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10441  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 12, 2008, 03:31:49 AM
TenTon also had a post-launch interview today with Jason Stone:
Nothing earthshaking. He does seem to opine that the supposed character class nerfs are usually more a case of fixed-bugs attempting to rebalance things. But, basically, that's semantics if you ask me. One person's "bug fix" or "rolling back an unintended exploit" is another person's "NERF!"  icon_neutral
10442  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 12, 2008, 01:40:45 AM
I fished around something called UMPC portal, and they had a link for a review by a site called "Fudzilla"  saywhat

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

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

fwiw, they seemed to actually like the touchpad (it's the main complaint in other reviews), but feel the plastic is an awful fingerprint magnet. The latter's probably common to everything in this category so I guess it doesn't mean much.
10443  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 11, 2008, 07:02:00 PM
Hey I found a pre-order listing for this at something called "Hand Built PC's and Parts" in Illinois:
This is a pre-order. Units are not shipping from MSI until at least June 16th. At this time we cannot guarantee Shipping or Delivery dates. Pre-Order now to reserve yours! Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. We will make every possible effort to get these in your hands as quickly as possible.

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

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

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

Oh, there's also some warnings by customers at the Amazon listing that it's selling the 3-cell XP version (they're estimating based on the listed weight) at the 6-cell (5.5 hour life) price of $549:

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

So far I've not seen it at the Best Buy or Costco sites (mentioned in interviews as possible retail channels). doesn't really pull up anything as of yet.
10444  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Blackjack has that *same* HP Elite model on: June 11, 2008, 06:36:56 PM

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

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

It's an HP:

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

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

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

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

I'm really pleased with the PC's performance in spite of a modest 8600GT card, and the system runs very quietly. If she gets it, you may want to walk her though creating system recovery discs (I found I had to use "CD+R" discs to do this, CD-RWs would not work). It doesn't come with a system restore disc per se, but I believe it has an "image" of the "factory default" drive placed on a separate partition on one of the hard drives.
10445  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC update 9th of june (updated with mount info+stealth patch notes) on: June 11, 2008, 05:55:38 PM
My stability was OK yesterday, but I definitely too had some serious frame rate drops in certain quest instances. These were the ones in the Noble area that were just taking place inside little house buildings. I just don't know if it's "just me," or if they've always had problems (I mentioned in another thread that I thought maybe the torches and candles were a cause), or if the patch added this problem (I hadn't entered these instances pre-patch so I don't have a comparison basis per se).

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

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

Blah blah blah. I'm running off again. Maybe a future update will look at some of this.  icon_smile
10446  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Classes thread on: June 11, 2008, 05:40:04 PM
The latest patch notes mentioned something about evasion now working properly when you're attacked from behind (if I'm reading it right). Though I've had a hard time judging if it's really happenin'.

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

Or as Tony Stark says in the Iron Man movie, "I just finally know what it is I have to do. But I can't afford to reset my feats to do it!" Well OK I added the last part...
10447  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: June 11, 2008, 03:28:28 PM
Saw at Blue's News that a Flagship programmer's since rescinded blog post (snagged by an, um, "anti-fan site" called Flagshipped) detailed his observations within the company that employees are fleeing the company after Hellgate's flop-ness (despite being rescinded, all the gaming industry news sites had already picked up on it):
(has links to the various things, and the verbiage)
Work is depressing right now. Never mind the fact that Hellgate isn’t as popular as anybody had hoped. Never mind the fact that there exists a term “Flagshipped,” meaning where a company basically overpromises and then screws you. Never mind the fact that the forums are totally populated by people who do nothing but complain and talk about how much the game sucks. Never mind the fact that people do the same thing in the game itself.

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

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

Actually, I enjoyed parts of the game quite a bit. Tremendously even. Then you'd get a turret sequence, or a mini-RTS sequence, or some other mini-game that was so far from the appealing core-combat, that I had to believe the game had 5 different lead designers, all at odds with each other. If they just stripped all that extraneous junk and polished the core hack'n'slash and given levels a little more variety (the ballyhooed randomizing didn't keep everything from looking the same), it'd have been a shorter game I guess, but I think it would've been much better received and memorable. It's all moot now I reckon, it's just thoughts I have looking back.  icon_smile
10448  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 11, 2008, 03:13:28 PM
I'm at 41 now, although I handle groups better than I have, I still tend to drop like a load of bricks in some situations. I am more often fighting even to +2 enemies now. The health potions are just so much less effective (even L30s, and the L40 potions just cost too much for my tastes) than I'm used to.

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

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

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

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

Technically, the one trouble I run into in Noble is some of the village-building instances. Something about them (maybe the various glowing flame effects from torches and candles?) completely drags my frame rate down to nearly nothing (from a steady 30-ish FPS to about 4-5) and it's nearly unplayable in those instances (I've tried turning down just about everything and it's still like molasses in there).
10449  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 11, 2008, 01:18:31 PM
Hey I was having some trouble finding the actual product listing at MSI (Micro-Star International, of Taiwan), but finally tracked it down. Has some fairly interesting pictures and info (including downloadable copies of the user's manual):

MSI U100 (official page - don't think they call it "Wind" in the home country)

Official MSI-USA Wind pages (listings for both Linux and XP version):

Value added photos below.  icon_razz
10450  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 11, 2008, 01:06:03 PM
This May 13 Laptop mag had an interview with an MSI rep, and he mentions that Amazon, Best Buy and Costco [so far, I've only seen an actual "pre-release" listing at Amazon] are among the U.S. retail channels they were in talks with (it's expected to hit U.S. market June, this month):

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

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

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

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

Oh, I *finally* heard from the IRS to expect my economic stimulus check perhaps at the end of this week. $600! Just about right for this.  icon_biggrin
10451  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PSP games on: June 11, 2008, 04:33:05 AM
I didn't know where to put this, but Ready at Dawn confirmed God of War was its last PSP game (they're presumably moving to either PS3 or XBox360 development):

I love my PSP but I haven't played anything on it in several months now. I'm just sad devs can't seem to make enough money developing for it to stick with the platform (they just see it as a stepping stone to the full consoles), and this year's been completely blah for PSP games after a terrific 2007.
10452  Gaming / Analog Gaming / Re: What to do with back issues of PCG and demo discs? on: June 11, 2008, 02:01:28 AM
Hmmm, I should've looked into magazine recyclers before I jettisoned a few tons of PC Gamer, CGW, CG and stuff like Windows Magazine and PC Computing. Oh well. I crossed my fingers and hoped they went into the County Incinerator that we have here.  icon_redface

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

A site called Earth 911 has a "recyclers locator" that might be handy:

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

I'm no Boy Scout about recycling right now, but I am aghast at airports (whose concessions sell bottled drinks left and right), stadiums and arenas (whose concessions sell tons and tons of recyclable beer and soft drink and water bottles) around here in Virginia that make no effort at recycling at all. They'll get like probably 30,000+ people buying bottle drinks and junking them in the trash. Seems like a waste.
10453  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC update 9th of june (updated with mount info+stealth patch notes) on: June 10, 2008, 05:29:47 PM
Game apologies are cheap. "We're sorry Vanguard was a shambling, bug-ridden train wreck at launch that was well nigh unplayable! Forgive us!" If it wasn't for SOE tossing a lifeline, Sigil no doubt would've dragged Vanguard into Auto Assault/Gods & Heroes oblivion a long time ago.

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

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

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

If Funcom keeps fixing and updating, I may not forgive them, but I won't put them on a crap-list and say I'll never buy another game from them. So I guess that's something for them to be pleased about, right? OK maybe not.  icon_razz
10454  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 10, 2008, 01:07:53 PM
TenTonHammer has a neat set of Feats Calculators online. Wish I'd looked at these earlier  icon_razz

This is the Conqueror one, you can see the other classes via tabs:
10455  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 09, 2008, 09:41:44 PM
Elucidate and speak to us about this "sex and grittiness" you espouse. Seriously, I haven't read the books at all, so I'm just curious. Then we could probably tell you whether that could be done in the context of an M-rated (not AO-rated, which like the movies' NC-17 rating, is basically useless) game.
10456  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen... on: June 09, 2008, 09:28:55 PM
Oh, they are filming scenes for this at the ridiculously named Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum Annex near Dulles Airport here in Virginia:

Center site:

I visited the center soon after it opened in 2005. They hadn't completed the Space part of the exhibit at that point. It's a really fun place but the $12 parking fee annoys a lot of people, and there's no subway/train ride to reach it.

I'm curious about where they're filming in there. Lebouef (I'll never remember how to spell his name) is among those there for the shoot.

The Wash. Post had an item about director Michael Bay eating dinner in Georgetown.
10457  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I just saw a movie which makes Hostel look like Sesame Street on: June 09, 2008, 09:21:25 PM
Clearly this calls for a U.S. remake with Britney Spears, it's due out next year!

I'm kidding. Hopefully...  icon_razz
10458  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC update 9th of june (updated with mount info) on: June 09, 2008, 08:48:07 PM

Quote from: DArtagnan on June 09, 2008, 08:06:17 PM

I tested for the disappearing bug with the latest patch, and it's either been removed entirely, or changed significantly. At least, I couldn't reproduce the error in all the usual places.

It's still odd in that it doesn't correspond to the actual NPC view distance setting, and players can be seen MILES away in some cases, and disappear relatively close in others. But not at all like it used to be.

They also added map markers for group members in the entire instance/zone, which would also indicate they finally fixed this.
Amen to those fixes if really in place.  icon_smile

My last few teams (duos), one of us would have to exit and re-enter the instance for it to "synch" and let us actually see each other when we're just standing next to each other even. I hope that's perhaps fixed too.
10459  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 09, 2008, 05:46:11 PM
If yer Wind-Obsessed, Laptopmag also has basically a whole section on it including comparisons (including the keyboard, and boot-up speed), sidebars and "how tos" (so far, how to replace the hard drive; and how to upgrade the RAM).
The touch typing test (two people typed 74 and 80 wpm and raved about the Wind's keyboard, preferring it over the HP Mini Note's ballyhooed keyboard):
Both Key Crusher and The ESC Artist found the keyboard to be even friendlier than the Mini-Note. They appreciated that the keys were not as slick and that the keyboard didn’t sit at an odd angle like it does on the Mini-Note.

According to Key Crusher, “The keyboard on the Wind felt a lot more like a full-size keyboard, so that made typing a lot easier than it was on other mini-notebooks. Its keys aren’t quite as flat as the Mini-Note’s and there were no keys misplaced, so typing on it was actually a breeze.”

This is just another example of how the Wind (and its pun-friendly name) continues to blow away the competition
They were also able to get City of Heroes running acceptably consistently albeit with fancier graphics effects turned down. Fwiw.
10460  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What years comprise your own "Golden Age" of PC Gaming? on: June 09, 2008, 05:34:43 PM
I'd go with roughly the early 1990s to late 1990s, if only because most of the genres we now find fairly stale, stinky, done-to-death and largely bereft of new ideas or imagination (RTS, mmorpg, Diablo clones, first person shooters, military shooters) etc. were still being worked out and seemed like fresh ideas. You didn't feel like you were playing the 27th variation on a theme.

If you're a youngster getting into PC games now then it's not a problem. But if you've been letting PC games consume your free time since 1992 (like me) or earlier (others here), you sort of bring 15+ years of baggage when you play something new and realize it's more of the same, or doesn't live up to your memories of the original Civilization, of X-COM, of Doom, Tie Fighter, System Shock 2, Thief: The Dark Project, whatever Golden Years memories still haunts your dreams.  icon_smile I just had so much more fun playing stuff when the genres weren't set in stone yet, and the whole idea of playing an RTS or a first person shooter, or even a buggy, constantly crashing mmorpg (UO at launch) seemed so fresh.

Most non-MMOs today are multi-platform titles now and it's a crapshoot whether the PC version will be really PC-focused or have you using cursor keys to move the menu pointer around because "oops, we forgot PCs have a mouse."  disgust Time seems to make everything seem golden, and I'm sure in some years I'll look back on the last couple of years as More Golden then I do now.
10461  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 09, 2008, 01:05:40 PM
That's a thought.  icon_smile It was late and I didn't get a chance to try the 5-keys attack yet so we'll see if I can get comfy with the default or not.
10462  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC update 9th of june on: June 09, 2008, 01:03:07 PM
Glad the princess in Sanctum is no longer a mannequin.  icon_razz Glad they're fixing some of that Sanctum stuff, though it doesn't appear that a key quest involving an altar has been fixed yet. Lord Atum-Keket in the pyramid seems to still be messed up too (you can unlock a room and kill him but it doesn't give quest credit, a guild mate and I found).

There'll probably be a lot more bug-fixing and "quality of life" improvements (I was finding the chat window "handles" puzzling to grab onto, and am glad there's a fix for that now, for example) to do before they can start adding content and goodies.
10463  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 09, 2008, 04:55:02 AM
Life at 40. Now I can complain about never being able to afford a mount or rider-training.  icon_razz

And I forgot I read this in previews, but now I know at 40, is when the "full combat" system comes into place with the Q and E key, lower attacks. Surely my fingers will get even more confused now.  icon_razz

10464  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 08, 2008, 09:18:40 PM
This site's pretty useful, esp. if you get stumped on quest or quest locations (assuming it isn't a broken one):
10465  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: June 08, 2008, 05:12:08 AM
I actually saw Iron Man for the third time today. My mom and I thought my visiting aunt would like to catch it, and this was after we caught the Indiana Jones movie again (also 3rd for me, 2nd for my mom). We were pretty impressed how packed the theater was for Iron Man this long after initial release. It is still packing them in pretty good.  icon_cool

My brother took his family to it a while back, and while he, my niece and nephew loved it, my sister-in-law apparently walked out during the scene early on when a key character is threatened with a hot metal ingot. Apparently not realizing a character's not going to *really* eat a hot metal ingot in a PG-13 movie.  icon_razz

SuperHero Hype caught up with director Jon Favreau, about what will be on the Iron Man DVD, and his hopes -- he hasn't officially been hired to direct it yet though it seems a no-brainer -- for Iron Man 2 (which already has an April 2010 release date set):
Favreau: Yeah, we are going to do a commentary. I just got delivered a whole bunch of extras that look really, really good. We had cameras on the set all the time. They put together something for "Iron Man" that spans from the first story meetings, to designing the suit, all the way through mixing it up at Skywalker Ranch, through the premiere. There are hours and hours of great stuff that will be available eventually
He's excited about doing more Iron Man movies, and perhaps even an Avengers movie, but doesn't believe he could do both in their current release schedule (of Iron Man 2 in 2010, and Avengers in 2011). Hopefully Marvel Studios won't start rushing things.

Anyway, it's a neat interview, and you can tell Favreau knows a lot about the "Marvel-verse" and the characters.
10466  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: June 07, 2008, 06:48:20 AM
Shot from a large Sanctum team I spent a couple hours with tonight, mostly upper 30s/lower 40s characters. There's a neat cape on one in the lower left. And at this stage of the game there's some nice differentiation in armors, looks etc.

Sanctum's fun but to me it's rather disappointingly buggy -- one main quest seems broken altogether, and there's a fairly important boss who's broken (she just sits there and you can pummel to your heart's content). And there's a jumble of quests from other areas that reference into Sanctum, and an NPC or two in Sanctum that can give you more (but one of them, for me, the conversation dialogue went into a loop of sorts and I couldn't get a quest out of it that my party-mates got).

It's fun and well worth doing still, I just hope it's at the top of their fixes list.

City of Heroes fans who loved the sidekick mentoring feature there should be pretty pleased with the Apprentice option in this, btw. Which seems to work fairly similarly (BJ was apprenticed up from 36 to 40 for this by a level 41 player).
10467  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 07, 2008, 02:13:05 AM
The Wind actually has its own fan blog/wiki (think it's by a UK fella).

Check keyword review for, you guessed it, reviews (not much, yet):

You might find the Laptop Review, earlier impressions video, of interest too:
She has an Eee PC handy for comparisons. Thank God there's a Pepto Bismol Pink version available...

The others that popped up on YouTube included:

German fan site hands on, heavy breathing  icon_lol video: (this gives you a good look at the bottom of it, fwiw):

Italian impressions view of a black MSI Wind:

And, well, you can find the rest so I'll stop. Just found the above ones kinda neat.  icon_smile

The weirdo, single "teeter totter" touchpad button seems the lone consistent complaint.

Oh, and Amazon has pages for the various color versions. You can tap a button to sign up to be notified when they have it available.
10468  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: Hellgate only $19.99 at Microcenter on: June 07, 2008, 01:37:41 AM
This is assuming you can get the game to update and run (as of patch 3, I could no longer get it to, which is what ended my playing - I enjoyed it when it worked). Sorry, the bitterness flows so freely...  icon_razz
10469  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an MSI Wind? on: June 06, 2008, 07:56:34 PM
Laptop Mag's main site has a very enthusiastic review of it:
In order to achieve their diminutive size, weight, and price, most mini-notebooks come with compromises: the screen or keyboard is too small, the processor is too slow, or the battery life is too short. That’s why the MSI Wind NB is breath of fresh air.

This 2.6-pound system boasts a relatively large 10-inch screen and a full-size keyboard and Intel’s zippy new 1.6-GHz Atom processor (overclockable with a touch of a button). Plus, the MSI Wind NB lasts more than 5 hours on a charge. At $499, no other mini-notebook offers more for your money.

If there were a Survivor: The Mini-Notebook series, and each of the ultra–low-cost notebooks were incrementally eliminated, the MSI Wind NB would be the one left standing. Unlike its competitors, the Wind NB offers the complete package, including an adult-size keyboard, a larger 10-inch screen, and a very capable Atom processor. This system’s solid performance, stellar 5-plus hours of battery life, and $499 price make it the best all-around mini-notebook to date
All this indicates you'll never find one the rest of this year.  disgust icon_razz

It comes with Windows XP standard, but you can save $100 by opting for a $399 SUSE Linux version that they plan to offer. They seem to indicate that if you upgrade the built in 1GB RAM (expandable to 2GB), it voids the Wind's warranty.

Most important to me (I'm a reporter with fairly large hands) is the *just-barely-shy-of-full size keyboard* icon_biggrin The price is notable as a lot of the competitors squeezing into the Eee PC-ish market are inflating into larger notebook price range ($600, $700), muddying the waters.

Still, I'd like to see how the similar Eee PC 1000 stacks up. The category gets more interesting everyday, but everything I've seen to this point has serious drawbacks that keep me on the fence.

So, are we going to push Ron to add a "Anybody got..." section?  icon_wink
10470  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: STALKER - How the Hell do I Survive? on: June 06, 2008, 05:20:25 PM
I hope that you patched it first, because the initial release (I did buy it) was incredibly borked (the first patch had about 68 fixes), and then said patch hosed prior savegames (unusable once you patched the game), which ticked off a lot of players. I did enjoy the game, but haven't gotten around to introducing it to my new PC yet.

I'd like to think a "new" copy of the game would have the latest version on the DVD, but sometimes it's not part of the plan.  icon_neutral

It's a tough game, and you can't really play it the way you might say Call of Duty 4 or something (dealing with the health-sucking radiation clouds constantly got me). I recall having to do a lot of ducking behind cover, and needing to play pretty conservatively to progress. Sorry I can't be of a more help just yet (haven't played in ages), but there are lots of fan sites/forums on the game that can help. I do remember being frustrated early on, and having to adjust my habits and expectations, and then it became pretty refreshing fun.

I really liked the idea of doing quests within a shooter type format. Actually, this might be a good reason for me to finally reinstall and update the game, and then maybe I can be more specifically helpful.  icon_smile
10471  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: The state of Vista 64 sound on: June 06, 2008, 01:29:38 PM
Yeah I'm using Vista 64-bit (although I'm generally pleased, see my ramblings in the "another reason not to buy Vista" thread), and the onboard audio (RealTek High Definition Audio) has been fine, and audio has been impressive in stuff I've played (Age of Conan at the moment; but I've played Call of Duty 4, Gears of War PC, Bioshock, Company of Heroes and City of Heroes, among other things, with it).

I did invest in a X-Fi card on my old PC but haven't felt any need to try to move it over.

10472  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: There just aren't enough AoC topics here these days. on: June 06, 2008, 01:21:27 PM
I'm sure this happened here with every big MMO/pseudo MMO launch (including LOTORO, WoW, EQ2, yes even Tabula Rasa, Hellgate: London and Vanguard  icon_razz). It'll pass eventually though I don't think the rabid interest will abruptly die as it did for TR and Hellgate.

And you can't really even judge by it in the long term. It's apparent tons of people here happily still play WoW even if there aren't 25 active threads on it.
10473  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Grouping.. can someone explain. on: June 05, 2008, 05:38:39 PM

Quote from: Godzilla Blitz on June 04, 2008, 10:05:14 PM

This is a very solo friendly game though, to that degree that I wonder how many people pay attention to their chat boxes at all. Seems like most times people don't respond.

There's been a half dozen times or more where I'm waiting for a boss to spawn, and someone else will walk up, see me, and stand there. I'll ask them if they need the boss as well, and offer to group. They usually just run away. I think only a couple of times have people responded.
I've had that, but I've also had a decent number of "sure lets team up." It rarely lasts past the quest/instance that we work together on, but it's something. I'm on Thog, so I can only speak for that server.

Right now I'm stuck on something in the Overflow Tunnel (a 35 instance), and while I keep asking people approaching or leaving the tunnel if they want to team up (I use "say" so you get the visible caption bubble) they inevitably ignore me -- this is even when you can see barely alive players obviously crawling out of the tunnel unsuccessfully.

What can be a little confusing with the instances is that while a quest item will have multiple copies (so each member of the party can get one), I've had some quest target things (like a corpse you have to click on perhaps, or X number of certain bosses in an area) where *only* the person getting the kill credit gets quest credit. So if 4 people have a quest to kill 8 certain enemies in an area, you might need to kill 32 for everyone to complete the quest. I find that pretty annoying (I seem to recall lin LOTORO if a group of 4 all had the same quest to kill 8 in an area, then each kill would register for every party member as long as you were grouped and in reasonable distance of each other) and makes grouping less productive than it could be.

While the game's solo friendly, up in the 30s you start running into some tough things if you're doing quests at about your level (I end up spending a lot of time doing slightly lower/older quests so that my Conquerer can handle 2-4 at a time without getting overwhelmed) that really benefit from at least a little help. I've had quests I couldn't get anywhere on solo become almost too easy with just 1 or 2 folks helping. But again, I'm just speaking as a Conqueror. I'm sure some other classes clobber everything in sight without a sweat.  icon_razz
10474  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Yet another reason to avoid Vista on: June 05, 2008, 01:30:31 PM
While I'm relatively pleased with Vista 64-bit so far, I'm not sold on DX10. The barely perceptible visual enhancements it offers don't ever seem worth the frame rate hits (and I've read numerous testing articles showing massive frame rate hits in the DX10 version vs. the DX9 version of various games, regardless of the test PC's graphics-pushing power).

I don't know when Microsoft gave up on trying to make their OSs (or DirectX incarnations) perform faster (duh!). If you do that, buyers will line up. As long as they keep pushing system bloat and frivilous visual tweaks, you'll have forums full of people arguing about Vista's merits, and having Windows XP pried from their cold, dead fingers.  icon_razz

My Vista 64-bit stumbling blocks so far remain:
-I had to give up my Best Buy-Rhapsody MP3 music store subscription because they aren't updating to support 64-bit. I'll live, but it's kind of a bummer.

-I'm so far stymied in efforts to get my old Palm Zire 71 synching to my computer because I can't find a serial-USB adapter with  proper 64-bit drivers (well, I did, but Iogear's 64-bit driver Zip file is screwed up) -- but no gaming problems so far). Palm in its infinite wisdom as a decaying company decided to make no effort to support 64-bit Vista so you can't synch via USB (you can via Wi-Fi, which my Palm doesn't have, or a serial port, which in my infinite Murphy's Law luck, my new PC doesn't have  disgust). I've settled for backing up to an SD card utility, but I missing being able to synch adjusted-size photos to my Palm to share.

Hopefully at some point 64-bit game versions will make me feel a little better. The only program I can use that I can vouch truly flies in 64-bit Vista is the 64-bit version of Windows Media Encoder, which truly flies when I'm converting massive .AVI gameplay videos into small streaming movies. It would take forever on XP. It isn't much (and maybe it's just the Quad Core earning its pay), but it's something.  icon_smile

I'm considering an iPod Touch, and apparently fairly recently Apple introduced proper 64-bit Vista support in both iTunes and the iPod Touch's synching software (Windows versions, natch). Bully for them. In a way it's sad that a presumable Microsoft competitor is better at supporting 64-bit Vista than vendors who are ostensibly Windows focused.  icon_confused
10475  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: June 04, 2008, 05:31:31 PM
Engadget had an update on specs for the XP version (which uses an 80GB traditional hard drive) and the Linux version (which uses a 40GB SSD)  of the new 1000 models, from their China branch at the Comdex show there:

(Comparison amongst the models and the original 701)

Foreign prices don't always translate into specific US prices (I doubt they would market a PC at weird numbers like $658), but fwiw, it's roughly $625 for the Linux model (denoted with an "H") and $658 for the Windows XP model. The new 901 model has both XP (12GB SSD) and Linux (20GB SSD) options and the smaller 8.9" screen.

They mentioned Asus also officially announced the, 900, 1000 and 1000(H) [linux, SSD version] models:

It really is crazy what a sub-market the Eee PC's success has created. Just look up "laptop" keyword at Engadget (or any site covering notebooks and such - sorry I'm becoming an Engadget parrot  icon_smile), and there seems to be a new competitor entering the market from every front (Acer, AMD and ECS are among others trying to squeeze into the niche market).

I really would like something, anything, to let me look up Wikis, forums, FAQ-sites etc. without having to exit the game. It's just a minor annoyance, but I think I would enjoy being able to get around that. I've toyed with getting an iPod Touch. Circuit City has a Father's Day sale on all iPods and so it's a rare chance to see sales prices on the Touches (the $399 16GB model for $374, etc.). And then I toy with these sub-notebook things. And then in the end I just talk myself out of everything.  icon_razz
10476  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: After retrying various MMOs, I find Vanguard is now REALLY actually playable on: June 04, 2008, 01:26:24 PM
Your SOE check's in the mail!  icon_wink j/k

I give SOE credit for not giving up on the game that Sigil borked so badly at launch. SOE seems to have a whole stable of small-to-modest playerbase games, which one can either knock them for (if you know your game's never going to have a truly massive player base, SOE's the publisher to go for!) or respect them for keeping stuff like this and The Matrix Online updated and not pulling the plug on them (a la what NCSoft did with Auto Assault).

I had a gamer bud who worked for Blizz in tech support, and I recall around 2004 he was complaining about how unfriendly SOE guys were at trade shows. It was sort of, "We're Everquest. We're the 900 lb. gorilla, and we're not talking to your newbs." Obviously things are different now.  icon_neutral So I guess now I have a vision of a more humble SOE trying to shepherd a flock of mostly modest playerbase games, and it's impressive if they have resuscitated Vanguard so well.  icon_smile

I would say the same though for Turbine, who still updates Asheron's Call (!) and just released a big DDO update (introducing a new Monk character) despite the fact there can't be any terribly sizeable player bases for those games at this point and the chances of growing them (even via download versions of the game client) seems faint.

If you live for combat and characters, you should try a trial of COH/COV some day. As much as I'm enjoying AoC and enjoyed a few months of LOTORO last year, I seem to keep floating back to COV for the very different and more lively forms of combat there. Of course if your world begins and ends with Fantasy MMOs, or you must have new gauntlets every day, then you can take a pass.  icon_smile
10477  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC - Developers update on: June 04, 2008, 01:07:14 AM
It's in that link Razgon mentioned, thought it's worth pasting in for the lazy like me  icon_biggrin I highlighted one that's of interest to us disappointed a bit by the disappearance of voice overs (aside from Destiny stuff) beyond L20.  icon_cool

1. Filling “thin areas” in our content

We have seen that there are certain level ranges of these Hyborian Adventures that do not have the amount of quality we wish them to have. Most specifically these are the end of the Thirties and the end of the Fifties level ranges. We are addressing this in several ways.

    * Several mid-late thirties dungeons are getting a complete overhaul (Black Castle, Pyramid of the Ancients and Treasury of the Ancients)
    * Several quests are being made fuller and more entertaining. If people wish to revisit these quests, we will add a system to let them try them out again.
    * we are adding first a batch of quests in Eiglophian Mountains (lvls 55+)
    * We are also adding in a bunch of quests that didn’t quite make it for launch in the 30+ areas.
    * Around 60 quests through the game have been flagged as “Lore Quests”. They will now be patched out with full Voice-Over. (Roughly 1 quest per level after level 20)

All this will come in June! In July the first level 80 additional Dungeon will be patched out.
10478  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 03, 2008, 09:26:28 PM

Quote from: Silky on June 03, 2008, 04:07:53 PM

My biggest gripe so far is the lack of voice acting after leaving Tortage.  I know that would have been a huge challenge and expense to fully flesh out but I got used to it in the beginning and it sucks that it is now gone.
I agree. I hope it was just a 2-DVD limitation and that they find some way to gradually add voices back to the NPC contacts later on.

fwiw, the Destiny Quests *do* still have audio voices for the NPCs you work with, which is nice though as I mentioned in another post, the L30 destiny quest is *poof* and it's over, relatively speaking.  icon_razz
10479  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 03, 2008, 01:07:38 PM
I haven't had as much time to play as I'd like, so still focusing on my conqueror (nearing 36). I think I'd be happier with a Guardian, but we'll see.

One thing I like so far in terms of the game world is the variety of zones. If I get tired of an area, there are always others to visit and other quests to work on. And even when quests fade to "green" on your tracker, the exp is still pretty solid and worth pursuing.

If I miss Tortage, it's because that central hub design there (where north seems to far away) is something you come to appreciate later on when the zones get monstrous and spread out. In later areas, if you aren't bound to where you want to go (or the PC Gamer totem won't get you near it), the travel distances can be a bit tedious at times, esp. if you don't have much time to play. Of course I'm hoping a mount at 40 will remedy that.  icon_smile

And about the L30 destiny quest stuff (marked spoiler, though I don't think my thoughts really are):
Spoiler for Hiden:
I was a wee bit disappointed that the L30+ Destiny quest set is so short (and the next one isn't until L50). I don't think I'm spoiling anything to mention that. I was hoping it would be as lengthy as the 1-20 Destiny stuff (night time), but instead it's "slam, bam, thank you m'aam" icon_razz
10480  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: June 03, 2008, 12:54:38 PM

Quote from: YellowKing on June 02, 2008, 06:00:34 PM

No, but there are "empty" levels where you don't get new abilities. You'll still get them, they'll just be spaced out more. My conqueror is especially bad, as I occasionally go 3-4 levels without getting a single new ability. The extra skill points and additional feat point slightly make up for it though.
I got a new Conqueror skill at 34 that makes you invulnerable to all damage until your stamina runs out. I'm not sure how helpful that is (you can't use stamina/health potions while it's on), but hopefully at some point it'll be a lifesaver.  icon_smile

I don't know if this is common knowledge, but there's a checkbox in the interface options to "always use the highest version of a skill" in the assigned tray hotkey. So if you have Batter I, II and II, that'll ensure Batter III is always the version in the tray. Though if you have stamina issues, you may want to consider disabling the checkbox and using earlier variations with smaller stamina-sucking values.

To this point (and probably I should re-do my feat points and stuff eventually) my Conqueror reminds me a lot of LOTORO's Champions. Sort of a whirling dervish with a glass jaw (even with heavy armor and buffs). I've done more duoing and teaming of late, and the game feels so much easier even with just one partner.
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