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10201  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 25, 2008, 10:28:40 PM
I'm still running old AMD64 crap so I can't vouch.  icon_confused I did see a brief thread at official forums mentioning it (the older threads may have been pruned from their boards):

I could definitely believe it, given that the game shipped in spring 2004 and I don't recall if dual cores had come out then. I was all excited about my AMD64 at the time.  Roll Eyes
10202  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pirates of the Burning Sea open stress test on: March 25, 2008, 06:49:37 PM
I gave mine to El-Producto some time ago. Hope he got some enjoyment out of it.  icon_smile

I canceled my Gamefly membership yesterday. I think I'm probably still on target to cancel TR in early-mid April, and then I'll probably be game to finally boot this up. I kind of have a 2 MMOs At the Same Time Rule (COH being the other).  icon_neutral
10203  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: March 24, 2008, 10:11:19 PM
I'm not a moderator but let's talk COH/COV in that other thread (and I'll talk your ear off there since I've really fallen back in love with the game  icon_smile).

With Champs, Emmert posted a dev blog talking about how their hiring of an experienced comic book writer, and the "test" that they give prospective applicants:

Identifying with your heroes
Quote from: Jack Emmert
A MMORPG has much fewer lines of dialogue to develop its characters than a novel or comic book. Every single word is precious; every verb, noun, adjective, adverb must create a better understanding of a character’s motivation and personality.

When hiring for our writing position, all of the applicants had to take a test. One of the questions was:
A supervillain is monologuing his triumph to his seemingly helpless superhero nemesis. Write this monologue from two perspectives. The first – the supervillain is a cold, calculating monarch of an Eastern European nation. The second – the villain is maniacal, nearly insane.

We wanted to find someone who could, in a few words, deftly communicate the difference between the insane archvillain and the arrogant one. Most applicants were readily able to demonstrate that the one was sane and the other wasn’t, but very few illuminated the underlying motivations of each.

It's interesting stuff, but comic book fans (me included) would probably take issue with Jack's "interpretations" of various popular comic book characters' appeal/lack of appeal. But everybody has an opinion.  icon_smile

Oh they hired John Layman, and apparently he has a lot of experience writing for comic books (his own, and many for the big publishers), along with a bit of game writing experience.
10204  Gaming / Analog Gaming / Re: *edit* I'm playing a boardgame with myself!! on: March 24, 2008, 09:19:48 PM
This reminds me when I was visiting a former reporter friend (female) in Ohio. Her husband (whom I like) was out of town coincidentally. I had barely dropped my suitcase when she exclaimed, "There's something I've been dying to do, and now that you're here, I can do it!"  My mind reeled. And she proceeded to ... icon_eek

... break out her Scrabble board and exclaim, "I've been dying to play Scrabble with someone!" She wanted to play Scrabble with me because her husband the attorney never wanted to play.  disgust icon_lol So we spent a pleasant evening playing Scrabble and guzzling soda back in fall 1990.

There oughta be some easy way, like that Eye Toy type PS3 card game, where you could play board games via Internet. I mean, I know you can play PC versions of Scrabble, Monopoly etc. but even with headsets it doesn't quite capture the feel of physically handling cards and tokens and such, or interacting with folks around the table. I do get to play a bit of board games with my niece, nephew and my brother and sister-in-law when visiting them and I really enjoy it.  icon_smile
10205  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 24, 2008, 07:12:55 PM
Welcome.  icon_biggrin Of late I'm playing a defender and do use the auto function for the general healing aura if my team's in a big fight. I don't if you've been subscribed long enough for some of the veterans rewards, but there's a nice dark melee cone attack that most veteran folks use to replace brawl.

As far as AoC goes, there was a Q&A compilation posted at official forums on Thursday:
Couple of things of interest:
-They're internally testing some possible "sidekick/mentoring" systems as used in COH/COV
-Mounts are treated sort of as an extension of your character (the mount dies if you die), but you won't lost them permanently if offed on combat. At worst there might be a slightly penalty of some sort. The mounts use fairly realistic attacks including ramming witht heir horn or tusks, or horses using their feet to kick.
10206  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 24, 2008, 03:28:30 PM
I hope they aren't limiting the late beta to "pre order" players. Although, well, I guess I could do as I did with Auto Assault and just buy at a retail store a $10 pre-order box (which doesn't obligate you to purchase the full game -- a misconception I long had).

I was hoping the bonus would be some sort of velcro Conan warrior doll where you can rip the head and limbs off and maybe attach them in the wrong places.  icon_twisted

While you can set a single power in COH/COV to auto-attack (and I've seen plenty of lazy players set their tanks/scrappers to follow mode and one attack while they go have a cheese doodle festival  disgust), I generally am clacking hotkeys every which way and usually develop a certain sort of rhthym. I guess it's not a hundred miles from the Conan system, you'll just have more specific sequences you want to hit to be most effective.
10207  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 24, 2008, 03:24:46 PM
A team helped me finish up one of the Rikti War Zone arcs last night, and unlocked a new contact there. He won't have missions to give until level 45 though (43). I think I've still got one active contact there, but I guess you can keep doing mishes in the 45-50 range there. Probably that's in the initial Issue 11 patch notes.
10208  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 23, 2008, 06:07:02 PM
I put a lot of time in on large teams Saturday in Rikti War Zone. I think I mentioned once you get far enough in the contacts you start seeing some refreshing environments. In most cases, they are existing environs re-textured and re-colored, but sometimes it consists of areas you're not used to fighting in so it still feels fresh.  icon_cool

Some pics:

One climaxes in a huge room set beneat the Rikti Mothership (seen in the Crashed Rikti Mothership zone)

My favorite is a fairly epic mission where you're trying to protect the Portal Corps area (seen in Peregrine Island zone). Only in this scenario the Rikti have succeeded in building their own portals that you have to destroy, and some changed textures and colors indicate Portal Corps has been under siege by the rikti. We had a lot of fun with this one with a big team.

An ensuing Power Supply center mission takes place in a largely retextured and slightly redesigned underground base (usually seen in 5th Council and earlier 5th Column missions).
10209  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 21, 2008, 07:43:07 PM
Saw a neat little tidbit that the Hollows makeover includes new "resurrection gurnies" at the front (presumably near the Atlas gate) so you'll no longer have to rez from Atlas and trudge back if you die (and can't get a buddy to rez you etc.):
Quote from: Lighthouse
War Witch is adding gurneys (ala the Safeguard missions) to the front of the zone that you will go to if you are overcome and hit ye olde hospital button.
Note that while you can rez at your SG base and then use the appropriate SG teleporter to get back to the Hollows, it dumps you smack into the middle of the zone on a safe spot on a hill - tough to travel from there though. Not really recommended for lowbies, unless you have the holiday or Good vs. Evil-set jetpack temp power.  icon_neutral

Which reminds me, apparently the Good vs. Evil box (COH/COV) is reaching cutout bin prices and may be worth picking up if only for the jetpack and some other unique perks it included. I think you only need to enter the code from the box in your PlayNC account to get the perks applied.
10210  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: March 21, 2008, 07:06:41 PM
For 1.7 they apparently plan to start re-tweaking certain classes. Today's feedback update has some details:
You may question why Spy and Sniper are being addressed in 1.6 and 1.7. The Classes and Combat Team felt the Spy and Sniper classes were focused on TSR and Blades. Their abilities did not provide them with the tools they needed to play their class effectively. While they had huge damage numbers on their weapons, that was all they had.

Our goal now is to allow the player the option to use these newly tweaked abilities in addition to their main weapons to create a more interactive, well rounded combat dynamic. They will soon be better equipped to setup more affective shots, mitigate incoming damage, and escape otherwise certain death.
It seems like they'll be doing fairly major changes/additions, so it'll be interesting to see how these work out.

Swords are getting NerfedTM however, and you can just imagine all the screaming there'll be. Well, there are no official forums so there'll just be some random screaming in message boards across the cosmos. icon_razz
10211  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tom Clancy MMO Accounced on: March 21, 2008, 05:17:26 PM
Thanks. Although I guess I'll have to change the message now and then to keep it fresh.  icon_smile

I dunno. I just feel like the Tom ClancyTM name is getting yanked around in so many directions. To me it really meant something with the early R6 and Splinter Cell games. At this point, I bet they could yank Tom ClancyTM from "Rainbow Six Vegas 2" and no gamer would bat an eye, regardless of platform.

A Tom ClancyTM MMO would mean nothing to me. If they somehow found a way to turn any of the various franchises (R6, GRAW, Splinter Cell, etc.) into a solid MMO, that would be more meaningful to me. Just the humble BlackjackTM Opinion fwiw.

Oh, hey, the legal situation (buying Clancy's name in one-lump fee without having to worry about royalty payments in the future) reminds me of the Activision/Gibson situation where Gibson is suing Activision. Apparently, according to news items, Activision didn't want to continue the royalty deal that allowed it to use Gibson guitar likenesses in box art and promotions for the Guitar Hero games. I'm curious if maybe Activision wanted to do something like this Clancy royalty-free deal, but perhaps Gibson wanted to continue having future royalties and some approval-abilities instead of just a lump-sum one time payment.
10212  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: is Warhammer Online dead? on: March 21, 2008, 05:12:40 PM
Aye, I enjoyed LOTORO several months (apparently I pre-ordered it in April 2007 -- it hardly seems that long ago). I know the deeds there were more, "here's a neat bonus just as you go along doing other things," but yeah sometimes I'd get caught up in trying to kill 50-100 of something to complete a deed. I just don't remember one that requires 2,000.  icon_surprised

I guess it's sort of a Catch-22. If you make the reward good it's a nice carrot, but if you feel like you *have* to have the deed-reward type thing to be a successful character, then it can burn you out (and I know that feeling).
10213  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: is Warhammer Online dead? on: March 21, 2008, 01:12:16 PM
Gamespy came out to my neck of the woods (Northern Va.) to visit EA Mythic and do a week's worth of in-depth updates on this. Check them out here:

Warhammer Online -- A Visit to Ulthuan

They promise some hands-on impressions (starting tomorrow I think), and some exclusive video here and there.

I'm running late, don't have time to highlight much. But if you like grinding, you'll like some of the "goals" for unlocking at least one "Tactic.":
Killing 2000 Beastmen, for example, may unlock a Tactic that shrinks a player's aggro radius or allows the player to do extra damage against that particular monster.
icon_eek I'm hoping maybe he added a zero by mistake.  paranoid
10214  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tom Clancy MMO Accounced on: March 21, 2008, 01:08:50 PM
There was a time when Tom ClancyTM, the author, actually was asked for some of his input on the Tom Clancy'sTM Rainbow SixTM games (just very early on for the PC original and Rogue Spear I think). I'm not really sure he even actively writes books anymore. It's like the late Robert LudlumTM, who died decades ago but you keep seeing books that say "a Robert LudlumTM novel," and then in fine print, it's "Written by Joseph Schmoe."

Now that Ubisoft can make "toilet simulation" games and tack Tom ClancyTM on it, I think Clancy's just desserts would be a game called Tom Clancy's Whirlpool Vortex: The Toilet SimulationTM  Roll Eyes icon_lol

This has been a Glib, Cynical Blackjack Message Board PostTM.
10215  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (Warcry's 'beta journals') on: March 20, 2008, 08:44:48 PM
Warcry (with Funcom's full blessing/approval of each diary entry) has started posting some "beta journal" entries about their experiences in the Age of Conan beta so far. mentioned this, here's the Warcry link:

Through the Eyes of Mitra: Age of Conan Beta Journal Entry #1

Today's the first entry. He promises two more, including a closer look at the combat mechanics. I don't expect any amazing revelations in this stuff, but you might get a few more insights on some details. I'll highlight a few things, Blackjack-styleTM  icon_biggrin:
The devs and product managers weren't kidding when they said their character creation tool in 'Age of Conan' was "flexible", I mean, it really adds a whole new meaning to the word "customisation". The character creation tool in 'Age of Conan' boasts around 40 sliders ranging from the height of your character, your cheek height (the ones on your face, that is) [ icon_lol], cheek width, chin length, chin width, how big or small you want your arms (from Ghandi to Arnie, just to give you an idea), how big or small you want your thighs, all the way to which way you want your nose to be crooked.

Upon entering the outskirts of Tortage and reaching level five, I was awarded with my first combo move, and by the time I had finished from Tortage I had eight combos to my name, each with their own very distinct and brutal animation.

Combat description
I toyed with him at first using by directional attacks where the shield indicator wasn't present, and when I saw that he was low enough on health I let fly with "Brutal Onslaught".

It was simply a matter of pressing on the combo icon and following the directional keys that lit up on my combat rose to execute the combo. To my own delight I had not only successfully pulled off the combo, but managed to execute a fatality move in doing so; I sliced the Pict's head clean leaving only a bloody stump, his body slowly falling to the ground, and blood splattering on my screen and out of that Pict's neck. ... As if the satisfaction of executing a combo wasn't enough, I had also noticed that the fatality had granted me a temporary buff to damage and stamina regeneration.

It lasted long enough to notice a difference in damage output, and there's time enough at that level to completely recharge your stamina as a result of it.

The quests are well designed and extremely well-written, as they make you feel like you're part of some thing grander, and you, as a player, are left with a feeling like it actually matters what happens to these characters that you interact with as a result of your own actions.

I actually found myself by the end of things in Tortage wanting to go back to see how things had changed after the storm had cleared. If you're the sort of person that skips through quest dialogue and so forth, then give yourself a slap in the face now for even considering doing so in 'Age of Conan'. It would be a great insult to the quest designers to rush through dialogue options and what-not especially given the great amount of research completed and thought done going into writing these quests.
There's more but it's 4 pages long and I'm paste-n-copy crazy.  icon_smile The quest stuff is music to my ears even if he does seem to indicate there are the usual "kill X things" and "fetch me X number of things" quests that I (and I venture many players) are tired of.

I believe the "combat rose" he references is this little mini-panel that pops up from the bottom interface in combat (seen in the latest videos). It seems to have numbers on it, so I guess perhaps (depending on the combo), the # you need to hit lights up? Just a guess.  icon_confused
10216  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Blizzard Posting - Diablo III? on: March 20, 2008, 08:29:30 PM
Elucidate, oh mystery-instiller, about the fate of good old Stieg.  icon_confused icon_smile (unless it's some top secret shindig).

Although I really didn't feel like G&H was coming together smoothly (a bud got me into the beta, probably way too early for my own good), I liked the concept of AI-squaddies as "loot" (rather than as interchangeable nobodies in Diablo II) that you could trade and mix choices from.

Assuming there is a Diablo III in the works, I hope they do a little bit more with the mercenary concept (without fixating on it per se). Ah, there, I successfully veered back on-topic. Whew.  smirk
10217  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Blizzard Posting - Diablo III? on: March 20, 2008, 08:12:53 PM
I thought the "team behind Diablo I and II" was busy at Flagship attempting frantically to use a bilge pump and apply putty to all the holes in the leaking ship that was Hellgate: London at launch.   disgust Roll Eyes And oh yeah, Diablo II lead designer Steig Hedlund was out of work with Gods & Heroes' cancellation.

It would be nice if some of those guys were allowed to crawl back into the Blizzard fold but I doubt it. Seeing as the Starcraft 2 head guy is a veteran of Command & Conquer and all, they don't seem interested in looking back to the past for employees -- the gaming world is littered with former Diablo and Starcraft devs who worked on games with marketing hype that tossed around the "from the creators of Diablo" and "from the creators of Starcraft" without including small print that "well, we mean, we've got one guy who worked on Diablo's artwork" and "Well, we've got one UI programmer from Starcraft."  icon_smile

I'm sure they'll do something with it eventually. They always talk in riddles, but they won't let any of their successful franchises rot forever.

I only guarantee two things:
A) It'll sell a million copies even if the PC gaming market is in tatters by the time it releases.
B) Everyone who ever liked Diablo II will complain incessantly that it's either too much like Diablo II or it isn't just like Diablo II, just as they complain that way about Titan Quest and every other Diablo I/II clone that walked down the pike.  icon_lol
10218  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / City of Heroes/City of Villains "commercials" contest on: March 20, 2008, 12:42:00 PM
I thought this might merit a separate thread. There's a City of Heroes/City of Villains commercials contest going on, with fan-submitted videos.

The even was organized by a fan-committee, with some supporting help from NCSoft community rep folks, afik.

The original "call for submissions" was here:

The main voting page is here (with links to the 16 COH commercials and 7 COV commercials):
*Note, it doesn't seem like the beefiest video hosting site I've ever seen and I have trouble getting some of the videos to play.  icon_confused

I haven't viewed any of it yet, just thought it'd be fun to chat about which ones we like here.  icon_smile

10219  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Guild Wars: Worth It? on: March 19, 2008, 08:51:01 PM
A mod might shuffle this over to the MMO section later.  icon_smile

I have tried a trial version and didn't find it my cup of tea. I'm just not crazy about the combat animations and feel (it's hard for me to describe what I didn't like in some tangible way I'm afraid, it's all objective mush) compared to "real" MMOs that I've liked (COH and LOTRO in particular).

I would ask around here to see if someone has a spare trial code to give you. I got mine from a COH-playing friend who loved Guild Wars dearly for several months.

Also, I would make sure whether you can just use your friends' registration key or not before you accept the games from him. Even if he canceled his account, NCSoft may well still be keeping his account (w/ reg key) on file in case he wanted to reactivate his account. If he never activated his acocunt at all, then you could probably use the key. I guess what I'm saying is your friend's boxed GW stuff might save you download time but I would assume you'd still need to buy them from NCSoft Online.

I believe NCSoft offers an option to buy Guild Wars online (as a download). Since there are no monthly fees, they *do* want to extract money from you at least once for the original client and expansions. That's my understanding at least.
As far as the MMO question, assuming that MMOs are for you (if they're not, there's no crime in that  icon_biggrin), I'd check on things like (I only played WoW for a month in 2005, so I don't tend to draw it into comparisons):

-Do you like having interesting storyline-type quests to do (I thought LOTORO was good at that; Tabula Rasa has some interesting stuff but just not enough of them imho), or are you perfectly happy to grind away and do lots of "kill 50 things" quests (Dungeon Runners, another free MMO, has too many of those imho).

-Do you want to be able to solo everything (Tabula Rasa comes to mind), have some encouragement to group w/o being constantly forced into it (City of Heroes comes to mind), or frequent encouragement to group for specific quests(LOTRO comes to mind).

-Do you like having AI NPCs along to help (which GW has quite often) or do you prefer to lone wolf it?

-Are you obsessed with loot (equipment, weapons etc.)? Or do you think loot's a waste of time (in which case City of Heroes might appeal)

-Do you want a very sociable game with tons of people in it (WoW obviously but most of the other games I mention here offer that), or do you prefer to just do your thing and be left alone?
10220  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:
10221  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

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.
10222  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
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.
10223  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).
10224  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pirates of the Burning Sea open stress test on: March 18, 2008, 10:52:10 PM mentioned press release about Pirates' first major content update:
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 ( 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.
10225  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.
10226  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.
10227  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.
10228  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
10229  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

10230  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.
10231  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
10232  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.

10233  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
The Blackjack Sniffer attempts to highlight a couple things (there were only about 4-5 questions in this round of answers)...
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.
10234  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:
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.
10235  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:
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
10236  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:
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
10237  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:


There's an official site, but if you ask me, it's way too gimmicky for its own good:

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
10238  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)
-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....

10239  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
My favorite illuminatory comments (mostly an "OS wars disagreement") ...
"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"


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
10240  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:
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
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