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10201  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: August 17, 2008, 03:26:36 PM
A few shaky-cam gameplay videos from Gencon hath surfaced:

It looks fine, though the combat looks more like Marvel Ultimate Alliance imho (given the console focus) than CoX. Not necessarily a bad thing, just an observation.  icon_neutral
10202  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 17, 2008, 06:06:55 AM
CNN had a little update on these checkpoint-friendly computer bags that are due out soon (which should be handy both for standard laptops and the ultra-portable types):

Checkpoint-friendly computer bags set for debut
The article includes a video demonstrating use of the new bags in the screening process.
10203  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Decisions... Decisions... on: August 16, 2008, 01:08:07 PM
I'm the opposite -- I'm on MMO sabbatical (I'm uninstalling Tabula Rasa after a brief attempt to return to it). I'm tired of gaming in general (I haven't played anything in about 3 weeks now), but it's given me time to catch up on DVDs and reading and such.

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

Sorry to go off on a tangent.  icon_cool

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

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

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

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

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

My gut feeling is if WoW and the upcoming Warhammer are what you want, then go for LOTORO. CoX is mainly for people very in love with combat, combat and more combat. It does that wonderfully but I don't really find that a lot of WoW fanatics go for CoX, at least not for very long. Although they've added gadgets and stuff to CoX to try to diversify it a bit, LOTORO has more to offer in terms of crafting, farming and enjoying various things not related to combat, and enjoying the scenery (the journey if you will). I'm actually giving some thought to floating back to LOTORO -- I guess I should've gone for a Lifetime Subscription afterall.  icon_smile
10204  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Mythos on: August 15, 2008, 09:10:39 PM
Something called Gamecyte had a pretty extensive interview with Schaefer and Baldtree yesterday:

Captaining The Lifeboat: Runic Games’ Max Schaefer and Travis Baldree
GameCyte: That’s such a shame. I know you’ve been intentionally coy about this subject so far, but as far as the Mythos intellectual property is concerned, it sounds like that’s not going to happen for you…

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

I hope for their sake they just think small and modest, and find a publishing situation where they can take their time, polish and not become Flagship 2.0.  disgust icon_razz
10205  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 15, 2008, 01:10:36 PM
I'm seeking something more for work (the joypad gives it away  icon_razz), though that's really a fascinating keyboard concept. I'm always griping about tiny keyboards and that's a neat way to try to get something sort-of full size in a small device. icon_smile
10206  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: August 14, 2008, 10:19:01 PM
Laptopmag mentioned a useful page compiling information on "liliputers":

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

Note that it includes some machines not expected to come to the U.S. market, such as the smaller 8.9" MSI Wind model. Some columns, like the hard drive one, don't sort terribly usefully since the numbers and types (regular HDs, and solid state drives etc.) vary so widely in that category
10207  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Movies you love that everyone else hates... on: August 14, 2008, 05:24:19 PM
How about...

Roadhouse (1989)

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

Rest Stop

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

I do wonder if someone competent took the same basic storyline (trapped at a deserted rest stop, and plant the movie in that location almost the whole way), what they might be able to do with it.
10208  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Star Trek in High Def on: August 14, 2008, 05:09:58 PM
That would be cool if you're into that, esp. as a bonus feature. Though I think the key to enjoying the remastered stuff is to just watch the whole thing (without bouncing out to see the original version effects) - then I get comfortable with the effects, and eventually it's not a distraction. Then maybe once I've done that, I'd enjoy seeing side-by-sides and such, just for fun.

To some extent I think it's a shame digital effects have all but replaced miniatures work. TNG's miniatures effects work with its ships still holds up nicely imho (I assume with the benefit of computer controlled cameras then vs. what shows in the '60s could work with), at least on a Standard TV, and presumably cost less than CGI does today. And it just seemed more like Art, than a bunch of Programmers going beserk. But I guess, as mentioned here, even the TNG/DS9 era effects would need (supposedly) to be upgraded to display properly in high-def.
10209  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Star Trek in High Def on: August 14, 2008, 01:15:57 PM
I bought the Season 2 Original Star Trek "remastered" (but not Blue-Ray/HD) set yet. They released Season one as a combo HD/regular DVD, which really just resulted in an overpriced set for a now dead (HD) format.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, I saw about 50 ST threads here and I didn't really know where to post my thoughts on this. My brother and I grew up on this stuff, and I still quite enjoy it all even if I know so much of the dialogue by heart. A lot of stuff from my childhood (say, Ultra-Man, Captain Scarlet, UFO, Space: 1999, Johnny Socko and his Flying Robot), when I've tried to re-visit it on DVD as an old fart, I just can't get into it anymore, but old ST has generally held up for me.  icon_cool
10210  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Dungeon Runners (NCSoft's free MMO/$4.99 premium option) on: August 14, 2008, 12:39:51 PM
fwiw, NCSoft confirmed they laid off 13 of the 18 folks working on Dungeon Runners, supposedly after deciding not to port it onto other platforms (DR on PC will continue albeit with a relative skeleton crew, it seems, for the time being):
Quote from: Stephen Nichols
The five remaining folks are:

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

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

It's kind of a dead-end game with endless hunt quests, and doesn't really give non MMOers an idea of how "full" MMOs work. I don't think I ever saw more then 30-40 people on a server in its heyday. I guess if it tried to be more ambitious, than it wouldn't have fit within what Nichols wanted to do.
10211  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: LucasArts Embargoes "Clone Wars" Reviews on: August 13, 2008, 09:13:37 PM
Isn't this where someone makes a YouTube video of themselves in an Ewok costume crying, and yelling, "STOP HATING GEORGIE HE'S SO WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!"  crybaby

The Wash. Post had a basically anti-George Lucas diatribe essay Sunday by one of its film critics:

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

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

To me the saddest thing about the 64 year old Georgie is that in interviews he drips arrogance and general disdain for both critics, and for fans. I mean, if he has so little use for critics, why does he even care that they're posting nasty reviews early?  icon_confused
10212  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: August 13, 2008, 07:55:41 PM
See, that's my problem -- I *did* start off with a new character and got frustrated trying to remember mechanics and basic hotkeys, locations of things etc. I can't really fault the game for it, I think I just found it harder to remember than City of Heroes for example. Though I think playing something for 3 years far more ingrains it into one's psyche, than say, 3 months.  icon_neutral

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

There is much scuttlebutt of late that TR's time may be numbered (not immediately but maybe next year), along with Dungeon Runners:

10213  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Is the last season of Enterprise worth watching? on: August 12, 2008, 10:55:18 PM
I'm not quite a die hard Trekkie (the only full DVD season set I have is Season 3 of ST: TNG), but I've been watching quite a few of these various Fan Collectives (where fans vote for their favorite episodes under a various theme, and the compilations usually include maybe 1 to 4 episodes from each show - so it's a fairly nice sampler) of late.

Although I liked maybe one or two early seasons of Enterprise, I was surprised by how much I really didn't like the Enterprise pilot at all, Broken Bow, which is included on the Klingon Fan Collective set. All the "I oughta kick your ass!" and the occasional use of "Damn" and "Hell" seemed to be bizarre attempts to try to make the new series "edgy," (but frankly, Scott Bakula is too likeable and decent a person to be acting like that - I just don't buy him when he's talking that way) and I'm glad they ditched all that later on. And most of the characters came across as repellent in the pilot (though I grew fonder of the characters as the show went on).

I was surprised how much I liked the couple Voyager episodes on the Fan Collective sets. Maybe absence does make the heart grow fonder.  icon_cool

It seemed like nearly every ST: TNG and Voyager episode on the Fan Collective sets was written or co-written by Ron Moore, and I've been doing Google searches and reading up on him.

It's just so cool that someone who was simply a Trekkie fan (Moore) managed to finagle a chance to get a script reviewed, became a staff writer and eventually executive producer on DS9. It's interesting to read interviews with him about what his struggles to tell ambitious stories within Trek's limits and continuity. Apparently his brief foray with Enterprise (I guess he only wrote one teleplay and didn't find the writing environment as open as the previous series, at least from what I've read) was really unpleasant, and resulted in a temporary rift with Braga.

He also talked about getting to visit the set of Abram's Trek movie in one interview, and just be nostalgic about it though he clearly has no plans to return to the ST franchise. To this day I've never been able to get into his Battlestar Galactica stuff, but now having read a lot of interviews about what he was trying to do with it and why he felt he would never get to tell those stories within ST's limitations -- maybe I'll revisit the early BG seasons and see if this time I "get it."  icon_neutral
10214  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: August 12, 2008, 03:19:32 AM
I already canceled again though it doesn't take effect until Aug. 27. Shortest reactivation evah!  icon_razz I never really could remember how to play effectively. It was by far my strangest return to a game. My other re-visitation candidate is LOTORO, and I'll be curious if I can remember the gameplay mechanics there any better.  icon_confused
10215  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: August 11, 2008, 05:35:18 PM
It's really not clear how much of Perpetual's work was carried over. Since Emmert indicates they're using the Champions engine (which Perpetual clearly wasn't using) and technology for the ST game, I would guess that while some design docs might've carried over, not much actual assets would since Perpetual had its own technology (presumably).

I don't know if the actual avatar stuff will wow people all that much since they apparently want a game that works well across a wide range of systems (a la WoW).

I still find a little bit disingenous when Emmert brags about Cryptic's CoX work and neglects to mention that most of that dev team remained with NCSoft to form a new studio and keep working on CoX. I'm sure they have fine people aboard now, but it doesn't seem from what I've read there's much left of the actual CoX teams.

I've seen that with a lot of FPS dev teams where they brag "From the Creators of so-and-so," except said Creators left to form their own studios after so-and-so became a monster splash. But, I dunno, I've seen a lot of games from dev teams that didn't live up to their preceding game so maybe in the end, it's all just semanatics.  icon_neutral
10216  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: August 10, 2008, 04:41:18 PM
OK I got all the times confused. I guess it's today at 1:30 p.m. Pacific so it's not until 4:30 Eastern and I'll probably be out.

Jack Emmert and Leonard Nimoy Reveal Star Trek Online Today
10217  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Mythos on: August 10, 2008, 04:35:16 PM
Da, da, daaaaaaa.... (probably mentioned in the various Flagship threads already, just thought it worth a Bump here)

(just a placeholder)
Seattle, Washington - August 8th, 2008 - The former Flagship Studios Seattle team is proud to announce their reformation as Runic Games ( As the team responsible for the highly-anticipated Mythos at Flagship Studios, Runic Games intends to continue to use their expertise in the Action-RPG MMO genre to create the best games in this market.

The studio is headed by Travis Baldree and Max Schaefer. Travis served as Project Director for Mythos at Flagship Seattle, and previously created the bestselling Action-RPG FATE. Max was the Executive Producer for Mythos, and one of the original founders of Blizzard North, the creators of the bestselling Diablo franchise. He was also one of the founding members of Flagship Studios.

Announcements about Runic Games' forthcoming projects will be made in the coming days.
10218  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: August 08, 2008, 07:46:28 PM
CNN has an update. Emmert promises gameplay footage Aug. 10 and claims the game is a lot closer to release than "hardened" fans might expect. But what about us Softened fans?  icon_razz
Emmert said players will begin "Star Trek Online" as the captain of a small Starfleet or Klingon Empire ship.

They can customize their characters from pre-existing "Trek" species -- from Klingons to Gorn -- and can create entirely new alien races. As they progress through the game, players can increase in rank and gain larger vessels and more crew.

"You'll venture through space exploring new civilizations and life-forms," said Emmert. "You'll also beam down to planets and have adventures inside your ship. It's a galactic-wide game. There's going to be tons of space to investigate. We have a great system for exploration, which will allow for almost infinite possibilities."

Players will also be able to battle against other vessels in laser-blasting, missile-firing deep space scuffles reminiscent of "The Wrath of Khan" and the Dominion War in "Deep Space Nine." Because the game will be set a few generations following the last "Trek" film, players shouldn't expect to run into James T. Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard.

"There might be a ship called Enterprise flying around, but it's probably not the same ship anymore," said Emmert. "Most of the characters will have either retired or passed on, but you'll definitely be going to all the places you know and love from 'Star Trek.' Expect to see oldies like Vulcan and Bajor but also fan favorites like Andoria and Qo'noS."

"You're going to see the actual game working and functioning," said Emmert. "This isn't renders. This isn't concept art. Everything that people will see on Sunday is going to be taken right from 'Star Trek Online' as it stands today, so hardened people should know that a release date might be closer than they think."
10219  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Assassin's Creed PC lawsuit by Ubisoft (over "leak") on: August 07, 2008, 05:30:34 PM
(let me know if this was already posted somewhere, I did several searches-bj; it's specific to the PC version)

Ubisoft Sues over Assassin's Creed Leak
GameSpot reports that Ubisoft is suing Optical Experts Manufacturing, alleging one of the employees of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based disc replication company pilfered a copy of Assassin's Creed and leaked it to the internet. The GameSpot story indicates the game sold only 40,000 copies in the US through June, but that over 700,000 pirated copies of the game were downloaded.

They also relate an odd-sounding claim that Ubisoft intentionally included a bug in the code that would crash the game as a security measure (given how many sites now review "pre-release" versions, doesn't sound so smart Roll Eyes), and that negative reviews of the buggy leaked version harmed their reputation. The suit is said to be for copyright infringement, breach of contract, and negligence, and Ubisoft is asking for over $20 million in damages and legal fees.
Whew knew A) That there were any US-based disc duplication service companies -- I thought they did all that overseas now; and B) That Ubisoft had any sort of "Reputation" amongst PC gamers.  smirk
10220  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My New Resolution: NO MORE GAMES on: August 07, 2008, 12:46:47 PM
I've taken about the last week off from gaming to catch up on some DVDs (the Star Trek: Captain's Log compilation for one) and some TV shows I had been missing in my MMO stupor. And I haven't bought anything since Mass Effect several weeks ago.

I used to really dig burning myself out on games, but I've found in recent years the occasional brief sabbatical does me some good, and then when I return to various games, they feel fresh again. Only with MMOs (as I mentioned in the Tabula Rasa thread) if you take too much time off, then you forget all the hotkeys, the navigational shortcuts you used to take, and generally how to play.  It's not as easy as remembering how to ride a bike. icon_razz
10221  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: August 07, 2008, 12:36:17 PM
Oh, speak of the devil, TSA had an announcement that my alleviate my airport security line concerns a bit (these upcoming bag models will let you put it on the conveyor belt without having to remove it from the bag):

TSA to Allow Laptops in Approved Bags,8599,1829687,00.html?cnn=yes
To qualify as "checkpoint friendly," a bag must have a designated laptop-only section that unfolds to lie flat on the X-ray machine belt and contains no metal snaps, zippers or buckles and no pockets.

Among the manufacturers selling TSA-approved laptop bags are Mobile Edge, Skooba Design and Targus Inc.
These are due out later this month, it says.
10222  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: August 06, 2008, 07:47:30 PM
I dunno. Honestly, I don't need one. In fact, of late I've stopped spending all my evenings playing MMOs and Web surfing in favor of my old passion of couch potato DVD/TVing.

The next work situation where it could maybe be of any help would be a conference in late October in Houston. So I guess if I pre-ordered now, perhaps I'd have it in time for the trip. Then I could see whether it's worth the security line and baggage hassles to drag one along.

So definitely maybe!  icon_confused
10223  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: August 06, 2008, 02:03:39 AM
Just got an e-mail notification from Amazon that they've started taking preorders on the 6-cell battery version ($549, free shipping):

MSI Wind 10" Mini Laptop (1.6 GHz Intel Atom Processor, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive, XP Home, 6 Cell Battery) Black

They only list the black model in stock, though given that it's not really "in stock" (they're just taking pre-orders), I don't know what that means really. I guess they don't expect to carry 6-cell black Winds.
10224  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: August 05, 2008, 05:41:05 PM
I stopped "news hounding" this a while ago. has some hands-on impressions from Cryptic's recent media day (albeit Star Trek Online's announcement has sort of pushed Champions into the background). While played on PCs, they apparently used XBox 360 controlllers, which should give an idea of it's multiplatform intentions. The controls seem fairly simple (buttons control jumping, basic attack, ranged attack, and blocking), and it doesn't appear it's a "remember 27 different hotkeys" scheme like more typical MMOs.

Champions Online: Hands-on gameplay impressions
An interesting feature that immediately became apparent is that all characters could make use of a ranged attack, regardless of type. For instance, a power projector would be able to fire energy bolts as expected, but a brawler would rip up chunks of concrete to throw at enemies as his ranged attack.

About attacks: the basic attack was typically a single punch, with repeated button presses becoming a chain of punches for more devastating damage. Holding down the attack button charged up a more powerful strike, the effectiveness of the blow more than making up for having to absorb hits from enemies. This strike varied from character to character, depending on power.

Finally, there was a jumping attack -- a jump, combined with a basic attack, resulted in a shockwave effect upon landing, stunning nearby enemies for a few moments. This might have been character specific, as the first character this blogger used was a hulking, tank-like hero. Blocking was an effective strategy against multiple opponents, and quickly became necessary versus swarming mobs.

In all, Champions Online plays extremely well and looks fantastic. The actual mechanics are simple enough to be immediately accessible, leaving the complexity to other areas, which is as it should be. Within a few minutes with the Xbox 360 controller, maneuvering the character became second nature. We would have liked to have been able to play with a keyboard to assess how it performed, but the controller better suited the active nature of combat.

We don't know how much of the gameplay we experienced will survive for the launch, but it was engaging enough as-is, and there's still roughly a year to go. We'll go ahead and say it: this title will become the definitive superhero experience for both fans of the genre and new players alike.
10225  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: August 05, 2008, 05:05:20 PM
Batman on Film has a fun (and final) the Dark Knight prize drawing. Top prizes are limited run ceramic sculptures of Batman and the Joker, each valued at $150.

Since you do have to give DC Direct your name/contact info, you'll probably want to use, well, whatever e-mail addy you're comfortable giving in possible junk mail situations.  icon_razz
(Sculpted by Kolby Jukes) "The Dark Knight" is in mid-flight in this dramatic action pose! This uniquely crafted piece features Batman's sweeping cape as the statue's base. This limited edition, hand-painted cold-cast porcelain statue measures approximately 10" high x 8" wide x 8" deep, includes a 4-color certificate of authenticity and is packaged in a 4-color box. Limited editionof only 6,000 pieces! A $150.00 US value!

(Sculpted by Kolby Jukes) Standing on a pile of oversized playing cards, this statue features The Joker sporting his trademark grin! This limited edition, hand-painted cold-cast porcelain statue measures approximately 10" high x 10" wide x 6" deep, includes a 4-color certificate of authenticity and is packaged in a 4-color box. Limited edition of only 6,000 pieces! A $150.00 US value!
Second prize for 10 folks are the Batman Begins LImited Edition Gift set on Blue-Ray or Batman Gotham Knight (the recent animated anthology) on Blue-Ray.

I couldn't find the statues at the DC Direct site, but there's a pretty nice vinyl one ($125):

The Dark Knight - Batman vinyl statue by Kotobukiya

I'm putting this here in lieu of a one-post thread on TDK statues.  icon_razz
10226  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: lets talk digital cameras.. on: August 04, 2008, 07:39:51 PM
I was happy with my older Powershot, but I tried many different Cannon models in numerous stores in recent weeks, and none felt comfortable to me, and the menu screens/tabs etc. generally confounded me.

I don't begrudge anyone sticking their head in the sand and refusing to try other brands (I might never buy another non-Toyota because my 1996 Corrolla has been so durable, for example), but I don't really shop by brands with electronics these days.

That's why I've used (and been quite happy with) Sansa and Creative MP3/multimedia players instead of Apple, chose a Kodak camera for my sister-in-law (she's had it a year and loves it) and the Sony camera in my case. I will of course let ya'll know if I ever come to regret the decision.  icon_smile

fwiw, the Sony's LCD screen has passed the "Obscenely bright sunlight test" today.  icon_cool I talked myself out of a Kodak touchscreen model after reading that its screen generally washed out in those conditions.
10227  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: August 04, 2008, 07:21:33 PM
For more jaded takes on blockbusters, Pauline Kael was always a good bet. I always said she hated everything that didn't have subtitles.  icon_lol Though in retrospect, she did respond to summer movies on occasion, esp. E.T. I've tweaked her words a bit for quiz's sake.

... the picture is an amalgam of [his] follies--plot for its own sake, dissociated from character or drama; the affectless heroine ... AND effects that Spielberg the youthful magician has already dazzled us with. Kinesthetically, the film gets to you, but there's no exhilaration, and no surge of feeling at the end. It seems to be edited for the maximum number of showings per day.
What was it?
Spoiler for Hiden:
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

But at 2 hours and 17 minutes this is just a very big "Boo!" movie, with bum dialogue.
What was it?
Spoiler for Hiden:
Aliens (1986)

It's an epic without a dream. Maybe the only real inspiration involved was to set [it] in the pop-culture past, and to turn old-movie ineptness into conscious Pop Art. And maybe there's a touch of genius in keeping the film so consistently what it is, even if this is the genius of the plodding.
What was it?
Spoiler for Hiden:
Star Wars (1977)

Retro-40s virtue piled on the cartoon underpinnings of TV comedy shows.
What was it?
Spoiler for Hiden:
Terms of Endearment (1983)

The movie is underwritten, but it has so many unpredictable spins that what's missing doesn't seem to matter much. It's mean and anarchic and blissful.
What was it?
Spoiler for Hiden:
Batman (1989) [I'll be damned, she loved it! saywhat]
This is kinda fun. Maybe I should start a separate thread on this.  icon_smile But everyone will just Google "Pauline Kael".  disgust icon_razz

I guess my only point is no movie draws accolades from everyone even if it makes a half billion dollars or sweeps the oscars.
10228  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: August 04, 2008, 06:06:45 PM
Murphy's law is the more money, enthusiastic reviews and awards a movie makes, the more backlash and more "I didn't think it was so great" opinions you'll get.

I remember that with stuff like The Fugitive in 1993 or even Die Hard in 1988 (no, not everybody loved it, even if 100 Hollywood screenwriters have copied it). Heck, my mom expressed that opinion in summer 1984 when I belatedly took her to see Terms of Endearment (1983 Best Picture) at a military base in Korea. "This was Best Picture? Blah." Me, I saw it when it first came out and loved it. I think if you guys had seen it (TDK, not Terms of Endearment  icon_wink) opening day, you'd have different opinions. Titanic drew a lot of that opinion late in its run. I think Titanic's great, but Billy Zane's performance was perhaps one of the worst, one-note performances I've ever seen. fwiw. just imho.  icon_razz

I did have more fun with Iron Man, and there are lots of TDK fans who think Iron Man was a forgettable waste of time - and shame on them.  icon_razz

Oh well. Different perspectives make us human. I mentioned I enjoyed the Indy movie (in spite of the lame-o Lucas plot), but a friend of mine hated it so much he all but gets beet redfaced with anger just talking about it. Go figure.  icon_neutral

Aaaand, Freeman is in a Memphis, Tenn. hospital it turns out.
10229  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: August 04, 2008, 05:48:19 PM
Morgan Freeman was in a nasty car accident (his Toyota overturned several times) and is in serious condition in a Mississippi hospital:
Fingers crossed for Lucius Fox.  tear

No doubt this'll bring out the conspiracy theorists that TDK is "cursed." Lord knows the cast and crew could use a break from tragedies. It sounds like he'll be OK, though something like this at age 71 has got to be tough.

He apparently over-corrected when his tires went off the road shoulder a bit. We've had some nasty accidents from that sort of thing in the D.C. metro region here, esp. with teen drivers. It's one thing that makes me nervous at 2-lane roads.

I just see the "Batman voice" as another means of disguising one's identity. How *should* he sound? Michael Keaton's Batman had a slightly deeper voice "in the suit," but it was clearly still his voice. I disguise my voice sometimes when calling friends, but they always recognize my voice unless I really exaggerate my voice or impersonation. I have to go "over the top" to become unrecognizable.

I sometimes find it silly in Spider-Man that nobody seems to notice that he sounds exactly like Tobey McGuire/Peter Parker with panty hose over his mouth (in the '60s animated version, Spider-Man has a more "grown up" voice, and I think they actually used different voice actors); or in the cheesy Adam West Batman, there's no difference between the Bruce Wayne and masked voice at all.

TDK edged out the lame Mummy Sequel for #1 again. It's to about $394 million through Sunday. Some pundits point out that Titanic's number of tickets sold (at a far lower price, so less profit per ticket) was astronomically higher. I buy that, but there are also a lot more things and technologies competing for your entertainment dollar today, and $4 gasoline vs. about $1.18 gasoline in December 1997, not to mention higher food costs today that might make you hesitate to drop $11 on a summer movie. It's hard really to make perfectly consistent comparisons between movies, even ones only 11 years apart.
10230  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: lets talk digital cameras.. on: August 03, 2008, 03:37:39 PM
After sort of surprisingly "falling in love with it" at a Circuit City counter on Friday, I got a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150 (Black model, 8.1 megapixel, 28-140mm lense) there yesterday. Prices are always better at, etc. but I just preferred to get at a store and it was a $20 off, plus it's "Virginia Tax Free days" Fri.-Sun. here.

Sony page

one review

There are better rated cameras out there, but it just came down to me enjoying the controls, menu system and using it in the store (even if most reviews complain about the same things I like about it). There's a fun "slideshow" feature, and it has a tiny built-in speaker so you can hear your videos in the camera. Everyone tends to recommend the Big Brands (Canon, Minolta, Olympus, etc.; and Panasonic seems to be building a good rep), but I helped pick out a Kodak for my sister-in-law's birthday last year, and for me the Sony was the one I most enjoyed actually using. A friend of mine has a well rated Canon that I tinkered with, but I really found its whole menu system baffling. I'm sure I could learn it but I like ones that use understandable text explanations on the menu and don't require referencing the manual too much.

While I still think it's always cheaper buying these online, no matter how detailed a Web page listing is, it's never as useful as going into a store and actually using it, even just for a few minutes.

What I got is definitely not for those who want to fiddle with the actual camera settings (which I've never really been comfortable doing so it didn't bother me). I liked the wide angle (28mm), fairly strong zoom (5X optical) and increasingly rare optical viewfinder (albeit it's tiny and doesn't really give you the full lense view) and various other features. Megapixels are just ridiculous these days (there's a 13.6 MP variant of this), but for sharing online and via message boards etc. it's all quite a moot point. My old camera is only 2 MP though, and I was finding it not very useful for these occasional magazine articles I work on (they need at least 4-5 to be able to use them at any appreciable size in print).

10231  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: August 02, 2008, 02:31:37 PM
Oh man, I'm such an idiot. I thought I could just waltz into the Udvar-Hazy air and space museum and get IMAX tickets for TDK this weekend. They've already sold out today's 3 shows, and tomorrow's first 2 shows (I'm not seeing an 11 p.m. show on Sunday). ARGH.

Box office update. Thursday's take pushed it over the $351 million mark into #13 all-time, behind Jurassic Park:

Despite some truly atrocious reviews, the Mummy sequel presumably will pull in some folks this weekend though I wouldn't be surprised if TDK remained at the head of the list. A decent weekend would probably push it to maybe #8 ahead of SW: Revenge of the Sith ($380.3 million) behind Spider-Man ($403.7 million).

EW's Mark Harris has a column (not online yet, but it would eventually be at,,20205970,00.html) proclaiming "there's no way" The Dark Knight can reach Titanic's $600 million mark. So he echoes my sentiment, but I'm not as snarky about it, because I'd like to see TDK reach it I just don't see it quite having the legs (although it's had remarkable legs for a summer movie in a busy season).  icon_razz

Harris is still on the Snobby side of the critic fence that both lauds TDK's ambition but sort of waves off its success as "fanboy driven" and says any Oscar nomination talk for the movie is both fanboy-driven and (aside from Ledger's performance) a joke.  disgust

I don't see it as a joke because if critics think Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the King are all Oscar-worthy (and all got Best Picture and Best Director nominations in their release years, and of course ROTK won everything just about), then a leap to something like TDK isn't that much of a stretch. Unless you're a snobby critic with issues about guys in rubber suits and clown makeup.  smirk
10232  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: August 02, 2008, 02:20:48 PM
This reminds me of a reporter friend whom I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in1989 with who spent the whole movie whining, "Oh gosh, he stole that old man's car!" and the like. Probably he would've complained in Raiders of the Lost Ark about Indy "spoiling the ancient tombs," and "violating the sanctity of the South American natives!" He would've spent Iron Man hand wringing about Iron Man "destroying government property" and "hindering the war on terror."  Roll Eyes

I mean, come on. I never saw another movie with him, I learned my lesson.  icon_razz

It's summer. If everything's going to offend one's sensibilities, it's best not to visit a theater from May through August.  icon_neutral

That said, the comics make a big deal about Bats never using guns. So a fair number of Batman fans were a little peeved that he so non challantly fires what presumably are 20MM cannons in such a nonchalant way.
10233  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Man Beheaded on Greyhound Bus on: August 02, 2008, 02:14:15 PM
I checked some Canadien papers about it the other day. There's much hyperventilating about why fellow passengers didn't step in to stop him, or throw something at him, etc. But I don't think anyone knows how they're going to act when their seatmate starts stabbing someone with a big butcher knife until the situation actually happens. saywhat To be a blog/news article commenter with 20-20 hindsight on that seems pretty lame.

There have been several cases of bus drivers being attacked, though not to this grisly extent. Some of the US Greyhound stations are doing at least random metal detector "wand searches," but it really isn't reasonable for podunk bus stations in the middle of nowhere to do that.
10234  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: August 01, 2008, 07:51:11 PM
Super Hero Hype has some nice high rez versions of Watchmen posters from the convention:

Some are a little racy but I don't think anything is quite NSFW. Well, maybe Dr. Manhattan's blue butt.  icon_eek icon_lol
10235  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Exxon posts record high quartly profit...again on: August 01, 2008, 01:36:17 PM
Quote from: Michael Douglas in Wall Street
Gordon Gekko: The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.
fwiw, I cover parts of the oil industry (base oils, motor oil etc.) and deal with ExMo on and off as a reporter. They are both very professional, and -- because they're one of the world's largest privately-owned companies -- prone to just clam up if I'm asking about something negative.

Once when I dealt with a smaller publicly owned refiner, I remember being surprised how candid the public affairs spokesman was about something that I didn't expect them to even get back to me about.

What saddens me generally about US Business these days is it's basically about doing everything as cheaply as possible. And if that means outsourcing everything to other countries that don't allow unions and don't require costly worker safety/environmental standards, and importing everything in sight because other countries make everything cheaper, well... greed is good.  Roll Eyes I mean, heck, you even see it in game publishers ferreting game development out to overseas dev houses that presumably pay their people peanuts.
10236  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: July 31, 2008, 05:23:13 PM
Canuck, you're such a traitor to the MSI Wind cause. icon_lol

Actually, a work buddy and I goofed off a bit at a Best Buy after lunch yesterday. I saw several "normal" small laptops in the $599 range that seemed pretty appealing and looked nearly as small as the Wind and the latest EeePC models.

I think the Wind's launch pretty much got scrooged over by the 6-cell battery deficit (due to some big factory fire in South Korea).

Supposedly the 6-cell versions finally on the way (in terms of being available for pre-order) though it jacks the price up to $549:

Something called jkOnTheRun had some supposed reader impressions of one:

In the end, I spend too much time Web surfing as it is. Being able to vegetate on my couch as I attempt to multi-task and watch TV would just be doubly pathetic, so I probably won't end up getting anything at all.

I'm probably getting a new Kodak camera today that uses a touch screen. It isn't "ultraportable," so I'll have to yak about it somewhere else.  icon_smile
10237  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / Re: LF Warhammer 40K Squad Command PSP on: July 31, 2008, 01:00:00 PM
I have it, and I haven't played my PSP in almost 6 months (I'm really dismayed with the 2008 games lineup compared to the fine 2007 lineup). Just let me debate if I'm going to give up on the systems altogether or not, and I'll get back to ya.  icon_smile

I think part of the problem is the PSP devs can't make a living doing the games, so they do one good one, put their PSP dev kits away and then move on to console games (as was the case for the devs on Killzone: Liberation, SOCOM Tactical Strike and God of War: Chains of Olympus).

Blah, blah, guess I already said that somewhere else.  tear
10238  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 31 on: July 31, 2008, 12:45:01 PM

The actual Patch Notes:

    * We're now done with the majority of the process to completely equalize Male and Female damage. We've balanced the animation-lengths for all "white damage" attacks as well as all "combo finishers", and furthermore we've matched the animation length of "moving attacks" to the lengths of "stationary attacks". As a result players should now experience no difference in damage dealt or time needed to execute an attack based on what gender their character is.
    * Aborting multihit combos before they're finished won't activate their full effects anymore. [This will be good if you found yourself "wasting" multihit combos/stamina on thin air because the target already fell, something I often do.-bj]
    * Pet commands should now be more responsive.
    * When aborting a multihit combo finisher, you now get a percentage of the full cooldown depending on how many hits you got in before the abort happened. (It's really in this time!)


    * All Assassin, Barbarian, Bear Shaman, Conqueror, Dark Templar, Guardian, Herald of Xotli, and Ranger combo damage and stamina costs have been rebalanced to match the newly adjusted animations.

Priest Archetype

    * Spirit Aegis will now give 0.5% invulnerability to Holy and Fire instead of 1% Fire with the first rank trained.


    * Combos granted by feats should now deal significantly more damage than before.

Dark Templar

    * The Talisman Mastery buff will no longer be removed upon death if the proper feat is trained.


    * Shield Sweep combo will now scale more consistently across the first three ranks.

Herald of Xotli

    * Pillar of Internal Flame Rank II is now a three-step combo (including combo starter) instead of an instant cast.


    * Bone Horde debuff now uses the proper icon in the debuff GUI.


    * Resolved an issue that caused item bonuses to not scale correctly.
    * Many items are now 'bind on equip' meaning that once equipped the item can no longer be traded.
    * Resolved the issue with raid gear that had lost it's bonuses in a previous update.
    * The bonuses awarded by gems have been rebalanced. Unfortunately some of the gem bonuses were originally applied incorrectly leading to situations where too much bonus was given, mainly for invulnerability rating. These gems have now been modified. The benefit of the different level gems has been also been amended though, meaning that higher level gems should now be better than the lower level versions.
    * All items Green+ are now Bind on Equip (BoE) or Bind on Pickup (BoP).
    * Items which are BoE/BoP should now state this fact below their item name in the mouseover tooltip. When these items are equipped and bound to the character, the text below the item name will change to reflect this. A message will now ask if you are sure when attempting to roll "need" on a Bind on Pickup item.


    * Players will now always see Massive PvP results, and the time left in a battle during battles. This information is displayed in the right top corner, below the minimap.


    * Field of the Dead: Changed the level on the quest Entourage from 52 to 47.
    * Field of the Dead: Changed the level on the quest Cleansing the Tomb from 53 to 48.
    * Khopshef Province: Forbidden Knowledge - The Crumbling Codex will now despawn after it is picked up.
    * Khopshef Province: Slave Cages will now show a visual effect when player is on the correct quest to interact with them.
    * Pyramid of the Ancients: New Quests have been added to enhance your questing experience. Bosses have been upgraded to present a challenge to solo (or small groups) of players. Pay careful attention to the items they drop - they could be the key to defeating more challenging enemies.
    * Pyramid of the Ancients: All quests should now be working.
    * Tarantia Sewers: Orphans in the Hovel - Galeria should now talk to you after you kill her captor.
    * Defeating Lord Atum-Keket in the Pyramid of the Ancients will now reopen the door to the Lord chamber.
    * The teleport altar behind Lord Atum-Keket will now be visible at all times.
    * The Master Torturer in Pyramid of the Ancients will no longer spawn multiple times in a row.


    * Toirdealbach's Tomb has had its level range adjusted from 50-53 to 46-48 [as an Epic instance, it seemed like you needed L60 teams to have a prayer-bj]. Loot in Toirdealbach's Tomb has been adjusted to fit the new level range of mobs.
    * Pyramid of the Ancients: The Harem Girls have been dressed up properly, and sexily!
    * Many of the spells used by raid bosses will now ignore line of sight-checks, thus making it impossible to avoid them by hiding behind pillars and such.
    * Many of the spells used by raid bosses will now be impossible to fully resist.
    * The Dark Flames breath attack used by Vistrix will now use normal line of sight checks.
    * The knockback strength on Kyllikki's Blizzard has been reduced.
     * Yakhmars adds have been modified, they will no longer stun players as they did.


    * Cloth Resource droprate in the world has increased somewhat.
    * The Resource and Building playfields (Lacheish Plains, Purple Lotus Swamp, Poitain) have new NPC camps that will drop tradeskill items previously only available through the Alchemist's Cache. Some of these encampments will aggro, some will not. This makes these zones more dangerous, but allows lower level players a chance to get the tier 1-3 resources they need.


    * Checkerboard textures should no longer appear on the ground throughout the world.


    * The horse ability Hind Leg Kick will now have a 12 second reuse timer, like the other horse abilities.
    * The Skewbald Pinto Horse has had its stats adjusted to horses of the same tier and price.


    * The "Quests" tab in the quest journal should now indicate the current number of accepted quests and the total number of allowed quests. [welcome Qualify of Life improvement, many players asked for]
    * An option to add a player to your ignore list was added to the "Add by name" dialog.
    * If your trade is rejected, you will receive an onscreen message.
    * Tooltips for NPCs on the map should now show up in the localized version of their names, instead of their default English names.
    * You can no longer trade while in combat mode.
    * You will see an onscreen message stating that a team member has joined your team.
    * Onscreen feedback for a failed attempt at a trade due to a full inventory has been tweaked.
    * Added a new option that allows the player to make his cloak invisible.
    * Strange or seemingly out of place text in the UI should be removed


    * Several causes of crashes and assert failures have been addressed and fixed.
    * Important notification sounds now won't be interrupted by other sounds.
    * A fix was implemented for item descriptions when switching between languages on the client.
    * Fixed an issue that would cause some playfields to be empty after logging out for some time, and then back in.
    * You can no longer send unlimited mail through the tradepost. If you send several mails and are informed via system message you cannot send any more, you will need for in-game time to pass before being able to send more mail.
    * Ignored users will no longer be able to send you mail.
    * Raid playfields will now kick players who are not in the raid.
    * Fixed some animations that weren't blending properly
    * The number of needed 'Fresh Kills' has been increased to 20.
I've highlighted a few things of interest. Option to make cloaks invisible was something I had hoped for - it's just sometimes more fun to show off your armor backside, and there just isn't much variety in cape color.  icon_razz
10239  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / AoC Patch Notes July 31 on: July 31, 2008, 12:44:08 PM

The Explanation Notes (full patch notes in 2nd post here-bj):
The main focus of this update has been in three key areas, firstly to update some of the instance locations to provide some great new encounters for you all to enjoy and secondly we have completed the process of ensuring the combat and item mechanics are consistent. Lastly we are continuing to focus on improving the GUI functionality based on player feedback.

New Instance Challenges!

The Pyramid of the Ancients dungeon has been updated and repopulated with a variety of new quests, encounters and dangers for you to face in this ancient site! The new content should provide an interesting and challenging experience for solo players and single teams alike.

Next up is Toirdealbach's Tomb in The Fields of the Dead. This group instance has been tweaked so that the mob levels are more in keeping with the level of the Fields of the Dead [sigh, I wish this had been in weeks ago; it was next to impossible-bj]. We have also been through and amended the placement of mobs in the dungeon so that the balance between ranged and melee opponents should be much fairer to groups trying to tackle this ancient evil!

Combat Updates

This update sees the completion of the work to ensure that the combat animations are consistent amongst the different class and sex character options.

Resulting from this, all Assassin, Barbarian, Bear Shaman, Conqueror, Dark Templar, Guardian, Herald of Xotli, and Ranger combo damage and stamina costs have been rebalanced, the vast majority of stamina costs have been lowered to reflect the new attack speeds and the damage ranges will now be correct and consistent across any weapon and sex combination.

Item Updates

The issues that were causing item bonuses to not scale correctly across all level ranges has been resolved with this update. Items should now scale correctly between level 1 and level 80.

In addition the raid items for high level players that lost their bonuses in the earlier update should now be fixed and correct again.

Massive Resource Zone Update

The resource and building zones (Lacheish Plains, Purple Lotus Swamp and Poitain) have had a thorough repopulation based on player feedback as to what resources were problematic. New resource nodes and many new camps have been added to these zones to help the avid tradeskillers amongst you find what you need. Be warned though venturing too far off the beaten path may result in you finding yourself face to face with some dangerous foes who won’t take kindly to you trying to harvest from them!

GUI Updates

Continuing the trend of recent updates there are continued improvements and tweaks of the GUI in this update.

• Added a new option that allows the player to make his cloak invisible.
• The "Quests" tab in the quest journal should now indicate the current number of accepted quests and the total number of allowed quests.
• An option to add a player to your ignore list was added to the "Add by name" dialog.
• If your trade is rejected, you will receive an onscreen message.
• You will see an onscreen message stating that a team member has joined your team.

There are even more changes which are introduced in this update and we will continue to even further improve various aspects of the GUI in the coming updates.
This is mostly a big Quality of Life/Fixes type update though there are a few new quests mentioned for one instance (Pyramid of Ancients).
10240  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 30, 2008, 09:13:42 PM
Oh, Wizard had a nice write-up of the Watchmen panel discussion:

While they didn't take a "bootleg video" of the footage, they do describe it in some detail.

I subscribed to Westfield's subscription comics service back in the mid 1980s to early 1990s. While I quite enjoyed it, my condo just doesn't have enough storage space to keep devouring them on a monthly basis. But I am trying to buy a few select compilations and graphic novels now and then. I'll probably try to get Batman: Dark Victory next.

I might try to get a hardcover of Watchmen, as I did give my copy to my older brother as a gift probably 20 years ago.
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