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10641  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO Personal Accomplishment on: April 16, 2008, 06:03:27 PM
I'm going to keep an eye on Book 13. I've read it has a new zone that has a lot of solo quest stuff in the 44-50 range (which is where my couple higher levels got pretty much stuck).

Stratics had a dev chat log touching on that:
Brekkee - *Gilanthis* Will this new area be able to level characters on a straight path from 44-50 or is it not a straight path?
Rhidden - There should be enough content in Forochel to get you from 44-50, but how much experience you gain will vary depending on your play style.
Rhidden - Even if you kill the bare minimum with a little Angmar and High Pass questing anyone would have more than enough solo quests to get from 44-50.
I really just need a new PC or at least a fat hard drive at some point. I keep having to delete entire MMOs (this and Tabula Rasa of late) just to clear enough space for new games.
10642  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pirates of the Burning Sea (server consolidation) on: April 16, 2008, 05:51:20 PM
They just announced plans to close 7 of the 11 servers, consolidating players onto 4 in hopes of having a larger player population on each. Can you hear the cries of "DOOOMMM!!!" and "Auto Assault!" yet?  paranoid

Pirates of the Burning Sea Shutters 7 Servers
When Pirates of the Burning Sea launched on January 22nd, we introduced our customers to 11 new game servers. Through feedback from our players and evaluation of our server populations, it has become clear that key game features require populations of higher density in order to function at optimum levels. When you take into account both the disparity in player time zones and the delayed launch of our title in some countries, we were spreading our overall population too thin. Also, in more recent builds, we were able to improve our server technology to allow for an even larger population than we were originally equipped to handle.

Providing our customers with the best game play experience is our first priority. Condensing our populations will lead to a richer, more vibrant game play experience for all involved, and our customers whole-heartedly agree.
The remaining servers are Roberts, Blackbeard, Rackham and Antigua. [better transfer that pirate, Morlac  icon_biggrin).

I think maybe this weekend I will finally plunge in [I'll post name/server stuff here if I do, fwiw]. The latest update seemed to address some UI complaints I'd read about, and the next couple are supposedly going to try to breathe some life into the avatar combat (generally seen as the weakest part of the game), among other things.
10643  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO Personal Accomplishment on: April 15, 2008, 09:38:22 PM
I recommend this for itching!
10644  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12 *purchasable slots* on: April 15, 2008, 05:24:52 PM
I don't care to continue the ad discussion since it's clear I'm beating a dead horse.  deadhorse [substitute other types of corpses if horses bother you crybaby]

Pricing, Details for Optional Additional Character Slots
The pricing for this was inadvertently "leaked" via the test server builds, so NCNorthCal decided to go ahead and post the full details today:
NCsoft NorCal Studios is pleased to announce the pricing and details for the coming Optional Additional Character Slot feature. As we previously announced, we heard the request for a system to allow more characters on a single server and this is our answer. City of Heroes is a unique game that offers many playstyle options; options that are growing in a large way due to Powerset Proliferation and the addition of the Villain Epic Archetypes in the next free expansion, Issue 12: Midnight Hour. To accommodate playing more characters on your favorite server, we will be including the following features in Issue 12:

All current subscribers will receive 2 free character slots, each of which can be used on the specific server of their choice. This is to help you make new characters to take advantage of the new features of Issue 12, even if you already have maxed out your “home” server’s character slots.

1 free character slot will be granted retroactively on a yearly basis through the current Veteran Reward system. Every 12 months that a subscription is maintained will unlock an additional free character slot that the user can apply to the server of their choice. Thus, existing players will be eligible for up to 4 additional character slots at the launch of Issue 12. This will continue into the future for Veteran Rewards given out every 12 months, so you get another slot for 5 years, another one for 6 years, etc.

Additional Optional Character Slots will be available on a purchasable basis. These are one-time fees, not an addition to your monthly subscription rate. The additional slots can be had at the following price points:

• 1 Optional Character Slot for a one-time fee of $5.99
• 2 Optional Character Slots for a one-time fee of $9.99
• 5 Optional Character Slots for a one-time fee of $19.99

Players can have up to 36 slots per server, with an update to the character selection screen that lets you re-organize your character list by Drag and Drop, as well as easily flip between up to three pages of characters available on that server. All customers benefit from these great new User Interface features included with the revisions for Optional Character Slots.

The above features are planned to be made available at the launch of Issue 12: Midnight Hour, which is currently in closed beta testing. Be sure to check out this feature, along with the rest of Issue 12 when we enter the open beta testing period that should be starting in several more weeks.
I was going to create a new thread, but it *is* part of Issue 12, so this seems like the place.  icon_smile I'm long over the alt-itis I once had, so it doesn't interest me much. If it makes them enough revenue to do more things down the road, I'm all for it. Test server players also seem to like being able to drag and drop the order of their characters on the list (just makes it easier to pick out your most commonly played characters, I'd guess).
10645  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO Personal Accomplishment on: April 15, 2008, 05:18:34 PM
I lost interest (patience?) in the game last fall, after getting a couple characters (a Ranger, and I think, a Guardian) to 45 and 44. I do applaud your accomplishments though.  icon_cool

To date, I have still only gotten one character to the level cap in an MMO (SilverKnight, L50 scrapper in City of Heroes).
10646  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: April 13, 2008, 05:42:35 PM
There was another Q&A session:

Ask Cryptic - April 11, 2008
Q:Will the gameplay be more CoH, with lots of FedEx style zone traversing and hunt 50 of [insert villain name here] or more CoV, with most missions not requiring you leave the zone that your contact is in? (BanzaiBadger)

Arkayne: Gameplay in Champions Online has its own style, BanzaiBadger. The majority of gameplay is in the persistent world with occasional forays into instanced areas to take on some of the nastier villains. Every world location has distinct neighborhoods with gameplay centered in that area. Occasionally you'll get missions that take you between world locations, but those are more of the exception than the rule.

Q: If you take the villains from Batman like the Joker, Scarecrow, Two-Face, etc., DC gave them their own little personality to make them each different from the rest. Will the villains in Champions Online have their own feel to them that makes each one seem different from the others? (Aplex)

Arkayne: Champions Online has well-developed personalities for their major named characters, Aplex. Our writer John Layman has done a masterful job in creating interesting missions and dialog to flesh out their personalities. What's more, each of the big-name villains in the game has a "shtick" associated with them. A villain shtick is something players need to counter and take advantage of in order to turn the fight in their favor. Basically, whenever you encounter a new Champions Online villain, you'll have to figure out how to deal with them or you'll be in for a rough time!
10647  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 13, 2008, 05:38:04 PM
I understand how they're "displaying" ads, I don't understand how they can detect whether you have "viewed" an ad or billboard, unless they add some in-game mechanism that takes you to an in-game browser page of the product's site or something. They claim they have a way, and it's probably some proprietary voodoo.

I don't think they can detect exactly whether Dr. Barium tilted his head and "viewed" a giant billboard for "Gamers' Hemmorhoidal Ointment," is what I'm trying to say.  icon_confused  eek
10648  Non-Gaming / Forum and Site Feedback / Re: Beserk new-thread-starting on: April 11, 2008, 02:19:06 AM
I coulda sworn there was someone here who agreed with me, but I guess I was wrong.  disgust

So in the future, any time there is anything of interest for Champions Online (for example), I'll just start a new thread. Maybe once it gets closer to release, I'll have 267 threads, and I can push all the other MMO topics to Page 17.  Since every individual brain-burp is worth a new thread apparently, I might as well get with the program even if it's eventually going to turn this place into the chaotic Quarter to Three (where I used to hang out at, except the roughly 350 new threads per day situation there was one of the things that drove me away). Tongue
10649  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 10, 2008, 05:07:54 PM
TenTonHammer has an interview (with Matt Miller/Positron and NCNorthCal producer Brian Clayton) about the upcoming optional in-game advertising (though this isn't part of update 12, I don't know what update it'll be part of so I'll put that kinda stuff here):
Ten Ton Hammer: How is revenue actually generated from the ads? Do players need to just flip the switch and choose to view the ads?

Matt: It’s generated by actual impressions in the game world. We’ve got ways of tracking whether a players sees an ad or not, and that will be how the money is generated.
I'm still not clear how this works in-game. I don't think they're going to pop you out of the game to a Web browser. I wonder if you have to physically click on the billboard ad or something.  icon_confused
One hundred percent of the revenue that’s generated from the in-game ads is pushed back into the development team and the game. What’s great about that is that customers have an additional way to support the product and service that they love without ever having to open up their wallets.
Hopefully they'll put that in writing.  icon_smile They're saying all the right things (in-game ads *optional* for the life of CoX, the money will *only* be used for CoX team/development etc.), but people like to see those in writing.

Brian: I think anyone that is reading between the lines can see that City of Heroes is still strong and growing, but why in the heck would NCsoft buy just the current state of City of Heroes? We expect, within the next few months, that we’ll be able to make some of these huge announcements and let people know where we’re going with the franchise and what we want to do with it in the future.
10650  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Happy 10th Anniversary StarCraft on: April 10, 2008, 04:56:34 PM
I dug it and Brood Wars out maybe 2-3 years ago, and I was surprised by how much fun I still had with it, how interesting and varied the campaign missions are, and how gripping the storyline still was/is (esp. compared to just about any other RTS I've played). Maybe I'm just a mushball, but I still got choked up about Kerrigan in that Particular Mission even when I knew what was going to happen...

I still hit a brick wall maybe 1/2 or 2/3 through the campaign where I just couldn't keep up anymore. But really, I have that problems with every RTS (even my fave Company of Heroes).

And even though I'm part Korean, I do not sleep in Starcraft pajamas nor do I have Zergling posters or Protoss Crunchy Sugar Bombs Cereal, nor do i feel the need to refer to a "tank/solder etc. rush" in every single game as "Zerging."  disgust icon_lol
10651  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Any problems with UK versions of games in the US? on: April 10, 2008, 01:20:06 PM
I think the only UK PC game imports I've bought over the years (thanks to GoGamer, they'll carry the UK version if a North American release is either lagging/not yet available, and there's customer demand for it) were Operation Flashpoint in 2001, and Sacred (both eventually got North American releases, but I was impatient). Both worked fine, even online, as long as my versions were compatible. It did feel strange having to remind myself to get the UK version of a patch (once the N.A. releases came out).  icon_neutral
10652  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: CGW..or if you must call it GfW is no more on: April 09, 2008, 06:05:42 PM
I think I have some precious 1992-1995 or so issues I might see if I can photog some later, though I guess there's a Web site that has all the cover images.

I'd wax about CGW, but I guess there was already a lot of that back when it became Games for Windows. To me, the whole Games for Windows branding has mostly been a flop (or at the best, pretty pointless). The ballyhooed "kiosks" never seemed to take shape at any store I've seen (Best Buys in my area briefly grouped GFW-labeled games but they don't seem to bother anymore now). With my aging PC, seeing the "Games for Windows" logo on the box has generally proven more a reason to Fear the Unknown... Tongue

More and more I just don't bother reading/buying U.S. print mags anymore. I far more enjoy reading the UK mags EDGE and gamesTM (multi-platform) or Total PC Gaming, and PC Zone (PC). I think there's also a UK PC Gamer that's pretty cool (totally separate staff than the U.S. mag, and larger paper). If you really need dead-tree reading (even just something to skim at a bookstore for a while), I recommend all of those in particular. Borders usually has EDGE and Total PC Gaming; Barnes & Noble usually seems to have gamesTM, Total PC Gaming and sometimes PC Zone.
10653  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Business lessons learned from WoW on: April 09, 2008, 03:01:30 AM
As far as LOTORO goes, Turbine late last year said it was making its first push with LOTORO into Asian markets. See this interviewy:
"I was in Korea two weeks ago at G-Star," said Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel. "We went there to sign out distribution agreement with NHN, who run Hangame."

The agreement is the first step in their effort to bring Lord of the Rings Online to one of the world's hottest MMOG markets.
So, that's a good point to make, and it'll be interesting to see if LOTORO gains some steam there.

My take on WoW is it's Lightning in a Bottle. It came out at just the right time. It has drawn tons and tons of people who never played an MMO before, and may well never play one after they quit it. I can tell you lots of stories of gamer buds I had whose lives revolved around military shooters, who said they'd die before they ever paid $12-$15 a month to play an online game. And well, WoW proved them wrong.  saywhat And heck, most online comic guys you can think of probably never gave MMOs a second look before WoW, and they live and breathe it now.

I just think to some extent it's pointless for columnists and reporters to try to draw any lessons from WoW. It's not some formula you can pack in a bottle and sell. It's not some spreadsheet you can copy numbers into, and then get the same results. I fully don't expect Age of Conan (and its audience-shrinking M-rating) or Warhammer Online, or anything else on the MMO lists I see to do anything more than a drop in a bucket compared to WoW. I don't say that as a WoW fan (I bought it, played it 3 weeks and have never felt any urge to try it again), just as a realist.

What's lost is you don't *need* those numbers to succeed. You don't need 8 million worldwide subscribers, or X # active subscribers to call your game profitable. I really hope Age of Conan and Warhammer Online at least succeed to the point of "earning their production costs back," so their investors don't feel like they invested millions of dollars into a black hole.
10654  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: CGW..or if you must call it GfW is no more on: April 08, 2008, 09:43:30 PM
Talk about timing. My mom and aunt were doing a "forced Spring cleaning" of my computer room. I kept pulling out stacks of old magazines and saying "Yeah, I don't need this crap anymore" and marking them for tossing.

And then I saw a milk crate full of 1992-1995 Computer Gaming Worlds and issues raving about X-COM, Doom, X-Wing, and Crusader: No Remorse. *Change of Heart* "Nooooooo, these I can't let go of just yet."  icon_smile

I hate to say "I told you so," but I was lamenting to folks on other boards a year ago that GFW had shrunk well below 100 or even 90 or 80 pages on occasion. It was so wispy, you could read it in about 2 minutes at a bookstore rack. I couldn't see how it could keep surviving in the state that it's in. People kept telling me they had "re-done the format" and that's why it was so tiny, but you just can't survive on that little advertising revenue.

The sad thing is how little game-related advertising (with so many franchises going multi-platform, there really are fewer and fewer PC-only games advertised, outside of MMOs) was in some issues. If it wasn't for all the gamer PC boutiques advertising, some issues would've been almost bereft of ads (yeah I know, we'd all love that, but you can't stay in business with a no-ads-in-your-magazine model icon_neutral).

I'm sure they're going to lather up "going to the Web" as the smart thing to do, but I work in print magazines myself and it's the high priced color print advertising that pays my paycheck and keeps us in business -- the advertising in the e-mail newsletter I work in is more of a supplementary income for us by comparison. I already saw this happen to too many publications ("Hey let's go online only! Oh wait, we can't make enough money from blinking banner ads to pay everybody! Oops!"  disgust). I know though they're part of a larger overall network, and I hope it does well enough for the staffers to keep working in the long term. smile

P.S. Oh these days my favorite PC gaming mag is the UK import, "Total PC Gaming," which is big, beautiful and probably seems horribly overpriced ($8.99 or $9.99 I think in U.S. bookstores) but at least that's because it's on oversized pages, not because of a useless DVD-pack in. Enjoy it before Imagine Publishing comes to its senses.  icon_lol
10655  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: April 07, 2008, 06:25:38 PM
Not to be a hypothetical wet blanket, but presumably the whole point of NDAs (usually up until an open or "open stress test" beta) is people not badmouthing "works in progress" publicly when they're still balancing and polishing. So I'd recommend limiting even cleverly-worded-hypothetical discussions to PMs (if at all) unless you want the moderators here to get upset. icon_neutral

I don't think we're too far from open beta if it's really going to make that May 19 release. I'd imagine later this month or early May it might open up more, although the devs indicated it will still be a "controlled" open beta and not one where you just download, get a key, and poof.

I've gotten really skewed perceptions of certain games the last couple of years in late betas (because the launch version game was so improved, or they held certain content back for launch), that scared me off at launch and then I got the game later. I'm not sure I'll try so hard to get into early-mid betas so much any more, because I really feel they've given me a wrong impression of the final product (which is another way of saying I'm a sucky beta tester  Tongue).
10656  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: April 05, 2008, 02:43:24 PM
Emmert piped in a little on a "things CoX did wrong that Champions Online will do right" thread (as a COH-homie, I find it a little sad to be slagging a successful 4-year old game for what it is not -- if it's so awful, NCSoft wouldn't be doubling its manpower and re-investing in the game imho, they'd instead dump it in the virtual landfill with Auto Assault; but that's besides the point)....
Quote from: Jack Emmert
My own perspective on this:
1. Power customization
2. Supervillains (and interesting supervillain battles at that - not just bags of hit points)
3. Something other than combat
4. Interesting rewards
5. More varied environments
The power customization is sounding more like color and some effect customization. Fans of course want to claw for custom animation of everything, but as with the Studio Formerly Known as Cryptic, they spend a lot of time backtracking from the idea of being able to customize animations or everything because of those pesky "it takes too much manpower/hours/money to do" issues.
10657  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 05, 2008, 03:12:46 AM
They are gearing up for a very (initially) small closed beta, which starts *next weekicon_cool (however, "when it's done" is for sure a good guess when it will go live, it just depends on the feedback they get)
Starting next week (April 7 - 11) we will be entering the closed beta testing for Issue 12: Midnight Hour. We want to give you this advance notice, because the Training Room Test Servers will become unavailable for the duration of the closed beta. We anticipate that the closed beta phase will last for several weeks.
I wouldn't expect it to hit live for some time. This is another one of those "mother of all updates" that's going to need an awful lot of balancing and tweaking. And even then, when it does go live, I expect you'll hear more kvetching than at any time since the infamous Enhancement Diversity issue.

Worst of all, it won't make Ron Burke like the game even!  saywhat icon_wink

fwiw, after a nomadic journey through other MMORPGs (LOTORO, Tabula Rasa, Dungeon Runners), I've canceled the first two, put DR away, and now I'm right back where I started. Strange how gaming life works, huh? All that philandering, and I ended up back with my first true love. The Weghted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you.  icon_lol

10658  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 04, 2008, 05:11:29 PM
They added a clarification that the optional in-game advertising is scheduled for introduction (after going on test servers for feedback) sometime after Issue 12:
10659  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: April 04, 2008, 03:10:29 AM
I went ahead and canceled my account tonight. In the feedback form, I basically told them I was disappointed with the lack of new content in the 30-50 range, and the lack of work on new zones to give people greater variety in things to do. I really think the relatively piddly changes they're making in the upcoming patch updates are nowhere near what the game needs to improve its retention rate.

They yak, yak, yak about PAUs (Personal Armored Units), and upcoming 40-50 content to make PAUs have challenging things to do, and then they lay off most of the launch team and spend a lot of time doing PR damage control claiming how much of a commitment they have to the game. Stop talking. Show me/show us. Otherwise, NCSoft/Destination Games, you are the Emperor With No Clothes.  disgust

That I was probably the biggest fan of the game here and given up should probably help illustrate about where the game's at.

To me it's a game that can wow you in a 1-week trial. It might even wow you for a month or two, as it did for me. But do you want to spend $180 a year on it? The game has some of the most truly interesting and entertaining MMO missions out there imho. It has cool ideas scattered throughout (cloning in particular). What it doesn't have is enough variety that you don't quickly get bored with all your characters having to do the same missions over and over. It doesn't really have enough end game content for the big majority to even want to reach there. And they keep dangling PAUs as this Holy Grail that's going to save the game, but nothing I read suggest that's anywhere near release.

And no, I don't buy this "well, WoW makes it so no MMO can succeed" lamenting. LOTORO is going quite strong. COH is well past the 4 year mark and while it'll never have a subscriber base that even makes a rain drop in WoW's subscriber base bond, COH is doing fine.  Hell, even DDO, which nobody seems to like, is still going strong.

I'm still concerned TR will end up in the Auto Assault dust heap and developers won't ever try something a little unconventional in MMO land again. I think as long as Garriott's involved, that won't happen. If he suddenly gets cold feet and wants to divert his attention to another game, then I think TR is doomed.

This has been Blackjackodamus, the Mad Profecizer of Doom.  icon_twisted
10660  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 03, 2008, 08:38:55 PM
Today they announced (no joke, really) initial plans for optional (i.e., you can turn them off, but NCSoft won't get any extra revenue then) in-game advertising that would be limited to the billboards and signs already in place:
Our development costs are ramping up in a major way as we look to literally double the team this year to accommodate big plans for the short, medium and long term. Optional in-game advertising is another revenue stream that helps us to accomplish all of this at no additional expense to our players. Ultimately, we leave it up to you, the players, to decide which experience you prefer.
They are also excited about other opportunities this will open up for billboard use:
Another interesting opportunity that the optional in-game advertising technology presents us is dynamically displaying other billboard content. We can swap in new signs that we create much more easily, and we can even display player-created content!

This provides a cool new area for community contests, recognizing great player art, etc. In fact, we are inviting any interested players to submit their own advertising materials in our defined horizontal, vertical and square sizes (see all of the specific requirements here). We will use some of these to test the new optional ads on the Training Room (test servers).
Interesting, though veterans will recall the short lived "movie theater marquee" contest that was held exactly once.  disgust
10661  Non-Gaming / Forum and Site Feedback / Beserk new-thread-starting on: April 01, 2008, 11:14:54 PM
I must say, as much as I love this place, of late there seems to be some widespread injection (infection? ) of "create a new thread about anything and everything that's been announced, one by one, eeeyah!!!!!!!!!" *ques video of Macaulay Culkin racing around in Home Alone movies after a sugar bombs fest*

I have tried my best to honor the "look for an existing thread before you post" guideline -- which is even kind of fun sometimes when you "wake up" a 1-2 year old thread because you learned something new, the board software even basically asks you "Hey, do you really want to dig up this dusty old thread?"  icon_lol-- and I've resisted the temptation to create a new "HEY LOOK! COH ANNOUNCed a New feature from IssuEEEE !@!!!!!" or "OMG THERE"s a NEW VIDEO OUT!!!!!!!!!!!" thread every time NCSOft announces something.

I'm not a mod, and I'm generally "live and let live" (part of the reason I came here was a past board where the single moderator was constantly deleting threads and merging them w/o explanation or "just because he felt like it" or he "didn't like the conversation") so consider this merely a friendly observation and not a demand to "open a can of moderation whoop-arse" icon_twisted on anybody. I was going to share these thoughts in a particular game thread, but I feel it belongs here.  icon_neutral 
10662  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Bethesda sucks and they and anyone who likes them are going to hell (Fallout 3) on: April 01, 2008, 11:05:59 PM
I assume people are just jealous that Emil Pagliarulo, formerly a news grunt at Adrenaline Vault in the old, old days, is now lead designer on Fallout 3.  Tongue

Since gaming news site-dom can lead to such gaming industry heights later, I am counting on Ron Burke designing X-COM 3 next.  icon_biggrin
10663  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 01, 2008, 04:57:59 PM
Hey the COH site has a very subtle and amusing April Fool's joke:

City Of Heroes Announces Visual Sounds!

The joke being that they're going to remove all the audio in favor of comic book style "action words."   saywhat The problem is that I really would dig that option, which would finally make the game truly feel comic booky. And I have buds who purposely play without sound on (weird, I know) who might enjoy it.

However, it's a joke.  icon_lol
10664  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 31, 2008, 09:47:18 PM
Official site has some cool info on the improved costume creator:
In Issue 12, players will be able to view the real numbers behind all of their powers.

To allow this, an easy to use button has been added to Character Creation “Show Detailed Info” in the middle of the power selection screen. By clicking this, you gain access to view all the numbers behind the powers in the list as you mouse over it.

What’s more, you can grab the slider at the top of the Detailed Info Display and slide it to various levels to see how the power scales up as you level up! In this picture, you can see how Vengeful Slice will function at level 31.

Also, you can see how the power changes against another player target by clicking the “Show PvP Effects” button.
There's also a new optional "costume sets" button so instead of struggling to find the various components of a single-themed set, you can click one button to get them all in place.

They mention that even if you don't get into closed beta, you will at least be able to check these features out on the test server:
While you may not be able to log all the way into the closed beta, everyone who configures to connect to the Training Room Test Server will be able to get to character select and character creation to check out these great new improvements!
10665  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What is suffocating Pc Gaming... Ill tell you what. on: March 30, 2008, 04:17:41 PM

Quote from: HankRaptor on March 28, 2008, 05:18:43 PM


I decided to get some games that I have been missing out on over the past several years and made a stop at Gamestop… I was HORRIFIED by the selection, I couldn’t find Command and Conquer 3, Rise of Legends, Company of Hero’s after three stores, I found Company of Hero’s. I reckon I need to buy games for the PC online. Being out of the loop on this one, this was quite the shock. I remember when 80 percent of the store was PC and it was OVERWHELMING what to even BUY!!! THE HORROR.


I get home with my poichase of Company of Heros and try to install it and the serial key does not WORK after a call and some hand flapping I  was told the manual key was bad and should have another  number in the box. In the middle of the manual was an index card with a number stating the manual printing was hosed use this number….. and after a LENGTHY install.. I was treated to having to download a patch that was over 100 meg. No problem, another 10 minutes it installs and I restart the game PATCH 2 at 40 meg… Rinse, Wash, Repeat. I didn’t even believe this myself a THIRD PATCH had to download. ONE HOUR LATER I HAVENT SEEN THE GAME YET.

Now I should say, I often enjoy diagnosing PC problems. But my concern is how JOE SIXPACK would do ANY OF THIS. The answer is he wouldn’t he is playing his Wii.  After all these years these problems SHOULD not EXIST.

Cries on his autoexec.bat trying to remember the commands for emm386… Hugs his PC softly weeping.

For #3, if you have a decent size Target store, check it out. The Target near where I work in Virginia has a fine PC games section, well stocked with new releases (I've often been surprised to see new releases the very day they launch, at Target), older "big name" releases (including the GOTY version of Company of Heroes). And game boxes are stocked with the cover FRONT, instead of this book-binder style stuff too common these days.

I don't waste my time at Gamestop anymore when it comes to PC games (I just go there for handhelds now). I'm not going to reward a chain for treating PC gaming like a ghetto when there are still stores that don't.  disgust
For # 4, if you want something like Company of Heroes, look for the "Game of the Year" edition (which presumably has most of the patches already in place, or at least on the DVD) or for a compilation that has it and Opposing Fronts. Most of COH's patches are adjusting balance (there's so much variety in the game, esp. in PVP online play, I doubt they'll ever stop balance-patching it). Also, to make the game compatible with Opposing Fronts online, they pretty much had to jam the Opposing Fronts entire install into a patch (so that you can play against people who have the Opposing Fronts armies even if yourself don't have OF installed).

If you did get the GOTY edition, than disregard this rambling.  icon_smile

The glass half full way of looking at Company of Heroes is just how dedicated Relic has been to constantly tweaking the game, and making sure people with just the original game can play Opposing Fronts owners without having to pay more money. It's not so much the game is a mess they're constantly fixing. If they only had to balance it for single player, I doubt it'd have had anywhere near as many patches as it did.

You make good points, but even consoles are now forcing people to patch, and often download updates to fix problems or get additional content. I really thinK QA is getting both worse and tougher to do, you can't really account for people using integrated video or 5 year old cards, or 4 year old systems (like me  paranoid)

I'm still putting off a Vista system purchase because I still see no consistency in gamer impressions. Some have disastrous experiences with it and others claim, "For me, after SP1, it's just like XP," though the latter always makes me ask "Then why bother with it?"  icon_confused

10666  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 30, 2008, 01:39:38 PM
Saw an IGN Age of Conan Vault interview with Funcom's Jason Stone (A U.S. dev team member who moved to Norway to work on the game and has since moved back to the U.S. but continues to work on it and I guess handle some of the press stuff):

Some things of interest:
Using iD's "GTK Radiant" level designing tool
Jube: Some time ago I read an interview with Chris Jensen, and was very surprised to find out that you were utilising GTK Radiant, to some extent, in the creation of dungeons. Since Radiant has always been associated with first person shooter level design, I found it quite interesting that you licensed the tool from id Software. Are you still using GTK Radiant? Do you see it as being a tool that you may use for other MMO ventures in the future?

Jason Stone: When it comes to tools, use what is proven, use what your guys feel comfortable with. As it happens we have some guys who had some great experience with designing levels for Quake and so it was natural.

Favorite class
Jason Stone: I tend to like a lot of the melee classes and I think the pole-arm wielding guardian is one of my favorites. I love the long reach and wide sweeps of the weapon.
10667  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 29, 2008, 02:20:03 AM has a nice, albeit rambling, roundup from the NCSoft Europe Heroic Weekend:
Some stuff that caught me eye:
The most shocking revelation was learning just how hard the City Of Heroes and City of Villains team was hit by the post-CoV reallocation of resources. By Melissa's [level designer Melissa Debianco, aka War Witch] count, the development team was pared down to just fifteen people [Blizzard has a bigger janitor department icon_lol], who still somehow managed to produce several issues' worth of quality content. Those days are now past, the NorCal studio is recruiting again and the IP is seeing some serious investment.
More promisingly for the future...

Yes, we are told, there are developments in the pipeline to keep City Of Heroes competitive with Champions Online. Although nobody was willing to be specific, there was a prevailing sense of Something Big on the way.

Only Kerensky, the eccentric European forum red name who had dropped dozens of twisted 'clues' in the run-up to Issue 11, was anything like forthcoming. "Yes, we have seen the design documents," he explained, then paused. "No," he concluded, "I don't think I should talk about it. It'll cause an uproar, but it will be very good for the game."
I and most fans have probably been reading that between the lines, as devs keep referring to how old the engine is, and how embedded certain functions are - often making it really tough to introduce new features fans have expressed cravings for. Now and then there's this sort of "Right now, we can't do anything about it" or "With this engine, that's not realistic" attitude with something of a "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" that suggests that situation could change.

You gotta believe NCSoft wouldn't hire so many more people and invest (apparently) a lot of new money into 4 year old game that doesn't really move boxes on retail shelves anymore, unless it was planning something more major than just another free issue update. Hope springs eternal. 

I guess the only danger is you can get an Asheron's Call 2/Everquest II situation (Turbine yanked the plug on AC2 after disappointing sales but continues to run Asheron's Call even today; Everquest II has its fans but clearly it got swamped and campsized by the WoW battleship in 2004-2005).
10668  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 28, 2008, 08:22:12 PM
I'd ban Ron for his blasphemy, but since he owns the place, I don't think that would work.  icon_lol

Hey, Gamezone has published The Full List of Power Proliferation Powersets:
List of New Primary and Secondary Powersets added in Issue 12

New Primary - Psychic Blast

New Secondary - Mental Manipulation


New Primary - Electrical Blast

New Secondary - Storm Summoning


New Primary - Plant Control

New Secondary - Thermal Radiation


New Primary - Earth Control

New Secondary - Electricity Manipulation


New Primary - Cold Domination

New Secondary - Ice Blast


New Secondary - Storm Summoning


New Primary - Battle Axe

New Primary - War Mace

New Secondary - Super Reflexes


New Primary - Electric Melee

New Secondary - Electric Armor


New Primary - Dark Armor

New Secondary - Dark Melee


New Primary - Fiery Melee

New Secondary - Fiery Aura
If you forgot what PP refers to, every class gets at least one powerset from the other game's relatively equivalent archetype's power choices (COH from COV and vice versa). Masterminds only get the one additional powerset, and Brutes get one extra for reasons they previously explained.

They acknowledge concerns about psychic blasters being overpowered in PvP and it's something they're presumably adjusting based on closed beta feedback.
10669  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: March 28, 2008, 07:27:20 PM
Cryptic posted a new round of Q&A from fan questions:

Ask Cryptic - March 28, 2008
This is a bit tricky to do my usual cut-n-paste summaries, so I'm stitching together some things of interest:
Quote from: Jack Emmert
In Champions Online, a player selects a Fire Blast with some predetermined effects...

But Champions Online is all about customization. So a player can take that Fire Blast and, over time, add Advantages and Limitations to it. These aren't necessarily going to be identical to the ones in the HERO System, but they'll be familiar. Some Advantages can add new damage types, increase the chance of a critical, or perhaps add some new wrinkle under particular conditions (imagine a power that does something extra but only at night …)
About instances vs. outside of instances:
Quote from: Arkayne
We're putting a lot of work into our persistent environments. There are going to be large-scale threats in almost every world location that players will need to team up to take down, ranging from giant monsters to alien invaders and super-powerful villains.

Monster Island is a great example of this with a number of nasty creatures ready to challenge brave teams of heroes!
About upgrades' visual options:
Quote from: Arkayne
Upgrades come in a multitude of forms. Some are external (i.e. pieces of power armor) and others are internal (i.e. mutagen serums). The visuals vary from costume pieces to different glows, FX, etc. As players advance their heroes they can acquire upgrades with amazing new visual components to customize their hero.

Please keep in mind that these visual changes are optional, and that players can simply turn them off if they think it doesn’t suit their characters.
There's more, just highlighting some stuff.
10670  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 28, 2008, 05:15:19 PM
I think, after all my breathless hyperventilation, that I'm going to get a "real" (notebook size) laptop here soon with a keyboard designed for adult hands and not for Wizard of Oz munchkins. I'm a reporter, and really what I need is something I can type up notes and interviews on, and perhaps update some Excel charts on, comfortably. As cool as the Eee PC is, I just can't see being able to do that on it.

An interesting thing in the FCC photos was how the tiny keyboard seems to be of a single piece that slides/snaps in place. If they conjured up some sort of "flip up/fold out" close-to-fullsize keyboard contraption, either as a future model or accessory, that might interest writers like me more.  icon_cool But, I don't see it happenin'.

On the flip side, I want to get my 73 year old mom a new PC at some point (she's using a kludgy Windows ME system with a 1992 VGA monitor). She has very tiny hands, and maybe, possibly, I could see her enjoying the new Eee PC models. Windows baffles her, and she might like the Linux version's tabbed interface. I'd have to set up a USB dial-up modem though.

Oh, also, I read about a big fire at a factory in South Korea that churns out batteries for smaller laptops (including the Eee PC). While this may shift business to Samsung and a Japanese battery manufacturer, it might also cause a shortfall in the needed batteries at a poor time for the Eee PC new models (just the articles speculating, hopefully they are arranging alternate sources in a timely manner).

This is actually sort of "phase out" time at most stores so there's a lot of interesting close-out sales and such. I've seen some fine small laptops in the $499-$699 range. I'm tempted to start up a laptop thread, but I'm not sure that contradictory advice from 100 people here (or any other forum) would help me make a decision. I'm just going into stores, practicing typing on the keyboards and kicking the tires, so to speak.  icon_smile

If I knew somebody who was a writer/reporter who had to bang away on his/her laptop on the road a lot (in airplanes, hotels, lobbies etc.), that would be helpful.
10671  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Mythos on: March 28, 2008, 12:43:46 PM
Though this wasn't my cup of tea, I'm still receiving e-mail updates. Here's the latest:
1) Mythos site re-launched!

2) Zone 3 release imminent! PvP, new areas, crafting...

3) What the heck is a Stagkin?

4) More details on Stonehill posted.

So what's next for the free-to-play Action RPG MMO called Mythos? Open Beta!

If Zone 3 goes well, we could be looking at an Open Beta release in the near future.

Then everyone can enjoy Mythos!
10672  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PC gaming alliance (industry effort) on: March 27, 2008, 05:40:19 PM
This msnbc item spoke to me:

Is PC gaming dying? Or thriving?
You don't hear much about PC games lately, except 'World of Warcraft'
Actually, what spoke to me was this:
You’re not going to be able to play “Crysis” on that four-year-old Compaq Presario you’re rocking

OMG! How did she know I'm "rocking" (wheezing?) on a four-year-old Compaq Presario! (I really am. Sad. See below. disgust)

It is basically true though. If pundits want to say PC gaming's thriving (in terms of PC-specific titles) they point to WoW, The Sims, and that's about it (if they pay attention to current sales, they might mention Sins of a Solar Empire). If they want to say it's dying, they omit WoW, The Sims etc. and say, "LOOK!!!! DOOM!!!" icon_neutral
10673  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 27, 2008, 03:32:42 PM
You might check your antialias settings. With ATI cards in particular the game is sometimes wacky. I can't get it to retain AA settings, so if I want them on, I have to turn them on manually each time I play (the driver AA settings don't seem to affect the game for some reason, regardless of my in-game settings).

To me, a grindy game is something like Dungeon Runners where 90% of the quests are "kill 45 things and return back to me." COH's a very combat-heavy game and like Diablo, you either enjoy that or it becomes tedious (it did for me eventually which is why I deactivated my account for about 6 months).

I have always told my buds who tried trials that the first maybe 1-20 levels (before stamina can remove the wheeze factor) don't really give an accurate picture of how fun the game can be once you have your best combat powers, buffs etc., many of which fall in the 26-28-32-35-38 range. I couldn't get there in 7-10 days unless resorting to various cheesy power leveling/bridging tricks.

I almost feel like trials should let you start right there (at 20). That's not going to happen, but a lot of people now just form big sewer teams and power-level burn through the first 10-15 levels that way to avoid some of the lower level tedium.
10674  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 27, 2008, 12:57:37 PM
A few bitties...

Ubergizmo (?) uses diagrams to explain the multi-touch stuff via the touch pad (not a touch screen, in this case/model):

They also linked to the actual FCC section that has the EeePC 900 screenshots that Engadget posted:|MSQEPC9GE780|
A lot of it won't be meaningful unless you're really into, "ALSAS-10U Interpolation and Extrapolation Uncertainty."  icon_confused It's like reading a Star Trek technical manual.

It has the full user manual, though it probably doesn't differ a whole lot from the original models.

I'm still thinking the one site (Mobile: that claims to have "confirmed" a "touchscreen" was referring to this "multi-touch touchpad" gesture stuff and perhaps misheard/misunderstood the information.

As mentioned here:
A few things the Eee PC 900 will not have include a touchscreen and GPS (global positioning system), the Asustek representative said, despite some news reports to the contrary.
I take no joy in perhaps bursting someone's bubble in that. But touchscreens aren't cheap, and I'd assume a switch to that would take the Eee PC well out of Asus' comfortable price range.
10675  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tom Clancy MMO Accounced on: March 27, 2008, 02:26:55 AM
Now that Take-Two is apparently tossing around PowerPoint slides claiming that Bioshock (!) and Civ (!) can be MMOGs (!!!) [see, it's becoming clearer that publishers just pull out WoW's numbers and figures and are blinded by dollar signs. They don't see how much hellish work, servers and manpower goes into maintaining and keeping an MMO up and running, or pay attention to how many of them fail, or become utterly marginal (I'd throw about half of SOE's stable of games into that category), or simply don't beyond their initial launch phase.

I think basically every publisher now sees monthly fees and/or microtransactions as the Holy Grail. They don't seem to realize the state of our nation's economy, the price of gasoline, or the rising costs of just about everything. If I were them, I'd take their WoW-colored glasses off and try having a reality check. And stop letting accountants attach "could be an MMOG!" to every freaking game in their portfolio.  disgust icon_lol

That's all I have to share as teh Mad Prophet of Doom for the Gaming Industry.  icon_twisted And yes, to get back on topic, I think a Tom Clancy MMOG is just as ridiculous!
10676  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 26, 2008, 07:29:36 PM
I'm sure holographic stuff and projectors will be common soon. It's just, esp. as someone who learned to type on *gasp* typewriters  icon_eek, I really need some tactile keyboard clacking for feedback. Otherwise, typing on projected keys is like typing on an Atari 400.  saywhat

As long as we're going Endgadget bananas  icon_smile, I clicked on the EeePC900 tag and they have a lot under it, including some hands-on stuff earlier this month I think maybe I missed.

This post they finally got to turn on the monitor and were happy the new 1024X600 image fills up the entire 9" screen:

fwiw, 399 euros (12GB model) would be about $631 U.S., though I doubt the prices will convert exactly like that.

If you look at the last sticker photo in the hands on, it reads, fwiw:

Display: 8.9"
Processor/Chipset: Intel
Memory: 1GB DDR2
Storage: 8GB S.S.D. [12GB model available too]
Card Reader: MMC/SD/SDHC
Audio: High definition audio/stereo speaker/mic
Communication: 10/100 LAN, WLAN 802.11b/g
Camera: 1.3MB Pixel Video Camera
Battery: 4 cells, 3.5 hours
*Actual battery life will depend on actual operations and configurations.
10677  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: is Warhammer Online dead? on: March 26, 2008, 06:20:44 PM
Probably he be referring to this...
Quote from: Blue
The SE will include an art book, a hardcover graphic novel, some miniatures, as well as in-game goodies, including bonus quests, rewards, and titles. They also say those who preorder will gat open beta access, a head start on the live game, and additional bonus items. This will be a limited edition, they say 55,000 units will be released in Europe for an 80 Euro MSRP, leading to the age-old dilemma of deciding if you love a game enough for this sort of commitment before you've gotten to play it.
I think Blue's forgetting that most retail pre-order boxes don't obligate you to buy the full game (though you may well not want to pay 10 bucks just to - possibly - find out the game you were excited about is an Emperor with no clothes icon_neutral). I mentioned elsewhere, but I bought the pre-order boxes for COV and Auto Asssault just to get in the late beta and in each case declined to get the full game when it launched (I did get each later). I can maybe see myself doing that with this and Age of Conan rather than plopping $50-$60 down sight unseen.
10678  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 26, 2008, 05:18:03 PM
Interesting, though I was actually interested more in the pictures of the 9" model found in its FCC filings (it's a link on that same page ye mentioned):

ASUS' 9-inch Eee PC 900 hits the FCC with full teardown, gets multi-finger gesture support
There's no secret-sauce WiMAX or drastic changes we can see, though the manual does make mention of "multi-finger gesture input," which will apparently provide the ability to zoom in, zoom out, and do familiar two-finger scrolling on the newly resized trackpad.
But is it just me, or does the fact that even the hottest gizmos in the universe (iPhones, etc.) always boil down to soldered circuit boards that look like they're from
1974 once you take the exterior window dressing away feel like a letdown here in the 21st century.  disgust icon_lol

I gotta cover a conference in Cleveland around May 19-21 (yes, of course, right when Age of Conan launches; I'm sooo cursed  crybaby), and Tuesday's our e-mail newsletter's production day. So we were hyperventilating about having to finish the newsletter at a hotel business center, Kinko's etc. We have one laptop, and the Wi-Fi isn't working.

All I could think was, would an Eee PC help me in this situation or would trying to type and update an Excel spreadsheet chart on the kid-sized keyboard drive me insane? Should I get a nice "real" laptop even though I can't see needing it more than 2-3 times a year for work?  icon_confused Do I really want to go through all the laptop crap I see people go through at TSA security lines? Do we have a more general laptop thread I can ask these things in?  retard
10679  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 26, 2008, 05:12:24 PM
The real shame is Rikti War Zone is supposed to be a Hero-Villains cooperative area, but they didn't find a way to enable the Search for Teammates function to work "cross COH/COV". Really a bummer. You can type in /whoall to see all the heroes and villains in RWZ, and I've tried to invite villains to team up that way, but it's klutzy. I've stumbled onto some villains in the RWZ interiors, but have not been able to get on teams with any, to this point.
10680  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 25, 2008, 10:28:40 PM
I'm still running old AMD64 crap so I can't vouch.  icon_confused I did see a brief thread at official forums mentioning it (the older threads may have been pruned from their boards):

I could definitely believe it, given that the game shipped in spring 2004 and I don't recall if dual cores had come out then. I was all excited about my AMD64 at the time.  Roll Eyes
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