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10161  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 19, 2008, 08:13:27 PM
I guess this is moldy, rotten, stale news but they outlined back in January that the open beta would be "through partners," require registration etc. and they expected it to be pretty large, in the tens of thousands, but not a sort of "totally open one."

Most of the ones I've tried go "fully open" maybe a couple weeks before release, or as part of an occasional "stress test weekend."

Anyway, the moldy forum post was here:
http://forums.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=51002
10162  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 19, 2008, 06:43:24 PM
Nothing to see just yet - but TenTonHammer has created an "Ask a Dev" section in their forums. Once they have some answers from Funcom to share, they'll put them over here:

AoC: Developer-Answered Questions
http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=456

Only about two months away. Shouldn't there be some sort of open beta announcement soon? I shall look around.  icon_smile

Oh, hey, when I was digging around on my home PC via file manager, I came upon a text file I named, "SystemRequirementsDXdiagLogForAgeOfConanBeta" or something else graceful like that. I never heard back from them.  crybaby You had to attach that to your closed beta application.
10163  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 19, 2008, 06:02:45 PM
Dev "Warwitch" (level designer Melissa Bianco) gives a peek at the upcoming Hollows makeover (although, as I understand it, there are no structural changes to the level because they couldn't - at the time - afford to give her much to work with in terms of staffing help/resources related to artwork and such):

Developer Diary – Giving the Hollows Zone a Makeover
http://www.cityofheroes.com/feature_update_issue_12a.html
Quote
In the past, there have been several common complaints about it: The content is repetitive and not all that interesting, framerate is poor, enemies are too hard, players can’t solo it, and they’re forced to go there to get missions!

So I wanted to go in and make some spawn changes, and make us all a lot happier with the zone. Going in, there was little in the way of outside resources (Art and Tech were heavily booked with the Issue 11 material) available to rework the zone, and I had a small window of opportunity to get the work done in.

In the end I just jumped in with both feet and started reworking the zone. I started by gutting every spawn in the Hollows and starting from scratch.
10164  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 19, 2008, 04:01:39 PM
You should've seen the Original Faultline though. Just pretty much instant death.  Tongue

Hey I finally worked to the third contact in Rikti War Zone (goofy name that escapes me at the moment). You finally get a fairly refreshing mission in a new environment. Well OK basically it has one fresh environment (an auditorium where friendly "traditional" Rikti and Paragon citizens are gathering), then the rest takes place in an instanced version of the interior of the Rikti War Zone facilities.

It's refreshing from a combat perspective, esp. some rooms that have very tiny hallways to reach them. I believe the mission's called "Protect the Lady Grey." (whom I believe has an invention recipe/set named after her).
10165  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pirates of the Burning Sea open stress test on: March 18, 2008, 10:52:10 PM
Massively.com mentioned press release about Pirates' first major content update:
http://www.massively.com/2008/03/18/pirates-of-the-burning-sea-gets-its-first-major-content-patch/
Quote
Build 1.2.67 goes live on Tuesday, March 18th

(Seattle, WA) March 17th, 2008 – On Tuesday, March 18, 2008, Flying Lab Software will release the first major content patch for Pirates of the Burning Sea, the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) featuring high seas action and adventure in a world of pirates and plunder.

A few highlights of the changes in the build will include:

· Bey's Retreat - The new mission for experienced players of Pirates of the Burning Sea. Don't try this alone.

· Underdog Tools - If a player's nation wins the map in PvP, it becomes more difficult for them to do so next time. While the other nations get a boost.

· UI improvements - Revamped the chat channels, added chat bubbles that you can turn off, improved the Social UI, and other user interface changes.

In addition to updating Pirates of the Burning Sea with a major content patch, Flying Lab Software has also spruced up the Development forums on their website (www.burningsea.com/forums) with additional discussion areas that focus on player ideas and allow players to weigh in on future changes to the game. Here are the new forum areas:

· Community Suggestions - A place for community to discuss, collaborate on and refine new and interesting ideas for Pirates of the Burning Sea.

· In Concept - All of the threads in this forum area will be either created by Flying Lab Software based on ideas from the Community Suggestions area, or new game features that are currently under review by the Pirates of the Burning Sea development team for inclusion in the game world.

· Milestone Discussion – This forum area not only gives players a look into the future of Pirates of the Burning Sea, but gives them a chance to weigh in on the changes to come.

· Testbed Discussion – This forum area is devoted to discussing the Milestones that have been published to the test server, known as Testbed. This is the last stop on the journey before the combined ideas from the players and the developers become reality on the live game servers.
Assuming I cancel Tabula Rasa in mid-April, I'll probably finally open this and try it then. I had wanted to wait for at least one major update before I tried it.
10166  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Hellgate 1.2 Patch Notes on: March 18, 2008, 10:33:09 PM
Since I never could even get the last patch to install, and it took multiple attempts for me to just find a server to download it successfuly in the first place, *and* to this day, I can't even delete the file off my desktop (it keeps claiming the patch file is "in use," I remain cynical.  disgust

And I realize it worked fine for plenty of people, but you only have to check the tech support area at their forums to realize their patches are generally an adventure untothemselves.  icon_eek I may not play next-gen consoles, but if Flagship and their publisher(s) were going to just skip the QA process altogether, than console gaming is where they should've gone, imho.  stirthepot

When I get a new PC this spring, I don't think I'll be able to bring myself to "infect" it with Hellgate, even if I have some good memories of the actual gameplay.
10167  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 18, 2008, 08:48:27 PM
Destructor - thanks for the bid explanation. Some of it is still Greek to me.  icon_confused I guess when I see my rare recipe went for 2 million last time, I figure I should put it up for that much, but now I see that was kinda not so bright on my part.  icon_redface

Morlac - so far the only MMORPG where I kind of enjoyed crafting was LOTORO. I think part of that was the furious little animations at the crafting table, and part of it was it didn't require a Rocket Scientist to understand how to make things (in Auto Assault, the crafting process was simply inscrutable, I have no other way to describe it saywhat).

While I can appreciate doing other things from time to time, COH's combat was always where it was at for me. I do appreciate the recipes and costume recipes bringing just enough "looty flavor" that you can take a break from it. Even if I do refer to the players in Wentworth's as "Auction House Zombies."  icon_lol

I do recall having some gamer buds who wouldn't even try COH because they were so focused on loot, loot and more loot (equipment, weapons etc.) that it didn't appeal to them in that way.
10168  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 18, 2008, 04:58:16 PM
Really, until you get stamina (20), and some of the key powers at 26, 32, 35, 38, you're sort of missing out on the best stuff and on not having to be wheezy on endurance all the time (regen scrappers, and certain controller/defenders can buff their way around that problem).

Dr. Barium's leveling like mad now (maybe a level every other day), mainly cause he's very team focused (empathy healer and all that) and the levels really fly by.

I had alt-itis but usually I would get fixated on one character and start playing it mostly for some period of time (weeks, months). My tanks were never really fun for me until I got one to 20, picked up stamina, and could do more than just "sit there and take it." (which is what they generally ask you to do on teams, but it won't help you solo).

I guess the bummer of auction house and items not "binding to the owner" as they do in most more traditional MMOs is there's not much "sense of discovery" with the recipes. You just pile up dough, buy what you want, lather, rinse, repeat. icon_neutral Merely an observation, not a request they change it, which would only make about 80,000 people scream bloody murder.  smirk

I'm not very good at the dough piling up, I keep wasting it. I didn't even realize what a fortune the house charges if you put something really expensive up for bid.  Tongue

I do like Wentworth's as it turns out, and I'm finding myself fairly content to hang out there and fiddle, while waiting for another team invite or recovering from the last mission. At least unlike the totally wasted and deserted Arenas (well, they are useful for buying inspirations esp. during Task Forces when all the contacts are "closed"), there are always people in those things.
10169  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 18, 2008, 12:44:31 PM
I got my first costume piece recipe last night. It dropped while I was on a team completing a fairly mundane Peregrine Island mish:

The recipe's fairly inexpensive, and adds the jet boot option to the Tailor shop once made.


You don't *have* to be a flier to wear the boots, but you won't get to enjoy the "jet boot" animation except when you're flying. Very cool, continously animated effect.  icon_cool
10170  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 17, 2008, 07:25:22 PM
The dev going as "Back Alley Brawler" had a funny post the other day when a fan was speculating the devs must all be "driving Hummers now" they're so rich. He mentioned he drives a '93 Toyota Corolla with 210,000 miles with one hubcap missing (I drive a '96 Corolla with 235,000 miles on it and horribly peeling hubcaps myself  icon_lol), . The message being that the playerbase fees of all kinds keeps them duly employed (which is no little thing, giving how often MMO teams get pared down or laid off), doing something they love, but hardly makes them wealthy.

So I guess every bit, such as yours (or my reactivating my account), helps.  icon_smile

10171  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 17, 2008, 05:35:29 PM
They claim the microtransaction fees from Server Transfer and Character Rename helped fund some upcoming improvements/features that would have otherwise been delayed. So I guess to some extent we should only hope that that many people want to pay for extra character slots, if it means they can add some more goodies that would've otherwise gotten delayed.  icon_smile

I had read an interview in EDGE a while back with Bethesda, that even though there was much grumbling when they began charging for XBox360 version updates, bonus features (just new equipment in some cases), lots and lots of people were willing to pay the pocket change for them and it helped fund other things Bethesda wanted to do for it whereas they might have just stopped adding things to Oblivion otherwise.

It's a little different in this case since you're already paying about $15 a month, but I think like the iTunes model, you can find people willing to pay 99 cents or $1.99 or $2.99 for something that would make them blanche if they had to pay $10 or $15 more for it.

Dr. Barium hit 40 yesterday.
10172  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: March 17, 2008, 02:55:56 AM
fwiw, I'm probably keeping my account active til maybe April 10 or so. I had been overconfident enough about the game to do 3-month billing and April 16 is the next bill date so I think I'll give myself til then. I think I mentioned that before, perhaps not so specifically.

I think in the end (and just imho as I always say), it's just strange to fixate on trying to make leveling faster in a game where people already seem to largely level Too Fast and lose interest in the game. They should be trying to give you more and more variety to do, more reasons to stay, not just trying to make you hyperactively uber level and make enemy AI "tweaks" and create a mostly meaningless cosmetic change (hybrids) that doesn't seem remotely close to what people think of when they think of having multiple races with distinct differences to play.

I don't understand why a game that was hyped as averting the "grindfest" has so many players looking for "grind teams" and complaining about "grinding and more grinding." That would seem right there to illustrate my point there isn't enough to do. What's there, when it isn't mindless hunts, is really cool stuff I enjoy doing. I just wanted more, and I don't really see much in the pipeline. icon_confused

Assuming I cancel around April 10, I will definitely type things along those lines into the "tell us why you're leaving" and "what would it take to make you play Tabula Rasa again" boxes, for all the good it will do.

While there are things about TR that I truly do miss in City of Heroes (esp. TR's missions that are more interesting than clicking glowies and escorting NPCs), returning to COH reminded me of just how kludgy the whole TR interface and chat system feels, and just how much generally more sociable the COH playerbase is. The former is something Garriott and company should've had in place before launch. The latter is just not something you can "program" into a game. smile

I didn't get any characters past 33, so I'm not sure I'd return when PAUs launch (40 minimum). And basically I had done the content available to me and would have to grind, grind grind to reach the point of having new missions to do.

In a way though, the game led me to Dungeon Runners when I felt like I'd reached a brick wall in TR. And that led me back to COH. So I can't really be mad about it. It's like getting a divorce, dating a couple other gals, and then realizing the one you broke up with is whom you belonged with all along.  icon_biggrin Plus, I guess NCSoft doesn't care cause all 3 of those games are under their umbrella.  smirk
10173  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan melee dev video on: March 15, 2008, 03:46:42 PM
-The engine is supposedly "scalable" but we'll see. I mean, at full settings Tabula Rasa looks amazing on my old system, but the frame rate is about ... 1 fps.  crybaby

-My understanding is some of the videos at GDC and the like show decapitations happening far more often, and in more quantity than typically happens in the game (basically, the devs were showing off). It isn't quite Die by the Sword (a famously decapitory PC fighting game I loved). But I assume the marketers think kill moves and decapitations are a cooler thing to hype than more routine bashing and slashing.

-I found the video really enlightening, but I still don't quite understand sort of what types of keyboard keys we'll be bashing and the like. Do we have to bash shield keys *and* attack keys *and* spell keys? Will I need 3 hands to play the game? Maybe my cat can help.  icon_confused

-I remain unconvinced MMOs will ever take off on consoles or that folks already paying for XBox Live want to get into $15 a month games. A lot of companies want to succeed there so they don't have to keep throwing themselves against the WoW meat grinder to no avail on PC.

-"Skill-based" is something Pirates of the Burning Sea (which I still haven't opened!) touts in terms of its ship-to-ship combat. I'm keen on it, but there are plenty of people (in fact probably most of the 8 million playing WoW) who like auto-combat, and like being able to play with one hand while stuffing Cheetos in their face with another. Whether most people really want something different that requires a lot of on-the-fly adjustments, 'tis something interesting to see.

10174  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: March 14, 2008, 09:41:31 PM
Cryptic posted its answers to the first round of fan questions...

Ask Cryptic, March 14, 2008
http://www.champions-online.com/dev_blog/ask_Cryptic_03-14-08
The Blackjack Sniffer attempts to highlight a couple things (there were only about 4-5 questions in this round of answers)...
Quote
What will the "death penalty" be? (Hythian)

Arkayne: The "death penalty" is fairly simple, Hythian. After a player is defeated, he or she can choose to wait until another nearby player with healilng powers puts them back in the fight. Failing that, the player can choose to go to a nearby recovery point. Those points are spread throughout zones and instance maps. [I guess there are no resurrection inspirations per se in this?-bj]

Regardless of what the player chooses to do, they have to pay a small price for defeat: equipment damage. Equipment has a certain degree of durability associated with it. Whenever a player is defeated the equipment they are wearing suffers a durability loss. If the durability of an item is reduced to 0, it stops functioning until it is repaired. Equipment can be repaired for a resource cost at most hero safe areas throughout the game. [I'm not really a big fan of keeping an eye on equipment durability, not even in Diablo clones, so color me skeptical-bj  disgust]

About combat (the question is a loooooooooong one so I'm taking a shortcut here  icon_smile - bj]
Heretic: You will auto-target your opponent, but there are a couple of changes to how we are approaching player powers that should minimize the "fireball following them around corners" issue.

First, we have shortened activation times as much as possible. This makes the game feel faster and more responsive, but it also significantly reduces the frequency of projectiles following around corners.

Second, we are relying more heavily on charge-up and maintained attacks. The advantage of these type of attacks is that they give the player the opportunity to block or move to put walls and other objects in the way and close off line of sight from their attacker.
On the last point, the question was related to CoX basically treating cover as non-existent (and other heroes actually), so basically projectiles fly through/around cover, other players etc. for the most part. I think it's also a function of the relative slowness of CoX's engine though many MMOs share this type of limitation afik. Meaning the engine animates wonderfully and all, but if a bad guy fires at you, and you run around the corner, the projectile still follows through/around said corner and hits you.
10175  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 14, 2008, 08:54:08 PM
That's Dr. Barium though I have since added some "circuitry" green to his face to spice things up a bit.  icon_cool Since we're suddenly CoX-crazy here, maybe we can start a toon screenshots thread and start seeing what each other's creations look like.  icon_cool

Hey, City of Micro Transactions is growing by one soon:
http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=info&Number=10392241&bodyprev=#Post10392241
Quote
Our intent is add purchasable character slots to round out our existing services of Character Transfer and Character Rename. We hope to have this implemented and available shortly after Issue 12 Launch.
With all the Issue 12 lower level new/revamped stuff, a lot of folks expressed interest in more character slots though I'm sure there'll be much screaming of bloody murder over being charged for them.  icon_neutral

I dunno, I guess I'm not into alt-itis overload, and other than Pinnacle and Protector, I have way too many spare character slots on the other servers.
10176  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Sins of a Solar Empire - Beta Musings on: March 14, 2008, 05:12:48 PM
I can't find the link right now, but I saw an NPD item this morning that Sins is battling Call of Duty 4 (PC) for the top PC game sales slot (admittedly among the limited retailers that NPD covers, but still). Technically COD4's on top, Sins second, and then mostly a mix of WoW and The Sims stuff.

Gamedaily has a little interview with the CEO/Prez:
http://www.gamedaily.com/games/sins-of-a-solar-empire/pc/game-features/chart-toppers-the-sun-rises-for-sins-of-a-solar-empire/?biz=1
Quote
According to the NPD, Sins of a Solar Empire has been in the NPD top 10 every week since its release on February 4. It trailed only Call of Duty 4 in PC sales for its first three weeks of availability, bumped down to the third slot only this past week. As a result of this, Stardock announced that Sins of a Solar Empire passed 100,000 in sales in just over three weeks.
Yay for the little guy and for "games without copy protection," even if this remains for me a "game I want to love but just can't get into."  icon_redface But hey, one of those 100,000+ purchases was mine at least so I feel good supporting their efforts regardless.  icon_smile
10177  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 14, 2008, 04:59:13 PM
If there are several of us playing, I'd be glad to start a "CoX server player names" thread where we could limit it to just to posts about our toon names/servers/playtimes etc. Just out of paranoia paranoid, I usually only give my global chat ID out via PM. I mostly play on Pinnacle, though I have several mothballed Villains over on Protector.

Hey, War Witch at forums clarified that the Hollows improvements are strictly in terms of spawn mixes and sizes, and they have not done any structural changes to the Hollows zone as part of the makeover:

http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=Dev&Number=10384975&bodyprev=#Post10384975
Quote
War Witch, Level Designer who's doing the Hollows Gameplay Makeover, wanted me to point out that the changes are to address spawns and that there are no significant art changes (like moving buildings, etc.) being done with the changes.

We'll have more information and details about all the features of Issue 12: Midnight Hour in forthcoming web articles.
fwiw, when Dr. Barium (L39 empathy/rad blast defender on Pinnacle) is bored, he likes to go into the Hollows and give out fly-by heals, buffes and rezzes to the Little People. They always are appreciative, esp. given how large most of the mobs are there in the current configuration.  icon_smile Alas, the zone really is unpopular these days and Dr. B rarely finds any little ones to help out. *Blackjack exits "talking about himself in third person mode"*  smirk
10178  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: March 14, 2008, 04:50:30 PM
As a former LOTORO player I only keep a loose eye on things, but they dropped some pretty big news about a major, paid ($29.99) expansion they're releasing in fall 2008. You can read about it anywhere probably, here's a couple of links:

Massively.com
http://www.massively.com/2008/03/14/more-mines-of-moria-information-revealed/

Tentonhammer
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/28789

There's an official site, but if you ask me, it's way too gimmicky for its own good:
http://www.unlocktheminesofmoria.com/

Among the goodies (Due in Fall 2008):
-lifting level cap by 10 levels
-2 new classes (Warden and Rune-Keeper)
-3 new regions (Eregion, Moria and Lorien), supposedly including lots of new content
-New, unique Legendary Weapons (which earn their own deeds and traits)

Enough to bring me back? Well, lets see what the MMO world looks like in the fall, and see whether Age of Conan lives up to its promise or trips on its own shoelaces.  icon_confused
10179  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 14, 2008, 06:24:18 AM
So I somehow fell asleep at 9:30 p.m. and woke up at 1:30 a.m. Now I can't get back to sleep. Time to "search for Eee PC photo galleries" and reviews online. Some are old, but most have some very helpful-to-see images (including how it looks sitting on top of a "normal" laptop, in size):

ASUS Eee PC First Thoughts (from a Canadian site called Random Process)
http://www.randomprocess.ca/2007/11/14/asus-eee-pc-first-thoughts/
-This has pics of the packaging, and of it sitting on top of a regular size laptop's keyboard (helpful for visualizing as I've not been able to see this at any stores to check it out)
-The box is apparently almost exactly same size as an NVIDIA 8800GT video card box

Oh heck here's the image... (this is the current model and not the larger, upcoming ones with 8.5/9" screen)

=================================

Uh oh, I'm getting sleepy again. Zzzzz....

10180  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 14, 2008, 05:34:54 AM
This news brief that Blue's News picked up is only worth reading for the sporadically amusing comments thread appended to it:

BetaNews: Asus' Eee Linux PC to become Windows machine
http://www.betanews.com/article/Asus_Eee_Linux_PC_to_become_Windows_machine/1205439702
My favorite illuminatory comments (mostly an "OS wars disagreement") ...
Quote
"You're an idiot."

"Ever consider you are an idiot for mindlessly believing this?"

"OS theorists? Pray tell, whom might these be who are extolling the virtues of Microsoft's mighty spaghetti code? Lots of absolutes in your claims. Give us some links that don't start with www.microsoft.com."

"Eee.

Did their key get stuck?"  icon_lol

"With the price hike due to the 9 inches screen and Windows, what we end up is just another cheap laptop." [ehhh, not really true as the price is supposedly to be maybe $100 more than the current top model-bj]
Debate, drama, comedy and cynicism. Where did we turn to for such discourse before the Internet?  smirk
10181  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 13, 2008, 08:04:30 PM
*In feeble attempt to steer the thread back into Issue 12 discussions   drillsergeant  icon_lol

Hero 1, one of CoX's mission "writers," posted to reassure COV fans that *both* COH and COV players get new "Midnight Hour" story arcs to do and hopefully enjoy:
http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=general&Number=10383413&bodyprev=#Post10383413
Quote
The Midnight Squad missions, of which there are multiple arcs, are equal in content for both Heroes and Villains.

Heroes get a single longer StoryArc regarding the Midnight Squad and Villains get two shorter StoryArcs.

All of these arcs tie in to the Midnighter Club and the Cimerora, as well as two other arcs (one hero and one villain) that we didn’t mention in the release.

As far as the line from the release, “The Midnighters hold a secret that could bring the alien assault to an end, but without the help of the Heroes of Paragon City™ it will remain Lost forever.” That line refers to the Midnight Squads hero Story Arc.
If you prefer to solo and are impatient, I recommend a scrapper. Just about any type, but dark armor toggles are pretty exasperating in the endurance department.

If you're patient and prefer to solo, I think a Tank will make you even happier at the higher end of things.

If you're really patient and prefer to solo, then a controller with damagey pets (esp. fire controllers and illusionists with their Phantom Army) would be fun once you get into the pet stuff.

At their core, defenders are awesome support characters, so if you intend to never team up or help other players period, I just wouldn't waste time on them (even if it's quite possible to solo effectively with them, esp. with certain sets).

Can you solo with a blaster? Well sure. I venture there are probably more level 50 blasters in the game than any other AT. In fact until you start facing things that can mezz you, you'll be a whirl beater. But I've only managed to get one blaster past 38 (to 47), and so many things mezz you and knock you down and other nasty things in the higher levels, that it's really tough to solo on the high end (just my experience) unless you stock on the anti-mezz inspirations.

You can auto-complete missions (I want to say "abandon" but this actually completes a mission) once every X days now, so if you run into an AV or Elite Boss you can't handle solo, you can always use that feature to move on to the next one.

I think that's all the solo advice I have to give. Feel free to ignore it all or disagree - it's only based on my experience and how I feebly play the game.  Tongue
10182  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 13, 2008, 06:39:53 PM
PC World (IDG news service) has a news item. The US $ prices are based on the Taiwan prices though so don't see those numbers as the U.S. prices (just an approximation). Although it's mainly ASUS touting that the Windows XP version will outsell its predecessor, it has a bit more detail on the new models:

Windows Eee PC Will Outsell Linux Version, Says Asus
http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,143402-page,1/article.html
Quote
The company is selling two different versions of the Windows Eee PC laptop. [Note: in Taiwan-bj]

The cheapest one, the Eee PC Surf XP, costs NT$12,499 (US$408), has a 7-inch LCD screen, 4G-bytes of NAND flash memory for storage, and 512M-bytes of DDR2 DRAM (double data rate, second generation, dynamic RAM).

The more expensive version, the Eee PC 4G XP, costs NT$14,490 ($473) and includes an additional 4G-byte SD (secure digital) card for storage as well as slightly better battery able to last up to 3.5 hours, versus 2.8 hours for the cheaper model, and a built on 3-megapixel digital camera.

The laptops both run on Intel Pentium M 650MHz to 900MHz chips and weigh less than a kilogram.

The lowest cost Eee PC available runs on a Linux OS from Xandros, carries just 2G-bytes of NAND flash for storage and sells for around NT$7,999 ($261).
I think the 4G XP version has the new larger screen, but the article doesn't mention it.

These may be different models than what they're marketing in the U.S. I'm a little confused at this point.  icon_confused

They also have a brief video of the XP models introduced at the Cbit show in Germany:
http://www.pcworld.com/video/id,734-page,1-bid,0/video.html

Ewww, video of laptops on display! Ewwwww!  smirk Really though it *is* useful to see some adults attempting to type and touchpad on the thing (towards the end of the video - blink and you might miss it).
10183  Gaming / Analog Gaming / EA Attempting Hostile Takeover of Take-Two on: March 13, 2008, 03:59:17 PM
From Blue's today:
http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewthread&threadid=86016

I guess I'm charge of business-geek news here.  smirk Basically, they're trying to bypass the Take-Two company officials/board of directors and take their offer directly to stock holders.
Quote
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Electronic Arts Inc (NasdaqGS:ERTS - News) plans to make a tender offer to acquire all of rival video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc's (NasdaqGS:TTWO - News) outstanding shares for $26 each, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. A spokesman for Electronics Arts was not immediately available.

On February 24 EA made an unsolicited bid of $26 a share, or $1.9 billion, for Take-Two, publisher of the Grand Theft Auto game. Take-Two rejected the bid as inadequate.

Take-Two shares closed up on Wednesday at $24.91 on Nasdaq.
I covered one of these in my newspaper days when Mesa Air Group tried to acquire the now since defunct Independence Air. I feel bad in retrospect that I didn't cover the story from all angles well - Independence Air really would've been better off accepting that offer in the long run and would probably still be in business in at least a reduced capacity now (instead, it liquidated - Chapter 7 - completely in early 2006, putting thousands of employees out of work). I didn't really look at how insane jet fuel and oil costs were getting, and how impossible it would be to run a really cheap airline in today's world without the fuel hedges that Southwest Airlines was able to do.

These things generally are really hard to pull off unless the "hostile" company makes an obscenely generous offer, or unless Take-Two's individual investors really think the company is borked up and that this is their last chance to turn a profit on the shares they own. Typically the company attempting a takeover mails each shareholder (of the company they're trying to acquire) an explanatory letter, including a form they'd sign (yay or nay).

Most big companies have a "poison pill" provision in place to thwart or at least discourage hostile takeovers. This usually means something would kick in (maybe new stock, or tons of bonuses for employees etc.) that would make the costs of the hostile takeover acquisition prohibitive. Of course, given what a money pig EA is, that might not discourage them at all.  icon_lol
10184  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 13, 2008, 01:13:33 PM
Getting back to Issue 12, Positron mentioned you'll be able to position hotkey trays vertically if you prefer. Also, if you push the hotkey bar towards the edge of your screen, you can turn it into an L-shape. Masterminds (who have a ton of pet oriented keys to keep track of sometimes) might esp. find that useful.
10185  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 13, 2008, 01:07:51 PM
You *can* solo a defender or controller, but it requires some patience on the low end (on the higher end, most Controllers are like one man armies). If you've got the veterans rewards temp power goodies (staff/wand choices, and axe/Sands of Mu dark melee cone power choices), then you can make up for the lack of attack powers in the Defender/Controller sets.

Scrappers were my favorites overall and favorites to solo. Although I have a regen and a super reflexes scrapper, my lone 50 was a broadsword/invulnerability scrapper and my lone tank (38) is an invulnerabilty/stone melee tank - so I'm partial to invulnerability even if regen gets you over the hump in terms of endurance problems before stamina's available. The bummer in invuln is that the penultimate Unstoppable power crashes spectacularly (health *and* endurance drop near zero when it wears off). Some of the others are more forgiving at the end.

If you just have the patience to get a tank to the point of having stamina, then a tank becomes such you can solo almost anything in the game aside from certain "debuffing" types of elite bosses. My 38 tank couldn't, as it turns out, solo the Ourboros TF because there's an elite boss vampire (Nosferatu) who dark-debuffs you to the point you're essentially helpless (can't hit anything, can hardly heal etc.).

Part of the difficulty of soloing for me is having the patience to largely avoid toggle powers until I can get stamina (20), or being willing to shove a  lot of endurance reducers to make them bearable. If you strictly solo, you miss out on the various buffs controllers and defenders can give you to help you deal with endurance situations, among other things.
10186  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: March 12, 2008, 10:35:39 PM
Patch notes for 1.6 are out. Well, with no official forums, I'll post the massively.com item on it:
http://www.massively.com/2008/03/09/tabula-rasa-patch-notes-for-1-6-are-up/

I was hoping for more content (missions, maybe a new area etc.), but they seem fixated on increasing exp multiplier modifiers and other tricks to get you leveling faster. Which, for a game where you sometimes already level too fast for your own good, seems (just imho) to be a strange tact to take.

There was a Starr Long post a while back about the "state of the game":
http://www.rgtr.com/community/community_news/tabula_rasa_state_of_the_game.html

While it's supposed to assuage people that Everything's OK, and they're just paring down a basically bloated launch team to the lean'n'mean team you want for regular updates, I'm not really convinced. They've been yakking about PAUs and Control Points, and new missions where those things face a challenge, for a long time, and it just doesn't sound like they are anywhere near getting into the game.

Since I've returned to COH and feel pretty happy there, I can share my thoughts on the two games even if they're very different (and heck, they're both by the same publisher, I don't think NCSoft cares which one I play thumbsup)...

COH?
-I prefer the animations there compared to often clumsy ones in TR.
-If you have an older system (mine dates to 2004 although the video card is recent), COH seem far, far more foriving and you don't have to turn every detail down to get a playable game.
-Even the April 2004 launch COH to me had a far more polished interface, chat system, hotkey system etc. with less obsession with DOS command line stuff (though there's plenty of command line stuff you can do if you preer that) than TR has.
-Much more interesting variety in its powersets than TR's simplified skills sets.
-There's enough quantity and variety of zones, that two characters of the same level (say, 45) may have gotten there without laboriously doing the exact same missions and combing through the same zones (as TR basically requires). I wouldn't call COH non-linear per se, just you can have at least a little different experiences from one character to the next, which I like.
-I hate to generalize, but it just seems easier (at least on weekends) to form big pickup teams in COH and have a good time. You do run into the occasional nasty person, but after a couple weeks back it already feels almost like home again. smile

TR?
-I enjoy the base defense stuff, but I just can't be happy doing that all day.
-Many missions/quests in TR to me are quite interesting, imaginative and thoughtful. More so than in COH which has an obsession with clicky glowies, and escort missions.
-The zones to me are far, far more lively than in COH, for the most part, with lots of stuff going on, enemies moving all over the place, dropping in etc. My return trip to COH has taught me that static mobs that sit and wait like a bump on a log can be boring at times (some of the post-launch zones like Striga Isle were a tad more lively).

But in TR this is all watered down with way too many "kill 25-45-60 blotzkies" missions, imho, and way too many non-instance missions that require you to basically either wait in line (which is ridiculous) to shoot something you need, or to basically be willing to out-fight other players to reach something. I'm just not a big fan of that, esp. how often it comes up in TR.

====================
Those are just my babbledy thoughts since the thread's dead and it appears we've all pretty much moved on.

I'll probably deactivate my account shortly before my next billing period. Then if they deliver on the PAUs, command control points and put a little more content in (instead of obsessing over exp modifiers, and "monster tweaks"), then perhaps I'll float back. I think if I get a new PC down the road, I'll also have a much better experience in it.

I still have fondness for the game, I just can't help thinking that stripping their launch dev team to a lean team can't really result in some magical ability to add more content or get updates out the door faster.
10187  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: March 12, 2008, 08:48:10 PM
Cryptic claims to have fixed that link (wasn't working with IE 7 in particular):
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=80021#post80021
Quote
Ok I fixed the link, IE7 wasn't downloading it correctly. Probably an issue with gzip transfers.
10188  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 12, 2008, 08:39:01 PM
Main problem with Hollows (imho) is the mobs are too large for soloers or small groups to handle. If you have a big group, then it's like an Exp candy factory, but if I'm stuck soloing (like many weekdays), then it's a tough place to progress in.

They seem to indicate mob setups have been redesigned drastically to make soloing and getting around the zones easier.

Castle seemed to clarify the additional powers (nothing new, but it seems like you get 1-3 additional power choices from roughly your character equivalent in the other game -- CoV or CoH).
Quote
Every AT gains at least 1 powerset -- Masterminds only get a Secondary, no new Primary. Brutes get 2 new Primaries [revealed to be the axe and mace powers from COH's tank power sets], and 1 secondary. Everyone else gets 1 Primary and 1 Secondary.
I'm not really sure what it means as far as my Defender goes. I guess he'd get a couple choices from the Corruptor sets? I think Dr. Barium (hit 38 last night btw) could probably use another attack with secondary effects (stun, knockback etc.).

I know my L29 Controller (gravity/force field bubbles) could desperately use some sort of cone or AoE attack option. Of course he isn't meant to be a solo whirlwind, but when you can hold a big squad with grav holds and have no area attack weapon (other than maybe the shotgun temp power from Striga Isle), it's a bummer.
10189  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 12, 2008, 06:25:43 PM
Er, oops, I should've included link to Positron (Matt Miller)'s "letter to the communitY" about the update and the CoX series' future hopes and plans:
http://www.plaync.com/us/news/2008/03/dev_corner_city.html
Quote
As Lead Designer on the project, I have had a lot of control over what happens in the City of Heroes game, but in the past I still had hurdles to get some great ideas actualized. With the new studio, a lot of ideas that couldn’t take hold under the old management are being implemented into the game with outstanding results.
Ouch.  stirthepot To be fair, I think Cryptic was basically hamstrung by the amount of funding NCSoft would provide. So I can't even tell if he's taking a dig at Cryptic, or at NCsoft.  icon_confused

There still seems a lot of fan speculation about maybe a paid expansion or even a followup game eventually. They hint about something Really Big down the road. The updates are great, but it *is* a 3-4 year old game now (COH in 2004; COX in 2005) that you can't even find on store shelves much anymore so it might take something new that they can push back onto shelves (or perhaps making it available on Steam or something) to grow the user base if that's still something they hope to do.
10190  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 12, 2008, 06:17:42 PM
There's much grumbling at official boards that the Hollows doesn't need as much work as various other deserted zones such as Boomtown, Firebase Zulu/The Chantry (just connecting via all the floating asteroids via simple teleportion portals instead of unpredictable "propulsion chutes" would make it a more playable area), or even Crashed Rikti Mothership Site (which I think got a re-do a while back but still is largely ignored afik).

I loved the Faultline revamp way back although its single story arc didn't give much reason to stay there. The Hollows re-work seems a lot less major though.

I still think something's wonky in their data-mining because they're always claiming there are more 10-20 or 15-25 etc. level characters in the game so if you ask why there isn't more 35-40 or 40-50 content getting added or revamped, that's often been their reasoning. A lot of players (esp. now with the font smoothing) blow through 10-20 etc. so fast it seems kind of a lost cause to focus on content at those levels. I think more often people get a wee burned out around 40-45ish doing all the Peregrine Island stuff, and they could just more to do -- the Roman stuff in this update should help a little (35-50 they say).
10191  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 12, 2008, 05:43:20 PM
Details announced so thought it was worth a new thread.  icon_smile

Forum page with lotta links
http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=info&Number=10372986&bodyprev=#Post10372986

Details page
http://www.cityofheroes.com/game_update12.html
Quote
New Stuff
JOIN THE MIDNIGHT SQUAD (LEVELS 10 - 20)
The clandestine organization of mystics, scholars and mages, known only as the Midnight Squad, seeks to rebuild its numbers since the devastating assault of the Rikti Invasion. The Midnighters hold a secret that could bring the alien assault to an end, but without the help of the Heroes of Paragon City™ it will remain Lost forever.

NEW ROMAN-STYLE ZONE MAPS (LEVELS 35 - 50)
The Midnighters hold many secrets within their walls, including a highly coveted Ouroboros crystal, enabling them to travel to the far reaches of time. There is a familiar threat in an ancient land and the Midnighters need the help of both Heroes and Villains to stop it. Players step foot upon the ancient land of the Roman Cimeroran Peninsula, where they battle deadly creatures, defend an ancient city and ultimately come face to face with the enemy of time itself. Throughout this journey players uncover the mysteries of power and the origins that guide them today.

UNLOCK ROMAN-STYLE ARMOR COSTUMES
Through their accomplishments, players unlock the new Roman themed armor costume set.

Villain Epic Archetypes
Infiltrate the Arachnos organization from within! Upon reaching level 50, Villains unlock two new Epic Archetypes; Wolf Spiders and Blood Widows. They have their own unique storyline and missions, power combinations and costume sets. Branching powersets allow the Wolf Spider to specialize as either a Bane Spider or Crab Spider and the Blood Widow chooses from the Fortunata and Night Widow branches. Each brings with it unique costumes for your Arachnos duties, as well as your newfound role as a Destined One.

Powerset Proliferation

Using his newly built Resonance Manipulator, the Villain scientist known as Dr. Brainstorm™ has discovered a way to alter the energy strands which connect every Hero and Villain to their powers. This discovery has not only opened the door to new powers for his fellow Villains in the Rogue Isles™, but has also done the same for the Heroes of Paragon City ™! Specifically, new characters of almost every Hero and Villain archetype gain access to an additional primary and secondary powerset that they didn’t have access to previously. Details to come!

Hollows Zone "Gameplay Makeover"
Significant changes have been made to the Hollows zone to make it more fun! NPC encounters have been rebalanced, including new spawns, new villain groups, mission door improvements, and a mobile hospital has been added to the entrance of the zone [Hollows has no hospital, and it's really annoying for the lower level, travel-skill-less characters to trudge back there from Atlas-bj].  Additionally, Meg Mason, a new contact, has been added to give out repeatable missions.

Major Gameplay Improvements
-Eight configurable new power trays let players customize their User Interface by placing them anywhere on the screen.
-Contact display redesign: Contacts are now listed separately as Active and Inactive, and players can sort contacts by a range of criteria including Name, Zone, and Level Range.
-Inspiration Conversion: Right click an inspiration to convert three of that kind into any one inspiration of another kind.
-Level Up Boost: Upon reaching enough XP to level up (at all levels), one of each type of large inspiration is immediately cast upon your character, and health and endurance bars are immediately filled.
-Chat improvements: Right click on character names in chat window to ignore, add to friends list, invite to team, etc. Drag any item (enhancement, inspiration, salvage, etc.) into the chat window so that you and others can click a hotlink to view the complete info box. [as in WoW and its ilk, should be very helpful when trading inventions in particular]

-More Real Numbers: Players can now display stats on powers before they choose them enabling more informed power selection and new temporary powers allow players to display enemy stats.
Lots of cool stuff. I picked a good time to come back.  icon_cool While much of it falls under "quality of life" improvements, the interface is one of my favorites in MMO land and I welcome further improvements.
10192  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 12, 2008, 03:24:28 PM
Given how tiny the keyboard is, I'd be careful of running a hotkey-heavy game on it. I mean, you can attach a full keyboard and mouse to the USB ports I guess, but it sort of defeats the point.  icon_confused

Oh, hey, Brighthand had a pretty thorough review of a 4GB model back October:

Asus Eee PC 701 4G Review
http://www.brighthand.com/default.asp?newsID=13453

Battery life is maybe 3-4 hours if you're doing anything heavy duty with it, it seems. He answered some of my questions about heat and noise (or lack thereof):
Quote
Even with the low voltage processor and SSD drive, the Asus Eee PC produced as much heat as any other notebook in the same price range. The keyboard and bottom of the notebook got quite hot even under normal use, and the fan was always running in an attempt to keep the system cool.

Fan noise was among the quietest we’ve heard. The only way to tell the fan is blowing is to put your hand next to the air vent to feel the warm air blow past.

In my testing, the keyboard side of the Eee PC warmed up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit during normal extended use, while the bottom was at 112 degrees. I'm only listing one temperature for each side because the Eee PC is so small that they're basically only one temperature for the top and one temperature for the bottom.
If you're a child or have very tiny hands, you might be able to touch-type on it. Otherwise, it sounds like strictly index finger hunt-n-peckin'.

I'm curious how much hotter/noisier the hard-drive versions will be.

I just saw it as useful on my occasional business trips, and maybe (since my PC and TV aren't in the same room) something to have handy when something on TV tosses an URL at you. My PSP is pretty much lame as far as Web browsing goes. Even hunt'n'peckin' beats trying to use PSP buttons and a thumbstick to Web surf.  disgust
10193  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 11, 2008, 11:14:14 PM
I think 800 quests should keep even the most frantic power gamer entertained for at least.... oh... a week?  icon_lol

I really think one of the hardest things to do in an MMO is to make people care even a smidgen about the storyline as opposed to just frantically clicking on NPCs and quests and racing through everything as if every quest were no more interesting than going to the bathroom (don't visualize that!).  icon_neutral

So I really do have my fingers crossed the quests are as interesting and great in number as promised. I had some fun in Dungeon Runners, and while I know it's not trying to be a full fledge MMO per se, it is drowning in "kill 25 rats," "kill 45 schmucks" and kill "60 toads," etc. A few Korean MMOs I've tried over the years (like R.O.S.E. Online) are glutted with the same thing.

I don't need Shakespeare, I don't need multi-layered plotting but I do need something more interesting than "kill 75 so and so's."  Roll Eyes "Something more interesting" is a great carrot to me. And I love when characters (NPCs or what have you) change. I love in movies when you think you know a character, but he/she gradually develops into something else (good or bad). I love when gentle characters are pushed to violence, or violent characters show a tender side. Heroes that have to do something villainous, villains who do something heroic.

Blah blah blah. Sorry. I just hope AoC has even a smidgen of that kind of stuff. It wouldn't make it Better Than WoW or ensure 5 million subscribers, but I really think it would freshen up the MMO environment.
10194  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Harmony Remotes: Yay or Nay? on: March 11, 2008, 10:59:16 PM
As someone who has scoped out some of those insane $300-$800 remotest at Best Buy I say...

* Get a remote you can afford to spill beer and smear Cheetos and Fritos residue on, and taco grease on, and not fret about it.

* Get a remote that when you get really mad about your favorite team choking in the playoffs, you can afford to toss the remote into a wall and break it and not take out a loan to replace it.

* You have enough monitors and screens and touchpads in your house already. Get something where there are actual buttons you can feel. Every Channel Surfer Dude I knew is happier with that than a $300 touchscreen remote that they can't tell what buttons are by "feel."

* Don't get a remote with a fancy pants battery pack that probably runs out of juice every two weeks and requires a mad search for the rare store that carries a replacement.

* Don't buy a remote that cost more than your launch day PlayStation 3 did, for crying out loud! icon_lol

These are my cardinal Rules of Remotes. Violate them at your own risk.  Tongue

Uh, oh I'm off topic. Well, I did in fact look at the Harmony and other fancy pants model remotes. I think what scared me off is how many on the rack had been returned (i.e. packaging had been opened). Always a warning sign for me. smile Your mileage may vary and I wish you happiness if you do get one.

I've been happy with my $15 Philips replacement remote, and I'm giving my brother a slightly ritzier (maybe $25) model that can learn commands from off brand and unsupported-by-codes remotes.
10195  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: How do I share files from XP to Vista? on: March 11, 2008, 09:09:23 PM
I bought this informercial product (I really did buy it, I'm not spamming for it I swear), The Tornado, which in theory should be ideal for your situation. However, if $60 seems obscene or you're adept with networking cables, then don't bother.  icon_biggrin
http://www.thetornado.com/

Basically it's just module with some integrated file transfer software and retractable USB 2.0 cords built into it. You only need to have one of the PC/laptop screens available, plug it into both and walah.

I got it in anticipation of getting a Vista PC at some point but I've put it on the backburner for now. It's probably more worthwhile in a situation where you need to do this or transfer huge files a lot.
10196  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York tied to prostitution ring on: March 11, 2008, 06:21:10 PM
Some are missing the irony this guy made his rep as a hard-nosed DA who prosecuted, among other things, prostitution rings. Isn't it ironic, don't ya think?  disgust icon_lol At best, he's just a complete idiot and hypocrite. Unfortunately, he's not in showbiz, in which case he could go on Leno and Letterman, plead "mea culpa" and it would all gently blow over in about 2 weeks.  Roll Eyes

As a reporter for most of the last 20 years, I'm always trying to write in active voice. Somehow politicians, and baseball players accused of steroid use always find a way to speak in passive voice as if they had somehow stepped outside their body and some other humanoid had done something foolish. Something along the lines of...

"I was befallen by poor judgement and terrible decision making for which forgiveness is something I beg of you, the public."

Or maybe...

"I was injected in the buttocks by Joe Schmoe and was told by him to believe that the hypodermic was filled with Vitamin B-666."

Or...

"That may have been what was heard by my teammate. However, what was said by me was not intended to be given that type of meaning."

 Roll Eyes Ohmigod. Just beware of "passive voice" in press conferences and interviews. The more "passive," the more they're trying to avoid responsibility for their actions, at all costs.
10197  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Sins of a Solar Empire - Beta Musings on: March 11, 2008, 05:42:29 PM
Ironclad Games' exec posted some food for thought thoughts on piracy and its impact (or not?) on PC games:
http://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/post.aspx?postid=303512
Some of his thoughts can be boiled down to "stop making Upper high-end games for PC when there aren't nearly enough hardcore gamers and gaming PC owners for you to turn a profit on the sales" [cough cough Crysis]  icon_wink

So you've got Epic's Mark Rein complaining the PC makers are pushing lame, integrated-video systems too much, resulting in too small a base of systems that can tackle newer games (therefore every succeeding Unreal Tournament PC incarnation is selling less and less due to the dwindling number of high end PCs out there, is how I read it). And Iron Clad's guy pushing for games to cater to more modest systems (and stop pushing DirectX10 and Shader 3.0 requirements etc.) where the largest possible PC gamer base can be found. An interesting tug-o-war.  icon_neutral

I'm wondering if it was inspired by that THQ Titan Quest producer who was blaming piracy at least partially for TQ's somewhat underperforming sales and Iron Lore's subsequent demise. Or maybe it's just because both developers have "Iron" in their title?  icon_smile

Beyond that, he has some good news on Sin's impressive (esp. for an "under the radar screen" game sales) sales so far.
10198  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 11, 2008, 12:27:41 PM
CVG (UK site) has a sort of vaguely updated preview:
http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=184177
Quest depth is what I remain most hopeful about, though every MMO that brags about their number of quests seems to get accusations of "not enough content" shortly after launch anyway (which is me pointing at Tabula Rasa at the moment  smirk
Quote
Along with two dedicated full-time writers, there's a team of eight people solely writing quests, and another responsible for managing the lore. There'll be 800 quests ready at launch, and surprisingly few of them appear to be timesink "kill 30 rabbits" nonsense.

In fact, some genuinely inspired ideas are being touted, including solving murder mysteries, and stealth quests requiring you to sneak over rooftops and eavesdrop on NPC conversations. The large team is there to ensure quests have meaning in the game, linking them to the story, giving you the motivation to complete tasks.

I've had trouble grasping the combat system (which has been simplified a bit in the early part of the game, supposedly, and then ramps up in intricacy as you progress), but their throw-away description makes it a bit easier to understand:
Quote
Every enemy in the Robert E Howard-inspired game has three points where they can be attacked: left, right and above.

These are shown by semi-circles floating about them when targeted. If you hit them on the left, they'll defend that side, maybe leaving the right exposed. Exploit this, and take advantage of your ever-increasing set of skills and the combo system, and you'll be employing a degree of tactics not seen before in MMO battling.
10199  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: God of War: Chains of Olympus Impressions on: March 11, 2008, 04:10:19 AM
And PSP Fanboy has an item about "The Spud of War." What's that you ask???  icon_lol

Playing as the Spud of War
http://www.pspfanboy.com/2008/03/10/playing-as-the-spud-of-war/
10200  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: God of War: Chains of Olympus Impressions on: March 11, 2008, 03:56:31 AM
I did finally play this a bit. I would say it looks and animates like nothing you've ever seen on PSP.  icon_cool That said, again - if you don't like this kind of game in the first place, this won't change you mind. I find the "hot spot" and "cinematic button pressing sequences" annoying myself even if they've suddenly become the "hip" thing to include. I didn't enjoy it in the demo of Clive Barker's Undying, and I didn't find it any more fun here I'm afraid.

Aaaand, if you haven't heard, developer Ready at Dawn plans to *not* do any more PSP games after this.  crybaby They're moving onto the full size consoles from here apparently. Penny Arcade mentioned this link:
http://www.readyatdawn.com/news.php
Quote
Moving forward, we can confirm that Chains of Olympus will be our last PSP game as we’re moving on to other projects and other ideas on other consoles. We can also confirm that this will be our first and last God of War game as, just like Daxter before it, there will NOT be a PS2 port of the game. We like our games PSP exclusives
I guess one of the sad things about PSP is companies do great, memorable stuff like this, Guerrilla's Killzone: Liberation, and Slant Six's SOCOM: Tactical Strike and then *poof* that's it. Some of it's apparently just seeing PSP as a "proving ground" before moving onto full size consoles. I also get the impression an A-list PSP title is just hard to turn a profit on. It's selling better in the U.S., but it just doesn't have a massive enough user base to sell a zillion copies of a PSP game. I've also read various dev blogs that suggest piracy on PSP with retail games is becoming more widespread. So I can see where developing for consoles where that's -- knock on wood -- so far less of a problem might be more appealing for a smaller dev.
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