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10681  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: January 05, 2008, 05:01:18 PM
Some big news about a version 1.4 coming soon to test server, including a fix for the awful lag in the Mires zone:
Update 1.4
We are kicking off 2008 with the new 1.4 patch which includes several new features. Here’s a sneak peak at a few of the 1.4 patch notes before it goes to the Public Test Server.

New Features:
Hybrids – Mix a dash of human with a sprinkle of alien, and see what comes out of the oven. (More details to come soon…)
Hide Helmet Option – Now you can show off that lovely helmet hair, and/or your new hybrid’s Alien face. [This is nice, kind of like the ability in LOTORO to hide equipment/costume items but retain their armor and enhancements]
Attribute Changes – Your Body, Mind, and Spirit were overhauled over the Holiday break. With these changes comes an Ability and Attribute respec. See Paul’s post for details [link to Paul's Post:]

Important Bug Fixes:
Your mission log should no longer reset when you log out. [hallelujah]
Mires Improvements (see below).
The staff animation was changed (see this post for reference) [link:].

Mires Performance Issues
The Mires performance issues should be resolved with the next update (1.4). In the last few updates we included a number of large technology improvements for Mires; however, its performance is still not in line with our desired numbers.

For example, the creature count on Mires is only slightly higher than desired, but due to the large scale, warzone-like design of the map, there were four times as many creatures in combat as any other map. Mires also contains many locations where both friendly and enemy drop ships were appearing literally within meters of each other.

To guarantee that the performance of Mires is on par with other maps for the next update, we’ve made some changes to the design of Mires that greatly improves the performance without making the map significantly different.
10682  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: January 05, 2008, 04:52:02 PM
Thanks. smile A little propellant flamethrower video footage...

Click here to watch Tabula-Rasa-propellant-footage
Kettle likes to flame them, and then do a melee (kick, I think he has a few pump levels in it) that sometimes obliterates them in a poof of ashes.  icon_twisted
10683  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: January 05, 2008, 09:08:12 AM

Finally got a propellant gun I could use, had to get from Military Surplus (even there, most of even the generic models are for Level 32 and up, not 30). Can't really catch a good screenshot of it (the moment you fire it the camera automatically rotates "behind the back").

It's fun, but it really does devour the canisters quickly. And in some cases all the flamethrower stuff (there are EMP and other variations, but flamethrower probably has the coolest effects) seems to run up the lag a bit.

I had some really fun times with a couple players I teamed with the other night. For a change folks on my friends list actually remembered me. smile So that was neat and we teamed up in 3- and 2-person teams on a couple instances.

Pic from our team:

Lady on right is an Exobiologist and her clone (far right). At her level (32), the Injector Guns are quite devastating and I felt almost jealous of how quickly she was taking things down (compared to my wearing out my fingers keeping my various chain guns firing).

A couple of us worked out getting the necessary Vortex logos to get our "signature" ability (Concussive Wave). Concussive is just plain spectacular (great to save for emergency use), but it uses up 100% of your adrenalin and you may need 1 or 2 adrenaline hypos just to get sufficient adrenaline to use it. Also, the Signature ability is available right away once you have the necessary logos -- it's not something you put points into, it just becomes available period.
10684  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: nVidia 9800 GX2 on: January 04, 2008, 10:03:53 PM
Hmm, if I do some fancy relabeling of my ATI 9800 Pro, can I sucker someone on Ebay into thinking it's a new card?  icon_twisted That was my first thought upon seeing NVIDIA dig up a number better known as an ATI model.

I'm just afraid that the more the GPU companies push $600, $700 video cards, the more marginalized the PC gamer base is going to get than it already is and more "Hell with PCs I'm getting an XBox360" threads you'll see here. People like to say "it was always like that," but it wasn't. There was a stone age day where $199 or $249 got me the top of the line, current video card. I miss them days.  crybaby
10685  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: If my comp can handle CoH, will it run CoH OF? on: January 04, 2008, 09:28:26 PM
I think the steep system requirements (I can tell you X number of people who wouldn't even try the original game because they were so convinced their systems couldn't run it properly) scared off a lot of potential buyers. That and the fact it doesn't have World of Warcraft in the title.

All they had to do was call it:
"Company of World of Warcraft of Heroes" and there's 2-3 million more copies sold right there.  drool

It's weird with me though. I speak of the game glowingly but basically I played it to death for about 6 weeks in fall of 2006 and that's been about it (I briefly returned long enough to finish the Nerbelwerfers campaign mission a few months ago). I enjoyed online co-op vs. AI games and sometimes pvp games (though most of the latter deteriorated into tank rushes as if you were just playing C&C all over again), and I liked their style proprietary online gaming service.

Sometimes I fall for something hard, but not long. Other times I fall for something soft, but long.

"That's what she said!"  Tongue
10686  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: January 04, 2008, 02:12:17 PM
PAUs (personal armored units, something between a regular soldier and the AI-controlled AFS Mechs) are one of the upcoming goodies, and I stumbled on an old November piece at TenTonHammer about it (they weren't allowing any screenshots/video at that point, just descriptions):

These'll be a reward for reaching L40, with training in five different types available (see NCSoft's blog:, about the Grendel variant, which has two machine turrets on each arm and a rocket launcher).

Personal Armor Unit Q&A with Starr Long
The Shiva was the most vehicle-like of all the PAUs. Oriented more like some sort of deep sea exploration device, the Shiva definitely had a unique appearance. With a “cockpit” type area towards the front of the machine, it seems to be apparent that this PAU will function in a different capacity to the Spectre or the Ghoul.

When I saw the Ghoul for the first time, I commented that it looked like a flesh golem; a creature made of mashed together flesh. Large power cylinders extended from one shoulder of the Ghoul, and the entire creature seemed to seethe with power.
Command Opportunity's going to be a level 50 final tier ability that lets you summon and outfit your own NPC squad of soldiers. They probably still have a lot of work to do to have content at L35-40, much less 50 though.

Anyway, that's all sort of old news on upcoming stuff, just hadn't read much about it. smile
I hit L30 last night. For a propellant gun, I'll apparently have to either move on to the Marshes (where stores sell them) or sift through the offerings at the Military Surplus auction house.

I thought there would be an abundance of Grenadiers in the higher level game, but I'm not sure I've run into one. Most of the L30+ players appear to be Guardians, Spies, Engineers or Biotechnicians (just based on what I'm running into on Pegasus).
10687  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: January 04, 2008, 06:09:26 AM

GAH! I had to resort to an hour of base defense grinding to make it the final way to 30. And then, I find out propellant guns aren't sold in Plateau and the only one I had as a drop was a level 37 EMP  disgust Yeah yeah military surplus, I was too dang tired to look.

Anyway, scatterbombs sort of looks like you're skipping rocks with a few hand grenades, a modest distance and can knock targets down. Should be a good bowling ball attack for me. smile Haven't tried Tectonic Strike but put put points in it. The signature ability requires Vortex logos that I'll work on this weekend.

While I was working on it, saw an Engineer going nuts with a couple different types of turrets. Here's a couple of the more common ones:

My impression is with higher pump levels you get different turret types perhaps. They put out quite a stream of fire.

Also saw engies with various bots floating around them -- the only problem is you'll probably mistake them for enemy bots quite often.  icon_confused

If you don't want to have to wear out your right wrist/fingers clicking like a maniac, then Engineer seems the way to go.  icon_cool
10688  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: January 03, 2008, 08:55:08 PM
I reached the Plateau area last night. It's more rural, with some bases located at the tops of very steep cliffs.

There's a quest to get the Vortex logo (necessary to be able to use the Grenadier's signature ability, "Concussive Wave.") there.

There's a pretty neat, multi-contact quest that involves no fighting. I'm finding it a fun change of pace even if it's probably just an excuse to introduce you to different areas within the Plateau.

Back in Incline I got another one of those "branching tree" type quests. This time I decided to be a nice guy instead of nasty.  biggrin
10689  Gaming / Analog Gaming / Re: Games You've Taken Time Off Of Work/School To Play? on: January 03, 2008, 04:19:35 PM
Dunno about taking time off of work formally, but the games that have ruined me the most in terms of making me stay up late and be late to work often include:

-Duke Nukem 3D (esp. dial-up modem co-op games  icon_lol)
-Diablo (not Diablo II so much)
-City of Heroes (one day I played on a Sunday evening Task Force until about 5 a.m., I was a wreck at my newspaper job after maybe 3-4 hours of sleep)
10690  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Anyone try Shadowgrounds Survivor yet? on: January 03, 2008, 02:10:21 PM
Here's the official site:

Shadowgrounds Survivor

I loved the original game, and I used to hang out at Frozenbyte's (dev) official forum for the game. However, this followup game they already had to do a patch for (and their forums have several complaints about bugs and crashing problems) and it sounds to be like yet another premature release.
10691  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Patapon for the PSP looks insane....LY FUN on: January 03, 2008, 02:05:59 PM
Read the Pocket Gamer link. It explains it about as thoroughly as anything (the game won't make any sense from watching the trailer).
The game exalts you as the almighty god of the Patapon tribe - adorable one-eyed creatures who have been driven from their ancestral land by the evil Zigotons. Marching to the beat of their god's drum, the little warriors embark on a war to retake their old home. Skirmishes between the cutesy Patapons and their Zigoton nemeses come to life in gorgeous 2D side-scrolling scenes brimming with colour and style.

You control your army of Patapon warriors via beats tapped out on the PSP's face buttons. Each of the buttons correspond to a musical sound: square sounds off 'pata,' circle 'pon,' triangle equals 'chaka,' and X is 'don.' Issuing a command requires hitting a specific four-beat combination. Moving, for example, is done by tapping square-square-square-circle ('pata-pata-pata-pon'). Ordering an attack takes circle-circle-square-circle ('pon-pon-pata-pon').

Just pressing buttons hurriedly won't have any effect though since these tribal warriors need rhythm to act. A thin white border encompassing the screen pulses to the beat, giving you a visual indication of when to press buttons. Of course, the percussive music in the background helps too. Hit the buttons in sync with this in-game metronome and your warriors will respond.

Before giving the next command, however, you'll need to pause. Skillfully timing your button presses and waiting through the pauses will accumulate a combo. But if you miss a beat or play through a measure of rest, the combo resets. You'll need to build up a combo to 10 to get your Patapons into fever mode. This sees them moving faster and attacking with more power. Naturally, this make it easier when confronting hordes of enemies or some of the massive bosses.

Before heading into battle, you need to outfit your warriors and form them up into three squads. Each squad consists of different units with specific abilities. Yaripon spear-throwers make up your initial fighting force, while the up-close-and-personal Tatepon melee attackers join you after a couple stages. Later on, Yumipon archers made up a third squad.
Since I found Elite Beat Agents exasperating (the game was unforgiving, and I couldn't replicate the proper rhthyms no matter how hard I tried), I can't guarantee this'll be my cup of tea even if I'm intrigued.  icon_neutral
10692  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Patapon for the PSP looks insane....LY FUN on: January 03, 2008, 05:56:00 AM
UK Pocket Gamer has some extensive hands-on impressions of this:
There are some additional elements that we haven't touched upon - unit creation, mini-games, collecting rare items - that should further broaden Patapon's appeal.

What matters though, is that Sony Computer Entertainment Japan has once again created a remarkably unique game. The core gameplay seems brilliant - it ought to prove easy enough for anyone to play - and yet also seems to possess plenty of depth with its tactical twists.
10693  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Name and Server List on: January 03, 2008, 05:44:40 AM
Ta da! I tried so hard to hit 30 but I gotta hit the hay (about 29.5).

10694  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: January 02, 2008, 09:39:22 PM
A brief episode of the new Soap Opera: As The Tabula Rasa Turns

Oh no!

His heart is broken!

He can't go on! But there's a problem...
10695  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa on: January 02, 2008, 09:04:48 PM
TenTonHammer (I think I mentioned, but some of their quest guides are true sanity-savers -- and the game seems relatively "alt-tab" friendly so I wish I'd remember that. I spent hours trying to finish Comm Tower instance, but the maze is just baffling. After reading TTH's guide, I realized there was a console I needed to hit that activates a teleporter to the level I couldn't reach. But since most of the keyboards on the instance do nothing, how I was supposed to know?  crybaby)... what was I saying? Oh, they have new interview with April Burba (aka the former CuppaJo at CoX forums):

Tabula Rasa in 2008 - An Interview with April Burba
You're definitely going to see us introducing new missions for content that we've already rolled out, especially in the higher level areas. Along with that, you're going to see some new areas coming online as well. You're just going to be seeing more content as we progress in our game development.

In fact, we're gradually moving towards a regular content release schedule that might be a bit more ambitious than what you've seen in other NCsoft titles. We'll have the big releases similar to what players have seen with the Issues in CoH/CoV, but we also want to get regular content to those people that have been in the game a long time and give them the sort of continuous experience that they want to enjoy.
Up to Level 30 or so I don't think anyone can argue there's not enough content (if anything, the amount of quests/instances/Logos searches almost becomes overwhelming), but you can level so quickly in the game they're probably going to have a logjam in the 30s/40s eventually.
10696  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: January 02, 2008, 04:05:54 PM
I like knowing teammate's names and health/armor status at a glance right on top of their character model (I find that more useful in combat than having to constantly shift my eyes' attention to the squad meters in the lower left), but yeah in combat that can be cluttered.

Under Gameplay options, you can set just about every type name imaginable (for teammates, NPCs, other players, enemies etc.) to make it as neat as you want via simple checkboxes (including, you can choose not to list anyone's title, just the clan name, just the awarded Title name etc.). NPCs typically don't have info pop up on them unless you hover your mouse cursor on top of them. I've got most of my squadmate options set to keep people's names/meters on them all the time.

Also I have to play at 1024X768, so the HUD looks more cramped than it is for most players who play at higher resolutions than me. And yeah I crop a lot of my screenshots rather than post huge files here if I can help it.

I turn off the UI when I can but you can't really play the game effectively in that mode.  icon_smile
10697  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: January 02, 2008, 07:24:18 AM
Got on a pretty fun team doing the Fluxite Mines instance in the Mires area; first time I played with a couple of 4th tier (Level 30+) characters. I got to see Reanimation (which reanimates one dead Bane as a slightly nerfed Ally) at work. The first time you see it, I guarantee you'll start firing at the reanimated corpse.  ;D The only visually distinguishing feature is this sort of video-grid will sort of animate up the length of the former Bane troop's body periodically, I guess to remind you it's friendly.  icon_mrgreen

Couple screenshots:

Paper Planes is a level 30 Spy, and he's using its Blade skill. Reanimated corpse at upper left.

10698  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: January 02, 2008, 12:11:43 AM
Jude Blackjach in his current Purple Haze configuration...

I just wish he didn't have to wear what appears to be orange pajamas with Lego patterns on them under his armor pieces.  Roll Eyes
10699  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: January 01, 2008, 10:29:17 PM
I was battling bots this afternoon - unbelievably exasperating.  mad However, the "Duplicator Bots" do give you the opportunity to battle... yourself.  saywhat The enemy clone of you even goes so far as to keep switching weapons the same way you do.  icon_cool

"Sorry, clone, you might have the same everything, but you don't fight like me."  nod
10700  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: January 01, 2008, 05:25:34 PM
I was on a fun, diverse (Commando, Ranger, Sapper) three-person team yesterday afternoon doing a couple instances in The Plains. Some glimpses of  Ranger stuff...

Carpet Bombing (note the colorful bombs dropping in from upper right -- though it's so fast in action you hardly see it).

Reinforcements (the weird "sheet" of Logos symbols he's forming actually calls in the Reinforcement, an temporary AI friendly troop of different types - medic, grenadier etc.).
10701  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: If my comp can handle CoH, will it run CoH OF? on: December 31, 2007, 06:30:16 PM
I could run Company of Heroes (I specifically went up to 2GB of RAM to make sure I could, in fall 2006) OK on my sloth system (AMD 64 3200+), but Opposing Fronts initial mission brought it to its knees.  crybaby I still am on the first mission in Opposing Fronts. I guess my problem is I really preferred CoH's first few smaller-scale missions that gradually introduce you to units and aren't totally fixated on base building and rushing. I got bogged down when the initial campaign went larger scale and started to feel too much like RTSs in general.

Opposing Fronts' campaign, from what I could see, starts big and massive, and it sort of disappointed me it didn't have something more like the more intimate scale early missions from the original game's campaign.

Still, when I get a new PC (definitely on my New Year's Resolution list, It's been 4 years now), this will be one of my first tests on it.
10702  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: December 31, 2007, 05:08:53 PM

Quote from: Jarrodhk on December 31, 2007, 07:22:34 AM

Wanted to say thanks for posting these little vids.  Helps me get a feel for how the game plays in combat.
You're welcome. smile I enjoy sharing them -- I mean, it's no fun without at least a little bit of an audience.

Any of us can send you a link for the 3-day trial if you just want to dip a toe into the water -- it will also help balance out all the spambots playing as trial players.  mad icon_lol

And keep in mind I'm just a big dumb "shoot first ask questions" commando. Other classes will probably look more interesting in combat (injector guns, leech guns, polarity guns etc. are all things I can't use), and I've yet to get to see Rangers calling in reinforcements, Engineers building turrets and robot drones (I forgot the name exactly) etc., Guardians doing all their shield stuff etc. So I don't know that my videos give the full picture from the player perspective. smile

Last night I ended up really only having about 20 minutes play (had to work most of today). I just took up all the Logos quests I had in the Incline zone and had fun just trying to reach those areas. It was just right for the time I had, and I made about 1/4 a level. smile
10703  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Name and Server List on: December 30, 2007, 03:04:14 PM
I expect to be on around maybe (East Coast time) 1-4 p.m., and maybe 9-midnight tonight so look for me then and I'll add ya. smile (on Pegasus, East Coast server).

I added Sulastani who popped in briefly last night, to the clan.

I think they're looking at letting you add offline friends to your list eventually, but that and making the clan stuff more useful (right now, you can't really do anything beyond editing the 4-5 pre-set ranking names).
10704  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: December 30, 2007, 01:27:14 AM
Couple gameplay movies from Da Plains...

Click here to watch Tabula-Rasa-Juggernaut-battle
I don't see these too often in The Plains (though it's awash in Striders, esp. near the main base)

Click here to watch Tabula-Rasa-plains-game-footage
Chaos in the plains. I finally switched to windowed mode and it seems to have really improved my frame rate and frame rate consistency.
10705  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Name and Server List on: December 29, 2007, 11:57:19 PM
Not that I really expect anyone here to join up (except maybe Sulastani who I've had some fun team-ups with), but I went ahead and created a clan with a familiar name. smile

*drum roll*

ta da!

I tried to get a screenshot of the lonely clan member list but it didn't work for some reason. I don't see much on the clan panel beyond editing the few preset titles.

I think you can share the normally non-tradeable Collector's Edition paint schematics (which never run out, per se) with clan mates. Beyond that and a clan channel there isn't much benefit to it now (though supposedly various things are in the cards).

fwiw, it's pretty crowded today and someone mentioned seeing a brief "waiting que" at login for the first time (though for sure that's probably more due to college kids on holiday more than anything else). Still, enthusiasm just seems very infectious in the game. If it gets its hooks in you at all, your free time will be in trouble.  icon_wink

I'm really enjoying The Plains, and starting to see a few 4th tier Level 30+ characters now and then. Most seem to be having fun, but I sense there just aren't enough people up there yet for them to have much like finding squadmates.
10706  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: December 28, 2007, 08:39:28 PM
btw, the Amazon sales are still going on (don't know how long), including collector's edition for $29.99 and regular for $24.99:
10707  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: December 28, 2007, 08:35:01 PM
Time for me to seek help...

If you're around 20ish and have done the Eloh Temple stuff in Palisades, maybe you can help. I'm going to put my questions in the "spoiler button format" in case it's spoiler-ish to people who haven't gotten that far...

Spoiler for Hiden:
My understanding is that once you complete all four Eloh Temple instances (Rage, Bowed, Proud, I forget what the fourth one is), then you've "appeased" the four wardens, and can continue on into the main Eloh instance. And that you also receive some Eloh key stone that completes another quest in Palisades.

I've completed Bowed solo, and Rage with some much appreciated help from a L24 player last night. But I don't have missions/quests for the other two temples. I've checked all the contacts in Palisades. I've also completed the Warnet caves instance that someonoe suggested might be key to unlocking the other two temple instances.

And no, I can't enter those two other temples without getting a quest to go in there first (I've tried). Any ideas?  saywhat I've asked in chat channels but seem to generally get only disdain or misinformation.  disgust

I do have a couple more straggler missions I can do that aren't instances, but I don't think they sound like they would lead me to the other two temple missions. I'll have to try those though and see.

And "I didn't have any problems" is ... no... help... whatsoever.  icon_neutral That's a common chat channel answer to pleas for advice...
10708  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Vanguard free month on: December 28, 2007, 06:15:35 PM
As a former business editor, I must contribute the geeky explanation that Sigil burned through so much money developing the game that they (apparently) had no choice but to release it terribly prematurely to get some revenue back. They've said as much in interviews. Otherwise, the game probably would've gotten canceled altogether (like Gods & Heroes).

It's easy for me to say that all prematurely released games (see Hellgate: London) due is give the developer a bad name, build bad buzz and make selling the game harder. In fact, I say that all the time.  deadhorse But I assume there are sometimes financial realities where you have to choose either between releasing it that way or canceling the game because you can't find the funds to work on it anymore.

This was before SOE entered the picture as publisher/marketer (for Vanguard). It's easy to dump on SOE, but they've probably saved some marginal-subscriber base games like this and The Matrix Online from extinction. And as distributor/marketer, they're probably the only reason Pirates of the Burning Sea will have actual retail distribution (though that doesn't mean it will sell to a fickle buying public that doesn't seem interested in anything but WoW right now). I'm not sure why SOE has decided to keep adopting either games with botched launches or games with marginal size subscriber-bases, but maybe that's their new niche to fill.
10709  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: What MMO's are everyone doing these days? on: December 28, 2007, 01:43:41 PM
Tabula Rasa of course. smile At another forum I visit, several are in the late open beta test of Pirates of the Burning Sea (I got in, twice, but now too busy with TR to care). One has described the ship-to-ship battle portions as being almost a wargame, so if you're into that and want something different than bopping an Orc on his head every other minute, your ship has come in... so to speak.  icon_cool That's scheduled for Jan. 22 release.

Me, I've had enough of mid-to-late beta play of games because most of the time it just sours me on the game (fairly or not) before its release. I'm only in TR now (after feeling disappointed by the beta experience) because enthusiasm here sparked my interest in asking for it as an Xmas present. smile If I try the Pirates of the Burning Sea beta at all, it'll probably be the last week (Jan. 15) before release.
10710  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: December 28, 2007, 05:48:28 AM
Trick I learned in New Player channel was (maybe it's buried in manual somewhere) Cntrl-U will remove the HUD interface for cleaner screenshots, like so...

"What? Go out with my mech buddy? Are you nuts!!??"

They aren't giving much hints as to what the upcoming PAUs (personal armored units) are like. I doubt they are just like the mechs. Perhaps there'll be something configurable so you can put all those weapons that drop like flies to use for something other than your stash.  drool

The Strider in "The Plains" zone is sort of a sequel to the Stalkers.
10711  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: December 28, 2007, 05:44:36 AM
I've rarely had the opportunity to see any fourth-tier folks in action. Saw what I assumed was a Spy "polymorphing" into a disguise, like so...

But what was funnier was when he tried to switch back to "normal," something was missing...  saywhat
10712  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: December 27, 2007, 04:13:36 PM
If you paid attention to whispers from people who wanted to team with you, you could probably take the Prison no problem.  Roll Eyes icon_wink I'm not planning to send any more whispers your way (I'm not Don Quixote, and I appreciate that some players prefer to keep to themselves), but if you need help, you know where to find me. smile (Blackjach's 21, and happy to just EMP structures to help out).
10713  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: December 27, 2007, 02:16:33 PM
>>> How similar are the capture/defend battles to Planetside?

I played Planetside about 6 months back in 2003. The base assault/defend has a somewhat similar feel, but at least so far are strictly PvE (there is a PVP "late game," but it's apparently a work in progress and I've got a long way to get there, and I don't particularly enjoy PVP anyway). And there aren't any vehicles to speak of (beyond dropships dropping in Bane and ASF (friendly) reinforcements, and sometimes Predator Bane attack aircraft get involved, but I rarely see them working on Control Points). It perhaps feels most like Planetside when an AI-controlled AS Mech is participating and going beserk (usually more in the Defense mode, although they can be air-dropped in by ASF dropships).

The turrets mounted along base walls will participate either way (either helping in defense, or pounding you when you assault the Control Point to take it back). Certain CP bases are actually made by the Bane, so those have different structures, and turrets are labeled as "Bane cannon" or something (but they'll still work for the ASF if under control).

Anything called a "Control Point" in a given region can be taken by either players or the AI Bane. Even if no other players participate, there are usually at least a handful of AI-controlled ASF battling one way or the other.

I have to go back to work (sigh) but I can post some more base-defense/assault focused gameplay movies tonight maybe.

It's very intense and fun, but it isn't really the meat of the game. I think of it as "value added," and if you just need a break from missions and Instances, it's an exciting change of pace.  icon_cool

And really, it's often critical to completing some missions. There's at least one mission in Divide (In the Trenches, I think it's called something like that), where you have to meet an NPC inside a Control Point base. If the bane have it, the NPC isn't available there so you can't complete the mission. Over in Palisades, another control point has an NPC giving a mission (and not a defend/assault Tokens mission) once you reach a certain point -- and again, he's not available if the Bane control the Control Point base. Beyond that, all players appreciate having the extra Waypoint teleporter that a Control Point provides when it's in ASF/players hands.
10714  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: December 26, 2007, 04:12:40 PM
I forgot TR has this Referral program so all us subscribers can send out the 3-day trials (if you don't want to go through If interested, just need an e-mail address (free Web mail types OK) to send to. I think there's a limit to the # you can refer, but I haven't seen the actual numero.

I really like the missions (or quests if you prefer) in TR, and when leafing through the news on fan sites, there was a nice interview with TR mission designer Wynne McLaughlin:
Most of all, I’m proud of how incredibly fun TR is to play!  After two years of testing (and re-testing) missions, and playing the same content over and over, I still have a blast playing the game.  I think that’s an amazing accomplishment.

On a personal level, I’m proud of my “ethical dilemma” missions, and especially the “Penumbra” black ops mission arc, which started out as a simple idea and ended up becoming a major part of the game’s meta-story.
Yeah I know, he's not objective. smile But as a City of Heroes fan, I often read in interviews with their devs how much they enjoyed playing the game themselves, even after years of working on it. I think it's generally a good sign, even if it seems "self back slapping" in interviews. smile

While I beware of people using exclamation points in describing their games, I think he also has a pretty good summary for when you're explaining the game to a buddy. smile
Tabula Rasa is a fast-paced, thrill-a-minute massively-multiplayer online game that takes away the “level grind” we’ve seen in so many MMO over the years.  The situations that spontaneously emerge from the game’s AI has to be experienced to be believed.  Monsters don’t just spawn in and wait for a player to wander by, they constantly act, and react, to the world around them.   Dropships swoop in, mortars explode, friendly units rush into battle by your side.  It’s an amazing, visceral experience.  Add to that a deep backstory full of mysteries and revelations, and you’ve got one compelling universe to play in!
Again, beware of exclamation points.  icon_wink Although I wouldn't call it a "grindy" game, you'll still see plenty of people in chat saying "who wants to grind so and so with me." Usually they're just working on the "of Opportunity" general area mission that involves completing a few things, including hunts.
10715  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: December 26, 2007, 04:07:31 PM
You're right about the respec. Guess those points I put in Motor Assist will mock me for eternity. puke- I guess had it confused with City of Heroes style respecs.  crybaby (there you can't change your power "set" selections but you can re-do your choices within them and the # of enhancement slots).

One simple video setting adjustment (I think viewing distance - I turned it down just a little bit to see if it would improve performance) let me see the sky. Hallelujah!

10716  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: December 26, 2007, 06:21:54 AM
A little character update.  Cool

This is all Graviton armor, which makes the points I put early into Motor Assist  :-[ seem like such a waste now (but a free respec is coming along any day now I hear).

And Happiness is a warm Teleract Laser Chaingun...

My black sky texture problem actually comes in handy for portrait pictures. biggrin

I'm quite happy with chainguns (was able to put a 4th point into them, which ups damage greatly and reduces how quickly they wear out in use), even with the more expensive 2nd level of ammo types. I have 3 types hotkeyed usually (EMP, Laser, Regular), and sometimes an electric. I keep a regular shotgun at ready, and I've experimented with the various launchers (in some cases the massive "splatter" damage is useful for obliterating many shields in a large group but I don't find myself using them too regularly).
10717  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What is Your Game of the Year? on: December 26, 2007, 05:58:35 AM
fwiw, Gamespy in its infinite wisdom (not?) gave its XBox360 and PS3 Game of the Year awards to Call of Duty 4.

I think more telling though is that the Gamer's Choice voting went for Mass Effect (Xbox360) and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3), and COD4 got nothing at all in the gamers' voting. Sometimes game reviewer sites are out of touch with The People perhaps? smile

But wait, this is  what is my game of the year. I'm mostly a PC gamer so I can only chip on PSP.

I think 10 nominees as Gamespy is rather excessive. I'd go with 5, like the Oscars smile
-Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions
-Jeanne D'Arc
-SOCOM: Tactical Strike
-Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow
-Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command (seriously flawed, but I'd love to see a deeper followup)

And my winner is... *opens envelope*...
SOCOM: Tactical Strike

Why? Well, FFT: WoL is a jazzed up version of a 10 year old Playstation game. Jeanne D'Arc is fun, and yet everyone's quick to point out its relative lack of depth compared to FFT (you can find boards of threads based on arguing this point  ninja). Logan's Shadow is a followup to a good game. Warhammer 40K: Squad Command has a great idea with its destructible environments and brisk turn-based play but turns out too shallow for its own good with strangely obstructed camera views (how about some transparent environment pieces?) and not enough unit configurability or growth, presumably in an effort to be a pick up and play handheld game. I throw it on there cause I enjoyed the demo, and it feels like a game that deserves a more ambitious sequel.

SOCOM: Tactical Strike takes big chances on breaking the mold of a successful series (including what I'd argue are two mostly so-so PSP titles that survived on their multiplayer in spite of disappointing single player experiences). It's deep, it's tactical, it's got a very snazzy interface and excellent graphics, great sound and voice work, and it isn't really like any other game out there (I don't really buy the comparisons to Full Spectrum Warrior which is a far larger-scale game). I could tell just from interviews that the dev team was genuinely passionate about the game and the PSP, and was not "phoning in a port" as several games on my "most disappointing" list seemed to be.

I'm hoping the playable demo (now #1 downloaded demo at the Playstation store) will help the game get some retail sales going. smile Anyway, there's my out of left field choice, cause every gaming news site is going to give the PSP award to one of the two turn-based JRPGs. I might as well think outside the box instead. smile There are numerous other games that got fine reviews that I didn't play, so take that into consideration. Few of the gaming news sites agree with me (review scores for SOCOM: Tactical Strike have been modest most places). I swim upstream.  icon_wink

I do think all 5 of the titles (even the warts and all Warhammer game) are pretty good games to show a new PSP owner in terms of what's fun on the system, and for the most part unique to it. It doesn't have to be a system you only play Home Brew titles on, or tired PS2 ports. You can enjoy some fresh titles that make good use of the hardware.

And I like to add...

Most Disappointing PSP Games disgust):
-Alien Syndrome (Larry Holland deserves a better fate than making something so repetitive as this; I got some fun out of it in spite of it all)
-Dungeon & Dragon Tactics (too sluggish, too much inventory micromanagement and tedium, too little fun - a heartbreaking disappointment when so many people were excited about it pre-release)
-SWAT: Target Liberty (oh the horrors... don't get me started)
-Star Wars Battlefront Renegade Squadron (some fun in multiplayer but mediocre graphics and not much point in single player)
-Rainbow Six Vegas/Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 & 2 (remove all the squad sensibilities and depth from the superior PC/console versions of these games, and these "quick to the used game shelves at EB" routine shooter titles are what you get; Ubisoft should be embarrassed, imho -- if this is the best they can do on PSP, they shouldn't bother, as these kinds of titles don't help the case for wanting a PSP).

Most Promising Year 2008 PSP Titles
-God of War: Chains of Olympus (a lot of people say they'd buy a PSP just to play this)
-Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice (this vehicular, leaping from cars, combat followup is already out in the UK to modest reviews, but is apparently getting multiplayer and some massaging for the U.S. release next year)
-Patapon (bizarre mix of Elite Beat Agents, The Lemmings and LocoRoco that's gradually snowballing quite a bit of buzz because it's just so confounding to describe or understand smile)

Most Badly Needed Sequel
-Killzone: Liberation 2 (not in the cards due to Guerilla's total focus on Killzone 2 for PS3  crybaby)

To be honest, I'm a little concerned about the PSP picture in 2008, after such a terrific 2007. Maybe it's just early, but I don't see a lot of high profile PSP titles on the 2008 release date calendars I've looked at.
10718  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: December 26, 2007, 12:00:54 AM
Sure. In real life I am at a loss for words, esp. at parties, I think that's why I'm still single.  crybaby icon_biggrin

On message boards however, I am conversational diarrhea. I never stop running...  saywhat
10719  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: December 25, 2007, 02:50:10 PM
Outside of WoW, most MMOs do massive sales at launch and then just do a slow subscriber descent no matter how many good updates come out. I only played WoW a month (around the time it launched) and I don't really feel like TR plays or feels anything like WoW (except perhaps in the sheer variety of its quests). You'll find plenty of people in the General chat channel who disagree with me (my impression is if you play WoW for 3 years you can help but compare everything to it -- likewise I played City of Heroes 3 1/2 years, and I tend to compare a lot of MMOs to it).

I love TR so far, but people who don't like an obsession with guns and more guns (only around L30 or so does it diversify enough in professions to provide some non-gun opportunities as your main weapon), who have to have a new skill/power every other level, etc. might not find it their cup of tea. I think for most folks it is a pleasant surprise once they put a little time into it. smile

The future? Just too early to tell. Gotta wait and see what future updates bring, and see how players feel after they've burned through all the content (will they just say "there's nothing more to do" and quit, or will they go back to their "cloned" characters and work through things again). When I was in LOTORO, a lot of people in chat channels would complain about reaching 40, 45 etc. and "there's nothing to do." Even though they worked on the latter level game a lot, it just seemed like many players didn't want to start over and go through the same things again (the cloning, and clone "credit" rewards in TR are meant to combat that a bit it seems).

I enjoy the combat mechanics so much, I don't think it'll be a problem for me to re-run through content with a new or cloned character in TR, but so far I haven't been able to stop playing my main. smile
10720  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa Screenshots (dial-ups beware) on: December 25, 2007, 06:14:20 AM
In the bigger they are, the harder they fall department (Stalkers):
Click here to watch Tabula-Rasa-game-stalker-combat-footage
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