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10321  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.
10322  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Mythos on: July 22, 2008, 06:57:02 AM
At the end, I had a bad feeling about the game when they suddenly decided to insert a third-person, "more typical MMORPG" style camera view into the game, along with other MMO conventions. Why? Because it probably reflected Flagship's schizophrenic approach to Hellgate with its turret sequences, bizarro semi-isometric RTS sequences, and other attempts to be all things to all gamers. Flagship would call it "responding to gamer feedback," but if you have so little confidence in your game design that you're turning it upside down in the beta crib constantly, then you probably don't have much faith in your game to begin with (see the massive opening day Hellgate patch that tried desperately to improve the game by pretty much turning it upside down).

The "good" thing about the game getting terminated before it ever got a release, is Mythos now can become better in legend than it probably ever could've as a released game. And Travis Baldtree will become this mythical game dev figure that got messsed up when he attached his sail to Flagship...

Think about what Hellgate's rep could be if Flagship had canceled it the way Blizzard canceled Starcraft: Ghost and Warcraft Adventures. You could have entire Web sites devoted to the legend of "what Hellgate could've been if only Flagship had completed it." Instead of Flagship-Hater sites like Flagshipped.  disgust

And then bitter former Hellgate players like me would not sit around in threads like this formenting cynicism and disappointment.  crybaby icon_razz
10323  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Silverfall crashing on start up? on: July 21, 2008, 11:21:51 PM
Earth Awakening is a "stand alone expansion." You don't need to install Silverfall to play it. That may explain why the Earth Awakening .exe file is "taking over."

Saw a little info in this forum thread:

So you may want to consider uninstalling the whole thing, and try installing just Earth Awakening, and see if it works.

I assume you're using the auto-update feature of Steam? I can't remember if Silverfall itself had some sort of auto-update feature.

An example of this would be the fun Frozenbyte game Shadowgrounds. They had to warn people *not* to try to update the Steam version of the game with the boxed retail game patches:
Please note that patches will only install if you have the full retail version of Shadowgrounds. The patches do not work with the Steam version or the Demo version. Steam users are advised to use the autoupdater feature of Steam.
But if you're using the Steam auto-update feature, than I'm on the wrong track there.  icon_confused

Monte Cristo doesn't have the greatest rep (Silverfall out of the box was a mess that they spent lots of time trying to fix and improve). So it wouldn't surprise me if they still had problems now.

Wow I never heard about the expansion (which isn't getting a North American retail release afik). I did buy Silverfall, and got some amount of enjoyment although I think the game's difficulty level is somewhere north of Masochistic at times).
10324  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 21, 2008, 03:47:30 AM
Speak of the devil, Entertainment Weekly has a big cover feature on the Watchmen movie. The Online version doesn't have as pretty a photo spread, but here 'tis:

'Watchmen': An Exclusive First Look,,20213273,00.html

Magazine cover over here:,,20213273_6,00.html

They are in fact shooting for an R-rating (though the trailers say "rating pending" I think). Apparently Snyder's current cut is 3 hours but they're planning to get it down to about 2 hrs 25 minutes.

March 6, 2009 is the planned release date. I think they're aware it's complicated, and not really mid-summer fare. Though actually when you look up Snyder's 300 and Dawn of the Dead remake, they both released in March too so perhaps it's just Snyder's designated time of the year.  icon_cool

Although David Hayter (perhaps better known as the voice of Snake in the Metal Gear Solid games, than as a screenwriter) gets a screenplay credit, Snyder apparently convinced them to throw out most of Hayter and once-in-line director Paul Greengrass's work in favor of hewing closer to the comic.
10325  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 21, 2008, 03:34:16 AM
Not really a Dev Posting, but product manager Erling Ellingsen did a Q&A w/ a week or so ago that I missed, from E3:
Quote It seems like you are working to address some content that just wasn't in the game when it went live. The new dungeons, the new quests, the new zones, what's the timeframe on that. Is that moving to test soon?

Ellingsen: There's definitely a lot, there's a lot that we really wanted to get into the game, but because of time we just weren't able to put it in. We held off, saying "it's not good enough." There are almost 60 new quests with voiceovers, the continuation of the important lore quest. There are 30 quests that were cut before launch that are back in. They're scattered around the game but many of them are in the Eiglophian Mountains. We know that the content at 55 and higher is a bit thinner than the rest of the game. [I think some of this went in with the last update, but not the added voiceovers -bj]

We're also adding a new zone called Ymir's pass. That's also plus-level 55. A lot of new content for the endgame now, several dungeons coming in. Which of these additions are going to be coming our way first?

I don't want to put a date on it, but I think we'll see Ymir's pass live in August. That new zone should be out next month. That's a huge new outdoor zone. It's in Cimmeria so there are lots of mountains and snow. Snow giants, lots of monsters, and Kiera - Conan's assassin. She's going to play a big role in the zone. She's going to be an important quest NPC in the area.
10326  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 20, 2008, 04:26:42 PM
EngineNo9 obviously needs medical help. Maybe Arkham Asylum?  icon_lol

I don't know how they estimate these things so early on Sunday, but AP reports estimated $155.3 million for TDK over the weekend, besting last summer's Spider-Man 3. I'd anticipate TDK won't have as steep a dropoff as Spidey 3 (I was really disappointed with S3, and I think a lot of fans found it a letdown from Spider-Man 2 in quality/fun, and bad word of mouth seemed to really drop its box office quickly, even if it still made a mint).

`The Dark Knight' Makes a Record $155.3 Million, AP Reports

It's fair to say it'll recoup its production/marketing costs, and help WB recover from its Speed Racer hangover (a $120 million movie that makes $85 million *worldwide* causes a major corporate hangover.  confused

Now might be a good time to re-watch that 2003 fan film, "Batman Dead End"

It actually came out two years before Batman Begins, and at a time when the franchise seemed so dead in the water. Andrew Koenig's pretty impressive as The Joker in it, though he seems more like a deranged zombie in a Sam Raimi Evil Dead flick at times.
10327  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: July 20, 2008, 04:18:45 PM
The latest Feedback Friday gave some promising details on the long-needed/promised crafting revamp. The senior game designer (Michael Moore) explaining it says to expect incremental changes in crafting over the next few updates (rather than one massive update way down the road):
We've had a Crafting revamp on the back burner for a few months, and now we're in a position to put some development resources behind it. At this point, our rough (and always subject to change) plans are to get an iteration on Crafting up on the Public Test Server with Deployment 12, and then add more incremental improvements in subsequent Deployments.

Our initial goals for the first Crafting iteration are simple:
    * Make the Crafting system easy to understand
    * Make the Crafting system more accessible to all players
    * Make Crafting into a key component of character specialization

And here's how we think we can reach those goals:
    * Eliminate the Crafting skills and leave Crafting without skill requirements
    * Remove the maximum item level limitation on module upgrade recipes
    * Remove the Crafting components required for upgrading modules
    * Introduce a new kind of crafting resource that is a new "currency" like Prestige
          o Change Disassembly to allow salvaging items to get the new currency
          o Crafting activities consume this currency
          o Make it so you can choose your own level of risk
    * Add in the ability to remove modules from existing items
    * Add in the ability to integrate the removed modules into other items

So, when it's all said and done, the Crafting system ends up being pretty simple and straightforward, while allowing full customization of your gear.

Currently, Crafting requires you to create a "mule" clone of a Level 30+ character, so you can buy all 4 Crafting skills up to Pump 5 in order to maximize your chances of success. You have to use your Lockbox to transfer gear, components, and recipes between characters. In order to upgrade modules on equipment, you have to manage a large number of upgrade recipes with fine-grained boundaries. You also have to manage a large variety of crafting components. When attempting the highest module upgrades, you run a huge risk of destroying the item. And to top it all off, there is very little documentation of the system, which isn't the easiest thing to figure out to begin with.

After the first iteration, the system will be tons better in all the basic ways.
* The list of upgrade recipes will be simplified to just the ones for sale on Prestige vendors, instead of the huge list of recipes with very restricted target equipment classes and restrictive level requirements. (Those will continue to drop as loot, but probably with a much-reduced frequency - less quantity but more quality.)
* Instead of managing a large list of components with technobabble names, you'll have a new type of currency specifically for crafting.
* You'll be able to have each character modify his or her own equipment instead of transferring it to and from a mule.
* You'll be able to easily remove an unwanted module from a piece of equipment and just as easily replace it with another. Instead of risking item destruction, you'll be able to spend extra Crafting Currency (its working name is "Mimeogel", but we're open to suggestions for a better name!) to guarantee success.

In other words, modifying equipment should become a simple and straightforward process, allowing all players to spec (and re-spec) their equipment as easily as they adjust skill levels and attributes.

So, where do we plan on going after that? Well, obviously we would like to build an elder Crafting game, allowing new options for equipment customization and benefits for characters who heavily invest and deeply specialize in it. But before we go there, we have to build a solid foundation. That foundation is what has been described here. We are evaluating designs for future iterations to this system, and at this point we are looking forward to seeing your feedback on this and your ideas for where we can go in the future!
I'm giving some thought to floating back to the game once I've hit the level cap in Age of Conan. Realistically that's probably a week or two away.

Or I might wait to see if TR has a "double XP" day or some sort of "reactivate your account" type event. I left the game more because of a drying up of 30s-40s level content more than anything else. And unlike AoC, there wasn't even a lot of hunts/reward poster thinges to do as a stopgap until more contacts unlocked.
10328  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 20, 2008, 05:30:49 AM
I think because Harvey/Two-Face (and really, Rachel Dawes) gets such relatively short screen time, some people - including me - would like to believe there's a half hour about the character lying around in a computer's recycle bin (except for Spielberg, who still edits with actual film stock, is there really a 'cutting room floor' anymore? biggrin), but yeah, it doesn't sound like from interviews there'll be much of that if any (perhaps a couple deleted scenes). The movie's 2 hour 32 minutes long. We're just not going to see a 3 hour Batman movie. It's still a summer movie, and WB's a business that wants to squeeze in as many showings in theaters as it can.  icon_neutral

fwiw (lots of mediocre-to-lousy movies are in the Hall of Fame of Opening Weekend Box Office), TDK topped Spider-Man 3 for biggest opening day at $66.4 million). Batman Begins did well in 2005 but nothing remotely like this.

You can look it up there even:
Riddled with the baggage of previous screen adaptations, the Dark Knight no longer amazes at the box office like Spider-Man.
Little did they know.  icon_razz

Batman Begins made about $48 million in almost as many theaters its entire opening weekend, which some labeled disappointing. But it enjoyed consistent business and made about $225 million, and had about a $150 million budget (TDK's estimated at $200M+ in production costs).

Although I went to a midnight show for that too, it wasn't mobbed like this past Thursday night. There wasn't this electricity running through the crowd, and this sort of immersed silence for most of the movie. But I did remember this excitement in 2005 of, "Oh please, don't screw up Batman again" and I walked out of the theater really pleased.  icon_smile

One of the networks had the gall to show Batman Forever the other day (Clooney and the Nipple Suit), and I watched some of it. It wasn't just dreadful, it was completely "inert." I think if a few of us comic book fans here scripted a Batman movie and filmed it ourselves, it would have more energy than Batman Forever did.

Batman Begins had some awful baggage to shed, and an image to try to repair. I think by doing that it really helped set up TDK for success. I guess that's "duh," but it's just my attempt at film business analysis.  icon_smile And even if WB is still "just a business," props to them for getting the franchise back on course and supporting the film so well. I have read complaints here and there about "over hype" and blah blah blah. But that's their job, and nobody can complain they weren't aware of The Dark Knight.  icon_cool
10329  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Mythos on: July 20, 2008, 05:12:57 AM
What with the Flagship biz/legal mess and all, they closed the Mythos beta forums tonight, after Max Schaefer left an affectionate message calling the beta "in hiatus" at this point. From

And at the official forums:
We regretfully announce that on Friday, July 18, 2008 at 11:59 PST the world of Uld known as Mythos will be going on hiatus. On behalf of all of the Devs and Community team we want to say thank you to everyone for their support and assistance with Mythos Alpha and Beta testing and we will see you soon.
The Hellgate forums are still up at this point.
10330  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dark Knight Spoilers Discussion Thread! on: July 20, 2008, 02:40:47 AM
I've seen a few articles breathlessly speculating about that same topic, for example:

I could maybe see Selina Kyle/Catwoman working if WB can wash out the bad taste from their mouth of the disastrous Catwoman movie, and if J. Nolan and David Goyer can find a fresh take on the character. Esp. since, well, Bats going into movie 3 has no love interest, and presumably will be perceived as a much nastier vigilante type that might appeal to a Catwoman type character.

There's a pretty cool "list of Batman Family enemies" page at Wikipedia:
The Joker of the comics is even nastier than in TDK -- writers had him cripple Gordon's daughter Barbara (In Alan Moore's The Killing Joke), murder the second Robin (Jason Todd) after Dick Grayson had become Nightwing, and Gordon's second wife (I think in the comics he gets divorced at some point, if I remember right).

If you scroll down there, "The Foes of Lesser Known" section is interesting.

One of my favorite storylines from the late '80s involved the KGBeast:
Don't know if you could update that though because it's very much a product of the Gorbachev era (1988), and they'd probably shy away from a Bats movie with any "real" politics involved (beyond Gotham City).

The tough part for any third movie would be following Ledger's performance. I would think maybe they'd want a different type of villain (someone quieter, or more subtle) rather than having another scenery-chewing role that would be invariably compared to his tremendous swansong (well, he'll be in that Terry Gilliam flick a little bit, but this is last "full role" performance I guess  tear)
10331  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: July 20, 2008, 01:38:17 AM
Not the greatest helm ever, but I was just glad to finally see a different kind of color scheme/texture on it. It's from about an L71 quest in Atzel involving a big Ape.  icon_cool While I'd like to see more variety in armor of all types, I think just varying the color schemes and textures a little bit more often would do a lot to help differentiate the look of players in the game. Maybe as a stopgap measure until an expansion does a more wholesale improvement in actual armor type variety.
10332  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 17 on: July 19, 2008, 10:37:38 PM
Oh, in case anyone missed these 'qualify of life' improvements in the notes:
-We have added more travel NPCs to the capital cities that allow travel to more locations in the game world. [NOTE: This is a great addition. It's *not* more "Wayfarers." What they mean is that if you click on a "Wagoneer" or a "Ship captain," you (at least in some areas) will now get a menu of various locations in that region (Stygia or Cimmeria), and the travel  NPC will zip you directly to the map (Field of Dead, Atzel's Approach, Eiglophian Mountains etc.) with a click. Definitely reduces a lot of unnecessary hoofing/horseback riding once you realize the feature is there. -BJ  icon_cool

-The price of the basic mounts has been reduced from 2 gold to 75 silver.
-The price of additional bags has been reduced by between 20% and 50%
-It should no longer be possible to accidentally sell your mount
-A teleport item, the Totem of Origins is now dropping from boss encounters in group instances. You will be able to acquire it from locations throughout the game starting in the Black Castle. This totem teleports y ou to your home city once a day (i.e., 24 hours cooldown time), and can be used in addition to your path of Asura.
This was the perk in the last issue of PC Gamer. So by popular demand, they're making it available as a loot drop.  icon_smile
10333  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 19, 2008, 05:06:24 PM
Ha. Now they say the forums aren't going down just yet afterall.  icon_confused
I am happy to announce that the forums will not be going down tonight.
10334  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 19, 2008, 05:04:38 PM
If she's squeamish about violence (even implied), then she may be like my sister-in-law who walked out during the Afghanistan "hot poker" sequence in Iron Man (even though she also loved Die Hard 2 almost 20 years, ago, which includes a scene of Bruce Williis driving an icicle though a bad guy's eyeball, graphically  icon_razz) There are a lot of tough-to-watch scenes in this but imho Nolan's pretty much a master about making you think you've seen more violence than was actually shown on screen.

My hope is she would get so ensconsced in the settings, characters and storylines, that she'll get wrapped up in it and won't ruin it for you at all. I hope she's able to enjoy it.  icon_smile

My retired mom wants to see it, based on the trailers. She had watched Batman Begins on cable a couple times recently, so I think she's "ready" for it.  icon_cool
10335  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 17 on: July 18, 2008, 07:00:30 PM
Here's a few pics of the "quality of life" improvements:

Emotes GUI

You can right click any of the icons for a list of emotes in that category, and then just choose one; or you can use a drop down menu at the bottom of it. You can leave the emotes GUI on in a corner somewhere or just enable it when you want it.

Tabbed contacts list.

I think maybe I'm running into the "dark color text" problem here. The new checkboxes for inventory seem to toggle on/off items you can't equip or use from the inventory list.

I'd still like the option LOTORO has to simply "lock" an item in inventory so you don't worry about accidentally selling it, and having to fetch it back from a merchant when you realize it.
10336  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: July 18, 2008, 05:06:42 PM
Flagship (well, a Ping0 employee I guess, technically) is closing The Hellgate (and Mythos) forums at midnight tonight, so presumably Hellgate's servers are also getting unplugged (if not tonight, at some point): [presumably this link won't work after midnight tonight, Friday]
Quote from: Tiggs, Ping0 rep
On Friday, July 18th at 11:59 PM(CST) the forums will be shutting down. We would like to thank everyone for being a part of this wonderful community and we hope to see you all again soon.
I always though a dev that did so many things wrong that an "anti-fan site" (Flagshipped) would never run out of material to write about, was a bad sign.  icon_razz
10337  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? - closing Hellgate/Mythos forums on: July 18, 2008, 04:56:19 PM
Flagship (what's left of it) is closing down both the Hellgate and Mythos official forums at the end of the day today (most of the forum sections have already been removed):
[referring to Blues News item since, well, there'll be no board links working after midnight tonight]
On Friday, July 18th at 11:59 PM(CST) the forums will be shutting down. We would like to thank everyone for being a part of this wonderful community and we hope to see you all again soon.
I don't know what the "soon" means other than that Travis (the Mythos/Fate designer) talked about trying to keep his team together, presumably to work on something else.

I gotta assume the Hellgate and Mythos servers will shut down shortly too, if they haven't already. Talk about a fast exit!  saywhat

I feel bad for the few "lifetime subscribers" in particular. The TOS spells out what you're getting into of course (I don't think players will have any case for a class action suit). But with LOTORO, lifetime was probably a fine deal and that game seems like it'll have a looong life ahead of this -- with this, well, it's really unfair.
10338  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Forget Diablo III, Dragon Age is coming. on: July 18, 2008, 03:54:37 PM
Penny Arcade mentioned Tiscali's video of that same-as-Shack's gameplay footage, but it is larger so I thought it was worth sharing:
10339  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 18, 2008, 03:45:27 PM
Now that I'm not delirious from lack of sleep:
-I think the ending is perfect and poetic.  icon_cool And dammit I wish I could say more but even if I used the Spoiler code, I would feel bad so I won't. It did keep reminding me of - not a Batman comic - but a novel I loved that ended almost, sort of in a similar way.

-They opened the theaters earlier than usual so people seemed to be getting seated a little after 11 p.m. or so. I got in around 11:20. The problem when you go to a flick that early by yourself is just what the hell to do with yourself? (I don't have a fancy cellphone). I brought the newspaper but the lights were too dim to read.

-There were quite a few men and women wearing Batman or Batgirl outfits. There was a guy in the front row who seemed to be struggling a bit with pulling his "Batman ears" on his costume low so they wouldn't obstruct audience views.  icon_lol

-Very quiet, absorbed audience. If I had concerns about people talking, or kicking my seat, there was none of that.  icon_cool

-I had a hot dog, a medium Diet Coke and a large bag of Twizzlers. That proved plenty to get me from about 11:20 to 2:45. Ohmigod, I haven't eaten Twizzlers in years. If I ever read the ingredients, I'll never eat them again.  icon_razz

-I hadn't seen the "Watchmen" trailer on yet. Visually very impressive. I don't think most of the Audience had heard of mid 1980s graphic novel.
-Audience was pretty gripped by the new trailer for the Keanu Reeves sci-fi movie remake, "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Apparently he's Klaatu. Most of the special effects are, well, of some giant Alien spaceship obliterating the entire earth. I assume though he's just trying to "show" the planet what will happen to it if we don't change our violent ways.
10340  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 18, 2008, 03:30:44 PM
Apparently Alan Moore is also into "Duck Porn," which doesn't surprise me. Anyone who writes the kind of graphic novels he does must be seriously, wonderfully warped in general.  icon_lol
10341  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We are in this generation... WATCHMEN on the walls of world freedom... on: July 18, 2008, 03:07:36 PM
The Watchmen trailer was the first one showed before The Dark Knight at the midnight show I went to last night. While I'm excited about it -- I was really into comics collecting in the mid-late 1980s, and Watchmen was all the buzz -- I think the challenge is getting non-comics aficionados to understand what the story is and movie is. The graphic novel's more than 20 years old and while it continues to sell (you can probably still find it at your local Borders today), younger folks today probably have little awareness today of what it was and the very adult themes Alan Moore was trying to tackle. I heard much "What's Watchmen? I never heard of it" while the trailer played.

The sad thing about Moore is he's basically now disgusted with the whole mainstream comics industry (and as folks said League was awful, and he's apparently still upset about that).

And while his resonating work is really helping drive today's comic book films (see his The Killing Joke's often nasty take on The Joker, and Watchmen, and the mostly terrible adaptation of his League of Extraorindary Gentlemen), he has sounded downright hostile in attemped interviews with him about Watchmen.

From what I could see in the trailer in theaters, Snyder's being true to Watchmen and isn't watering it down into a lame-brained Fantastic Four type flick. I'm sure Warners/Paramount (it's a joint production) want to see a PG-13 rating, but the source material is so adult in nature, that might be hard to pull off (even more so than The Dark Knight).

I think if TDK pushes the envelope of what audiences can expect from a comic book movie, Watchmen will push it even further, esp. if it end up getting an R-rating.

Don't know if anyone noticed, but the co-screenplay-writer is David Hayter, better known as the voice of Snake in the Metal Gear games. They should let him do some sort of voiceover for the movie. icon_razz
10342  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Bioware KOTOR MMO "confirmed" on: July 18, 2008, 08:04:07 AM
The sort-of-story is based on an EA CEO babbling at E3 (perhaps after lunch martinis?), and it sounds like he's so impressed with himself ("Yeah we wanted to buy WoW!") that he can talk about anything he wants. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bioware guys were upset about him mouthing off out of turn. Presumably they want to do a formal announcement of their own, and they're trying hard to hype up Dragon Age: Origins.

There have been so many bad and/or unmemorable games with the Star Wars label plastered on it that I've grown pretty cynical about it. Yes it's exciting to have Bioware involved, but given they have no track record in MMOs to this point (though you could say the same about Blizzard pre-WoW certainly), and EA has little track record aside from canceled MMOs and now jettisoning features from Warhammer Online, that might explain why folks aren't quite as hyped up as Mr. EA Exec might want us to be.  icon_neutral
10343  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 17 on: July 18, 2008, 07:52:10 AM
They hotfixed the two most critical new bugs introduced, already today:

We are bringing down the live servers for a small update to address a couple of important issues that have cropped up in today's update. We felt these were important to address before the weekend so that it didn't effect people's weekend play. The following issues have been resolved:

    * Players would appear invisible on occasion
    * Certain actions would still fire their effect but not trigger the correct cool-down if interrupted¨
10344  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 18, 2008, 07:35:15 AM

I just got back from seeing TDK at an AMC theater complex in Virginia. Crazy. They sold out 5 midnight shows, so apparently just today they started adding 3 a.m. shows and I did see a que forming up as I left the theater. Fer crying out loud people, get some sleep!  drool

A few quick thoughts (and I won't spoil anything, the plot has so much you really should stop reading reviews at this point to avoid spoiling the various developments):

* I thought it was awesome, and the cast was tremendous. That said, I really had more "fun" with Iron Man and the Indiana Jones movies earlier. That doesn't make them better in my eyes, just different.

The Dark Knight touches on themes those movies couldn't hope to even think about. But I guess it comes down to whether you want a tough, often grisly summer movie that pulls no punches, avoids easy answers, puts all of its characters through the wringer, and tries to make you forget that it's a comic book movie at all... or if you just want a fun movie that sends you out the door feeling happier than when you went in. Iron Man and Indy were more the latter for me, fwiw. I was both gripped by TDK all the way, and unsure that I could sit through the movie a second time. It's a tough, tough, tough movie -- and I think a lot of the writers of the edgier Batman graphic novels and storylines would heartily approve. It's almost like an uncompromising arthouse-film take on Batman.

* Certainly not all the critics agree with me, but I just felt like every cast member (including Eckhardt, who some reviewers are decrying as the movie's too-vanilla weak spot) inhabited their roles so thoroughly that I just got completely immersed and didn't really see the actors anymore. Just saw their characters. I love that.  icon_smile

*  Ledger's every bit as electrifying as everyone is saying. Nolan likes to really stick the camera in people's faces (which makes his flicks work really well on DVD/TV imho)

* Unless you include Sin City, it "felt" like the most violent comic book movie I ever saw (stabbings, bombings, shootings, etc. etc.), but must of it occurs off screen. Still, do not take a kid to it unless you want said kid to have nightmares. I know my squeamish sister-in-law would probably walk out during the Joker's debut scenes. That said, I can see how it got a PG-13 rating because there's no cussing whatsoever, obviously no nudity, and most of the more grisly violence occurs off screen or through quick takes.

* I really do dig Nolan's emphasis on real stunts and explosions (there's very little CGI to speak of).

* It's kind of a shame they put the "dedicated to Heath Ledger and Conway Wickliffe" (killed while trying to help film a driving sequence for the movie) so far back in the credits, that most of the audience is gone by the time it appears.

I don't know if I can say much more without veering into spoilers. I heard nobody saying anything negative while I left fwiw. A few "awesomes" and a couple guys disagreeing over whether they were "blown away by it" or not.  icon_neutral
10345  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 17, 2008, 09:53:16 PM
Apparently Handbitsoft is pretty much stomping on Flagship's rep (management/founders) in the Korean trade publications:
HanbitSoft does not expect to have any difficulty in securing the exclusive intellectual property rights related to Mythos. HanbitSoft is prepared to deal with Comerica bank in a local visit [Comerica's in Dallas, Texas] to them next week in order to secure and acquire the intellectual property rights of Hellgate: London. HanbitSoft believes that the game has nothing to do with the aforementioned bank as HanbitSoft already holds the rights to the game in Asia. HanbitSoft believes it has a strong possibility of acquiring the intellectual property of Hellgate: London in the United States and the rest of the world.
Flagship's side so far seems to be along the lines of, "We've fired everybody but us, but we own the IPs lock, stock and barrel."

Although I can't help thinking that some of this is getting poorly translated into English.

I'm trying to dig up something fresh (OK, it's old crap, long forgotten  icon_razz). Who knows? Maybe all the gaming news aggregators will frantically quote the Gaming Trend forums if I find something juicy enough.  icon_razz Unless you're a biz news geek, the below shall bore you. You've been warned.  icon_mrgreen

Bandied about in the various reports is Comerica. Flagship outlined Comerica's financing involvment back in March:

March 26, 2008 - Flagship Studios, the San Francisco-based creator of both Hellgate: London and Mythos for PC, and Comerica Bank, a Texas-based regional bank, today announced that they have closed an innovative finance transaction to support Flagship's continuing development of AAA and online game franchises.

Using an independent film financing model as its basis, Comerica Bank has created a multi-million dollar facility [Definition: A term used to describe financial assistance programs offered by lending institutions to help companies requiring capital-BJ] backed by the sale and distribution rights to Flagship's game franchise Hellgate: London.

"By following a model similar to independent film financing, we are able to directly finance ongoing content for our online games without relying upon a publisher's investment," said Steve Goldstein, Director of Business Development and General Counsel, Flagship Studios. "As the PC game business makes the transition from the boxed retail model to the online model, alternative financing will become a cornerstone of expanding the industry."

"We are pleased that Comerica Bank could build on our expertise in financing films to help meet the financial needs of Flagship Studios," said Jeff Colvin, Senior Vice President with Comerica Bank, from its Entertainment Group offices in Century City.

Jeff Colvin and Todd Steiner structured the transaction on behalf of Comerica. Joshua Grode and Sam Kozhaya of Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstreif, LLP led the legal team on behalf of Comerica. Andrew Katz of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, LLP represented Flagship Studios in the transaction.
People lauded the deal at the time (big game publishers being nasty and all that), but you have to wonder about how patient a bank with no involvement in games at all would have in this situation. They've effectively sank millions of dollars (if I read it right, although maybe they meant millions in the long term) into a dead game and product at this point.

Presumably Flagship saw the Comerica investment as a lifeline of sorts to let them continue updating Hellgate and proceed with Mythos.

If I was a gaming news reporter type, I'd call Comerica's press contacts:

And probably they'd say, "No comment!" or "What the hell is Hellgate: London?" But at least you'd have that much. Sometimes silence speaks volumes.  icon_razz

SEC Filings
Alas, from what I can tell, Flagship's a private company and I haven't found any public filings of note yet. I did find an interesting SEC filing from a Taiwan company called Gigamedia (from Dec. 2006), that was to "offer and operate" Hellgate in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau:
GigaMedia will operate Hellgate: London® in partnership with Cyber Gateway Limited, a leading regional online game operator, pursuant to a strategic joint venture in which GigaMedia holds a 70 percent interest, and Cyber Gateway 30 percent. For the three-year exclusive operating license, the joint venture will pay an aggregate licensing fee and minimum guarantee of US$9 million.
Well, obviously they're not going to get 3 years out of it. I guess the question will be whether their J.V. is going to sue Flagship to get the remainder of the contract back ("guaranteed" or not). If Flagship has a lot of deals like this around the world, their lawyers will be under siege (unless maybe the deals were actually with publisher Namco, or with EA).

GigaMedia has a similar deal concerning Warhammer Online too.
10346  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 17, 2008, 08:27:26 PM
Woah! After reading the observations here, I checked the theaters where I'm going tonight and they too have 5  saywhat midnight shows for The Dark Knight now. Oh well, at least I won't be alone when I walk to my car afterwards.  icon_smile
10347  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 17 on: July 17, 2008, 06:36:05 PM
Dev rep's update is that they are "feverishly" working on the "invisible players/enemies bug," and want to get a hotfix out. But the problem isn't proving easy to produce (which is probably why it didn't get weeded out on the test server):
Just wanted to update you with fresh information:
Devs are currently working feverish on the "invisble people" problem and as soon as they are able to fix it they will do so asap.

The problem at the moment is that this bug sometimes seem to be kind of random and that it is not reproducible, so that it is a little bit tricky to isolate the core of the problem.
10348  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 17, 2008, 06:24:45 PM
I had lunch with an old work friend in D.C. today and now I'm back home. I have to figure out how to waste the next 10 hours or so before heading to my midnight show. Maybe I should go buy a costume? icon_cool

I have to steel myself to sit between rowdy college students, and teens, probably with some nervous person kicking the back of my seat, and some hyperactive guy in front of me rocking his chair back and forth like a vibrating Brookstone seat. Ah, the movies... Maybe I should just sit in the front row.  icon_razz
10349  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / AoC Patch Notes July 17 on: July 17, 2008, 01:01:34 PM
July 17 Patch Notes:

Fresh Bugs!
Already seen player complaints that other players and teammates are now sometimes invisible even when you're next to them, horses with invisible riders [maybe that should be a new mob type -- the Tale of the Riderless Horse], and players getting attacked by characters and players they can't see at all:

There's a new bug causing all text to turn black in color (workaround for now is to delete a certain hidden folder, explained below:

The first phase of balancing the attack animations between genders is in, and so far nobody's happy about it and everybody's convinced it's just nerfed attack speeds for weapons left and right:

Lot of others problems cropping up. If it wasn't an MMO, I'd tell people not to install the patch until they figure out all the new bugs.  disgust I saw this happen more and more in City of Heroes where they'd roll so many fixes into an update that it inevitably caused problems and bugs they just didn't see while it was on the test server. Someday people will learn to do a few things well instead of a lot of things poorly. icon_neutral

Player Character
    * Dead team members will now get quest kill credit if they are within range.
    * You now only prohibited from entering stealth mode if team members are in combat nearby.
    * All your team members and their pets will now get the fatality buff when a team member performs a fatality.
    * The mentor and apprentice will see an onscreen message regarding confirmation or declining of pending apprenticeship requests.
    * Mesh effects during spellweaving should no longer rotate with the character.
    * Shield of the Risen will only display particle effects on hidden players if they are on your team.
    * Animations for the 'grin', 'laugh' and 'laughheartily' emotes have been tweaked for both male and female characters.
    * Emote 'squirm_on_ground' has been renamed to 'lounge', to better fit the animation.


    * The following abilities now have new effects: Cat's Paw, Opportunistic Strike, Kidney Shots, Avatar of Death, Lotus Overdose, Necrotic Leech, Corrupting Strikes, and Lunge.

    * Feats "Eyes of Madness", "Rampaging Horde", "Welcoming Death", and "Too Many To Count" now have visuals associated with them.

    * Earth Recharge ability will have a better visual indicator of activation.
    * Let Them Burn should now have the correct cooldown.
    * Let Them Burn will now properly increase in damage the longer it is channeled.
    * Shockblast (Rank 1) and Inferno of Amher (Rank 1) will now scale correctly when compared to Rank 2. The additional splash damage of Shockblast now scales correctly, as it dealt more damage than intended previously.

    * Frostblast now has a visual cone of frost.
    * Ice Shackle spell is now less invasive and more optimized.
    * The tooltip for Malefic Chant now shows up as intended.
    * Night of the Harvester should now correctly increase the effect of the Harvester mana/stamina heal by 15/30%.
    * To offset the change to Void causing the pet no longer to be rooted, the drain effect of Void has been reduced and now scales more consistently based on level.
    * Spell "Siphon Unlife" now has visuals and sound.
    * The casting time of Set's Ruin, Set's Cold Hatred, and Blasphemy have been reduced from 4 seconds to 2 seconds.
    * Parasitic Soul Swarm is now less invasive and should take up less screenspace.

Priest of Mitra
   * The Spellweaving animation has been tweaked.

    * The ranger's tracking list can now be sorted by distance.
    * Dead NPCs and players will now longer appear when using the tracking ability.

Tempest of Set
    * Set's Life Spark should now trigger a resurrection prompt instantly after dying.
    * Puppets of Set should now draw the attention of nearby NPCs if you attempt to cast it on a group of NPCs.

    * Combos and all other actions will be aborted when you start to charge.
    * The combo chain will now be stopped when you begin a charge.
    * You can no longer start combos in the middle of a charge.
    * Dismembering fatalities should now show appropriate visual effects.
    * You can now abort multihit combos without all the damage being rolled back.
    * Aborting multihit combos will not make the target's health become desynced from the client/server anymore.
    * Fizzle and immunity rolls have been moved to the end of your spellcast. If your target becomes immune after you start your spellcast but before it deals damage, your target will resist the spell.
    * Stealth is checked again at the end of your spellcast. If your target hides before you land the spell, your spellcast will fail.
    * The distance to your target while casting a spell is checked again at the end of your spellcast, with a 25% bonus to your range.
    * If your target is behind an obstacle when you've finished casting your spell, the spell will fail
    * Combo finishers (the last attack in the combo chain) now have 25% extra range, making them easier to land in PvP.
    * Mobs will keep you in combat from further away now.
    * Aborting unarmed attacks (using a knockback, for example) will now properly cause the damage not to be dealt.
    * Clickable abilities with instant effects will not be queued after your attack anymore, but executed right away.
    * You cannot use abilities while jumping or falling anymore.
    * Dying while knockbacking NPCs will not cause the npc to become stuck in combat mode anymore.
    * Attack animation speed should be more balanced between genders (note: this does not yet include the combo animations).
    * Combat music has been tweaked so that tension music will be area specific, rather than random.

    * Massive PvP: Mercenary players in a team with a guild member should no longer be hostile-flagged during battle.
    * You will no longer be able to attack guild members on PvP servers.
    * The Massive PVP gui will show up on a separate tab than Minigame PvP.
    * If your pet does the most damage to a target in a minigame, you will now get credited for the kill instead of the pet.
    * Ground targeting AOEs should now only be allowed if the player has line of sight to the target.
    * The siege camps will now give a message when they are clicked on and the city is not vulnerable.
    * You should no longer be able to damage your raid members on Culture PvP servers.

Player Cities
    * The player cities and Battlekeeps now have various NPCs living in them.
    * Buildings should now show the proper damage states when the building gets damaged or repaired.

    * Grey quests will now award XP again.
    * (Atzel's Approach) Kidnapping and Torture ; Diversionary Tactics Inner West - It should now be possible to ignite all palisades.
    * (Atzel's Approach) Revenge of the Ape God - Location of this quest is now marked in the journal.
    * (Black Ring Citadel) Bowls of Set, The Hunt - Quest will now complete when you speak to Kalanthes about it.
    * (Conall's Valley) An Impending Attack - The location marker for Torin has been changed.
    * (Field of the Dead) The Honored Dead - This is now a solo quest.
    * (Kheshatta) Den of Evil Perversions - Has been fixed. Go find the Onyx Chambers, retrieve Hakar Tep's head, then return it to Zane.
    * If you currently have this quest, you MUST delete the quest and go pick it up again from Zane.
    * (Kheshatta) Mouth Of Darkness - Journal text has been updated. The Marker Rune is found near the entrance, rather than within it.
    * (Kheshatta) Markers of the Lost Tomb - A goal marker has been added for the third objective.
    * (Khopshef) Yipping Hyenas - Changed quest waypoint radius, to cover a larger area and more hyenas.
    * (Khopshef) Usurping the Power - Now marked as a group quest.
    * (Khopshef) Emerald Eyes - It should no longer be possible to walk through the door to the Emerald Guardians without first getting the quest.
    * (Khopshef) Trapped by Lions - Timer has been changed to 10 minutes, instead of 10 hours.
    * (Khopshef) The Swindler's Game, Shedding Torment, Stygian Superstitions, The Forgotten Temple, Fascinating Faces, Conflicting Interests - An item reward has been added to these quests.
    * (Khopshef) Lusts of the Flesh - Alekeep in Caravansrai will now ask you for tin, not copper.
    * (Tarantia Noble) Paetus & The Nemedian Crown - Coordinates have been updated within the Villa. The map item will now have a particle effect when you have the quest.
    * (Tarantia Noble) Rahim and Lord Camillus - Rahim's dialog should now work properly when you tell him "Then this madman must be stopped". Player will receive a quest.
    * (Tarantia Noble) Obtaining the Arena Key – Quest should now be completable.
    * Several typos corrected in many quests worldwide.

NPCs / Mobs
    * Charmed NPCs will now be able to attack and perform actions while charmed.
    * More NPCs should now be visible in the vicinity for several raid dungeons.
    * NPCs wielding two handed weapons will now attack correctly.
    * Knockback animations (the landing-animations in particular) will now be smoother for many creatures.
    * Raid bosses should now be visible from further away, in most cases.
    * Black Ring Citadel: Incubus and Succubus are now strong enough to knockback all players. Swamp demon's swamp has become increasingly more dangerous.
    * Black Ring Citadel: Seruha will wait a little before closing the door.
    * Conall's Valley: Wounded Vanir in Conall's Valley will no longer execute the same identical movements at the same time.
    * Field of the Dead: Lieutenant Rhor has learned some new skills, and should no longer be so easy to defeat.
    * Field of the Dead: The Lupine Superior boss has lost his floating wig. He will also spawn minions in a more correct manner.
    * Khemi: Rhino name-plates should now be displayed properly and will no longer clip into the rhino.
    * Kheshatta: Scorpion Archers should now attack more consistently at range.
    * Kheshatta: Several NPCs with equipped weapons have been corrected.
    * Tarantia Noble: Astrologer will no longer send you into a dialog loop.
    * Tortage: Renton should no longer make strange sounds during the Destiny Mage quest.
    * Underhalls: Litharia's patrol has been adjusted a bit, to end her walking through walls or pillars.
    * Vistrix: All players that participate in the fight against Vistrix should now get his tooth.
    * White Sands: Thrall Warrior armor has been tweaked so as to not clip anymore.
    * Wild Lands: Oris should no longer send you into a dialog loop.
    * Certain bosses were using combos they weren't supposed to. This has been fixed.

    * The special offer from Venes Venele, the Custom-made Saddle, is now unveiled and for sale!
    * The names of some sets of armor have been changed to be easier to discern what class they are intended for. Some visual looks of these armor sets have been tweaked.
    * The Heart of the Earth weapon will now work for 2 handed blunt combos.
    * Handguards of Ardent Fire now give 2handed Edge bonuses.
    * Fine Steelsilk Leggings should now display its name properly
    * Non-casters should now be able to see the effect of mana potions, even though they can't use them.
    * Girdle of Clawing Might now properly gives Max Health and Max Stamina, as intended, instead of Max Health twice.
    * Inventory bags have all had their prices reduced by 20%-50%.
    * The 'Totem of Origins' may now be found on select bosses.

    * Disabled ability to mount while charging.
    * The tooltip for horses will no longer say "CANNOT USE" when the horse is usable.
    * The price of regular mounts have been reduced to 75 silver, down from 2 gold.
    * Mounts can no longer be sold.
    * Reduced Damage caused by Rhinos/Mammoths charging.
    * Decreased Rhino/Mammoth collision radius.

    * You can now sort items for sale on the Tradepost by "Show Can Use Only" and "Show Can Buy Only".
    * Powerful items (blue and green) for sale on the Tradepost will now list in color text.
    * Items of a level you cannot use will be listed in red.
    * It should now be possible to search for necklaces, rings, gems, and consumables.

    * Cotton and Cottonwisp have been fixed, and will be the correct level.
    * Any player who speaks to a crafter trainer and doesn't get the quest because he has a full quest journal will now be able to speak to the trainer again and get the quests at a later stage.
    * The items you hand in to the Crafter Trainers will from now on be returned to you. This change applies to the Weaponsmith, Armorsmith, Alchemist, and Architect classes.
    * Trainer dialog was updated to reflect current names of buildings in Architect quest line.
    * The Weaponsmith Trainer's dialog no longer references Glaive, but Awl Pike.

World Design
    * Various visual fixes and improvements made in Khemi and Kheshatta.
    * Adjusted several areas with added collision, where players previously could become stuck on terrain.
    * Pyramid of Lord Atum-Keket: Door collision has been adjusted here.
    * Underhalls: The rez point in the "Uptown Sewer" should now be fully visible.
    * Underhalls: The upper climbing point on the right ladder for the Harbor entrance has been tweaked.
    * Underhalls: The zone called "Askia" is now renamed "Askia's Domain".
    * Underhalls: The lost jewel is now placed on the ground, and the respawn timer has changed from 60 to 30 seconds.
    * Wild Lands of Zelata: Collision on the stairs inside the Mayor's building has been adjusted.
    * Kheshatta: Fixed several spots where you could fall through the world.

    * An emote gui has been added. Press Y to access this window.
    * An option to disable on-screen messages has been introduced. It can be found in Options > Interface > HUD.
    * A chat command that allows reloading the GUI was added. The command is '/reloadui'
    * Attackable players should now always have a red nametag, regardless of their level. Players that were 8 levels or more below the player previously had a gray nametag.
    * Combo-triggered flying texts should no longer appear for combos that are not caused or directed at the client character any more.
    * Defensive flying texts (i.e. parry) should now always appear above the correct character - the defender (not the attacker).
    * Players should now be able to open the main options menu using "F10" while the rez window is up.
    * Right-clicking inside active GUI elements should not reorient your character any more.
    * Fixed a case of a stuck command progress bar.
    * Effects that replenish stamina should now produce correctly signed flying texts (+XX Stamina).
    * Added a visual and textual notification for attacks that are completely absorbed.
    * Nametags should now be visible even if the character meshes have not completed loading.
    * Spell damage to destructibles will now appear in the combat log.
    * The mouse pointer will now always default to the arrow.
    * Mousing over an NPC's corpse will not produce the sword icon any more.
    * The Power session indicator and tooltip will now only appear when applicable, i.e. after level 5.
    * Shift-clicking on a lootbag to autoloot everything should clear the target correctly once finished.
    * Ranged combos will now appear red on your shortcutbar when your target is out of range, similar to spells.
    * When attempting to share a quest, you will get feedback stating how many players in your team were too far away to receive it (if any).
    * The quest journal will now show the money rewards divided by each type of currency.
    * The Friends/Guild Members window has been changed. It now works with tabs that sort friends by type: Guild Members, Friends, Offline members, and Ignored characters.
    * Floating/movable character portraits were added. They can be enabled from Interface > HUD options menu.
    * The tooltip for spellweaving will no longer go outside of the screen.
    * Fixed a GUI related crash.
    * Implemented GUI Modifications on the skill window as support for the upcoming PvP Consequence System. PvE skills will be listed separate from PvP skills.
    * Clicking on the active tab on the Friends View should now move the window. Clicking on disable tabs should also move the window.
    * The healing modifier debuff for Active Blocking should now display correctly as -50%
    * Made the middle action button (between Q and E) mappable. It is called Action Button 12. E is now called Action Button 13.
    * Quest indicators should no longer appear on the ground.
    * Added a PvP xp bar to the bottom of the screen as support for upcoming PvP changes. This will be enabled and disabled via the Interface options > HUD menu.
    * The item links on the chat window will now show the proper item 'level color' (blue, green, etc).
    * Remapping hotkeys for movement works again.
    * Player search should now work correctly.
    * The Fresh Kill indicator now correctly shows only after level 5.
    * Resolved an issue which was causing players to receive a message stating that a spell was on cooldown and be unable to cast even though the cooldown had finished in the GUI.
    * Instancing/Zoning: Removed the shift-right click "Enter heroic version" option from doors.
    * You can now use '<' in chat messages.
    * The Combo Sequence Indicator should no longer get stuck when failing to complete a combo.

    * A new level up animation with sound should now occur for all players who level, while in or out of combat.
    * Lootbags and other non-moving objects will no longer affect how many NPCs/players are visible in the vicinity.
    * Fixed several causes of crashes and instability.
    * Particle effects will no longer be played on the character selection screen.
    * Returning to non-combat state from a PvP fight will now take 10 seconds (instead of 5). Mana and health regen will only start then.
    * Mobs will now become unlocked to a player after 90 seconds, once the locked attacker stops attacking. This will allow other attackers to benefit from killing the mob.
    * The loot bag target bar should no longer become 'stuck' onscreen.
    * You will no longer lose your helmet when fatalitied.
    * The looting need-greed duration was increased to 1 minute.
    * Gemmed items should now work as intended and give their effect after teleports.
    * Team buffs should now only refresh when necessary, and be properly canceled for members who leave.
    * Leaving sneak or crouch will not slide your character around anymore.
    * Tattoos are again being deleted when cycling through in character creation so only the current one shows.
    * Logging into the game after logging out to the login screen will no longer cause the client to crash.
    * The group looting is once again working as intended.
    * Select captains and wagoners in Old Tarantia, Khemi and Conarch Village have opened up traveling routes deeper into the wilderness!
    * Shield of the Risen no longer silences the player.
Some day devs will learn that the more things you try to glom up in one update, the more unintended changes you make.

10350  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 17, 2008, 01:56:56 AM
The July 17 patch got the go-ahead so that should go in tomorrow morning, according to the EU forums. A player posted some test server patch notes, but they don't reflect the July 17 patch note (which the moderator emphasized sometimes has *more* fixes than what's on test, and sometimes *less*). Still maybe worth a peek if you want some insight into future changes, fixes and improvements:

Preliminary Update Notes [Test Server, as of July 16]

A few interface things caught my eye (most of these probably *not* in the July 17 update):
* The Friends/Guild Members window has been changed. It now works with tabs that sort friends by type: Guild Members, Friends, Offline members, and Ignored characters.
* An emote gui has been added. Press Y to access this window.
* Implemented GUI Modifications on the skill window as support for the upcoming PvP Consequence System. PvE skills will be listed separate from PvP skills.

A few quality of life things seemed promising:
* Dead team members will now get quest kill credit if they are within range.
*All your team members and their pets will now get the fatality buff when a team member performs a fatality

[Some tradepost tweaks]
*  You can now sort items for sale on the Tradepost by "Show Can Use Only" and "Show Can Buy Only".
* Powerful items (blue and green) for sale on the Tradepost will now list in color text.
* Items of a level you cannot use will be listed in red.
* It should now be possible to search for necklaces, rings, gems, and consumables.
10351  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 16, 2008, 10:16:46 PM
I wasn't exactly a Winner in high school. At the military base in Seoul, Korea I spent a lot of my summer hours at theaters watching classic stuff I loved over and over (VCRs were still new, and the idea of renting videos hadn't even been concocted). I can't count how many times I saw the Star Wars flicks, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek II, Super Man II and Blade Runner among others, along with an endless stream of slasher movies.  icon_razz I was terribly lonely (the only thing worse than suffering through puberty is suffering through puberty in a place you felt you didn't belong), I missed friends and my brother in Virginia, etc. etc., and really video game arcades, movies and bowling were my solace. In a way, all that seemingly frivolous stuff (yes, even bowling) helped save my life as a sad teen, and probably kept me out of trouble too. icon_smile

So, what I'm saying is I much prefer seeing movies with friends and family. But I'm fine with catching an occasional flick by myself, especially summer flicks on opening day.  icon_cool Sometimes I'll be sitting there flashing back to my sad, scrawny 16 year old self, and while yes I'm still sitting in a theater solo 27 years later, I feel a little better about my life now.  icon_smile Yada yada yada. I'm turning into Stuart Smiley. Sorry.  tear

Oh, Roger Ebert is agog about The Dark Knight but his review is terribly spoiler-filled. So I only give you his lead paragraph  thumbsup thumbsup:
Quote from: Rober Ebert
“Batman” isn’t a comic book anymore. Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” is a haunted film that leaps beyond its origins and becomes an engrossing tragedy. It creates characters we come to care about. That’s because of the performances, because of the direction, because of the writing, and because of the superlative technical quality of the entire production. This film, and to a lesser degree “Iron Man,” redefine the possibilities of the “comic-book movie.”
Music to my ears, as I do get tired of "mainstream critics" using "comic-book movie" as some sort of shorthand for "sux."
10352  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dawn of War 2 - First detailed info? on: July 16, 2008, 09:12:15 PM
As a brief Company of Heroes freak (late 2006, early 2007) who also bought Dawn of War (but not its expansions), I guess my only concern is that the system requirements will remain more like what you'd expect for Crysis and that might make it end up a relative sales disappointment like COH. Now that I can run COH like a dream, I'm just not as interested in playing it as I was around the time it launched. It would kill me if Relic's latest requires $700 in dual SLI Crossfired gobblydegook to be playable.

I still have a hard time envisioning Relic doing a completely "non base building" RTS. Base building is just embedded in their DNA as a dev. I've read some UK magazine articles on the game, and like the IGN piece they say there doesn't seem to be base-building, "based on what we saw." So I'll be curious if it really is a non-base building game like Ground Control and World in Conflict, or if it just doesn't emphasize base building much in its early missions.

My favorite Company of Heroes missions had little or no base building involved, which is why I lost interest as the campaign moved more deeply into "build a gigantic base and rush everything you have at the enemy" RTS stereotypes). Another decent military RTS, Act of War, had some really fun, no-base-building missions early on but once it slipped into base-building overdrive, it simply lost me.
10353  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 16, 2008, 09:02:37 PM
They have a sort of dev tracker thread (it lets you click on various dev/community advocate volunteer names to see their latest posts). It's worth combing through a bit if you're curious about their ongoing posts on the situation though a lot of it is just banter and saying good bye:

Flagship Studios Employees & Team Advocate Tracker

Taylor Balbi (community/PR), Scapes-Flagship (community manager) and Tiggs (Ping0) are probably the most active. They really don't seem to know when/if Hellgate's servers plugs will get pulled.
10354  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 16, 2008, 03:46:05 PM
I'll buy it! I just have to cash in my IRA and 401K, and maybe use the coin counting machine at my bank a little bit.  icon_razz

I'd forgotten that the Mythos team was actually up in Seattle (Flagship itself is in San Francisco), and was called Flagship Studios Seattle. I always assumed Flagship was trying to emulate Blizzard's acquisition of them (Condor) and what became Diablo. So presumably he's hoping to keep some of the Mythos team in touch (if not employed) and see how they can round up the wagons and get another project going.

btw, when I did some Googling on Travis's name, it seemed like he was alternately referred to in some comments as "a loving genius" and as "a **cking genius". I guess those are both meant as a compliment.  icon_razz I don't know if making a solid Diablo clone (Fate) on a low budget makes you a genius or just "competent."

I actually had more fun with the screwy Hellgate than I did in my brief time in Mythos. Buds of mine raved about Mythos though, so what do I know? Many thought Mythos was more the kind of game they expected from a group of former Diablo/Diablo II team members, and the one Flagship should've pinned its hopes on (Hellgate obviously came first), while that Hellgate was to them more of a screwed up experiment that should've been stifled in the test tube.  puke
10355  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 16, 2008, 01:35:40 PM
Travis Baldtree (who created the well regarded Diablo clone Fate, and then joined Flagship for Mythos) finally posted in their Mythos forums yesterday. Saw this noted at

A fond farewell- at Mythos beta forums
Quote from: Travis Baldtree
Well, it's an interesting few days here for all of us. It's just been killing me not to post until now, but I really needed to wait until some things were settled and announced. As you may or may not know Flagship Studios laid off almost all employees effective friday - you should be able to see the press release in the Announcements. Now, on the face of it, that really does sound like the end of Mythos as we know it - but we have a tight-knit team that feels like family and hopes to stick together. Unfortunately, I can't speak at any real length about our immediate plans just yet - but let's say that we hope to have you back up and Beta testing for us in one way or another sometime soon.

You've been an incredible community that we've all felt priveleged to be a part of, and we're not quite ready to let go of that little family just yet. No matter the outcome, this has been a fantastic experience, and I and the team would like to thank each and every one of you for the tireless hours of testing and discussion you've undergone, and the uniquely friendly community spirit that you all helped foster. It's been a treat every step of the way.

So, I'm not exactly sure how long Mythos in its current form will remain up, since it is effectively a testing server. I'll try to get you that information as soon as I can.
In the meantime, I know the rest of the team would love to post their farewells and thanks to all of you. We'll try to keep you as up to date as we can in one way or another.

Thanks again to all of you - and I hope to be seeing all of you online again very, very soon.
It's kind of a riddle, but perhaps he's trying to pull the Mythos property out of this mess (see underlined above).  icon_confused Or maybe he'll do another Fate.  icon_cool

I agree the payment scheme seemed like an unwise idea. I felt they either should've gone whole hog and tried their hands at an MMO with a full fee (which has the advantage of pulling in revenue consistently, and long after the initial launch sales rush is over); or not at all.
10356  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 16, 2008, 05:21:42 AM
It does read more like a farewell card than anything else. It doesn't really answer any questions, as the confused players at the forums attest:

I guess the real question is whether they have to eventually file for a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy, and sell off everything to pay off their creditors (including the IP, technology, foosball tables and luxury reclining executive chairs); or if there's still any chance they can pare down to the bare bones (maybe similar to the tiny company they were as Condor Games), do a Chapter 11 reorganization, and somehow survive.

While Googling, I came upon this Gamespot historical feature on Blizzard:

Gamespot Presents: Eye of the Storm - Behind Closed Doors at Blizzard
While the team at Condor in San Francisco had programmed games for everything from the Atari Lynx to 3DO's never-released M2, the PC remained an elusive platform. "Back in 1995," explains Max Schaefer, "it wasn't clear what was going to happen screenshot. "We thought doing a PC game was more stable," says Max Schaefer. "It wasn't clear what was going to happen to the next generation of consoles. We were working payroll to payroll - on the ragged edge of economic viability - and we didn't want to risk another console game. We thought doing a PC game was more stable."
Ironic, eh? I think now some people would tell them they'd have a better chance of survival in consoles, perhaps an XBLA version of Mythos or something. icon_neutral

After a few months of initial design work, the three cofounders of Condor came up with an idea for an action-RPG inspired by the old UNIX ASCII game Moria, where an "@" attacked a "k." Updating this simple kill/reward concept to '90s standards proved to be a tough sell to publishers.

"Some companies wouldn't even talk to us," admits Dave Brevik. "We were three jokers with a radical idea for a game. People literally laughed at us because we had no PC experience and wanted to do an RPG." In total, ten major publishers turned down the pitch for this turn-based DOS RPG. Then it dawned on Brevik to call up his friend Adham and see if Blizzard would be interested in publishing the game.
There we go again. "Keep it simple, stupid." I'll always say Hellgate's failure to follow that motto did it in, right from the start.

Thought it worth digging up here because afterall they're the Flagship guys now. And probably they forgot how it was to just be 3-4 guys in a room trying to design a cool game based on a fairly simple premise. Maybe Hellgate became too much about too many cooks in the kitchen trying to overcomplicate the game and do too many things.
10357  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: First review of 'The Dark Knight' on: July 16, 2008, 02:55:43 AM
So the theater in Virginia I want to see it at has already sold out of two midnight shows, and added a third. I'm still debating if I want to inflict a midnight show on myself or not. I probably need to decide pretty fast though. At the least, I won't have to worry too much about walking to the parking garage at 3 a.m. alone. There'll be a few hundred people doing the same.  icon_razz

Unlike some of the nutzo theaters, I don't think this one was willing to add 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.  saywhat shows to satiate demand.

Ah hell, I went ahead and bought a ticket. I took some time off just so I could do that, so I can't cop out now. Alas, my moviegoing friends can't do a midnight show on a Thursday, and most folks my age can't hardly stay awake until midnight much less watch a movie til 3 a.m.  icon_razz

I didn't realize the AMC Movie Watcher card I finally got lets you buy tickets online without the $1 service charge. Doh.  retard
10358  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 16, 2008, 01:33:39 AM
I think the fact that I've never seen anyone on a Swift or Armored Horse so far (whether Level 80, or level 1 character) says it all. The other day I was surrounded by L75-80 players, no signs of any mount upgrades at all. That's all I have to say on the matter. Except: "Dear Funcom, don't put *bleep* in the game that nobody can ever afford because what the heck is the point? You're just wasting your animators' and artwork team's work for nothing."  disgust Not to mention all the people who've quit this game who never even got within a sniff of seeing one of these mounts in action much less getting to try one.

Anyway, my point was that my vote's to lower costs some on the high end, non-preorder mounts. Even without my ex-guildmate's help I would've been able to afford the starter mount soon enough, even with my apparent stupidity when it comes to piling up money. Obviously I'm the Worse Case Scenario, a Drooling Imbecile Incapable of Profiteering, but I was still going to get a starter horse at a reasonable level.  drool

Update from the EU forums is tomorrow's update was pushed to Wednesday to deal with yet another unintended bug:
Quote from: Tarib
We postpone the update from tomorrow Wednesday to Thursday, 17th of July, 4 am GMT. One fix concerning equipment that are 'Bind on Equip' lead to an issue which would have made those items not equipable at all. This has of course to be resolved and then tested again before we can bring the update to the live servers.

So if no other issues are found and the one mentioned above is resolved, we will update on Thursday. We will of course keep you up to date about any news.
10359  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: July 15, 2008, 06:40:12 PM
Facts are kind of hard to come by right now, esp. with the gaming news sites frantically quoting *each other* to the point you can't tell if anyone actually has any factual information or not. To me it's the Achille's Heel of the world fixating on News on the Internet. It gets easier to just paste in what some other site did and refer to it as "news" rather than look into it oneself. Heck, I'm guilty of that myself in my flurries of postings at message boards about "news." Is there a hypocrite icon?  retard

There are actually more Gaming News Aggregator sites out there than there are News Gathering sites, and some day, all people will get on the Internet are Aggregates of Non News and Gossip.  icon_razz I would've felt better if some of the sites just said, "we called Flagship, and nobody's answering the phones there, but they never answered the phones to begin with."  icon_lol Or "we e-mailed the usually easy-to-reach Bill Roper and now we get an auto-responder."  paranoid

I'm going through that myself today at my newsletter job. I reached a company president about a merger (e-mail, was getting runaround by phone), and basically it was, "I can't comment until it's approved, and then we'll put out a press release" and "we're a private company so I can't tell you how many employees we have etc." Frustrating. But sometimes just confirming you can't get any more information from "official channels" is useful in itself.  icon_neutral

I understand if Flagship is in some sort of legal bind where it can't make an official announcement, but it's really not reflecting well on them to not put out *something.* Even if it's vague.

It does seem true that the Subscriptions option has been disabled for Hellgate, and for now you have to call that 1-800 number to cancel your subscription (or you can ask your credit card provider to stop payments).

Also, I noticed that Flagship apparently on July 9 updated its Privacy Policy at its site:
Purchase or Sale of Businesses
From time to time, we may purchase a business or sell one or more of our businesses and your personal information may be transferred as a part of the purchase or sale. If we purchase a business, the personal information received with that business would be treated in accordance with this Privacy Policy, if it is practicable and permissible to do so. If we sell a business or if we go through a business transition, such as a merger, are acquired by another company, or sell a portion of our assets, account holders' information will, in most instances, be part of the assets transferred. The provisions of this paragraph will also apply if we are sold as part of bankruptcy proceedings.
I dunno though. I have no idea what they updated there, it might have had nothing to do with that passage.

I just found it interesting that the section was updated July 9 given what we're all hearing about.
10360  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Major feature cuts from Warhammer Online on: July 15, 2008, 05:32:00 PM
Tentonhammer had a 2 part interview with Mythic's Mark Jacobs about all this:

Part 1

Part 2

Although he comes across as, uh, maybe a bit impatient at times (it's in a way impressive they don't filter his answers through a PR flack), I had a much better understanding of their reasons after reading. Also, I have a former newspaper copy editor friend who works at NRA, and Mythic is right across the street from them. Maybe I'll take a photo next time I'm in the area.  icon_razz

I think the thing with MMOs, is if you have features in that are broken and bugged and don't work as promised, the players are reminded of it every day they log in and try said features. If the features and characters aren't there at all, it might bother someone initially but they won't be visually reminded of them all the time.

That said, there have been cases like Tabula Rasa where long-promised stuff like Personal Armored Units sat and molted in the back of my brain, and *did* bother me even if I didn't see them malfunctioning in-game. The latest interviews suggest those are nowhere near going into that game, which still bothers me today.  icon_neutral So, I guess missing features can in fact bother you, in some cases.
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