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10681  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: May 25, 2008, 01:03:58 PM

Quote from: Harkonis on May 22, 2008, 06:19:26 AM

The cape was a gift for being a newsletter subscriber
I applied the code OK, but "/claim" command doesn't add anything to my character's inventory in the game. So I'm stumped on that one, unless maybe it's not available until you hit 20 and leave Tortugar.  icon_confused
10682  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: May 25, 2008, 02:57:25 AM
I've mostly gotten to 16 today just banging keys almost at random, so figuring out combos is next on my agenda.  icon_mrgreen

I didn't think climbing would amount to much, but I really enjoy it when it comes into play on quests, or gives you different ways to get through areas. And it just feels sort of refreshing for an MMO. And they've put in all kinds of different ladders (rock cliff ladders, slat ladders, rung ladders etc.). I wonder if ladders have their own design staff.  icon_razz

10683  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: May 24, 2008, 05:55:25 PM
I spent about 4-5 hours on one character this morning and had a pretty good time. I never disconnected, and had no lag problems, seems like a pretty polished launch (albeit your mileage may vary).

-I liked the combat system in beta; in retail it feels (could be my imagination) like they tweaked it a bit and it just feels a little more solid and tighter than it did in beta. The blood spray may feel excessive, but I find it really does help me confirm if my hits are landing (or their hits are landing on me).
-Plenty of quests. Granted I'm only L9, but there's no shortage of things to do even if there isn't much so far in the way of anything imaginative quest-wise. The hunt/fetch type quests I've encountered to this point never veer into Dungeon Runners numbers-grinding (the largest I've seen so far was getting 15 of something but it wasn't too much of a grind).

-There's a fairly powerful "searching for groups" feature but I think many don't even know it's there (it's one of the icons up in the upper left). There's no LFT/LFG channel, and while I have a couple of Ruins quests I'd love to team with someone on, there seems little interest to this point. Hopefully that'll sort out over time.
-You do inevitably find yourself stumbling into other people who are working on the same hunt or quest. I have to hope things spread out more after Level 20, but we'll see.

Well I gotta hop back in and rush towards 20. icon_cool
10684  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: May 24, 2008, 05:44:29 PM
Well, maybe a few closeups are in order still.  icon_smile

Blackjackian early:

Blackjackian a bit later (about Level 8-9):

A memorably meanie enemy...

Just a guard, character models look really good

And a lot more geysers of blood than I recall in beta (though decapitations for me are still quite rare, seen maybe 2 today)
10685  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Character Art, etc on: May 24, 2008, 05:17:16 PM
I've started to use Picasa's collage feature as a quicker way to share a few screenies. I put in about 4-5 hours this morning, and had a fairly good time with the game...
10686  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Glad I didn't buy AoC on: May 24, 2008, 12:06:37 PM
Did buy. Am such a hypocrite.  icon_razz
10687  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: May 24, 2008, 12:02:19 PM
For the curious, but not convinced, the game box does include one 7-day guest pass. I don't know if that will get you far enough into the game to convince ye (and the client download size is brutal -- pretty scary to require *2* DVDs).

Anyway, I lied about not playing, and am installing as I post here.  icon_smile I still have this dream that games will someday come on USB key drives (maybe when a USB 3.0 comes out) that you can just plug in and start playing from. My DVD drive is installing OK but it's taking forever.

I haven't read any Conan stuff so I'm not really one to judge. But my beta experience included battling crocodiles (alligators?) and apes, which certainly didn't feel like "average RPG fare" to me.  icon_smile I think we'll all have a better feel for that as we progress.

I never read Tolkien (I loved the movies), but I did during my LOTORO stint love how steeped that game was in the lore and story.
10688  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: May 24, 2008, 02:20:38 AM
10689  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Indy IV: Who's in for Midnight??? on: May 23, 2008, 09:42:59 PM
I caught a 7:45 p.m. Thursday show after work ($12!!!), and had a good time. Theater was packed but not quite sold out.

Just about every Indy movie has an "Oh give me a break" scene (re the mining cart jump across the train track gap in Temple of Doom), and I'd say a couple scenes like that, and the occasional disjointedness of the storyline were the only things that bothered me. And it's a shame they didn't invite Sallah (John Rhys-Davies, aka Gimli) back at least for a cameo.

Ford was once my favorite actor, but afik he hasn't been anything that would qualify as a hit since What Lies Beneath (2000), and hasn't really done an action movie that was a big hit since Air Force One (1997). He's in great fighting form, and he looks like he's genuinely having fun (so many of his movies the last 10 years or so have made it look like he found acting to have become a laborious job). He's in great shape for 65, and Karen Allen for 53 (and as someone who disdained the Hollywood plastic surgery habit no less).

I still found Iron Man a bit more uniformly entertaining and satisfying summer movie (even if you hate Robert Downey, don't read comics, don't like Iron Man etc., I've not seen a movie where more skeptics came out loving it), but I certainly loved seeing Indy, Marion and company, and I hope to see it a couple more times on the big screen.  icon_smile And Paramount? They don't care, they released *both* those movies so they're going to be laughing all the way to the bank for quite some time.  icon_cool

I think "ranking" it against the other Indy movies is a bit pointless, but I would say it compares well aside the other sequels. I loved Temple of Doom at the time I saw it in 1984 (age 19) but it hasn't really aged well in my memory. Raiders had the advantage of feeling 100% fresh at the time (even if it was inspired by 1930s serials) and having a great, non-action screenwriter's screenplay (Lawrence Kasdan), and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director even (losing out to Chariots of Fire).

What I really miss about 1981 sometimes (my older brother and I caught Raiders at a theater in Hawaii during a stopover, and we knew nothing about the movie going in) is that the entertainment news media was a lot less suffocating then. I think there was more room to get surprised by a movie, or to feel like you discovered a movie - even a big budget Lucas-Spielberg special. It's tough to do that now unless you're a total Luddite, or you are able to avoid TV and the Web altogether.  icon_neutral
10690  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: May 23, 2008, 09:20:52 PM

Quote from: Debris on May 23, 2008, 06:07:21 PM

Quests are the typical fare.  Get this, kill that, talk to that person, etc.  People always complain about these types of quests, but really, what's the alternative?
I don't have a problem with "the same old quests" if the game devs don't continually promise that they're doing more interesting and creative quests and have hired professional writers to ensure that (as Funcom seemed to say repeatedly).

As far as the alternative, as much as I've bashed Tabula Rasa in some ways, I think TR had -- in places -- some of the most refreshing quests I've seen in MMOs. There just weren't enough of them for my tastes, or enough variety in zones (so that you could maybe have a little different questing/missions experience while going from Level 10-20 with one character, vs. your last character). And some things that could've been thought provoking (kill this hostage, or save him) were rendered pointless because there was no reputation system to speak of.

But you really (imho) *can* give players more interesting things to do than kill 25-100 things, fetch this and bring it back, go kill the Foozle, bring me the potion components, bring me X this Y that and Z that so I can make you some underwear, Escort Idiot NPC from Point A to Point B, etc. It takes time, work and manpower (not to mention imagination) though, and in the end I can understand why most companies would rather just fling the same old quest crap at us, tell us "the PVP and massive raids that take a half day are where the game's more interesting," wave off any questions about making single player questing more interesting, and leave it at that.
10691  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: May 23, 2008, 05:24:00 PM
I've never found one that I thought I'd use consistently but it is something to consider.

I guess in MMOs I just don't feel comfy using number keys beyond about 5 or 6 (just don't like reaching over for the 7-0 keys in combat). In CoX I tend to cluster my hotkeys around the A,W,S,D keys (I'll use keys like X, V, F, for often-used attacks I can't fit on keys elewhere; and sometimes even T and G for stuff like trip mines and grenades and turrets). I know everyone has their own preferences and some folks love using the numeric keypad but I don't use it for much.
10692  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: May 23, 2008, 04:58:46 PM
Thanks guys. Well, I'll see if I can snare a copy, 3 day weekend and all.  icon_smile

I had enjoyed the combat, I just kinda didn't like losing my 1-3 hotkeys to the directional attacks; and the various letter keys I liked to bind in COH/COV seemed to already be assigned to necessary functions in AoC. Hopefully I can figure some way around that.
10693  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 23, 2008, 01:15:24 PM
There's a reactivation weekend this weekend:
Just in time to try out all the new features included in Issue 12: Midnight Hour, it’s a free Reactivation Weekend! From Thursday, May 22nd starting at 11 AM Pacific (1 PM Eastern) and continuing through Sunday, May 25th at 8:59 PM Pacific (11:59 PM Eastern) all inactive accounts in good standing have free access to City of Heroes and/or City of Villains!

Tell your friends and bring them back to Paragon City or the Rogue Isles!

Have a great "City of" weekend!
10694  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: May 23, 2008, 01:10:24 PM
For an impressions thread, this thread sure is short on actual impressions.  icon_razz Could somebody throw in something enlightening along the lines of "I'm enjoying it because blah blah," "the single player quests are/aren't living up to the hype," (I couldn't really gather from my brief Fileplanet beta experience) or "It's as much fun as peeling off wallpaper in my bathroom." Thanks - it would help those of us on the fence.  icon_smile

I have a little 10% off Best Buy coupon so I might pick it up and throw it in the moss-gathering pile with Pirates of the Burning Sea.

I remain on the bubble, but I'm not really seeing any big sales on it so I might use my coupon while I have the chance.
10695  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Boeing Firing High-Energy Tactical Laser... on: May 22, 2008, 03:54:24 PM
Boeing Begins Firing High-Energy Laser Aboard Advanced Tactical Laser Aircraft
After conducting a series of additional laser tests on the ground and in the air, the program will fire the chemical laser in-flight at mission-representative ground targets. The test team will fire the laser through a rotating turret that extends through the aircraft’s belly.

"Later this year, we will fire the laser in-flight at ground targets, demonstrating the military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon" Fancher said.

ATL, which Boeing is developing for the U.S. Department of Defense, will destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.
This reminds me of a Wash. Post column I read a while back that was noting that the most sea-changing new developments or technologies tend to get buried in otherwise forgettable press releases that nobody pays attention to (including the Internet, World Wide Web, e-mail, Wi-Fi, etc. etc.).

Of course, the scary thing about inventing stuff like this is that usually the wrong people want the same technology. While it would be nice to make collateral damage a thing of the pass, I don't know how you defend against this thing (mirrors?) if it becomes more common and becomes a technology other countries possess.

P.S. I searched for Boeing, Lasers, and "holy crap!" with the forum search function, so if there's already a thread on this, tough.  icon_razz
10696  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 22, 2008, 02:33:40 AM
I would advise people not to worry about all the threads at official forums complaining about update 12 being a premature release, because most of the threads were created by people complaining they were taking too long to release it.  icon_razz And, it's a hollowed MMO tradition...

"We want the update!"
"We're testing it!"
"Wah! I wanna play!"
"We're still testing it!"
"Wah! I hate you! I'm gonna play the MMO Du Jour instead!"
"We're releasing it!"
"Yay! Uh. Why is it so buggy? What have you done to my game?"
"Uh. We'll fix it next update!"
"This sucks! You should've tested it more! I quit!"

I'm sure this is how Ultima Online, Meredian 59 and The Realm did it, and it still works that way today.  crybaby
10697  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Glad I didn't buy AoC on: May 22, 2008, 02:27:09 AM
Don't have neither.
Wasn't blown away enough by the Fileplanet AoC beta to get all lathered up about it yet. Waiting to see if people here keep playing once the Nipple Novelty Effect has worn off... icon_razz

Found the Warhammer devs incredibly obnoxious in most of their videos for the game to this point (which doesn't mean it isn't good, just they come off poorly -- they should at least get a new promotional video director who focuses on the game instead of devs trying and failing to be funny!)

Just got back from 4 grueling days at a business conference in Cleveland -- which from what we could tell, is like a zombie city in a George Romero or 28 Days Later sequel -- there's nobody in the city in the morning, at rush hour, at night, never. icon_razz Plus, cars not only won't stop for you if you're in a cross walk with blinking pedestrian lights all over it -- they SPEED UP! Cleveland - the Grand Theft Auto city! However, it does have the cleanest streets we ever saw in any city we can think of.
10698  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Speed Racer on: May 18, 2008, 01:50:26 PM
Speed's going down in flames at the box office. Even with international B.O. and DVD sales, don't know how it's going to even break even.

That doesn't mean it's bad (plenty of lousy movies and movie sequels make $200-$300M at the box office these days), but one of the great things about The Matrix (the original) was that it felt fresh, and had its own mythology. What's the point of the Wachowskis hamstringing themselves (Speed was their idea, no one else to blame) with a weirdo cartoon TV show whose audience is mostly 40 somethings like me? Speed Racer means nothing to the kiddie audience they tried to appeal to, which may be why no one is paying to see it.

I still get the impression all these needless remakes of TV shows from the '60s and '70s (Starsky and Hutch? Dukes of Hazzard? Bewitched? Sgt. Bilko? What the heck was the point of any of those?) that stiff at the box office just demonstrate a bankruptcy in fresh ideas, and maybe at some point the spigot of remaking 30-40 year old TV shows into movies nobody wants to see will end.

If it isn't, then at least bring on the Marine Boy movie. Maybe they can show the mermaid's breasts and get a PG-13 out of it.  disgust icon_lol While you're at it, throw in Ultra-Man, Johnny Socko and his Flying Robot (a show I remember as "an ode to handguns"), and Captain Scarlet movies so I can relive my childhood even if I'll be the only person in the theater.  icon_razz
10699  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pirates of the Burning Sea open stress test on: May 17, 2008, 03:04:19 PM

Quote from: morlac on April 21, 2008, 06:09:10 PM

Blackjack, you get in game yet?  I got a buddy playing with me and we can always  use a third (cannon fodder).  icon_cool
Belatedly, no, not yet. My POTBS box is still 3 inches left of my keyboard here, and I use it to put plates on.  icon_razz

After my Cleveland biz trip (I'll be back May 22), I hope to finally get a rest and have some time to either get into this, or get into Age of Conan. The latter's Fileplanet beta experience didn't quite "shake my world" as I hoped, so it's not quite as easy a decision as it sounded.

I still kind of feel like I want to wait for one more major update on this before I enter (I've read about the avatar combat finally getting a badly needed upgrade, for example, though I'm not sure it's plannned for the next update or a later one).
10700  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 17, 2008, 02:57:15 PM
MMORPG has a Midnight Squad video. Later in it is some of the Roman stuff that's new.

Yeah, I think my toons Metal Mandroid and Dr. Barium respec'd to remove hover and add Air Superiority. Though to be honest, I have such an excessive number of hotkeys, I can never remember what my Air Superiority key is in combat.  icon_razz

This June 2004 PVPOnline strip (during Kurtz's short-lived, pre-WoW release, interest in COH) says it all about Hover...
10701  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [video] 'Fusion Man' soars above Alps (jet fuel-powered wings) on: May 15, 2008, 03:31:02 PM
Sorry, I did a bunch of searches here for "Fusion Man" before I posted and nothing came up. I didn't think to search for "Now you'll believe you can fly!!!!!"  and "This is the real ironman!"  icon_neutral
10702  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [video] 'Fusion Man' soars above Alps (jet fuel-powered wings) on: May 15, 2008, 12:57:14 PM
I couldn't make stuff like this up.  icon_cool Not quite Iron Man, but pretty cool (the video has no audio, so don't whack your speakers):

'Fusion Man' soars above Swiss Alps
# Story Highlights
# Yves Rossy is the world's first man to fly with jet fuel-powered wings
# He demonstrated his flight talent in Bex, Switzerland
# His jet turbines enabled him to achieve a speed of 186 mph
# He uses only his body to change position in the air
Seems like kind of a cross between a jetpack and a hanglider. He apparently jumped out of a plane at about 8,000 feet, and flew for roughly 5 minutes, doing a series of rising loops.

Click the tab there at CNN to view photos, or at this link:

'Fusion Man' photos

Getty Images has a pretty awesome spread if you search for 'Fusion Man' at their site (I couldn't find a straightforward URL for it though, it had like 5,000 characters in the URL):

He hopes to fly across the English Channel later this year, though that's presumably going to require him to "wear" a helluva lot more fuel.  icon_razz

On closer look, it's pretty funny the wings have advertisements for a Swiss watch company (he's a former Swiss fighter pilot, it seems).

P.S. Yes he does have a parachute, both for landing and presumably for "oh *hit!" type emergencies.  icon_smile
10703  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Reaper survives on: May 14, 2008, 09:22:29 PM
I really liked the show, and I'm glad it'll at least get a 2nd mid season replacement run. The ratings for it are atrocious (par for the course for CW though), so I hope they can find a friendly slot for it. I wish Kevin Smith had time to direct a few more episodes as he did the pilot.

I didn't realize this, but you can watch full episodes at the official site (yes I'm a Tivo-less neanderthal):
10704  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 14, 2008, 09:14:09 PM
I had these phases over the years in CoX. I originally got hover/fly for almost everybody (super jump for a couple). Then I realized how relatively sluggish fly was, and started getting super jump for almost everybody. Then suddenly I liked super speed (even with its disadvantages in certain environments) and respec'd almost all my toons to super speed.

At this point all but a couple of my toons are either fly or super speed, or some combination thereof. Metal Mandroid actually has fly but didn't bother with hover at all (it's so sluggish as to be essentially useless).

Some folks swear by teleport but I found the animation sequence annoying and never was comfortable with it. My healer Dr. Barium experimented with it for a while before respeccing.

Where I think COH missed the boat was on some powers related to travel that Irrational's Freedom Force handled in more entertaining fashion. For example, Silver Bullet in FF was a great ball to play, and used his speed to do multiple attacks in one turn, or to serve as a battering ram (if I'm remembering correctly).

As for why more traditional MMOs don't offer a fly type power (most have mounts of some sort), I always thought the difference was that in COH, most of the time you just want to get somewhere and you're not really interested or concerned about taking in the landscape and scenery on your way there.

In most more traditional MMOs (LOTORO for example), they've put a lot of effort into memorable landscapes and scenes, and textures and such, and I gather that they really want you to see that. They'll give you horse-mount or a wagon or something to ride on, but they'd like to keep you at ground level and have you enjoy some visual sights along the way.

In other words, in COH, it's the destination; in other MMOs it's the journey. Just my 2 pence.  icon_razz
10705  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Hellgate 2.0 Patch on: May 12, 2008, 10:35:44 PM
I would only return if:
A) Bill Roper let me smash him over the head with a whiffle bat (I'm gentle!) 40 times for releasing the game in the condition it was released in, even if it was probably the publisher's fault.
B) I could turn in my version .7 (or was it .8?) launch DVD for smelting, and receive a crisp 2.0 version that's function out of the box.
C) If every time I encountered an exasperating bug, a Flagship employee was ejected out of his chair...

Actually I think if they went back into the game and tried to "optimize" it like a film editor might (strip out all the "creative" levels and mini turret games that added nothing to the game; reduce some of the "level texture" repetition that made it seem like you were playing the same levels over and over and over, in spite of the randomizing) they could still end up with a shorter, sweeter game that was worth attempting to re-release either at retail or at least at Steam, Direct2Drive etc. I don't see that happening, and I'm actually amazed Flagship hasn't already burned through all its funding and called it a day.

I'm speaking as someone who persisted in the game, was a fan for a while and then gave up in disgust when one of the patches basically broke my game and made it unpatchable. I want to say it was 1.3 I couldn't even delete the incomplete patch file from my desktop (it wasn't set to read-only). It's still on my old PC, laughing at me...  disgust

If they re-release 2.0 at retail, I might seriously consider it. I'm just not willing to "infect" my new PC with a launch version of HG.
10706  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 12, 2008, 01:31:52 PM
Spoiler for Hiden:
The "Ten Rings" logo -- the early bald guy villain in Afghanistan is presumably a member of a Mandarin-affiliated organization (or it may just be a subtle reference for fans' sake) -- is sort of a vague reference to The Mandarin in the movie, fwiw.
Speed Racer was, in fact, a speed bump this weekend....  icon_razz

- Iron Man ($50.5 million/$12,284 per screen)
What Happens in Vegas ($20.2 million/$5,604 per screen)
- Speed Racer ($20 million/$6,220 per screen)

It sounds like Warners is already in a bit of panic mode cause the sad reality is a $120 million budget movie (Speed Racer) that only makes $20M on  its opening weekend in summer is in serious financial losses mode (even with DVDs and overseas stuff). It's not likely to improve with the Narnia and Indy sequels opening the next couple of weekends.
10707  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: New PC Updated! Help me choose an O/S! on: May 12, 2008, 01:14:23 PM
I'm using Vista Ultimate (64-bit). It's been fine with games, but I've had various 64-bit compatibility problems with non-games:
- Palm PDAs, Treos etc. can only synch via Wi-Fi, bluetooth or serial under it, not USB and Palm apparently has no plans to update that any time soon
- my Rhapsody/Best Buy music store isn't Vista 64-bit compatible etc., period)
- Various utilities (anti-virus, anti-spyware etc.) I had to download a special 64-bit compatible version for (usually if you're registered, it's a free upgrade)
- probably you'll join many of us in the "Why does Vista grind like a butcher's meat grinder for hours?" threads around the world, and you'll hear that it's the Windows indexing feature, the Superfetch feature and/or the System Restore feature (why XP's system restore didn't have to grind so badly to work, and Vista does, I don't know). And it may be all of those, or none of those (from my experience disabling everything in sight to try to get rid of the grinding). Then a genius will tell you to use the "Reliability and Performance Monitor" to track it down, and you'll find some bafflingly-named system volume sub-folder is grinding gigabytes of data forever.  Tongue

If all that doesn't scare you off icon_razz, since most games run in Vista 64 under 32-bit emulation mode, I'd be inclined (if I had it to do over) to just go with the basic 32-bit Vista and spare myself any headaches.
10708  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: Shadowgrounds Survivor - $5 on Steam this weekend on: May 11, 2008, 03:39:10 PM
I was a big fan of the original Shadowgrounds, hung out at Frozenbyte's forums a lot, but for some reason the demo for the followup never grabbed me. Frozenbyte is a good small dev though, and their marketing folks are friendly at the forums. I think they don't quite have the manpower or resources to do all the things fans want just yet but hopefully they are a snowball gathering steam and resources.  icon_smile
10709  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 10, 2008, 07:11:52 PM
In case you missed it, open beta testing for this began recently, and Preloading for Issue 12: Midnight Hour will begin the next time you log out.  icon_smile
10710  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 10, 2008, 05:37:27 PM
Since I'm rooting for Iron Man to continue to do well, I'm sorta monitoring the box office.

If you were wondering if Speed Racer might race by it (given pretty mixed reviews, it doesn't look to have a Matrix style time at the box office), Friday's results don't indicate that Speed got up to speed.  smirk

Box Office Mojo estimates
Friday, May 9
-Iron Man ($15.3 million; $3,722 per screen)
-What Happens in Vegas ($6.7 million; $2,084 per screen)
-Speed Racer ($5.85 million; $1,622 per screen)

Things could change over the weekend soitainly when families flood into matinee shows.

Still, IM made about $24.3 million Monday-Thursday. So it's doing pretty steady, fwiw.

Echoed by Variety:

'Iron Man' soars over 'Vegas'

Go, Iron Man, go!  icon_cool
10711  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / NPD online subscription tracker (new in 2008) on: May 10, 2008, 01:34:53 PM
Saw this mentioned at, referencing a Next Gen article:

NPD: Online Subs Exceed $1 bln Annually
MMO/PC Game Subscribers

1.) World of Warcraft
2.) RuneScape (?)
3.) Lord of the Rings Online
4.) Final Fantasy XI
5.) City of Heroes
More info on NPD's beginning to track (i.e., estimate) online subscriptions is here (also Next Gen):

NPD Begins Tracking Paid Subscriptions
I don't really know how precise it is (the companies aren't suddenly providing these top secret figures to NPD, afik). It might not be much more useful/meaningful than the fan-created

If you're curious about Runescape (it's a UK-devved, free, browser based MMO with some Dungeon Runners-ish payment options -- although it seems to have been around much longer than DR, to be fair), it's over here:

An In-Depth Review of RuneScape

It's by most accounts crude (you're not going to show off your $3,000 gaming PC or $800 SLI video card set up with it), but sounds very much like the "little engine that could," and I'm sure their development cost overhead is very low.
10712  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 10, 2008, 05:53:13 AM
So, the Marvel comics writers themselves love the movie too. Although it's not we should expect them to be quoted on the Marvel Web site as saying "Iron Man blows!"  smirk Still, I'm fairly sure these same guys had no kind words to say about the Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Punisher, Elektra, or Hulk movies. So, perhaps it's worth something afterall.  icon_smile

Marvel Comics’ creators weigh in
I'll boil it down for the easily bored...
Mark Waid: "Perfect. Note-perfect. The best Marvel movie yet. Robert Downey, Jr. is the single best-cast super hero since Christopher Reeve as Superman, and the humor and humanity he brings to the role of the cool exec with the heart of steel is just remarkable."

Reggie Hudlin: "I have to see it again. I actually wanted to see it again right after seeing it, but to properly rank it, I need to see it again. To say it is one of the two best films based on a super hero comic book is a safe designation. Best acting ensemble ever in a super hero film."

Gerry Conway: "It's a genre film that somehow lifts itself out of the genre and is a genuine, legitimate story, first and foremost. What can I say, I liked it."

Robert Kirkman: "'Iron Man' is nearly flawless. It has none of the little bits you have to excuse in most superhero movies. Pepper doesn't get abducted, Tony's helmet doesn't fall off in every scene, there aren't multiple villains who 'team-up,' it's simply a marvelous movie. With Marvel Studios in charge of the movie, you get a sense that the lunatics are running. The asylum—finally—and it makes for better movies. "Iron Man" is the comic book movie people have been waiting for a long, long time. It's finally here and it's awesome."

Joe Kelly: "I loved it. 'Iron Man' has renewed my faith in Hollywood's ability to shepherd our characters to the big screen."

Andy Schmidt: "Great movie. No qualifiers. No comparison to other 'comic book' or 'super hero' movies, no 'if you're a comic book fan,' just a great movie. Entertaining from the opening to the end, well-structured, well-plotted, and extraordinarily well-acted.

David Michelinie: "I liked it a lot, and actually plan to spend theater bucks to see it again."

Aw who am I kidding, I'm not saving you any time by cutting and pasting so much.  icon_razz

One thing I noticed in the Wash. Post here is studios seem to be lessening newspaper advertising even for blockbusters like IM (the ads for it in the paper are tiny, and they're barely able to fit one or two blurbs). I guess I don't really miss half page ads with "made up quotes," but I was hoping to see (for old time's sake) at least one big fat huge ad with all the appropriate enthusiastic blurbs -- no need to make them up in this case. smile

I don't know if it'll keep its momentum up in the coming weeks with Speed Racer, the Narnia sequel and the Indy sequel, but ... I'm rooting for it.  icon_smile
10713  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 07, 2008, 12:58:35 PM
I keep digging around for interviews and such. The NY Times had this interesting slide show, featuring some ILM concept artwork and sketches, and narrated by ILM's Aaron McBride, visual FX art director for Iron Man.

Suiting Up Iron Man

In the 1980s, the comic book had his armor being these flat things that fit in a briefcase, and when he needed to put them on, they just sort of popped out as full size armor and he shrugged them on by hand.

I guess in the more recent variations, it's some sort of "bio armor" that sprouts out of his skin and envelopes him (which I think I read Favreau wasn't too keen on trying to do, he was shooting for something a teeny bit more currently plausible).
10714  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 07, 2008, 12:50:47 PM
I've got a biz trip so I probably won't get much more time into the Fileplanet beta before it closes.

I like what I've seen, mostly, but haven't really done enough quests to know if they'll really hold my interest or not. After the first initial day or two, the game ran really smoothly for me fwiw. It looks great, and while the combat's refreshing, it's easy to get a grip on.

One of the things that annoyed me in Tabula Rasa was all the non-instanced quests that (if the server was busy) had you basically scraping alongside other players for the same objective. Or other players would just unknowingly whack some patrol that you needed for a quest. Or at the worst, you'd basically be waiting in line with 20 other players for some quest-enemies to spawn. I don't like it when a game emulates waiting at a deli counter for your order.  disgust

There's one quest in the fort that reminds me too much of that (by the house of pleasure I guess it's called), and I found other players constantly taking out the enemies I needed for the quest, leaving me to either "camp" or wait for the other players to go away. It's a minor annoyance, but if the whole game is full of situations like that, I might be a tad turned off. I don't need a 100%-instanced game, but I do like something of a mix or at least a game world large enough that "overlapping" situations with other players isn't a frequent problem (that's kind of how I viewed LOTORO).

While I enjoy the combat, losing keys 1-3 to the required directional attacks left me a little frustrated finding ways to make the various hotkeys easy to reach (normally I reassign some to letters, but AoC seems to make use of practically every letter on the keyboard on the left half of it).

I'm not pre-ordering more because I'll again be on a biz trip during the 3-day headstart, and launch, so I'll just look forward to reading here (and elsewhere) about how the launch goes and if the full game's quests live up to the interview promises (as far as being interesting, well written and something more than "get me 3 bricks" and "get me 5 spools of thread," etc. icon_smile
10715  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: May 06, 2008, 10:06:39 PM
Pohsyb had details on many upcoming "Quality of Life" (QoL) improvements coming to the game:

One I had been dying for (and it's right there on his list) was the ability to jot a short note "attached" to a name on global friends (or friends) list so you can remember who the heck someone is and why you added them to your list.  icon_razz
10716  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Bioware doesn't trust us (Mass Effect) on: May 06, 2008, 09:54:43 PM
If anyone thought EA/Bioware was going to think like Sins of a Solar Empire's publisher/dev team Stardock/Ironclad Games (as far as copy protection goes), they be fooling themselves.  icon_neutral

The sad thing is, they could probably do something similar as far as updates/downloadable content for the PC Mass Effect. But I imagine if a dev went to EA and said, "Lets skip copy protection, but make it so they need a purchased copy for the updates and downloadable content to work at all," the boardroom would be full of laughter without end. icon_razz I could've maybe seen the "old" Bioware considering it, but since EA owns their soul now, it's out of their hands.
10717  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My cat is exceptionally angry on: May 06, 2008, 07:19:34 PM
I've had my hands full raising one cat (Molly) for about 11 years now, so I admire your bravery raising that many.

I know the cat's are fixed and all, but maybe the visiting cat was female, and Tymora and tiggrr had some sort of jealousy-spat? Or else it might've just been some random incident that happened out of sight. Have they had rabies vaccinations? If one had been bitten, I assume you'd probably see them scratching at a bite or something like that.

My cat's so peaceful and gentle most of the time at home (she even lets me feed her her thyroid medication twice a day by hand without biting), but when I take her to the vet and they take her away from me for tests or nail trimming, it's like she turns into Mrs. Hyde and wants to snap her jaws like a piranha (she's declawed). The assistant had to wear elbow length gloves and put a velcro-felt muzzle on her mouth on Saturday (she looked like Hannibal Lecter when he's carted in, in Silence of the Lambs), and she tends to make this Lion-like growl when they're examining her or giving her shots.

When I get her home, she's back to being Ms. Jekyll....  icon_confused
10718  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 06, 2008, 12:41:11 PM
Entertainment Weekly has a nice interview, post-opening-weekend with IM director Jon Favreau [NOTE: Last page of the interview has *spoilers* if you haven't seen IM yet, and is clearly marked as such before you reach that page, fwiw icon_smile]:,,20198027,00.html
Do you get the sense that he understood the level that his fame was about the reach? Before this, he hadn't starred in a $100 million-grossing movie.

No, I don't think he [Robert Downey Jr.] got it until he and I went around to the theaters [last weekend].

He and I went around to the theaters Thursday night and Friday night because we both love the audience reaction. So you could sit home and have numbers faxed to you all night and e-mailed to you all night — it doesn't mean anything — but when you go into the Cinerama Dome [in Hollywood]...I went up there and intro'd the movie, and as a surprise brought Robert Downey Jr. up, and then everybody jumped to their feet. It just hit him. Then, when he was courtside for the Lakers game, and they flashed him on the big screen and people clapped or Jack [Nicholson] gave him a thumbs up — I think you kind of know at that point. And it's exciting.

It's exciting for everybody, because he's a guy that I think a lot of people wrote off. It's inspiring when somebody who sort of has his work cut out for him actually accomplishes that and comes back bigger and better than he was before. I mean, that's the American dream — and it oddly somehow relates to Tony Stark. And when art imitates life, you're onto something. I learned that off Swingers.
He has a pretty refreshing attitude as far as realizing a movie can make a mountain opening week and not be all that well-liked by fans or critics. They've (mostly) managed happily to achieve both.  icon_smile

They had an updated item on the Avengers movie:,,20197922,00.html
The Avengers — July 2011 (bringing together the characters of Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and Thor in one movie)
Yikes. Going to need a heckuva good villain against that team.  icon_razz And the real question is whether Iron Man can use Thor's hammer as a recharger.  saywhat
10719  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 05, 2008, 05:28:57 PM
Super Hero Hype mentioned Marvel said they'd introduce Thor in Iron Man 2; and that "The First Avenger: Captain America" is the tentative "working title" for the Cap movie.

I guess the scheduling ends the idea that Favreau could direct the Avengers movie (there just wouldn't be enough time). It did sound like he, Downey and everyone were keen on doing further things, and I'm sure Stan Winston would love to work on new variations on the suit.  icon_smile

It all sounds great, but I just hope they can keep the quality level up, find the right people (not just hire music video directors who don't have any interest in the character or the comic books) and keep making unconventional yet ultimately smart casting decisions (as for Iron Man, and really it was Favreau who fought to get Marvel to understand Downey as a casting choice). And have a solid script as a starting point. If they can keep doing that, I'll keep buying tickets even when they're $12.50 for a matinee.  icon_biggrin
10720  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 05, 2008, 04:53:35 AM
fwiw, it topped the $100 million mark during the weekend. I say fwiw, because a lot of lousy sequels make a zillion dollars and then do a fast fade so it's hard to read too much into numbers (esp. with movies showing in 4,000 theaters at roughly $8.50-$10.50 per ticket). I'm hoping it does steadier business given the good reviews and good will  icon_cool, and a nice "slow burn" even with Speed Racer, Indy et al due in the coming weeks.

I think it's something like the 2nd biggest debut for a "non sequel" movie (behind Spidey in 2002). Marvel's in kind of an interesting position though with Universal handling Hulk, and Paramount having distribution rights to Avengers or Nick Fury (SHIELD) movies if they do them.
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