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10681  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Call of Duty MMO (just Activision exec speculation) on: March 05, 2008, 06:21:56 PM

Activision's Kotick Talks Guitar Hero Expansion, Possible Call Of Duty MMO
In his response, Kotick suggested that Activision would be able to learn from Blizzard’s expertise in the MMO market and help to suggest how a Call of Duty MMO might work. However, it is unclear whether his comments were merely a hypothetical example of possible synergy between the two companies or a real hint at future plans.
Frankly, an Activision exec speculating about "what Activision can learn from Blizzard about turning Call of Duty into an MMO" just scares me.  Roll Eyes I just have this vision of Activision execs thinking Blizzard is a genie and if they rub it enough, out will pop another 8-million selling MMO.

WoW didn't fall off a turnip truck. It had a very successful and recognizable franchise (Warcraft) with several popular games and expansions, and history behind it that lent itself well to an MMO world.

Call of Duty? MMO doesn't seem to roll off the lips, though some of the stuff in COD4's multiplayer you could argue might work in an MMO style world, if meshed with a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. type environment with NPCs and missions and such. I still don't think most FPS players will come close to a monthly fee game for that kind of game. And I doubt any of Blizzard's experience with WoW would be at all applicable in that type of a situation.

Infinity Ward does amazing shooters well. I worry Activision's going to try to turn COD into a Swiss Army Knife franchise (MMOs! RTSs! COD Sports! COD Clothing Designer Software!).

My advice to Activision? Leave Blizzard alone (they've done fine to this point without wasting time conceptualizing other developers' franchises) and enjoy their revenue. smile

OK that's all my random Larry King like thoughts. smile I thought I'd post an "ZOHMIGOD!" thread before someone else here did.  slywink
10682  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: God of War: Chains of Olympus Impressions on: March 05, 2008, 06:05:01 PM
I picked this up at Best Buy at lunch (the shelves were drowning with copies). I'll hopefully have some impressions to post tonight or tomorrow. smile

Honestly, I'm really disappointed with the 2008 PSP games lineup. Patapon ain't my cup of tea (other than this, it's about the only PSP title gathering any sort of buzz or momentum), and the influx of interesting turn-based strategy games seems to have dried up mostly.

I've played some PSP games (SOCOM: Tactical Strike) where the devs really seem to have put some care into living with the absence of a second thumbstick. I think far too many of the action games don't do that, thus way too many end up with negative reviews carping about controls (it really is too difficult to do a competent-playing FPS on it though it doesn't stop devs from trying). Sony hasn't shown any inclination to create a two-thumbstick version so it's up to developers to work with the the limitations properly (imho).
10683  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: McCain = Bush on: March 05, 2008, 04:24:59 PM
I had more respect for the McCain of 2000. But politicians of all parties do certain things to get elected, and then we generally hold our breathes to see whether they're still going to "kiss up" once they're in office, or if they have a different mindset once the election's over (i.e., they get a backbone). So you could argue some voters hope the McCain of 2008 who treats Bush like a king now (but couldn't practically utter Bush's name in 2000 without disgust) will suddenly revert to the 2000 version if he becomes president.

I haven't made up my mind if it's best to have a president with military/battle experience. You could argue such a person would be less likely to send troops to battle (and possible death) without fully considering the consequences, and could better communicate with the military. You could also argue such a person might be more likely to think he/she could crack an overseas situation with military force better than with diplomacy. History's full of both (generals who were horrible presidents; presidents with no military background who were terrific military commanders-in-chief).

So when McCain thinks he's obviously the only "patriotic" choice because he was in the military, and the only one who can keep the nation secure, I don't buy it. It's not that simple. He should read a few military history books. smile

I was really rather sad to read in my area paper (Wash. Post) today that Obama's advisers are saying he should start doing "sharper political attacks" on Clinton and McCain. Which really only means that eventually the race will become just as negative and focused on "my opponent is an unpatriotic bastige who doesn't care about you at all" with the idea that you should vote for someone because you "fear" the other choice. This is the tact almost all the local politicians in my area take now (northern Va.). You get constant mailers accusing a candidate of 25 things, and you can't even tell it's from his/her opponent unless you read the fine print at the end.  disgust

And people wonder why so many people don't bother to vote anymore? (I always do even if all the candidates make me hold my nose at the voting machines  Tongue). Who wants to vote for people who think that way? (regardless of party platform).
10684  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 05, 2008, 04:03:17 PM
I PM'd you.  icon_smile I have a smattering of villains on various servers.

I just never got into COV as much as COH. And I was one of those monkeys in the choir tossing poop at COV and complaining that no T-rated game is going to let you do anything remotely, truly villain-like. So why even bother?  icon_confused I understand the reasoning. You're not going to have some mass murderer villain, some split personality psycho, or some dastardly villain who travels back in time and zaps heroes as teens so they never get to be super heroes. Sick, aren't I?  icon_twisted But that's the kinda twisted stuff I was interesting in seeing how they'd do, not basically changing clickable glowies over to sticks of dynamite and exchanging escort/rescues for kidnappings. disgust I know though that much of COH's charm is kids playing and families playing together. Nothing truly villain-like is going to be acceptable in that regards, and I can dig that.

I would've rather seen the time and resources have gone into expanding COH further, adding more classes, content etc. Jack Emmert seems to agree in interviews that COV just wasn't different enough to appeal to people who didn't already like COH to begin with (so it didn't really expand their market the way Cryptic hoped).

Still, I am glad many of COV's improvements and neat ideas (esp. the radio missions) translated over into COH eventually.

I think I got one character into the 20s (a military-oriented master mind).

Anyway, my past COV feelings aside, I would enjoy teaming up with ya'll and we'll try to make it happen.  icon_smile
10685  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Notification of Enforcement Action on: March 05, 2008, 03:56:31 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on March 05, 2008, 03:03:18 PM

I hate xbox live.


Xbox Live is the largest collection of racist assholes I've ever encountered.  It blows my mind.
I have to say I've run into people like that in most PC shooters I've tried to play online. People ask me why I don't use headsets more often, and I tend to say it's just easier to ignore people like that in text chat than it is in audio. Though I certainly can enjoy using them with in a small-medium team of people who didn't learn to cuss yesterday  disgust.

I agree a suspension seems excessive for something like that, given what else goes on in the online gaming world (regardless of platform).
10686  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Companies EA bought then closed on: March 05, 2008, 01:45:19 PM

Quote from: Daehawk on February 27, 2008, 06:43:39 PM

I still want a full blown sequel to Terra Nova..FMV and all.
Wow, I was a big Terra Nova fan too.  icon_cool Still got the game/box. I even bought about 10 copies of the strategy guide at Micro Center back in the mid '90s because they were selling them for 99 cents (!) to get rid of overstock. Unfortunately, I didn't know 9 fans to give my extra copies to.  icon_lol

I pick on EA, but most publishers understandably simply want profit. Your games sells, they give you another one to work on.

Your game flops. Say hello, pink slip.

They invest millions in your Hot Game, and the sales are OK don't live up to expectations? Then, hold your breath.  icon_neutral I think that's where it's getting tougher for any of them to accept the idea of a big budget PC-only game. Too many of those aren't reaching anywhere near their spreadsheet expectations without some multiplatform sales boosting.

Although I haven't covered the games industry, I've been a business reporter about 15 years now. Once they get beyond the small business stage, most corporations just don't care about creativity, or people, or tradition, or history. It's spreadsheets, and earnings, and pleasing the shareholders. In a way, it's sad the whole gaming industry is so wrapped up in that now (aside from independents and smaller players in the market). It means you end up with a lot of big players owning most of the industry who don't really care about the people in the smaller devs they acquire, or their history, or accomplishments.

Which is why I still think Bioware (EA) and Blizzard (Activision) should "watch their back," no matter how much they are rolling in the gravy right now and no matter how much those publisher/owners claim they won't interfere.  paranoid
10687  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 05, 2008, 04:53:43 AM
*Looks at Destructor funny* Hey, nothing happened!  saywhat

Got my dual blades up to about 10 tonight, much of it after latching onto a large mission pickup team on Freedom server. smile

Couple pics from of late:

Lot of fun on a big team. Solo wise I'm still at the 'gasping for endurance' stage, but I'm getting there.

I'm just always a sucker for cool animations if they don't take too long, and I love the dual blades sounds as well.  icon_cool
10688  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: COH 48 Month Veteran Reward Unveiled on: March 04, 2008, 10:59:00 PM
48 Month Veteran Reward Unveiled
* Battle Hardened Badge
* Summon Pet Power: CHOICE: Light Fairy, Dark Fairy, Blue Wisp, Red Wisp, Shield Oscillator, Power Oscillator, Shield Drone, or Power Drone.

For the 4 year veteran reward, players receive the Battle Hardened badge and the choice of a Summon Pet Power.

There are 8 different pets the player can choose from: The Light Fairy, the Dark Fairy, the Blue Wisp, the Red Wisp, the Shield Oscillatory, the Power Oscillator, the Shield Drone, and the Power Drone. Each gives a specific bonus to you and your team.
The underlined part is big news, because the previous rewards pets were useless (strictly cosmetics). These actually give some sort of boost though I'd imagine it's a modest bonus.

* I fished around forums. I guess there was much chatter about all this on test server in some form but there was some skepticism about it. Apparently each type offers a different kind of bonus. It's apparently mostly maybe in the 1.75-2% range, such as 1.75% boosts to defense, endurance, resistance, stamina etc. There's much chatter over whether the effects stack on a full team (8 players).

I just hope the drones don't make obnoxious looping noises. Few MMOs have had sound good as COH, nor looping sounds as obnoxious and painful in COH.  disgust Though, to be fair, some of the worst ones were eventually reduced or adjusted to a lower obnoxious quotient...

In fact, it's something they're still working on reducing:

Dang! If I hadn't canceled for several months, I'd qualify.  crybaby As is, I'd probably need to stick around another 6 months to qualify. If Conan's a bust and TR doesn't start living up to its potential, it could happen.  nod
10689  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [RTS] Dawn of War: Soulstorm Impressions... on: March 04, 2008, 08:16:45 PM
This was Iron Lore's swawsong as developer.  tear Is Iron Lore even listed on the box now that they're kaput?

I guess Brian Sullivan was trying to get back to his routes. And I guess Relic themselves will have to handle the inevitable updates and balancing batches for it.
10690  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 04, 2008, 01:42:51 PM
Its selling point has always been that it's Cheap, not that it's the most awesome thing in the cosmos.  icon_neutral I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for a touchscreen variation, because that wouldn't be cheap (I'm guessing, at least), and would be beyond what Eee PC (rhymes with cheap PC icon_lol) is trying to do.

That said, there's a newer version with a 9" screen on the way (no launch date for US yet):
Like the current models, the Eee PC 900 series will have a clamshell design and run a version of the Linux operating system. In addition, Asus says it will be ready to have Microsoft Windows installed on them if the user wants to.

The most obvious change in the upcoming version will be the 8.9-inch display, up from 7 inches.

In addition, versions of the Eee PC 900 will have up to 1 GB of RAM and storage capacity of up to 12 GB, much more than in the current versions.
Since upgrading the RAM voids the warranty, the new version with more RAM seems a better safe bet.

I've been interested in one, but I've heard the undersize keyboard is really a pain to use. It's probably not something you'd want to do much more than Web surfing and jotting short e-mails with. I'm a reporter and I occasionally attend conferences and go on site tours for articles, so I thought it would be useful in those situations (I've never owned a laptop).

While I don't have one, a Windows XP newsletter I receive had some impressions of using one and installing Windows XP on it (it comes with a customized Linux that's OK by all accounts):

XP on the Eee PC: Home at last
If you were tempted by the small size and price of the Eee PC but you haven't taken the plunge because you're a techie type and thought it was just for computer novices, think again. It's really a great little hobbyist system that you can configure and reconfigure to your heart's content. And if you ever do want to go back to the original interface, Asus provides the recovery disk that will let you easily do so.
10691  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: March 04, 2008, 05:02:10 AM
No longer must thee suffer the Blackjack Champions Digest, because they finally added a Dev Tracker to their forums:

Still, they're posting like mad now. Mostly vague and trivial. One bit today...
Quote from: dev Heretic
Champions Online is planning to launch with PvP as an optional, parallel gameplay track.
10692  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 04, 2008, 02:18:09 AM

Quote from: Lockdown on February 29, 2008, 06:33:11 PM

Do you plan on playing it, Blackjack?

OK, scratch that question.  You seem to be an MMO authority of sorts, so I'm going to assume you will.  The real question is, what have you heard about it?  Is it going to rock, or be another pile of cowdung? 

Spill the beans.
I am *not* an MMO authority. I didn't even like WoW or Everquest or Dark Age of Camelot (all of which I bought, played a month, and never played again). I am so a total MMO loser!  icon_lol

Generally, aside from LOTORO, I'm the kind of guy who plays all the "outside the norm" MMOs, including Planetside, Auto Assault (rest in peace  :crybaby), Tabula Rasa and City of Heroes/Villains.

I can tell you I'm *not* in the AoC beta, so I don't have any inside information or insights (I guess I couldn't tell you even if I was, but trust me -- I did apply for beta but never got in  crybaby).

From everything I've read and sifted through:
-I really am fascinating by some of the quests I've read about for this in terms of ambition. They really are putting some imagination into them, and they're using the Conan lore to promising effect. The question's always though, "Is there ENOUGH of it?" I'm sure most of us don't need another mmorpg that gets lazy and has us killing 25 boars or 40 bats. If nothing else in the game is impressive, but the quests are imaginative and interesting, they'll have won me over anyway. smile

-I'm still not convinced the ballyhooed combat system is going to work out. stirthepot I'm still cynical enough to think they are either going to water it down so as not to alienate mmmorpg players set in their ways; or they're going to lather up combat with so many explanatory icons and pictograms, you won't hardly be able to see what you're whacking.

-Just to talk out both sides of my mouth though, I think it's cool they're at least *trying* something different combat-wise.  icon_cool If it fails, then it fails, but it's brave to try something other than the zillion mmorpgs doing the same thing in combat (generally either constant skill key mashing, or a Diablo-style clicking everything in sight).

-I'm kind of curious if the M-rating for the game will have any impact on its popularity. I'm still not convinced the M-rating will be for maturity as much as immaturity ("BREASTS!!!! AHAHAHA!!!!"), and I'm wondering just how much players are going to enjoy having blood spray (I assume it can be turned off) splat on your virtual hud as you decapitate evildoers left and right. I'm all for it in certain kinds of games, but do I really want to grind through endless decapitations and de-limbing and blood spray? I'm just not sure.  icon_neutral

-I am convinced that every extra month they can get to work on the game before launch is great. Every bit of additional content, quests, features, PVP polish, sieging, every bit of extra time they can get to polish up those things and have them in at least decent shape at launch is good for the game. Every chance they can have to put enough content and content variety in that you don't "burn through" the content at X level and have "nothing to do," or that you can play alternate characters and have at least a little bit of a fresh experience each time - that's all gotta be good.  icon_cool

If I had a dime for every time someone in an MMO I was playing in the last year said, "I can't wait for Age of Conan," I'd be rich. The game has a heckuva lot of high expectations to live up to. So whomever's pouring money into Funcom's coffers -- keep doing it.  thumbsup

I don't know if people saw the news item the other day about one of Activision's top executives basically saying even if you spent "half a billion dollars" (!) developing a new MMORPG, you still had no chance of "dethroning" WoW (thus Activision's decided "if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em"). Judging by how long it's been in development, how good it looks, and how many delays (and presumably continued funding to continue development) it has had, AoC's probably the most expensive mmorpg in development right now. It'll be interesting to see if it pays off or not. smile

P.S. Yes, in May, IF I have bought a new PC by then (I keep talking myself out of it), by golly I'll buy this and play this. smile
10693  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Iron Lore (Titan Quest) Ceasing game development :-( on: March 03, 2008, 11:10:43 PM
Of course TQ and TQ: IT aren't going anywhere (they're not MMOs afterall and it has a level editor and all). So here's some pics from my "pre TQ tendinitis" heyday showcasing Immortal Throne's improvements.  icon_cool

Co-op was always a hoot, and Immortal Throne added a badly needed game servers listing with a variety of search options.

You could also see exactly what other characters were in a group before you joined up.

Enhanced map legend made navigating a lot easier, and finding what NPCs you needed to talk to.

Some simple mouse clicks re-arranged inventory quickly in different ways (towards the top or bottom, scrunched to one side etc.) making it a lot easier to sort.

The caravans eliminated the need for "muling."
10694  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Iron Lore (Titan Quest) Ceasing game development :-( on: March 03, 2008, 10:43:07 PM
Gamasutra has a followup:

Well, actually it's citing a Quarter to Three post (which is as uncensored as Usenet - I'm kind of a refugee from there  ninja) by a THQ creative director who worked with Iron Lore on the game. Here's his post there:

BTW, he claims that while Titan Quest's sales were modest, THQ "didn't lose money on the game."  icon_confused

Mostly it's sour grapes about piracy of Titan Quest being rampant, and basically how much more difficult it's getting to create new game engines that can work on a wide variety of machines. Basically along the lines of my little observation elsewhere that nobody will ever give up on the ability to customzie their PCs even if it reaches the point nobody wants to develop for such a wildly varying and inconsistent platform. If we ever reach that PC gaming Doomsday point, then the ability to customize really won't be worth anything except running a Web browser faster.  icon_neutral

Anyway, I do think esp. the original release of TQ was awfully buggy and didn't appear to have been QA'd on a variety of platforms. Obviously you can't allow for everything (and every year, more and more cards, chipsets, CPUs come out, and there's no way to simulate every possibility) but if you're going to be brave enough to do a PC-only game, you (I'm talking THQ here, I assume they handled the QA) better bring your A-game.

OTOH, how much longer do we think game publishers want to hire hordes of QA testers to try to figure out how a PC game will run on 56,351 possible different system PC variations vs. how it runs on 1-3 relatively fixed (aside from console hard drive capacity options) console platforms? If I'm a corporate bean counter looking to trim my budget, that's looking like something to use my blade on. Something to ponder even if am PC gamer who only dabbles on the handheld side of consoles paranoid.

I only bring the point up again cause I don't think saying "**** you if you don't love PC as a platform!" to everyone who brings up the situation is constructive. I don't have a magic answer, but it'd be nice to get even just a little consistency into PC hardware as a gaming platform, somehow.

I think Immortal Throne had some much more interesting quests (well, w/i the Diablo format anyway), and implemented all sorts of nice "quality of life" improvements to the engine. It's just, in an MMO, you would probably get that in a free update a few months after release rather than waiting for a paid expansion. Inventory management esp. was spiffed up with various auto-arrange options and extra storage bags. Thus my "Hellgate's devs should've played TQ: IT and gotten a clue" comment.  Tongue
10695  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: DDO Turns Two on: March 03, 2008, 10:21:15 PM
I'm reminded of Jack Emmert's (Cryptic) GDC comment that "you are what you are at launch" in MMOs. I think he basically meant the "fans' perception" of your mmorpg will always be based on what the game was at launch. No amount of glomming on updates and new features and hype will ever really change it. Me thinks too many MMOs launch with the idea "we'll add the stuff people really want after launch," and often by that time people have already had their free month and made up their minds.

So if your game has no soloing at all at launch (DDO), adding it in belatedly will never really change the perception enough to win back most of the people who were turned off by the absence. Or in COH's case, no PVP at launch meant no matter how much time they spent adding it in later they never really won people over to that (you only have to see how deserted and unused the majority of the PVP arenas and zones are to recognize that there). NCSoft is still (imho) spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get people excited about PvP in it, and Emmert made the point it would never reach the pvp popularity of MMOs that had a robust PVP to begin with (say WoW, or even the Lineage games).

I can't really explain it, but I enjoyed the combat in LOTORO but not at all in the trial version of DDO (supposedly LOTORO is an enhanced version of DDO's engine, but I'm not sure  icon_confused) I tried earlier on. While I really do enjoy teams and pickup teams, forcing it as the game initially did just isn't reasonable unless they provide some AI-controlled options for when servers are quiet. That's one reason I had high hopes for Gods & Heroes -- it seemed like the AI squads would help provide a group feel even when you couldn't find any.
10696  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: March 02, 2008, 08:32:48 PM
You can que that '80s chestnut, "You made me, promises, promises, ... that you never keeeeeep."  icon_neutral...

Endgame concerns
Quote from: dev Heretic
Originally Posted by ...
MOST of all I'd like this game to have more End Game Content that is more meaningful. I dont want to keep earning xp and influence for no reason.

Arkayne has that as one of his main focuses at the moment. It's still way too early to release details on this, but it is definitely something we are putting effort behind.

"Toggle-dropping" attacks like in COH? No
Quote from: dev Heretic
We are not planning on having toggle dropping CoH-style making an appearance in CO.

It's kinda interesting that at the COH forums they're locking threads that start talking about Champions as all topics there should be about COH; at the Champs forums they sort-of do that if a thread gets carried away, but the devs really can't avoid drawing comparisons in the context of trying to describe why it'll be different.

Handling "mezz" effects differently
Quote from: dev Heretic
Most of the ideas there have already been put into the design grinder way back when we first started looking at how we wanted to handle mez effects differently.

We have a mechanic that we are experimenting with internally; I expect it will still evolve somewhat (or a lot) over the remaining course of development of the project.

Exploration (very vague, it sounds like something beyond COH's exploration badges, at least)
Quote from: dev Heretic
This one, however, I can shed a little light on. Yes, we are exploring possibilities to give incentive for exploration. We have some ideas that are looking promising on paper, but we're going to have to see how they unfold.

Is the game "set"? Doth we ask too much?
Quote from: Jack Emmert
Is the game totally done? Well, I'm not bold enough to make that claim...we ARE reading these forums and there is time to adjust our plans to add cool things. And there's a lot of things mentioned here that are in the game some form or another. At the very least, these forums give us ideas for updates & expansions!

Also, they're shooting for a T-rated game as COH was/is. For gore and skin, you'll have to find solace in Age of Conan or perhaps Requiem Bloodymare  drool Seriously, COH has a lot of kids and families playing, its probably one of the nicest things about it, and presumably they want to keep that family level appeal going with this.
10697  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 02, 2008, 06:51:58 PM
Everyone has their favorites. I prefer Invulnerability (my only 50 toon is a broadsword/invulnerability scrapper; and my only tank is a 38 stone melee/invulnerability one), have a claws/invulnerability 32 scrapper I should work on at some point.

I am trying dual blades/invulnerability over on FreedoM:

Rather belatedly I realized you can customize sword colors (though some of the thinner blades seem to have a fixed silver color) too. smile
10698  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 02, 2008, 04:12:14 PM
I've been in fun pickup teams (my 33 radiation/empathy Defender Dr. Barium even got drafted into a large SG after one series of team-ups) all weekend, so I guess it's time for me to eat crow...  icon_redface

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

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

I peeked at his powers list:

He opined that the two new powersets were "done to death" (anything new tends to get devoured in the weeks after release) but that they were quite fun to use. I guess he had everything but the highest end Dual Blades power (at 38).
10699  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Sharper Image files for bankruptcy (Ch.11) on: February 29, 2008, 07:52:53 PM
I'm also sending you these.  nod

For that shaggy nose hair...

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

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

And uh, I dunno, this one seems vaguely obscene...  paranoid
10700  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Sharper Image files for bankruptcy (Ch.11) on: February 29, 2008, 06:59:51 PM
Just for that, I'm going to add you to their mail order catalog list.  stirthepot
10701  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / The Sharper Image files for bankruptcy (Ch.11) on: February 29, 2008, 06:55:16 PM
If you really need a lighted turbocharged noise hair trimmer, then you may find a great price at a liquidation sale near you soon. smile (They're planning to close about half of their 180+ stores as soon as possible to cut costs).

Corporate pablum

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

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

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

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

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

The nation's decaying economy also doesn't bode well for this kind of store. Brookstone might be comparable, but I guess it doesn't feel quite as expensive or pretentious, and sometimes Image is everything, and isn't that ironic given the store's name?  smirk Maybe they'll have to change the name to "The Blunter Image"  Tongue
10702  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Air purifiers on: February 29, 2008, 06:41:49 PM
OK I know it's weird to post to a 4 year old thread but I am what I am.  icon_lol

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

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

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

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

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

10703  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: February 29, 2008, 06:21:21 PM
Probably every MMORPG ever released was launched prematurely. Some disastrously, some with just a few hiccups (remember the hour long waiting cues when WoW launched? I do, cause that's when I was trying to play it  Roll Eyes).

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

But at some point, the funding spigot for Age of Conan's going to run dry and Funcom (who can't be earning much income from the aging Anarchy Online at this point) will have to boot their baby out the front door and pray for the best.
10704  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: February 29, 2008, 06:11:09 PM
I don't mind soloing, but TFs aren't soloable, most arch-villains aren't soloable (you can reduce difficulty to easiest to get them to "Elite Boss" level, but certain things like Psionic Clockwork King still don't seem soloable except by the hardiest of tanks, afik), and I genuinely enjoy teaming (even pickup teaming). I used to team up all the time because I enjoyed it and made a lot of buds in the game (and well, maybe one or two people who got a little too "clingy" that I had to add to my ignore list - probably some cases of vice-versa as well.  icon_lol).

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

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

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

They promise big things in the future though, so I've just got to hope it's something that brings back the social aspect of the game. One of the updates in 2007 mentioned the possibility that they would find a way to make all servers be part of the same game world (so you could team up with anybody on any server). They made no promises though; I hope it's something they can implement.
10705  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: February 29, 2008, 02:11:55 PM
And I'm late to customizing my swords (scrappers) and rifles (blasters). Some examples...

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

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

Silverknight (broadsword/invulnerability) is still my lone L50 character. I like this particular broadsword option... icon_cool
10706  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: February 29, 2008, 01:53:05 PM
So now I know why Pinnacle seems deserted. It's not -- it's just everyone sits in the auction houses doing sales/searches all night, so almost nobody is actually going out beating up villains.  disgust

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

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

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

All's not lost though. The "XP smoothing" really is noticeable at those levels and I made a bubble of progress in maybe under an hour just grinding mobs in Peregrine Island. Blackjack's been at 44 forever, and the faster progress without doing missions was very noticeable. smile And I still had fun barreling my scrapper into large groups.
10707  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: February 29, 2008, 02:58:58 AM
Combed through a few more dev posts ah missed....

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

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

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

Hopefully, since they're building PVP in from scratch this time, they'll be giving thought to how PVE powers work in PVP right from the get-go.
10708  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Iron Lore (Titan Quest) Shutting Down game development :-( on: February 28, 2008, 10:21:31 PM
There were some hints in this July 2007 announcement about what direction they wanted to go (multiplatform), and they'd hired an EA Mythic veteran as their new design director:
According to the company, Iron Lore is currently working on an unannounced project, and is preparing to begin work on a new title for next-generation consoles and PCs.

Founder Brian Sullivan: "I have full confidence that he will successfully lead us through our transition to multiplatform development and multiple teams."
I didn't hang out here in July, maybe somebody noticed it then but I was asleep at the switch.  icon_redface
10709  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Iron Lore (Titan Quest) Shutting Down game development :-( on: February 28, 2008, 08:19:09 PM
Word slowly hit the unofficial forums ( [fan-run, but devs posted there], where they had a thread earlier in the month that seemed to make it clear there would be no further TQ expansions:
The lead designer (nickname Medierra) had clarified sales weren't really good enough for Iron Lore to turn a profit:
Quote from: TQ lead designer Medierra
... unfortunately the sales were not as good as you might expect. We did ok in Europe but poorly in America. Iron Lore hasn't made any royalties off the game as of yet and I'm not sure we will at this point. So, I think the sales just weren't enough for THQ to justify further investment in the product. Its sad for us but hey, I guess thats the way business goes.

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

Later he mentioned they were in various discussions on possible future project(s) and presumably that fell through:
Quote from: TQ lead designer
I look forward to putting the experience I've gained to use in creating even better games for you guys in the future. There is a lot happening right now - some good, some bad - but I can't talk about it on the forums quite yet. I'll give you an update as soon as I can.
I guess the "bad" won out...
10710  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Iron Lore (Titan Quest) Ceasing game development :-( on: February 28, 2008, 08:02:00 PM
This just gives the "PC gaming is dying" crowd another nail to put in the coffin (though clearly it's not that simple), saw this mentioned at Blue's. Technically, they're not out of business just yet and they claim to be interested in licensing the toolset used for Titan Quest (I assume that's what they're referring to) to companies interested in it. Although TQ included an editor and such, it didn't include the rights to make new games for profit with it, is how I'm reading it.
Quote from: Iron Lore's Web site
It is with great regret that we must announce that as of close of business Tuesday, February 19, 2008 Iron Lore Entertainment has ceased active game development. Several unrelated events occurred which resulted in Iron Lore being unable to secure funding for its next project.
I guess also part of the risk of non-MMOs these days is you really have no steady source of income. Titan Quest and TQ: Immortal Throne did OK, I thought (I thought wrong - see below) but weren't the kind of games that were going to sell enough to keep the company in business in the long term.

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

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

I loved TQ: Immortal Throne (it wore out my right wrist, and I had to stop playing, wear a brace and make some doctor visits) in particular. TQ didn't quite launch in very polished form (I'm being kind The Weghted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you.), but to me Immortal Throne did everything you could ask an expansion to do and more (Hellgate's developers should've paid attention to the little things it did right imho). I'm sorry they won't get to build on that.  tear
10711  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Welcome to EA-Land! on: February 28, 2008, 04:35:53 PM
You misunderstood my (bad) joke, which is that they'd acquire the word processor Word and rename it EA Word.

But having to explain an already bad joke just makes it badder. Sigh.  puke
10712  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: February 28, 2008, 02:18:34 PM
Champs site has its first "meet the dev" with the lead designer, who goes by Arkayne at their forums:

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

Favorite zones working on for Champions:
"Monster Island has radiation-breathing giant monsters and Millennium City has super-tech, but I'd have to go with the Moon for those galactic-level threats. Moon bases, alien invaders, interstellar portals – it has got it all!"
It's interesting but there's little about the game itself.
10713  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Welcome to EA-Land! on: February 28, 2008, 02:09:39 PM
I wonder if EA will acquire Microsoft some day...

Windows EA

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

Resistance is futile... bowdown

10714  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Penny Arcade burns CliffyB on: February 28, 2008, 03:41:47 AM
Honestly, might as well start a thread entitled "PC Gaming Is or Isn't Dying" and throw all these links into it.  drillsergeant

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

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

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

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

OK well that's all my insane thoughts for the day. I always find Penny Arcade's thoughts amusing but it's not something I worry about. smile
10715  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa 1.5 patch AI changes video on: February 27, 2008, 10:16:14 PM
Well, I guess it's good we're avoiding the botched 1.5 lauch:  Roll Eyes

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

They're working on a hotfix for the resolution problem, and suggest in the meantime that players run the game in windowed mode. Not that doing so addresses the fact that the resolution resets every time you load the game, but at least it doesn't crash.
10716  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Perpetual Entertainment cancels Star Trek: Online (sorta) on: February 27, 2008, 09:29:29 PM
Hey Star Trek Games (supposedly they were involved with the game a bit) is beginning a pretty cool inside look at the dead project now that it appears that Perpetual will have to totally liquidate. One of the strange things is that Bioware was apparently licensing Perpetual's engine -- or at least some sort of technology from them -- for its upcoming MMO project so it'll be curious to see what their technology's fate will be. Who knows, perhaps the Perpetual engine/tech will fall into public domain and we'll soon see fans making their own MMOs and even filing for bankruptcy on their own!  Tongue

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

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

Blue's News mentioned this, it was kind of buried between various other items and caught my eye.
10717  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa 1.5 patch AI changes video on: February 27, 2008, 07:41:40 PM
It's cool, though as I babbled in our main TR thread, the game needs more content (just imho) if it's going to draw people (whether new players or people that have lost interest). I just don't think jump-jetting AFS mechs and exploding Bane corpses is going to do much in that regards. I suppose every bit helps, I just hope they aren't skipping content upgrades in favor of this sorta thing.

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

Is 1.5 already out? I guess what confused me is the Juggernaut "suction" power is already in the game. I wasn't familiar with seeing the other things. icon_confused
10718  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: February 27, 2008, 07:34:06 PM
I hadn't visited the forums in a while for this, this fan's parody is pretty funny smile (note: it uses a few embedded images of humongous size so you may need to give it a little time to finish loading them).

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

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

I can attest from failing the Epic quest repeatedly where Legolas constantly gets his arse in trouble that he truly does something too much, though I don't know what "DF" means.  saywhat
10719  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Companies EA bought then closed on: February 27, 2008, 02:53:41 PM
This is why I think Bioware is naive to think EA will "leave them alone." God help them if one of their games isn't a smash hit. Something modestly successful like Jade Empire would probably bring EA's "Men in Black" to the Bioware offices with a summons...  paranoid "Your new, original game has failed to meet EA revenue projections. Beep. We require that your next game be: "Mass Effect: Sims Spore 3". Beep. This represents the best opportunity for continued corporate growth. Beep. If you refuse, you shall be terminated. Beep. And development will be transferred to our new studio in Botoswana where labor is much cheaper."

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

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

10720  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battlefield Heroes...its a free Battlefield game on: February 27, 2008, 02:49:48 PM
The CGW that had the article about this is on stands now, fwiw. I might actually be interested in it when it releases or goes into open testing (I haven't bought a Battlefield game since the original BF1942).

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

Whether they think it's going to broaden their market to appeal to a more casual set, or be a subtle way to draw people into team shooters who stay away because they suck at them (hey, it's me! Tongue), not sure.
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