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10521  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 02, 2008, 04:12:14 PM
I've been in fun pickup teams (my 33 radiation/empathy Defender Dr. Barium even got drafted into a large SG after one series of team-ups) all weekend, so I guess it's time for me to eat crow...  icon_redface

And I finally got to play alongside someone using Dual Blades and Willpower (new scrapper primary and secondary sets). It's a lot of fun to watch, with very lively attack animations, lots of twirling, and a Japanese Steakhouse style spinning of the blades (all the animations are very quick though, so they're not sluggish to use). I'll have to start one up some time.  icon_cool Little peek:

It's probably somewhere between Katana and Broadsword damage-wise. I have no scientific proof of that, was just my observation (my katana scrapper was playing alongside).

I peeked at his powers list:

He opined that the two new powersets were "done to death" (anything new tends to get devoured in the weeks after release) but that they were quite fun to use. I guess he had everything but the highest end Dual Blades power (at 38).
10522  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Sharper Image files for bankruptcy (Ch.11) on: February 29, 2008, 07:52:53 PM
I'm also sending you these.  nod

For that shaggy nose hair...

To remove all that acne caused by eating chocolate and playing videogames indoor all day...

For those wrists crippled by gaming-related tendinitis and carpal tunnel and...

And uh, I dunno, this one seems vaguely obscene...  paranoid
10523  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Sharper Image files for bankruptcy (Ch.11) on: February 29, 2008, 06:59:51 PM
Just for that, I'm going to add you to their mail order catalog list.  stirthepot
10524  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / The Sharper Image files for bankruptcy (Ch.11) on: February 29, 2008, 06:55:16 PM
If you really need a lighted turbocharged noise hair trimmer, then you may find a great price at a liquidation sale near you soon. smile (They're planning to close about half of their 180+ stores as soon as possible to cut costs).

Corporate pablum

The Times Have Caught Up With That Erstwhile Icon of Modernity, the Sharper Image

The Post article makes some amusing observations that the world basically caught up with the store's concept. Which is to say, the world is so gadget, gizmo and fancy electronics focused now that a Sharper Image store doesn't even really wow you anymore than Best Buy, Circuit City or even Target or Wal-Mart. Technology also becomes commonplace so fast. A Phillips photo frame there was a hot item 2-3 years ago, but now digital frames flood the stores at Wal-Mart, even Bed, Bath and Beyond.

The stores that are going out of business almost surely will have some major sales, but they haven't listed which ones just yet.

I bought quite a few things there over the years, going back to a clock radio and a microcassette recorder that served me quite well in my early newspaper reporter days (both in 1989).

Some of their gadgets were great, other times I ran into things like a quick release keychain where my key rings kept sliding off it inadvertently (thank god a neighbor found my car key the one time it dropped in my parking lot); or the immersing eyeglass cleaner that seemed like a great way to get that gunk off the edges of my lenses. Except the cleaning fluid also ate away at my metal eyeglass frames.  icon_surprised

The nation's decaying economy also doesn't bode well for this kind of store. Brookstone might be comparable, but I guess it doesn't feel quite as expensive or pretentious, and sometimes Image is everything, and isn't that ironic given the store's name?  smirk Maybe they'll have to change the name to "The Blunter Image"  Tongue
10525  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Air purifiers on: February 29, 2008, 06:41:49 PM
OK I know it's weird to post to a 4 year old thread but I am what I am.  icon_lol

Although I had been fairly happy with my Ionic Breezes (I have two, and I got one for my mom for Christmas back around 2001), I found that after about 4-5 years use, they just keep making nasty hissing noises no matter much you clean them, wipe them or blow air through them.

My mom eventually just threw out the one I got her (it was well past the 3-year warranty) and got a newer model which seems OK.

And there was a class action lawsuit back in 2004 based on some Consumer Reports findings that that while they attracted a lot of grime (to some extent, the same way most CRT television screens can attrack dust/grime if not cleaned regularly), they didn't really make the air any cleaner.

I really do have "dirty air" in my condo. Even with the air purifiers off, I get some truly nasty gunk on furniture and on my TV screen. Hopefully I am not ending up with coal miner's lungs.  icon_neutral

Lastly (I'll make a separate post on this), The Sharper Image has been delisted by NASDAQ, and has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection/reorganization. They apparently plan to close about half of their 180+ stores. So you may finally see some discount prices at the stores that are closing (including on these air purifiers).

10526  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: February 29, 2008, 06:21:21 PM
Probably every MMORPG ever released was launched prematurely. Some disastrously, some with just a few hiccups (remember the hour long waiting cues when WoW launched? I do, cause that's when I was trying to play it  Roll Eyes).

I think every extra month they get to polish this and hopefully add more content and things to do (and hopefully make some accurate server capacity estimates) is good for the game. The bad things? If it takes too long, they might run into the next WoW expansion's release; they might stumble into a competitive release date situation with Warhammer Online; the "buzz meter" for Age of Conan may have already peaked and players disappointed with the current MMOs might no longer keep saying "I can't wait for Age of Conan to release so I can cancel this piece of ****"  icon_smile

But at some point, the funding spigot for Age of Conan's going to run dry and Funcom (who can't be earning much income from the aging Anarchy Online at this point) will have to boot their baby out the front door and pray for the best.
10527  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: February 29, 2008, 06:11:09 PM
I don't mind soloing, but TFs aren't soloable, most arch-villains aren't soloable (you can reduce difficulty to easiest to get them to "Elite Boss" level, but certain things like Psionic Clockwork King still don't seem soloable except by the hardiest of tanks, afik), and I genuinely enjoy teaming (even pickup teaming). I used to team up all the time because I enjoyed it and made a lot of buds in the game (and well, maybe one or two people who got a little too "clingy" that I had to add to my ignore list - probably some cases of vice-versa as well.  icon_lol).

But it's been basically deserted every night (even weekends).

Part of the reason I quit playing was the lack of anyone to team with who wasn't fixated on bridging, power leveling or the Exploit of the Day. When the social aspect is one's favorite portion of a game and it's basically faded away, then it just becomes less appealing. I wish I could say that had changed, but it doesn't seem to have. Even the Broadcast, Request and Help channels are quiet as a mouse now (I guess that's preferable to spamming but COH never seemed to have that problem to the extent other MMOs had).

It could just be a Pinnacle thing, but I've got a couple characters on Freedom (often ballyhooed as the most populated server) and it hasn't seemed much different.

They promise big things in the future though, so I've just got to hope it's something that brings back the social aspect of the game. One of the updates in 2007 mentioned the possibility that they would find a way to make all servers be part of the same game world (so you could team up with anybody on any server). They made no promises though; I hope it's something they can implement.
10528  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: February 29, 2008, 02:11:55 PM
And I'm late to customizing my swords (scrappers) and rifles (blasters). Some examples...

My 47 blaster Crusasder (assault rifle/devices). I went with this garish Nemesis-style bayoneted gold rifle. Too bad you can't use the bayonet.  drool

"rusty sword" option for Kato Katana (katana/super reflexes) scrapper, though I actually went with...

Silverknight (broadsword/invulnerability) is still my lone L50 character. I like this particular broadsword option... icon_cool
10529  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: February 29, 2008, 01:53:05 PM
So now I know why Pinnacle seems deserted. It's not -- it's just everyone sits in the auction houses doing sales/searches all night, so almost nobody is actually going out beating up villains.  disgust

I mentioned it in broadcast channel and someone replied, "true."  Roll Eyes

On the positive side, I finally was able to make a high level invention (damage), and socketed the resulting enhancement:

Like most 40 plus nights, the only team interest I got was "wanna pad my mish?" and "interested in bridging?" disgust

All's not lost though. The "XP smoothing" really is noticeable at those levels and I made a bubble of progress in maybe under an hour just grinding mobs in Peregrine Island. Blackjack's been at 44 forever, and the faster progress without doing missions was very noticeable. smile And I still had fun barreling my scrapper into large groups.
10530  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: February 29, 2008, 02:58:58 AM
Combed through a few more dev posts ah missed....

No Playstation 3 Version Planned
Quote from: Arkayne
We have no current plans to develop Champions Online for the PS3.
No big surprise, given the skepticism whether the MMO model can work on consoles period, much less one with as small (for now) a user base as PS3.

Tackling "mezzing" and "rewards" concerns in PvP
Quote from: Heretic (developer)
We are painfully aware of the complications mez effects can have with regards to PvP, and have been taking this into consideration with our designs.

Addressing the various avenues for exploitation of the reward system - PvP or PvE - is a major consideration we take into account in our approach. We have come up with some approaches that I am so far pretty confident will manage this kind of problem effectively.
I hope they are wise enough to avoid "one shot kill" characters like COV's Stalkers. That caused such a nightmare balancing and exploits problem in the game in PVP, and probably contributed to how little PVP action is generally going on there (such as stalkers sneaking into hospitals to camp players as they rezzed). But try to fix that (remove the Stalker's one shot kills in PVP and put guard droids everywhere to make them visible), and you just tick off the stalker players. Being mezzed and slowly killed in PVP is a lot of fun as well.  disgust

Hopefully, since they're building PVP in from scratch this time, they'll be giving thought to how PVE powers work in PVP right from the get-go.
10531  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Iron Lore (Titan Quest) Shutting Down game development :-( on: February 28, 2008, 10:21:31 PM
There were some hints in this July 2007 announcement about what direction they wanted to go (multiplatform), and they'd hired an EA Mythic veteran as their new design director:
According to the company, Iron Lore is currently working on an unannounced project, and is preparing to begin work on a new title for next-generation consoles and PCs.

Founder Brian Sullivan: "I have full confidence that he will successfully lead us through our transition to multiplatform development and multiple teams."
I didn't hang out here in July, maybe somebody noticed it then but I was asleep at the switch.  icon_redface
10532  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Iron Lore (Titan Quest) Shutting Down game development :-( on: February 28, 2008, 08:19:09 PM
Word slowly hit the unofficial forums ( [fan-run, but devs posted there], where they had a thread earlier in the month that seemed to make it clear there would be no further TQ expansions:
The lead designer (nickname Medierra) had clarified sales weren't really good enough for Iron Lore to turn a profit:
Quote from: TQ lead designer Medierra
... unfortunately the sales were not as good as you might expect. We did ok in Europe but poorly in America. Iron Lore hasn't made any royalties off the game as of yet and I'm not sure we will at this point. So, I think the sales just weren't enough for THQ to justify further investment in the product. Its sad for us but hey, I guess thats the way business goes.

Things actually aren't looking good for PC gaming in general... Death's advocate approaches! [he was trying to be funny Feb. 9 but now it sounds prophetic  crybaby]

Later he mentioned they were in various discussions on possible future project(s) and presumably that fell through:
Quote from: TQ lead designer
I look forward to putting the experience I've gained to use in creating even better games for you guys in the future. There is a lot happening right now - some good, some bad - but I can't talk about it on the forums quite yet. I'll give you an update as soon as I can.
I guess the "bad" won out...
10533  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Iron Lore (Titan Quest) Ceasing game development :-( on: February 28, 2008, 08:02:00 PM
This just gives the "PC gaming is dying" crowd another nail to put in the coffin (though clearly it's not that simple), saw this mentioned at Blue's. Technically, they're not out of business just yet and they claim to be interested in licensing the toolset used for Titan Quest (I assume that's what they're referring to) to companies interested in it. Although TQ included an editor and such, it didn't include the rights to make new games for profit with it, is how I'm reading it.
Quote from: Iron Lore's Web site
It is with great regret that we must announce that as of close of business Tuesday, February 19, 2008 Iron Lore Entertainment has ceased active game development. Several unrelated events occurred which resulted in Iron Lore being unable to secure funding for its next project.
I guess also part of the risk of non-MMOs these days is you really have no steady source of income. Titan Quest and TQ: Immortal Throne did OK, I thought (I thought wrong - see below) but weren't the kind of games that were going to sell enough to keep the company in business in the long term.

I've also gotten the impression from some financials articles that THQ is retrenching a bit and perhaps TQ/Immortal Throne's sales didn't impress them enough to want to fund a followup (pure speculation on my part).

Iron Lore worked with Relic on Warhammer 40K: Soulstorm, but I guess that wasn't enough to keep it going without more funding to work on something else.

I loved TQ: Immortal Throne (it wore out my right wrist, and I had to stop playing, wear a brace and make some doctor visits) in particular. TQ didn't quite launch in very polished form (I'm being kind The Weghted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you.), but to me Immortal Throne did everything you could ask an expansion to do and more (Hellgate's developers should've paid attention to the little things it did right imho). I'm sorry they won't get to build on that.  tear
10534  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Welcome to EA-Land! on: February 28, 2008, 04:35:53 PM
You misunderstood my (bad) joke, which is that they'd acquire the word processor Word and rename it EA Word.

But having to explain an already bad joke just makes it badder. Sigh.  puke
10535  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: February 28, 2008, 02:18:34 PM
Champs site has its first "meet the dev" with the lead designer, who goes by Arkayne at their forums:

Meet the Team – Lead Designer Randy Mosiondz
A few tidbits of note:
COV connection:
"I worked on the content team for City of Villains, and then switched over to Champions Online a few months after CoV was launched."

Favorite zones working on for Champions:
"Monster Island has radiation-breathing giant monsters and Millennium City has super-tech, but I'd have to go with the Moon for those galactic-level threats. Moon bases, alien invaders, interstellar portals – it has got it all!"
It's interesting but there's little about the game itself.
10536  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Welcome to EA-Land! on: February 28, 2008, 02:09:39 PM
I wonder if EA will acquire Microsoft some day...

Windows EA

Instead of a talking paperclip, EA Word will have a talking "EA Logo." Awesome!!!

Resistance is futile... bowdown

10537  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Penny Arcade burns CliffyB on: February 28, 2008, 03:41:47 AM
Honestly, might as well start a thread entitled "PC Gaming Is or Isn't Dying" and throw all these links into it.  drillsergeant

I mean, when CGW digs up numbers showing the ballyhooed Crysis (you can bet EA is not going to allow the dev to do a PC-only shooter title again) and Unreal Tournament's latest PC incarnation each couldn't top even 80,000 copies sold in the U.S. while comparable console shooters sell 1-2-3 million in a few weeks time (or in pre-orders in Halo 3's case), even a PC gamer like me can't wave my sign with any rationality at publishers and developers and tell them not to give up on my favorite platform.

Hell, some underselling cult-PC-games that I did fan sites for like Incubation and Darkstone were considered flops for selling 35,000-50,000 copies in the U.S. Today that would apparently almost be considered successful given the dwindling interest in the platform for games not named World of Warcraft or The Sims. I'll give LOTORO a shout-out because it apparently topped 100,000 subscribers at least for a time.

I'm trying to look on the bright side. If PC gaming and the idea of games actually made for PC (it seems like every big release will be multiplatform eventually) sink into the abyss and my hobby becomes a ghetto that people remember fondly like point-n-click adventure games and space combat sims, then perhaps the few surviving PC developers will go back to basics. They'll go underground. Maybe you'll see the kind of originality and gameplay fun that small dev teams did in the early to mid 1990s. Maybe shareware will make a comeback as a means of PC gaming survival.

I'm all for it. I'm all for not doing the 77th iteration of Battlefield 1942 and Team Fortress and Counter-Strike, I'm all for not doing the same MMO that does what the previous 73 did, not for continuing to attach roman numerals and numbers to the same RTSs all over again. Maybe PC gaming's real hope is thinking small instead of making high-sys requirement games that the majority of gamers out there just don't seem to want or have (esp. not the way the economy's going).

OK well that's all my insane thoughts for the day. I always find Penny Arcade's thoughts amusing but it's not something I worry about. smile
10538  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa 1.5 patch AI changes video on: February 27, 2008, 10:16:14 PM
Well, I guess it's good we're avoiding the botched 1.5 lauch:  Roll Eyes

On Tabula Rasa respecs and resolutions (from today)
Evidently, the developers actually paid notice and took a rare opportunity to break their usual Monday/Friday announcement schedule to address these concerns.

They're working on a hotfix for the resolution problem, and suggest in the meantime that players run the game in windowed mode. Not that doing so addresses the fact that the resolution resets every time you load the game, but at least it doesn't crash.
10539  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Perpetual Entertainment cancels Star Trek: Online (sorta) on: February 27, 2008, 09:29:29 PM
Hey Star Trek Games (supposedly they were involved with the game a bit) is beginning a pretty cool inside look at the dead project now that it appears that Perpetual will have to totally liquidate. One of the strange things is that Bioware was apparently licensing Perpetual's engine -- or at least some sort of technology from them -- for its upcoming MMO project so it'll be curious to see what their technology's fate will be. Who knows, perhaps the Perpetual engine/tech will fall into public domain and we'll soon see fans making their own MMOs and even filing for bankruptcy on their own!  Tongue

This is the first entry (a photo of the MMO design document's cover):
Starting today with this announcement and on each proceeding Wednesday we will publish a portion of the book for all to see. You'll have the first inside look at the games design, storyline, character progression and more. Every Wednesday until the entire book is published.

Prepare to be amazed (or maybe aghast) at what you learn. You'll find out why Mad Doc Software, in creating Star Trek Legacy (a game I served as a developer on), actually butted heads with Perpetual regarding the MMO. Loads of never before revealed information awaits
Interesting. I'd love to see someone do something like this for Perpetual's other canceled MMO Gods and Heroes.

Blue's News mentioned this, it was kind of buried between various other items and caught my eye.
10540  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa 1.5 patch AI changes video on: February 27, 2008, 07:41:40 PM
It's cool, though as I babbled in our main TR thread, the game needs more content (just imho) if it's going to draw people (whether new players or people that have lost interest). I just don't think jump-jetting AFS mechs and exploding Bane corpses is going to do much in that regards. I suppose every bit helps, I just hope they aren't skipping content upgrades in favor of this sorta thing.

I haven't canceled yet but basically haven't played for a week or so now.

Is 1.5 already out? I guess what confused me is the Juggernaut "suction" power is already in the game. I wasn't familiar with seeing the other things. icon_confused
10541  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: February 27, 2008, 07:34:06 PM
I hadn't visited the forums in a while for this, this fan's parody is pretty funny smile (note: it uses a few embedded images of humongous size so you may need to give it a little time to finish loading them).

If Turbine wrote Lord of the Rings instead of J.R.R. Tolken  icon_lol

It might easier to visit the fan's Web page for it:

I can attest from failing the Epic quest repeatedly where Legolas constantly gets his arse in trouble that he truly does something too much, though I don't know what "DF" means.  saywhat
10542  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Companies EA bought then closed on: February 27, 2008, 02:53:41 PM
This is why I think Bioware is naive to think EA will "leave them alone." God help them if one of their games isn't a smash hit. Something modestly successful like Jade Empire would probably bring EA's "Men in Black" to the Bioware offices with a summons...  paranoid "Your new, original game has failed to meet EA revenue projections. Beep. We require that your next game be: "Mass Effect: Sims Spore 3". Beep. This represents the best opportunity for continued corporate growth. Beep. If you refuse, you shall be terminated. Beep. And development will be transferred to our new studio in Botoswana where labor is much cheaper."

I tend to compare EA to The Borg, but when I think of EA I also tend to hear the Darth Vader music from The Empire Strikes Back...

DAH DAH DAH da da DAH da da DAAAAAAAAAH (repeat ad nauseam)  eek

10543  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battlefield Heroes...its a free Battlefield game on: February 27, 2008, 02:49:48 PM
The CGW that had the article about this is on stands now, fwiw. I might actually be interested in it when it releases or goes into open testing (I haven't bought a Battlefield game since the original BF1942).

They kinda make it clear in the interviews they're going after a more casual gaming audience. Characters have deep health pools (no one shot kills to worry about), and spawning points are faster, often with vehicles nearby. The goal seems to be a more forgiving game, that gets you into action quickly, and with less "dead time" waiting for the next spawn opportunity to occur.

Whether they think it's going to broaden their market to appeal to a more casual set, or be a subtle way to draw people into team shooters who stay away because they suck at them (hey, it's me! Tongue), not sure.
10544  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: February 27, 2008, 04:24:21 AM
EurogamerTV has an exclusive video about some creature AI changes in patch 1.5...

But wait, TenTonHammer has the exact same video, slightly smaller. Hmm, perhaps not so exclusive afterall ...   Roll Eyes

All I can say is, "Content Dammit! We the fading player base need that, not AI tweaks and "optimized armor resources."  disgust
10545  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Red this new or old? on: February 26, 2008, 04:42:57 AM
If you really want a snappy, cheap ($14.99, though the demo may be all you need) Red Baron game, try Small Rockets' "Masters of the Skies: The Red Ace":

I was nuts about it some years ago when I passed briefly through a "flight action game" phase due to FPS burnout. That one was my favorite, and it plays just fine with mouse and keyboard. icon_cool They're not the most modern looking games (Party like it's 1993!), but play's the thing.

Or the new multiplayer-focused update, Red Ace Squadron Pro (I haven't tried this $19.99 game, I'm kind of glad this thread reminded me to check back at their site, I didn't think this would ever get released):

Small Rockets is a very tiny independent dev in Surrey England (I think they generally only have one or two devs working on each game they publish, it's really a throwback to the days before PC gaming became a corporate thing).
10546  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: February 25, 2008, 10:19:56 PM
Yes there's a new "Experience Smoothing" introduced in the latest updated, and in theory is supposed to make certain levels (I forget the exact numbers, but it's in the patch notes) go by much faster than before.

For me though it's still a case where if I enjoy the missions and what I'm doing, then leveling isn't something I worry about. Imho way too many people in CoX felt like leveling was the only reason to play (indicating that battling through the same environs to click clickies wasn't too satisfying), which is just inviting people to power level, "bridge," pull 50 enemies with a tank, or comb the system for exploits because they're not interested in anything else in the game. I think Emmert is basically admitting that in the Gamasutra piece.

In Tabula Rasa I really enjoy the missions but to me there simply isn't enough of it in the 30s, and by that time you've learned all the powers you're going to, so "just playing to level" doesn't do it for me in TR.

I think just about every MMO I played could've benefitted from 3-6 more months work on content (I know that's unrealistic, games cost money and you can't wait forever for revenue to roll in), because you really can't ever have enough of it. imho way too many devs underestimate their potential launch popularity (so many end up swamped, with account creation and login problems at launch), as well as how fast ravenous fans can burn through their PvE content (so you end up with players complaining of boredom just weeks after launch).
10547  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: February 24, 2008, 07:20:26 PM
I'm told that the busiest servers these days are Freedom and Virtue. You can now pay a "micro transaction" fee to transfer a character to another server, or purchase a "rename token" to change the character name.

I agree, I loved the teamwork aspect of the game and I think part of the reason I left is I just found it too hard to find anyone to team with (even though imho the game has the best "LFG" search engine/tools out there). Plus, once you hit the 40s, it seems all anyone wants to do is bridge, power level or other tomfoolery.

I can attest Pinnacle seems mostly a wasteland now, though the one person on my global friends list still playing tells me it's busier on weekend afternoons. [oops, revised from "weekdays"]

Oh while digging around the Champions Online forum, found a link to an interesting Gamasutra piece about Jack Emmert's (now no longer involved with COH) comments on the COH experience:

GDC: Cryptic’s Emmert: ‘You Are What You Are At Launch’
It's very candid, and you can tell he feels bad about certain decisions he made or helped make with the game over the years.

Some interesting tidbits:
By 2004, the game's subscriber base had grown to 180,000 in North America. "But on our first update, we did nothing to address the game's weaknesses," said Emmert. Focused on bug fixes and content past level 50, the team overlooked those content absences that resulted in a loss of players. "If you don't have [PvP] at launch, you can never add it," warned Emmert.

"We tried to address the weaknesses that we had, but we really did it in a way that simply re-used content that we already had," he continued. "It didn't change the fact that there were repetitive instances; it didn't change the fact that there was nothing to do besides leveling... Anybody who was turned off by those weaknesses, we were doing nothing to help them."

And six months later, WoW hit the scene. "It's conceivable that the players would have stuck around if not for the fact that WoW came out. When WoW came out, we lost about a third of our subscriber base," Emmert explained.

In 2005, City of Heroes saw its European launch, soon followed by City of Villains. But, Emmert said, "What I really delivered was a City of Heroes experience with a slightly evil twist." He neglected to connect to what players might want from being a villain. "If they didn't like City of Heroes, there was nothing here for them... I can't even tell you the disappointment I have. It hurts."
It was neat to hear him talk about numbers. I guess non-disclosure of that sort of stuff was not some condition of selling the CoX property to NCSoft.
10548  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO)-dev posts on: February 24, 2008, 06:33:32 PM
I dug around the official Champs forums for some dev posts (their community content writer Kestrel said they'll have a 'dev tracker' post up soon). I know it's early, I just kinda like knowing what they're thinking about. And other than Emmert, we don't know anything about these guys (this isn't the COH/COV dev team). I know Emmert is big on letting dev team members interact on boards (was/is really a hallmark of COH/COV), and it seems the same way with this early on. smile

I'll keep updating this with useful posts I find so check back often. I just like digging up stuff like this and trying to make it easy to read fast. smile

* Classes of heroes
-Player post about possible classes, based on the Champions RPG types:
-Dev reply:
Quote from: dev Jackalope
A few might not make it at launch because of tech, and the names above (and concepts) aren't 100% on, but it's definitely close.

Remember that players will be able to select ANYTHING in the way of powers. A class gives some added advantage to some powers, but otherwise, you're free to select anything you want. And, given the way our design is going, that just might be a good idea...

BTW, my absolute favorite characters to create were speedsters and metamorphs. Loved 'em.

* Beta test etc. [nothing to report, just seems to indicate there'll be one eventually]
Quote from: community rep Sporkfire
When it comes time to sign up for Alpha and Beta, you can bet that we will make such a big hoopla about it that you won't possibly miss it

* Why teams are limited to 5 players [multi-team raids are definitely part of the game though, he says]
Quote from: lead designer Arkayne
Five person teams are the optimum group size based on our data mining. Keep in mind there's a lot more complex and reactive gameplay going on in Champions Online. Having larger groups makes things difficult for our content team to balance and keep fun and is also cognitively difficult for players to keep track.

That being said we're planning on having multi-team support (a command group consisting of multiple teams of 5) so you can take down larger threats!
This seems to suggest it certainly plays differently than COH (8 player teams).

* Underwater environments
Quote from: lead designer Arkayne
We will have underwater missions. As for powers, TBD (it's pretty specialized).

* Loot
Quote from: dev Arkayne
"Loot" is definitely part of Champions Online but characters are not nearly as dependent on it as in other games. It's there mainly to allow additional powers and costuming customization to characters and to provide tangible player goals.

Certainly players can be happy with saving the world from villainy but sometimes you might also find use in repurposing Mechanon's robotic blaster into your upgraded suit of power armor!

* Number of available powers [player question was concerned about a limit of 10 powers per hero, but these seem to refer to direct-attack/activation things, not passives]
Quote from: lead designer Arkayne
Keep in mind that there are passive powers and triggered powers in the game based on conditionals. The keymapped/button-mapped powers are only the direct trigger powers.
This seems where the console-focus comes into play. You've only got so many buttons on an XBox360 controller, and they're not going to exceed the # of attack buttons you could comfortably do with the controller. A keyboard doesn't have those limits, but the game's got to work on both.

* Crafting
Quote from: lead designer Arkayne
There will definitely be crafting, focused on the main aspects of creation in the supers genre.

* Bases/housing etc.
Quote from: lead designer Arkayne
Lots of awesome ideas on bases/housing here! While we do have designs for this type of feature, it is not currently planned for launch.
Not really a surprise. COH didn't have SG bases until loooong after launch.

Oh it seems like Canada is a major, large zone in the game world. smile

The dev/staff types so far there seem to be:
-Arkayne (lead designer)
-Jackalope (dev) (Jack Emmert)

-Foxbat (board moderator, seems pretty funny)
-Kestrel (community content coordinator, female fwiw; seems to be in charge of the official Web site and content)
-Sporkfire (community guy, helping w/ the boards/site I imagine) [Note: this is the same Sporkfire who was once moderator/community guy for SOE's Planetside]
10549  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Dungeon Runners (NCSoft's free MMO/$4.99 premium option) on: February 24, 2008, 05:27:34 PM
Get thee all to the D&D Online thread while the discussion's hot:  Tongue,9243.0.html

For my part, I did a brief trial of it early on but didn't find combat much satisfying (LOTORO was much more my style, even if it supposedly used a revamped D&D Online engine).

As for this, well, after having an enjoyable team the other day, the experienced reminded me how I much I missed City of Heroes' more social aspect (well, if you can get on a busy server, only a couple really seem to qualify as that now), it's "LFT search engine" and other polished features I liked, I moved back in there for now. DR is free though and I'll definitely float back to it now and then. I just wish, as I babbled, that they'd find a way to vary the enemy AI a bit.

Oh, and I was reading a fan site interview about TR, and it had about 150 people on its dev team just around launch time. So you can see the difference between that and DR's team (13 people or thereabouts). Still, I can't see that DR is pulling in any sort of profit. I never see more than maybe 300-400 players scattered around the various servers, and they only seem to have one paid in-game advertisement (a Carmelo Anthony basketball shoe ad that gets annoying more because they don't have any other non-NCSoft ads, and the sneaker add plays obnoxiously often  disgust).
10550  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: February 24, 2008, 05:15:39 PM
They've not said anything about pricing yet. I think they know the console market's a different beast. I'm curious to see what kind of pricing SOE's going to do with The Agency on PS3 (there though there's no regular free for the online stuff, albeit it's not as polished as XBox Live). I'm sure that's something Cryptic will be sort of watching out of the corner of their eye.

Like RTSs, I think you can certainly *do* MMOs on consoles if you adjust to the controller and playing on a big screen TV and all -- the question is whether the audience wants or needs it on that platform (other than perhaps the Final Fantasy MMO, there's no proven demand for it there imho) and whether they want to pay more fees if they already are (though that's unique to XBox Live for now). I think to some extent there's this "Well if WoW is going to blot the sun in the PC MMO market forever, then we've got to move to a platform Blizzard isn't on and see if the market's there" attitude.

If I was a publisher I'd be a little wary of all the mmorpg devs bragging about how their game is "better than, different than or not just another WoW," cause most of the ones labeled as such have gone nowhere. As Emmert said in the GDC roundtable, LOTORO's the only mmorpg to top the 100,000 market in years other than WoW, and a cynic would say it's not a whole lot terribly different than WoW (though I warmed up to LOTORO, and not WoW).

Oh well I'm rambling like always, sorry. smile I wasn't really wowed by the combat in the Champs trailer much, but it's early. COH old timers like to reflect on how that game looked/played during beta, and I gather that a year before launch it was very different from the game that launched. But I can understand they need to get the hype wagon moving early (it's their first self-published game, and I imagine to some extent Cryptic's future existence depends on this being a hit (he said in a melodramatic, comic book narrator style voice  icon_lol)

I thought it was very interesting Emmert and COH's Lead Designer (Matt Miller/Positron) were on the same GDC MMO panel. I wonder if they're still on good terms, or if it's more of an Obi Wan Kenobi/Darth Vader type of relationship.

Jack: "So we meet again, Miller."
Matt: "Once you were my teacher. Now I am the master!"
Jack: "Only a master of evil, Matt. I see you're offering sculptures of Statesman now. How duplicitous."
Matt: "Don't make me use an energy blast on you..."
10551  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: February 24, 2008, 06:22:21 AM
I feel like I'm weeding through a conspiracy video or something, but I used a free screen capture utility (EasyCapture) to capture some pixeldy screens from the Flash game trailer.

Near the end they spritz a bunch of heroes along the screen so fast you can hardly see them, so here they are caught in the act (I reduced the size a bit and adjusted color to try to make it more viewable):

This one gives a better view of a couple more alien-looking heroes on about the left half of the screen.

Note: The "glowing" guy is not a "glowing" hero -- they just glow as they get "zapped" onto that group view in the trailer. I think that one is a kid in a T-shirt and jeans. Not a real test of the costume builder.  Tongue

From the trailer footage (sorry again, awfully pixeldy)
10552  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: February 24, 2008, 05:45:04 AM
Oh, I missed the debut trailer for this. It has a few glimpses of gameplay stuff, but it's "small" and kind of hard to judge how it'll play.

Anyway, here's the link (you may be prompted to get the latest Adobe Flash player, as they released an updated version in December '07 - it's a pretty quick, painless install process fwiw):

Champions Online trailer (at IGN):

If ye don't want to mess with updating the Flash player, can watch within the embedded player (even the official site is basically linking to IGN):

I do think the cel shaded look is a risky decision if only because Silverfall and XIII flopped in N. America (though I'd say for a lot of reasons not having to do with the cel shaded look).

While I'd like to say that a cel shaded look can be less resource-intensive, Silverfall (which I did get and play quite a bit) wasn't what I'd call a low sys reqs kind of game.

All they'd have to do to intrigue me is have more "comic booky" interaction with the bad guys, and have mission objectives more interesting than "clicking glowies," escorts and rescues. My beef with COH for some time was "why as a super hero do I have nothing more interesting to do than beat up purse snatchers and click glowing objects?"  Tongue I think that was more a limitation of the engine, than a limitation on the dev's imaginations.

If this ends up a brainless beat-em-up done as MMO, I'll be sorely disappointed and I'll be calling for Emmert to turn in his cape.  disgust icon_lol
10553  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: February 23, 2008, 01:19:50 AM
Out of the blue, just this second, I decided to Return to City of Heroes. Well, at least for a month. smile I haven't canceled TR (I had so much faith I'd gone for a 3 month plan there, so I'll stick around another month or two). They make it really easy to reactivate and cancel, so we'll see if I can recapture my once all-consuming affection for this.

I still run a message board for the now mostly defunct Supergroup I was on, and my characters are:

50-Silverknight (broadsword/invulnerability Scrapper)
47-Crusasder (assault rifle/devices Blaster)
44-Blackjack (martial arts/regeneration Scrapper)
43-Metal Mandroid (energy blast/energy manipulation Blaster)
39-Kato Katana(katana/super reflexes Scrapper)
38-Igloo (ice blast/ice manipulation Blaster)
38-Fat Hammer (invulnerability/stone melee Tanker)
32-Molly Cat (claws/invulnerability Scrapper)
30-Dr. Barium (empathy/radiation blast Defender)
29-Blue Graviton (gravity/force bubble Defender)


21-Fallen Soldier (mercenaries/traps Mastermind)
20-Sting (katana/ninjitsu Stalker)
14-Gunslayer (thugs/force field bubbles Mastermind)
10-Pyro (flame melee/fiery aura Brute)
4-Out of the Blue (electrical melee/electrical armor Brute)[/u]
4-Bullet (assault rifle/traps Corruptor)

Needless to say, I was a nut about COH; about COV, not so much, but it's something I can work on if I can get back into it...

Although I hadn't uninstalled (LOTORO was much more of a hard drive gobbler so I'd uninstalled that), I've got months of updates to download so I'm still waiting on all that.
10554  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / MMO keynote roundtable discussion at GDC on: February 22, 2008, 01:33:30 PM
I guess some comments from this have been mentioned in passing elsewhere (esp. comments along the lines of blaming WoW's runaway success for slowly destroying the MMO genre, which sounds more like sour grapes to me - and I'm not even a WoW player or fan), but the news site Massively has a transcript. Thought it'd be worth posting:

GDC08: Massively is Live at the Future of MMOs panel
The guests were:
-Cryptic Studios' Jack Emmert
-NCSoft's Matt Miller [aka, Positron, COH/COV's lead designer; seating him and Emmert at the same table now is like seating a husband next to his wife's previous husband smirk]

-Nexon's Min Kim
Nexon is a Korean company that makes several more casual MMO games including MapleStory and Kart Rider.

-BioWare's Ray Muzyka [no, he wouldn't say a peep about a KOTOR MMO, but since BioWare doesn't have an MMO at all, it begs the question why he would be invited unless... Tongue]

-Blizzard's Rob Pardo

It's a lot to comb through. Thought I'd cherry pick some quotes, er, some "paraphrases"...
Quote from: MMOkeynote speakers
*Jon tosses out: "Do MMOs need to go to consoles?"
Emmert: "YES! It's insane to think that creators could ignore this. It's ridiculous to think that MMOs won't migrate there. I just want to discourage Blizzard from going there. Is it true that you're going to buy the continent of Africa?" [Note: Champions Online will be an XBox360/PC game though it appears like SOE's The Agency to be console-focused.-blackjack]

Miller: Heck, yes, big audience.

Ray:Ray sees players spending time in different ways, and the play habits of console and PC being separate markets. If you want to go to sports fans, you might want to hit console gamers. If you want to hit a broad audience you can take on the huge challenge and technology issues of a cross platform title. You have to understand who you're selling to. You can be competiteve on any platform.

*Jon's new query: RMT/microtransactions or no?
Emmert: "MIcrotransactions are the biggest bunch of nonsense." I like paying one fee and not worrying about it - like my cellphone. The world's biggest MMO isn't item based, "even though the black market item GDP is bigger than Russia ... microtransactions make me want to die." As a developer and a player, it's the way to go.

Miller: The accountants like to see x players times y dollars. They like subscriptions, but if you only sell through microtransactions, what if nobody buys it this month? Subscriptions allow for some reliability.

Kim: Kim is understated, saying they pioneered the business. When they started they were the little brother; now they are bigger than NCsoft in Asia. Free to play goes beyond core gamers. iTunes has allowed one-off purchases, makes players opt in. They're just not targeting the core users. Kids can't afford a subscription, and subs are not a great fit for all players. It's a viable model depending on who you're targeting.

Pardo: East vs West question, according to Rob. They didn't want to change the design of the game to fit with another culture, but it's not the magic bullet. Your business model won't make your game great; there are ways to make money on the side (charges for server transfers and name changes), and that was more of a social thing than anything else. Opportunity for add-on services, making a hybrid model. Subscriptions aren't going anywhere either.

Ray: You have to understand what you're making. Why are the players going to be passionate about it? If microtransactions facilitate that, if it's a pull instead of a push, it's viable. It's the dominant form in Asia. It's not viable here yet. Could it be there yet? Some games would be a poor fit. Know who you're selling to.

*Jon's last question: MMOs are getting more expensive, can you make one without multi-millions?
Emmert: "There will be two tiers, because the major publishers are afraid to try. WoW offers an alternative to your game-play, and you need to look at what you can reasonably expect for subscribers. There are a few that are going to try to "pass WoW's numbers", which is insane. And they have the money to back that up."

Miller: If low-budget games need 50k subscribers, that's all they need. 100k is vacations in the Bahamas. [Most estimates put COH/COV somewhere in the 50-100K category at this point -blackjack].

Kim: Kim says the AAA MMO is unsustainable. Nexon has never tried to launch a title with big budgets or teams. $230 million in revenue and no team is bigger than 100 people [that's "small"? saywhat]. Kart Rider started with 2 people. You need a smart team with a product the consumer is looking for.

Oh well, if I paste anymore I'll have to request reprint rights. Just some interesting stuff.  icon_smile

I'd have to say Ray (Bioware) comes across as the most thoughtful of the bunch. Although you could argue, with no MMO as of yet, he doesn't need to take a big stand on these issues just yet.
10555  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: is Warhammer Online dead? on: February 21, 2008, 10:11:26 PM
This and Conan: Hyborian Adventures have been leap frogging each other in constant announced delays, but I don't think either game had an honest-to-goodness specific release date -- generally Gamestop and the like will list arbitrary dates, and the publishers (EA in this case) might toss an estimated date so their investors can get excited. I'm sure the devs themselves are still "it'll release when it's done."

My gut feeling is the more polished they are, the better. And if they can wait a little longer to see if the WoW steamroller finally slows down, all the better. But if they wait too long and end up releasing at the same time as a WoW expansion, than woe be to them. paranoid

I don't share any malice towards Mythic (actually I live in the same region that they're located in, in Virginia), but I do think some recent videos I saw on Gametrailers meant to hype Warhammer Online were overly flippant, had little footage from the actual game and spent too much time trying to make their devs seem funny (they weren't imho) instead of trying to make us viewers excited about the game. That might well reflect the arrogance kronovan cited earlier.

I don't think the game's in any cancellation danger, but EA isn't known for its patience. I couldn't see them pulling the plug on it, but I could see them sticking a "line in the sand" release date and forcing Mythic to release at some point.
10556  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PC games you want to love but can't on: February 21, 2008, 06:37:35 PM
Sins of a Solar Empire

I got it. (bought it)

I just don't "get it" yet. Not giving up yet, but for now, it falls under this topic for me.  icon_neutral But I was trying to be brave and venture into a territory (4X) that I never had before. Maybe it was a dumb notion (most of the time, if I buy a game too far out of my comfort zone, it just doesn't work out), but I really am tired of the same old thing and this seemed like something refreshing to me.

I bought one of the Sid Meier Civ games, but I never could get into it either. I had 999 gamers telling me it was the best game ever, but I just didn't "get it."

And of course WoW, which I bought, played the free month, never had any desire to play it or try it again. And about 8-9 million people disagree with me strongly.  Tongue

I have spotty luck when it comes to trying games because others are crazy about it. I got Hellgate and TR due largely to some positive things here and had a lot of fun, but I'm not currently playing either of those (I couldn't get Hellgate to update properly with the last patch and gave up on it for now). I tried City of Heroes and LOTORO late in each game's beta process because some folks I knew were excited about it and got me into the beta, and fell in love with both (3 1/2 years for COH, maybe 6 months for LOTORO). In both cases I think I actually ended up more excited about the game post launch than the people who got me in.

Blah, blah, I'm rambling. Well anyway, neat thread topic idea. I commend three, Canuck. smile
10557  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Dungeon Runners (NCSoft's free MMO/$4.99 premium option) on: February 21, 2008, 02:28:14 PM
I haven't gotten to use the more garish items just yet. (some are higher level reqs).

Some I've seen...

Rifles are available at higher levels in various styles.

This "reptilian" rifle seems very popular.  saywhat

I guess this is for Guitar Hero fans. Not sure if it's a ranged weapon, maybe it's a hammer?  icon_smile

NCSoft cooperated with TenTonHammer on adding a new TenTonHammer hammer in the game. Not sure if it's in yet. I think the upcoming update brings that, and adds new summoning skills (a summonable snow man who has various powers).
10558  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Dungeon Runners (NCSoft's free MMO/$4.99 premium option) on: February 21, 2008, 02:21:44 PM
My main issue with this is that they don't vary the creature AI/reaction enough. I mean, it's like a bad FPS where the moment you enter a certain "radius of detection" in an area, 25 baddies glom on you like gnats. I don't expect great AI, it just needs a wee bit of varying (have some things run away from you, or take different patterns to reach you). Other than ranged attackers and spellcasters standing in a spot and firing, there's nothing.

But it's free. And as a dumbed down Diablo (not that Diablo was rocket science  Tongue) MMO-wannabe, it's a perfectly entertaining time waster. smile I would never suggest this should drag anyone away from $15 a month MMOs. Just, sometimes it's a good breather to get back to basics. And I like the concept of a small (12-13) development team putting out updates on a clockwork-like (every 2 months) schedule and gradually hammering something that seemed disappointing (well, imho smile) at launch into something much more polished and likable. But guys, c'mon, some AI variety please. There's gotta be a way.  nod

As far as quests go. Although they added gobs of them, most are still "kill 25 blah blahs and return" or "get scrolls off corpses at levels 2, 4, 6 of the dungeon" etc. Some of them require more backtracking to earlier levels to turn them in, than I'd like, but overall it's very easy to move around in the game. Also, I really miss the quest tracker that's in almost every mmorpg of note of late. Here quest updates do pop up on the right side briefly, and completed quests are checked off on the 'L' list, but I miss having them on-screen all the time (at least the option to do so).

Reached 14, and turned in some Kings Coins for decent-er Ranger equipment. BlackjackGT almost looks classy now. smile
10559  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: February 21, 2008, 02:27:14 AM
Speak of the devil -- I got the new Game Informer in my mailbox today, and they have a hands-on preview of this.

Some of the tidbits mentioned in the article:
-Cryptic has purchased the actual Champions pen-paper RPG, so while they're presumably going to follow its rules to a T, they don't have to be beholden to another company owning the IP rights (as they would've with Marvel).

-Cryptic is moving into publishing, and this will be their first "self-published" game. I can't help thinking that somebody (SOE perhaps?) else would handle the actual gruntwork of distribution if they intend to sell this in retail boxes.

-Combat is said to have more in common with Marvel's Ultimate Alliance console game, while supposedly keeping some of the skills/development etc. of mmorpgs. They got to play it a bit.

-This is a multiplatform title for XBox360 and PC. Apparently it's already up and playable on each system, and cross-platform compatibility is already working and also planned for launch day. So a Spring 2009 release seems genuinely possible if true.

-Microsoft now owns whatever work Cryptic did on Marvel Universe Online, so this game's engine has nothing to do with MU, or with City of Heroes

-Cryptic apparently got quite a bit of money for selling City of Heroes to NCSoft and this is helping fund this project and their two other mystery projects (Mystery #1 is really just inscrutable from the concept shots the article has; Mystery game #2 appears to be sort of a "caveman fantasy" MMO with loin cloth wearing players riding reptiles and battling dinosaurs.  saywhat

-You'll be able to create a secret identity for your character, and then set whether you want that to be revealed to the public or not. The choice affects what types of missions you get.

-The goal Emmert says is to make most of the game soloable and avoid the idea of forced teaming altogether, though it sounds like it'll be fun to team up.

-There will be loot and gadgets, and equipment you can wear. All will be toggle-able, visuals wise, if you have a look you wish to keep costume wise.

-Heroes will have customizable animations. So a robot-like hero might have a "robotic walking" animation you can select for default; a werewolf might have an animal-style animation etc. The goal seems to be to take everything about the COH costume builder to the next level as far as being able to customize everything.

**Yes, I'm still cynical about all this. I'm cynical there's a console market for MMOs, I'm cynical about how this'll play on PC because they're obviously focusing on how it'll play on an XBox360, and most MMOs that try to "break the mold" are simply not finding a mass audience so far. Still, I like what I read. smile

I played COH (COV to a lesser extent) for 3 1/2 years and loved it. But it is basically a 4 year old game with probably a 5-6 year old engine at this point. It's done a great job of keeping a steady playerbase all these years, and that's impressive.

I'm less excited about the console-ness of this than the fact it seems to be doing so many things that COH fans pleaded and begged for, but were -- repeating myself from above sorry smile -- repeatedly told it couldn't be done for whatever reason. That includes the customizable power colors, customizable animations, the idea of secret identities etc. I remember reading all of those suggestions at the COH boards over the years.

So I'm kind of keen on what they're trying to do here, but I'm just as interested in seeing how far NCSoft will go to deliver more things fans wanted but were told couldn't be done. Some of that (including the recent addition of customizable swords and assault rifles) finally went into the game.

Given this is a console-focused title and it's shooting for a far different combat feel than COH, I'm not thinking it's the COH-knockoff that my initial reaction suggested.
10560  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: February 20, 2008, 08:21:21 PM
Cryptic launched the Champions Online site today (tentative Spring 2009 release):

Screenshots here:

Jack Emmert [aka Statesman before Cryptic sold CoX to NCSOft] has a "Why Champions?" blog entry at the new site:

The artwork seems grittier (at least one seems to suggest some sort of blood spray?), and graphically it reminds me a bit of cel shaded stuff like Silverfall and the shooter XIII.

I don't really know if this is what Marvel Universe was going to look like, and then they just shifted it to the Champions universe when Microsoft backed out.  icon_confused Perhaps this was a second project, as there never were any screenshots to show of MU.

I read pre-release features lists with a massive grain of salt, but here's what they promise. Keep your cynical hat on for now I say, especially when a features list is full of exclamation points!!!!!! Although that's in keeping with my favorite comic books!!!!!!!!!  smirk
The First True Action MMORPG
Hi-Octane Excitement: Champions Online delivers furious, fast-paced encounters previously reserved for action and fighting games. No more boring auto attacks and lengthy recharge times. Champions Online combat is instantaneous — and electrifying!

Brains required: Every enemy and super-powered threat in Champions Online has its own unique abilities and combat specialties. Use your head — or wind up dead!

Bring friends, make friends: The Champions Online universe will be jam-packed with thousands of heroes, facing thousands of threats. Join up with other heroes, create your own superteam, and prepare to take on the ultimate threats!

Be the Hero You Want To Be
Total customization, at your fingertips: Choose from hundreds of different costume pieces, colors and body types to create your character's one-of-a-kind costume and look. There are billions of possible combinations, and in a universe brimming with the fantastic and the unforgettable, you can still be completely unique!

Your powers, on your terms: There are a multitude of astonishing powers to choose from in Champions Online, and its flexible character creation system gives you total control over your hero's abilities. You can even pick the appearance of your powers. Do you want purple force fields? Green fire blasts? Jet black claws? In Champions Online, you decide! [This was something much asked for by COH fans but the answer was always that it would require too much manpower, cost too much or would require reworking the game engine - if I'm recalling it right]

Keep your enemies close: Every hero must have an archenemy. In Champions Online, you design your character's supreme adversary, choosing a name, powers and costume for a superpowered foe to bedevil your hero throughout his or her career. [pretty neat]

Bigger and better: Vanquish evil, and your successes will be rewarded with costume pieces to enhance your powers and abilities. Then customize the appearance of those rewards to your vision of your hero's look and abilities!

Vast Universe
Endless exploration: The battle against evil in Champions Online rages across the world into outer space and alternate dimensions. No other MMOG offers players the chance to explore such diverse realms — from the shining skyscrapers of Millennium City and the frozen wastes of Canada to the interstellar gladiatorial arena on the moon, the hidden underwater city of Lemuria and the foul mystical dimension known as Qliphotic.

Evil most foul: Battle supervillains, aliens, giant monsters and secret, sinister organizations. Doctor Destroyer is launching new plans to conquer the world. VIPER lurks in the shadows, seeking chances to strike at humanity. The ancient Lemurians are plotting a return to power. And Mechanon won't stop until it has wiped all organic life from the planet. Can you stop these heinous threats to humanity?

Make your mark: The story of Champions Online is constantly changing, continually evolving. Villains are defeated. Heroes rise and fall. Cities transform. Your actions may decide the future!
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