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10161  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 17 on: July 18, 2008, 07:52:10 AM
They hotfixed the two most critical new bugs introduced, already today:

We are bringing down the live servers for a small update to address a couple of important issues that have cropped up in today's update. We felt these were important to address before the weekend so that it didn't effect people's weekend play. The following issues have been resolved:

    * Players would appear invisible on occasion
    * Certain actions would still fire their effect but not trigger the correct cool-down if interrupted¨
10162  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 18, 2008, 07:35:15 AM

I just got back from seeing TDK at an AMC theater complex in Virginia. Crazy. They sold out 5 midnight shows, so apparently just today they started adding 3 a.m. shows and I did see a que forming up as I left the theater. Fer crying out loud people, get some sleep!  drool

A few quick thoughts (and I won't spoil anything, the plot has so much you really should stop reading reviews at this point to avoid spoiling the various developments):

* I thought it was awesome, and the cast was tremendous. That said, I really had more "fun" with Iron Man and the Indiana Jones movies earlier. That doesn't make them better in my eyes, just different.

The Dark Knight touches on themes those movies couldn't hope to even think about. But I guess it comes down to whether you want a tough, often grisly summer movie that pulls no punches, avoids easy answers, puts all of its characters through the wringer, and tries to make you forget that it's a comic book movie at all... or if you just want a fun movie that sends you out the door feeling happier than when you went in. Iron Man and Indy were more the latter for me, fwiw. I was both gripped by TDK all the way, and unsure that I could sit through the movie a second time. It's a tough, tough, tough movie -- and I think a lot of the writers of the edgier Batman graphic novels and storylines would heartily approve. It's almost like an uncompromising arthouse-film take on Batman.

* Certainly not all the critics agree with me, but I just felt like every cast member (including Eckhardt, who some reviewers are decrying as the movie's too-vanilla weak spot) inhabited their roles so thoroughly that I just got completely immersed and didn't really see the actors anymore. Just saw their characters. I love that.  icon_smile

*  Ledger's every bit as electrifying as everyone is saying. Nolan likes to really stick the camera in people's faces (which makes his flicks work really well on DVD/TV imho)

* Unless you include Sin City, it "felt" like the most violent comic book movie I ever saw (stabbings, bombings, shootings, etc. etc.), but must of it occurs off screen. Still, do not take a kid to it unless you want said kid to have nightmares. I know my squeamish sister-in-law would probably walk out during the Joker's debut scenes. That said, I can see how it got a PG-13 rating because there's no cussing whatsoever, obviously no nudity, and most of the more grisly violence occurs off screen or through quick takes.

* I really do dig Nolan's emphasis on real stunts and explosions (there's very little CGI to speak of).

* It's kind of a shame they put the "dedicated to Heath Ledger and Conway Wickliffe" (killed while trying to help film a driving sequence for the movie) so far back in the credits, that most of the audience is gone by the time it appears.

I don't know if I can say much more without veering into spoilers. I heard nobody saying anything negative while I left fwiw. A few "awesomes" and a couple guys disagreeing over whether they were "blown away by it" or not.  icon_neutral
10163  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 17, 2008, 09:53:16 PM
Apparently Handbitsoft is pretty much stomping on Flagship's rep (management/founders) in the Korean trade publications:
HanbitSoft does not expect to have any difficulty in securing the exclusive intellectual property rights related to Mythos. HanbitSoft is prepared to deal with Comerica bank in a local visit [Comerica's in Dallas, Texas] to them next week in order to secure and acquire the intellectual property rights of Hellgate: London. HanbitSoft believes that the game has nothing to do with the aforementioned bank as HanbitSoft already holds the rights to the game in Asia. HanbitSoft believes it has a strong possibility of acquiring the intellectual property of Hellgate: London in the United States and the rest of the world.
Flagship's side so far seems to be along the lines of, "We've fired everybody but us, but we own the IPs lock, stock and barrel."

Although I can't help thinking that some of this is getting poorly translated into English.

I'm trying to dig up something fresh (OK, it's old crap, long forgotten  icon_razz). Who knows? Maybe all the gaming news aggregators will frantically quote the Gaming Trend forums if I find something juicy enough.  icon_razz Unless you're a biz news geek, the below shall bore you. You've been warned.  icon_mrgreen

Bandied about in the various reports is Comerica. Flagship outlined Comerica's financing involvment back in March:

March 26, 2008 - Flagship Studios, the San Francisco-based creator of both Hellgate: London and Mythos for PC, and Comerica Bank, a Texas-based regional bank, today announced that they have closed an innovative finance transaction to support Flagship's continuing development of AAA and online game franchises.

Using an independent film financing model as its basis, Comerica Bank has created a multi-million dollar facility [Definition: A term used to describe financial assistance programs offered by lending institutions to help companies requiring capital-BJ] backed by the sale and distribution rights to Flagship's game franchise Hellgate: London.

"By following a model similar to independent film financing, we are able to directly finance ongoing content for our online games without relying upon a publisher's investment," said Steve Goldstein, Director of Business Development and General Counsel, Flagship Studios. "As the PC game business makes the transition from the boxed retail model to the online model, alternative financing will become a cornerstone of expanding the industry."

"We are pleased that Comerica Bank could build on our expertise in financing films to help meet the financial needs of Flagship Studios," said Jeff Colvin, Senior Vice President with Comerica Bank, from its Entertainment Group offices in Century City.

Jeff Colvin and Todd Steiner structured the transaction on behalf of Comerica. Joshua Grode and Sam Kozhaya of Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstreif, LLP led the legal team on behalf of Comerica. Andrew Katz of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, LLP represented Flagship Studios in the transaction.
People lauded the deal at the time (big game publishers being nasty and all that), but you have to wonder about how patient a bank with no involvement in games at all would have in this situation. They've effectively sank millions of dollars (if I read it right, although maybe they meant millions in the long term) into a dead game and product at this point.

Presumably Flagship saw the Comerica investment as a lifeline of sorts to let them continue updating Hellgate and proceed with Mythos.

If I was a gaming news reporter type, I'd call Comerica's press contacts:

And probably they'd say, "No comment!" or "What the hell is Hellgate: London?" But at least you'd have that much. Sometimes silence speaks volumes.  icon_razz

SEC Filings
Alas, from what I can tell, Flagship's a private company and I haven't found any public filings of note yet. I did find an interesting SEC filing from a Taiwan company called Gigamedia (from Dec. 2006), that was to "offer and operate" Hellgate in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau:
GigaMedia will operate Hellgate: London® in partnership with Cyber Gateway Limited, a leading regional online game operator, pursuant to a strategic joint venture in which GigaMedia holds a 70 percent interest, and Cyber Gateway 30 percent. For the three-year exclusive operating license, the joint venture will pay an aggregate licensing fee and minimum guarantee of US$9 million.
Well, obviously they're not going to get 3 years out of it. I guess the question will be whether their J.V. is going to sue Flagship to get the remainder of the contract back ("guaranteed" or not). If Flagship has a lot of deals like this around the world, their lawyers will be under siege (unless maybe the deals were actually with publisher Namco, or with EA).

GigaMedia has a similar deal concerning Warhammer Online too.
10164  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 17, 2008, 08:27:26 PM
Woah! After reading the observations here, I checked the theaters where I'm going tonight and they too have 5  saywhat midnight shows for The Dark Knight now. Oh well, at least I won't be alone when I walk to my car afterwards.  icon_smile
10165  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 17 on: July 17, 2008, 06:36:05 PM
Dev rep's update is that they are "feverishly" working on the "invisible players/enemies bug," and want to get a hotfix out. But the problem isn't proving easy to produce (which is probably why it didn't get weeded out on the test server):
Just wanted to update you with fresh information:
Devs are currently working feverish on the "invisble people" problem and as soon as they are able to fix it they will do so asap.

The problem at the moment is that this bug sometimes seem to be kind of random and that it is not reproducible, so that it is a little bit tricky to isolate the core of the problem.
10166  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 17, 2008, 06:24:45 PM
I had lunch with an old work friend in D.C. today and now I'm back home. I have to figure out how to waste the next 10 hours or so before heading to my midnight show. Maybe I should go buy a costume? icon_cool

I have to steel myself to sit between rowdy college students, and teens, probably with some nervous person kicking the back of my seat, and some hyperactive guy in front of me rocking his chair back and forth like a vibrating Brookstone seat. Ah, the movies... Maybe I should just sit in the front row.  icon_razz
10167  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / AoC Patch Notes July 17 on: July 17, 2008, 01:01:34 PM
July 17 Patch Notes:

Fresh Bugs!
Already seen player complaints that other players and teammates are now sometimes invisible even when you're next to them, horses with invisible riders [maybe that should be a new mob type -- the Tale of the Riderless Horse], and players getting attacked by characters and players they can't see at all:

There's a new bug causing all text to turn black in color (workaround for now is to delete a certain hidden folder, explained below:

The first phase of balancing the attack animations between genders is in, and so far nobody's happy about it and everybody's convinced it's just nerfed attack speeds for weapons left and right:

Lot of others problems cropping up. If it wasn't an MMO, I'd tell people not to install the patch until they figure out all the new bugs.  disgust I saw this happen more and more in City of Heroes where they'd roll so many fixes into an update that it inevitably caused problems and bugs they just didn't see while it was on the test server. Someday people will learn to do a few things well instead of a lot of things poorly. icon_neutral

Player Character
    * Dead team members will now get quest kill credit if they are within range.
    * You now only prohibited from entering stealth mode if team members are in combat nearby.
    * All your team members and their pets will now get the fatality buff when a team member performs a fatality.
    * The mentor and apprentice will see an onscreen message regarding confirmation or declining of pending apprenticeship requests.
    * Mesh effects during spellweaving should no longer rotate with the character.
    * Shield of the Risen will only display particle effects on hidden players if they are on your team.
    * Animations for the 'grin', 'laugh' and 'laughheartily' emotes have been tweaked for both male and female characters.
    * Emote 'squirm_on_ground' has been renamed to 'lounge', to better fit the animation.


    * The following abilities now have new effects: Cat's Paw, Opportunistic Strike, Kidney Shots, Avatar of Death, Lotus Overdose, Necrotic Leech, Corrupting Strikes, and Lunge.

    * Feats "Eyes of Madness", "Rampaging Horde", "Welcoming Death", and "Too Many To Count" now have visuals associated with them.

    * Earth Recharge ability will have a better visual indicator of activation.
    * Let Them Burn should now have the correct cooldown.
    * Let Them Burn will now properly increase in damage the longer it is channeled.
    * Shockblast (Rank 1) and Inferno of Amher (Rank 1) will now scale correctly when compared to Rank 2. The additional splash damage of Shockblast now scales correctly, as it dealt more damage than intended previously.

    * Frostblast now has a visual cone of frost.
    * Ice Shackle spell is now less invasive and more optimized.
    * The tooltip for Malefic Chant now shows up as intended.
    * Night of the Harvester should now correctly increase the effect of the Harvester mana/stamina heal by 15/30%.
    * To offset the change to Void causing the pet no longer to be rooted, the drain effect of Void has been reduced and now scales more consistently based on level.
    * Spell "Siphon Unlife" now has visuals and sound.
    * The casting time of Set's Ruin, Set's Cold Hatred, and Blasphemy have been reduced from 4 seconds to 2 seconds.
    * Parasitic Soul Swarm is now less invasive and should take up less screenspace.

Priest of Mitra
   * The Spellweaving animation has been tweaked.

    * The ranger's tracking list can now be sorted by distance.
    * Dead NPCs and players will now longer appear when using the tracking ability.

Tempest of Set
    * Set's Life Spark should now trigger a resurrection prompt instantly after dying.
    * Puppets of Set should now draw the attention of nearby NPCs if you attempt to cast it on a group of NPCs.

    * Combos and all other actions will be aborted when you start to charge.
    * The combo chain will now be stopped when you begin a charge.
    * You can no longer start combos in the middle of a charge.
    * Dismembering fatalities should now show appropriate visual effects.
    * You can now abort multihit combos without all the damage being rolled back.
    * Aborting multihit combos will not make the target's health become desynced from the client/server anymore.
    * Fizzle and immunity rolls have been moved to the end of your spellcast. If your target becomes immune after you start your spellcast but before it deals damage, your target will resist the spell.
    * Stealth is checked again at the end of your spellcast. If your target hides before you land the spell, your spellcast will fail.
    * The distance to your target while casting a spell is checked again at the end of your spellcast, with a 25% bonus to your range.
    * If your target is behind an obstacle when you've finished casting your spell, the spell will fail
    * Combo finishers (the last attack in the combo chain) now have 25% extra range, making them easier to land in PvP.
    * Mobs will keep you in combat from further away now.
    * Aborting unarmed attacks (using a knockback, for example) will now properly cause the damage not to be dealt.
    * Clickable abilities with instant effects will not be queued after your attack anymore, but executed right away.
    * You cannot use abilities while jumping or falling anymore.
    * Dying while knockbacking NPCs will not cause the npc to become stuck in combat mode anymore.
    * Attack animation speed should be more balanced between genders (note: this does not yet include the combo animations).
    * Combat music has been tweaked so that tension music will be area specific, rather than random.

    * Massive PvP: Mercenary players in a team with a guild member should no longer be hostile-flagged during battle.
    * You will no longer be able to attack guild members on PvP servers.
    * The Massive PVP gui will show up on a separate tab than Minigame PvP.
    * If your pet does the most damage to a target in a minigame, you will now get credited for the kill instead of the pet.
    * Ground targeting AOEs should now only be allowed if the player has line of sight to the target.
    * The siege camps will now give a message when they are clicked on and the city is not vulnerable.
    * You should no longer be able to damage your raid members on Culture PvP servers.

Player Cities
    * The player cities and Battlekeeps now have various NPCs living in them.
    * Buildings should now show the proper damage states when the building gets damaged or repaired.

    * Grey quests will now award XP again.
    * (Atzel's Approach) Kidnapping and Torture ; Diversionary Tactics Inner West - It should now be possible to ignite all palisades.
    * (Atzel's Approach) Revenge of the Ape God - Location of this quest is now marked in the journal.
    * (Black Ring Citadel) Bowls of Set, The Hunt - Quest will now complete when you speak to Kalanthes about it.
    * (Conall's Valley) An Impending Attack - The location marker for Torin has been changed.
    * (Field of the Dead) The Honored Dead - This is now a solo quest.
    * (Kheshatta) Den of Evil Perversions - Has been fixed. Go find the Onyx Chambers, retrieve Hakar Tep's head, then return it to Zane.
    * If you currently have this quest, you MUST delete the quest and go pick it up again from Zane.
    * (Kheshatta) Mouth Of Darkness - Journal text has been updated. The Marker Rune is found near the entrance, rather than within it.
    * (Kheshatta) Markers of the Lost Tomb - A goal marker has been added for the third objective.
    * (Khopshef) Yipping Hyenas - Changed quest waypoint radius, to cover a larger area and more hyenas.
    * (Khopshef) Usurping the Power - Now marked as a group quest.
    * (Khopshef) Emerald Eyes - It should no longer be possible to walk through the door to the Emerald Guardians without first getting the quest.
    * (Khopshef) Trapped by Lions - Timer has been changed to 10 minutes, instead of 10 hours.
    * (Khopshef) The Swindler's Game, Shedding Torment, Stygian Superstitions, The Forgotten Temple, Fascinating Faces, Conflicting Interests - An item reward has been added to these quests.
    * (Khopshef) Lusts of the Flesh - Alekeep in Caravansrai will now ask you for tin, not copper.
    * (Tarantia Noble) Paetus & The Nemedian Crown - Coordinates have been updated within the Villa. The map item will now have a particle effect when you have the quest.
    * (Tarantia Noble) Rahim and Lord Camillus - Rahim's dialog should now work properly when you tell him "Then this madman must be stopped". Player will receive a quest.
    * (Tarantia Noble) Obtaining the Arena Key – Quest should now be completable.
    * Several typos corrected in many quests worldwide.

NPCs / Mobs
    * Charmed NPCs will now be able to attack and perform actions while charmed.
    * More NPCs should now be visible in the vicinity for several raid dungeons.
    * NPCs wielding two handed weapons will now attack correctly.
    * Knockback animations (the landing-animations in particular) will now be smoother for many creatures.
    * Raid bosses should now be visible from further away, in most cases.
    * Black Ring Citadel: Incubus and Succubus are now strong enough to knockback all players. Swamp demon's swamp has become increasingly more dangerous.
    * Black Ring Citadel: Seruha will wait a little before closing the door.
    * Conall's Valley: Wounded Vanir in Conall's Valley will no longer execute the same identical movements at the same time.
    * Field of the Dead: Lieutenant Rhor has learned some new skills, and should no longer be so easy to defeat.
    * Field of the Dead: The Lupine Superior boss has lost his floating wig. He will also spawn minions in a more correct manner.
    * Khemi: Rhino name-plates should now be displayed properly and will no longer clip into the rhino.
    * Kheshatta: Scorpion Archers should now attack more consistently at range.
    * Kheshatta: Several NPCs with equipped weapons have been corrected.
    * Tarantia Noble: Astrologer will no longer send you into a dialog loop.
    * Tortage: Renton should no longer make strange sounds during the Destiny Mage quest.
    * Underhalls: Litharia's patrol has been adjusted a bit, to end her walking through walls or pillars.
    * Vistrix: All players that participate in the fight against Vistrix should now get his tooth.
    * White Sands: Thrall Warrior armor has been tweaked so as to not clip anymore.
    * Wild Lands: Oris should no longer send you into a dialog loop.
    * Certain bosses were using combos they weren't supposed to. This has been fixed.

    * The special offer from Venes Venele, the Custom-made Saddle, is now unveiled and for sale!
    * The names of some sets of armor have been changed to be easier to discern what class they are intended for. Some visual looks of these armor sets have been tweaked.
    * The Heart of the Earth weapon will now work for 2 handed blunt combos.
    * Handguards of Ardent Fire now give 2handed Edge bonuses.
    * Fine Steelsilk Leggings should now display its name properly
    * Non-casters should now be able to see the effect of mana potions, even though they can't use them.
    * Girdle of Clawing Might now properly gives Max Health and Max Stamina, as intended, instead of Max Health twice.
    * Inventory bags have all had their prices reduced by 20%-50%.
    * The 'Totem of Origins' may now be found on select bosses.

    * Disabled ability to mount while charging.
    * The tooltip for horses will no longer say "CANNOT USE" when the horse is usable.
    * The price of regular mounts have been reduced to 75 silver, down from 2 gold.
    * Mounts can no longer be sold.
    * Reduced Damage caused by Rhinos/Mammoths charging.
    * Decreased Rhino/Mammoth collision radius.

    * You can now sort items for sale on the Tradepost by "Show Can Use Only" and "Show Can Buy Only".
    * Powerful items (blue and green) for sale on the Tradepost will now list in color text.
    * Items of a level you cannot use will be listed in red.
    * It should now be possible to search for necklaces, rings, gems, and consumables.

    * Cotton and Cottonwisp have been fixed, and will be the correct level.
    * Any player who speaks to a crafter trainer and doesn't get the quest because he has a full quest journal will now be able to speak to the trainer again and get the quests at a later stage.
    * The items you hand in to the Crafter Trainers will from now on be returned to you. This change applies to the Weaponsmith, Armorsmith, Alchemist, and Architect classes.
    * Trainer dialog was updated to reflect current names of buildings in Architect quest line.
    * The Weaponsmith Trainer's dialog no longer references Glaive, but Awl Pike.

World Design
    * Various visual fixes and improvements made in Khemi and Kheshatta.
    * Adjusted several areas with added collision, where players previously could become stuck on terrain.
    * Pyramid of Lord Atum-Keket: Door collision has been adjusted here.
    * Underhalls: The rez point in the "Uptown Sewer" should now be fully visible.
    * Underhalls: The upper climbing point on the right ladder for the Harbor entrance has been tweaked.
    * Underhalls: The zone called "Askia" is now renamed "Askia's Domain".
    * Underhalls: The lost jewel is now placed on the ground, and the respawn timer has changed from 60 to 30 seconds.
    * Wild Lands of Zelata: Collision on the stairs inside the Mayor's building has been adjusted.
    * Kheshatta: Fixed several spots where you could fall through the world.

    * An emote gui has been added. Press Y to access this window.
    * An option to disable on-screen messages has been introduced. It can be found in Options > Interface > HUD.
    * A chat command that allows reloading the GUI was added. The command is '/reloadui'
    * Attackable players should now always have a red nametag, regardless of their level. Players that were 8 levels or more below the player previously had a gray nametag.
    * Combo-triggered flying texts should no longer appear for combos that are not caused or directed at the client character any more.
    * Defensive flying texts (i.e. parry) should now always appear above the correct character - the defender (not the attacker).
    * Players should now be able to open the main options menu using "F10" while the rez window is up.
    * Right-clicking inside active GUI elements should not reorient your character any more.
    * Fixed a case of a stuck command progress bar.
    * Effects that replenish stamina should now produce correctly signed flying texts (+XX Stamina).
    * Added a visual and textual notification for attacks that are completely absorbed.
    * Nametags should now be visible even if the character meshes have not completed loading.
    * Spell damage to destructibles will now appear in the combat log.
    * The mouse pointer will now always default to the arrow.
    * Mousing over an NPC's corpse will not produce the sword icon any more.
    * The Power session indicator and tooltip will now only appear when applicable, i.e. after level 5.
    * Shift-clicking on a lootbag to autoloot everything should clear the target correctly once finished.
    * Ranged combos will now appear red on your shortcutbar when your target is out of range, similar to spells.
    * When attempting to share a quest, you will get feedback stating how many players in your team were too far away to receive it (if any).
    * The quest journal will now show the money rewards divided by each type of currency.
    * The Friends/Guild Members window has been changed. It now works with tabs that sort friends by type: Guild Members, Friends, Offline members, and Ignored characters.
    * Floating/movable character portraits were added. They can be enabled from Interface > HUD options menu.
    * The tooltip for spellweaving will no longer go outside of the screen.
    * Fixed a GUI related crash.
    * Implemented GUI Modifications on the skill window as support for the upcoming PvP Consequence System. PvE skills will be listed separate from PvP skills.
    * Clicking on the active tab on the Friends View should now move the window. Clicking on disable tabs should also move the window.
    * The healing modifier debuff for Active Blocking should now display correctly as -50%
    * Made the middle action button (between Q and E) mappable. It is called Action Button 12. E is now called Action Button 13.
    * Quest indicators should no longer appear on the ground.
    * Added a PvP xp bar to the bottom of the screen as support for upcoming PvP changes. This will be enabled and disabled via the Interface options > HUD menu.
    * The item links on the chat window will now show the proper item 'level color' (blue, green, etc).
    * Remapping hotkeys for movement works again.
    * Player search should now work correctly.
    * The Fresh Kill indicator now correctly shows only after level 5.
    * Resolved an issue which was causing players to receive a message stating that a spell was on cooldown and be unable to cast even though the cooldown had finished in the GUI.
    * Instancing/Zoning: Removed the shift-right click "Enter heroic version" option from doors.
    * You can now use '<' in chat messages.
    * The Combo Sequence Indicator should no longer get stuck when failing to complete a combo.

    * A new level up animation with sound should now occur for all players who level, while in or out of combat.
    * Lootbags and other non-moving objects will no longer affect how many NPCs/players are visible in the vicinity.
    * Fixed several causes of crashes and instability.
    * Particle effects will no longer be played on the character selection screen.
    * Returning to non-combat state from a PvP fight will now take 10 seconds (instead of 5). Mana and health regen will only start then.
    * Mobs will now become unlocked to a player after 90 seconds, once the locked attacker stops attacking. This will allow other attackers to benefit from killing the mob.
    * The loot bag target bar should no longer become 'stuck' onscreen.
    * You will no longer lose your helmet when fatalitied.
    * The looting need-greed duration was increased to 1 minute.
    * Gemmed items should now work as intended and give their effect after teleports.
    * Team buffs should now only refresh when necessary, and be properly canceled for members who leave.
    * Leaving sneak or crouch will not slide your character around anymore.
    * Tattoos are again being deleted when cycling through in character creation so only the current one shows.
    * Logging into the game after logging out to the login screen will no longer cause the client to crash.
    * The group looting is once again working as intended.
    * Select captains and wagoners in Old Tarantia, Khemi and Conarch Village have opened up traveling routes deeper into the wilderness!
    * Shield of the Risen no longer silences the player.
Some day devs will learn that the more things you try to glom up in one update, the more unintended changes you make.

10168  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 17, 2008, 01:56:56 AM
The July 17 patch got the go-ahead so that should go in tomorrow morning, according to the EU forums. A player posted some test server patch notes, but they don't reflect the July 17 patch note (which the moderator emphasized sometimes has *more* fixes than what's on test, and sometimes *less*). Still maybe worth a peek if you want some insight into future changes, fixes and improvements:

Preliminary Update Notes [Test Server, as of July 16]

A few interface things caught my eye (most of these probably *not* in the July 17 update):
* The Friends/Guild Members window has been changed. It now works with tabs that sort friends by type: Guild Members, Friends, Offline members, and Ignored characters.
* An emote gui has been added. Press Y to access this window.
* Implemented GUI Modifications on the skill window as support for the upcoming PvP Consequence System. PvE skills will be listed separate from PvP skills.

A few quality of life things seemed promising:
* Dead team members will now get quest kill credit if they are within range.
*All your team members and their pets will now get the fatality buff when a team member performs a fatality

[Some tradepost tweaks]
*  You can now sort items for sale on the Tradepost by "Show Can Use Only" and "Show Can Buy Only".
* Powerful items (blue and green) for sale on the Tradepost will now list in color text.
* Items of a level you cannot use will be listed in red.
* It should now be possible to search for necklaces, rings, gems, and consumables.
10169  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 16, 2008, 10:16:46 PM
I wasn't exactly a Winner in high school. At the military base in Seoul, Korea I spent a lot of my summer hours at theaters watching classic stuff I loved over and over (VCRs were still new, and the idea of renting videos hadn't even been concocted). I can't count how many times I saw the Star Wars flicks, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek II, Super Man II and Blade Runner among others, along with an endless stream of slasher movies.  icon_razz I was terribly lonely (the only thing worse than suffering through puberty is suffering through puberty in a place you felt you didn't belong), I missed friends and my brother in Virginia, etc. etc., and really video game arcades, movies and bowling were my solace. In a way, all that seemingly frivolous stuff (yes, even bowling) helped save my life as a sad teen, and probably kept me out of trouble too. icon_smile

So, what I'm saying is I much prefer seeing movies with friends and family. But I'm fine with catching an occasional flick by myself, especially summer flicks on opening day.  icon_cool Sometimes I'll be sitting there flashing back to my sad, scrawny 16 year old self, and while yes I'm still sitting in a theater solo 27 years later, I feel a little better about my life now.  icon_smile Yada yada yada. I'm turning into Stuart Smiley. Sorry.  tear

Oh, Roger Ebert is agog about The Dark Knight but his review is terribly spoiler-filled. So I only give you his lead paragraph  thumbsup thumbsup:
Quote from: Rober Ebert
“Batman” isn’t a comic book anymore. Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” is a haunted film that leaps beyond its origins and becomes an engrossing tragedy. It creates characters we come to care about. That’s because of the performances, because of the direction, because of the writing, and because of the superlative technical quality of the entire production. This film, and to a lesser degree “Iron Man,” redefine the possibilities of the “comic-book movie.”
Music to my ears, as I do get tired of "mainstream critics" using "comic-book movie" as some sort of shorthand for "sux."
10170  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dawn of War 2 - First detailed info? on: July 16, 2008, 09:12:15 PM
As a brief Company of Heroes freak (late 2006, early 2007) who also bought Dawn of War (but not its expansions), I guess my only concern is that the system requirements will remain more like what you'd expect for Crysis and that might make it end up a relative sales disappointment like COH. Now that I can run COH like a dream, I'm just not as interested in playing it as I was around the time it launched. It would kill me if Relic's latest requires $700 in dual SLI Crossfired gobblydegook to be playable.

I still have a hard time envisioning Relic doing a completely "non base building" RTS. Base building is just embedded in their DNA as a dev. I've read some UK magazine articles on the game, and like the IGN piece they say there doesn't seem to be base-building, "based on what we saw." So I'll be curious if it really is a non-base building game like Ground Control and World in Conflict, or if it just doesn't emphasize base building much in its early missions.

My favorite Company of Heroes missions had little or no base building involved, which is why I lost interest as the campaign moved more deeply into "build a gigantic base and rush everything you have at the enemy" RTS stereotypes). Another decent military RTS, Act of War, had some really fun, no-base-building missions early on but once it slipped into base-building overdrive, it simply lost me.
10171  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 16, 2008, 09:02:37 PM
They have a sort of dev tracker thread (it lets you click on various dev/community advocate volunteer names to see their latest posts). It's worth combing through a bit if you're curious about their ongoing posts on the situation though a lot of it is just banter and saying good bye:

Flagship Studios Employees & Team Advocate Tracker

Taylor Balbi (community/PR), Scapes-Flagship (community manager) and Tiggs (Ping0) are probably the most active. They really don't seem to know when/if Hellgate's servers plugs will get pulled.
10172  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 16, 2008, 03:46:05 PM
I'll buy it! I just have to cash in my IRA and 401K, and maybe use the coin counting machine at my bank a little bit.  icon_razz

I'd forgotten that the Mythos team was actually up in Seattle (Flagship itself is in San Francisco), and was called Flagship Studios Seattle. I always assumed Flagship was trying to emulate Blizzard's acquisition of them (Condor) and what became Diablo. So presumably he's hoping to keep some of the Mythos team in touch (if not employed) and see how they can round up the wagons and get another project going.

btw, when I did some Googling on Travis's name, it seemed like he was alternately referred to in some comments as "a loving genius" and as "a **cking genius". I guess those are both meant as a compliment.  icon_razz I don't know if making a solid Diablo clone (Fate) on a low budget makes you a genius or just "competent."

I actually had more fun with the screwy Hellgate than I did in my brief time in Mythos. Buds of mine raved about Mythos though, so what do I know? Many thought Mythos was more the kind of game they expected from a group of former Diablo/Diablo II team members, and the one Flagship should've pinned its hopes on (Hellgate obviously came first), while that Hellgate was to them more of a screwed up experiment that should've been stifled in the test tube.  puke
10173  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 16, 2008, 01:35:40 PM
Travis Baldtree (who created the well regarded Diablo clone Fate, and then joined Flagship for Mythos) finally posted in their Mythos forums yesterday. Saw this noted at

A fond farewell- at Mythos beta forums
Quote from: Travis Baldtree
Well, it's an interesting few days here for all of us. It's just been killing me not to post until now, but I really needed to wait until some things were settled and announced. As you may or may not know Flagship Studios laid off almost all employees effective friday - you should be able to see the press release in the Announcements. Now, on the face of it, that really does sound like the end of Mythos as we know it - but we have a tight-knit team that feels like family and hopes to stick together. Unfortunately, I can't speak at any real length about our immediate plans just yet - but let's say that we hope to have you back up and Beta testing for us in one way or another sometime soon.

You've been an incredible community that we've all felt priveleged to be a part of, and we're not quite ready to let go of that little family just yet. No matter the outcome, this has been a fantastic experience, and I and the team would like to thank each and every one of you for the tireless hours of testing and discussion you've undergone, and the uniquely friendly community spirit that you all helped foster. It's been a treat every step of the way.

So, I'm not exactly sure how long Mythos in its current form will remain up, since it is effectively a testing server. I'll try to get you that information as soon as I can.
In the meantime, I know the rest of the team would love to post their farewells and thanks to all of you. We'll try to keep you as up to date as we can in one way or another.

Thanks again to all of you - and I hope to be seeing all of you online again very, very soon.
It's kind of a riddle, but perhaps he's trying to pull the Mythos property out of this mess (see underlined above).  icon_confused Or maybe he'll do another Fate.  icon_cool

I agree the payment scheme seemed like an unwise idea. I felt they either should've gone whole hog and tried their hands at an MMO with a full fee (which has the advantage of pulling in revenue consistently, and long after the initial launch sales rush is over); or not at all.
10174  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 16, 2008, 05:21:42 AM
It does read more like a farewell card than anything else. It doesn't really answer any questions, as the confused players at the forums attest:

I guess the real question is whether they have to eventually file for a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy, and sell off everything to pay off their creditors (including the IP, technology, foosball tables and luxury reclining executive chairs); or if there's still any chance they can pare down to the bare bones (maybe similar to the tiny company they were as Condor Games), do a Chapter 11 reorganization, and somehow survive.

While Googling, I came upon this Gamespot historical feature on Blizzard:

Gamespot Presents: Eye of the Storm - Behind Closed Doors at Blizzard
While the team at Condor in San Francisco had programmed games for everything from the Atari Lynx to 3DO's never-released M2, the PC remained an elusive platform. "Back in 1995," explains Max Schaefer, "it wasn't clear what was going to happen screenshot. "We thought doing a PC game was more stable," says Max Schaefer. "It wasn't clear what was going to happen to the next generation of consoles. We were working payroll to payroll - on the ragged edge of economic viability - and we didn't want to risk another console game. We thought doing a PC game was more stable."
Ironic, eh? I think now some people would tell them they'd have a better chance of survival in consoles, perhaps an XBLA version of Mythos or something. icon_neutral

After a few months of initial design work, the three cofounders of Condor came up with an idea for an action-RPG inspired by the old UNIX ASCII game Moria, where an "@" attacked a "k." Updating this simple kill/reward concept to '90s standards proved to be a tough sell to publishers.

"Some companies wouldn't even talk to us," admits Dave Brevik. "We were three jokers with a radical idea for a game. People literally laughed at us because we had no PC experience and wanted to do an RPG." In total, ten major publishers turned down the pitch for this turn-based DOS RPG. Then it dawned on Brevik to call up his friend Adham and see if Blizzard would be interested in publishing the game.
There we go again. "Keep it simple, stupid." I'll always say Hellgate's failure to follow that motto did it in, right from the start.

Thought it worth digging up here because afterall they're the Flagship guys now. And probably they forgot how it was to just be 3-4 guys in a room trying to design a cool game based on a fairly simple premise. Maybe Hellgate became too much about too many cooks in the kitchen trying to overcomplicate the game and do too many things.
10175  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 16, 2008, 02:55:43 AM
So the theater in Virginia I want to see it at has already sold out of two midnight shows, and added a third. I'm still debating if I want to inflict a midnight show on myself or not. I probably need to decide pretty fast though. At the least, I won't have to worry too much about walking to the parking garage at 3 a.m. alone. There'll be a few hundred people doing the same.  icon_razz

Unlike some of the nutzo theaters, I don't think this one was willing to add 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.  saywhat shows to satiate demand.

Ah hell, I went ahead and bought a ticket. I took some time off just so I could do that, so I can't cop out now. Alas, my moviegoing friends can't do a midnight show on a Thursday, and most folks my age can't hardly stay awake until midnight much less watch a movie til 3 a.m.  icon_razz

I didn't realize the AMC Movie Watcher card I finally got lets you buy tickets online without the $1 service charge. Doh.  retard
10176  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 16, 2008, 01:33:39 AM
I think the fact that I've never seen anyone on a Swift or Armored Horse so far (whether Level 80, or level 1 character) says it all. The other day I was surrounded by L75-80 players, no signs of any mount upgrades at all. That's all I have to say on the matter. Except: "Dear Funcom, don't put *bleep* in the game that nobody can ever afford because what the heck is the point? You're just wasting your animators' and artwork team's work for nothing."  disgust Not to mention all the people who've quit this game who never even got within a sniff of seeing one of these mounts in action much less getting to try one.

Anyway, my point was that my vote's to lower costs some on the high end, non-preorder mounts. Even without my ex-guildmate's help I would've been able to afford the starter mount soon enough, even with my apparent stupidity when it comes to piling up money. Obviously I'm the Worse Case Scenario, a Drooling Imbecile Incapable of Profiteering, but I was still going to get a starter horse at a reasonable level.  drool

Update from the EU forums is tomorrow's update was pushed to Wednesday to deal with yet another unintended bug:
Quote from: Tarib
We postpone the update from tomorrow Wednesday to Thursday, 17th of July, 4 am GMT. One fix concerning equipment that are 'Bind on Equip' lead to an issue which would have made those items not equipable at all. This has of course to be resolved and then tested again before we can bring the update to the live servers.

So if no other issues are found and the one mentioned above is resolved, we will update on Thursday. We will of course keep you up to date about any news.
10177  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 15, 2008, 06:40:12 PM
Facts are kind of hard to come by right now, esp. with the gaming news sites frantically quoting *each other* to the point you can't tell if anyone actually has any factual information or not. To me it's the Achille's Heel of the world fixating on News on the Internet. It gets easier to just paste in what some other site did and refer to it as "news" rather than look into it oneself. Heck, I'm guilty of that myself in my flurries of postings at message boards about "news." Is there a hypocrite icon?  retard

There are actually more Gaming News Aggregator sites out there than there are News Gathering sites, and some day, all people will get on the Internet are Aggregates of Non News and Gossip.  icon_razz I would've felt better if some of the sites just said, "we called Flagship, and nobody's answering the phones there, but they never answered the phones to begin with."  icon_lol Or "we e-mailed the usually easy-to-reach Bill Roper and now we get an auto-responder."  paranoid

I'm going through that myself today at my newsletter job. I reached a company president about a merger (e-mail, was getting runaround by phone), and basically it was, "I can't comment until it's approved, and then we'll put out a press release" and "we're a private company so I can't tell you how many employees we have etc." Frustrating. But sometimes just confirming you can't get any more information from "official channels" is useful in itself.  icon_neutral

I understand if Flagship is in some sort of legal bind where it can't make an official announcement, but it's really not reflecting well on them to not put out *something.* Even if it's vague.

It does seem true that the Subscriptions option has been disabled for Hellgate, and for now you have to call that 1-800 number to cancel your subscription (or you can ask your credit card provider to stop payments).

Also, I noticed that Flagship apparently on July 9 updated its Privacy Policy at its site:
Purchase or Sale of Businesses
From time to time, we may purchase a business or sell one or more of our businesses and your personal information may be transferred as a part of the purchase or sale. If we purchase a business, the personal information received with that business would be treated in accordance with this Privacy Policy, if it is practicable and permissible to do so. If we sell a business or if we go through a business transition, such as a merger, are acquired by another company, or sell a portion of our assets, account holders' information will, in most instances, be part of the assets transferred. The provisions of this paragraph will also apply if we are sold as part of bankruptcy proceedings.
I dunno though. I have no idea what they updated there, it might have had nothing to do with that passage.

I just found it interesting that the section was updated July 9 given what we're all hearing about.
10178  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Major feature cuts from Warhammer Online on: July 15, 2008, 05:32:00 PM
Tentonhammer had a 2 part interview with Mythic's Mark Jacobs about all this:

Part 1

Part 2

Although he comes across as, uh, maybe a bit impatient at times (it's in a way impressive they don't filter his answers through a PR flack), I had a much better understanding of their reasons after reading. Also, I have a former newspaper copy editor friend who works at NRA, and Mythic is right across the street from them. Maybe I'll take a photo next time I'm in the area.  icon_razz

I think the thing with MMOs, is if you have features in that are broken and bugged and don't work as promised, the players are reminded of it every day they log in and try said features. If the features and characters aren't there at all, it might bother someone initially but they won't be visually reminded of them all the time.

That said, there have been cases like Tabula Rasa where long-promised stuff like Personal Armored Units sat and molted in the back of my brain, and *did* bother me even if I didn't see them malfunctioning in-game. The latest interviews suggest those are nowhere near going into that game, which still bothers me today.  icon_neutral So, I guess missing features can in fact bother you, in some cases.
10179  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 15, 2008, 05:27:25 PM
I wish they'd make the Swift Horses and/or Armored Horses something you could reasonably afford. I can maybe understand the pre-order mounts (Rhini, Mammoth) being priced outrageously, but it would be nice for the Swift/Armored to be something you might aspire to. I'm at 70 now and I can vouch that unless you're a trading house/crafting junkie, or a member of a crazy rich guild, or a gold farmer, the Swift/Armored horses aren't really something that you can reasonably ever hope to try. I don't think I've ever had more than 2 gold or so, and I was only able to afford a horse fairly early because of a member of my ex-guild donating to me out of pity.  icon_razz
10180  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 15, 2008, 01:12:20 PM
Saw a post by the German forum moderator about a recent change in the degree of slope players can traverse (45 degrees from an unintended 60 degrees):

Glass Walls: A bug or intentional?
Some changes to the movement code in the last update did indeed cause players to no longer be able to traverse terrain at the angles they were before. This was actually caused by fixing a bug with the game code as it was allowing players to travel over angles that by the original design parameters was too high. (to be specific the bug caused people to be able to travel over 60 degree angles when the code called for 45 degrees).

However it is obvious that in fact the 60 degree angle was probably more optimal for 'logical' movement and certainly what ended up in last weeks update does feel like you come across barriers where they just don't feel right. Obviously that isn't good, and we want to correct it! We will be looking to reverse this fix is an update as soon as we can, it won't be in the next update unfortunately as the bug itself had a few more implications that we need to iron out first. It is one of the things though that is a priority for the next available update.
Not sure this will remedy the various areas where it feels like you *should* be able to keep moving in an area, or use it as a shortocut, but the game seems to want to channel you back towards a main path or different route.  icon_confused

Usually, if you walk backwards, you can scale back down vertical ridges safely. This doesn't always work -- I've stumbled, twisted and fell to my doom numerous times -- but it is something a teammate taught me one day that can help in a jam.
10181  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: July 15, 2008, 04:01:28 AM
Hit 70 tonight. It really unlocks quite an avalanche of new quests in both Atzel's Approach and Khesatta.

The mighty Claymore...

I'm hoping my Guardian bud can make me one that has a Health tap + a couple of damage gems in it.

I helped a 75-ish team that was calling for help on an elite 75 boss in Atzel, though they eventually added upper 70s types for apprenticing purposes.

You can't swing a dead rat by the tail on Thog server without hitting a member of The Old Timer's guild. One was on our team, and a full Old Timer's group ended up helping us with said Elite (waiting until we tagged it before they chipped in). They seem like an all right bunch mostly.
10182  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 14, 2008, 09:52:53 PM
Funcom hired some moderation help (a German biz called Two Pi), which has made it a little tougher to comb through the Dev tracker (they are closing flame war type threads and the like, so a lot of Dev Tracker posts now are moderation-related).

However, a Two Pi guy posted a pretty helpful Official technical faq Post. You may want to bookmark this one.

Official technical FAQ - Crashes, Errors? Read this, first!

I'll go ahead and paste it in for GT posterity:
#1 Most actual informations (July 13th)

Bad performance in Villas?
For users of NVidia GPUs (excluding the 260/280 series) it may help to use the old driver 169.21, and / or to switch to Shader 2.0. It's a known problem and has been forwarded.

Authentication Failure Error FAQ - You can't log in? Follow this link:

No magic effects / bad performance (NVidia GPUs)?
Try to download RivaTuner 2.09 and use the option to revert all driver settings to it's default values.

Black screen while running the game on Windows Vista?
Put this into a .txt file, and save this text-file as conan.reg (all files)
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\GraphicsDrivers]

If you should encounter any problems, you can easily undo this changings by creating another .reg file with it's following content:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\GraphicsDrivers]

The patcher hangs / the game or the patcher won't even start?
The game should be properly uninstalled. Please do exactly as mentioned below:

- Deinstall AoC using the "Add or Remove Programs"-Software located in the Control Panel
- Delete the following (hidden) folder:
Vista: C:\Users\[User]\AppData\Local\Funcom
XP: C:\Documents and Settings\[User]\Application Data\Funcom
- Open the registry by running regedit and delete all entries that refer to Funcom by searching for them (F3 key)

Please stop your antivirus program and, even more important, your firewall while reinstalling and patching the game. Just closing the GUI (usually a "Firewall"-Symbol in the system tray) sometimes won't suffice, so you'll have to manually shut down the services (Control Panel -> Performance and Maintenance -> Administrative Tools -> Services). In some rare cases it might be necessary to temporarily uninstall the antivirus program if you can't stop it by other means.

#2a Workarounds for known errors:

1. Crashes, "Updating Content", Errors and so on
Quite often the "Verify"-tool works wonders. Open your AoC-folder, start "simpleconfig.exe" and click on "Verify/Repair". When the verification / repair is completed, start AoC as usual - the patcher will now automatically replace defective files.

2. Bad graphical / general performance
You can find a seperate guide here: (currently in translation, coming soon) [no link yet-BJ]

3. Assertion Failed - Out of Memory
If you've got more than 2GB RAM, the following might help.
Open the hidden boot.ini file found in the root system directory (C:\). The easiest way to do so is clicking on Start -> Run..., entering "notepad C:\boot.ini" without the quotation marks and hitting enter. Look for the [operation systems] part and add the following line to the end of it:

To open the Run... menu, use Win+R (Win = the windows key on your keyboard), type in "bcedit /set IncreaseUserVA 3072" without the quotation marks and hit the enter key.

IF there are stability issues after trying this, you can revert to the standard values by following the same steps and just changing the number to 2048 (so it's /USERVA=2048 or bcedit /set IncreaseUserVA 2048, respectively)

4. Patchloop
Caused by defective rdbdata files.
Simply delete all rdbdata-files that are smaller than 1GB. They're located on the AoC -> RDB folder.

5. Textures lose detail while playing and won't show as detailed again
Go into your AoC-folder (also works while the game is running) und delete the following files:

6. faultrep.dll can't be found
[liNK zu einem entsprechenden englischen Artikel]

7. The minimap is black
In this case, you'll need to delete the "GUI"-folder inside your AoC-folder. The patcher will load about 170MB of files after the next start.

8. I can hear the game sounds, but have a black screen.
Open simpleconfig.exe, disable the Fullscreen-option and start the game. You can switch back to Fullscreen again after that.

9. My chat window shows a chequered pattern
In the NVidia Panel Options, you'll find a slider that regulates Quality and Performance. If it's at Quality, switch to Performance. If it's at Performance, switch it to Quality.

If this won't help, make sure that the mip-mapping option inside the NVidia Panel is controlled by the application, or reinstall the drivers and reset them to standard values (should be in the function-part in the lower right).
Although the game looks demonstrably better for me in shader 3.0, certain special effects (like Necromancer pets that do magic attacks) drag my frame rate pretty much to zero unless I switch back to 2.0 or 2X shaders.

And I still have lousy performance in the Villas. I haven't encountered most of the other problems mentioned.
10183  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 14, 2008, 09:29:22 PM
I saw a useful post at the official forums on a 1-800 # to call to cancel your subscription (it seems legit, but certainly I can't personally vouch for it):

afik, the Flagship official community coordinator's trying to clean up the forums a bit, but his or her posts are so strange I can't really tell if she's confirming/not confirming what various places are reporting. The more I read the various news posts, the more it seems like three sites (Hellgate Guru, VE3D and Gamasutra) all breathlessly quoting and cutting and pasting from each other to the point you can't tell if anyone bothered to verify any of the information.  icon_confused Some of the stuff taken from Korean articles seems to be suffering poor translations.

AFIK the servers are still running (did see a couple posts about some server update problems, though given the game always had some problems, that might not be meaningful), and my wild guess is they would continue through at least this month, and maybe next.
10184  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Any interest in Diablo II multi? on: July 14, 2008, 05:17:49 PM
Nobody has. Well, one L4 guy did join a game of mine, realized I was 14, and started a different game. That was about it.

The game still felt fun, and as I blabbed, after maybe 5-10 minutes, the 800X600 (expansion) rez didn't bother me at all. Of course, if you then boot up the higher rezzed, higher detailed Titan Quest, your eyes will go upside down. But then again TQ had all sorts of technical and video driver problems for many players, who no doubt weren't expecting to grapple with the kind of tech troubles you might expect on a system-pushing shooter or mmorpg, on a hack-n-slash. D2 will pretty much run like a peach on anything.
10185  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Forget Dragon Age, Diablo III at least exists on: July 14, 2008, 05:06:19 PM
Lets retitle the thread, "Forget Dragon Age, Diablo III at least has something to show."  disgust icon_mrgreen

Which doesn't mean Dragon Age won't be something special, but this really seems like a premature Public Relationculation...

Other than the isometric viewpoint, I never found much in common between Baldur's Gate (which I bought, but never much got into), and Diablo. They catered to pretty different audiences. I'm pretty sure it'll still be the case between these two now. I'm just not into bashign one in favor of the other, because I'd feel like I was saying apples taste better than oranges. Or, how about wine tastes better than beer. No, that's no good. Well, use whatever metaphor you prefer.  icon_razz
10186  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: July 14, 2008, 01:17:15 PM
Because it's cold, and that armor's drafty.  icon_razz

Did the Oasis group instance upper 60s, off of Purple Lotus Swamp, last night. Rewards are meager (exp/cash, but no items at all), and it's fairly grueling, but not unfairly so, imho. Got me from about 69.4 to 69.9, so I should hit 70 tonight.

A little refreshing because it's an outdoor private group instance, not a dungeon.

The finale boss had this propensity for dashing away when his health meter goes down, so far away that we lost him twice before we finally found him at a different camp then where he's supposed to be, and finished him off.

A few decent loot items came off of regular mobs inside, but nothing remotely interesting to a Conq. Tolten is a weaponsmith/armoror type and offered to try to make me some decent things to use at 70.

10187  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 14, 2008, 01:05:47 PM
Hellgate Guru has been updating here and there:

They mentioned various Flagship-Ping0 employees updated their online resumes to reflect a July 2008 termination.
Update: Diane “Tiggs” Migliaccio claims that Hellgate players won’t be charged even if they are unable to unsubscribe due to the feature’s removal from account pages and is locking discussions related to the very subject, subsequently directing them to a ‘main thread’, in which she allows spam and posts her own [posts her own spam?  icon_confused]; preventing any serious discussion from taking place.
Maybe in retrospect, as soon as they got Fate creator Travis Baldtree aboard, they shoulda thrown all their bets behind that horse instead.

The sad thing is, because everyone's already out the door (it seems), the Hellgate forums are devoid of any official remarks on this, and players are left referring back to that early June, "everything's fine" official post for hope that this is all a practical joke. icon_neutral

Comments are generally pretty ugly, but if in fact things shut down so quickly, that would probably be why nobody official is denying it or even telling current players what to do.  icon_frown
10188  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: July 13, 2008, 01:36:31 PM
The Guardian bud I mentioned suggested I move on to Khesatta (I might be spelling wrong), meant for roughly Level 70-80 (entrance is in the SW corner of the Purple Lotus Swamp). There are tons of quests there (though I imagine I'll burn through all of them quickly enough), including a couple delivery quests that send you all the way back to Atzel. So, if you're "binded" (Wayfarer) to Atzel, and travel to Khesatta, *don't* bind in Khesatta is my advice. That way you can quickly blink back to Atzel to complete the two delivery quests that take you back there. It was a real "doh" moment for me because I had chosen to bind to Khesatta.

It's a very rocky, cavern-type environment with lots of rocky hills. It seems heavier on animal enemies than humans. I was constantly seeing L75-80 characters popping out of the resurrection platform near the entrance so I don't imagine the zone gets very easy.

10189  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Any interest in Diablo II multi? on: July 13, 2008, 01:27:33 PM
Thanks, that'd be great.

I got my character to about 14 yesterday and start of Act II. Just like I remember, I was getting rare drops, most of which were completely useless for an Amazon. Titan Quest was sort of like that too. You'd get barrels full of loot, mostly useless for the character you had. I guess they design the games to promote trading.  icon_razz
10190  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 13, 2008, 06:04:31 AM
To commemorate its demise, here's a few of my screenshots. I still think the game had at its core some really fun and unique combat, and some of the coolest character models I ever saw in a game.  icon_cool

I never posted this before because I thought it was a "spoiler," but this is the "Final Boss"  ninja2
10191  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, 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:  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.
10192  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
10193  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
10194  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).
10195  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. tagline is "blackjackGT" if you want to send me a whisper on

NOTE: When I switched to 800X600 mode, the colors went beserk, exit the game and re-creating a game worked it out.
10196  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:

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)
10197  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.
10198  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
10199  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):
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.
10200  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 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:
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:

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
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