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10241  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: July 07, 2008, 04:32:11 AM
to see that upgrading the bios isn't so simple..
An external USB floppy drive is one option, but surely it’s easier to make a bootable USB flash drive and boot the netbook from that, right? Wrong. While netbooks (and most laptops) can be booted from a USB flash drive, the catch is that you still need a bootable DOS floppy to create one...

Fortunately, there is a craft way around this and after the cut we’ll show you how to create your own bootable USB flash drive for BIOS upgrade purposes without using a floppy drive.
Their directions aren't that hard -- I'm just saying Average Joe/Josephine who bought a Wind because it's cute might not be so clued in on how to do this sort of thing. icon_neutral It'd be smarter to get this sort of thing straightened out before they put it out to market, imho. It's a computer afterall, not an MMORPG.  Roll Eyes icon_razz

A UK site called Geekanoids has impressions/mini-review of the rebadged Advent UK version (apparently just a Wind with the Advent name stuck on it):

There's a slideshow at the end with a lot of close-up pics.
10242  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 07, 2008, 04:14:17 AM
Oh, way back in February, director Chris Nolan wrote a tribute of sorts to Ledger for Newsweek. Here's the link:

Quote from: Director Chris Nolan
When you get into the edit suite after shooting a movie, you feel a responsibility to an actor who has trusted you, and Heath gave us everything. As we started my cut, I would wonder about each take we chose, each trim we made. I would visualize the screening where we'd have to show him the finished film—sitting three or four rows behind him, watching the movements of his head for clues to what he was thinking about what we'd done with all that he'd given us. Now that screening will never be real.

I see him every day in my edit suite. I study his face, his voice. And I miss him terribly.
It's sounding like he and his film editing crew did Heath Ledger proud.  icon_cool

10243  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo clones: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly :) on: July 06, 2008, 06:45:02 PM
I also forgot Sierra's disappointing Throne of Darkness, about in the same era as Nox. Throne's dev Click Entertainment actually had two members of the original Diablo dev team on it (nobody major though). The ballyhooed "formations" feature didn't really add much to it and it came and went from the market without much of a blip.

Sigh. I can install Sacred but it won't start up in Vista (keeps asking for Disk 1 even though it's in there). Not sure if it's my CD-DVD drive compatibility or what.

Found this post at forums that seems to say if you disable autoplay in Vista, and then install the game, it should work. Though not sure if it'll do in 64-bit Vista.

I guess the problem with trying to go back home in games, is that every new Microsoft OS locks out more older games from play.  disgust
10244  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo clones: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly :) on: July 06, 2008, 06:16:05 PM
Good catch. I added it to my list.  icon_cool I can't believe I forgot it too! I attended a fun Westwood "launch event" at a now defunct LAN gaming center in Virginia. I got to play Nox on their machines a bit, they gave us free pizza and Nox T-shirts and stuff. I did a little write-up for the Gone Gold site, and that to this day is my only real foray into gaming journalism, I like to say.  icon_smile I had so much fun, but the gaming lan center went out of business once broadband became more commonplace.

I can't seem to find the game box or game though. I did end up buying it though it wasn't really my cup of tea. It had a funky 3/4 view "semi side" camera angle, and they played up the PVP aspect of the game more than the single player.

As for Shadowflare, I'm sorry but the crude graphics make the original Diablo look like the Mona Lisa.  saywhat My eyes are hurting. However, it does play pretty fun, pretty much like the original Diablo in combat style.

Attached a Shadowflare pic. It's not going to show up very big due to the low rez.

I'm going to try to get Darkstone, and maybe Sacred reinstalled, and its expansion. I wish I could find Divine Divinity but I seem to only have the box for it. ADDENDUM: Dang, I can't get Darkstone's installer to run in Vista 64-bit. Tried compatibility modes.
10245  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Diablo clones: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly :) on: July 06, 2008, 06:01:49 PM
While I never played anything that really was a true Diablo Killer (Titan Quest was fun, and the Immortal Throne expansion was awesome, but I didn't run around saying it was better, only that it was different and fairly fun in its own way - until I got a serious case of wrist tendinitis from overplaying Immortal Throne. Not fun.  tear), I have played a heckuva lot of Diablo clones over the last 10 years.

OK I guess I'll try for an all encompassing list that includes stuff I never played.  icon_smile I'll include some links, to Wikipedia if I can't find an official site.

-Revenant (1999)
* Wiki:

-Darkstone (1999) [I ran a fan site, "Shadow's Darkstone Tomb," and message board for years, Delphine devs would visit my board, and Prima made me an affiliate fan site for a while. I miss those days tear. Have a lot of fond memories of it but of course once DII released the following year, Darkstone was a moot point for most]

-Nox (2000) [Westwood's Diablo clone took a slightly different "skewed" viewing angle, and played up its PVP aspect quite a bit. I attended a fun "Nox launch event" in Va., got to meet a Westwood representative, and wrote a brief column about my experience for the GG site]

-Divine Divinity (2001) [I tend to call it "Diablo with a much deeper storyline and quests"; sequel called "Beyond Divinity" in 2004, see below]
*Official site:

-Throne of Darkness (2001) [first and last game from Click Entertainment, co-founded by a couple of Diablo dev team members]

-Dungeon Siege (2002) [I tend to consider this more of an RTS/RPG but they did hawk it as a "Diablo killer"]
*Official site:

-Harbinger (2003) [so-so $29.99 bargain sci-fi Diablo that had a paucity of skills and looked better than it played, alas] (2004)
*Official site::

-Beyond Divinity (2004) [Divine Divinity followup, didn't get much traction in the U.S. market; played up Necromancer-style summoning]
Official site:

-Sacred (2004)
Official site:

-Sacred Underworld expansion (2005) [added 4 new areas, 2 new characters including two "pre-built" ones you could start playing in the new areas right away]

-Fate (2005) [whose dev now works on Mythos though that seems to be morphing into more of an MMO and less of a Diablo clone]
*Official site:

-Restricted Area (2005) [Another budget Diablo clone, this time trying for a Fallout feel]
*Official site:

-Silverfall (2007) [Extremely strange and often painfully difficult French Diablo clone with a distinctive cell-shaded style, and tough combat that sometimes feels more like an MMO than Diablo. Has some merits, but I would only try it at a bargain bin price. I bought it but couldn't really bring myself to play through the whole thing. There weren't enough online players for the co-op to be much use. Monte Cristo released a map editor, to little attention; and a poorly reviewed PSP version]
*Official site:

-Sacred 2 (September 2008, tentatively) [with a new 3-D engine, for PC, XBox360 and PS3]
*Official site:
Last release update was here:
Though the addition of a PS3 version may push things back if they want a simultaneous release on all three platforms.

I've also read about a few shareware and freeware Diablo clones over the years. One of the better ones [it's pixelicious though] seems to be:

Shadowflare (freeware, 2005)

Gonna try this now and will update this post if it's terrible.  icon_wink
10246  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I'm playing Diablo 1 and I'm having FUN! on: July 06, 2008, 05:36:29 PM

Quote from: faide on July 03, 2008, 08:53:16 PM

Quote from: happydog on July 03, 2008, 08:40:30 PM

I have a confession... I have never even considered play a Diablo game until two days ago  paranoid
After watching the DIII video and thinking "That in some ways reminds me of Gauntlet", am now thinking about trying out a Diablo game.

So can this game be purchased now days? Should I look for DI or DII? Will only playing now make me not want DII?

You can get the Diablo Battlechest which contains both games and the D2 expansion.  It shouldn't be hard to find, I still see it on the shelves at most places.
Bchest's a good deal, just make sure if you get DII that you're getting a package that includes the terrific Lord of Darkness expansion.

I agree, I have endless affection for Diablo but the crude (by today's standards) graphics, inability to sprint (if you can still find Sierra's Hellfire expansion, that at least adds sprinting in town) and lack of skills (as opposed to Diablo II's relatively varied and intricate skill system) make it hard for me to stomach today. I burned out on Diablo II and the expansion far quicker than I did on Diablo. I got a few DII characters into the 60s, but somehow my interest faded off in 2001 into military shooters and other things.
10247  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: July 06, 2008, 05:29:18 PM
Got some help from a 63 guildmate flame mage type this morning. Some real showstopper powers...

Lava ball? Not sure what this is, it doesn't move, but it splats nearby targets with flame.

A fiery hold skill.

A flamethrower type spell, reminds me a bit of Diablo's inferno, in that it keeps flaming as long as you hold the hotkey down, I think.  icon_twisted
10248  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Jumpgate Evolution on: July 06, 2008, 03:34:37 PM
Tentonhammer mentions there's a "guild beta" signup going on. The idea is to get the e-mails (with permission) of all your guildmates so your entire guild can signup for the Jumpgate beta at one time:
10249  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: July 05, 2008, 02:16:06 PM
I was combing for some Dark Knight stuff, and came across a Jon Favreau video interview that touches on the Iron Man sequel, and some artwork he has seen regarding the Captain America movie due out in 2011 (he's not involved with it). He was at the Hellboy II premiere, in Los Angeles I think.

EXCLUSIVE: Jon Favreau On Iron Man 2, Marvel, Avengers and More

He's not keen on Thor getting a cameo in Iron Man 2, but who knows if he really has a say in it. Getting it done in time for summer 2010 means he really won't have time to work on other projects, though he mentions they'll save a lot of time in terms of already having suits done and figured out, the cast signed, and other things in place.
10250  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: July 05, 2008, 08:36:58 AM
I joined a full Catacombs (a group instance in Noble/Tarantia) team late tonight, at level 62. The team spread was about 57-66, and all us lower levels were apprenticed. What's kinda frustrating is that if you have a time around the same levs as the instance enemies, you'll get good exp. but most likely will repeatedly have your group's faces planted in the dirt over and over.

If you come back to it when you mathematically are several levels above the mobs, you'll have maybe just slightly less pain (we team wiped, and had people dropping, quite a bit tonight), but you get 1 exp per enemy, and by then the quest rewards for the instance aren't much better than a typical delivery quest. That said, the group dynamic can be very fun, and people pretty much have to play tightly and supportive or they're screwed in instances period.

Some screenies...
10251  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 04, 2008, 03:02:29 PM
If you can't glutton enough on clips, IGN posted a bunch July 1:

I recommend "There's a Batman" and "Break In" in particular.  icon_cool The suit's been changed to be cooler (temperature), allow more freedom of movement for Bale and the stuntmen, and they found a way to give the neck area flexibility. In interviews they've joked this is "the first Batman movie where the character can actually turn and twist his head."  icon_smile

I'm not sure yet if I really want to see a midnight show, sit through 20 minutes of trailers, watch a 2hr32 minute movie (that's apparently the official run time) and get home about 3:30 a.m., even if I've got time off. So I might consider catching an early show Friday instead.
10252  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [video] 'Fusion Man' soars above Alps (jet fuel-powered wings) on: July 04, 2008, 02:36:47 PM
July 4 update on Fusion Man.  icon_cool Don't know if there's anything new to add though, Post just got around to writing about him. They must be bored.   icon_smile He plans to try to fly across the English Channel in September, and talks about crossing the Grand Canyon in it some day (though it might be harder to find a soft place to land there).
(I don't *think* you have to register to view it).

I thought about him a bit while watching this clip from The Dark Knight... (courtesy IGN) ninja2 (albeit Bat's is more of a glider)
10253  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Watched iRobot on: July 04, 2008, 01:27:12 PM
Well, Richard Matheson is one of my favorite horror/sci-fi writers ever and I have to inform folks that I Am Legend for the most part had about as much in common with Matheson's novel (esp. in terms of the ending -- the novel has a polar opposite point to make) as it does with an episode of Hannah Montana.  disgust Just another example.

Yet, I did enjoy the movie. I really had to separate the Matheson fan from the Will Smith fan.

What I don't really understand is why movie makers bother with buying licenses to books and then using so little from them. I mean, they could've just made a movie called "Vampire Zombie Freak Killer", plastered Will Smith's name on the poster, and it would've made its $200M and they would've saved on the book license and book-royalties.

With Bourne (I was a Ludlum junkie in the '80s), I can understand it. It's like the James Bond movies makers using Ian Flemings' book titles, and basic characters and some plot points as templates and then doing movies that generally bore no resemblance to his work.

I don't begrudge them any of that. But someday (even if it's a TV/cable movie), I'd love to see a faithful adaptation of "I Am Legend," as well as of "I, Robot." (I was a fan of the book, was into Asimov for a few years in the late 1980s too).
10254  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Mass Effect PC... Impressions? on: July 04, 2008, 03:52:32 AM
More later, but I did install my PC Mass Effect and play through it for a while. It's cool, I'm a bit overwhelmed at this point, but no more so than in KOTOR a few years back.  icon_cool It looks fine and runs like a charm at the highest resolution I can get (1280X1024).

Now and then it gives me a bit of a flashback to Looking Glass's classic, albeit pixelicious, Terra Nova of 1996:
10255  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: July 03, 2008, 09:45:55 PM
Saw a Philippines discussion thread with some info tidbits: (the forum look might seem familiar  icon_smile),498.195.html
There's some concern about hinges being a tad loose, and the screen angle flopping out of position a bit though I can't see that happening much in average use (maybe if you're using it in a car, bus or turbulence-ridden plane).
10256  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: July 03, 2008, 09:18:06 PM
I'm assuming the Wind either has a system restore disc, or has put a restore image on a separate partition (which basically is what my HP Elite PC came with). I'd certainly *prefer* at least an OEM OS disc, and I'm not a fan of the "system restore" practices that did away with that. If you buy a high-end gaming PC or laptop, most of them still give you a real OS disc, as well as a system restore disc(s).

You might consider using something like the Decrapifier freeware to "clean" a new laptop or hard drive before resorting to reformatting. Though I certainly had to do that kind of thing with Windows 95 and 98/98SE now and then or else my system became a tub of lard.  icon_razz

The UK Site Mobile Computer just posted a lengthy review:
It has lots of photos, and some videos showing among other things how the screen holds up in use out in sunlight.

They mention the cooling fan is very quiet though it's constantly running.

Also, they note a battery BIOS bug where... I'll let them explain:
Unfortunately, there's a bug in the BIOS that shipped with the three retail MSI Wind U100's sent to Dennis for review. When the battery is completely drained (as happens in our battery tests), the Wind won't power on when plugged back into the mains until the battery has accrued 15 minutes' or so of charge. Plugging the Wind into the mains with the battery removed doesn't remedy the problem.

Thankfully, MSI has issued an updated BIOS (v1.05, dated 26 June) that fixes this:

Unfortunately, you have to go through a lot of rigamarole, which the article explains, to update the BIOS via a Flash drive since there's no floppy-type drive on the Wind. Gotta hope they're able to get that BIOS update into the U.S. production units before they ship.

I'm sure it's not intimidating to the technically inclined, but someone who got the Wind "because it's cute" might be aghast if they have to Flash-update their BIOS using a USB key drive.  icon_neutral Or they may think it's broken when it fails to turn on after plugging it in when the battery ran out.

They're disappointed with the decision to ship it with the 3-cell (roughly 2.5 hours or less life). I'm assuming the supplier factory fire was bad enough that MSI would rather just make it available as an option for the time being and limit the demand in that way. It's just unfortunate in terms of the timing of the launch, since early previews kept touting the Wind's extra battery life.

Scroll to the bottom of the last page of the review for their video of it booting and entering/exiting hibernation state. It takes maybe 45-50 secs to reach the XP desktop.

In the comments at the end, the reviewer mentions USB cards stick out about 8mm when inserted (in answer to a question).

Also in the comments, someone claims the Advent "Wind clone" actually has "manufactured by MSI" stickers on it. icon_confused
10257  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 03, 2008, 05:40:45 PM
Hey, I just got permission to take July 17-22 off. So, assuming I can get a ticket, I can catch a midnight show without worrying about work the next day. Bring your own! I definitely hope to catch it at the same theaters I saw Iron Man and the Indy movie at (a big AMC multiplex within a mall).

I even told my publisher as much though there are some boring (car inspection) and unpleasant (procedure for my cat) that I might need to get done during my little break too.

My older publisher of course think the movie sounds "horrible," but that's what generation gaps are all about, even if I'm in my 40s, and she's in her 60s.   icon_razz
10258  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 03, 2008, 05:26:35 PM
IGN posted its review June 30 (5/5 stars; not much about plot details, so I'd call it pretty "spoiler-free" fwiw):

The Dark Knight Review
Nolan's sequel surpasses the original with an intense, disturbing masterpiece.
It isn't an overstatement to call The Dark Knight the most sophisticated and ambitious work of its kind. Superior to all three Spider-Man installments and even its amazing predecessor in terms of conceptualization, writing, acting, and direction, Nolan's follow-up to Batman Begins is a dark, complex and disturbing film, not the least of which because it grafts its heroics onto the blueprint of actual reality rather than that of spandex-clad supermen.

And while such a distinction may make little difference to those already eagerly anticipating the return of the caped crusader, suffice it to say that The Dark Knight qualifies as the first official comic book adaptation that truly succeeds in being a great artistic achievement in its own right.

[and in conclusion]
... there really is no better way to describe The Dark Knight than to call it a great work of art because it transcends both the boundaries of comic book moviemaking and even the parameters of good filmmaking. What Nolan and Co. have created doesn't just function as a thrill ride or even a terrific movie, but rather as a substantive and philosophical examination of why we need heroes, and then when we need them, what they mean.

10259  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Funniest/Craziest MMO Moment on: July 03, 2008, 02:59:33 PM
It's an Age of Conan dismounting bug, but the first time that I dismounted while in combat, my mount fell through the ground, and I couldn't get off of the mount. So instead I glided around the ground (a legless torso gliding along the ground, you couldn't see the horse), unable to attack, while various bad guys attacked me. If I had been drinking milk, I would've sprayed it out at my nose at the sight.  icon_lol

I nicknamed the bug, "The Screaming Torso," though it reminds me quite a bit of the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail ("it's just a scratch!"): (NSFW, due to comical blood spray)

Now of course it's just annoying. My understanding is that if you're in "mounted combat mode," get attacked, and then try to dismount, this often happens  icon_razz)

Craziest for me would probably be two things in City of Heroes:
* The end of the Eden Trial (L39-41) in City of Heroes, where you have the option to release various NPC heroes from their glass cages (so to speak), who then proceed to go completely ape sh** and attack everything in sight, turning the whole trial crazy (though you can also use them to your benefit, up to a point).  icon_cool

* The climax of the terrific Hess Task Force (Striga Isle, about 27-32, if I remember it), where everyone needs to escape the Council's giant robot facility before it blows. I had one case where I got out exactly as the timer ended.

I would say the Sunday night in 2006 that a supergroup friend and I did the Hess TF with a pickup group only to find it taking us more than 6 hours to complete (going to sleep about 5 a.m. Monday and then trying to into work that day, not recommended) was also memorably crazy on top of the TF's climax being crazy to begin with.  icon_twisted
10260  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 03, 2008, 04:15:18 AM
Here's the official movie site, btw:

10261  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 03, 2008, 04:03:56 AM
I always check in at the fan site Batman on Film, and it has mentioned several reviews. Actually the Webmeister "Jett" got to see it at a press junket and was of course blown away by it. That may seem like a given, but it's not always easy for a film to live up to endless hype and publicity.

Batman on Film (you may need to use an Adblock type extension to keep from going blind)
Quote from: Jett

My friends -- my Batman brethren -- it’s a CLASSIC. I was flat-out speechless during the entire closing credits and I wasn’t the only one who lost their capacity to talk.

Props to ALL involved. But I've got to give out a "Hell Yeah!" to Jonah Nolan, David Goyer, and Chris Nolan for writing one HELL of a story and script.

My review is forthcoming [July 8, he says], so stay tuned. But I will say that THE DARK KNIGHT moved me -- as a Batman fan -- in a way that I’ve never experienced in my life. My eyes welled up and y’all can laugh if you want. But your’s will too very soon…
If you read his various interviews from the press junket, he also shares some of his thoughts on having seen the movie. Those can be kind of spoiler-ish but generally he's good about warning about things like that.

Some other review tidbits Jett posted:

Kevin Smith's blog review:
"Without giving anything away, this is an epic film (and trust me: based on the sheer size and scope of the visuals and storytelling, that's not an overstatement). It's the Godfather II' of comic book films and three times more earnest than "Batman Begins" (and f***, was that an earnest film). Easily the most adult comic book film ever made. Heath Ledger didn't so much give a performance as he disappeared completely into the role; I know I'm not the first to suggest this, but he'll likely get at least an Oscar nod (if not the win) for Best Supporting Actor. F***ing flick's nearly three hours long and only leaves you wanting more (in a great way). I can't imagine anyone being disappointed by it. Nolan and crew have created something close to a masterpiece."

From the press screening [You know WB is confident about the movie when they're screening it for reviews this many weeks in advance of release icon_cool]
The AP's David Germain has an article out about last night's TDK press screening. Here's an excerpt:

The buzz over Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" for the last several months was justified. With his final full film role, Ledger delivers what may be remembered as the finest performance of his career.

A press screening of the "Batman Begins" sequel Thursday night had the audience cackling along with Ledger's Joker, a depraved creature utterly without conscience whom the late actor played with gleeful anarchy.

At times sounding like a cross between tough guy James Cagney in a gangster flick and Philip Seymour Hoffman's fastidious Truman Capote, Ledger elevates Batman's No. 1 nemesis to a place even Jack Nicholson did not take him in 1989's "Batman." Nicholson's Joker was campy and clever. Ledger's Joker is an all-out terror, definitely funny but with a lunatic moral mission to drag all of Gotham, the city Batman thanklessly protects, down to his own dim assessment of humanity.

To me his next graph might be a spoiler in a vague way, so...
Spoiler for Hiden:
Spewing alternate personal histories for how he got the horrible scars on his face, the Joker hides behind distorted clown makeup that looks like a chalk drawing left out in the rain. The Joker masterminds a series of escalating abductions, assassination attempts, murders and bombings, all aimed at calling out Batman (Christian Bale) and proving to the tormented vigilante hero that they are two sides of the same coin.

Our old friend "Slappy White Dog" emailed in with the following report:

Hey Jett,
Today here in NYC THE DARK KNIGHT screened at the Warner Bros. screening room that was completely full and packed with industry folk -- and it received a big standing ovation at the end. Two friends were in attendance -- yours truly, Slappy -- was not unfortunately though! Here are some quotes from our conversation.

“Let me say this…THE DARK KNIGHT is the best film of the year. The screening room was packed and got a wild standing ovation at the end. I was blown away. The 2 hours and 32 minutes really move. Ledger is absolutely brilliant! You will be beside yourself.”

The other friend called me and said, “Just saw THE DARK KNIGHT. It's an absolute grand slam for Nolan! One for the books.”
The local paper here (Wash. Post) will probably not like it as they tend to tear down any comic book movie that isn't made for the kiddies. Their loss.  thumbsdown

Although I'd love to see a midnight show, unless I can get some time off, I doubt I can do it this time. I was able to do it in 2005 for Batman Begins (after seeing Mr. and Mrs. Smith first just to waste some time that evening), and I had a great time but didn't get out of the theater until 3 a.m.

The Dark Knight is quite long (about 2 hours 30 mins. plus is my understanding) but it apparently flies by like a... speeding bullet...  ninja2

Just based on the press junket screening, there's already a lot of press talk about Ledger for best supporting actor Oscar, and I doubt that's the kind of talk anyone's heard about a comic book hero movie since, well, Nicholson's turn as Batman in 1989. icon_cool

Speed Racer was such a complete financial fiasco ($120 million budget, $42 million US gross to date puke), you know Warner Brothers has just got to be praying The Dark Knight is both a great film (and so far everything suggests it is) and a big box office spectacular.  Bring your own! I can only see the running time (theaters like shorter stuff they can really squeeze in extra viewings for), and the darkness of the movie (it's really not for kids under maybe 12, and both Nolan and Christian Bale both say they won't let their youngsters see the finished film until they're older) as perhaps obstacles.
10262  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 03, 2008, 03:44:48 AM
I've been slacking off as far as digging around for some other dev posts of interest. Here are some:

The [PVP] Arena is still bugged! (July 1 post)
Quote from: by Famine, US Community Manager
The arena quest was on it's way to being fixed. The initial bug from last week was resolved in the quest but another bug arose in the testing since then. That is why you will notice some changes to the quest. The original plan was to fix the issue with not being able to talk to the NPC and fix the issue where there was no additional option in the dialogue. However as above, another thing came up which had to mark it as still a bug.

We will still continue to work on this issue as we know it is one of the top community concerns. We will continue to aim for getting this resolved as soon as possible.

[Feedback] The Male vs Female attack-speed issue (Sharum gathered some Q&A from both US and EU forums on the issue)
Quote from: by Sharum, developer
Every fighting animation in the game are originally MOCAP'd and not hand-animated, so yes, there are differences in length.

Almost every combo-finisher will have its length adjusted during this process. In most cases the female ones will be made shorter, but in some cases (if we are unable to make the female version short enough without impacting the visual quality) the male counterpart will be lengthened. Once the animation-length has been finalized every combo will then be re-balanced based on this new value.

What we're adjusting is the length of the combo-finishers (the animation that plays after you correctly execute all steps in a combo-chain).
I guess now my understanding is that the female characters in a given class have a *longer* (slower) animation than the male character, if they both fire the same combo off, so in that way, the female has a lower DPS (assuming the male version is using the same weapon, combo etc.), so that's what they're trying to bring back into balance.

Update on Herald of Xotli Fire Damage [a future update will be adjusting this AT]
Quote from: Jayde, system designer
As promised, we have performed a full review of all magical damage sources triggered by the Herald of Xotli class. As it is intended for bonus magical damage (specifically fire damage) to be an effective way to increase the damage output of the class, we have implemented and adjusted the magical damage coefficients on all fire-based magical effects.

The main sources of scaling from +magical damage will be from Hellfire Breath (as before) and Burn to Death, as they are primary damage-dealing effects. Additionally, moderate to minor coefficients have been added or increased on all secondary fire damage hits and damage-over-time components.

While the balanced values will not be equivalent to the erroneous 100% coefficients being applied to some spells prior to last patch, there were many spells which were not scaling previously that will after the update. Given that we have adjusted all spells to have a bonus equivalent to their base power, the contribution from +magical damage should be much more consistent across all spells.


Update on Dark Templar Unholy Damage [as with the Herald above, look for some major upcoming improvements]
Quote from: Jayde, system designer
After reviewing the situation, we agree that Dark Templars should have +unholy damage as a viable way to increase their DPS, along with other forms of "generic" melee damage increases and other forms of item modifications.

As such, we have evaluated and implemented coefficients on all Dark Templar self-only unholy damage sources. In the process, we have made some other changes to similar abilities.
Whew. OK, hope someone finds something useful or hopeful in all this info.  icon_smile
10263  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo 3 to be announced this weekend? the magic 8-ball says... on: July 03, 2008, 03:16:23 AM is, fittingly enough, moving itself to a domain... icon_cool
It was kinda cool the Blizz folks were willing to do a little plug for the fan site.
10264  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I'm playing Diablo 1 and I'm having FUN! on: July 02, 2008, 09:47:48 PM
Diablo "1" consumed my life in about 1996-1998 [technically Diablo came out in January 1997, but I had so much fun with the "Butcher demo" included on a PC gamer disc in late 1996], although that nasty Ultima Online ultimately peeled away nearly all the Diablo buddies that I made at that time, including the guild (Alliance of Divine Harmony) I was in. For a time, I played it so much that my weekends would be a complete blur, and I'd be stumbling into grocery stores at 11 p.m., or taking out the trash at midnight Saturday, wondering where my day went.

I thought what made it more strategic than Diablo II was simply the inability to run (Sierra's Hellfire add-on at least added a sort of "jogging" ability in town). You couldn't just run like a jackrabbit out of bad decisions. You'd have to fight it out.

I think that's partly an outgrowth of Condor (David Brevik and the Schaefer brothers) originally doing the game as a turn-based RPG. If I remember my Diablo history correctly (it's explained in the Diablo strategy guide), Blizzard suggested the switch to "real-time," they begrudgingly (at first) made the switch, and realized they had something special.

And some of us still think the game actually looks better in some cases than the sometimes pixelicious-looking Diablo II (esp. in D2's early, first levels). I remember some complaints in 2000 claiming that D2 "looked worse" than D1, if you can believe it.

OTOH, when I tried the Diablo demo last year (Fileplanet was doing a fun thing of digging up demos from past classics), the 640X480 VGA graphics basically made my eyes bleed. I just couldn't bear to look at it for very long.  icon_razz But the music -- wow, still sent a shiver up my spine to hear that familiar theme. icon_cool

The gold duping ultimately was ridiculous, and I got tired of teaming up with people who simply didn't want to do anything but "jiggle" gold piles all night long. Little did I know what it would lead up to in MMOs, gold farming and the like.

Although I'm not a PVPer, my best Diablo bud (a Texas 7-Eleven clerk, he would tell me later) came about because he and I had teamed for the first time. We let some higher level player (who turned out to be a warrior with Godly everything) join us, and he promptly chased down and cut down both of us as we fumed about it. The 7-Eleven guy tracked me down in chat, said he enjoyed playing with me, and then we teamed up regularly probably for a year or more, and stayed in touch on ICQ for some years after that.

I can't really explain why but I made more gamer buddies playing Diablo "1" than I did D2, or really most other games in general. I guess it was just so easy to get into, and so much fun in co-op that it had that effect, for me, fwiw.  icon_smile

Sorry, I'm rambling. I'm perhaps strange in that I'm far more nostalgic about Diablo "1" than the better known II. The rogue was my favorite character, and even though she really had no bow "skills" in the first game (it was just a matter of getting bows that did fire damage, ice damage etc., if I recall), I had the most fun with that.
10265  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: July 02, 2008, 09:29:27 PM mentioned some TR staffing shuffling that's been going on, including CuppaJo (April Burba) - probably better known as the CoX board's chief moderator for years - getting shuffled off to the Dungeon Runners team:

The game's lead designer moved on to a different project some months ago, though that probably happens a fair amount in the post-launch phase of MMOs (fixing/updating being a lot different than creation/designing).
10266  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Jumpgate Evolution on: July 02, 2008, 07:30:57 PM
I'll keep my eyes open. I have to hope that Netdevil learned something from the Auto Assault experience (which I played in beta, and then subscribed to for a month or two after it had been out a while).

I'll keep my fingers crossed that w/ Jumpgate they find a way to do missions that are unique to the setting, and not "go kill 25 alien bugs, and come back to me." A lot of us disappointed AA players felt the game could've done things unique to a vehicular-MMO (stunts, races, etc.) rather than simply doing WoW/Everquest type quests (kill 25! Blow something up! Set something on fire! Then come back!") that didn't help differentiate it.

I really liked Freelancer, and would've played it longer if I could've ever found a reliable player-hosted server. I was disappointed Microsoft backed out of what seemed to be its original MMO-style plan.

10267  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: July 02, 2008, 07:05:34 PM
I got to do my L60 Destiny quests last night. Pretty fun, if nothing fantabulous.

Some observations from it. Might be spoiler-ish, so I'll use the spoiler buttons... fwiw, though I don't think it's spoiling to try to share a couple positive things that might motivate you to reach L60.  icon_cool Still, if you don't wanna know, don't click the button!  icon_razz

I mean it!

Spoiler for Hiden:
* The L60 Instance cave was unique in layout but there was nothing terribly different aside from some red water pools (blood pools?).

* The end boss has a pretty awesome attack. I don't really know how to describe it. When you get it down to a certain degree of health, he summons weird walking dead pets and becomes invulnerable. Meanwhile he's got geysers of blood shooting up all over him (protecting him I guess?).

The dead pets swarm you, and you've got to get every single one of them down before the boss starts taking damage again. It wasn't as difficult to defeat as I thought it'd be (once i realized The Trick), but I thought it was a very cool, unique boss. I mentioned in a chat channel that it seemed to be channeling "early Clive Barker."  icon_twisted The game could use a lot more of this twisted nature, though I guess the book's lore doesn't really let you throw this kind of thing at the player out in the regular play areas.

* You get to meet Conan! (back in Nobles). I stayed up late cause I couldn't stop playing until I got to meet him. His voice sounds noble, but maybe a little too much like an English actor doing Shakespeare if you ask me. He wears some unique looking armor. For an MMO, the dialogue is pretty interesting, and you get an idea of some of the Hyborian politics and conflicts that are going on.

* L60 destiny sends you out to various different zones (three I think), and you'll find it a lot less time-consuming with the mount and the PC Gamer "totam", esp. if Tarantia was your "home town" after leaving Tortage.

I've already beaten the dead horse (mammoth?) about the need for at least a dedicated LFG channel in the game. LOTORO has one, and it made teaming up often (for those that want to do that) so much easier than forcing people to basically spam their LFMs and LFGs into various Regional and OOC channels hoping for a bite. I'd rather know that everyone reading a channel (even if it's fewer than the number viewing Regional/OOC) was actively interested in teaming.

My metaphor is, do you want to fish (seek teammates) in a pond that has maybe 10 fish (people interested in teaming) and 90 old shoes (people not interested in teaming); or in a lake (LFG channel) that has 50 fish (people interested in teaming) and nothing else? Yes, I know, you're a shoe salesman so you preferred the first one. Sorry, there's just no hope for you.  icon_lol

I'm under the impression they are revamping the friends lists and hopefully the player search/looking for functions, but I still think simply having a channel for it would make teaming easier to find and easier to do.

I don't think there's a shortage of people who want to team, but the game's tools need to do a better job of helping you seek teammates or teams. I have no problem with them stealing ideas from other games (LOTORO, COX, WOW whatever), it's not like you can patent a game's LFG/LFM/LFT functions.  icon_cool

I got on a solid team doing the Whitehand Officers in Eiglophian last night, and once we sort of worked out our roles a bit, we did well and had a good time. The xp from it was excellent even though I'd technically out leveled it a bit.
10268  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: July 02, 2008, 06:03:29 PM
As far as XP on a disc, I'm going to assume no. Unless you buy from a boutique-PC/laptop maker, most companies are lazy about including an OS disc, and nowadays make you do your own system restore discs too.

I think the last time I got a PC that came with an OS disc, was a Micro Center system in about 1998 (450mhz Pentium II), I think that came w/ the initial Windows 98 version.

Anyway, if you wanna know "What's in the box????" (as Brad Pitt says in the movie "Seven"), check out this YouTube video, mentioned at one of the many MSI Wind blogs:

Just don't ask me why the guy is trying to open the box with an open pair of scissors in his hand. I'm surprised he doesn't self-amputate himself by accident.  saywhat The box has a couple of CDs (DVDs?) but there doesn't appear to be an OS disc.

A UK site called Register reviewed a pre-production model. They claim it was a 6-cell version though the battery life sounds a bit disappointing for a 6-cell model:
10269  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 2 on: July 02, 2008, 03:54:26 PM
I'd like to see "dismounting when in combat" graphical bug fixes (I again had my horse turn invisible, but "lock" me to the invisible horse last night). I took a gameplay movie. It's hysterical.  icon_lol But I'm starting to think that and my horse sometimes falling through the ground during combat dismounts are simply engine limitations they can't fix (kind of like clipping in military shooters).

I believe some of the PVP improvements/new features, esp. the ones meant to reduce ganking (or at least make it more risky) are in the pipeline - just from reading forum posts and interviews - but that'll probably need some test server feedback before it goes in. Then again, since I don't pvp, maybe they're already in.  icon_confused
10270  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Classes thread on: July 02, 2008, 01:42:27 PM
Finally got a peek at the Furious Inspiration (Conquerer special power) ability description. At least the basic version (a later feat ads healing to it).
10271  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: July 02, 2008, 01:38:25 PM
Also of note, Advent is apparently releasing an officially licensed "MSI Wind clone," for sale only in the UK (279.99 pounds/about $558 U.S.). It's identical (it seems like a silver finish), and is presumably because the MSI brand isn't much known in that particular market.

Some links:
10272  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: July 02, 2008, 01:31:37 PM
Fan site forums has an overseas member who received his Wind), with photos even...

Finally : Wind (of my own)
(apparently guy's from Indonesia, so his English can be a bit confusing)
It awesome.. if you haven't been try it before, it's light to take along.. well it's 1 Kg.. biggrin well, that the main point isn't, the weight..

Yes, the touchpad is small, so explore the screen will need more repetition that normal touchpad, but you get to used i think.. about temperature, i can't still figure it out, i just trying it for a minute.. Haven't install anything, but there already Adobe reader in my Wind, and it's open fast and also for the booting (like you see in many video smile smile ).. For that minute moment, i reckon the battery life is 47% and with full brightness without any connection on, wind can life up to 1:17, so i think 100% will be around 2.5 then.. And you doesn't get the manual, you just got the quick manual (and in my case it's 9 languge : english, 2 chinese, Japan, Korean, Herbrew :?: *why in asia*, Tien Viet, Thailand, and Indonesia)

For the wobble screen.. Let this be the example : you sit in chair, and put your wind on your thigh, then you shake your feet, it look the screen has it's little movement it's self; i'm not sure if that is a so-called wobbling or not, but hope that shake ur feet story can tell you something or make it by urself.. Still you put it on non-movement object, the screen look very rigid, also if you move the screen by yourself, it like it's very solid built one.. slywink

Other thing, it was IE 6 and WMP 9 that happen in my Wind, so :cry: :cry: *can't speak anymore..* for Desktop Background, MSI just give me 1 kind (i just skimming, so maybe i'm wrong) it the Wind and Dandelion think, and that the only one that 1024 x 600 screen, so you might think to take the pic from "anything goes topic"..

it's just my subjective opinion, the MSI bag look significantly bigger than a glimpse of seeing wind.. But it doesn't take much, it's lovely bag to cover up your wind and got the right load of foam.. and even i got the white wind, it's bag line is black..

Separately they have some impressions from a Chinese member who said he got to try a demo model (they weren't selling yet) in Shanghai:
10273  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PSP, I'm impressed! on: July 02, 2008, 01:20:36 PM
I was crazy about my PSPs (I have original model, and a slim) in 2007, amazing lineup last year. Outside of God of War, and maybe the Pursuit Force sequel (both of which I bought but really didn't play much), nothing this year got me excited. I dropped my Gamefly membership in part because I didn't see anything on PSP worth a rent anymore. I haven't used my PSP in months. I probably oughta put it up for sale here too. Maybe eventually...

The sad reality of PSP game development is the 3rd party devs don't make much money on PSP games, and they only see PSP development as a stepping stone to the big consoles. e.g., Guerrilla games puts away its PSP dev kits after Killzone: Liberation (still probably my favorite PSP game) to focus on the PS3 Killzone game that might release later this century  disgust icon_lol, and now Ready at Dawn has abandoned PSP to work on games for consoles (was in the news a while back). I was crazy about SOCOM: Tactical Strike, but its dev has no more PSP plans either.  tear

The fact most PSPers seem more excited about the machine's home brew abilities (which does nothing to sell the games for the system) than actually buying games for it, probably doesn't make it any more appealing to game developers, though I certainly don't hold that against people. To fiddle with techie gadgets is human.  icon_smile

Of course you can dig through its back catalog and find great stuff, and classics like Killzone: Liberation are now cutout bin games.

I actually originally came here because I was combing the cosmos for a board where people actually talked about PSP games, and weren't 100% fixated on the home brew side of things. At least here there was some actual discussion of games. Most other places I checked, the idea of playing a retail-bought PSP game was... alien. icon_razz
10274  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / AoC Patch Notes July 2 on: July 02, 2008, 01:07:40 PM
Now on the new, once-a-week schedule. Here they be (from EU forums):

Update Notes - 2nd of July
Player Classes


    * Tome of Erlik now has effects and sounds.
    * Purge now has sound and particle effects associated with it and should now go on the appropriate cooldown. Purge now provides 5 seconds of immunity in addition to removal of effects.
    * Misdirection now has received a better visual and should no longer look like a lightning strike.
    * Weakened Protection will no longer refresh itself after the player cancels his own Absorb buff.


    * Mountaineer, Distraction, and Concealment effects are now innate in the feat and will not take up space in the Rogue's buff window. They will still provide a buff to the Rogue's teammates.
    * Distraction will now properly apply to the Rogue's teammates.

Bear Shaman

    * Reaper Claws will no longer disappear when you zone.


    * Feint Attack combo animation speed will now scale correctly for both male and female. Now the male and female should do equal damage.


    * The splash damage of the Deathless Acolyte: Magus has been increased from 10% to 30%, with 4 meter range and a maximum of 5 targets
    * The Deathless Acolyte: Reaper and Deathless Acolyte: Arcanist now have 30% splash damage with 2 meter range on a single additional target
    * The Deathless Acolyte: Arcanist's chance to trigger the Arcanist's Knowledge has been doubled
    * The Arcanist's Knowledge effect will now display the current stack count in the buff GUI
    * Casting Frost Blast will no longer cause the Necromancer to get stuck in a casting animation
    * Flash Freeze now additionally decreases the casting time and increases the damage of Freeze
    * Freeze will now clear the target of all Necromancer damage-over-time effects when cast, this will reduce the chance of it breaking accidentally on damage
    * Ice Shackle no longer has a chance to break on damage
    * The debuff effect applied by Wither Soul should now have the appropriate icon


    * Thrown weapons have had their range increased: Light throwing weapons now have a range of 15 meters, up from 12. Heavy throwing weapons now have a range of 18 meters, up from 16.
    * Generic NPC crowd control effects have been tweaked. Resistances from feats and other player effects should now help against NPC crowd control. Stun, knockback, charm, and fear will now grant the player immunity.

Massive PvP

    * Battlekeeps now have resurrection points for the attackers, that are located near the front gate of the city.
    * Fixed an issue that disabled Siege Weapons if the target was out of range.
    * NPC's will properly respawn when a building is repaired.
    * Players are now able to use a siege weapon after the player using it has gone linkdead.
    * Players now get a notification when they are about to get teleported out during a Massive PvP battle.
    * Damaged playerbuilt curved walls now have correct collision so they can not be walked through before they are completely destroyed.
    * Lacheish Plains: Several holes have been closed in the West Battlekeep so players can no longer bypass the walls there.
    * Poitain: Several holes have been closed in the West, South and East Battlekeeps so players can no longer bypass the walls there.


    * Moving around while mounted should now correctly interrupt spell-casting.


    * Fixed a tooltip error on the crossbow Skysmite causing the bonuses to be illegible.
    * The recipe for Steelsilk Belt has been changed to Fine Steelsilk Belt.
    * The recipe for Steelsilk Leggings has been changed to Fine Steelsilk Leggings.
    * Selling a gemmed item to a shop and undoing the sale will no longer remove the gems.


Armsmans Arena

    * Doors should no longer be targetable in the Arena.
    * Fixed an issue where players managed to get locked inside the monster cages in the Arena. You should now be able to get out using the Lever.

Lacheish Plains

    * all the levers for each door in Stonehammer battlekeep should now work properly.


    * A progress bar will appear whenever gemcutting is performed.
    * Crafted armor pieces no longer incorrectly have more defense rating than normal pieces of armor.
    * Resolved a level check for the response to give when character is below level 70 and tries to learn gathering Oak.
    * The Weaponsmith workshop plan can now be correctly learned from the Architect trainer.
    * Blue Iron can again be mined from the correct mineral veins.


    * Stonecutter Trainer: Fixed a dialogue issue so the trainer will now accept Basalt and Adamant to resolve the quest.
    * Cannibal Commotion: Fixed an issue where Attadeus would become stuck and not allow you to update the quest.
    * The Bearer of Ill Tidings: The Field of the Dead quest "The Bearer of Ill Tidings" and "Allies of the White Hand" are now level 48.
    * The Den of Wolves: The goal name was changed from "The Den of Wolves" to "Kill Plains Wolves".
    * The Wolf Hunt: The goal name was changed from "The Wolf Hunt" to "Kill Yukagi Wolves".
    * Death to the Undead: The goal name was changed from "Death to the Undead" to "Destroy Conriocht werewolves in the Haunted Forest".
    * Greater Prey: The goal name was changed from "Greater Prey" to "Kill werewolf Rippers, Antagonizer, Slasher and Slicers".
    * The Curse of the Werewolves: The goal name was changed from "The Curse of the Werewolves" to "Kill Conriocht Menaces, Slayers and Goremuzzles".
    * Fit for a Chieftain: You will now correctly receives the item 'Fur of Bloodclaw' in the quest inventory.
    * Attack of the Savages: An issue where the goal text was not clear has been changed to "Kill Raiders at the Guard Post".
    * Castle of King Conan: Pallantides now doesn't display an exclamation mark over his head unless you can get the quest from him.
    * Tortage: Renton should now have one coherent look as opposed to changing look between quests.
    * Paetus & the Nemedian Crown III: Gavion now gives the player the map and letter back when he ask the player to go talk to King Conan about this treason. Players will need to delete their old quest "Paetus & the Nemedian Crown III" and speak with Gavion again to continue this quest line.
    * Lusts of the Flesh: You now get a cask of Tainted Ale to give to Tuthmekri. Players who want to finish this quest will have to delete it from their quest journal and get it again.
    * Master of the Silver Peacock: Vistrix now finaly gives in and surrender his teeth on defeat. You are now able to complete this quest, and thereby advance to The Black Ring Citadel.
    * Alchemy quests: The dialogues with the Alchemy trainer should now all work correctly and give and complete the needed quests.
    * Common Gems II - Return to the Gemcutter: The quest can now be completed by handing over the needed gems to the trainer.
    * Tear 2 gathering quest - Return the Illustrium: The quest can now be completed by handing over the illustrium to the trainer.
    * Woodcutter quest: Players will now be able to get the 'Gathering Oak' quest when having the correct level.


    * Tarantia Noble: Zhu-Khang no longer has flickering clothing.
    * Armsman's Tavern: Sarissa's upper chest should no longer go through her dress. [Awwwww... icon_razz]
    * Tortage Jungle: Poacher Marksman should no longer shoot invisible arrows at players.
    * Eiglophian Mountains: Added two vendors to the Mountain Hunting Lodge.
    * Conall's Valley: The Gravesinger now has an improved look that fits more with the description of him.
    * Conalls Valley: Supply Master Vorgir has been given a slight makeover and should look better now.
    * Tortage Underhalls Day: NPCs will now respawn slightly quicker than before.
    * Lacheish Plains: Tiggle Knucklebone has been removed from the playfield to stop players from confusing him as a Trader.
    * NPCs will no longer inappropriately receive player buffs such as Lotus Overload, Blood Pit, Embrace Death, Overpower, and Pact of Dread.
    * Vendor bought resources have been reduced in price.
    * Sanctum of the Burning Souls: It is now possible to spawn the Dark Beast boss just by interacting with the Sacrificial Altar while holding a Ritual Chalice. The specific quest requirement has been removed. [I encountered this fairly early on, glad finally fixed-bj]


    * French: Many of dialogues that were still in English have been translated.
    * all languages: All Feats, Special Abilities, Skills, Spells and Combos have been reviewed are now fully and consistently translated.


    * Updated/improved descriptions of following abilities/feats/combos: >From the Darkness, Overpower, Blood Rage Stance, Secondary Laceration, Crippling Bloodbath (Crippling Bloody Hack), Improved Inspire, Focus, Burning Vigor, Covenant of Invulnerability III,
      Focus, "Secondary Laceration" changed to "Conquest"
    * Players will now be able to exit Dance state while in combat.
Now they just need to change the Tarantia' Destiny quest contact's outfit so it doesn't look like she's wearing a potato bag sack.  icon_confused
10275  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo 3 to be announced this weekend? the magic 8-ball says... on: July 01, 2008, 10:14:49 PM
Thanks, I guess my take on the video is those short-lived AI buddies are NPCs as part of a quest (perhaps a storyline quest, seemed a little too complicated to be one of the random quests). Anyway, I certainly don't *need" hireable henchman in my Diablo to be happy.  icon_cool It was just a nice feature of DII, esp. if you didn't find anyone to team up with on a given outing.

I was genuinely excited about the Gods & Heroes MMO for a time -- until I actually tried it in beta  disgust -- cause I assumed designer Steig Hedlund was a driving force behind the D2 mercs and that's what had inspired him towards Gods & Heroes' AI-group play focus. I still hope that idea latches on somewhere else, even if, God Forbid, it's in some Diablo III CloneTM icon_razz down the road, instead of an mmo.

If you think about all the former Blizzard devs -- not just the high profile guys like Bill Roper and the Brevik/Schafer brothers misadventures in Flagship, but various lower profile types whose games were billed as "from the creators of Starcraft!" and "from the masterminds of Warcraft II!" and simply crashed and burned on release, or in the case of Steig never got off the launchpad, you really have to wonder why anyone leaves Blizzard. I can understand wanting to make a name on your own, or maybe not wanting to get locked into doing the same thing over and over, but I would hesitate to leave somewhere with such a fine track record, and of course now record revenues. But people are restless, I understand only well.  icon_neutral

btw, I think the "other" studio formed by former Blizzard North folks (Hyboreal Games, in 2005) must've went out of business a while back. Their debut game was going to be something called "Starfall."

And yeah, Blizz games have never been too hardware-heavy. I had to laugh when I read some news item the other day claiming that Diablo III and Starcraft II "won't help NVIDIA sell $600 graphics cards." Well of course not -- Blizzard has never been about making bleeding edge shooters that makes $600 graphic cards and $3,000 gaming PCs cry.

I do bet that SCII and DIII might help sell PCs in general, or draw some console enthusiasts back to their PCs, at least for a while. And that's a good thing if you're a PC-focused gamer.  icon_smile
10276  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Perpetual Entertainment cancels Star Trek: Online (sorta) on: July 01, 2008, 09:46:38 PM
I was excited about STO for a while before realizing what a Hindenburg Meets the Titantic disaster Perpetual was (taking this and Gods & Heroes down in flames).

But yeah, the question was whether the game was going to be "WoW with Phasers" - with Tribbles instead of rats -- or if you were going to command your own starship full of other players or an AI crew, etc.

All I knew was that I would be an ideal "Red Shirt," since I spend so much time in mmo's getting killed.  icon_razz

Eve of course being the notable exception, the mmog world hasn't been too kind to vehicular or space-type MMOs. I can't even really name all that many (Auto Assault, Earth and Beyond, various smaller ones). I just think it's harder to get attached to an inanimate object than it is to an avatar of some sort.
10277  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek returns? on: July 01, 2008, 06:58:18 PM
Not quite time to start a new STO thread just yet, but the scuttlebutt is Cryptic's "27 days and counting" countdown at their site is a countdown to their announcing themselves as the new Star Trek Online developer:

The countdown is a little square image in the middle, under games.

Mentioned at Blues:
And Shack:
10278  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: July 01, 2008, 05:09:49 PM
Please let the audience throw their stones and tomatoes, and then they'll move on soon enough.  icon_razz

I love the game, in spite of a few crazy bugs, and I'm honestly just trying to have a little fun with some of the things I read. I no more think I can convince someone to like AoC who has soured on it, than one of WoW's 8 million players has any chance of convincing me I want to return to (I played WoW 3 weeks early on, and never had the urge to play again). People make up their minds pretty fast, and then it generally hardens like concrete. icon_neutral

OTOH, if someone just is frustrated by the bugginess and technical glitches (I got disconnected twice during "lag bubbles" last night for example), I certainly don't blame them for canceling and would hope maybe they'd check back in somewhere down the road to see how things shape up.

I can say that at 60 I'm having even more fun than I did at 40, or at 20. When you have higher combat skills, and more abilities and feats and special powers and such, it really gives more variety in combat and I like figuring what to use in what situation. And you do here and there get to fight things you've not encountered in other mmogs.

So I was having some problems in Atzel. What it turns out is, certain Atzel Pickets will run away from you and activate a Raid Horn (my term for it). This calls out some big AI Raid Party (no bosses, but it's a nasty group you probably don't want to tackle solo). It won't go right after you though. It'll sort of sweep around the vicinity a bit before going back to its base.

So yesterday, I was more careful about avoiding it, and knowing if I saw a Raid Party to keep a safe distance. It was actually kind of fun, added a bit of tension. I haven't figured out exactly which Pickets (an Atzel warrior type) run back to the horn.
10279  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Creative Zen MP3/video player on: July 01, 2008, 04:41:12 PM
Yeah and it doesn't even retract all that smoothly.  icon_razz

Hey I was at Target the other day and looking at an iPod Classic screen protector (clear, sticky-free film for protection). Turns out the Zen and iPod Classic have *exactly* the same size screens (2.5"), so this was perfect for the Zen screen and really you don't notice it once it's in place.

Alas, like I always do, I did it right but a little crooked the first time. So I tried to re-place it yesterday, and of course I messed up the lower left corner and there's a little bubble I can't remove (even after trying to move it again). This has happened to me numerous times with screen protectors for my Palm PDA and a StuffBak level that I tried to move. Oh well, I'll buy another one ($9.99, it's by Belkin) if it really bothers me in the long run...

Why do I never learn?  crybaby

I've been downloading a lot of stuff via the Zencast site (basically an audio and video podcast for anyone, but in theory for Zen users). I can't seem to get the Web site ones to subscribe unless I manually paste in the RSS feed URL (no biggie, just an annoyance).

Of note for fans of Hardware Geek Supreme Lloyd Case (a mainstay at CGW/GFW for many years) is a tech/gadget/hardware show he often co-hosts. I forget what it's called, but it's regularly updated and is available from the ZenSynch menu that highlights a few Zencasts. The show is a huge filesize (122MB) and takes a while to get converted and transferred.
10280  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: July 01, 2008, 02:58:47 PM
I'm still checking in now and then to see if it's worth returning for a visit to TR some day.

The June 20 Feedback report, where they got a lot of feedback from TR players who got to visit Destination Games in Austin, TX, has some interesting tidbits:

At the end of the night we were left with:
What would you change?

Aggro System

Crafting does not compete for skill points

Crafting things other than consumables + mods

More level appropriate ammo schematic drops, weapons, armor, etc, less paint

Donald Rumsfeld CP Commander (AFS) <- Explained later

TSR Base Damage +25 - 40% in PVE so 1 shot kills on trash happen

Restore reflections to linker bosses

Hack Skill - increase base Range (maybe adjust hack time to distance)

Look at allowing abilities to use different logos at different pumps (e.g. Lighting 1 = power, lightning 3 = power and something else, etc)

Logos users are underpowered and not compelling to play

CPs should influence the region around them, beyond the occasional patrol

Swap Launchers with propellant guns

Lava hurts (runaway cascade damage)

Engineer Turrets, rifle-like Rate of Fire, not chaingun-like

Fire support 1/3: 50% phys, 50% sonic
2/4: 50% elec., 50% EMP

Tactical evasion 5: Toggle

What would you add?
Sidekick/Exemplar (ref: CoX)

Link loot in chat

Team leader can select team mission objective

Map thumbtack

Report spammer -> auto ban account with enough hits

Ability to get coords of a target

Logos user items/class/armor

Repeatable endgame

Making a noticeable difference in the war

Red circle on minimap indicating aggro range (gets smaller with stealth armor)

Walking or standing still should reduce aggro range for all classes

Demo charges destroy turrets and force fields
An interesting addition of late was new double-barrel and triple-barrel  saywhat shotguns.
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