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10121  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 13, 2008, 05:59:14 AM
My ex-business editor geek take....
1) Leaving the stable confines of Blizzard (Blizzard North was dissolved after the Flagship departures) because Blizz corporate wouldn't "include them in the conversations" about the possible sale of Blizzard/Vivendi Games seems, in retrospect, not a good reason. Maybe they were sick of Diablo sequels, maybe they didn't see eye-to-eye on the direction for Diablo III, but if they left because of said reason, and not because they thought they had a home run game concept, it just seems unwise albeit with the benefit of hindsight.

2) They decided to create a new 3D engine from scratch. Which took years, and tons of development money, and by most accounts their team wasn't exactly experienced in designing 3D engines from scratch. Licensing A-class engines (Unreal, Half Life, etc.) isn't cheap either, but it might've saved them a ton of time, and technical troubleshooting.

3) Running a secure, Battle.net style server isn't cheap. That's part of the reason Iron Lore didn't feel it could afford to do it on Titan Quest (although Iron Lore's met the same fate and won't get the chance to try now). If your game doesn't require a monthly fee (the optional membership fee was couch-change compared to monthly MMO fees), how do you afford the money and manpower to run 24/7 secure servers esp. when you have no other games pulling in revenue? You can't.

4) Presumably as a new entity, they had no way to get "we don't ship our first game until we feel it's done" approval from their publisher, but why go with Namco, of all people -- not exactly a PC games powerhouse, I don't think Namco even had enough of a track record to judge them on). They had no experience publishing this sort of game, whether you look at Hellgate as a Diablo wannabe, or a Diablo-MMO hybrid. Why not look for a publisher with some track record so you know whether they have a history of forcing premature release of half-baked games (against the developers' wishes). The moment EA got involved (not exactly known for their patience with small developers), I remember shaking my head, I knew it wasn't going to be good news. I dug up this link where EA "set a release date timeframe" for Hellgate:
http://techreport.com/discussions.x/11578  Roll Eyes

5) Keep it simple, stupid. I had a *great* time with the game at times with its core, screwy, sometimes insane but fun combat. Someone on the team (Roper, Schaefer, Brevik et al) needed to grab the bull by the horns and say, "Let's stop gumming it up with bizzarro turret sequences, and isometric "small scale RTS" sequences, and keep it focused on the consistently fun core combat game. I don't remember Diablo II having any of that kinda gimmicky crap. All it probalby did was gobble up precious programmer time that could've been spent fixing other things.

6) Environmental variety. Even for most of us that enjoyed the game, the repeating of environments over and over and over (randomizing or not) was part of what just didn't seem to work in the game. They tried to rearrange that with the opening day patch, and I remember thinking, "they've turned the game upside down on opening day in desperation; baaaad sign." It actually reminded me of Monolith's "F.E.A.R." which had some great combat, and dull, ever-repeating warehouse corridors and warehouses and more warehouse corridors and warehouses. Players like to see different environments on a regular basis. You just can't send us down the same drab streets, warehouses, tunnels and "hell levels" without something fresh now and then.
10122  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Major feature cuts from Warhammer Online on: July 13, 2008, 01:35:50 AM
I saw an item the other day on the MMO news sites that noted that Mythic was removing the "EA" from their company's name and their individual titles (going back to "Mythic" instead of "EA Mythic"). So I dunno if that means nothing (could just be semantics), or if it indicates EA is subtlely "distancing itself" from Warhammer Online if they've gotten cold feet about the Massive Costs of an A-list MMO. Depends on if you're paranoid or not.  paranoid icon_razz

As far as features go, if they've paid any attention to AoC's nightmares of not delivering on lots of things that were promised at launch (again, I'm enjoying it but I'm not blind as to how it launched and how much catching up they still have to do), and spending an awful lot of time in updates "fixing" its large number of classes, then pulling out a a few features and classes they know they can't deliver in WO at launch seems like a smart idea, imho. In fact, it would be amazing if more devs started being realistic about what they can deliver instead of letting their marketing departments and producers go beserk in over-hyping a game's features and qualities. icon_neutral
10123  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Any interest in Diablo II multi? on: July 12, 2008, 11:23:06 PM
Oops, I'll try to join, or start a "Wanderers" game, I forgot to check the earlier posts here.

So it'd be:
Name: Wanderers
Password: temp
10124  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Any interest in Diablo II multi? on: July 12, 2008, 07:37:12 PM
I spent 3 hours, nobody came, so don't say I didn't do my part.  icon_razz

After maybe 10 minutes at the 800X600 expansion resolution, the rez didn't really bother me. Got blackjane to 12 and the bows are about as much fun as I  remember, though I'm not really a fan of the balancing changes that tried to force you to put equal numbers of points into everything.

I wish to heck I had broadband back in 2000-2001 (didn't until late 2003).
10125  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Any interest in Diablo II multi? on: July 12, 2008, 04:42:22 PM
Starting right at the beginning.  icon_cool

Game name: Gaming Trend 2 [my first failed game appears to be stuck on the server still]
Password: blackjack


I can alt-tab out of the game pretty smoothly thankfully. Battle.net tagline is "blackjackGT" if you want to send me a whisper on b.net.

NOTE: When I switched to 800X600 mode, the colors went beserk, exit the game and re-creating a game worked it out.
10126  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Any interest in Diablo II multi? on: July 12, 2008, 04:22:30 PM
Esp. if you're Vista 64-bit like me, remember you need the latest Lord of Darkness patch (unless you don't have the expansion installed), which removes the CD-check if you have all files on your hard drive.

Fileplanet link:
http://www.fileplanet.com/61966/60000/fileinfo/Diablo-2:-Lord-of-Destruction-Patch-v1.12

I got confused because there's a separate DII 1.12 patch for people who don't have the LoD expansion installed (poor people  tear)
10127  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: July 12, 2008, 02:45:33 PM
I was a dope not to figure this out sooner. You can detach and then position individual chat tab/windows anywhere you want, like so:

I moved the System stuff off to the right, and the chat stuff to the left. I pulled out a Group chat window separately above it, left.

I broke down and bought a nice L70 sword for later use, at the trading house. I am spoiled by Health % tap sword I use now though, we'll see if I can survive without it when I hit 70.
10128  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 12, 2008, 02:30:44 PM
He's right about the date, but I think seeing what they were claiming about the company's status a month ago is instructive. icon_neutral

Back in late 1991, the same newspaper here in Virginia laid me off twice -- in August our whole staff; and then rehired me because they forgot to keep someone who knew how to lay out the newspaper icon_lol), and then me and my "new" boss the week before Thanksgiving. The publisher and company president had staff meetings where they said with a straight face that everything was "OK" and all the rumors bout the company being in financial problems were "exaggerated." I learned right there to have no trust in what company officials say on the record, or tell their employees.

I'm sure Flagship had those same times of meetings in recent weeks. I don't blame them really. It's just not Business Habit to be candid and give your employees fair warning things are going sour, and "you should start sending resumes out." It's still ugly and sad.  icon_frown

If they are digging into their pockets to give employees a month's pay (severance if you will), then that is decent of them. Can't really speak to what Roper, Brevik and the Schaefer brothers are feeling right now. You leave a dream situation (Blizzard, awash in WoW revenue up the ying yang), pursue your dream, and now apparently end up with nothing.  puke Reminds me of the Dotcom Bust era...

If Roper wanted to, I'd think Blizz might welcome him back. If only because he did play a much larger role than just working on the Diablo games, and he was always (imho) a fine ambassador for Blizzard's games with fans and the press. And they used his booming voice for so many in-game voices.  icon_smile

It'll be interesting see whether Handbit, Comerica or whomever keeps Hellgate running multiplayer wise in North America (the VE3D article speculates Mythos would be more attractive as a North American property, in theory). I would almost hope Comerica would just dump the property into open source, and who knows? Maybe enterprising fans would do a better job of hosting, fixing and updating the game gratis than Flagship was doing.  icon_razz
10129  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 12, 2008, 05:37:37 AM
RPG Watch has sort of a compilation and then it mentions (supposedly) someone supposedly representing Hanbit trying to clarify, and demanding Hellgate Guru pull the quote it has been using (or I guess clarify it):
http://www.rpgwatch.com/#9578
Quote
We are U.S. attorneys for HanbitSoft. Your story is a repeat of a quote that is not accurate and we request that you pull it down. At the request of Flagship's attorney, we must correct the record:

Please understand that the facts are:
(1) HanbitSoft is an exclusive licensee of both Hellgate and Mythos in Asia, with rights to sublicense the games;
(2) in addition, HanbitSoft is a secured creditor who has been pledged the Mythos (but not the Hellgate) intellectual property as collateral for a loan;
(3) Comerica, another secured lender, has been pledged the Hellgate intellectual property as its collateral for a loan;
(4) Flagship Studios does not currently own the intellectual properties to either game, which are held in separate companies subject to the security interests of lenders, and Flagship Studios' interest in those companies is also pledged to its lenders;
(5) it is unfortunate that Flagship turned down additional investments HanbitSoft offered to make that would have allowed it to keep its doors open, but HanbitSoft hopes to work with Comerica and some of the team at Flagship to see if there is a way to continue to generate content to keep Hellgate online in Asia and to finish the development of Mythos.
If that's all true, gawd. Flagship needed better lawyers and advisors.  disgust

So now it sounds like what HanbitSoft actually will own is Mythos because of Flagship presumably defaulting on a loan from them.

It also sounds like HanbitSoft perhaps wanted to invest in Flagship to the point it would have controlling interest in Flagship (this is ex-business editor geek in me talking, but that's perhaps the one reason Flagship would give for rejecting the offer).

Comerica, fwiw, appears to be a financial services company based in Dallas, Texas. Not sure what the heck they would do with the Hellgate property.
10130  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 12, 2008, 05:26:34 AM
If Hanbit had a hand in ownership of that too, it's possible they wanted to keep that running too. If Flagship is truly toast, they've got no way to develop it any further. If the guy behind Fate who was the key guy for that owned the Mythos rights, maybe he can still do something with it. I am only wild guessing.  icon_confused

Diabloii.net is also trying to get various former Diablo II devs to comment on Diablo III. While they're not having much luck, they pointed out some comments by Mike Huang (who left in 2003) on his blog:
http://www.mikehuang.com/blog/2008/06/diablo-iii-announced.html
Quote
One of the design choices which again shows Blizzard Irvine's hand in the changes made is the re-appearance of the Barbarian character class -- the original design documents for Diablo III included a set of all new character classes, with no reappearance of old character classes (our reasons for this was simple -- since we were enhancing and improving the skill system, we didn't want to try and adapt old skills into a new system -- we'd rather create all new skills for the new character classes. The return of the Barbarian class feels like a change that was made after development of the title was moved to Irvine 3 years ago.

It's apparent now that Blizzard Irvine and the now dissolved Blizzard North weren't seeing eye-to-eye on Diablo III much at all -- so it's pretty clear Blizz would have no interest in hiring the former Flagship guys, just as they probably had no interest in bringing back the unemployed Stieg Hedlund (DII lead designer) after Gods & Heroes went defunct. I'm pretty certain there's virtually nobody from the original Starcraft team working on Starcraft II either (I blanche that a former Command & Conquer dev is heading up the SCII team). I don't think Blizz shares gamers' nostalgia for dev teams, it's onward and upward.

fwiw, the Hellgate official forums are still up:
http://forums.hellgatelondon.com/index.php

I don't see any announcements about going out of business, shutting down etc. Who knows? Maybe this is all the usual Internet gossip gone wild.  icon_razz
10131  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 12, 2008, 05:13:08 AM
Saw another post updating some of the trade/crafting fixes, and some info on guild keep type stuff in progress:
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=53457
Quote
Rare resources seemingly not dropping
The rare resources that comes from harvesting (for instance Tin and
Feldspar) have a 1% droprate from the nodes. They also have a chance on dropping from the random encounters that interrupt harvesting. This won't change and it does work. I realize that the droprate seems low but datamining shows the droprate to be around what we expected it to be (not counting the random encounter drops)

Cannot hand in resource X [this was what made me give up on the mining quests, the NPCs simply wouldn't accept them when I tried to turn in the materials]
We have had a lot of these issues and we are working on fixing them continuously.

Skinning and Weaving being "useless"
There are plans to make these skills useful - timeconstraints forced us to get these out without the functionality implemented (otherwise it would have completely stopped other tradeskills from functioning).
Skinning and Weaving are intended to post-process the drops already existing. I can't give an exact time-estimate on this.

Blue Recipes progress (Weaponsmith/Armorsmith)
All the items have been created, as have the recipes. We are still working on getting the codesupport for correctly setting this up but hope to get it soon.

Unlearning tradeskills
I'm unable to give out any dates, but this is a crucial feature and we are pushing to get it done as soon as we can.

Traders and Trainers in Guildcities
Next patch going to testlive, traders and trainers will appear in guildcities.

City-life in cities
Guards will start patrolling your keeps next testlive-patch to keep intruders away - additional NPC's are soon to follow.

Alchemy drops
The alchemists cache that we patched in a while back was intended to contain resources so that alchemists could proceed with their craft. It has worked, but it was never intended to be the "end all" help for alchemists. New static camps in the resource and building regions are being worked on and hopefully we should have that on testlive next time we patch. Scorpion Oils, for instance, was always intended to actually drop from... well... scorpions.

Removing random spawns
What we are doing with the random spawns is that we will patch out the new resource and building populations (Lacheish, Poitain, Purple Lotus
Swamp) and at the same time remove these pesky things.

Architecture Revamp
I still can't give a time-estimate on this, but I can release a little more about what we are at least considering for it: Totems that produces team-buffs while in range, Waystones to teleport team-members and/or self, guild-city improvements such as statues, flags, etc.

Costs of tradeskills
The costs of tradeskills in general have been reduced further - alchemists are supposed to be able to make a small profit out of selling potions for instance. Also, the hand-in for tradeskillers have been altered - the tradeskill trainer will no longer keep your created items for themselves, but rather inspect them and hand them back to you.

Gemcutting
Many posts about gemcutting and 'nerfs'. Adjustments for the some of the gems will be out when the system design has been followed up and implemented. It will not affect all gems but there will be some changes in order to properly balance gems.
10132  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 12, 2008, 04:42:07 AM
Diabloii.net is reporting an update that Flagship Studios is closing altogether already, and *everyone* has been laid off. Albeit this is from the ever famous "inside anonymous source."

http://www.diii.net/n/672129/flagship-studios-closing
Quote
Update: And it's done. We have received inside confirmation that everyone has been laid off and the studio is closing. I hate to resort to an emoticon in a news post, but...
Well, it's sad. Especially for Mythos, which was just around the corner from release.  crybaby I'm not clear on if Hanbit or anyone else had some ownership in that too. icon_confused

I'm sure we all can say we probably saw it coming.  disgust I feel bad for everyone involved. I'm sure between the Diablo III announcement and seeing Blizzard/Vivendi  merge without fuss with Activision (Roper kept saying they felt "left out of the discussion" on Blizzard's possible fate as part of a Vivendi sale or partial sale), the principals are just feeling terrible about where their dreams led them. Of course, maybe Blizz didn't like the direction they wanted to go with Diablo III, and perhaps staying there wouldn't have ended up a viable option.

To some extent I feel worse about Iron Lore's earlier demise, because I felt Immortal Throne was a terrific expansion that fixed a lot of Titan Quest's inadequacies and deserved far better sales than it did (whether that was because of piracy, or because Titan Quest didn't have "Blizzard" on the box, who can say? tear). And Iron Lore was excited about the possibility of doing a TQ2, with secure servers, and all sorts of other goodies.

Just imho, Hellgate at launch was like a tech demo. I don't really understand how guys who worked under the Blizzard umbrella and its "we don't ship until it's done, and our publisher doesn't rush us" would let themselves get into a fix where they'd be forced to release a half-baked game (which they've admitted in recent interviews) and basically sign their death knell on their first try out. But, I'm not privvy to their biz wrangling and maybe they had no leeway to negotiate better terms.

 
10133  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: GOG to Sell Cheap Downloads of Classic PC Games on: July 11, 2008, 09:46:35 PM
There's a Gamebanshee interview (probably what Ceekay saw) that mentions a few games not currently displayed on the site:
http://www.gamebanshee.com/interviews/goodoldgames1.php
Quote
Tom: I'll mention some of my favorites that aren't on the teaser site... Jagged Alliance 2, MDK 2, Redneck Rampage, Kingpin, Lionheart, Descent 1-3, Shogo... ah the list goes on and on.
I loved MDK (and to a lesser extent MDK2).
10134  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 11, 2008, 09:20:57 PM
Gaute delivered the promised letter to players today:

New Letter from the Game Director
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=69515

The subheads are from me, an attempt to organize.  icon_smile
Quote
New PvE Content

As we mentioned in our June update, we are also working on making some great new dungeons and areas throughout the level ranges. This is not «just» quests (which we are making on a constant basis), but fully fledged areas with hours and hours of new content and entertainment. We have made a tentative live update content plan (when it comes to new locations) for the next year, and while I won’t even start discussing the overall plan, there are a few close enough on the horizon to be worth mentioning.

This includes Ymir’s Pass, which is coming as a new big Adventuring Region in the level range 55-60. We are now working hard to ensure it comes out as soon as possible (this summer if the quality is right).

Shortly after, we will add another level 80 dungeon in the Thunder River area. At the same time we will also add another dungeon to the same Outdoor Adventuring Region – being a level 80 group instance, with bosses and cool loot. This is a few examples of the many new areas to come, both for solo, groups and raids, and these will all come as part of the live updates.

Revamped PVP
I am however very glad to say that we have now deployed the PvP updates to our internal test live server (for an overview of these features, please go to http://community.ageofconan.com/wsp/...ontent=issue17 )

As soon as QA gives the go on the internal quality they will be fully deployed to test live, and then to live. While I would have wished these features to be out already, I am happy to say that the update will be an awesome one, and include all of the things we spoke about, including the fugitive system, PvP levels, PvP rankings, the first wave of PvP item drops as well as other PvP consequences.

It also involves several general changes to the PvP part of the game (crowd control, damage against other players and dueling as examples). This is all done to make life as a PvP’er more meaningful, and more fun. These are massive changes to how our PvP will work in the future, and based upon your feedback from test live and live we will naturally continue to hone this important part of the game.

When these changes will eventually hit live is up to the quality and balance, but we expect some great feedback from the test live server in the next few weeks, enabling us to get them out during early August [knock on wood-bj].

Memory handling
While most players have a great time with the game, we also know that we have ways to go for those with the oldest machines. We have therefore continued to look at our memory handling and how to increase general performance, and updates on this are continously in the works. These will be brought to the live servers as we finish them, and while I won't go into specifics I know that those of you with older machines will notice improved performance in the weeks and months to come.

Buddy Keys Going Live Soon
I know many of you have also asked about your buddy keys, and we have now come to a level where we are able to activate them. During the next week you will therefore be able to use your buddy keys, inviting friends to the game with you.
They're unveiling the DX10 version at the Leipgeist show in Germany in August apparently, fwiw.

So I think the motto is, come back in August and things will be special.  icon_razz No, it's all good stuff, but gamers are impatient and we have a lot of choices, and I dont blame anybody who just doesn't want to wait for all these promises to come true.

And the updated PVP goodies should be on the test server (the one players can play on now), pretty soon.
10135  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 11, 2008, 09:02:08 PM
Blue's has an update with a little more detail (or maybe Gamasutra has added more detail):
http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewthread&threadid=89287
Quote
Hellgate Guru has a report based on a translation of a Korean news story that say that Korean operator of Hellgate: London, HanbitSoft, claims co-ownership of the Intellectual Properly for the game, and is looking to take full control of the IP to "properly manage and develop Hellgate: London into a good game with proper content."
Ew! Talk about a kick in the crotch by your overseas publisher!  saywhatstirthepot
10136  Non-Gaming / Forum and Site Feedback / Re: New Server Performance on: July 11, 2008, 08:37:24 PM
 It's so fast, it's on fire.
10137  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 11, 2008, 08:00:06 PM
Layoffs Confirmed At Hellgate Developer Flagship
http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=19386
Quote
Gamasutra has received confirmation from a Flagship Studios representative that the Hellgate: London developer has seen significant staff cuts.

[UPDATE: Fan site Hellgate Guru has translated a Korean news report indicating that Hellgate: London's publisher in the region, HanbitSoft, "...is taking full control over the Hellgate: London intellectual property from Flagship Studios", and intends to continue the game using in-house staff.

However, Flagship's has officially responded: "This story is an outright lie. We have no idea where they are getting their information from and have asked legal counsel to pursue the issue... We are mystified by Hanbitsoft’s conclusions and any attempt to take over the IP will be met with a strong and swift response."]
Not that it should surprise anybody.  icon_neutral It's sort of backtracking from some earlier proclamations that a former Flagship employee's blog was exaggerating.

The Korea thing might well just be due to an inaccurate translation. Apparently HG is all the rage in Korea, so it wouldn't surprise me if HanbitSoft wanted to keep it going there even if it's going nowhere in North America. Who knows? Maybe copyright works differently in Korea than it does here.  icon_confused

I think the lesson (I'm a former business editor, so I'm supposed to pontificate like this  smirk) is that if you're leaving stable waters (Blizzard) to start your own company, you better make sure your first game is a polished home run (esp. if you don't have required monthly revenue fees to fall back on) if you want your new company to enjoy the same sort of stability. I'm sure some of the premature launch was out of their hands (but presumably when they signed with their publisher, they knew what they were getting into). Maybe if they'd licensed an engine, instead of designing one from scratch, they would've been better off.

HG's probably in far better shape now than it ever was, but I've no interest in infecting my PC with it again and hoping that it manages to patch itself to its current state without problems (my last attempt to auto-update put an unfinished patch file on my desktop that I never could remove saywhat). If they re-release it as a version 2.0 that was up-to-date out of the box, I might be interested, but it doesn't sound like that's happening.

I have a few fond memories of the game, mixed with feeling it was one of the strangest, most inconsistent games I ever played (great moments mixed in with bad, amazing environments that were repeated over and over to the point they no longer impressed, bizarre turret shooting sequences that belonged in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, etc.), just a general feeling the game had 7 lead designers, none of whom agreed on anything. About 3 of the 7 I really enjoyed the work of.  icon_confused
10138  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Any interest in Diablo II multi? on: July 11, 2008, 06:13:49 PM
In my Palm (yes I'm old), I still have my Diablo characters listed on a to-do list (I religiously backed up the characters for a while but probably they're on one of the many old PCs in my closets):

L60 Gatling (Amazon, bows)
L43 Conan (Barbarian, dual swords)
L42 Maximus (Paladin, sword/shield)
L40 Amazon (Amazon, javelins/spears)
L35 Treehugger (Druid, summoning/transforming)
L34 Elvira (Sorceress, cold/lightning specialist)
L17 Hotfoot [don't remember, might've been an Assassin with katana blades]

So it's safe to say I played a lot of DII and co-op in roughly 2000-early 2002.  icon_razz A lot of the later balancing changes were disheartening to me and others (bow skills went from having a few awesome ones [multi-shot, strafe etc.], and a lot of so-so ones, to sort of universallly lukewarm across the board imho; a lot of early Necromancers players were so dismayed by balancing nerfs they didn't use the characters anymore). The big problem was if you got 50 levels playing one style, and suddenly all the best skills you relied on got nerfed. That's largely what happened to my Amazons, and I got tired of having to totally revamp their skills and play styles.

I guess that would be a reason to come back and start from scratch but I didn't feel that way 5 years ago when i quit playing.

If you have nightmares about Duriel at the end of Act II, they did eventually reposition the SOB (via a patch) to the far end of that final room so you no longer got "auto killed" the moment you stepped into his lair. Made a world of difference. My wrist tendinitis troubles w/ Titan Quest Immortal Throne last year left me cautious about any further Diablo clone misadventures, although I played a few weeks of the strange French Diablo clone Silverfall without problems. And Hellgate, Tabula Rasa and Dungeon Runners all use the "Diablo click to kill" attack, if not the "click to move."

I do have the disc and expansion handy (the expansion quests are a lot more fun if you ask me), and I'll holler if I decide to re-visit soon.  icon_smile I love co-op and if anything would get me to return, it would be getting some teams going in it.
10139  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: FALLOUT 3 on: July 11, 2008, 05:23:27 PM
Now that Australian players apparently will have to smuggle the game in like some sort of toxic contraband (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080711/lf_nm_life/videogames_fallout_dc_1, and a few thousand other news links) at the risk of getting fined or arrested if they play it, the game suddenly seems so much more appealing to me.  icon_twisted

This reminds me that here in the U.S., over-air music stations (i.e., not satellite) have to "bleep" the word "drugs" from the fun Nickelback song "Rockstar." I kept imagining they were censoring some body part name or something until heard the song unbeeped. I mean, the song's making fun of washed up rock stars who get strung out on cheap drugs. And they get censored for it. Bizarre.
10140  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: July 11, 2008, 05:13:19 PM
Just use a SharpieTM, and write "Turbo" over "Normal," and then write "Normal" over "Power Saving."  icon_mrgreen

Perception is the only thing that matters.  icon_twisted
10141  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 11, 2008, 05:08:27 PM
In the French section of the EU forums saw a dev commending the TaranUI compilation mod, which does a variety of tweaks and changes to the hotkey trays, chat windows and other things. I don't know if there's an English language version of the mod yet, or if it matters per se.

http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=68590

Here's Google tools translation (obviously, some of this is off icon_razz)
Quote
=================================================
TaranUI Compilation by Taran
Ver1.01, July 11, 2008
Created by Arnaud Servotte
=================================================

TaranUI is a modification interface for the game Age of Conan. Some changes are the result of a total rewrite of the code by hand while others are the result of other modders, hence the term "compilation".

-------------------------------------------------
DESCRIPTION
-------------------------------------------------
O oo ° bars sorts:
# New semi-transparent skin with 48 slots all assignable to a keyboard shortcuts (see explanatory image on the Hot Keys).
# New skin background for 2 floating bars.
# 42 slots fixed + 9 pages 6 slots of the main bar + 2x20 slots bars floating cover the number of shortcuts of sorts to 136!
# New horizontal skin for the tonnage of lag [ain't that the truth?-bj icon_lol].
# The mini-buttons control pets appear on the text TaranUI above the main bar.

O oo ° Portraits:
# New skin portraits and caches protraits when boss.
# Fixing a bug that moved all the windows in case of long names.
# Changing the animation bars life / mana / endu made for a more fluid.
# Display texts in white on the various bars status for better readability.
# Changing fonts displaying names.

O oo ° Bar XP:
# New skin of the bar xp to give an impression of fireball.

O oo ° Bar cast:
# New semi-transparent skin of the bar cast to give an impression of fireball.
# Display texts in white on the bars for better readability.
# TIPS: Remember that you can move bars cast via the menu of options Thursday (Options interface> Advanced> Bar countdown).

O oo ° window combos:
# New semi-transparent skin of the bar combos.
# Last horizontally thereof.
# TIPS: Remember that you can move the bar combos (run and a combo rather than pursuing it, move the bar).

O oo ° Minimap / Region Map / World Map:
# Elimination of buttons and zoom slider on the minimap.
# Légé reskin round of the minimap.
# Elimination of buttons and the zoom icon eagle on the map of the region and the world map.
# TIPS: Use the mouse wheel to zoom / dezoomer.

O oo ° Bouttons above:
# Addon SmallTabs by Mwbidwel

O oo ° window:
# Addon Viper's Group Window by Rorasho.

O oo ° Messages displayed on the screen:
# Remove black bars which invaded the screen.
# Replacing the image of small swords when gaining new skills.

O oo ° Changes in various colors of texts:
# Based on the addon MirageUI by LedMirage. (I do not make any changes at this level, given that a future patch will do it himself).

-------------------------------------------------
COMPILATION & CREDITS
-------------------------------------------------
Among the other authors addons included, we have:

-- MirageUI by LedMirage: ui I served basis but the fact remains biggest thing now, the only thing I have kept the changes
color made to chat and the panel guild and friends.

-- SmallTabs by Mwbidwel: addon to lessen the central icons above the screen. I just decentralized and relinké Changes Image
to Folder "CustomUI / Taran /" for ease of the installation level and the désinstalation especially.
-- Viper's Group Window by Rorasho: addon amending group window at the graph.

-------------------------------------------------
INSTALLATION
-------------------------------------------------
-- Leave the game completely [exit the game?]
-- Unpack simply files \ Customized \ and \ Default \ of the archive in the folder \ Age of Conan \ cd_image \ Gui \ keeping the structure
the archive.
-- Start Thursday [?????]

-------------------------------------------------
UNINSTALLATION
-------------------------------------------------
-- Leave the game completely [exit the game?]
-- Please delete ...

\ Age of Conan \ cd_image \ Gui \ Customized \ (all files and record in this case)
\ Age of Conan \ cd_image \ Gui \ Default \ gfx \ CustomUI \ (delete the file TaranUI)
One thing that I like (though it may well be possible to do this manually, I haven't experimented enough to know), is that it breaks the chat windows into actual chat windows/tabs on the far left, and system/quest/combat messages on a separate window/tabs on the far right.
10142  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: July 11, 2008, 03:57:15 PM
For me, LOTORO grows in esteem in my memory the more I run into things (UI, interface, chat and chat channels, LFG mechanisms, grouping, etc.) in AoC that Turbine handled in much (imho) smarter, easier-to-use/understand fashion.

And there are things (such as the player created music and concerts, and events) that really stand out, that I do miss. I think once I hit the AoC level cap with my main character, I might be open to re-visiting even if the expansion's not out yet.
10143  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: July 11, 2008, 03:52:21 PM
This is more a lengthy "first look" impressions piece, but Notebookreview.com had something new the other day:
http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=4494

10144  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: July 11, 2008, 01:09:03 PM
Total PC Gaming (UK gaming mag/site) had an interview on the expansion:
http://www.totalpcgaming.com/mmo/lotro_mines_of_moria/

Since I gave up on LOTORO after feeling my couple of 45 characters had run out of fun things I could do, there's some promise here:
Quote
"Most of Moria is high-level. We’re introducing levels 50-60 in the expansion, so you’ll be in the 45-60 range in Moria, mostly. There are places around Moria, in Eregion that you’ll be able to go to at lower levels but there’s a lot of content that you’ll want to be with other folks in.

However, over the last year we’ve learned that you need alternate types of content, so we’re gonna have large, group encounter-type things that you would expect in a place like Moria, but we’re also gonna have small, two or three-person instance encounters that we found people really love. In fact in other MMOs that’s where players have migrated when they’re not doing the big raids to get the big loot.

Continuing the motif that we’ve had shortly after launch, we’ll make sure there’s solo material everywhere, especially when it comes to the epic story, so that you can encounter some of the epic story in the cool moments in LOTRO."
And this quote is almost a dig at AoC (which I enjoy, but I'm not naive about):
Quote
"We’re the next-gen MMO, we’re highly polished, high-quality, triple-A, not broken… it sounds trite, but people ask me what I think is one of the biggest features of World Of Warcraft or Lord Of The Rings Online, and I say that it’s because we ship the games finished. Not broken. This sounds like it’s not a big deal, but it is because of the scope and scale and complexity of these games
While it's basically true, if you go back in Turbine's forums to the months after launch, you'll see a lot of the same screeching and anger about balancing issues and problems that you see after every MMO launch along with the reams of "I've had enough of this crap! I'm going back to WoW!" posts, and devs occasionally getting bent out of shape about players' accusations, complaints and such.

And don't get me started about the instance where Legolas (NPC) runs around and aggros every single damn enemy on the entire map. icon_razz

But definitely overall LOTORO was one of the smoother MMO launch experiences I ever had, and I'd like to re-visit but probably not until the expansion releases.
10145  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa interview with producer Starr Long on: July 11, 2008, 12:54:20 PM
Because you can change the subject once, but then it goes back to the first subject automatically (I changed my posts' topics here on occasion to other things, but the default is always the original subject heading). :-) So blame it on Daehawk (who created the initial post). ;-)

This reminds me of my job, because every time I create an article from a template, MS Word fills in the file name initially with the headline from a story I wrote back in November 2006 (when I started my then new job). Bizarre.

Ten Ton Hammer has a Q&A with TR producer Starr Long:
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/37923

I'm afraid the couple of things that might draw me back remain around the corner, just like they always do...
Quote
Ten Ton Hammer: What’s the status of the Personal Armor Units? Are we getting any closer to a time when these game enhancements would be released? Is there anything we can do to help? *winks*

Starr Long: We are working on some tweaks to the design right now. From there we will be doing some modifications to the art we’ve made for these. We really want to make them right so we are taking our time. Unfortunately this means we are months away before you can play with them. We are actively working on them, but this stuff can be pretty complicated and getting it right is key.

Ten Ton Hammer: How’s the crafting revamp coming along? When will we begin to see the fruits of that labor?

Starr Long: We are working on a prototype of the revamp for internal testing and evaluation for the end of this month. Our goal is to get a “better” crafting system to the players within the next several deployments.
I thought PAUs were "just around the corner" 5 months ago, and now they seem to be further away. Strange...
10146  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Notes July 10 on: July 11, 2008, 02:59:47 AM
See my little dev posts update. Basically, the EU community manager said to look for some more info in the next AoC newsletter (which will have a letter from the game director hopefully talking at least some sort of timeframe for content updates, the PVP stuff in particular). I know that's not much help, it's just all the info I've been able to glean on that so far.

One nice 'quality of life' improvement (for resource gathering at least) is the inclusion of icons on the map marking resource-rich areas (you could apparently do this via mods before, but it's nice they're finally implementing it themselves):


And I believe also new, is each of your character slots now shows what the current server load is:
10147  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: July 11, 2008, 02:51:25 AM
So I had an interesting exchange with one of the founders of the guild I left in chat Tells...

"Why did you leave the guild?
*pause, as I was busy on a quest*
No answer, huh?"
[That sort of obnoxiousness alone supported my leaving that guild]
"Because you guys filled it up with foul-mouthed urchins who spend all night bragging about their bodily functions. I just got sick of it."
"They're not urchins actually. They're adults.
*pause*
Sorry we offended your delicate nature." [I believe this was an attempt at sarcasm :p]
I spouted a few things one last time before putting him on ignore.

I couldn't make stuff like this up if I tried.  :p If I have to leave a guild again, I'll cover my mouth and give no reason...

I haven't had that unpleasant a conversation with anyone since I left my newspaper editor job 2 years ago. What makes it awkward is the L60 zones (Atzel, Thunder River) are relatively cramped and I just keep running into the guy. It's like getting a divorce and running into your spouse at the deli every time you go out for lunch...

Anyway, I had to put him on ignore before things got out of hand. A nice fella from the Quarter to Three forums (I briefly re-visited there while GT was down) invited me today into his tiny, informal guild (maybe 7 people at this point). And the tank from my fun instance last night helped me out with a quest. So the night ended positively, as it turned out. :-)
10148  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: GOG to Sell Cheap Downloads of Classic PC Games on: July 11, 2008, 12:42:38 AM
I'm running into enough Vista 64-bit compatibility problems to be wary of things that say "Vista-compatible" cause I keep seeing an asterisk that say "64-bit operating systems not supported." :p

If they can find a way for me to run Darkstone, Over the Reich and Achtung Spitfire (apparently the disk-check is part of the reason those won't run in XP or Vista), Crusader No Remorse/No Regret (they'll run if you screw around with DOS emulators), and some even moldier oldies, they might hook me.
10149  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 10, 2008, 10:49:49 PM
I think I read too many reviews now. I've still yet to read one that was anything approaching negative, but some complain the movie's a half hour too long, that inserting Two-Face as a villain sort of waters down the primary Batman-Joker conflict, that the fight scenes are still too claustrophobic (a somewhat common complaint about Batman Begins by some, though it didn't bother me fwiw) etc.

I'm getting too much like other Batman/Bale/Nolan fans. I read a review and thought, "Two pages on how great it is and then you backtrack into 'it's good but not Great,' complain and give it 8.5/10?" MADNESS!!!!! DIE DIE DIE!~!!....

No. I need to get a grip. I think I'll stop posting review links at this point and just try to prep myself to try to see a midnight show, and onwards and upwards. :-)
10150  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: July 10, 2008, 10:08:20 PM
I spent about 3 1/2 hours in the, I think it's called, Soldiers' Camp public group instance in Thunder River last night. A Guardian I had teamed with last week had me on his friends list I assume, so he invited me to fill out of his group of L65-69 players.

We had a pretty good time. I liked that all the quests (except maybe one, and you turn it in just outside the entrance) come from NPCs *inside* the instance so there's no fumbling around trying to figure out where to get the quests in there, or where to turn them in.

This tank guy is something of a micro-manager at times but I've gotten comfortable playing alongside him. Towards the end he was actually commending me for my seeming to know intuitively when to use my Goad skill to pull someone off him (when he occasionally drew a 2nd heavy onto him) and when to just be a DPS tool. smile I just don't get to team up often enough to know what to do, so sticking with this team for that long gave me some time to get used to playing that way.

We were all agreed thought that the quest rewards there were a joke (a bow, and then mostly what appeared to be cheap and mostly useless gems). I'm not sure even the gem crafter in the group was excited about them.

And for one brief shining moment I had a shot at an L70, 175 damage 2-hand sword, but I lost the 'roll'...  disgust


10151  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Notes July 10 on: July 10, 2008, 09:49:08 PM
I underlined a few things that seemed of interest (or in some cases just quest titles to try to make it easier to read).

There's a lot of "quality of life" changes/fixes that should go over well. There's a tweak for healers that may make them less prone to inadvertently becoming a tank. biggrin

But zero experience for doing grey quests? Many higher level players come back to Tordealbach's Tomb, or the group instances in Noble because the quest exp is decent (even if you only get 1 exp per kill at that point). If this applies to the group instances (I don't know yet), I really think a lot of players will get bent out of shape about it.

I'm not sure Guardians will be pleased with the shield change, though maybe it'll be too negligible to notice.

I think maybe the change in getting the crouching-to-standing animation change to trigger faster might fix the problem I've been having with dismounting in combat (basically my character gets stuck in the "sitting on the horse" animation and I have to run around and jump a lot before it gets unstuck).

Everyone's starving for more content though, and I'm afraid you won't really find any of that in this particular update.
10152  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Notes July 10 on: July 10, 2008, 09:43:14 PM
Part III (finale). I'm not sure how the "grey quests give zero experience" change will go over, given how many high levels go back into older group instances later on.

Quote
Classes

Mage (General)
    * Magic splash damage is doing individual rolls for each target, instead of dividing the adjusted damage on your main target and then applying the magic bonuses again.
    * Magic splash damage is not critting by itself anymore, but will crit if you crit against the main target.

Apprenticeship
    * You don't loose your apprentice level anymore when you level.
    * If the mentor goes up a level, your apprentice level will also level up accordingly.
    * If the mentor goes up a level and that makes him/her be more than 20 levels above the pupil, the apprenticeship is terminated.
    * If the pupil goes up a level and that will make him equal to the apprentice level, the apprenticeship is terminated.
    * When you disband the team, or kick an apprentice from your team, he will lose his apprentice status correctly. When you reinvite him to your team, he can be reapprenticed again.

Raids
    * Some goals (those marked as providing team credit) for Raid quests will now correctly update the other raid members goals (not just the members of one of the teams). Quest loot drops for raids should now also drop for all raid members with the goal active instead of just those from one of the teams.
    * If a raidleader invites a character not in a team, the character will be placed randomly in a team in the raid. (if space). no new team will be created. - if a teamleader uses invite to raid, a group invite will be sent out to the character instead of a raid invite (that will fail).
    * Changed loot roll from 0-99 to 1-100.

GUI
    * The extra question marks that showed up in the confirmation message when deleting mail has been removed.
    * Fixed the layout of popup menus so the selection marker is not extending into the borders.
    * The feat GUI now remember which tab was selected the last time it was open.
    * Fixed an issue causing the minimap view to move downwards if the pet GUI grew to large.
    * As long as you keep the left mouse button pressed, camera auto follow mode will no longer pan the camera behind you.
    * The "/ooc" chat command will now send the text to the OOC channel rather than the vicinity (Say).
    * The extended shortcut bars are now fully visible if empty. When containing one or more items only filled slots will be visible unless an item is being dragged or the mouse is over the bar.
    * The quest journal map now hide the waypoint labels when zooming out to far (like the normal region map does).
    * Fixed an issue causing buffs placed outside the currently visible area of shortcut bars to still flash when ending cooldown.
    * Hotkeys are loaded and saved per conan account and not per windows account.

Combat
    * The target of a charge is now rooted while the charge is in progress. This will prevent the charge attack from missing the intended target.
    * If attacked while dancing and autodraw weapon option is off, you will go to idle instead of combat

Quests
    * Grey quests will no longer give XP. [If this applies to group instances, there will be a riot I believe smile-BJ]

Items
    * You will no longer lose money when trying to buy a unique item you already own.
    * You will now correctly see items that other players have equipped.
    * Inventory overflow bag added. If the game gives you an item while your inventory is full, the game will now put the item in a special loot bag that only you can access. This will happen for cases where you use an item in the world, like some chests, tradeskill gathering and gathering quest items. The loot bag looks like the normal mob drop, but with a blue color on it. A message will be given on screen and a tutorial flag pops in the first time this happens. The bag will exist for about 5 minutes time.

General
    * Pets should no longer get far behind you if you are sprinting.
    * Certain group buffs won't keep you in combat anymore, when you have pets in the group.
    * Fixed an issue that could lead to the camera clipping through water surfaces.
    * you can now zone to the team leader’s instance even when teamleader is bound.
    * Self inflicting spell damage will be visible as damage numbers for everyone.
    * Loot bags can now be closed by pressing ESC.
    * Fixed another issue with being knocked off a ladder when trying to climb off it.
    * It is now allowed to use 'in guild' names.
    * The client player's tombstones should now have a pulsating effect to distinguish from other players tombstones.
    * You can now move your character to automatically stand up from benches.
    * If a player is knockbacked to a position that is under water, the player will start swimming when the knockback is complete.
    * Prices should appear correctly again in the tradeposts.
    * Fixed an issue that caused dexterity to give too much bonus to evade.
    * Fixed an issue that caused shielding bonus to be incorrectly calculated, giving much more damage reduction while wearing a shield than intended.
    * Placing a trap directly under someone will now trigger the trap immediately, instead of when the character first moved.
10153  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Notes July 10 on: July 10, 2008, 09:33:07 PM
Part II:
Quote
Quests
    * Walkthrough tips for the Tortage Beach tutorial are now more visible.
    * Minor visual adjustments to the cutscene played in Mithrelle's Mansion during the Rogue Destiny quest Awakening II - "Mansion of the Wizard"
    * Eiglophian Mountains - "Cannibal Commotion": The goal marker for Attadeus now points directly to Attadeus rather than the entrance of his cave.
    * Khopshef Province - "Stygian Superstitions": Quest marker moved closer to quest objective.
    * Khopshef Province - "Troubles of Thuthmekri": Derekhar should now agro when attacked.
    * Khopshef Province - "Lusts of the Flesh": You will now get a cask of Tainted Ale to give to Tuthmekri. Players who want to finish this quest will unfortunately have to delete it from their quest journal and get it again.
    * Poitain - "Order Silks in Poitain": Completed quest now has a description.
    * Tarantia Noble District - "The Chef": This quest will now complete properly. If you picked up the recipe, you can ask Juan about it. If you've not picked up the recipe, Juan will not ask for it at all.
    * Tarantia Noble District - "The Love of a Countess": Goal markers have been modified for simplicity.
    * Tarantia Noble District - "The Love of a Countess": Player should have an easier time talking to this NPC, without her getting too upset.
    * Tarantia Noble District - "Paetus & the Nemedian Crown III": This quest now has coordinates to get to Pallantides.
    * Tarantia Noble District - "Patterns in Insanity": The Junk Seller will not give you a pattern if you already have one.
    * Tarantia Noble District - "Obtaining the Noble Arena Key" now works. Aquilus will now duel the player, and complete the quest. The goal text has been modified as well.
    * Tortage - "Tarisha's Sacrifice": Changed goalmarker for the Pirate's Gold Earring to an X instead of the small radius so it will be easier to locate now.
    * Tortage - "Tarisha's Sacrifice": Collecting a Cannibal's Tooth waypoint has been altered to cover the entire area of the Cannibals.

Items

    * Long robes and dresses should appear with less graphical errors when the player is wearing one and running or attacking.

GUI
    * Resolved an issue which was causing players to recieve a message stating that a spell was on cooldown and be unable to cast even though the cooldown had finished in the GUI.
    * The tooltip for "Cold Nerves" now shows up as intended, in green color and with a percent sign. Other feats affecting stats with percent values should also show up correctly.
    * Castingbar will not be stuck anymore if you move right as the spell finishes.
    * A new tab named "Nametags" has been introduced in the Interface options. All nametag related options were moved there.
    * The options "Show target's target" and "Show team buffs" were moved to the "HUD Options" tab.
    * The option "Show quest item effects" was moved to basic interface options.
    * The dropdown "Show vicinity tag" was removed.
    * The options "Enable target highlighting" and "Enable target decals" were moved to the Targeting section of the interface options.
    * Option to block team invites should now work again
    * The pet GUI now show the correct icon to the left of each pet name.
    * The control mapping GUI should no longer falsely report a key as reserved any more.
    * Members of the group is now informed if the group leader change the loot options

General
    * The client should now disconnect from the chat server after camping.
    * The chat server interface queue will now clear when the client logs in.
    * The Crouch ability should now properly indicate when it is on cooldown.
    * Made the attributes give their correct modifications (lower) so skills like fasthealing needs more than 1 point to work properly.
    * If you move while sitting down, you will automatically abort the sit down animation [this *may* be the dismounting-in-combat bug I've encountered too-BJ]
    * When an item gives invulnerability bonus for several different reasons, the bonuses will now be summed up and not shown individually in the tooltip.
    * Heal spells are no more generating a small amount of hate when they ticked, even when not actually healing anything.
    * Pets will now have a lower chance of breaking crowd-control effects, in most cases.
    * Solo players will now have their kill XP proportionally reduced if other players damage their mobs (this was already happening for groups). [Huh? This doesn't sound good-BJ]
    * 'Shield of the Risen' tooltip should now show the correct time remaining
    * A list of recent messages are now stored per chat channel so that when subscribing or unsubscribing chat channels to a chat window the content in the window will be instantly updated to display the history for the new set of susbscribed channels. When enabling or disabling timestamps on chat messages the entire scrollback buffer for the affected chat window is updated to show or hide timestamps.
    * Fixed a bug causing the cooldown timer to sometimes appear out of sync on items/spells/abilities that was displayed multiple places.

10154  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / AoC Notes July 10 on: July 10, 2008, 09:32:07 PM
Notes from EU forums. I think the third post's update notes were "missing" from the first post originally so it covers some of the same areas but lists different fixes/changes.

http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=708919#post708919
Patch Notes Part I
Quote
Classes

Mage (General)
    * Dark Meditation is now a self-only channeled spell and will no longer stun the user.
    * Dark Meditation now has new effects associated with it.

Rogue (General)
    * Mountaineer will now reduce duration of the effects of Bruised Body by 50%/100% and Broken Bones by 25%/50% per respective rank.

Soldiers (General)
    * Surging Health will now increase in power with more feat points invested.

Assassin
    * Golden Lotus Extract now has a new particle effect.

Barbarian
    * Clickable abilities - Unstable Mind, Reaver Stance, Blood Rage Stance, Haste, Dance of Death, Armageddon Falls, Impale, and Adrenaline Rush now have spell effects.
    * Fearsome Agility will now proc more consistently at all ranks, rather than reducing in rate for rank 4.
    * Fearsome Agility will now trigger off any melee hits, not just hits that land
    * The bonus granted by Fearsome Agility has been increased from 5% to 10% evade chance at max rank, and stack.

Dark Templar

    * The variance on damage dealt by unholy-based Soul Covenants has been reduced to make the damage more consistent. Average damage was not modified by this change.
    * Covenant of Arms should now have the correct base damage across all levels
    * Covenant of Arms should no longer disappear from the player's spell book or fail to appear after training multiple ranks
    * Covenant of Putrescence should now have the correct base damage across all levels
    * Covenant of Putrescence now deals unholy damage instead of poison damage Unholy-based
    * Soul Covenants now gain a significant percentage of the Dark Templar's unholy or magical damage.
    * Malacodor's Blight, Sadistic Soul, Blighted Touch, Blighted Soul, Touch of Death, and Curse of Gwahlur now gain a minor amount of the Dark Templar's unholy or magical damage
    * Talisman Mastery has been modified to be a percentage increase of the modified damage of a Soul Covenant instead of the base damage
    * Pact of Malacodor will now cost 1% of health every 2 seconds over the duration of the effect. This reduces the health cost to 15% over 30 seconds instead of 25%.
    * Reaper of Malacodor will now cost 2% of health every 2 seconds over the duration of the effect. This reduces the health cost to 30% over 30 seconds instead of 50%.
    * Fixed an issue which caused Reaper of Malacodor to not always proc on secondary targets.

Herald of Xotli
    * Desecrating Essence should now scale more consistently across all levels. Additionally, the variance between minimum and maximum damage has been decreased to be more consistent.
    * Burn to Death now receives a substantial portion of the Herald's bonus magical damage on its damage over time effect.
    * Burn to Death now applies a separate debuff for all Herald of Xotli players.
    * Spreading Flames will now always tick 5 times, instead of occasionally only ticking 4 times.
    * Inferno, Tongue of Xotli, and Phoenix Cloak's gain from bonus magical damage has been increased.
    * The area of effect damage from Inferno has been renamed to Inferno instead of Lash Field.
    * Phoenix Cloak and Burning Skull have had their base damage slightly increased.
    * The following abilities now properly scale with the Herald's bonus magical damage: -Avatar of Xotli -Bonds of Anguish -Burning Hex -Burning Skull -Burning Words (Word of Command) -Chains of Anguish -Desecrating Essence -Fiery Weapons -Flame Cleave -Hatred of the Living -Hellstep -Improved Burning Skull -Knowledge of the Underworld -Searing Curse -Searing Hatred -Spitfire

Necromancer
    * Frozen Hatred pulsing AoE is now an AoE proc with a 100% chance instead of a passive effect.
    * Frozen Hatred pets will now benefit from the Unholy Power feat.
    * Parasitic Souls will now benefit from the Unholy Power feat.
    * Flesh of the Wight now has an animation associated with it.
    * Void now has a persistent effect on the pet while the buff is running.
    * Melee pets will now do splashdamage.
    * Scythe Shield now lasts 1 hour instead of 30 minutes
    * Scythe Shield's casting time has been reduced from 3 seconds to 1.5 seconds
    * Quell the Ether's casting time has been reduced from 3 seconds to 1.5 seconds
    * One with Death now lasts 1 hour instead of 15 minutes
    * One with Death has been changed to debuff invulnerability ratings by 50% per stack instead of health
    * The Unholy Power feat will now increase the magical damage dealt by the Undead Minion: Corruptor and Undead Minion: Necrotic Bomb
    * Siphon Unlife's damage component should now scale better relative to the heath of undead minions across all levels. This solves some issues with Siphon Unlife dealing inconsistent damage to the minion in some level ranges.
    * Siphon Unlife and Frenzy will now avoid selecting undead minions which have been recently affected by Siphon Unlife or Frenzy. This should solve issues with the same pet being targeted shortly after Siphon Unlife or Frenzy expiring, instead of targeting pets with higher health.
    * The core buffs placed on all Necromancer pets are now visible in the pet's buff GUI. This should allow Necromancers to better see the impact of their pet-oriented feats, as they are not displayed on the player.
    * Deathless Acolyte: Arcanist will now gain the correct bonus from Unnatural Dexterity ranks 2 and 3

Priest of Mitra
    * Blessing of Mitra now has an effect and animation.

Ranger
    * Using your bow/crossbow while not in combat mode will not block you from moving for the length of that animation anymore. Instead, your attack will now be aborted.
    * Linebreaker should now have a knockback effect.
    * Piercing Shot combo line should scale properly
    * Shield Bash now has an animation.
    * Epic armor is now available with a new look for each tier.

Character
    * Female characters should now properly display dodge, parry and block animations again.
    * Female characters using a weapon-combination consisting of either a One-Handed Blunt weapon or a One-Handed Edged weapon in their right hand, and a Dagger in their left hand, should no longer swing the Dagger as if it was a One-Handed Edged weapon.
    * Neither Male nor Female characters should have animation issues causing their legs to slide around without animation when fighting with a weapon combination consisting of a One-Handed Blunt weapon equipped in their right hand and a Dagger equipped in their left hand or no weapon in their right hand and a Dagger in their left hand.
    * Thrown weapons have had their range increased: Light throwing weapons now have a range of 15 meters, up from 12. Heavy throwing weapons now have a range of 18 meters, up from 16.

Massive PVP
    * Border Kingdoms - Several World Design and collision tweaks here.
    * Thieves' Guild building now has an icon.
    * Siege weapons should now work properly, and will display a message if your target is out of range.
    * You should now learn the proper resurrection points in massive siege battlefields.
    * You will receive notification when you are about to be teleported out of a siege battle zone during a battle you are not involved in.
    * Players should no longer be teleported out of a Massive PvP battle if they log back in directly after they lost connection.

PVP

    * If your pet does the most damage to a target for a minigame, you will now get credited for the kill instead of the pet.

Playfields
    * Fixed some collision issues in Kyilliki's Crypt.
    * Many collision fixes in Oasis of Zaara.

NPCs
    * Raid bosses and Group bosses will now die in a dignified way, and refuse to be fatalitied anymore.
    * NPC combo "Rupture" is now named "Breach" and will now use the appropriate icon.
    * Tiggle Knucklebone has been removed from Lacheish Plains.
    * Yakhmar will now spawn minions at a correct interval. These minions are also weaker than before.
    * The Half Giant in Conall's Valley will no longer slide around.
    * It is now possible to spawn the Dark Beast boss in Sanctum of the Burning Souls just by interacting with the Sacrificial Altar while holding a Ritual Chalice. The specific quest requirement has been removed.
    * The camera movement has been toned down when moving around on a War Mammoth at walk-speed.

Tradeskills
    * Larozzo should now show that he has a tradeskill quest for players.
    * The correct message should now be displayed when mining Aurichalcum.
    * Stonecutter: Players should be able to hand in Basalt and Adamant again.


10155  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 10, 2008, 09:23:14 PM
The game's regularly sent newsletter should have some updated info soon from the game director on the status of the promised PVP changes/improvements, according to this post (in German from EU forums):
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=708829#post708829

My attempt to make sense of the Google translation:
Quote
Gaute [Godager] (even if you longer trust him) is writing in a letter from the Game Director with details on individual topics, including the reasons why the PvP update was not done in June, when it is supposed to be expected, or on the test server to be tested, etc. ..

It is therefore an official response soon. As Community Manager, answering such comprehensive questions is simply an impossible position because we are not directors or game producers, who have a detailed overview of the entire development of the game and all the detailed plans.
He was presumably replying to a frustrated poster there.

If I've learned anything from scouring the different language AoC forums it's that players get angry and bent out of shape, in all languages. Being upset that your favorite game isn't living up to one's expectations is the universal language of gaming! :-)

fwiw. This is roughly like giving a single saltine to starving PVP players but it's something. Hopefully the next newsletter will bring more details on the status of the PVP improvements talked about some weeks ago.
10156  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Welcome Home! on: July 10, 2008, 09:20:38 PM
Meanwhile I was being accused of denigrating OO because I spoke highly of this place over there. How is it that I offend people without even trying? biggrin
10157  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: July 08, 2008, 04:11:10 PM
Now that it's technically been released, reviews are coming fast.

http://www.computeractive.co.uk/computeractive/hardware/2220960/review-msi-wind-notebook

http://www.crunchgear.com/2008/07/07/review-msi-wind/

http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=14228&page=1&search=Wind

10158  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 08, 2008, 03:19:31 PM
Ah, OK. I think though if you're not logged into the US boards, the Dev Tracker (it's a text link in the black bar towards the top of the main page there) doesn't work (takes you to the forum search page instead).
10159  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 08, 2008, 12:57:32 PM
A feat post of interest today from the EU forums (too bad I can't read German, there are lot more dev posts in that language):

Night of the Harvester feat bug fix on the way
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=685063#post685063
Quote
This is a known issue, as it was modifying the effect of Consume Life and not Essence Harvest. This has been corrected internally and will probably be in next week's patch.
I'm not really sure which character uses it, but don't put points in it (or additional) until the fix goes in.

I finally reset my US forums login info so I could fish around there too. The caveat is you may (I think) need to be logged in to the US forums in order for the US message board thread links to work.

One thing of interest there:

Update on API scripts/documentation (important for UI tweaks and other mods)
http://forums.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=1407961#post1407961
Quote
It seems that we have ran into some snags with the release of the full API documentation. I was aiming for this week but it seems we will have to push it back some more to give the guys some more time. However, we will have something for you guys to snack on in the mean time.

I did receive what looks to be a mod pack with a few scripts and a tutorial to boot. So we will try to push this out to help make it much easier for you guys to develop your own custom mods in the future. The pack will contain a tutorial to help the upcoming modders and some scripts for the experienced modders. So look for the updates on that coming up.
10160  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: July 08, 2008, 12:44:31 PM
I don't obsess about the chain-kill stuff, but at 65 I might start trying for it more often. If you're solo, this apparently gives a nice xp boost temporarily. See thread:
http://forums.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=547116
Quote
Chain kills come from killing mobs at the same time, usually AE, while SOLO. These mobs MUST be same level or higher. They must die in succession ( 1 by 1) because if any of them die at the EXACT same time, you will not get credit for those kills. The reward is increased XP gain per chain kill.
I've never had more than 2, but had a breakthrough last night while trying to finish off a hunt by taking out 4 Atzel Lookouts.

It's tough to pull off intentionally because the chances you're going to whittle several targets down at varying rates is pretty slim. See the first screenshot below and I kind of lucked out.  icon_cool

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