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10321  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Half-Life] Anyone think the game kinda sorta sucks? on: June 15, 2008, 04:58:47 PM
This thread title screams out, "Please pummel me about the heads and shoulders repeatedly!"  saywhat icon_lol

Future titles I'd recommend for that type of response would be:
* Doom was boring!
* X-COM is pixelicious tripe!
* Starcraft was derivative bunk!
* Sid Meier's Civilization is more boring than a high school history book!
Create those threads, and then watch out for people tossing salmonella-ridden tomatoes at you.  icon_razz

On Half-Life, this Answers.com piece might be instructive:
http://www.answers.com/topic/half-life-wordnet?cat=entertainment
Quote
The game was the first first-person shooter with a story told entirely in-game in real time, without the use of cutscenes. On its release, critics hailed its overall presentation and numerous scripted sequences, and it won over 50 Game of the Year awards in 1998-99. Its gameplay influenced first-person shooters for years to come, and has since been regarded as one of the greatest games of all time.
That said, I didn't like Half-Life 2. I found it frustrating, and confusing, and somewhere during the Railroad Car sequence I decided I wasn't having any fun, and didn't want to spend any more time on it (I should revisit it some time) even though I spent $60 plus on it and a Steam package for various stuff that I ended up never playing.

So, really, there's no crime in finding that a classic game doesn't impress you. Happens to all of us.  icon_smile
10322  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: OFP 2 on the cover of "PC Gamer" on: June 15, 2008, 04:34:14 PM
The "renders produced using 'in-game character models'" screen images last year were pretty cool.  icon_cool
http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/operationflashpoint2/news.html?sid=6177092&om_act=convert&om_clk=newsfeatures&tag=newsfeatures;title;2

Hopefully they got close to what the early "target images" suggested without excessively high system requirements.

I have a soft spot for the original Operation Flashpoint (which I actually ordered a UK import version of, I couldn't wait  icon_smile), even though I never really had a strong enough PC to run it properly. Mainly because it's the only shooter-ish game where I ever got a handle on using its mission creator, level editor and even basic scripting tools. I never did anything "good," but that I managed to create stuff that worked at all was a credit to the user-friendliness of the tools and their tutorials.

When I managed to script a real Blackhack helicopter zooming in, with cutscenes, and having troops rappel out of it via ropes, it was a great feeling.  icon_smile

When I was able to get friends to join me in levels I created, they never quite worked the way I wanted them to, but I still got such a kick out of it.

Although I like scripted military shooters, I really liked how huge the OFP maps were, and how much flexibility you had in tackling things from different directions and such.
10323  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 15, 2008, 04:18:24 PM
Here be some videos from my experiences in the mid 40s (Blackjackian's just about 48). Nothing I would consider terribly spoiler-ish, fwiw.

Click here to watch Age-of-Conan-duo-combat-gameplay

Click here to watch Age-of-Conan-instances-gameplay-video
This is some close-combat in a "mini instance" in the Nobles area north of Old Tarantia. If you go up there, don't forget to go visit Conan's castle. Some interesting political discourse in there, even if they won't let you see old Conan himself.  icon_cool

On this one you have a little AI help (the guy with the shield).

Click here to watch Age-of-Conan-Field-of-Dead-epic-quest
Had a blast this morning on a big team tackling a tough Epic quest in Field of the Dead. The respawn rates are a bit nasty but it does give you more flexibility in how to tackle it even if other groups are doing the same.

I was worried all the combo and combat would get tiresome or overly repetitive, but so far I've never really gotten tired of it.  icon_smile I'm not much of a tank though, need to work on the taunt/hate stuff, but I'll get there eventually. Got a couple different knockback attacks now (one group, one single), and a feat that reduces the cooldown timers on several combos. Some interesting optional goodies coming up including a "damage flag" buffing the whole team, a stun attack (throat slash) and others.

One of my teammates claimed I now have a "random resurrection skill" that triggers sometimes, but I don't see anything like that on the feats/abilities lists, at least not one I've put points in.  icon_confused
10324  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 15, 2008, 01:36:59 PM
Funcom hasn't said anything, but I assume they have some "game economy" reason for being so stingy with inventory space, charging an arm and a leg for most of the bags, and making most of the mounts cost outrageous amounts. I'd like to believe that rather than just think they're Stingy Misers.

Heck, maybe they just wanted to make sure pre-order players would feel special.  icon_razz It certainly beats the horrific "robotic ostrich pet" in the Tabula Rasa collector's edition.  saywhat Which has my vote as the worst perk for a pre-order or collector's edition in the history of mmorpgs.  disgust At least AoC offered truly useful things.

I wouldn't have a problem with it if there were a Diablo/Titan Quest style "zip to town, and zip back to where you were" ability (town portal, etc.). But since you can only portal one way to somewhere, there's not really an easy way to go somewhere, clear your inventory at a merchant, and get back to where you were playing. It's a little frustrating that I and others have to regularly resort to leaping to our demise and "death teleporting" (to jump to a far resurrection platform) on purpose to remove some of the travel tedium in the game. I'm glad they at least upped the speed of most of the mounts in the other day's update, but I won't be able to afford one any time soon.
10325  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 15, 2008, 05:41:40 AM
I got nowhere in-game asking how to get the expanded loot bag thingies ("General vendors! Somewhere!"). Googling pulled up this EU AoC forums post with the coordinates for the vendor and some explanation of it:

Bag price/vendor details + major whine slywink
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=34754

The 4-slot is reasonable price, the 8 slot is pricey, the rest are "you obviously have money to burn."  icon_razz

There's a little icon in the lower right to drag'n'drap your bag to. Then you get a 2nd page with the X # of slots. You can drag a page 1 item onto the little strip at the bottom to move it to the 2nd page.

Some pics below to spare other's my confusion (I think pre-orders got the 8-slot bag free, so this is probably moot info them).  icon_smile Grumbling and some exasperating Nobles town instances aside, had a lotta fun today.
10326  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 15, 2008, 03:39:51 AM
Not that I can ever afford one (I do finally have just about enough to afford the riding skill but the fancy mounts will be outta my league unless my guild floats me a mega-loan), but here's a close-up of the armored horse.

I have finally found myself piling up money much faster in the mid 40s, so I am hopeful maybe around 50 or so that I can have the riding skill and the cheapest, lowliest horse.  icon_razz
10327  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Dual booting XP/Vista questions on: June 14, 2008, 09:51:18 PM
If we can't talk you out of it  paranoid, I've seen a couple of tutorial Web site features that might be useful to you:

How do I... Install Windows Vista in a dual-boot configuration along with Windows XP?
http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-6157570.html
Quote
In order to install Windows Vista in a dual-boot configuration along with Windows XP, you need to have either a second partition on your existing hard disk or a second hard disk in your system. To give yourself enough room to experiment, you should have at least 20 GB and preferably 40 GB of space available on either the second partition or on the second hard disk.

How to dual-boot Vista with XP (with XP installed first) - step-by-step guide with screenshots [this one doesn't speak to drive space suggestions though]
http://apcmag.com/how_to_dualboot_vista_with_xp__stepbystep_guide_with_screenshots.htm

I've toyed with the dual booting idea due to some Vista 64-bit incompatibilities with Palm PDA desktop synch software and Rhapsody's music store software.

Honestly, if you're happy with XP, I don't really see any reason to risk messing up your PC to "play around with it." Vista doesn't do anything for games aside from the very spotty DX10 support, and it's certainly not going to make any games run faster (it'll just increase your RAM requirements, if anything). I have no doubt my fairly new system (Quad Core 6700, 4GB RAM) would run games faster in XP, but I just have been hesitant to mess with dual boot OSs or partitioning.

Other than spiffier menus, a Start Menu where it seems actually harder to find programs, and a little gaming folder that all your games' get tossed into, there really isn't much to see in Vista. I've been using it a couple of months, if you have any questions about it, I'm happy to answer.

You might run by a Best Buy or Circuit City and play with Vista a bit there (that's what I did here and there).  icon_smile That's my 2 cents anyway.

XP-wise, it seems kinda neat that it's finding a second life on all these endless Eee PC wannabes (mini-notebook computers), nearly all of which are coming with XP SP3 pre-installed now. So I dunno, maybe at some point Microsoft will market XP as a "mobile OS" due to its relatively modest system requirements.
10328  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 14, 2008, 05:00:04 PM
Occurred to me to just search around YouTube for some MSI Wind videos and video reviews. Here are some either fun or useful, I don't think these are ones we mentioned here before:

The Official MSI Wind TV Commercial (30 seconds)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56f1IeDZd_0
Oh boy, now my niece and nephew can go outside and play... with a laptop!  saywhat

Italian video review (3:48)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUJMzkJjAqw
If you want to get a really close up view of the innards, and the motherboard, you'll like this one even if you don't have a clue what he's saying.  icon_smile But for the love of God, why is he using a screwdriver as a pointer?  saywhat

Phillipines' (it's in English) video impressions (3:29)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUP31Ub0V_E&feature=related
Although the guy talks about "writing with the Wind," he never actually types anything on it, I'd still like to see someone with normal size hands typing on it.  icon_razz

CNET Taiwan video from a trade show (1:50)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hTRyDavS8A&feature=related
This is the Linux version, with a simplified opening menu (a la the original Eee PCs).

MSI Wind, Eee PC 901, HP-Mini-Note visual comparisons (1:16)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oORdF6uA-uA
From the Computex show in Taiwan, this is a painfully blurry comparison of the three systems. You at least get an idea of the noticeable size differences. It's a red Wind, and right now that's not planned for the U.S. market.

If you got this far then, I have to reward you with...

The MSI Girls *perform* at the Computex Show in Taiwan! (No "Wind" footage though...)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D79HuEZ9XSY

10329  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 14, 2008, 06:55:15 AM
Got a slightly different looking 44 sword. My goal was to get one that's taller than my character, even if that might make walking challenging.  icon_razz
10330  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 14, 2008, 02:39:28 AM
Thanks to some tips here I finally found the trainer (for respecing feats) in Tarantia, and it was (the first time anyway) a pretty reasonable number of coppers. Since I like playing in Defense stance, I maxxed that out and the basic physical defense against various melee things (see pic). Wow, my Conq's difference was like night and day. I'm not a worldbeater, but I'm definitely churning through situations that smacked me before. I also got a useful little buff that adds knockback to your next attack (whether swing or combo), and it's pretty useful.   icon_smile

I must say, connection reliability's not so good tonight. I've disconnected twice now, and just logged because everything stopped moving and I sensed probably another disconnect coming. Some folks in my guild kept popping in and out, and it seemed like they were getting dropped too. disgust
10331  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: June 13, 2008, 07:48:23 PM
Yeah yeah, soon we'll have more "Anybody got..." threads than Age of Conan threads, but I couldn't resist.  icon_razz

Saw a lot of initial reviews popping out on this variation on the category Eee PC is credited with starting. The Aspire One will probably be battling more with the updated Eee PC 901 (both have 8.9" screens and roughly similar features). What the Aspire might really have going for it is price -- supposedly $379 for a Linux Lite version (8GB flash drive) or $399 for a Windows XP version (80GB traditional hard drive). Although this is with a 3-cell battery and they'll probably be hawking more expensive 6-cell versions of each.

The keyboard is described as "89% size," and is apparently a lot easier to touch type on than the Eee PCs though the Aspire is still pretty tiny and light (about 1.6 lbs.).

The flashy official site is not too terribly informative:
http://www.acer.com/aspireone/

Sorry I'm such a Laptop Magazine hawker of late, but here's their in-depth look at it, just yesterday:
http://blog.laptopmag.com/acer-aspire-one-an-in-depth-look

And this UK blog got some impressions in just today:
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2008/06/13/just-in-acer-aspire-one/

The MSI Wind still seems "the one to beat" in this category, though it still seems unclear if its $499 MSRP really includes the 6-cell battery or not (a lot of Winds seem to be going to reviewers with 3-cell batteries, though it might be that China factory fire I mentioned in another thread).

If price, size, weight and cosmetics are one's top concerns, this might shine pretty brightly for some, and it uses the same Atom processor all these new minis are using (including the Wind). If ASUS shifts its focus to $500-$600 machines, then it might really open the sub $400 slot to this or Dell's upcoming entry. Just my amateur analysis...  icon_razz

10332  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 13, 2008, 05:49:31 PM
Thanks. I just wish they'd be more obvious about the Wayfarers on the map (kinda like how they changed teammate icons from these imperceptible little grey peas, to big, obnoxious purple arrows). There have been times I've walked right by one repeatedly without knowing it.

Maybe they could wear a tin foil hat and a big picket sign that says "WAYFARER HERE!" nod
10333  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Mythos on: June 13, 2008, 05:45:37 PM
Ya know, at one point we had almost as many Mythos threads as we do now Age of Conan threads.  saywhat

Blue's mentioned this new interview with Max Schaefer on Mytho's current status. Apparently it's moving into a truly open beta probably in a month or so. The plan is still for something of a Dungeon Runners model (free to download and play, microtransactions for better stuff and other benefits, etc.), and so there technically is no publisher in N. America (so there's no pressure to rush the release as with Hellgate, fwiw).

http://mythosguru.com/interviews/exclusive-interview-with-max-schaefer/
Quote
Last, but not least, here’s a question that’s on EVERYONE’s mind: can you clue us in on when Open Beta will begin?

Not for at least a month. We’re doing some extra work on billing security and customer support tools and things like that, and we really want to get it right for our eventual launch, so we’ve pushed our OBT date out just a bit. This only means the game will be better when we start, however.
The beta didn't tickle my ElmoTM, so I didn't play it much, but I'm still keeping an eye out and might re-visit it when it goes into open beta mode.
10334  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 13, 2008, 05:34:12 PM
I don't know. The only respec'r NPC I had seen to this point was charging something like 25 silver I thought. Maybe I misread it.  icon_confused I have maybe 50 Silver at this point (mainly due to that efficient duo I was in last night, it really racked up the coins better than when I solo).

So I have actual questions now!:

* Is there a Respec NPC in Tarantia (or whatever it's called)? I can "totem" back there if so.

* Does anyone know of a Wayfarer in Field of the Dead somewhere? It's such a pain to reach that zone, I'd like to bind to it somewhere.
10335  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 13, 2008, 05:31:12 PM
Actually I'm just happy to see you! The Weghted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you. unibrow

Probably dual-wielding is the way to go, but I've long complained about two-hand weapons getting the short end of the stick in hack'n'slashes and MMOs, generally speaking. So I just decided to embrace two hand swords (and I try to keep an eye out for 2-hand-edge-weapon buff characteristics on equipment). And maybe someday I can respec the feats to make the best use of them.
10336  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (PVP related) on: June 13, 2008, 03:01:58 PM
Funcom's announcement about upcoming Updates work is pretty PVP-focused (and a bit guild-focused too) so I thought I'd put it here rather than start thread #27  icon_neutral
Quote
Without further ado, here are some of the cool things to expect in the months to come:

PvP evolved – To the Death
The great combat system in Age of Conan has taken MMO fighting to a new level of fun, and Player versus Player combat plays a major part in this. As a result, a massive new PvP update is planned for late June. Aptly called To the death, this update brings more consequence and rewards to PvP, and an important part of it is the Fugitive system. The more lower level players you kill, the easier it is for others to hunt you down. In addition, ten PvP levels with additional ranks will be introduced, as well as specific gear and weapons for PvP.

Guild Alliance Warfare
Preproduction has started on a MASSIVE free update which will come later this year. Currently titled “Kingship!”, large clusters of guilds will be able to form alliances, and rule and conquer on a massive scale. Everyone in a guild alliance will play a part in this system, and together they can even erect unique looking alliance Battlekeeps. The alliances can also fight over, and build, culture-specific “wonders of the world”, with a direct link to higher powers! As part of the system Funcom will also facilitate larger amounts of players in massive battles.

Powerpoints
This fall, a unique reward and character evolution system called Powerpoints will be introduced. This rewards active in-game behavior, and allows for gathering points through numerous methods, including owning a Battlekeep, playing the end-game at level 80, winning PvP matches, or simply being an active guild member or subscribing to the game. There will be many ways to obtain Powerpoints, and numerous rewards, ranging from exclusive Powerfeats to weapons, armor and potions. Powerpoints may even allow you to level faster!
10337  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 13, 2008, 02:58:07 PM
I'm poorly spec'd as a conq (I use 2-handed weapons but wasted a few Feat points experimenting with dual wield stuff), but fwiw, I use the Defensive stance most of the time. There are some interesting Feat points that make it more effective, or make enemies take damage when they hit your Defensive stance shield.

I generally only use Frenzy when I'm teamed with a healer, or when I'm tackling substantially lower level mobs. At even or higher Frenzy just makes me collapse like a deck of cards.  icon_razz

It is tricky to know whether it's better to damage faster, or have more defensive durability (honestly, I should've gone with a Guardian, but I'm 43 now and would rather keep pushing my main character towards the level caps at this point).

My current Feat build probably isn't geared enough towards either  icon_redface (I'd respec, but it costs a fortune and I'm saving up for a mount/riding skill). Probably I should've just focused on one type of melee damage (dual, or single 2-hand) and worried less about the defensive feat modifiers.
10338  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: June 13, 2008, 01:26:35 PM
Couple reviews of the slightly revamped Eee PC 901 are out. The MSI Wind, and upcoming Acer and Dell offerings (both cheaper), and others are making the pricing ($599 and up) seem questionable at this point though this does apparently come with a hardy 6-cell battery standard at that price. Engadget mentioned these reviews:

Laptop magazine
http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/asus-eee-pc-901.aspx?page=1

Stuff TV
http://stuff.tv/Review/Asus-Eee-PC-901/

The 901 uses the "everybody's putting one in their mini-notebook now) Atom processor, a 12GB SSD, new Dolby speakers, a larger trackpad with dual mouse-buttons (definitely one area it beats the MSI Wind and HP Mini-Note on, fwiw), a redesigned silver-ish hinge, and the 6-cell battery (though it appears to add some physical bulge-iness, so it's not quite as tidy a package).

It'll be interesting to see how all the various mini-notebook prices shake out when everything really hits the stores soon.
10339  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: June 13, 2008, 01:12:11 PM
Gamesindustry.biz got a response from Flagship's David Brevik (who no doubt would rather be working on Diablo 3 at this point icon_razz):

Flagship has had less than 10% turnover, says Brevik
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/flagship-has-had-less-than-10-turnover-says-cvo
This seems more worth highlighting in it though...
Quote
Brevik admitted that Hellgate: London launched with some problems and could have benefited from delaying the ship date for a few additional months of development - something that the independent developer didn't have the luxury of doing.
Oops.  saywhat
10340  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch notes 12th of june (+ unannounced patch notes-UPDATED) on: June 13, 2008, 01:05:45 PM
>>>Mid Level (40) gameplay improvements
Field of the Dead: 100 additional mobs have found their way into the the playfield. In addition respawn times have been adjusted on both normal mobs and bosses to improve the playing experience. Also, a number of quests in the playfield have been improved upon.

I was playing there the day before the update, and then last night post-update so I can sort of speak to it.

There are definitely a lot more mobs, and they spawn faster. Almost too fast - I regularly had things respawning on top of my characters shortly after I had dispatched them. Try not to linger there.  saywhat I still feel like the area is glutted with hunt quests (I thought I'd returned to Dungeon Runners or something), but mostly of the 10-15-20 variety at least. There are some pretty solid quest rewards in the area, esp. in terms of armor.

I'm never really sure what "improved quest" means. I had fun duoing with a same-level guildmate last night (a healer type with a lot of AOE knockdown ability it seemed) and we tore through a lot of quests in a speedy fashion (got from 41 to 43 in maybe an hour or so).
10341  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 13, 2008, 01:00:32 PM
Got a slightly more interesting sword in the low 40s. It could be my imagination, but I swear it has slightly different sounds than other swords.  icon_razz

10342  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: June 12, 2008, 10:02:39 PM
Although I think my heart and brain (however tiny the latter is icon_razz) have moved on to the MSI Wind, I did notice the 7" Eee PC (Windows XP) is finally trickling into some Best Buy stores (I've yet to ever see one on display I could try, but since it's available in some stores near me perhaps I can now):
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=8781464&st=Eee+PC&lp=2&type=product&cp=1&id=1205245967446

BB's supposedly one of the possible MSI Wind retailers in the US (though nothing's listed). I get the impression maybe they are clearing out these older Eee PC models in prep for carrying the newer Eee PC models and (maybe) the Wind.
10343  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Reasons you don't play certain genres on: June 12, 2008, 09:41:38 PM
I loved maybe the first 2/5 of Company of Heroes' original campaign, but somewhere around the Nerbelwerfer mission, I hit a brick wall. Many months later I returned to the game and finished that mission but when I realized how many units I'd need to build and how grueling the ensuing mission would be, I lost interest. I bought Opposing Fronts and once i realized the whole campaign was nothing but massive scale stuff (and not the smaller battles I enjoyed), I never got anywhere with the campaign.

I did break out Company again on my new PC a while back and I still love the game in general. I just wish I could play some sort of mission set that keeps things at a more modest, intimate scale.

I think my trouble with RTSs is that I prefer them at modest campaign levels where you're working with smaller squads and there's less focus on base building and tank rushes (I did certainly try World in Conflict but the swoopy camera gave me bizarre motion sickness problems). I also loved the first few missions in Act of War some years ago, but there again it quickly moved into a "massive tank and soldier rush" missions campaign, and it lost me. Even with Warcraft III, I enjoyed it quite a bit and then once it became about building bases everywhere and cranking out a hundred units, *poof* I stopped playing.

I love playing those kinds of game co-op but most of the time online you end up in adversarial stuff, and I'm not hyperactive, and I tend to just get blown to smithereens and decide it's not my cup of tea.

In my early days through maybe the late 1990s I played lots of sports games on PC. Tony La Russa baseball was an early favorite of mine, I loved the first couple incarnation's of Dynamix's Front Page Sports Football. I bought all sorts of golf games, including Jack Nicklaus Signature Edition (I loved downloading new player-created courses from dial-up BBSs) and the Links 386 and Links games. I don't think I've bought a sports game in the last 8 years other than one EA golf game back in 2004. I can't really say why, other than that sports computer games seemed to appeal to me more when I was younger.

I was a total military shooter junkie for several years, crazy about stuff like Operation Flashpoint, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Call of Duty I/II, lots of bargain military shooters, etc., etc. At some point I got tired of the endless sequelization and the lack of any fresh ideas (it's easier to do the 27th Rainbow Six riff than do something fresh, and usually the occasional fresh idea doesn't sell), the over-scriptedness of most enemy AI etc. I just don't play those much anymore aside from seeing how COD4 ran on my new system.

Beyond that, to be honest, I don't play anything regularly any more other than some mmorpgs. Depressing, huh?  icon_razz And bad timing, cause I got a new PC to play all this stuff, and now, I really just don't feel inclined to play a lot of the stuff that would run well on it. Oops.  saywhat
10344  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 12, 2008, 09:19:13 PM
Finally found another, more recent, review. APCmag is some sort of Australian site I believe.

MSI Wind: much better than the Eee PC
http://apcmag.com/msi_wind.htm
Quote
Our overall opinion of the Wind? It’s good work. Though its physical design may not appeal to everyone, the technology under the skin is as good as it gets at this kind of price point. Intel’s new Atom processor performs its job admirably, there’s plenty of storage, it’s slightly user upgradable and the battery life is excellent.

If you’re in the market for one of the second generation mini notebooks, then consider the Wind, I know for sure a few people around the APC offices have already made up their mind. Now just to choose black, white or pink?
I found it amusing that next to the oft-maligned trackpad "single clicky" button, their other complaint is that the Wind is "pretty ugly."  icon_lol Maybe they could use that in marketing... "The MSI Wind. It's downright ugly. Order yours now!"  saywhat
10345  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 12, 2008, 09:05:28 PM
If you want more pretty pictures, check out PC Perspective's gallery from a Taiwan trade show (MSI is a Taiwan company) called Computex 2008:
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=570&type=expert

The first page of the article - http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=570 - has pics of lots of ASUS notebooks/laptops too.

There seems to be a growing consensus - well, just on a handful of impressions/reviews etc. - the black MSI Wind looks better than the white in this particular case (maybe the types of plastics used).

I also saw a brief mention of MSI hoping to ship (depending on how Intel's shortage of the new Atom processor shakes out, perhaps) as many as a half million of these in 2008:
http://www.digitimes.com/systems/a20080612PD210.html
Quote
Micro-Star International (MSI) expects its Wind notebook (netbook) shipments to reach around 300,000-500,000 units in 2008, helping the company's total notebook shipments to reach up to two million units, according to Joseph Hsu, chairman of MSI.
10346  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 12, 2008, 12:30:07 PM
Mobile Computing UK had a hands-on back around May 29. This was with the 6-cell battery option, and it indicated this wasn't the version that would go on sale later, at least not in the UK. (meaning the 2.5 hour life 3-cell would) icon_confused

http://www.mobilecomputermag.co.uk/20080529536/hands-on-with-the-msi-wind-ultra-portable.html
Quote
All in all, we were extremely impressed by the MSI Wind and based on the short amount of time we spent with it, we reckon that it’s the first low-cost ultraportable to deliver on all counts – and again, that processor plays a significant part in this.

We’re hoping to see a final production model of the MSI Wind in a week or so, so we’ll run some benchmarks and provide a more detailed write-up then. In the meantime, if you’re eyeing up an Eee PC 900 or HP 2133 Mini-Note, we’d strongly advise you to hold on to you money until the Wind is launched – MSI looks like it have a monster hit on its hands.
10347  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / King's Bounty: The Legend (turn-based tactical RPG) on: June 12, 2008, 03:54:15 AM
Gamespy's brief item on this today caught my eye:
http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/battle-lord/881114p1.html

Official site (Atari will be publishing the Russian-devved game in US):
http://www.kings-bounty.com/eng/description.php
Quote
Your character travels in real-time across lands and waters, into the underground and across the skies, searching for treasures, getting equipment, developing multiple skills and fulfilling orders of kings to promote career. When fighting enemies the game switches into Tactics mode. You can control the troops on the battle arena, use the spell book and summon powerful Spirits of Rage.
An old-schooler's just gotta love a year 2008 game brave enough to have hex-based, turn-based tactical battles.  icon_biggrin

Gamespy had some concerns about the current state of the English-localized version, but hopefully they'll work that out. It's apparently been a critics' darling and blockbuster hit in Russia, but don't know what that's worth here.

The official site has some previews, but most of the U.S. ones were from trade shows last year (it's been out in Russia for some time).

Mentioned in one of the interviews:
Quote
The target audience for King's Bounty: The Legend includes all fans of role-playing and tactical games. There are some similar games on consoles - for example, Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy - but unfortunately, such titles are very rare on PC. Therefore, we'll try to fill this gap.
The Heroes of Might & Magic games are also sometimes drawn into comparisons a bit.
10348  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 12, 2008, 03:31:49 AM
TenTon also had a post-launch interview today with Jason Stone:
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/35363
Nothing earthshaking. He does seem to opine that the supposed character class nerfs are usually more a case of fixed-bugs attempting to rebalance things. But, basically, that's semantics if you ask me. One person's "bug fix" or "rolling back an unintended exploit" is another person's "NERF!"  icon_neutral
10349  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 12, 2008, 01:40:45 AM
I fished around something called UMPC portal, and they had a link for a review by a site called "Fudzilla"  saywhat

MSI Wind notebook starts the storm
http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7613&Itemid=40
Quote
Wind PC notebook is as big as a paper planner, fits any, even the smallest of bags, and still packs enough power. It is as good as it gets and we will be surprised if we see anyone making anything much better than this.
This has some useful photos, including of one on an airliner food tray. There's plenty of room for food - or a mouse - next to it.  icon_smile He used the unit to write his article so hey I'm (Mr. reporter person) sold.  icon_cool

This is yet another XP version with the rather short-battery-life 3 cell battery (they keep ballyhooing 5.5 hours life but that's with the 6-cell battery). So there seems to be some valid concerns about whether you're going to get the 3- or 6-cell battery if you order this online -- esp. because they noted a factory incident that might have some ramifications on that.
Quote
MSI told us that a fire happened in the factory that makes the batteries in China, and therefore they couldn't send us a sample notebook with a six-cell battery.
Oops...

fwiw, they seemed to actually like the touchpad (it's the main complaint in other reviews), but feel the plastic is an awful fingerprint magnet. The latter's probably common to everything in this category so I guess it doesn't mean much.
10350  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 11, 2008, 07:02:00 PM
Hey I found a pre-order listing for this at something called "Hand Built PC's and Parts" in Illinois:

http://hand-built.com/products/msi-wind-micro-notebook
Quote
This is a pre-order. Units are not shipping from MSI until at least June 16th. At this time we cannot guarantee Shipping or Delivery dates. Pre-Order now to reserve yours! Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. We will make every possible effort to get these in your hands as quickly as possible.

To our knowledge, the Windows XP model ships with a 6-cell battery, and the Linux model ships with a 3-cell battery. If for some reason the models initially shipped are 3-cell Windows XP models, we will ship you the 3-cell model and a 6-cell battery to replace it when those become available, free of charge. In other words, we will “Make It Right”. [this battery mention is interesting - bj]
Their listings seem to suggest you have a better chance of getting one sooner if you say "either white or black is OK, just please, no pink" or "any color at all."  icon_razz And it is $499 for the XP version and $399 for the Linux.

I don't know much about the company so I don't know if I'd be comfortable pre-ordering, but it's just an option for anyone terribly eager.  icon_smile I couldn't find any info at their site about shipping costs.

Hmmm, did a little digging. The company's only been around since 2005. I found an old post by the company prez, and he removed a coupon from his sig (on a 3 year old post that Google keeps digging up) due to insane demand for the MSI Wind.  icon_razz
http://discuss.joyent.com/viewtopic.php?pid=180931

Oh, there's also some warnings by customers at the Amazon listing that it's selling the 3-cell XP version (they're estimating based on the listed weight) at the 6-cell (5.5 hour life) price of $549:
http://www.amazon.com/BEWARE-means-battery-549-RIPOFF/forum/FxQI6U5QD7ZQ87/Tx13LYHBG1IKH7G/1/ref=cm_cd_dp_tft_tp?%5Fencoding=UTF8&s=electronics&asin=B001AS6YFQ&store=electronics

Anyway this 3-cell vs. 6-cell battery thing seems like an issue to watch out for if this interests you.

So far I've not seen it at the Best Buy or Costco sites (mentioned in interviews as possible retail channels). PriceGrabber.com doesn't really pull up anything as of yet.
10351  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Blackjack has that *same* HP Elite model on: June 11, 2008, 06:36:56 PM

Quote from: ATB on May 21, 2008, 12:27:55 PM

Hey ATB, When you get a minute, do you mind telling me if this sounds like a good deal? Everything but the Monitor and speakers: $1,158 THANKS!!

It's an HP:

Key Features & Benefits:
# 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Quad processor Q6700
Delivers the power of four processing cores for faster multitasking and improved multimedia
# 4 GB of DDR2 system memory
Offers excellent performance for today's demanding applications
# 1 TB hard drive, 7200 rpm
Provides a tremendous amount of storage space for documents, games, music, photos and videos
# SuperMulti DVD+/-RW drive
Lets you burn or play DVDs and CDs
# NTSC (analog) and ATSC (digital) TV tuner
Receives your favorite broadcasts to watch now or record on the spacious hard drive
# 802.11b/g wireless LAN and 10/100/1000 Base-T Ethernet
Connects to both hard-wired and wireless networks
# 15-in-1 digital media card reader
Reads all popular memory card formats so you can enjoy photos, music and other files
# Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition with Windows Media Center and Service Pack 1
Wait a minute. That's *my* HP Elite PC.  icon_cool If you have any questions about it, just ask, since I believe I have that exact model. I bought mine at a Best Buy store. They didn't even pester me to buy an extended warranty.

I think the price is pretty good myself (or at least was in April when I got it). I do think though that Vista 64-bit has just enough hassles that you (or your sis) should think about what stuff you might be using with it.

I think the latest iTunes software is 64-bit Vista compatible so if she uses an iPod she should be OK as long as she uses the latest iTunes version.

My Palm PDA stuff isn't compatible with 64-bit Vista, and nor was my Best Buy/Rhapsody online music store (subscription service) for my Sansa MP3 player, and neither company has any plans to specifically support it any time soon. I've had no troubles running any games (new, or older) in 64-bit Vista.

I'm really pleased with the PC's performance in spite of a modest 8600GT card, and the system runs very quietly. If she gets it, you may want to walk her though creating system recovery discs (I found I had to use "CD+R" discs to do this, CD-RWs would not work). It doesn't come with a system restore disc per se, but I believe it has an "image" of the "factory default" drive placed on a separate partition on one of the hard drives.
10352  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC update 9th of june (updated with mount info+stealth patch notes) on: June 11, 2008, 05:55:38 PM
My stability was OK yesterday, but I definitely too had some serious frame rate drops in certain quest instances. These were the ones in the Noble area that were just taking place inside little house buildings. I just don't know if it's "just me," or if they've always had problems (I mentioned in another thread that I thought maybe the torches and candles were a cause), or if the patch added this problem (I hadn't entered these instances pre-patch so I don't have a comparison basis per se).

At its core, the combat still keeps me enthralled along with lets say the "volume" of the quests. I do have concerns about the lack of any variety in enemy AI. I'm not expecting F.E.A.R. soldiers or something (I know MMOs have limitations), but if enemies ever attempted to get away from me, reposition (wouldn't an archer type reposition instead of stabbing me with a butter knife? icon_razz), or respond to me in a way other than "veer directly towards player and stand in place like a mannequin", combat might be a little more varied and unpredictable. If it's a technical limitation, that's fine, but I'd like to think they could spice that up a bit.

I think LOTORO did a much better job of introducing you to crafting, and getting you interested in it (I've basically ignored it completely in AoC to this point). And I'd like to see more of the Destiny quest stuff (basically there's a few quests at 30 of that nature and then *poof* nothing at all until 50).

Blah blah blah. I'm running off again. Maybe a future update will look at some of this.  icon_smile
10353  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Classes thread on: June 11, 2008, 05:40:04 PM
The latest patch notes mentioned something about evasion now working properly when you're attacked from behind (if I'm reading it right). Though I've had a hard time judging if it's really happenin'.

I'd love for Funcom maybe just one time to give everybody a free "feats respec" (as the CoX devs do on occasion when an update introduces a lot of changes). At 41 I think I finally know - for my Conqueror - which ones I'd really want to pump points in and which I'd like to skip (if possible, I know sometimes the "feat tree prerequisites" seem to sort of force you into putting at least a point in certain things). But I was testing and experimenting along the way.]

Or as Tony Stark says in the Iron Man movie, "I just finally know what it is I have to do. But I can't afford to reset my feats to do it!" Well OK I added the last part...
10354  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: June 11, 2008, 03:28:28 PM
Saw at Blue's News that a Flagship programmer's since rescinded blog post (snagged by an, um, "anti-fan site" called Flagshipped) detailed his observations within the company that employees are fleeing the company after Hellgate's flop-ness (despite being rescinded, all the gaming industry news sites had already picked up on it):

http://www.flagshipped.com/2008/06/05/fss-senior-programmer-speaks-out

http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewthread&threadid=88456
(has links to the various things, and the verbiage)

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/flagship-programmer-says-staff-are-leaving-in-droves

http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10868&Itemid=2
Quote
Work is depressing right now. Never mind the fact that Hellgate isn’t as popular as anybody had hoped. Never mind the fact that there exists a term “Flagshipped,” meaning where a company basically overpromises and then screws you. Never mind the fact that the forums are totally populated by people who do nothing but complain and talk about how much the game sucks. Never mind the fact that people do the same thing in the game itself.

Yes, Hellgate is not a big success. That sucks, and it’s depressing. I’m keeping a positive attitude about it because of Korea and China. The Koreans really love the game, and the Chinese have yet to see it. I don’t know how any of these deals are structured, but I’m hinging my hopes for Hellgate’s future on the Asian market.

So why is work depressing? (Other than all of those other depressing things, that is.) The reason is that people are leaving. In droves, they’re leaving. We’ve had programmers, accountants, HR people, and artists leave. The founders are all still around, but they’ve been floating away from Hellgate to work on various other projects. The only one still actively on Hellgate is Tyler, but Tyler’s not programming anymore; he spends all of his time on management activities.
I expect Bill Roper's going to issue a press release saying, "All's well! Full speed ahead!"  icon_neutral Maybe Blizzard can hire them back?  icon_razz Actually the flagshipped site mentions that Roper's "band" is playing in some shows sponsored by Blizzard. So, maybe a reunion *could* happen...

Actually, I enjoyed parts of the game quite a bit. Tremendously even. Then you'd get a turret sequence, or a mini-RTS sequence, or some other mini-game that was so far from the appealing core-combat, that I had to believe the game had 5 different lead designers, all at odds with each other. If they just stripped all that extraneous junk and polished the core hack'n'slash and given levels a little more variety (the ballyhooed randomizing didn't keep everything from looking the same), it'd have been a shorter game I guess, but I think it would've been much better received and memorable. It's all moot now I reckon, it's just thoughts I have looking back.  icon_smile
10355  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 11, 2008, 03:13:28 PM
I'm at 41 now, although I handle groups better than I have, I still tend to drop like a load of bricks in some situations. I am more often fighting even to +2 enemies now. The health potions are just so much less effective (even L30s, and the L40 potions just cost too much for my tastes) than I'm used to.

There are some feats i'm finally putting some points into that might help me, but some of the feat requirements stump me. It'll say "you need 10 points in this tree", and clearly I have 12 points in the tree, but the feat still isn't available  icon_confused . I'm thinking maybe it means 10 points in the horizontal line of feats above it or something.

Really I need to re-do the feats but doing so costs a fortune, and I'm trying to save up for mounts and riding (though I see no reasonable way I can ever afford either [at my current income rate] unless my guild gives me a mega-loan  Tongue)

Noble it turns out has tons of quests, and most are not far away (it's like Tortage in some respects that way). But for my tastes way too many have you basically battling with 5, sometimes 10 other players for the same quest. In a perfect world we'd all team up and do them but I don't see much of that happening. Or, I start battling some NPC I need for a quest, another player attacks him, and it "padlocks" onto the other player instead of me. I really don't understand how that works, and it's annoying. This leads to a lot of camping, and people just sitting down waiting for the quest-boss or quest-mob to spawn.

Some of the quests are fun and a little different at this stage (including a funny "insults" quest and a murder mystery - these were ballyhooed by Funcom sometimes in pre-release interviews), although I'd like a warning maybe that "Hey Conan wannabe, write down what the NPC's saying or you won't be able to figure this out later."  icon_razz

Technically, the one trouble I run into in Noble is some of the village-building instances. Something about them (maybe the various glowing flame effects from torches and candles?) completely drags my frame rate down to nearly nothing (from a steady 30-ish FPS to about 4-5) and it's nearly unplayable in those instances (I've tried turning down just about everything and it's still like molasses in there).
10356  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 11, 2008, 01:18:31 PM
Hey I was having some trouble finding the actual product listing at MSI (Micro-Star International, of Taiwan), but finally tracked it down. Has some fairly interesting pictures and info (including downloadable copies of the user's manual):

MSI U100 (official page - don't think they call it "Wind" in the home country)
http://global.msi.com.tw/index.php?func=proddesc&prod_no=1474&maincat_no=135&cat2_no=582

Official MSI-USA Wind pages (listings for both Linux and XP version):
http://www.msimobile.com/nblist.aspx?series=u

Value added photos below.  icon_razz
10357  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 11, 2008, 01:06:03 PM
This May 13 Laptop mag had an interview with an MSI rep, and he mentions that Amazon, Best Buy and Costco [so far, I've only seen an actual "pre-release" listing at Amazon] are among the U.S. retail channels they were in talks with (it's expected to hit U.S. market June, this month):
http://blog.laptopmag.com/msi-wind-revealed-10-inch-mini-notebook-to-hit-us-in-june

At the time, the XP version was expected to run $549, but they planned a $499 "base" XP model (more recent articles suggest the XP model is $499 period, so I'm not quite sure icon_confused). They actually have an 8.9" monitor model but only the 10" will be sold in the U.S.

Colors include black, white, silver, pink and a limited edition baby blue.

Now if only they'd reconsider the "single bar" trackpad mouse button. It's the only consistent complaint I've read in reviews so far.  icon_neutral

Yeah it's a shame about the RAM upgrade voiding warranty. With the Linux version the rep actually highlights the RAM upgradability -- seems bizarre to do that without mentioning the warranty-voiding (perhaps they decided on that recently?)
Quote
You can upgrade the memory in this system; there will be an extra slot.
It's sneaky, but the laptopmag article on upgrading the RAM voiding the warranty (http://blog.laptopmag.com/msi-upgrading-wind-ram-voids-warranty) suggests you can simply remove the extra RAM stick if you need to send the unit in for warranty servicing.  icon_twisted It's apparently easy to upgrade the hard drive as well (same situation with the warranty though).

Oh, I *finally* heard from the IRS to expect my economic stimulus check perhaps at the end of this week. $600! Just about right for this.  icon_biggrin
10358  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PSP games on: June 11, 2008, 04:33:05 AM
I didn't know where to put this, but Ready at Dawn confirmed God of War was its last PSP game (they're presumably moving to either PS3 or XBox360 development):
http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18957

I love my PSP but I haven't played anything on it in several months now. I'm just sad devs can't seem to make enough money developing for it to stick with the platform (they just see it as a stepping stone to the full consoles), and this year's been completely blah for PSP games after a terrific 2007.
10359  Gaming / Analog Gaming / Re: What to do with back issues of PCG and demo discs? on: June 11, 2008, 02:01:28 AM
Hmmm, I should've looked into magazine recyclers before I jettisoned a few tons of PC Gamer, CGW, CG and stuff like Windows Magazine and PC Computing. Oh well. I crossed my fingers and hoped they went into the County Incinerator that we have here.  icon_redface

I have a hard time finding any sort of recycling here now (my homeowner's association gave up on newspaper and plastics recycling cause most of the people here didn't follow the sorting rules and the recycling company got tired of dealing with all that extra work.

A site called Earth 911 has a "recyclers locator" that might be handy:
http://earth911.org/

You can search by type of item you want to recycle (including magazines), and zip code or city/state. It's pretty handy. I shall see if I can figure out where to drop my remaining tons of magazines.

I'm no Boy Scout about recycling right now, but I am aghast at airports (whose concessions sell bottled drinks left and right), stadiums and arenas (whose concessions sell tons and tons of recyclable beer and soft drink and water bottles) around here in Virginia that make no effort at recycling at all. They'll get like probably 30,000+ people buying bottle drinks and junking them in the trash. Seems like a waste.
10360  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC update 9th of june (updated with mount info+stealth patch notes) on: June 10, 2008, 05:29:47 PM
Game apologies are cheap. "We're sorry Vanguard was a shambling, bug-ridden train wreck at launch that was well nigh unplayable! Forgive us!" If it wasn't for SOE tossing a lifeline, Sigil no doubt would've dragged Vanguard into Auto Assault/Gods & Heroes oblivion a long time ago.

"We're sorry Hellgate: London was a shambling, bug-ridden train wreck at launch that probably didn't even qualify as an Alpha, so we renamed it 'version 0.666.' Hahaha! Forgive us! Even though we've been developing games since the early 1990s and should know better. Or blame EA for it!"

Don't tell me, "I'm sorry," *do* something about it!  disgust

The sad fact of all mmorpgs is when publishers pour millions of dollars into game development, even the most patient one will eventually shove the devs ahead at gun point and say "Get this sucker out, we need revenue dammit!" In spite of its numerous delays, I'll bet even Funcom reached that point. A "mea culpa" is all well and good, but actually doing something about it promptly impresses me a lot more, fwiw.

If Funcom keeps fixing and updating, I may not forgive them, but I won't put them on a crap-list and say I'll never buy another game from them. So I guess that's something for them to be pleased about, right? OK maybe not.  icon_razz
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