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10281  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: August 02, 2008, 02:20:48 PM
This reminds me of a reporter friend whom I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in1989 with who spent the whole movie whining, "Oh gosh, he stole that old man's car!" and the like. Probably he would've complained in Raiders of the Lost Ark about Indy "spoiling the ancient tombs," and "violating the sanctity of the South American natives!" He would've spent Iron Man hand wringing about Iron Man "destroying government property" and "hindering the war on terror."  Roll Eyes

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

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

That said, the comics make a big deal about Bats never using guns. So a fair number of Batman fans were a little peeved that he so non challantly fires what presumably are 20MM cannons in such a nonchalant way.
10282  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Man Beheaded on Greyhound Bus on: August 02, 2008, 02:14:15 PM
I checked some Canadien papers about it the other day. There's much hyperventilating about why fellow passengers didn't step in to stop him, or throw something at him, etc. But I don't think anyone knows how they're going to act when their seatmate starts stabbing someone with a big butcher knife until the situation actually happens. saywhat To be a blog/news article commenter with 20-20 hindsight on that seems pretty lame.

There have been several cases of bus drivers being attacked, though not to this grisly extent. Some of the US Greyhound stations are doing at least random metal detector "wand searches," but it really isn't reasonable for podunk bus stations in the middle of nowhere to do that.
10283  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: August 01, 2008, 07:51:11 PM
Super Hero Hype has some nice high rez versions of Watchmen posters from the convention:

Some are a little racy but I don't think anything is quite NSFW. Well, maybe Dr. Manhattan's blue butt.  icon_eek icon_lol
10284  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Exxon posts record high quartly profit...again on: August 01, 2008, 01:36:17 PM
Quote from: Michael Douglas in Wall Street
Gordon Gekko: The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.
fwiw, I cover parts of the oil industry (base oils, motor oil etc.) and deal with ExMo on and off as a reporter. They are both very professional, and -- because they're one of the world's largest privately-owned companies -- prone to just clam up if I'm asking about something negative.

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

What saddens me generally about US Business these days is it's basically about doing everything as cheaply as possible. And if that means outsourcing everything to other countries that don't allow unions and don't require costly worker safety/environmental standards, and importing everything in sight because other countries make everything cheaper, well... greed is good.  Roll Eyes I mean, heck, you even see it in game publishers ferreting game development out to overseas dev houses that presumably pay their people peanuts.
10285  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: July 31, 2008, 05:23:13 PM
Canuck, you're such a traitor to the MSI Wind cause. icon_lol

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

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

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

Something called jkOnTheRun had some supposed reader impressions of one:

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

I'm probably getting a new Kodak camera today that uses a touch screen. It isn't "ultraportable," so I'll have to yak about it somewhere else.  icon_smile
10286  Non-Gaming / Trading Forum / Re: LF Warhammer 40K Squad Command PSP on: July 31, 2008, 01:00:00 PM
I have it, and I haven't played my PSP in almost 6 months (I'm really dismayed with the 2008 games lineup compared to the fine 2007 lineup). Just let me debate if I'm going to give up on the systems altogether or not, and I'll get back to ya.  icon_smile

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

Blah, blah, guess I already said that somewhere else.  tear
10287  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 31 on: July 31, 2008, 12:45:01 PM

The actual Patch Notes:

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


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

Priest Archetype

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


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

Dark Templar

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


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

Herald of Xotli

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


    * Several causes of crashes and assert failures have been addressed and fixed.
    * Important notification sounds now won't be interrupted by other sounds.
    * A fix was implemented for item descriptions when switching between languages on the client.
    * Fixed an issue that would cause some playfields to be empty after logging out for some time, and then back in.
    * You can no longer send unlimited mail through the tradepost. If you send several mails and are informed via system message you cannot send any more, you will need for in-game time to pass before being able to send more mail.
    * Ignored users will no longer be able to send you mail.
    * Raid playfields will now kick players who are not in the raid.
    * Fixed some animations that weren't blending properly
    * The number of needed 'Fresh Kills' has been increased to 20.
I've highlighted a few things of interest. Option to make cloaks invisible was something I had hoped for - it's just sometimes more fun to show off your armor backside, and there just isn't much variety in cape color.  icon_razz
10288  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / AoC Patch Notes July 31 on: July 31, 2008, 12:44:08 PM

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

New Instance Challenges!

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

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

Combat Updates

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

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

Item Updates

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

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

Massive Resource Zone Update

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

GUI Updates

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

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

There are even more changes which are introduced in this update and we will continue to even further improve various aspects of the GUI in the coming updates.
This is mostly a big Quality of Life/Fixes type update though there are a few new quests mentioned for one instance (Pyramid of Ancients).
10289  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 30, 2008, 09:13:42 PM
Oh, Wizard had a nice write-up of the Watchmen panel discussion:

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

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

I might try to get a hardcover of Watchmen, as I did give my copy to my older brother as a gift probably 20 years ago.
10290  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Monte Cristo has left the building on: July 30, 2008, 07:17:16 PM
Bennigans, and the Steak & Ale chain are completely liquidating (Chapter 7 bankruptcy). Was reading some news wire reports about it yesterday. Apparently all going down so fast that a lot of employees came to work and *boom* to closed doors:

I used to be crazy about Bennigans but the Monte Cristo notwithstanding, it became pretty hard to distinguish it from Friday's, Ruby Tuesday, Applebee's etc. etc. I imagine some of their debt was due to all the similar competition, and I'm sure with gas prices being as they are, fewer people are going out for their Monte Cristo fix.  paranoid

I did in fact have the Monte Cristo the last time I was there, a few months ago. It's great, but I never would recommend it for lunch on a work day. I felt like a tub of lard the entire rest of the day.  icon_razz In the future, you can have a similar effect on your afternoon energy level by eating half a jar of Crisco, but it won't taste anywhere near as good.  icon_lol

I always thought the restaurant with "flair" that Jennifer Aniston worked at in the movie "Office Space" was a faux-Bennigans, but friends of mine sometimes argued it was actually Ruby Tuesday or TGI Friday. I guess assuming someone doesn't take over the chain, it'll be the only reminder it ever existed.  tear
10291  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 30, 2008, 01:22:59 PM
TenTonHammer had a video interview with product manager Erling Ellisen at Comic-Con:

PvE wise, around the 1min50sec mark he talks a bit about the upcoming Ymir's Pass (55-60, I think?) region. He said it will have a lot of the Yetis (seen so far only a little bit in a couple of zones), new archtecture, and a chance maybe to meet (as an NPC) Keira, who seems to be the female assassin that appears in a lot of publicity media for the game.

He also details the new dungeons, including Thunder Falls, a high level dungeon coming to the Thunder River area; and The House of Crom (which they haven't really talked about yet).

He said they're also working on increasing item visual diversity, making item statistics more meaningful, and make rewards from quests and raids "better."

10292  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 30, 2008, 04:08:45 AM
Oops, I did goof, they already had the panel at Comic-Con on Friday. Here's some writeups:

SDCC 08: Elisabeth Watches the 'Watchmen' Panel

Thomson Hollywood News service
10293  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 30, 2008, 03:43:14 AM
If you're going to say comic books, graphic novels and Watchmen aren't "cool," all of us here will have to beat you.    drillsergeant icon_lol Besides, we're all videogamers and computer gamers here anyway. So we're all pretty much un-cool already, right?  slywink But I do appreciate having this place to discuss all of this stuff without feeling awkward about it.

Though I'll admit when I bought the two volumes of the Batman: Hush collection today at Barnes & Noble, I was imagining the cashier lady thinking, "He's too old to be reading this. They must be gifts for his son!"  icon_razz

Variety has a fairly neat video interview with director Zak Snyder:
He's not exactly eloquent, but he is unassuming and pretty modest. If he had a British accent like Christopher Nolan, he would sound like a genius.  icon_wink

The Watchmen Panel at Comic Con is tomorrow, I think -- or did it already happen? I'm confused.  icon_confused Snyder said they'll screen about 3 1/2 minutes from the movie - some of it overlapping the trailer footage in content, but some of it new too. He's still trying to whittle the 3 hour cut to about 2 hrs 25-30 minutes apparently. I'd like to think TDK's runaway box office at 2 hrs 32 minutes, or heck, Titanic's at 3 hrs. 14 mins would give him more leeway.

And EW had a video interview with some of the Watchmen cast (this page has *several* different video interviews so don't forget to scroll downward):
10294  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: July 29, 2008, 10:10:37 PM
So how's my return? Well, the game genuinely seems to look better than it did before. They have changed meshes and some other things, and it seems noticeable.

A lot of map icons have been changed, and made a little easier to see and understand.

And the new instance (Velon) is right at the level where I got my highest characters to before I lost interest (low 30s).

The problem so far is I just don't remember how to play the game "well."  icon_razz Also, i reconfigures some hotkeys, but now I can't remember what the default keys were for certain things. I seem to recall 'F' by default was supposed to let you do a "quick kill" for extra exp when a red skull was above an enemy -- but I reconfigured it. And I don't see any key on the keybinding list that resembles that hotkey (I don't even remember what it was called officially). Argh. icon_confused

I also don't remember what my upper level characters' favorite abilities were. And while they gave a free respec at some point while I was gone (unassigning *all* your skill and attribute points), I'm lost as to what I was assigning points to before.

The thing about MMOs is you reach the point where everything is second nature, and after a few months away, it's like trying to ride a bike again after 20 years and constantly crashing into the street face first.  icon_lol
10295  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 29, 2008, 05:32:07 PM
If it wasn't $99.95, I might actually get one of these...  icon_cool

I always say it's best to catch movies like this early. Midnight Thursday even. Then you're as unburdened with expectations and what other people think as you can be (although since TDK review screenings occurred weeks before its release, it didn't work as well in that case). I did that with TDK and Iron Man, and was generally glad I did.

I really do miss walking into movies with no expectations at all. I think it was a lot more common pre-Internet. I had that experience with Jaws ('75), Star Wars ('77) and Raiders of the Lost Ark ('81). I knew about the movies a little going in, but I wasn't suffocated with advertising, interviews, entertainment shows etc. ad nauseam about them -- so I had an amazing time the first time I saw those and I wasn't spending my time thinking "This isn't as good as so-and-so said," which I do sometimes find myself thinking today.
10296  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 28, 2008, 05:57:07 PM
I should re-read it myself (you can find copies at most Borders and Barnes & Noble today fwiw). I was only about 22 when I bought it, and I ended up giving it to my older brother as a gift (1986-7) because, well, basically I didn't "get it."  icon_redface

EW has a photo gallery of folks at the Comic-Con, and among them is the entire cast of the Watchmen movie (w/ director Snyder), albeit not in costume:

Comic-Con 2008: 37 Star Portraits (Watchmen cast),,20215160_29,00.html
10297  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Pointless vandalism and the irritating inconvenience imposed upon the victim... on: July 28, 2008, 05:50:42 PM
A vandal in my generally fine neighborhood severely bent my '96 Corolla's manually-retractable car antenna *twice* in the space of a few months. The first time, the vandal bent it in a pretzel. The antenna is not flimsy by the way. It takes an awful lot of force to bend it at all, and there was no way to "un" bend it. This was in a crowded neighborhood outside our condo building, not maybe 20 yards from the front of our building.

I had a dealer replace it for something like $300. Most of the problem was peeling back parts of the car's interior to get the new antenna in place.

So after fixing it, I basically kept the antenna retracted (the radio worked surprisingly well without the antenna extended, in most places).

And then, I came out to my car another day and *boom*. This time someone had pulled the retracted antenna out, and then bent it across nearly the length of my windshield. With much effort, I was able to retract it most of the way into its antenna-sheath (about the last 18 inches can't go in). This time, I didn't bother replacing it. I reported it to the police both times, but it was always, "Did you have an argument with anyone in your neighborhood?" I hadn't. This was all about 5 years ago, but it still ticks me off when I think about it. The radio works fine, and to this day, the antenna is still sticking out, bent up, of its sheath.

I assume it was just some neighborhood kid who hopefully has grown up and moved on. I just couldn't understand why they did it to my car and none of the cars next to it (many of which are far fancier). But then I thought, why am I trying to attribute "reasoning" to a vandal.  disgust
10298  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Getting wisdom tooth pulled- any words of wisdom? on: July 28, 2008, 05:41:22 PM
I had two wisdom teeth pulled back in 1991 when I was 26. Mine was a rather strange procedure where they used some sort of strong local anaesthetic, and I sort of was half-sitting/half-standing for it. The actual procedure I didn't feel hardly a thing. But I did have to call my doctor that night (the surgeon gave me his home number, which was nice of him) to ask for a stronger painkiller prescription. I think I was fine after that. The first couple of post-op days were worse for me but it was OK beyond that.

I do think the ability to reach your surgeon after hours is important, so that's something I would ask about (nowadays he/she would probably give you a cell phone number).
10299  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: July 28, 2008, 05:20:12 PM
Oh man, what kills me is that my best bud in my City of Heroes supergroup was *both* an avid blackjack player (I don't know if Professional is the word, but he apparently did go to real casinos often to play), and a die-hard Trekkie. Unfortunately, he ran into some situation late last year where he told us he would have to basically avoid the Internet completely for at least a year.

So here's a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, and announcing the ST MMO. Good grief, that would be the poor guy's fantasy! I hope he finds a way to attend. crybaby

Like everyone else, I have all sorts of questions about whether you're controlling multiple AI characters on your ship, or other players (there was much debate about that with Perpetual's ST MMO take), and if the ship combat is going to be more Star Trek Bridge Commander, or more Freespace 2. And I dunno -- can you play as the "bad guys" and farm "red shirts?"  icon_razz

Since pretty much everyone from the City of Heroes dev team (save Emmert and I think one person who decided not to switch to the new studio NCSoft created to run CoX) is no longer at Cryptic, I don't really expect the game to play too much like it. But I'm sure Emmert's experiences with come into play at some point.

The Star Trek conference presentation on the game'll be Webcast, and no doubt it'll be all over the place Aug. 10 (presentation's at 1:30 p.m. Pacific, 4:30 p.m. Eastern time that day, fwiw).

Judging from the forums, guilds will be called "Fleets" in the game. The forums have a dev tracker thread already set up:

If you want to ask a question, they'll be doing some fan "Ask Cryptic" Q&As like they did for Champions Online, at this thread:

Ask Cryptic (to post questions)
Some of the questions are strange. I'm sure people here have smarter questions to ask.  icon_smile There are already 11 pages there.
10300  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: July 28, 2008, 12:57:44 PM
I worked in newspapers about 15 years and am a trade newsletter reporter (covering part of the oil industry) now - so I guess I just like to track news and stuff is all. I just don't play much outside of MMOs these days so that's what I like to track. And we have a good audience here. icon_smile There's no fun in tracking gaming news things down if you don't have anyone nice (well, usually icon_razz) to share it with.  icon_cool

Anyway, the Star Trek Online Web site launched today, with a letter from Cryptic's Jack Emmert about it:
Here's the "About Star Trek online" info from the site:
Become part of Star Trek®: The Star Trek universe will appear for the first time in a massively multiplayer online game. Everything from the elegant domes of Starfleet Academy to the ancient temples of Vulcan, from the towers of Qo’noS to the Fire Caves of Bajor, from the mysterious Mutara Nebula to the unexplored voids of deep space, all will be represented in stunning 3-D graphics. Immerse yourself in the future of the Trek universe as it moves into the 25th century: a time of shifting alliances and new discoveries.

Adventure in the Final Frontier: Explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations in an expanding vast universe. Make contact with alien races, discover resources and uncover mysteries that will change the future of the Star Trek universe.

You Are the Captain: Command your own starship as a Federation Captain or a Klingon Warrior. Outfit it with the systems that you need to make your mark in the galaxy. Customize your ship as you see fit. Recruit, train and mold your crew into an elite force for exploration and combat.

Surface, Shipboard and Deep Space Adventures: Command your vessel in thrilling space battles, or beam down to planets with your away team for face-to-face confrontations. Missions will take you and your friends into space, planetside and even inside starships!

Powered by the Cryptic Engine, Star Trek® Online will be developed for both console and PC formats. With customizable ships and characters from the Klingon Empire and United Federation of Planets, ground, space and shipboard gameplay and unique options for player-generated content set in the Star Trek universe, Star Trek Online is the MMOG that allows you to boldly go where no one has gone before!
And Emmert's blatherings.
Quote from: Jack Emmert
Star Trek® has been a part of my entire life. Few other of my geeky obsessions can make that claim.

I started watching the original Star Trek when it reached syndication and cult status. I can remember even more vividly where I was for the premiere of every subsequent Star Trek series. For Star Trek: The Next Generation, I watched "Encounter at Farpoint" lying on the floor of my childhood apartment. When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine rolled around, I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago. I watched the first episode in the basement of my dorm with a dozen other students. A few years later, I was at Ohio State and saw Voyager travel to the Delta Quadrant while sitting on a friend's couch in Columbus, Ohio. And I was thrilled to see the beginnings of Starfleet in Star Trek: Enterprise. At the time, I was just starting out as a game designer, with little to no idea that I'd be jumping into that very universe within several years.

When the opportunity came for Cryptic to obtain the license for Star Trek, we were absolutely thrilled. I realized how many people at Cryptic loved the IP when the possibility of us getting the rights leaked out to the rest of the company. I had more Trekkies in my office asking to work on the project than I ever imagined.

Cryptic would now be given the task of bringing to life this entire universe that has been so brilliantly conceived and executed over years of TV, movies, books and comics. There are few other fictional backgrounds that fit the MMORPG medium so well. After all, Star Trek was never about a single character, ship or even planet; Star Trek was always about an entire universe. And MMORPGs are uniquely suited to create such a thing and allow players to explore every inch.

Admittedly, Star Trek has its challenges. We want to make a game that best captures the real essence of Star Trek. We see Star Trek as much about exploration as combat. As much about the variety of alien civilizations as it is about the core Vulcans, Klingons, Humans, etc. It's going to be an exciting ride over the coming months as we begin to unveil STO. I can't wait.
They have some screenshots there, and they promise some gameplay footage Aug. 10 at the official Star Trek convention in Las Vegas.

Their screenshots are at:
Can't really gather much from it other than it'll mix space adventuring with ground-based (planet-based guess they'd say) missions.
10301  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 28, 2008, 03:23:30 AM
A little box office update. It pulled in another $75.6 million over the weekend to top the $300 million mark in the shortest time ever (surpassing Pirates of the Carribean):

While some are now speculating about it matching Titanic's numbers ( and its legendary $600 million plus mark, that's a pretty tricky thing to compare it to. Titanic released just before Christmas to fairly modest box office expectations, but it did have the advantage of releasing at a fairly dead time without much competition. I remember it having pretty spectacular legs -- I seem to recall it making more in weeks in February and March than it did in December. Nowadays some movies see their DVD release happen in that span of time.

In a way, I feel bad for Hellboy II -- which seems like a solid film that got steamrolled by TDK's success, and may not even break even in terms of its fairly modest $85 million production cost. The X-Files movie seems to have flopped, but its stingy $30 million production cost means it doesn't need to do much to recoup costs.
10302  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: July 27, 2008, 02:09:55 PM
I went ahead and reactivated this morning. I got a lot of patches to install, so it might be a while.

This past week's update included some really extensive changes to the graphics engine to improve performance in some cases, and just the overall look in others. I like what I've seen in the last couple of updates. If they can keep pushing more new content (like the Veloh instance and its accompanying missions), that's one thing I was griping about at the time I deactivated in April.

I'll get some screenshots up of some of the new stuff (including the Looking for Squad system) once I've got it updated and ready to go. I've switched computers/video cards since I quit this, so I'm hoping I can run it high detail now.

While I'm not quitting AoC, I've found it getting a bit tedious in the low 70s for my tastes, and while they are working on new content, I'm a little tired of having to resort to Dungeon Runners style endless hunts there to level, much of the time. Maybe I'm actually hoping dabbling in something else for a while, or in between AoC bouts, will avoid burnout.  icon_neutral

And I want my darn PAU! (Personal Armored Unit). I don't think those will get out this year though.  tear

While I was predicting Auto Assault-style Doom for TR by about this point, I think maybe slipping out of the spotlight (with AoC and others getting all the buzz, hype or doom 'n gloom stuff in the months since TR's launch) was in a way good for it. It's had time to polish up, bug fix, and finally inject some new content and PVP clan control point stuff without the glare of over-hype. One look at the "known issues" list in the latest update tells you they still have a long way to go though.
10303  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: July 27, 2008, 02:12:08 AM
If ya hadn't heard, Cryptic's help wanted ad in a game developers magazine gave away what presumably is their big announcement coming up Monday (they've had this timer running on the Champions Online site about it). It's a "fall" issue so they probably just didn't know it would release as early as it has.

If you view the PDF link that the item mentions, the Cryptic ad is on Page 44. I haven't been able to save the image or otherwise capture it. It reads:
Cryptic Studios, a leading independent developer and publisher of massively multiplayer online games, including the upcoming Champions Online and Star Trek Online, is expanding into a global marketplace and launching publishing operations around the world. We need talented people to serve our customers and build a worldwide community of Cryptic Users - do you think you have what it takes to help shape the future of MMOGs?
That's been the rumor for months, but this seems to be the first concrete evidence of it.  icon_cool

The ad's image has one that's obviously from Champions, and then there's one of some asteroid field with a planet of the background. Then up top is some sort of base in a snowy region with a snow covered background (which I guess could be from either game, but it doesn't look like the cel-shaded Champions to me, fwiw).

Presumably this isn't based on whatever Perpetual was working on, nor on the "casual ST" game that was mentioned in passing after Perpetual's demise.
10304  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 26, 2008, 04:49:07 AM
I was sifting through search engines for some more interviews, and found a pretty neat site called "Slashfilm." I would though suggest their news posters learn the values of Returns between paragraphs and stop writing their interviews likeStreamOfConsciousnessTranscriptsThatBecomeSomewhatHardtoReadKnowWhatIMean?  icon_lol

Dark Knight Cast and Crew Tease Third Batman Film
Quote from: David Goyer
“We’re not gonna tell you… other than to say that Batman has been published for 70 years. In the first movie we use Ra’s Al Ghul and The Scarecrow, who had not been in the movies before, and had not been in the sixties TV show before. And there are dozens if not hundreds of other characters that fit that bill. Everyone says its gotta be The Penguin or Catwoman [the latter is a hope of the Batman on Film webmeister - bj] … well I completely disagree.”

“I think Warner Bros would like to do another one,” Goyer admitted. “But it wasn’t until three or four months after Batman Begins had opened that Chris and I sat down and talked about another one. It was a scary proposition trying to do Dark Knight, and it’s sort of a geometrically scary proposition to try to do another one.”
I had forgotten, but back in summer/fall 2006, the scuttlebutt was that C. Nolan was supposedly going through final negotiations to direct a movie version of The Prisoner:

U reloads 'Prisoner'; Nolan to helm Peoples script
He has sounded noncommittal about it in more recent interviews, so I don't know if that deal actually went through. The guy's gotta be exhausted from TDK and all these interviews of late. I hope he and his producer wife Emma can get a nice long vacation before they tackle something else.  icon_smile
10305  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Batman: The Animated Series on: July 25, 2008, 06:57:46 PM
I picked up the new Batman: Gotham Knight anthology (it's basically 6 different animated takes on Batman, each with its own writer, director and animation style), really out of curiosity. I think the 2-disc is worth it if only because disc #2 includes four of the more memorable episodes of the early 1990s animated series.

The discs include a preview (strictly just pencil sketches and interviews with voice actors/producers) of the upcoming Wonder Woman animated movie (I think my understanding is it's a direct-to-DVD release like Marvel's various animated flicks, and shooting for a PG-13 rating). While Joss Whedon's planned live Wonder Woman movie crashed a while back, at least Nathan Fillion (Firefly series/Serenity movie) plays Steve Trevor to Keri Russell's Wonder Woman. They seem to have a really bang-up voice cast lined up, including Virginia Madsen, and Alfred Molina (so good in Spider-Man 2) as the main villain.,27038.html
Russell and Fillion worked together on the comedy Waitress (which I gave my sister-in-law as a Christmas gift last year).

Anyway, I can't seem to get the official WB site for Gotham Knight to work (it crashes both IE and Firefox when I try it), so here's the Imdb page for it:

Batman: Gotham Knight

What's my take? Mixed, but I really liked the last of the 6 short films. That one worked best for me, and left me wishing for more stories by the crew that made it. Hate to be so vague -- I'll try to watch it again and take notes this time.  icon_razz

Overall, I'd say two of the short films didn't work for me, two did (esp. the last). The one in the middle, I just found a little too dense in the dialogue department, and I don't think I was patient enough to get through it.

Although Bruce Timm (who oversaw the beloved early-mid 1990s animated series) is a producer on this, it's mostly in an anime style that you'll probably either love or hate. I just found that for me the anime look worked for me in some cases, and in others just made it look, well, too much like some funky anime series (at times I was getting Marine Boy and Speed Racer flashbacks  icon_razz) and not enough like Batman.  icon_neutral
10306  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: July 25, 2008, 05:29:13 PM has a writeup of Emmert's comments at GDC, about equally on COH/COV as much as on Champions:

I cherry picked some stuff:
Q: How did you feel about developing Marvel Universe Online when you were essentially competing against yourself -- killing your own baby?
A: Champions Online is going to be better than City of Heroes in every way, shape, and form. It's sad, but it's evolution. We're not afraid to take up the challenge.

Q: Why are you working on Champions Online instead of continuing work on CoX?
A: NCsoft didn't want to do it. They wanted to own it.
[This was opposite of how I seemed to understand it some months ago -- that Cryptic was moving on to Champions, so NCSoft formed a new studio in order that CoX wouldn't be "orphaned" without a dev, and that all but one of the CoX devs chose to move to NCSoft's newly formed studio; I guess there really are two sides to every story - BJ]

Q: What do you think about game companies shipping games early and unfinished?
A: It's all about money. You've burned so many millions and can't simply wait to turn a profit. Waiting can also date your early content -- perhaps it was originally designed with bleeding edge technology, but if you push your launch date back a year, it won't be nearly as impressive. There's also a lot of pressure from your publisher -- they're like Uncle Scrooge. You're forced to release a game when it's "good enough" rather than "perfect."
[Devs are constantly pilloried for premature MMO-releases but I venture that most of them would keep their games in beta testing forever, if it wasn't for the Mighty Publisher and/or Investors brandishing their brass knuckles behind them at a certain date in the development timeline. I guess that won't ever change, but I think most players would argue that all the ill-will that premature releases build up isn't worth pulling in revenue some months early-BJ]

The Cryptic "Timer" only has a couple of days left on their other game announcement, which most folks are assuming is Star Trek Online (or something along those lines).
10307  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight - Child Friendly? on: July 24, 2008, 05:29:05 PM
My brother took my 11 year old nephew and 13 year old niece (my sister-in-law took a pass icon_razz) to see it. His thoughts have one spoiler, so I'll use the spoiler button stuff too:
Quote from: Blackjack's 47 year old brother
I actually saw TDK with the kids...  I concur that (as the local paper's review noted) while the movie fit the PG-13
designation, and it also always managed to turn the camera away from the most torturous acts of violence, its very grim presentation and repeated allusions to torture made it a much darker film than past Batmans, even the first Christian Bale one.

The kids were okay with it, I think, but I did go out of my way to talk to them about it after viewing---you know that as torturous as some of the Joker's acts were, this was truly comic book violence, etc. 
Spoiler for Hiden:
We also talked about how good a message it was that the civilians and the prisoners totally foiled the Joker's expected punch line in the boat detonators trick.
For my part, I loved the movie, and have to say that Heath Ledger's performance far exceeds Jack Nicholson's performances of either the same role, or his much more commended rendition of the (living) antagonist in The Shining.  I really do think it was Oscar material.
10308  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 24, 2008, 05:15:25 PM
Probably only the Nolan brothers (Chris and writer Jonathan) and David Goyer *really* know what the various motivations are. Then again, probably the best kind of movie or storyline is the kind that builds up so much of its own momentum and reasons that it takes on its own life, and we (the audience) forget someone was banging away at a keyboard to think it all up. I've seen lots of forgettable comic book character-based movies that don't get that kind of discussion going. So it's nice TDK does.  icon_cool

I would love to see this on IMAX at some point. In my region though it's only playing on IMAX screens in museums where I'd have to pay obscene fees for parking. There's one new IMAX screen at a regular theater in my area but inexplicably they are playing Kung Fun Panda  saywhat on it instead of TDK (which they are showing on several regular screens). Argh.

While I'd love to see them all do another go-round with Bats, I also hope C. Nolan gets to do at least one other film (as he did with The Prestige) before returning to the character. I think that's healthy for him as a director, and the cast would have time to tackle other roles (or just take a break) before returning to it too. Working on TDK, grieving over two deaths (Ledger, and stunt technician Conway Wickliffe), and doing all the massive publicity for it has to have been exhausting for Nolan and Bale in particular.
10309  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 24, 2008, 03:00:35 PM
Maybe Gordon really did die, and the post-death Gordon is really a clone insta-created from his DNA in a Gotham lab run by Lucius Fox.  saywhat

You laugh. I guarantee that's the plot of an upcoming Batman comic issue...  icon_razz
10310  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 24, 2008, 07:27:24 AM
I hadn't visited in a bit. They talked to the couple of Funcom reps at E3. Funcom isn't doing any sort of big presentation there (I think I read they have bigger plans for the upcoming Leipzig show in Germany):

Age of Conan - E3 Update
In the content update to come, players will enjoy a new 55+ zone, Ymir's pass in Cimmeria with new architecture and graphics, a new dungeon, Thunderfalls and a high level dungeon, House of Crom.  A major makeover for the UI is expected and of course many new quests.  Both Erling and Rick agreed that the 55 – 60 game needs more content. 

“Players constantly surprise us,” said Rick.  “We found that they were doing things in their 40s that we didn't expect them to tackle until their 50s, hence we have a need to concentrate development in the 55 – 60 content right now.”

The majority of players at this time also seem to be concentrated in the 55 – 60 spread.  Erling reiterated that the original AoC team has not been moved to other projects and they are busy focusing on implementing suggestions and fixing bugs and issues brought to their attention by the players. 
What's kinda tricky is most MMOs I've played, if you tackle stuff 5-7 levels above you it's generally Doooommm. Here, esp. with certain types of classes, it's commonplace, so you do end up burning through content they maybe anticipated you would do several levels later, and then it just becomes a vicious cycle of drying up in quests once you reach the level they *thought* you would be doing stuff at. I'm running into that even at 72, in spite of there seeming to be a huge number of quests to do at that point in two different zones.

There's a brief mention of the console version:
One last note to close this out this interview of current status and future plans in AoC, players can expect the Xbox360 version of the game to launch in late 2009.  Console players will be given a choice of whether to play on a co-mingled server or on a platform specific server.
10311  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: July 23, 2008, 06:39:14 PM
Brighthand (which more typicall reviews PDAs and smartphones) reviewed the Wind July 16:
All all of this seems to come with a small caveat right now: horrible battery life. MSI is only selling the 3-cell version of the Wind, which averages just a hair over 2 hours of mobile use. This is unacceptable for a travel companion device. Good news is sometime in the future: a configuration will be sold with an extended battery, and early adopters should wait for it.
That seems to be the general consensus, though if you're just going to shuttle around your house with it and other places where you'll have outlets handy, it may be less of a concern.

You can of course just buy it and upgrade it later (and I guess drag the 3 cell around for emergencies, in carry-on baggage).
Another review's up at
10312  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 23, 2008, 06:18:26 PM
If you're dying for some more Watchmen movie tie-in collectibles coverage, MTV's blog has some stuff:
10313  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 23, 2008, 06:08:56 PM had a nice interview with David Goyer on Friday:
Quote from: David Goyer
And, people come up to me all the time and say, “You know, I don't like these kinds of movies but I like Batman Begins.” And some people have said that about Dark Knight and frankly, in a sense these are the clients we are making the film for. I love it when people who aren't genre fans or comic book fans say they really enjoyed the movie.
I can't always convince people of that kind of thing. Most of my co-workers roll their eyes that I saw TDK twice, and I mentioned my sister-in-law walked out on Iron Man (and on my perplexed brother, niece, and nephew) during the Afghanistan sequences (which is a shame, I think she would've enjoyed the movie).

Goyer's apparently in post-production as director on a horror movie called The Unborn. The cast includes Gary Oldman.
10314  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 23, 2008, 05:52:23 PM
Thanks for the explanations, guys. Well, maybe I'm not as bright as the rest of the audience.  icon_lol

I guess what I had reasoned to myself (if I wasn't confusing the dialogue) was that Batman/Bruce Wayne had to choose between saving his true love or the man he felt could save Gotham City and make Batman redundant. And the movie's ending (which I love) makes it clear he's willing to make a supreme sacrifice to try to save the city and protect Dent's reputation/legend. I'm pretty sure my theory was bunk though.  icon_razz

I'm glad I avoided plot spoilers and that the actors themselves didn't give things away. So Gordon's apparent death really hit me in the gut at the midnight show, his return was "whew" and then Rachel's demise hit me in the gut again (though I knew from the vague things I had read, that *someone* in "the Batman family" wasn't surviving the movie).

While it all works well, it just pains me they had to write out Rachel's character now that they had a more interesting actress playing it. I think the funny thing about Maggie Glyenhall is that when I see her in TV interviews she actually comes across as ditzy as Katie Holmes sometimes did as Rachel -- but when she's on screen, she just seems so much more believable as a tough assistant DA.
10315  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 23, 2008, 05:21:24 PM
Batman on Film noted a brief David Goyer interview (he's helped write and iron out the story for BB and TDK, directed one of the Blade movies, and I believe was up to direct The Flash, before bowing out) at MTV:

Just vague talk about themes (I doubt C. Nolan would ever talk to him again if he gave any sort of meaningful details about their thoughts on a third Batman). I'm sure Nolan would like to do something else (as he did with The Prestige) before he gives any thought to a followup.

Well, if Fear is BB's theme, and Escalation is TDK's theme, then my guess on a third would perhaps be Redemption (presumably with a rebuilt Wayne Manor and a revamped bat cave).
* I had one question about some dialogue in TDK I didn't quite understand. When the Joker tips them off about Harvey Dent and Rachel being at the two locations, I thought Gordon asks Batman, "Which one are you going after?" and it sounded like Batman says, "I'm going after Rachel!" ... and as we know, he ends up saving Dent instead. Did I mis-hear the dialogue? (Maybe he says, "You go after Rachel!") Or did the Joker trick them by lying about which person (Dent or Rachel) was at each location?  icon_confused

The Monday show, while it seemed to be at the same screen/theater I attended for the Thursday midnight show, seemd to have its music turned way too high. I had a hard time hearing the dialogue at times. It really bothered me during the very end, because I could barely hear Gordon's "narration" over the final footage (I remember hearing it more clearly at the midnight show perhaps because I was down in the 3rd or4th row in front).
10316  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight - Child Friendly? on: July 23, 2008, 05:06:14 PM
I think most 12 year olds would be fine, if attending with their parents. Especially if they're used to the fairly edgey Batman comics of today. I wouldn't under any circumstances take an 8 year old to this.

Of course, I was 8 when my mom took my 12 year old brother and me to The Exorcist in 1973. That was a big mistake as well.  icon_razz When her head spun around, I had to cover my eyes, and I got scared whenever I heard The Exorcist theme.

The thing is, I've seen far more gorier movies that I wouldn't say would be as child-unfriendly. It's just, the violence in TDK really *hurts* and a lot of people get shot in a way that is shocking. I think a lot of that both makes it groundbreaking as a "comic book movie," but also a hard-sell as far as taking a kid to see it.
10317  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: July 23, 2008, 01:40:20 PM
The July 23 patch added quite a few welcome things (imho), including *finally* some new content (Plateau: Velon Hollow instance, along with the new missions Village of the Damned, Ancient Mysteries, Deadly Silence, These Old Bones, Mountain Spring Toxins, Holy Vengeance, and The Better Half, obtained at New Velon Village and Wedge Rock Outpost.)

There's also a helpful Looking for Squad "ad" system:
Looking for Squad - By typing /lfs or using the radial menu you can now bring up options for creating or searching ads. You can either press the generic button which will do all the work for you, or open up the advanced options to enter the specific criteria of the group you would like to be a part of. Once you match with ads like yours via the search option, you can right click to bring down a menu to whisper, join or invite that group leader in order to merge your squads. If you wish to see in depth details about that squad and their ad, just left click the person to get more details.
10318  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 23, 2008, 01:19:49 PM
They've opened up the Collector's Edition buddy keys to give out (there's a catch though, the download of the client isn't free disgust):

Buddy keys now available
We have now opened the first part of the Buddy key program for Age of Conan! Everybody who has purchased a Collector’s Edition can now invite up to five friends, who can try the game for seven days without purchasing a retail box.

The invitation process is easy. You need to log-in to your account pages (, and choose “Buddy program”. Follow the on-screen instructions, and then write a personal message to your friends if you so desire.

We recommend that you lend your install DVDs to your buddy to get him or her ready to play as fast as possible. Alternatively your buddy will be offered a $2.99/€2.99 client download with 3 additional days of playtime to cover the download time.
While this offer is only for Collector’s Edition accounts for now, we will soon open up for the Buddy key found in the standard retail box as well.
10319  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 23, 2008, 01:15:09 PM
Supposedly Namco Bandai is trying to at least salvage Hellgate out of Flagship's mess, or something. Anyway, the Hellgate forums and servers are supposed to remain up for now:
Hello Hellgaters,

I know everyone is looking for an announcement, and we'd love to make one -- but right now, many things are in flux and we don't have all the information yet. As soon as we do, we'll post here on the forums, on the website, and anywhere else we can find you.

In the short term, please do not worry. The game is up, the servers are not going away in the short term and any major changes to status will be communicated in advance.

I'd like to ask for your patience as we try to figure it all out and chart a new course. We value your community, your commitment, and your passion for Hellgate and we will make sure that any solution that we architect will support all of you as best as we are able.

Thanks again. We hope to have a real announcement shortly.
Zack "Ozuri" Karlsson
Sr. Director, Business Development
NAMCO BANDAI Games America, Inc.
10320  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note [Updates outlook] on: July 23, 2008, 01:41:00 AM
The senior community manager Tarib gave an informal "updates outlook":

*One thing worth noting is they're going to reset the "feat points reset" counter to zero, so should you care to respect, it will be for the minimal pocket change cost you're charged the first time you do it.

Outlook on the next updates
Quote from: Tarib, senior community manager
This week’s update will be a smaller maintenance one in order for us to tidy up a couple of the issues while we work on the next larger update which is currently being tested and hopefully will be ready for the live servers next week.

Our tech team is hard at work to investigate memory leaks (like for example the issue with your map going gray) and they have made inroads on those issues, and we have found and resolved a couple with this weeks update. This is of course a process that does not end now - on the contrary. The team will keep on working hard to find the leaks that are still there so we can expect more of them to be resolved in updates to come. Finding such memory leaks is quite a tricky thing but we are making progress and the tech team is keeping the focus on this issue.

Also fixed should be the issues from last week was the behavior of caster pets as some of them were in fact quite passive after they had been summoned. Our developers have found the source of that issue and the fix for this is getting tested by QA so this week's update should resolve this issue.

Updated Information:
Unfortunately the pet fix has slipped out due to an issue with the fix that requires it to be looked into a little more. So it should hopefully be in next weeks update.

Lastly with this week’s update we wanted to give you all the opportunity to revise your feat points given the recent changes to the abilities and feat trees. What we have done is that the counter of how many times a character has reset his feats will be set to zero so the next reset will be viewed as being the first one in terms of money it will cost, as if you had never reset any feats before.

As we mentioned at the top, the update planned for next week should include some additions and changes that our community has been looking forward to (beside the usual fixes and updates).

Instance Changes

There are for example changes to the Pyramid of the Ancients dungeon which include wide improvements of the encounters and dangers that can be found in the pyramid. We really think that this will make it an interesting dungeon and should provide a real challenge for solo players.

Next up is Toirdebach’s Tomb in The Fields of the Dead. This group instance has been tweaked so that the mob levels are more in keeping with the level of the Fields of the Dead. We have also been through and amended the placement of mobs in the dungeon so that the balance between ranged and melee opponents should be much fairer to groups trying to tackle this ancient evil!

Resource Zone Updates

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

These fixes will be made available on the Testlive server later this week. So if you are interested in checking out these changes beforehand make sure you connect to the Testlive servers.
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