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10401  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PSP, I'm impressed! on: July 02, 2008, 01:20:36 PM
I was crazy about my PSPs (I have original model, and a slim) in 2007, amazing lineup last year. Outside of God of War, and maybe the Pursuit Force sequel (both of which I bought but really didn't play much), nothing this year got me excited. I dropped my Gamefly membership in part because I didn't see anything on PSP worth a rent anymore. I haven't used my PSP in months. I probably oughta put it up for sale here too. Maybe eventually...

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

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

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

I actually originally came here because I was combing the cosmos for a board where people actually talked about PSP games, and weren't 100% fixated on the home brew side of things. At least here there was some actual discussion of games. Most other places I checked, the idea of playing a retail-bought PSP game was... alien. icon_razz
10402  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / AoC Patch Notes July 2 on: July 02, 2008, 01:07:40 PM
Now on the new, once-a-week schedule. Here they be (from EU forums):

Update Notes - 2nd of July
Player Classes


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


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

Bear Shaman

    * Reaper Claws will no longer disappear when you zone.


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


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


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

Massive PvP

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


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


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


Armsmans Arena

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

Lacheish Plains

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


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


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


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


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


    * Updated/improved descriptions of following abilities/feats/combos: >From the Darkness, Overpower, Blood Rage Stance, Secondary Laceration, Crippling Bloodbath (Crippling Bloody Hack), Improved Inspire, Focus, Burning Vigor, Covenant of Invulnerability III,
      Focus, "Secondary Laceration" changed to "Conquest"
    * Players will now be able to exit Dance state while in combat.
Now they just need to change the Tarantia' Destiny quest contact's outfit so it doesn't look like she's wearing a potato bag sack.  icon_confused
10403  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo 3 to be announced this weekend? the magic 8-ball says... on: July 01, 2008, 10:14:49 PM
Thanks, I guess my take on the video is those short-lived AI buddies are NPCs as part of a quest (perhaps a storyline quest, seemed a little too complicated to be one of the random quests). Anyway, I certainly don't *need" hireable henchman in my Diablo to be happy.  icon_cool It was just a nice feature of DII, esp. if you didn't find anyone to team up with on a given outing.

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

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

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

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

I do bet that SCII and DIII might help sell PCs in general, or draw some console enthusiasts back to their PCs, at least for a while. And that's a good thing if you're a PC-focused gamer.  icon_smile
10404  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Perpetual Entertainment cancels Star Trek: Online (sorta) on: July 01, 2008, 09:46:38 PM
I was excited about STO for a while before realizing what a Hindenburg Meets the Titantic disaster Perpetual was (taking this and Gods & Heroes down in flames).

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

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

Eve of course being the notable exception, the mmog world hasn't been too kind to vehicular or space-type MMOs. I can't even really name all that many (Auto Assault, Earth and Beyond, various smaller ones). I just think it's harder to get attached to an inanimate object than it is to an avatar of some sort.
10405  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek returns? on: July 01, 2008, 06:58:18 PM
Not quite time to start a new STO thread just yet, but the scuttlebutt is Cryptic's "27 days and counting" countdown at their site is a countdown to their announcing themselves as the new Star Trek Online developer:

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

Mentioned at Blues:
And Shack:
10406  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: July 01, 2008, 05:09:49 PM
Please let the audience throw their stones and tomatoes, and then they'll move on soon enough.  icon_razz

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

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

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

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

So yesterday, I was more careful about avoiding it, and knowing if I saw a Raid Party to keep a safe distance. It was actually kind of fun, added a bit of tension. I haven't figured out exactly which Pickets (an Atzel warrior type) run back to the horn.
10407  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Creative Zen MP3/video player on: July 01, 2008, 04:41:12 PM
Yeah and it doesn't even retract all that smoothly.  icon_razz

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

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

Why do I never learn?  crybaby

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

Of note for fans of Hardware Geek Supreme Lloyd Case (a mainstay at CGW/GFW for many years) is a tech/gadget/hardware show he often co-hosts. I forget what it's called, but it's regularly updated and is available from the ZenSynch menu that highlights a few Zencasts. The show is a huge filesize (122MB) and takes a while to get converted and transferred.
10408  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: July 01, 2008, 02:58:47 PM
I'm still checking in now and then to see if it's worth returning for a visit to TR some day.

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

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

Aggro System

Crafting does not compete for skill points

Crafting things other than consumables + mods

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

Donald Rumsfeld CP Commander (AFS) <- Explained later

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

Restore reflections to linker bosses

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

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

Logos users are underpowered and not compelling to play

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

Swap Launchers with propellant guns

Lava hurts (runaway cascade damage)

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

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

Tactical evasion 5: Toggle

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

Link loot in chat

Team leader can select team mission objective

Map thumbtack

Report spammer -> auto ban account with enough hits

Ability to get coords of a target

Logos user items/class/armor

Repeatable endgame

Making a noticeable difference in the war

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

Walking or standing still should reduce aggro range for all classes

Demo charges destroy turrets and force fields
An interesting addition of late was new double-barrel and triple-barrel  saywhat shotguns.
10409  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: July 01, 2008, 01:15:00 PM
Funcom -- which has U.S. offices in Durham, N.C., btw; they're hiring customer service folks for the location -- put out a press release that it has about 700,000 registered AoC accounts at this point. The other day the game director mentioned in an interview that the 1 million number bandied about it is "the number of copies sold to retailers," and they didn't have a number yet for games sold-through to customers.

Age of Conan continues to dominate retail charts

Anarchist: "The game sold 1 million copies and 300,000 already quit!"
Pessimist: "They sent 1 million copies to retailers and 300,000 are rotting on shelves and in warehouses!"
Optimist: "They sold out 700,000 copies and they sent 300,000 to restock shelves and warehouses!"
Non MMOGers: "Meh. All mmorpgs suck. I'm too cool to play them."
10410  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 01, 2008, 12:54:46 PM
In conjunction with the test server going live, they're changing the update schedule to once a week (which should give at least a little time to test these things on the test server for player feedback):

New update schedule: once a week
Now that the first month after launch is behind us, we have decided to change from two game updates a week to one (Wednesdays, 4am GMT).

There is a number of reasons for this, but these are the most important

    * We want to reduce the downtime.
    * We want each new update to be on our test server a few days longer to ensure that everything works as intended before releasing it.

The number of updates and bug fixes we do to the game will not decrease because of this change. We will work at the same pace, and if anything we will be more efficient since there has been a fair amount of overhead involved in releasing two updates each week. Urgent issues will still be addressed as they arise, but we no longer need scheduled downtime twice a week to do that.
I hope somewhere on the "bug to be fixed list" is being able to dismount in combat without becoming A) A screaming torso that glides around the ground like a lawnmower but can't damage anything, and can't be remedied unless you can glide into water  icon_razz, or B) A flying horse rider on an invisible mount who again flies through the air but can't damage anyone, and can't be remedied except by logging out. I'm not really upset about it though, because they're the two funniest graphical bugs I've ever seen in my life.  icon_lol
10411  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 01, 2008, 04:29:32 AM
Another dev post today (Monday) was the launching (finally) of a Test Server that everyone can copy a character to:

Testlive Server has launched!
We are proud to announce the launch of our new Age of Conan Testlive Server. This server is open to everyone with an active Age of Conan account. If you can log onto the Live servers you will be able to log onto the Testlive server. Until today our test server has been limited to former beta testers only so we are very excited to open it publicly for all Age of Conan players!

The Testlive server will be the first place to see and experience new updates before they reach the Live servers. In addition to this you will have the opportunity to speak directly with developers and QA staff that are working on the Testlive server.

In order to streamline the testing process we will be placing out special Testlive vendors that will allow you to level up your characters to various levels. This leveling process will also give you appropriate equipment for your level. These vendors will appear on Testlive in the next few weeks.
That forum post has information on their duplicator tool and how to get set up.

Lastly, I guess PVP is catching on -- the "Fury" server hit its player limit.  saywhat
The PvP server 'Fury' has reached the maximum amount of player characters today. This means that at the moment no new characters can be created on 'Fury'.

This limit will be increased on the next update (planned for Wednesday) so new characters can be created again.
10412  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: July 01, 2008, 04:26:11 AM
There was an interesting dev post today (well, technically Monday), about...

The Male vs Female attack-speed issue [News to me, but apparently Male character models do more physical damage than female due to a bug]
if we move onto ‘combo’ damage, which is what is causing the notable part of this issue, there are suddenly several factors that come into play when determining the final damage. I won’t be wasting too much time in this update to go into detail about every factor, but to quickly list a few they would be stat/modifier/multiplier (which in turn depends on class, level and weapon equipped), length of animation and, although irrelevant to this exact issue any longer, amount of steps in a combo sequence

The main reason for the discrepancy in damage output that you’re seeing is that the length of an animation isn’t equal for both Male and Female characters in many cases. This is what we’re currently fixing, but there’s roughly 800 to 1000 animations in total that are involved here, and that they are significantly more “complex” than the ‘white damage’ [he means "non-combo", regular attack] animations mentioned above this naturally takes a lot more time.

Of course, once the length of the animations have been fully corrected/tweaked either by an animator or BCC designer then every rank (of every combo for every class) has to be re-balanced by the System Designers because, as I mentioned above, one of the factors that come into play when determining the combo damage is animation length.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to give you an exact date for when this issue will be fixed, but we’re working internally towards a goal of having everything finished during the next two to three work-weeks, depending on how much we need to re-adjust after the initial tweaking. This is including the majority of QA testing, which can be performed during the process as we’re working on a class-by-class basis. That being said, and even with on-going testing during this process, everything still needs to be verified by QA once more after we merge our changes into the system data to ensure that we’re not breaking anything else.

We will however not be patching this out to Live on a class-by-class basis, but rather in one big “collective” fix to all classes. I will make another promise right here and now though; I’ll be investigating whether or not we can introduce these changes to the public Test server (which Famine has promised everyone a bigger update on soon) at the earliest possible convenience.
There's a discussion thread on the topic at:

I don't know if the animators are aghast, or glad that they have a lot more work to do (sometimes after launch, dev teams get pared down).
10413  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: July 01, 2008, 04:06:54 AM
I hit 60 tonight. Although I had a pretty good Igneous Falchion sword (I say it looks like the Prince's sword in Prince of Persia icon_razz), I bought for a a reasonable price a pretty hefty different 60 sword with some good attributes (stamina and health tap %'s, and a decent amount of extra physical damage). And I just like the look...

So is *this* really how armored horses work? The Captain rides his armored horse standing (as if it were a snowboard), and zaps me with attacks that way. I was able to knock him off though. It was pretty cool once I got over my flabbergastedness about it...

On second glance of my video of this, I think it's just a mount bug. Right now, if you have to suddenly dismount in combat, it seems to have a fair chance of bugging-out (vs. when you just get knocked off your mount, that seems to work fine).

10414  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: There just aren't enough AoC topics here these days. on: July 01, 2008, 12:02:28 AM
There are not *nearly* enough Vanguard topics now.  stirthepot biggrin
10415  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo 3 to be announced this weekend? the magic 8-ball says... on: June 30, 2008, 09:25:41 PM
I bet when it releases, there will be more threads here than for Age of Conan. And then the inevitable backlash will occur.  icon_wink And then someone will create a, "Now that I've returned to Titan Quest Immortal Throne, it Really Was Awesome!"   icon_razz It won't be me, unless I get a bionic wrist...

If they can make "using the environment" an innate part of your combat skills (maybe dropping trees on big mobs for example, as well as what the video shows), that'll be by far the freshest injection I've seen into the "Diablo clones world" yet.  icon_cool

I'm also wondering if they're retaining or enhancing the Mercenaries (hireable NPC buddies) feature from Diablo II.

This has been a hard year for the "old" Diablo team what with DII Lead Designer Steig Hedlund's Gods & Heroes getting canceled before it ever launched, and Brevik, Roper and Co's Excellent Adventures in Hellgate. I forgot that they left Blizz (June 2003) long before WoW launched. There was actually a lot of hand-wringing back then about losing the Diablo "team." All water under the bridge now...
10416  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 30, 2008, 08:48:04 PM
Blasphemer!  icon_twisted

Just kidding. I don't begrudge anyone enjoying PVP. Glad it hooked you.  icon_cool In fact, I want them to make it better in AoC cause I know it's important for the game's long term future.

I just tend to play games to make some friends (however temporarily), and I generally have found co-op and the like more conducive to that. Getting face-stomped by someone who then runs away in glee, never found any friendships growing out of that.  disgust otoh, I have on occasion had friendships grow out of getting mutually PVP'd, and then working together (happened in Diablo "1" sometimes). Probably if I was in a PVP-focused guild that teamed a lot I might feel differently.

I think though I would get pretty ticked off if I traveled a zillion miles through various zones and then got wasted by someone as I was merrily running to Mr. NPC (esp. if I didn't have a mount). I think also if another player just waited until some AI enemies had worn me down, stepped in and finished me off, I think I'd be ticked off and wouldn't feel all that positive about the game anymore.

I have felt the sweat-inducing tension and occasional bursts of adrenaline in limited doses of PvP in City of Heroes and Ultima Online, but I'm generally more a fan of having designated PVP areas and not otherwise having to be paranoid that every other player I run into is going to stab me in the back. I know others find it invigorating. I think the key is to just give players both options, so I'm glad it seems to be providing that choice (even if it needs work).

On the solo side, I've seen some things that give me a little hope for unpredictability, including roving patrols with what appear to be unpredictable patterns, enemies that run away to get reinforcements (it seems, I'm not really sure what the heck they're doing sometimes  icon_razz) and then come back at you, and quest twists that can be a little surprising. I guess the danger of that is people who enjoy predictable grinding (like me, on occasion) can get upset when the AI suddenly does something unexpected or said roving patrol suddenly walks in on you when you thought you'd found a peaceful corner...
10417  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Mass Effect PC... Impressions? on: June 30, 2008, 05:05:16 PM
Target had a teeny-weeny sale ($2 off) so I picked it up today at lunch. I brought it inside my office to make sure it wouldn't melt in my car.  icon_smile
10418  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Classes thread on: June 30, 2008, 03:05:27 PM
They did mention something about improving the text descriptions of various things. Some of that may be just because English isn't their native language per se, though that doesn't explain having nothing at all for the "special powers." I'd love to just see a separate tab added for "special powers" so that you have at least a little insight into what they do, what triggers them, etc.

The other thing I could use is a quick hotkey for turning off certain things, like Lumbering Hulk. I love Hulk (Hulk smash! Oh, oops, wrong Hulk), but when you get overwhelmed and decide to run, the speed debuff is killer. afik, you have to right click and choose to turn it off from the buff icon up top in the UI (I don't think you can just hit the Lumbering Hulk hotkey again to turn it back off). I just find it a clumsy 2-step process when I'm running for my life.  icon_razz I might just be missing something there, but that was my understanding.

10419  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Classes thread on: June 30, 2008, 01:25:33 PM
Saw this pretty awesome "Conqueror's Compendium" thread at the EU forums. He even made it available separately as a FileFront downloadable file...

Conqueror's Compendium: A complete all-encompassing guide to the class

At 59 I could finally get the feat that enables 2-hand combos to trigger Furious Inspiration (until then it's basically only triggered if a teammate gets hit with melee damage):
What it is: A proc that all conqueror's receive at level 5, and improve on at level 10, without you ever knowing about it.
How to get it: Be grouped with someone who is struck with melee damage, or pick up feat Angel Fury in Brute tree and successfully complete a 2handed combo. There is a chance on group member getting hit this ability will proc and show up in your buff bar. It can proc very quickly, and will at the most reach 10 stacks, or 'rank' 10. The buff lasts for 15 seconds.
First: Learned at level 5. After 4 ranks are built up, it has a chance to heal your group members when they do any type of damage. It will heal for increasing amounts of health based on the amount of stacks, the maximum of which are 10 stacks. Thus, the largest heals will be cast at 'rank' 10 Furious Inspiration.

Second: Learned at level 10. After 10 'ranks' are built up, there is a chance on successful melee strike for you to cast FURIOUS RESURGENCE. This will resurrect any dead group members in one cast, i.e. you have four group members, one furious resurgence proc will res them all. Resurrected group members will res with 10% hp, mana, and stamina. [earlier, I was rezzing teammates with no idea I was doing anything...]

Third: Adds a self buff of +% damage, 2% for each rank, thus +6% damage for rank 3, and +20% damage for rank 10.

Fourth: Once Furious Inspiration is 'active', i.e. in your buff bar, you can hit Defiance for an additional heal (FI must be active for this skill). You must put a feat in Defiance to learn a new ability... Defiance. This ability, fully feated, will heal your group members for 223 hp at level 80. Improved defiance gains 333 mana/stamina as well.

Fifth: Similar to Defiance, Bladeweave must have a feat spent in it for you to have it. Once FI is up, you use this feat to increase the hit rate of your offhand.

Furious Inspiration will heal more hp based on its rank:
Rank 10 (24-35) Rank 9 (21-31) Rank 8 (18-26) Rank 7 (15-22) Rank 6 (12-17) Rank 5 (9-13) Rank 4 (6-8)
Furious inspiration will heal even more if fully feated (Improved Furious Inspiration)
Rank 10
It's pretty great stuff, but since the effects are random and it isn't listed on any of your abilities/skills list in-game, it's hard to get a handle on what it's all about. I just don't quite understand having a skill where you can't ever figure out what it does *in* the game [i.e., you have to exit the game and go Web surfing to figure out what it does]. I hope some day they provide some in-game information about it. icon_confused
10420  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 30, 2008, 01:20:52 PM
Fished around the EU boards, and there was a nice thread about "useful threads and blogs", much of it that would probably help answer any questions folks had:

The Unofficial Useful Posts Thread [links inside]
10421  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: June 30, 2008, 01:11:34 PM
I hope you guys will let this thread remain focused on dev posts and not become the Optimist vs. The Pessimist discussion thread. icon_neutral

I'm just saying AO is/has had lots of technical teething pains so for the game director to say it's had surprisingly few technical problems seems like a strange thing to say.  icon_confused That's all I meant. And I was trying to have fun with it.  icon_razz I give AO credit for what it *became*, but the initial launch is still considered something of a historic launch disaster (along with World War II online the same year), but people learn from their mistakes and get better. AO is still running and getting updated (as Turbine continues to do with its venerable warhorse Asheron's Call).

As long as they can keep up this two-updates a week pace, I think AoC will be fine. They just need to be stubborn and keep ironing out the bugs, while keeping an eye on the end-game and PVP stuff (even if the latter doesn't interest me much).

I do think it's instructive that the game's popularity has far outstripped Funcom's expectations/projections (thus like Godager said, completely overwhelming them on the customer service side of things). I tend to fume about MMO launches not having enough servers, enough tech support, enough people but I doubt most businesses (esp. in today's economy) are comfortable spending a zillion dollars because they *think* they'll be popular. Certainly they hyped the game to the high heavens, but did they think it would sell a million copies (worldwide) so quickly, and sell it in so many places? It's kinda hard to tell -- if you guess wrong, you end up with Auto Assault (which I enjoyed, but which had roughly 8 mostly empty servers after launch).

Here's a new fan AoC news site that seems fairly useful. Check out the cool, supposedly leaked Ranger PvP armor: icon_cool
10422  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 30, 2008, 03:06:54 AM
I moved onto Atzel. Visually it's a pretty cool "glacial" world. I've run into mount bugs yet again there (I tried to dismount, and basically the game made my horse disappear but I remained in mounted position and while it was again hysterical to watch, it was frustrating to play.  disgust

Also, the Atzels have this nasty roving patrol and apparently "emergency kill the player team" of... well, it's a helluva lot of Atzels, and apparently if you fight a picket they'll go run to some horn thing, blow it, and bring this Raider group on you to kick your behind. As below...

Blackjackian may be "good" at 59, but he ain't That Good.  icon_evil icon_razz

I had a great time playing today but this particular zone's ticking me off, so it finally brought things to an end for the night.

However, I do think the screenshot would make a great Conan comic book cover.  ninja2
10423  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo 3 to be announced this weekend? the magic 8-ball says... on: June 30, 2008, 02:10:23 AM
Hey, interesting thing. Jay Wilson is the Diablo III Lead Designer:

Joystiq interview with Wilson:
Well, I was working at Relic Entertainment. I started on RTSs originally and I interviewed at Blizzard ... I was actually very happy at Relic, but I had friends who had moved to Blizzard and they got me an interview. I was like, "Cool, Rob Pardo! I get to be interviewed by him and he's an idol of mine!" For me, it was just a cool experience to be able to talk to Rob for an hour. And we continued to talk and I went to the first BlizzCon [October 2005] and they just talked me into it. Essentially, I've always been a huge fan of Blizzard and it just felt like a natural fit.
And he's the same Jay Wilson who worked at Relic Entertainment as lead designer on Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War:

WoWinsider had a brief about him too:

Kinda neat. I think the Warhammer games had some of the best animation I ever saw in an RTS. While he's not an animator, I wonder if Blizz saw something "Diablo-ish" in Warhammer's style.  icon_cool
10424  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo 3 to be announced this weekend? the magic 8-ball says... on: June 30, 2008, 01:55:24 AM
I hadn't seen the unveiling, and like most Blizz announcements, it's treated like some Greek God walked down from the heavens to give the people a gift.  icon_cool icon_lol and, from the looks of it, about 2,000 other people filmed it...

If you're impatient, the Diablo III announcement is at about the 31min23sec mark and you can move the slider over to that...

It's interesting in a way that their earlier "entries in the franchises" didn't have to cope with this degree of hype (there wasn't any conference/ceremony with thousands of people on pins and needles for Diablo, Starcraft etc.). Not sure if that's good or bad.  icon_neutral It's great they're treated like rock stars now, and that the Blizzard name has more weight than any one developer type, but I don't think you'll ever see a Blizzard game sneak up on people again via word-of-mouth again (or in the case of Diablo "1", a terrific 2-dungeon level demo most people got via gaming magazine CDs).

I thought it was pretty awesome of them to dig up the original "Tristram music" from the first game, for the "foreplay" leading up to the announcement. It really does give me goose bumps to hear it again.  icon_biggrin
10425  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 29, 2008, 05:30:20 PM
A tough day with the NPCs of Hyboria...  smirk

NPC Armor Jealousy Meets Xenophobia

Hard-hitting NPC analysis

Hmmm, I wonder if players agree with this assessment of the Nobles zone... mad icon_razz
10426  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 29, 2008, 02:28:09 PM
A little availability update. is taking orders now, apparently, but lists it as a vague "3-5 weeks  saywhat shipping", and only sells the 3-cell model:
10427  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: June 29, 2008, 12:02:08 PM
This is an interview, but I thought I'd pop it in this thread since it's effectively dev posting, and we don't need a 37th AoC thread.  icon_razz

Funcom's Gaute Godager interview//MMO//Eurogamer
Now, once you stop laughing or crying about his:
Technically it's been smooth, in fact a lot smoother than we'd expected. I was actually a bit surprised at that, because based on previous launches and what we've seen from other games, I was expecting more technical troubles.
quote. AHAHAHAHA! That's a good one, Gaute! Give us all some of what you've been smoking! saywhat icon_lol To be fair, I think he means in comparison to Anarchy Online's historically disastrous 2001 launch. Old-timers may recall AO was Computer Gaming World's (rest in peace tear) "Coaster of the Month" when it launched.  disgust

Anyway there are some useful things to read:

PVP Fugitive System
Gaute Godager: Yeah. The method that we're using is one where you get something called "Fugitive Points" for certain types of behaviour. You get them from attacking someone, being the aggressive party, you get them from killing someone much lower than you - and certain other types of behaviour too. It's focused around never telling the player that they can't do something - but if you do it, it will have a consequence.

The consequences that you have are Fugitive Points. Those points will dribble away with time - they time out - but you can also grind them off by doing communal things. We're trying to make a penal system without actually making one. Basically, if you help with guild activities, for example, you'll get a faster reduction of fugitive status.

There are two steps of fugitive status. The first one we call Orange, and if you're in Orange state then other people can attack you without themselves being flagged as a fugitive. The second state is Red - and then not only can everyone attack you without being flagged themselves, in addition to that there's a chance of you dropping an item. It's a bit like a bounty on your head.

It's something we've been playing around with for some time, and there are a host of technical and balance issues to make this work so that it's not hugely exploitable.

Fleshing Out Quests, Quest Pacing
Gaute Godager: I think there are a host of issues and a host of reasons for that. First of all, I think we have actually already addressed quite a few of those things. We did have a lot more chaining - which means that you need to do an early quest to get the later quests in the chain. Let's say that you're 27 and you arrive in an area - if you haven't done the 20 and 22 quests, you don't see the 27 quests. We've broken quite a few of those chains up so that they'll be more available to people.

Secondly, we have added quite a lot more content in the early and late thirties, which are the places where people were making themselves heard most clearly about these issues. I do also think that we need to promote the quests that we have - because we do have a lot of quests. It's just about finding them. [It sounded from previous dev postings that the upper 50s is due to get some quests-transfusions soon too - bj]

Let's say you do Conall's Valley when you leave Tortage. Then you arrive in Khopshef Province, say, and you don't see any quests there. That's basically because you now need to go to another quest hub, rather than the one on the docks where you arrive. We don't have enough funnelling quests to push you into that new area. Even though when we discuss it internally, we say, well, we actually have the same amount of quests in sheer numbers as we have at lower levels - they aren't advertised and available enough.
Tabula Rasa had a bit of this situation going on too. You'd need to reach certain contacts in certain zones to have anything to do, but sometimes the previous quests (or the general storyline) wouldn't nudge you in the direction of where you needed to be.

Class popularity or lack thereof
I'm not saying by any means that it's perfect - but we're actually a bit surprised that we haven't seen any classes being singled out as excessively popular, because of huge imbalance or huge exploits. I just don't see that in my statistics.

There are some classes which are a bit more popular than others, but there are also classes which we are surprised by the popularity of, even though they are so different. The Herald of Xotli is one of those. We're just not seeing that any class is either very unplayable, or very popular, due to imbalance.

He also said the game population is about 50-50 split between North America and Europe right now.
10428  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Firefox 3.0...What's your take so far? on: June 29, 2008, 11:48:53 AM
I need to catch up. I like SpeedDial for setting up an initial page that has all your favorite sites in little squares with adjustable preview windows (including here  icon_cool). It got updated for 3.0 a while back.

I just upgraded to 3.0 Firefox this morning. Really fast. And I really like that the drop down menu bar/previously visited sites now lists the site title/description above the URL. With certain sites I'd struggle to remember what it was about, or why I had visited in the first place now I know.  icon_smile

There's a big difference between seeing:

And seeing:
Funcom's Gaute Godager interview//MMO//Eurogamer

in the drop menu, think I'll really find it useful.
10429  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo 3 to be announced this weekend? the magic 8-ball says... on: June 29, 2008, 07:07:30 AM
I've come to think Diablo/Diablo II didn't really create a genre. It created a "mirage," that a lot of developers tried to chase, but none had any true mass market success. I don't really think of Dungeon Siege (which to me felt more like a small-scale RTS than a Diablo clone, and lacked D/D2's randomizing appeal) as one. I had a lot of affection for Delphine's Darkstone but it sold something like 50,000 to 70,000 copies in North America back in 1999. Since Delphine was French, and the Blizzard Invitational was in France, I wonder if any of the ex-Delphine guys are sitting around lamenting, "Why is it we did a Diablo clone and nobody cared, and Blizz announces one, and everyone wets their pants?"  Tongue

Iron Lore's devs claimed piracy hurt Titan Quest/Immortal Throne's sales but I'm pretty sure it was no sales home run regardless. I think it deserved a better fate really, but maybe trying to chase a classic series' tail -- and basically betting a new dev's future on it (Iron Lore) -- was just a losing battle in general.

I've played some really dreadful budget games, obscure games that were shameless Diablo clones but had none of the "magic" at all. And I've played a variety of MMOs now -- including Tabula Rasa, with its "click to kill" controls, seems to emulate Diablo in a way; and Dungeon Runners -- that seem to be trying to "Diablo it," without succesfully recapturing it.

So while I'm excited about Blizz returning to the franchise, I hope it doesn't mean a new raft of Diablo clones from "soon to be out of business" new devs trying to do "Diablo III clones."   Roll Eyesicon_razz
10430  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 29, 2008, 06:47:57 AM
So I ran into a couple of strange mount bugs today. In one cast just now, when I tried to dismount to fight a badger (!), instead of dismounting, it dropped my horse *below* the level of the ground. I became this torso running around the ground, unable to attack the badger (but taking damage). It was pretty hysterical, like something out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail  icon_lol See below.

I couldn't dismount, and I just logged out. Hopefully it's not a permanent problem, and I won't have to change bj's name to "The Wandering Torso!"  saywhat
10431  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo 3 to be announced this weekend? the magic 8-ball says... on: June 28, 2008, 02:37:27 PM pulled all the official screenies and artwork off a PR CD and put them at their site, in case it's of interest:

Though the gameplay video did more to get me excited than any static image can.  icon_cool

They also did a sort of "real time" chat-blog from someone who attended the Blizz show. I'm sure the major news sites have that kind of stuff too, but here's's:

A genuinely exciting new feature appears to be "randomizable adventures" through random scripted events.
Fugu_]: THey're showing off their randomization system.
[Fugu_]: Okay.
[Fugu_]: Big focus is higher difficulty levels a la Diablo 2.
[Fugu_]: Random adventures, whole new feature.
[Fugu_]: Allows them to place random scripted events almost anywhere
[Fugu_]: Basically spontaneous, randomized "quests".
I've always wanted to see that kind of thing. I kind of started to have a hard time slogging through Diablo clones knowing I would always do the same quests, and encounters.

[TacticSiege]: "better gameplay, less carpral tunnel"
That caught my eye, re my TQ tendinitis.  thumbsup

A lot of the Blizz talk was apparently about co-op focus (running over health globes heals all your party-mates near you for example) though competitive play is certainly mentioned too.

They apparently said they haven't decided the maximum # of players in a party yet but are thinking about 4-5 from a gameplay standpoint (not from a technical limitation standpoint).

Interesting Loot System too:
p0isonapple]: Loot is generated per character in the party.
[Fugu_]: Each player will see loot generated for them as opposed to a collective system.
[Fugu_]: So you won't be able to steal other player's loot because you won't see it.
10432  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo 3 to be announced this weekend? the magic 8-ball says... on: June 28, 2008, 02:00:24 PM
Happily EATS CROW!  nod I'm going to try to download the gameplay trailer to view on my Zen. icon_cool I'll bet the fan site team (which probably deserves a medal for continuing to run their site 8 years after DII's release) is just beside themselves with glee right now.  icon_biggrin

I'm OK with my 1280X1024 monitor but it seems like most of the world plays 3200X2500 or something now.  icon_razz If it has to be "stuck" at a rez, I hope they go with 1280X1024. icon_smile

The destructible environments look fun. I'm eager to see the archer-type character (which was generally my fave in the previous games).

I'm glad it's Diablo 3, but I would've been a lot more excited about 3-4 years ago. I really don't think my 43 year old wrists can handle that much clickfest crap anymore (re my wrist tendinitis from Titan Quest: Immortal Throne overplay, which required a brace and lots of Alleve).

I ran a fan site for the Diablo clone Darkstone (by the now defunct Delphine), called The Shadow's Darkstone Tomb around 1999-2001. I never had so much fun running a fan site. For a time I even became "endorsed" by Prima Publishing, who sent me a box load of official Darkstone strategy guides. Which I never did find a way to give away.  icon_razz

I liked Darkstone, but basically I was so starved for Diablo II, that I'd play pretty much any Diablo clone to get it off my mind. icon_biggrin

I had lots of affection for Titan Quest, but I think if the original game had been as terrific (and had the improvements in terms of features, inventory, UI tweaks etc.) as the Immortal Throne expansion, they might've sold quite a few more copies than they did. Though probably not enough to remain in business.  tear

I can't access the Blizz D3 site at all right now. I wonder why.  icon_lol

Hey, even the Age of Conan forums have a link about D3 Roll Eyes:

And yeah I agree, we'll be lucky to see Starcraft 2 *next* year much less Diablo 3 *this* year. But gawd, after Hellgate (which I did have some affection for in spite of its utter bugginess), I won't ever make fun of Blizzard for taking so long with their releases. icon_neutral
10433  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Classes thread on: June 28, 2008, 01:26:12 PM
Congratz! I'm glad your perserverance paid off.  icon_cool

In City of Heroes, I sort of had alt-itis and I only ever got one character (a broadsword/invulnerability scrapper) to the cap. In LOTORO, I tried to be a little different and stuck with two characters pretty far (into the mid 40s, a Ranger and a Guardian).

Here I'm riding Blackjackian to the bloody 80 end. I'm at 57 now.  icon_smile
10434  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 28, 2008, 02:55:11 AM
Some L60 pet footage. They are pretty much like piranha at that point. It's hard for Blackjackian to even contribute on a team with one, because they devour everything in sight so quickly.  ninja2
Click here to watch Age-of-Conan-pets-as-piranha
10435  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Help me like The Who on: June 27, 2008, 09:02:38 PM
I hate/don't respond to lots of bands that everyone else loves. There isn't much point in preaching to someone. You either respond to the music or you don't.  icon_neutral Just imho. Whenever my brother or friends have tried to "force" me to like a band or singer, I just don't respond to it.

I do find that a lot of music I responded to as a teen and in my 20s doesn't do anything for me now (in my 40s), but I do sometimes respond to "young music" today that's clearly not marketed towards me.

Anyway, I love the Who, and even with only Daltry and Townshend, even in their 50s and now 60s, they still sounded great when I caught them in Boston in fall 2006. I was just glad when a few years ago Townshend found some ways around his hearing problems to go back to his wild lead guitar ways (his brother Simon is competent, and plays 2nd guitar on tour now, but is not exactly theatrical). They're a completely different band in concert when Pete can be his leaping, scissor-kicking, windmilling self (which he still does today), than when he was limited to acoustic guitar playing for several years.

Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr's son) brings a lot to the band now, and the crying shame is that when they finally put a new studio album together a couple years back (if you blinked, you misssed it, as it was only up there on the Billboard sales charts for a week), Starkey was busy drumming for Oasis on the road and only played on one track on The Who's new album. Bah.

There are lots of Who fans who think anything after Keith Moon's death is junk. Lots who think Moonie did no memorable drumming after Quadrophenia in 1973. Lots who think The Who post-Moon were never the same band in concert (true, in a way). But I also know people (my sister in law for example) who responded to their most maligned last couple albums in the '80s (Face Dances, and It's Hard). Or who love Who Are You, but don't get into the earlier part of their catalog (from the '60s).

That said, if you want to give the "aged Who" a chance, a good place to start is the 2001 Concert for New York City. Preferably, actually, the video version (the CD version omits one of the Who's songs). The Ox was still alive, and they gave a stirring, rip roaring 5-song set that really got the audience of firefighters and police on their feet. The rest of the concert was pretty much anticlimactic from there.

If you want "the classic Who," there are lots of solid compilations and "best ofs" out there, and they'd all probably be a good intro to the band.

The sad thing was that was effectively Entwistle's epitaph (aside from a couple benefit shows in London). tear
10436  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo 3 to be announced this weekend? the magic 8-ball says... on: June 27, 2008, 07:03:44 PM
I think the general gamer populace is reading Blizzard's artwork as if it's a Beatles album cover. Paul is dead! Obviously! He's bare foot! And the others aren't!  saywhat

All the artwork *really* says is, "Here are Blizzard's 3 Franchises: Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft (Kerrigan). And we're meeting to celebrate them." Chronologically, the Warcraft franchise came first, the Diablo franchise came second, and SC third, thus the left-to-right order. That's my over rationalizing interpretation of the conference artwork. Though I will be happy to view conference footage that ends up showing I'm dead wrong.  Bring your own!

I still think smart money is on D3 cause A) the franchise could use a freshen-up, and B) since most of the populace thought Diablo III and guessed wrong on the WoW, SC: Ghost, WoW Expansion and SC II announcements (including me, I kept guessing everything but what really got announced each time  icon_redface).

As for "nobody left on the team that worked on it," there seems to be virtually nobody left from the Starcraft team working on Starcraft II. In fact the SCII project lead is a former Command and Conquer designer. My reaction when I read that was, "HUH?"  saywhat Reality today seems to be that you generally can't keep devs in your studio forever (not even Blizzard). They want to move on, go independent, make a name for themselves etc.

I think what will be interesting to see with SCII is whether a team that seems fixated on designing a game around what the Korean competitive RTS market wants (the SCII team) can create a game as special as one that was never developed with that market in mind because it didn't yet exist (The SC team). And I'm part-Korean fwiw. Heck, I helped my Korean uncle buy copies of Starcraft and Diablo 1 at Best Buy one summer, to take back to my cousin. smile

For me, Hellgate has really damaged the Diablo team (Brevik and co.) and Bill Roper's reputations in my mind now. They had 12 years in the gaming industry (maybe more) and shouldn't have let themselves get shoestringed into a "rush our unfinished game to market now" situation. But... but... if you dig through old articles in the '90s Roper did seem to play a huge role in the balancing of stuff like Diablo I, II and Starcraft. So I'll be curious to see how SCII and presumably DIII turn out with no involvement from him.
10437  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dungeon Lords 2 announced on: June 27, 2008, 05:20:54 PM
I think PC Gamer gave this something like a 45% rating, which under their "don't offend the advertisers" scoring scale, was something like, "merely tolerable."  icon_razz

I think it was then used in the advertising campaign along with other gems...

The Verdict is In!
Game critics are united in universal praise for the mighty Dungeon Lords!

"Dungeon Lords is... tolerable!"
-PC Gamer

"I couldn't.... keep it down!" [referring to the game causing an upset stomach]
-Games for Windows Magazine

"... entirely... redeeming features!" [Slight editing of, "This game is entirely without any redeeming features whatsoever!"]

"Never before....!" [... and never again!"]
-GameLan World

 smirk [This is a dramatization, and no actual game review quotes were used in this parody. Thank you. icon_razz]
10438  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo 3 to be announced this weekend? the magic 8-ball says... on: June 27, 2008, 05:16:43 PM
"Situation murky. Try back later."

Well, that's what *my* Magic 8-Ball always told me. Was it lying?  icon_evil icon_lol
10439  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: External HDD Failure on: June 27, 2008, 05:13:50 PM
I still use an older (maybe from year 2005), boxier WD external, something like this:

While it has been rock solid, I really don't use it or run it much. fwiw. I think allll sorts of PC components and electronics seem to be really declining in reliability and durability. It's like the whole world somehow didn't realize the cheaper you make everything and the less you pay all your workers and the worse you treat them, and the more you outsource everything, the crappier and more unreliable everything seems to get.
10440  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Creative Zen MP3/video player on: June 27, 2008, 05:10:35 PM
I might go for the skins (which includes some covers for the screen), though I've read the screen's pretty scratch proof unless you really abuse it (I just put it in my shirt pocket and don't put it in with keys or change). Odd thing with my Sansa MP3 player -- I bought a little rubber skin, and when I put it on it, the unit would just stop working after a fewminutes. Bizarre. I think it overheated or something though it didn't even feel warm.  icon_confused

Since the 3-inch USB "dongle" with the Zen is a joke really, I put a $10 Best Buy rewards card towards a Dynex retractable cord:

The Dynex cord's overpriced if you ask me ($25.99), so I used my card on it rather than Mass Effect. I'll wait on the latter.  icon_smile
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