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10801  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What is suffocating Pc Gaming... Ill tell you what. on: March 30, 2008, 04:17:41 PM

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10802  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 30, 2008, 01:39:38 PM
Saw an IGN Age of Conan Vault interview with Funcom's Jason Stone (A U.S. dev team member who moved to Norway to work on the game and has since moved back to the U.S. but continues to work on it and I guess handle some of the press stuff):

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

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

Favorite class
Jason Stone: I tend to like a lot of the melee classes and I think the pole-arm wielding guardian is one of my favorites. I love the long reach and wide sweeps of the weapon.
10803  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 29, 2008, 02:20:03 AM has a nice, albeit rambling, roundup from the NCSoft Europe Heroic Weekend:
Some stuff that caught me eye:
The most shocking revelation was learning just how hard the City Of Heroes and City of Villains team was hit by the post-CoV reallocation of resources. By Melissa's [level designer Melissa Debianco, aka War Witch] count, the development team was pared down to just fifteen people [Blizzard has a bigger janitor department icon_lol], who still somehow managed to produce several issues' worth of quality content. Those days are now past, the NorCal studio is recruiting again and the IP is seeing some serious investment.
More promisingly for the future...

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

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

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

I guess the only danger is you can get an Asheron's Call 2/Everquest II situation (Turbine yanked the plug on AC2 after disappointing sales but continues to run Asheron's Call even today; Everquest II has its fans but clearly it got swamped and campsized by the WoW battleship in 2004-2005).
10804  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 28, 2008, 08:22:12 PM
I'd ban Ron for his blasphemy, but since he owns the place, I don't think that would work.  icon_lol

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

New Primary - Psychic Blast

New Secondary - Mental Manipulation


New Primary - Electrical Blast

New Secondary - Storm Summoning


New Primary - Plant Control

New Secondary - Thermal Radiation


New Primary - Earth Control

New Secondary - Electricity Manipulation


New Primary - Cold Domination

New Secondary - Ice Blast


New Secondary - Storm Summoning


New Primary - Battle Axe

New Primary - War Mace

New Secondary - Super Reflexes


New Primary - Electric Melee

New Secondary - Electric Armor


New Primary - Dark Armor

New Secondary - Dark Melee


New Primary - Fiery Melee

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

They acknowledge concerns about psychic blasters being overpowered in PvP and it's something they're presumably adjusting based on closed beta feedback.
10805  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: March 28, 2008, 07:27:20 PM
Cryptic posted a new round of Q&A from fan questions:

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

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

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

Please keep in mind that these visual changes are optional, and that players can simply turn them off if they think it doesn’t suit their characters.
There's more, just highlighting some stuff.
10806  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 28, 2008, 05:15:19 PM
I think, after all my breathless hyperventilation, that I'm going to get a "real" (notebook size) laptop here soon with a keyboard designed for adult hands and not for Wizard of Oz munchkins. I'm a reporter, and really what I need is something I can type up notes and interviews on, and perhaps update some Excel charts on, comfortably. As cool as the Eee PC is, I just can't see being able to do that on it.

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

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

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

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

If I knew somebody who was a writer/reporter who had to bang away on his/her laptop on the road a lot (in airplanes, hotels, lobbies etc.), that would be helpful.
10807  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Mythos on: March 28, 2008, 12:43:46 PM
Though this wasn't my cup of tea, I'm still receiving e-mail updates. Here's the latest:
1) Mythos site re-launched!

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

3) What the heck is a Stagkin?

4) More details on Stonehill posted.

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

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

Then everyone can enjoy Mythos!
10808  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PC gaming alliance (industry effort) on: March 27, 2008, 05:40:19 PM
This msnbc item spoke to me:

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

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

It is basically true though. If pundits want to say PC gaming's thriving (in terms of PC-specific titles) they point to WoW, The Sims, and that's about it (if they pay attention to current sales, they might mention Sins of a Solar Empire). If they want to say it's dying, they omit WoW, The Sims etc. and say, "LOOK!!!! DOOM!!!" icon_neutral
10809  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 27, 2008, 03:32:42 PM
You might check your antialias settings. With ATI cards in particular the game is sometimes wacky. I can't get it to retain AA settings, so if I want them on, I have to turn them on manually each time I play (the driver AA settings don't seem to affect the game for some reason, regardless of my in-game settings).

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

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

I almost feel like trials should let you start right there (at 20). That's not going to happen, but a lot of people now just form big sewer teams and power-level burn through the first 10-15 levels that way to avoid some of the lower level tedium.
10810  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 27, 2008, 12:57:37 PM
A few bitties...

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

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

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

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

As mentioned here:
A few things the Eee PC 900 will not have include a touchscreen and GPS (global positioning system), the Asustek representative said, despite some news reports to the contrary.
I take no joy in perhaps bursting someone's bubble in that. But touchscreens aren't cheap, and I'd assume a switch to that would take the Eee PC well out of Asus' comfortable price range.
10811  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tom Clancy MMO Accounced on: March 27, 2008, 02:26:55 AM
Now that Take-Two is apparently tossing around PowerPoint slides claiming that Bioshock (!) and Civ (!) can be MMOGs (!!!) [see, it's becoming clearer that publishers just pull out WoW's numbers and figures and are blinded by dollar signs. They don't see how much hellish work, servers and manpower goes into maintaining and keeping an MMO up and running, or pay attention to how many of them fail, or become utterly marginal (I'd throw about half of SOE's stable of games into that category), or simply don't beyond their initial launch phase.

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

That's all I have to share as teh Mad Prophet of Doom for the Gaming Industry.  icon_twisted And yes, to get back on topic, I think a Tom Clancy MMOG is just as ridiculous!
10812  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 26, 2008, 07:29:36 PM
I'm sure holographic stuff and projectors will be common soon. It's just, esp. as someone who learned to type on *gasp* typewriters  icon_eek, I really need some tactile keyboard clacking for feedback. Otherwise, typing on projected keys is like typing on an Atari 400.  saywhat

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

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

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

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

Display: 8.9"
Processor/Chipset: Intel
Memory: 1GB DDR2
Storage: 8GB S.S.D. [12GB model available too]
Card Reader: MMC/SD/SDHC
Audio: High definition audio/stereo speaker/mic
Communication: 10/100 LAN, WLAN 802.11b/g
Camera: 1.3MB Pixel Video Camera
Battery: 4 cells, 3.5 hours
*Actual battery life will depend on actual operations and configurations.
10813  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: is Warhammer Online dead? on: March 26, 2008, 06:20:44 PM
Probably he be referring to this...
Quote from: Blue
The SE will include an art book, a hardcover graphic novel, some miniatures, as well as in-game goodies, including bonus quests, rewards, and titles. They also say those who preorder will gat open beta access, a head start on the live game, and additional bonus items. This will be a limited edition, they say 55,000 units will be released in Europe for an 80 Euro MSRP, leading to the age-old dilemma of deciding if you love a game enough for this sort of commitment before you've gotten to play it.
I think Blue's forgetting that most retail pre-order boxes don't obligate you to buy the full game (though you may well not want to pay 10 bucks just to - possibly - find out the game you were excited about is an Emperor with no clothes icon_neutral). I mentioned elsewhere, but I bought the pre-order boxes for COV and Auto Asssault just to get in the late beta and in each case declined to get the full game when it launched (I did get each later). I can maybe see myself doing that with this and Age of Conan rather than plopping $50-$60 down sight unseen.
10814  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Eee Pc? on: March 26, 2008, 05:18:03 PM
Interesting, though I was actually interested more in the pictures of the 9" model found in its FCC filings (it's a link on that same page ye mentioned):

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

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

All I could think was, would an Eee PC help me in this situation or would trying to type and update an Excel spreadsheet chart on the kid-sized keyboard drive me insane? Should I get a nice "real" laptop even though I can't see needing it more than 2-3 times a year for work?  icon_confused Do I really want to go through all the laptop crap I see people go through at TSA security lines? Do we have a more general laptop thread I can ask these things in?  retard
10815  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 26, 2008, 05:12:24 PM
The real shame is Rikti War Zone is supposed to be a Hero-Villains cooperative area, but they didn't find a way to enable the Search for Teammates function to work "cross COH/COV". Really a bummer. You can type in /whoall to see all the heroes and villains in RWZ, and I've tried to invite villains to team up that way, but it's klutzy. I've stumbled onto some villains in the RWZ interiors, but have not been able to get on teams with any, to this point.
10816  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 25, 2008, 10:28:40 PM
I'm still running old AMD64 crap so I can't vouch.  icon_confused I did see a brief thread at official forums mentioning it (the older threads may have been pruned from their boards):

I could definitely believe it, given that the game shipped in spring 2004 and I don't recall if dual cores had come out then. I was all excited about my AMD64 at the time.  Roll Eyes
10817  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pirates of the Burning Sea open stress test on: March 25, 2008, 06:49:37 PM
I gave mine to El-Producto some time ago. Hope he got some enjoyment out of it.  icon_smile

I canceled my Gamefly membership yesterday. I think I'm probably still on target to cancel TR in early-mid April, and then I'll probably be game to finally boot this up. I kind of have a 2 MMOs At the Same Time Rule (COH being the other).  icon_neutral
10818  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: March 24, 2008, 10:11:19 PM
I'm not a moderator but let's talk COH/COV in that other thread (and I'll talk your ear off there since I've really fallen back in love with the game  icon_smile).

With Champs, Emmert posted a dev blog talking about how their hiring of an experienced comic book writer, and the "test" that they give prospective applicants:

Identifying with your heroes
Quote from: Jack Emmert
A MMORPG has much fewer lines of dialogue to develop its characters than a novel or comic book. Every single word is precious; every verb, noun, adjective, adverb must create a better understanding of a character’s motivation and personality.

When hiring for our writing position, all of the applicants had to take a test. One of the questions was:
A supervillain is monologuing his triumph to his seemingly helpless superhero nemesis. Write this monologue from two perspectives. The first – the supervillain is a cold, calculating monarch of an Eastern European nation. The second – the villain is maniacal, nearly insane.

We wanted to find someone who could, in a few words, deftly communicate the difference between the insane archvillain and the arrogant one. Most applicants were readily able to demonstrate that the one was sane and the other wasn’t, but very few illuminated the underlying motivations of each.

It's interesting stuff, but comic book fans (me included) would probably take issue with Jack's "interpretations" of various popular comic book characters' appeal/lack of appeal. But everybody has an opinion.  icon_smile

Oh they hired John Layman, and apparently he has a lot of experience writing for comic books (his own, and many for the big publishers), along with a bit of game writing experience.
10819  Gaming / Analog Gaming / Re: *edit* I'm playing a boardgame with myself!! on: March 24, 2008, 09:19:48 PM
This reminds me when I was visiting a former reporter friend (female) in Ohio. Her husband (whom I like) was out of town coincidentally. I had barely dropped my suitcase when she exclaimed, "There's something I've been dying to do, and now that you're here, I can do it!"  My mind reeled. And she proceeded to ... icon_eek

... break out her Scrabble board and exclaim, "I've been dying to play Scrabble with someone!" She wanted to play Scrabble with me because her husband the attorney never wanted to play.  disgust icon_lol So we spent a pleasant evening playing Scrabble and guzzling soda back in fall 1990.

There oughta be some easy way, like that Eye Toy type PS3 card game, where you could play board games via Internet. I mean, I know you can play PC versions of Scrabble, Monopoly etc. but even with headsets it doesn't quite capture the feel of physically handling cards and tokens and such, or interacting with folks around the table. I do get to play a bit of board games with my niece, nephew and my brother and sister-in-law when visiting them and I really enjoy it.  icon_smile
10820  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 24, 2008, 07:12:55 PM
Welcome.  icon_biggrin Of late I'm playing a defender and do use the auto function for the general healing aura if my team's in a big fight. I don't if you've been subscribed long enough for some of the veterans rewards, but there's a nice dark melee cone attack that most veteran folks use to replace brawl.

As far as AoC goes, there was a Q&A compilation posted at official forums on Thursday:
Couple of things of interest:
-They're internally testing some possible "sidekick/mentoring" systems as used in COH/COV
-Mounts are treated sort of as an extension of your character (the mount dies if you die), but you won't lost them permanently if offed on combat. At worst there might be a slightly penalty of some sort. The mounts use fairly realistic attacks including ramming witht heir horn or tusks, or horses using their feet to kick.
10821  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 24, 2008, 03:28:30 PM
I hope they aren't limiting the late beta to "pre order" players. Although, well, I guess I could do as I did with Auto Assault and just buy at a retail store a $10 pre-order box (which doesn't obligate you to purchase the full game -- a misconception I long had).

I was hoping the bonus would be some sort of velcro Conan warrior doll where you can rip the head and limbs off and maybe attach them in the wrong places.  icon_twisted

While you can set a single power in COH/COV to auto-attack (and I've seen plenty of lazy players set their tanks/scrappers to follow mode and one attack while they go have a cheese doodle festival  disgust), I generally am clacking hotkeys every which way and usually develop a certain sort of rhthym. I guess it's not a hundred miles from the Conan system, you'll just have more specific sequences you want to hit to be most effective.
10822  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 24, 2008, 03:24:46 PM
A team helped me finish up one of the Rikti War Zone arcs last night, and unlocked a new contact there. He won't have missions to give until level 45 though (43). I think I've still got one active contact there, but I guess you can keep doing mishes in the 45-50 range there. Probably that's in the initial Issue 11 patch notes.
10823  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 23, 2008, 06:07:02 PM
I put a lot of time in on large teams Saturday in Rikti War Zone. I think I mentioned once you get far enough in the contacts you start seeing some refreshing environments. In most cases, they are existing environs re-textured and re-colored, but sometimes it consists of areas you're not used to fighting in so it still feels fresh.  icon_cool

Some pics:

One climaxes in a huge room set beneat the Rikti Mothership (seen in the Crashed Rikti Mothership zone)

My favorite is a fairly epic mission where you're trying to protect the Portal Corps area (seen in Peregrine Island zone). Only in this scenario the Rikti have succeeded in building their own portals that you have to destroy, and some changed textures and colors indicate Portal Corps has been under siege by the rikti. We had a lot of fun with this one with a big team.

An ensuing Power Supply center mission takes place in a largely retextured and slightly redesigned underground base (usually seen in 5th Council and earlier 5th Column missions).
10824  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 21, 2008, 07:43:07 PM
Saw a neat little tidbit that the Hollows makeover includes new "resurrection gurnies" at the front (presumably near the Atlas gate) so you'll no longer have to rez from Atlas and trudge back if you die (and can't get a buddy to rez you etc.):
Quote from: Lighthouse
War Witch is adding gurneys (ala the Safeguard missions) to the front of the zone that you will go to if you are overcome and hit ye olde hospital button.
Note that while you can rez at your SG base and then use the appropriate SG teleporter to get back to the Hollows, it dumps you smack into the middle of the zone on a safe spot on a hill - tough to travel from there though. Not really recommended for lowbies, unless you have the holiday or Good vs. Evil-set jetpack temp power.  icon_neutral

Which reminds me, apparently the Good vs. Evil box (COH/COV) is reaching cutout bin prices and may be worth picking up if only for the jetpack and some other unique perks it included. I think you only need to enter the code from the box in your PlayNC account to get the perks applied.
10825  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: March 21, 2008, 07:06:41 PM
For 1.7 they apparently plan to start re-tweaking certain classes. Today's feedback update has some details:
You may question why Spy and Sniper are being addressed in 1.6 and 1.7. The Classes and Combat Team felt the Spy and Sniper classes were focused on TSR and Blades. Their abilities did not provide them with the tools they needed to play their class effectively. While they had huge damage numbers on their weapons, that was all they had.

Our goal now is to allow the player the option to use these newly tweaked abilities in addition to their main weapons to create a more interactive, well rounded combat dynamic. They will soon be better equipped to setup more affective shots, mitigate incoming damage, and escape otherwise certain death.
It seems like they'll be doing fairly major changes/additions, so it'll be interesting to see how these work out.

Swords are getting NerfedTM however, and you can just imagine all the screaming there'll be. Well, there are no official forums so there'll just be some random screaming in message boards across the cosmos. icon_razz
10826  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tom Clancy MMO Accounced on: March 21, 2008, 05:17:26 PM
Thanks. Although I guess I'll have to change the message now and then to keep it fresh.  icon_smile

I dunno. I just feel like the Tom ClancyTM name is getting yanked around in so many directions. To me it really meant something with the early R6 and Splinter Cell games. At this point, I bet they could yank Tom ClancyTM from "Rainbow Six Vegas 2" and no gamer would bat an eye, regardless of platform.

A Tom ClancyTM MMO would mean nothing to me. If they somehow found a way to turn any of the various franchises (R6, GRAW, Splinter Cell, etc.) into a solid MMO, that would be more meaningful to me. Just the humble BlackjackTM Opinion fwiw.

Oh, hey, the legal situation (buying Clancy's name in one-lump fee without having to worry about royalty payments in the future) reminds me of the Activision/Gibson situation where Gibson is suing Activision. Apparently, according to news items, Activision didn't want to continue the royalty deal that allowed it to use Gibson guitar likenesses in box art and promotions for the Guitar Hero games. I'm curious if maybe Activision wanted to do something like this Clancy royalty-free deal, but perhaps Gibson wanted to continue having future royalties and some approval-abilities instead of just a lump-sum one time payment.
10827  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: is Warhammer Online dead? on: March 21, 2008, 05:12:40 PM
Aye, I enjoyed LOTORO several months (apparently I pre-ordered it in April 2007 -- it hardly seems that long ago). I know the deeds there were more, "here's a neat bonus just as you go along doing other things," but yeah sometimes I'd get caught up in trying to kill 50-100 of something to complete a deed. I just don't remember one that requires 2,000.  icon_surprised

I guess it's sort of a Catch-22. If you make the reward good it's a nice carrot, but if you feel like you *have* to have the deed-reward type thing to be a successful character, then it can burn you out (and I know that feeling).
10828  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: is Warhammer Online dead? on: March 21, 2008, 01:12:16 PM
Gamespy came out to my neck of the woods (Northern Va.) to visit EA Mythic and do a week's worth of in-depth updates on this. Check them out here:

Warhammer Online -- A Visit to Ulthuan

They promise some hands-on impressions (starting tomorrow I think), and some exclusive video here and there.

I'm running late, don't have time to highlight much. But if you like grinding, you'll like some of the "goals" for unlocking at least one "Tactic.":
Killing 2000 Beastmen, for example, may unlock a Tactic that shrinks a player's aggro radius or allows the player to do extra damage against that particular monster.
icon_eek I'm hoping maybe he added a zero by mistake.  paranoid
10829  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tom Clancy MMO Accounced on: March 21, 2008, 01:08:50 PM
There was a time when Tom ClancyTM, the author, actually was asked for some of his input on the Tom Clancy'sTM Rainbow SixTM games (just very early on for the PC original and Rogue Spear I think). I'm not really sure he even actively writes books anymore. It's like the late Robert LudlumTM, who died decades ago but you keep seeing books that say "a Robert LudlumTM novel," and then in fine print, it's "Written by Joseph Schmoe."

Now that Ubisoft can make "toilet simulation" games and tack Tom ClancyTM on it, I think Clancy's just desserts would be a game called Tom Clancy's Whirlpool Vortex: The Toilet SimulationTM  Roll Eyes icon_lol

This has been a Glib, Cynical Blackjack Message Board PostTM.
10830  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (Warcry's 'beta journals') on: March 20, 2008, 08:44:48 PM
Warcry (with Funcom's full blessing/approval of each diary entry) has started posting some "beta journal" entries about their experiences in the Age of Conan beta so far. mentioned this, here's the Warcry link:

Through the Eyes of Mitra: Age of Conan Beta Journal Entry #1

Today's the first entry. He promises two more, including a closer look at the combat mechanics. I don't expect any amazing revelations in this stuff, but you might get a few more insights on some details. I'll highlight a few things, Blackjack-styleTM  icon_biggrin:
The devs and product managers weren't kidding when they said their character creation tool in 'Age of Conan' was "flexible", I mean, it really adds a whole new meaning to the word "customisation". The character creation tool in 'Age of Conan' boasts around 40 sliders ranging from the height of your character, your cheek height (the ones on your face, that is) [ icon_lol], cheek width, chin length, chin width, how big or small you want your arms (from Ghandi to Arnie, just to give you an idea), how big or small you want your thighs, all the way to which way you want your nose to be crooked.

Upon entering the outskirts of Tortage and reaching level five, I was awarded with my first combo move, and by the time I had finished from Tortage I had eight combos to my name, each with their own very distinct and brutal animation.

Combat description
I toyed with him at first using by directional attacks where the shield indicator wasn't present, and when I saw that he was low enough on health I let fly with "Brutal Onslaught".

It was simply a matter of pressing on the combo icon and following the directional keys that lit up on my combat rose to execute the combo. To my own delight I had not only successfully pulled off the combo, but managed to execute a fatality move in doing so; I sliced the Pict's head clean leaving only a bloody stump, his body slowly falling to the ground, and blood splattering on my screen and out of that Pict's neck. ... As if the satisfaction of executing a combo wasn't enough, I had also noticed that the fatality had granted me a temporary buff to damage and stamina regeneration.

It lasted long enough to notice a difference in damage output, and there's time enough at that level to completely recharge your stamina as a result of it.

The quests are well designed and extremely well-written, as they make you feel like you're part of some thing grander, and you, as a player, are left with a feeling like it actually matters what happens to these characters that you interact with as a result of your own actions.

I actually found myself by the end of things in Tortage wanting to go back to see how things had changed after the storm had cleared. If you're the sort of person that skips through quest dialogue and so forth, then give yourself a slap in the face now for even considering doing so in 'Age of Conan'. It would be a great insult to the quest designers to rush through dialogue options and what-not especially given the great amount of research completed and thought done going into writing these quests.
There's more but it's 4 pages long and I'm paste-n-copy crazy.  icon_smile The quest stuff is music to my ears even if he does seem to indicate there are the usual "kill X things" and "fetch me X number of things" quests that I (and I venture many players) are tired of.

I believe the "combat rose" he references is this little mini-panel that pops up from the bottom interface in combat (seen in the latest videos). It seems to have numbers on it, so I guess perhaps (depending on the combo), the # you need to hit lights up? Just a guess.  icon_confused
10831  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Blizzard Posting - Diablo III? on: March 20, 2008, 08:29:30 PM
Elucidate, oh mystery-instiller, about the fate of good old Stieg.  icon_confused icon_smile (unless it's some top secret shindig).

Although I really didn't feel like G&H was coming together smoothly (a bud got me into the beta, probably way too early for my own good), I liked the concept of AI-squaddies as "loot" (rather than as interchangeable nobodies in Diablo II) that you could trade and mix choices from.

Assuming there is a Diablo III in the works, I hope they do a little bit more with the mercenary concept (without fixating on it per se). Ah, there, I successfully veered back on-topic. Whew.  smirk
10832  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Blizzard Posting - Diablo III? on: March 20, 2008, 08:12:53 PM
I thought the "team behind Diablo I and II" was busy at Flagship attempting frantically to use a bilge pump and apply putty to all the holes in the leaking ship that was Hellgate: London at launch.   disgust Roll Eyes And oh yeah, Diablo II lead designer Steig Hedlund was out of work with Gods & Heroes' cancellation.

It would be nice if some of those guys were allowed to crawl back into the Blizzard fold but I doubt it. Seeing as the Starcraft 2 head guy is a veteran of Command & Conquer and all, they don't seem interested in looking back to the past for employees -- the gaming world is littered with former Diablo and Starcraft devs who worked on games with marketing hype that tossed around the "from the creators of Diablo" and "from the creators of Starcraft" without including small print that "well, we mean, we've got one guy who worked on Diablo's artwork" and "Well, we've got one UI programmer from Starcraft."  icon_smile

I'm sure they'll do something with it eventually. They always talk in riddles, but they won't let any of their successful franchises rot forever.

I only guarantee two things:
A) It'll sell a million copies even if the PC gaming market is in tatters by the time it releases.
B) Everyone who ever liked Diablo II will complain incessantly that it's either too much like Diablo II or it isn't just like Diablo II, just as they complain that way about Titan Quest and every other Diablo I/II clone that walked down the pike.  icon_lol
10833  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / City of Heroes/City of Villains "commercials" contest on: March 20, 2008, 12:42:00 PM
I thought this might merit a separate thread. There's a City of Heroes/City of Villains commercials contest going on, with fan-submitted videos.

The even was organized by a fan-committee, with some supporting help from NCSoft community rep folks, afik.

The original "call for submissions" was here:

The main voting page is here (with links to the 16 COH commercials and 7 COV commercials):
*Note, it doesn't seem like the beefiest video hosting site I've ever seen and I have trouble getting some of the videos to play.  icon_confused

I haven't viewed any of it yet, just thought it'd be fun to chat about which ones we like here.  icon_smile

10834  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Guild Wars: Worth It? on: March 19, 2008, 08:51:01 PM
A mod might shuffle this over to the MMO section later.  icon_smile

I have tried a trial version and didn't find it my cup of tea. I'm just not crazy about the combat animations and feel (it's hard for me to describe what I didn't like in some tangible way I'm afraid, it's all objective mush) compared to "real" MMOs that I've liked (COH and LOTRO in particular).

I would ask around here to see if someone has a spare trial code to give you. I got mine from a COH-playing friend who loved Guild Wars dearly for several months.

Also, I would make sure whether you can just use your friends' registration key or not before you accept the games from him. Even if he canceled his account, NCSoft may well still be keeping his account (w/ reg key) on file in case he wanted to reactivate his account. If he never activated his acocunt at all, then you could probably use the key. I guess what I'm saying is your friend's boxed GW stuff might save you download time but I would assume you'd still need to buy them from NCSoft Online.

I believe NCSoft offers an option to buy Guild Wars online (as a download). Since there are no monthly fees, they *do* want to extract money from you at least once for the original client and expansions. That's my understanding at least.
As far as the MMO question, assuming that MMOs are for you (if they're not, there's no crime in that  icon_biggrin), I'd check on things like (I only played WoW for a month in 2005, so I don't tend to draw it into comparisons):

-Do you like having interesting storyline-type quests to do (I thought LOTORO was good at that; Tabula Rasa has some interesting stuff but just not enough of them imho), or are you perfectly happy to grind away and do lots of "kill 50 things" quests (Dungeon Runners, another free MMO, has too many of those imho).

-Do you want to be able to solo everything (Tabula Rasa comes to mind), have some encouragement to group w/o being constantly forced into it (City of Heroes comes to mind), or frequent encouragement to group for specific quests(LOTRO comes to mind).

-Do you like having AI NPCs along to help (which GW has quite often) or do you prefer to lone wolf it?

-Are you obsessed with loot (equipment, weapons etc.)? Or do you think loot's a waste of time (in which case City of Heroes might appeal)

-Do you want a very sociable game with tons of people in it (WoW obviously but most of the other games I mention here offer that), or do you prefer to just do your thing and be left alone?
10835  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 19, 2008, 08:13:27 PM
I guess this is moldy, rotten, stale news but they outlined back in January that the open beta would be "through partners," require registration etc. and they expected it to be pretty large, in the tens of thousands, but not a sort of "totally open one."

Most of the ones I've tried go "fully open" maybe a couple weeks before release, or as part of an occasional "stress test weekend."

Anyway, the moldy forum post was here:
10836  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: March 19, 2008, 06:43:24 PM
Nothing to see just yet - but TenTonHammer has created an "Ask a Dev" section in their forums. Once they have some answers from Funcom to share, they'll put them over here:

AoC: Developer-Answered Questions

Only about two months away. Shouldn't there be some sort of open beta announcement soon? I shall look around.  icon_smile

Oh, hey, when I was digging around on my home PC via file manager, I came upon a text file I named, "SystemRequirementsDXdiagLogForAgeOfConanBeta" or something else graceful like that. I never heard back from them.  crybaby You had to attach that to your closed beta application.
10837  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: March 19, 2008, 06:02:45 PM
Dev "Warwitch" (level designer Melissa Bianco) gives a peek at the upcoming Hollows makeover (although, as I understand it, there are no structural changes to the level because they couldn't - at the time - afford to give her much to work with in terms of staffing help/resources related to artwork and such):

Developer Diary – Giving the Hollows Zone a Makeover
In the past, there have been several common complaints about it: The content is repetitive and not all that interesting, framerate is poor, enemies are too hard, players can’t solo it, and they’re forced to go there to get missions!

So I wanted to go in and make some spawn changes, and make us all a lot happier with the zone. Going in, there was little in the way of outside resources (Art and Tech were heavily booked with the Issue 11 material) available to rework the zone, and I had a small window of opportunity to get the work done in.

In the end I just jumped in with both feet and started reworking the zone. I started by gutting every spawn in the Hollows and starting from scratch.
10838  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: CoX Issue 11 - Dual Blades and Weapon Customization on: March 19, 2008, 04:01:39 PM
You should've seen the Original Faultline though. Just pretty much instant death.  Tongue

Hey I finally worked to the third contact in Rikti War Zone (goofy name that escapes me at the moment). You finally get a fairly refreshing mission in a new environment. Well OK basically it has one fresh environment (an auditorium where friendly "traditional" Rikti and Paragon citizens are gathering), then the rest takes place in an instanced version of the interior of the Rikti War Zone facilities.

It's refreshing from a combat perspective, esp. some rooms that have very tiny hallways to reach them. I believe the mission's called "Protect the Lady Grey." (whom I believe has an invention recipe/set named after her).
10839  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pirates of the Burning Sea open stress test on: March 18, 2008, 10:52:10 PM mentioned press release about Pirates' first major content update:
Build 1.2.67 goes live on Tuesday, March 18th

(Seattle, WA) March 17th, 2008 – On Tuesday, March 18, 2008, Flying Lab Software will release the first major content patch for Pirates of the Burning Sea, the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) featuring high seas action and adventure in a world of pirates and plunder.

A few highlights of the changes in the build will include:

· Bey's Retreat - The new mission for experienced players of Pirates of the Burning Sea. Don't try this alone.

· Underdog Tools - If a player's nation wins the map in PvP, it becomes more difficult for them to do so next time. While the other nations get a boost.

· UI improvements - Revamped the chat channels, added chat bubbles that you can turn off, improved the Social UI, and other user interface changes.

In addition to updating Pirates of the Burning Sea with a major content patch, Flying Lab Software has also spruced up the Development forums on their website ( with additional discussion areas that focus on player ideas and allow players to weigh in on future changes to the game. Here are the new forum areas:

· Community Suggestions - A place for community to discuss, collaborate on and refine new and interesting ideas for Pirates of the Burning Sea.

· In Concept - All of the threads in this forum area will be either created by Flying Lab Software based on ideas from the Community Suggestions area, or new game features that are currently under review by the Pirates of the Burning Sea development team for inclusion in the game world.

· Milestone Discussion – This forum area not only gives players a look into the future of Pirates of the Burning Sea, but gives them a chance to weigh in on the changes to come.

· Testbed Discussion – This forum area is devoted to discussing the Milestones that have been published to the test server, known as Testbed. This is the last stop on the journey before the combined ideas from the players and the developers become reality on the live game servers.
Assuming I cancel Tabula Rasa in mid-April, I'll probably finally open this and try it then. I had wanted to wait for at least one major update before I tried it.
10840  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Hellgate 1.2 Patch Notes on: March 18, 2008, 10:33:09 PM
Since I never could even get the last patch to install, and it took multiple attempts for me to just find a server to download it successfuly in the first place, *and* to this day, I can't even delete the file off my desktop (it keeps claiming the patch file is "in use," I remain cynical.  disgust

And I realize it worked fine for plenty of people, but you only have to check the tech support area at their forums to realize their patches are generally an adventure untothemselves.  icon_eek I may not play next-gen consoles, but if Flagship and their publisher(s) were going to just skip the QA process altogether, than console gaming is where they should've gone, imho.  stirthepot

When I get a new PC this spring, I don't think I'll be able to bring myself to "infect" it with Hellgate, even if I have some good memories of the actual gameplay.
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