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10281  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 08, 2008, 03:19:31 PM
Ah, OK. I think though if you're not logged into the US boards, the Dev Tracker (it's a text link in the black bar towards the top of the main page there) doesn't work (takes you to the forum search page instead).
10282  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 08, 2008, 12:57:32 PM
A feat post of interest today from the EU forums (too bad I can't read German, there are lot more dev posts in that language):

Night of the Harvester feat bug fix on the way
This is a known issue, as it was modifying the effect of Consume Life and not Essence Harvest. This has been corrected internally and will probably be in next week's patch.
I'm not really sure which character uses it, but don't put points in it (or additional) until the fix goes in.

I finally reset my US forums login info so I could fish around there too. The caveat is you may (I think) need to be logged in to the US forums in order for the US message board thread links to work.

One thing of interest there:

Update on API scripts/documentation (important for UI tweaks and other mods)
It seems that we have ran into some snags with the release of the full API documentation. I was aiming for this week but it seems we will have to push it back some more to give the guys some more time. However, we will have something for you guys to snack on in the mean time.

I did receive what looks to be a mod pack with a few scripts and a tutorial to boot. So we will try to push this out to help make it much easier for you guys to develop your own custom mods in the future. The pack will contain a tutorial to help the upcoming modders and some scripts for the experienced modders. So look for the updates on that coming up.
10283  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: July 08, 2008, 12:44:31 PM
I don't obsess about the chain-kill stuff, but at 65 I might start trying for it more often. If you're solo, this apparently gives a nice xp boost temporarily. See thread:
Chain kills come from killing mobs at the same time, usually AE, while SOLO. These mobs MUST be same level or higher. They must die in succession ( 1 by 1) because if any of them die at the EXACT same time, you will not get credit for those kills. The reward is increased XP gain per chain kill.
I've never had more than 2, but had a breakthrough last night while trying to finish off a hunt by taking out 4 Atzel Lookouts.

It's tough to pull off intentionally because the chances you're going to whittle several targets down at varying rates is pretty slim. See the first screenshot below and I kind of lucked out.  icon_cool

10284  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: FALLOUT 3 on: July 08, 2008, 12:37:03 PM
Man, 3 years without a post. I wonder how many people back in spring 2005 thought the game still wouldn't be even close to releasing yet in summer 2008.

Well, Bethesda posted Fan Interview #2:
The first two questions will leave you wondering what the *heck* kind of people hang out at those forums there anyway.  saywhat icon_lol

Anyway, lot of details on interface, traits/perks, inventory, combat etc. etc. I'd highlight something but there's just too much to pick something out.
10285  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: I'm playing Diablo 1 and I'm having FUN! on: July 07, 2008, 09:47:45 PM
Diablo 1 was in the good old days when Blizzard games would let you "spawn" a copy on a computer strictly for LAN play. The spawned version would only let you join a game hosted by someone with the full version and CD-ROM in the drive. I'm not sure if that works now that the game's been patched and so forth. Can you patch a spawned version?  icon_confused

You can definitely still have a good time with the first game if you can cope with the 640X480 chunky graphics. I maintain it's an entirely different sort of gameplay experience because you can't just run out of trouble, and it almost feels like a turn-based game in comparison to DII (I mean that in a good way). And I think at least one run through Diablo I is a good prep for Diablo II. You'll better understand the Hidden Cow Level, you'll feel goose bumps when you hear Cain in Diablo II because you got familiar with his Sean Connery wannabe voice etc.

The DII skills system is oceans beyond Diablo 1's gameplay, but I could argue Diablo was in some ways a "purer" experience. You just clicked, squashed, used a few simple skills, and obsessed over loot.

Dammit, I should see if I can still run the game. Vista, especially 64-bit, is proving very finicky with games of this age. tear

Back in '96-'97 I was in a really fun Diablo guild, "Alliance of Divine Harmony." We had a regular meeting every Saturday evening. I would send whispers during the "formal meeting" back and forth with guildmates I'd played a lot with. After the meeting, we would organize guild games together. It was great. I only wish I could find an MMO guild today that well organized, and that emphasized playing and having fun together that much.  icon_smile

The founder Flagstaff was great, although he eventually got all stressed out about the guild, esp. after he reconciled with an old girlfriend, got married, had a kid. Not much room for Diablo after all that, of course.  icon_smile Ultima Online's fancy new monthly-fee, gigantic online world features eventually tore our guild apart basically although I did keep some of the veterans in touch via a free message board for maybe a year after UO's release. I felt bad I couldn't keep the guild together somehow long enough for Diablo II. I never found any sort of guild home for D2.

Because of Diablo's wacky "loose everything on you and all your loot when someone/something kills you" style, guilds like "Diablo Rescue Squad" would turn up, focused on helping you get your loot back or help you beat a nasty boss you couldn't tackle alone. I seem to recall some "bounty hunter" guilds. Quite a lot of variety in guilds and groups in the game's heyday.
10286  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Forget Diablo III, Dragon Age is coming. on: July 07, 2008, 09:38:26 PM
I really see them as apples (Fallouts 1/2), oranges (Diablos) and mangos (Baldur's Gates). Other than isometric viewpoints, I didn't see much in common in how they played/felt. That said, I don't ever remember reading about this game at all so thanks for the heads-up and I'll keep an eye out.  icon_smile
10287  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 07, 2008, 07:50:20 PM
Variety posts its enthusiastic take (refreshingly imho, no stars or numbers - though the summary may be all you need to read icon_biggrin):

Variety review
Having memorably explored the Caped Crusader’s origins in “Batman Begins,” director Christopher Nolan puts all of Gotham City under a microscope in “The Dark Knight,” the enthralling second installment of his bold, bracing and altogether heroic reinvention of the iconic franchise.

An ambitious, full-bodied crime epic of gratifying scope and moral complexity, this is seriously brainy pop entertainment that satisfies every expectation raised by its hit predecessor and then some.

That should also hold true at the box office, with Heath Ledger’s justly anticipated turn as the Joker adding to the must-see excitement surrounding the Warner Bros. release.
It’s a tribute to Ledger’s indelible work that he makes the viewer entirely forget the actor behind the cracked white makeup and blood-red rictus grin, so complete and frightening is his immersion in the role. With all due respect to the enjoyable camp buffoonery of past Jokers like Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson, Ledger makes them look like -- well, clowns.
To be fair, Variety's editor-in-chief grumbles in his blog about comic book movies taking over, and getting too much acclaim, and basically not being worthy of getting compared with "the classics." That seems to come from a "comic book movies are dumb by their very nature" cynicism. If you ask me.  icon_razz

I'd love for TDK to make it so that "comic book movie" exits the vernacular as a "negative" term and becomes something positive. Most people use the phrase as a synonym for "brainless summer movie designed to make a zillion dollars." Since TDK has been described as "brainy," maybe it'll at least alter the phrase's meaning in the future.  icon_smile
10288  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo clones: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly :) on: July 07, 2008, 07:07:21 PM
My "master list" is missing some good console Diablo clones, esp. the Champions of Norrath and Champions: Return to Arms games (but I wanted to keep it PC-centric):

And Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, which threw out the PC Baldur's Gate games' party stuff in favor of more of a straight Diablo style game.

I've seen columns throwing in stuff like Baldur's Gate and Fallout as "Diablo clones," but I think party-based or turn-based stuff (Fallout 1-2) were very different animals and dont't really deserve to be lumped into Diablo clone territory unless you feel every isometric RPG is really a Diablo clone.

For me, my somewhat limited PC Diablo clone lists tend to be:

-Titan Quest *with* the Immortal Throne expansion (an important distinction imho -- I found it a huge improvement over the original game in features and quests, and by then they had fixed most of the early bugs and problems)
-Darkstone (I think you would've had to have played it in 1999 *before* Diablo II came out to have some nostalgia about it; its randomized quests [from a large pool of available quests] was imho a truly unique feature that I'm surprised nobody else has picked up on - DIII's "random scripted quests" feature reminds me a bit of it)

-Sacred (I loved the expansiveness of its world, its quest variety, its mounts -- I just never felt it quite recaptured Diablo's combat dynamic, and I still felt that way when I tried Sacred again yesterday, and it's just punishing in its difficulty sometimes to the point of feeling unfair)
-Nox (I just felt it was more of a PVP game, and the skewed camera view was sort of love/hate)
-Fate (I appreciate it. Just didn't "do it for me" somehow.)
-Divine Divinity (It has one of my all time favorite quest "twists," where a once friendly area turns entirely against you and you have to fight your way out of it against a bevy of guards intent on bringing you down).

-Restricted Area

Of all those things, for me only Titan Quest recaptured the satisfying "combat splurch" of combat in Diablo I/II. There's certainly things it didn't recapture, but for me it's the Diablo clone that most addicted me to clicking everything in sight and thus damaging my wrist tendons.  icon_razz

I got a few kicks from bargain clones Harbinger and Restricted Area, but mostly if I compare them with better Diablo clones or "the real thing," they're just disappointing.
10289  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 07, 2008, 05:32:45 PM
Batman on Film's Webmaster ("Jett," aka a Texan named Bill Ramey) posted his review today:

While he's not exactly what you would consider "objective," I think sometimes fanboys are really the hardest to please on this sort of thing. And obviously he was pleased.  icon_cool I wonder if the movie ads will pick up his quotes.  icon_wink

Christopher Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT transcends the genre. To label it a “Comic Book Movie” isn’t fair or accurate. It’s simply a great film.

Heath Ledger’s interpretation and portrayal of this iconic villain is one for the ages. His Joker can be truly be considered one of the greatest movie villains of all time.

All this talk about an Oscar nomination for Heath is totally legitimate. Anyone who suggests that it’s nothing more than a sympathetic reaction to his unfortunate passing earlier this year is full of it.

He’s THAT good.

He's still crazy about Bale too.

I bought a copy of The Long Halloween Batman 13-issue series last year. I dug it up yesterday to read a bit. There are actually quotes from the series used verbatim in the movie, which is pretty cool. Including the "I Believe in Harvey Dent" stuff, and a line used during the meeting of the "triumvirate" (Batman, Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent) on a rooftop ("He does that").

Nolan's Batman movies are their own animals, but I enjoyed picking out bits from Frank Miller's "Batman Year One" when I watched Batman Begins. I assume part of that is David Goyer's (a big comics enthusiast and historian of sorts) involvement on the storylines and affection for the comics.
10290  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: July 07, 2008, 04:11:09 PM
Blackjackian's at 64 over on Thog.

I'm still having fun. If I enjoy a game's combat mechanics, I can play it for years (that's what kept me in City of Heroes for years, yet COV never really did it for me in that regard).

I am however disappointed that the quest ambitions ballyhooed in numerous interviews (You'll sneak into somewhere to assasinate somebody! You'll engage in a verbal debate! etc.), by the 60s has mostly deteriorated (imho) into "Ew, I'm mad! Go kill 25 Atzel Dopes to make me feel better!" and "Ew! I want vengeance! Go kill a few whozits and I'll be avenged!" For the most part, I don't even get a big Foozle to battle.

It's mostly that and repeating "reward poster" hunt quests ad nauseam if I want to level. Because I enjoy the combat, and I have a fair amount of fun just chatting in my guild channel, I keep moving along. But I miss the more interesting (if not rocket science) quests of earlier areas. I'd be happy if they even just re-did the earlier quests at later levels (free prisoners, set a few huts on fire, etc. etc.).

The few times I run into a quest that's remotely interesting, I'm always thinking, "Why didn't this quest's creators get to do *more*? Why'd they give all the work to the "Go kill 25! Go kill 35! Go kill 12 of these and 18 of those!" guys who should be transferred to the Dungeon Runners team at NCSoft?  disgust

That's just my shallow PvE take on things. I've enjoyed all the Destiny Quest stuff, and only wish there was more of that in the game, and that the meat 'n potatoes PvE quests took more inspiration from the Destiny stuff instead of from, I dunno, Lineage and Dungeon Runners. If they're going to put so many hunt quests in the game, they might as well steal LOTORO's Deeds and Traits stuff, and at least reward you for grinding away at killing 100 Atzel Wardens.
10291  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 07, 2008, 03:18:20 PM
Reuters posted its review today. Mostly glowing, aside from a distaste for Aaron Eckhardt as Dent.

I wouldn't say it has spoilers per se, but it may delve into some plot detail stuff more than you may want. So, be forewarned.  icon_neutral

He makes an interesting point that TDK makes roughly the same point the current Hancock tries to make (that super heroes could cause more harm than good, so are you really sure you want them in your city?), albeit in a more successful fashion.

I might see it later on IMAX at one of the museums in our region. My favorite multiplex here in Virginia is apparently adding an IMAX screen, not until November this year.
10292  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.
10293  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

10294  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
10295  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.
10296  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
10297  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.
10298  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
10299  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:
10300  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.
10301  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...
10302  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.
10303  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)
10304  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).
10305  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:
10306  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).
10307  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
10308  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
10309  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.

10310  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
10311  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:

10312  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.
10313  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
10314  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.
10315  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.
10316  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).
10317  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.

10318  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.
10319  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:
10320  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
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