho (I assume with the benefit of computer controlled cameras then vs. what shows in the '60s could work with), at least on a Standard TV, and presumably cost less than CGI does today. And it just seemed more like Art, than a bunch of Programmers going beserk. But I guess, as mentioned here, even the TNG/DS9 era effects would need (supposedly) to be upgraded to display properly in high-def.
10077  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Star Trek in High Def on: August 14, 2008, 01:15:57 PM
I bought the Season 2 Original Star Trek "remastered" (but not Blue-Ray/HD) set yet. They released Season one as a combo HD/regular DVD, which really just resulted in an overpriced set for a now dead (HD) format.

I assume they'll do a Blue-Ray version eventually.

I watched a couple episodes yesterday (Wolf in the Fold, which has no new effects to speak of; and The Doomsday Machine, which apparently has the most extensive re-done effects shots in the whole season 2 set).

If I have any problem with the new CGI stuff (obviously they were done with great care and attention to detail), it's just that sometimes things seem "too clean" compared to the original miniatures work. The new work done for planets as the Enterprise swings past are really nice and not distracting (today they can use actual satellite imagery for earth, for example; or to show something more than a generic planet).

The revamped Doomsday Machine is impressive, and done properly to scale (in the original, the shuttle that Decker rams into the Machine is almost as big as it) but it seems almost too well polished (maybe by design though, it's a machine right?).

And the remastered footage is quite clean. You can tell how much cleaner it is just by watching some of the preview trailers included on the discs (they're old, grainy, with particles and lines all over).

I'm not really a fan of the Season 2 packaging. It's compact and looks nice on a shelf, but the hard plastic case is tough to open and close. And unlike the TNG sets (where each disc is clearly labeled with the Episode names it contains), these discs have no labeling whatsoever. You have to fumble through 4 large glossy "trading cards" to figure out what is on each disc.

Anyway, I saw about 50 ST threads here and I didn't really know where to post my thoughts on this. My brother and I grew up on this stuff, and I still quite enjoy it all even if I know so much of the dialogue by heart. A lot of stuff from my childhood (say, Ultra-Man, Captain Scarlet, UFO, Space: 1999, Johnny Socko and his Flying Robot), when I've tried to re-visit it on DVD as an old fart, I just can't get into it anymore, but old ST has generally held up for me.  icon_cool
10078  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Dungeon Runners (NCSoft's free MMO/$4.99 premium option) on: August 14, 2008, 12:39:51 PM
fwiw, NCSoft confirmed they laid off 13 of the 18 folks working on Dungeon Runners, supposedly after deciding not to port it onto other platforms (DR on PC will continue albeit with a relative skeleton crew, it seems, for the time being):

http://www.massively.com/2008/08/13/official-word-from-ncsoft-on-the-austin-studio-layoffs/

http://boards.dungeonrunners.com/showflat.php?Cat=0&Board=DungeonRunnersGeneralDiscussion&Number=73913&Searchpage=1&Main=73769&Words=+Stephen&topic=&Search=true#Post73913
Quote from: Stephen Nichols
The five remaining folks are:

Stephen Nichols- Producer / Lead Programmer
Scott Stevens - Senior Programmer
Mark Tucker - Lead Designer
Brandon Cotton - Senior Designer
James Cleaveland - Technical Artist

As you might imagine, we're reeling from this right now. It's gonna take us a while to get our stuff together and regroup for future efforts.
While it's a fairly fun little game, I still think the idea it was somehow going to pull people into the NCSoft Umbrella or get non MMO'ers into the pool, and then serve as some transition point to CoX, Lineage or something else they make was pretty much a naive thought.

It's kind of a dead-end game with endless hunt quests, and doesn't really give non MMOers an idea of how "full" MMOs work. I don't think I ever saw more then 30-40 people on a server in its heyday. I guess if it tried to be more ambitious, than it wouldn't have fit within what Nichols wanted to do.
10079  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: LucasArts Embargoes "Clone Wars" Reviews on: August 13, 2008, 09:13:37 PM
Isn't this where someone makes a YouTube video of themselves in an Ewok costume crying, and yelling, "STOP HATING GEORGIE HE'S SO WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!"  crybaby

The Wash. Post had a basically anti-George Lucas diatribe essay Sunday by one of its film critics:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/07/AR2008080701846.html

I remember reading some interviews with Gary Kurtz and Howard Kazanjian who served as producers or executive producers on much of Lucas's most beloved work (i.e. up through about Return of the Jedi). I get the impression some of the reason those earlier movies are so much better (their opinion anyway) than his later stuff is because he had producers who weren't "yes-men." They'd talk and fight and disagree over what would make the movie better, and Lucas wasn't yet in a position to steamroller the opinions of everyone around him. That seems to be true even with Indy 4 -- we'll never know if the Indy 4 that Spielberg and Frank Darabont wanted to do was something a little smarter than what George L. insisted on, because He Always Gets His Way.

I'm sure he's much happier now, and would never want to go back to working with people who might disagree with his take on things.

To me the saddest thing about the 64 year old Georgie is that in interviews he drips arrogance and general disdain for both critics, and for fans. I mean, if he has so little use for critics, why does he even care that they're posting nasty reviews early?  icon_confused
10080  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: August 13, 2008, 07:55:41 PM
See, that's my problem -- I *did* start off with a new character and got frustrated trying to remember mechanics and basic hotkeys, locations of things etc. I can't really fault the game for it, I think I just found it harder to remember than City of Heroes for example. Though I think playing something for 3 years far more ingrains it into one's psyche, than say, 3 months.  icon_neutral

I just felt no more comfortable with my noob characters than with my L30 ones. I was also befuddled by a couple of hotkeys that aren't listed in the bindings (I think because they're not configurable), and I guess I've misplaced the TR hotkey card that came with my CE edition too.

There is much scuttlebutt of late that TR's time may be numbered (not immediately but maybe next year), along with Dungeon Runners:
http://www.massively.com/2008/08/12/rumor-ncsoft-austin-to-be-shut-down/

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