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9921  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: October 17, 2008, 07:33:49 PM
This Gaming Nexus interview had some fairly newsy tidbits in it, I think:

Interview with senior producer Chris Lena

No pre-set Archetypes
Most of the change over development has actually occurred because we strayed from those core ideas.

One instance is originally we had an archetype system for picking powers – essentially you pick a class and that determines the powers you can choose from [a la City of Heroes-bj]. We received a lot of feedback from people following the game that that was not something they wanted. We thought about it and realized also that taking out classes and having an open power selection was also in line with our emphasis on customization.

So we removed archetypes and now Champions Online is completely classless icon_lol…I should say without classes.
My wild guess would be there are still skill "branches" that coax you down certain paths - I doubt they'll let you be great at Everything or it wouldn't make for much diversity in hero types.

Soloable all the way

Although we will have group content you will be able to play solo and progress from level 1 to the max level.

No death "debt"
We are still tweaking the death penalty but I can tell you that we will definitely not have XP debt or negative XP or anything like that.

Car-tossing [this was something in Freedom Force that I missed in COH, even if grav controllers could "summon" and then toss cars on occasion-bj]
Did I mentioned you can pick up cars and hit people with them?
icon_cool Now I just need to know if you can rip light poles down and use them as baseball bats, again ala Freedom Force.  ninja2
9922  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: October 17, 2008, 06:35:44 PM
The Apricorn slim USB DVD drive is back in stock at my local Micro Center in a big way (35 at last count), so I might check it out tomorrow.
9923  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: October 17, 2008, 05:47:16 PM
State of the netbook nation  [sounds Important, no? bowdown]
By this time next year, I’m 93% certain all the major vendors will have some serious netbook offerings, not just their current token efforts, and they’ll all be casting accusing looks in the boardroom as to why they allowed Acer and Asus to pull out such a big lead.
Not all the vendors are convinced it's a good thing business-wise (cheapo netbooks are low margin sellers, etc.), but it's a market most of them are probably going to get dragged into sooner or later, even if it's kicking and screaming in some cases. 
9924  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Left 4 Dead. You are not ready. on: October 17, 2008, 05:36:14 PM
Since he does say "each" campaign, I guess that suggests more than one. But sometimes my "parsing" of interviews is misdirected.  icon_razz

This ShackNews interview promises a demo in early November - for a change for Valve, *before* the actual release:

Left 4 Dead Interview: Versus Mode, Demo Details, and the Joy of Vomit
Shack: And the demo will be out around Halloween?

Doug Lombardi: We're going to announce a date before Halloween, and the demo will come out in early November.

Belated question: do most boxed versions of Valve games include Steam on the CD/DVD? Of course I should just finally break the shrink wrap on my copy of Portal (my brother got me for Xmas last year) and check, but I'm lazy.  icon_redface
9925  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: October 17, 2008, 04:33:49 PM
Saw a little blip about the new Ymir's Pass (mid 50s level) finally hitting the test server. They've also set up a new NPC for the test server to enable players to hop into the new zone to try it out quickly.

Striking new zone opened on Age of Conan Testlive
The developers want to make it clear that Ymir's Pass is a work in progress, and as such is not complete. We're keen to see what it's like when it's done, because currently it's gorgeous. It's far from being the only new AoC content; we've still to see the Tarantia Commons and the House of Crom yet.

No sooner do you enter the zone than an inhuman bellow echoes through the air and the ground shakes. Something huge is making that sound, and the story of what it is (and why it's suffering) is played out through the zone. The first thing you'll probably be doing is looking for footprints. Colossal ones.

To help players test out the new content, the Goddess Fate has been placed just outside Tortage where the former level-up contacts were, and she will do pretty much anything you like: increase your level, give you money or a mount, or even teleport you somewhere.
I don't see myself returning to AoC this year, but if all of the new content (Ymir's Pass, Tarantia Commons, House of Crom) ever gets into place, then it might tempt me sometime next year even if it was pretty apparent everyone on my crowded buddy list had already quit the game (last time I logged in).

They also instituted some crafting changes, including new Culture Armors designed to increase visual diversity and it seems make crafting a bit less of a pain in the you know what:
9926  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Left 4 Dead. You are not ready. on: October 17, 2008, 04:26:27 PM
The "director" feature is supposed to make it play/feel differently every time (which is also outlined in that article), and there do seem to be multiple environments. I don't get the impression a mission means much in this beyond "kill everything in sight, reach the evacuation vehicle, repeat." Nor that the "campaign" is much more than a series of environments you and your team clear.

I mean, the whole game seems to be based around the idea of repetitive (albeit fun) zombie blasting with the Director varying things enough to keep it fun so you enjoy just doing the "campaign" over and over.

I can get down with that, but if you're looking for a campaign(s) that's like a military shooter or the Half-Life games (a series of scripted events forming a storyline and building up to something), then I don't get the impression this is that kind of game. icon_neutral
9927  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Left 4 Dead. You are not ready. on: October 17, 2008, 03:15:39 PM
Saw a 2404 interview:
3.) What can you tell the readers about the characters in the game and their personalities and how that effects the gameplay?

The four survivors each have a distinct personality, but play the same. So whether you choose grumpy old Bill or always upbeat Louis, they can run the same speed, use the same weapons etc. It is up to the player to define their role. So if you want to be the medic, or the gun on point, you decide, not your character.

9.) Roughly how long is the game and how many new maps will players get for multiplayer?

Left 4 Dead was created to be replayable, so in that sense it is as long as people have been playing de-dust in Counter-Strike. Each campaign takes from one to two and half hours to play in co-op mode. In versus a campaign can take hours to complete as each side plays through the campaign.

12.) How did the decision to make the game co-op come about and will there be drop in abilities for players?

With the advent of steam community and Xbox live, it is easier and easier to connect with your friends and play online. It is becoming a meeting place for friends. It seemed like the time was ripe to make a game that capitalized on those conditions. So Left 4 Dead was built from the ground up to be a co-op game. The zombie apocalypse you can share with your friends.

You can drop in and drop out at any time and a bot will take over for you. Need to take a break to grab a beer? Hit the take a break button and a bot will take over and not force your friends to wait up for you.
That may be all old news, it was kinda interesting to me.

The bots should be handy for when I have to leave to throw up.  puke icon_razz

I have no doubt a bot would do a better job than I would.  smirk
9928  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pirates of the Burning Sea - new combat revamp on: October 17, 2008, 12:22:20 PM
IGN's POTBS Vault has an interview about this:

Exclusive Interview: Isildur on AvCom Changes
You mentioned in your devlog that most of the skills will now be area-effect. Does this mean that all you will also be tweaking your av com scenarios/quests to add more enemies and/or make them “smarter”?

Isildur: Yes to both. smile Our content team spent an entire milestone creating more interesting avatar enemies, with unique skills that complement each other and give every faction a very distinct flavor. As well, they're currently finishing up a complete pass through every mission, every encounter and every spawn, tweaking and re-balancing the enemies. You'll see more bad guys at once, and those bad guys will have more effective and dangerous skills at their disposal.

TrinityDivine: This almost sounds like combat in Diablo where the hero could be attacked by a swarm and still manage to survive. Is this what you’re aiming for?
Isildur: Sort of, although in the interests of not becoming embroiled in an angry forum thread, I want to make sure i point out that it's not 'click and kill'. smile

What we are doing is changing the 'default' encounter -- the number of enemies that we consider a reasonable challenge -- to be larger. You'll commonly fight 4 to 6 enemies at once, and be able to handle them with ease. You'll find lieutenant enemies a greater challenge, particularly when they're backed up by minions. And bosses are intended to be group challenges. smile
The last bit almost sounds a bit like City of Heroes where you commonly tackle that many enemies. Most other MMOs I play, anything more than 2 or perhaps 3 targets tends to plant your face in the ground.  icon_razz
9929  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: October 16, 2008, 10:09:23 PM
A little Taiwan factoid about AA1 manufacturing caught my eye.

Acer to transfer netbook orders to Compal and Wistron next year, Quanta left out
Acer is planning to outsource orders for 15 million Aspire one netbooks in 2009 to Compal Electronics and Wistron, according to notebook industry sources.

The sources pointed out that Quanta Computer will be phased out the production chain of the second generation Aspire one by the second quarter of 2009. However, since Acer is planning to challenge shipments of 20 million in 2009, the additional five million orders might still fall to Quanta.

Misunderstandings between Acer and Quanta over their netbook planning when the two companies started cooperation on the Aspire one, have left Acer unsatisfied, noted the sources.
Acer's doing re-branding of the AA1 in various regions so maybe something went awry with said Quanta in that regard.
9930  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: October 16, 2008, 05:36:55 PM
NEC doth announces the LaVie Light netbook, which has "par for the course for 8.9' netbook" specs, the same maligned trackpad/button format as the AA1 and a klunky look:
Releases in Japan Nov. 6

This comparison article:
Netbook death-match: Eee 901 vs. Acer Aspire One vs. Medion Akoya

begs the question - what the Heck is a Medion Akoya???  icon_confused Well, it's a rebranded MSI Wind with the always maligned in every Netbook 3-cell battery.

fwiw, the Aspire One "won" the comparison - it's just a shame they can't get a 6-cell version into more reviewers' hands, the battery life (more so than the funky trackpad/buttons) is always the sticking point.
Netbook jury says: At this price, [AA1 is] the best on offer right now.
9931  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: October 16, 2008, 04:42:51 PM
They posted a Warden Mastery feature article (6-pages):
As a class, the Warden strikes a new balance between defense and offense. It’s not a straightforward tank like the Guardian, or a focused damage-dealer like the Hunter. It stands midway between those classes, combining flexibility and power to provide an exciting solo-play experience and a valuable new anchor for fellowships.

The Warden is simple to learn and play, but it rewards careful attention and clever planning in ways that no other class does. Some classes reliably play the same no matter who is at the controls, but the Warden lets your own style, gameplay choices, and expertise shine through. It’s a unique, richly interactive class with more than one road to mastery.
9932  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pirates of the Burning Sea - new combat revamp on: October 16, 2008, 04:38:13 PM
Eve, by all accounts successful and doing fine, seems to be successful less because of its combat than because of its great depth (finances, subterfuge, skulduggery, all sorts of interesting things going on behind the scenes that have nothing to do with space ships shooting each other, which is afterall pretty repetitive).

Auto Assault might as well have been "WoW with cars." A lot of us who played it thought if it had done more with the concept that actually related to cars (Racing? Maybe timed deliveries? Demolition derbies? etc.) it might have at least had enough success to survive. Instead, much of it was "go kill 20 critters and come back."  disgust

If I switch to the LOTRO lifetime, I think I'll have more flexibility to finally activate this and give it a real go - once the avatar revamp's in place.
9933  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: October 16, 2008, 04:28:22 PM
If I was a moderator, I'd move all that Eee PC junk to the appropriate thread.  rules icon_lol

I am just kidding around, btw. That model looks fine. Yeah the shift key might bother me, but I think you can get used to anything. The AA1 trackpad/button placement bothers a lot of people, most things in this category seem to have at least one thing that's "off" or unconventional in size/placement.
9934  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: October 16, 2008, 04:27:33 PM
The Apricorn drive sold out too. I give up!  tear Well, I'll mail order something eventually.
9935  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Left 4 Dead. You are not ready. on: October 16, 2008, 02:53:11 PM
I run into that in LOTRO when burly dwarves have girl's voices, and female characters sound like a guy from Alabama (not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just jarring). Maybe what game needs are little "voice transformer/modulator" options so you can sound more "in character" if you want to. smile
9936  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the New Star Trek Crew! on: October 16, 2008, 01:57:06 PM
Entertainment Weekly also has a cover story -- it's online now and I should get the print issue Friday-Saturday at home:,,20233502,00.html

On page 4 is a *SPOILER* warning so keep that in mind if you check out the link.

It has a few photos, not sure if it's the same batch as Aint It Cool, or different. I have an easier time envisioning Pine as Shatner/Kirk now. Amazing what a little hair styling can do.  icon_razz

I hope Trekkie fans (I consider myself one) realize if the movie doesn't have any appeal beyond Us, then it's going to be a $150 million failure (getting that big a budget really ups the stakes). If it doesn't broaden the appeal, then it will have Failed Its Mission.
9937  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes Issue 13: Architect (mission creator; day jobs) on: October 16, 2008, 11:56:28 AM has an Official video of shields and domination sets in action:
9938  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Left 4 Dead. You are not ready. on: October 16, 2008, 01:41:08 AM
Ceekay milks the Cynicism Angle  icon_razz

Hey, there's a compilation thread at the official forum about how the game works and all, way too long to paste in here:

But I'll paste in the "communication" part:
- In a co-op game, especially one such as this, communication is vital. Implemented into Left 4 Dead is a call system that involves pressing one of three keys (z/x/c, which correspond to Orders/Questions and Answers/Alerts and Warnings) and moving your mouse in the direction of what you need to say.
- Also, there is an implemented auto-alert system in which your character automatically says something when a certain event happens (ie 'Help!' when knocked down, or 'Boomer!' when the crosshairs are centred on a Boomer).
- There is over 1000 lines of dialogue for each character so generally there is a good variety of voice-acting available.
- On top of this is the ever present in-game chat, allowing communication between players with microphones.
I love the auto-alert system, which is heard in the various gameplay videos.
9939  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: October 15, 2008, 09:39:18 PM
There still seems much hand-wringing at the official boards that "The new class is going to make my class redundant/unworthy/no-longer-necessary, waaaah, I hate you Turbine!"  crybaby

Devs tried to assuage (big English major word I almost never use  icon_razz) concerns a bit:
Wardens have an entire new set of combat animations including a new base combat stance. They don't use any of the old combat animations. ...

Javelins are made by woodworkers. [My woodworker Hunter's ears perk up - some stuff I can hawk at the Auction House eventually icon_smile]

Guardians not made obsolete by Wardens!
I can tell you that Wardens focused entirely on keeping aggro become much more squishy as they depend on short term defensive buffs and HoT's to make up for lack of armor mitigation. Wardens have a very careful balancing act between keeping themselves alive while still generating enough threat. I can tell you that Warden's don't have the big box of tricks that Guardians have to gain or re-gain aggro.
My surface impression is Wardens are a lot more "micro-managing" intensive as far as tanking goes, and are limited to medium armor.
9940  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Diablo 3 playable at Blizzcon on: October 15, 2008, 07:35:15 PM
I was thinking they'd break Diablo III into several games, each with one playable character and its own Unique Questing ExperienceTM (but in multiplayer all characters would be available). Ka-ching! Blizz marketing's going to hire me. smirk

I've been reading a bit about how in multiplayer you'll automatically be teamed up the moment you join the game, which is kinda interesting. They seem to really be focusing in on the co-op experience, which I'm happy about.

Although one of the best gaming buddies I ever made (he was a 7-Eleven clerk in Texas, and we kept in touch for years) came about initially because we both got wiped out by a maxxed out "PK" in the original Diablo. Actually, I made better gaming buddies in that than I ever did in D2 or most MMOs I've played. I can't really explain it.
9941  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Sacred 2 Gone Gold on: October 15, 2008, 05:37:54 PM
A 2.11.2 update went out (hopefully the N. American version will roll in some of these updates):
This update includes the following changes (changes for all updates can be found here:

    * Progress in "Silver" campaign games is now stored on Closed Net servers
    * When saving in multiplayer mode, the message "Game Saved" will display
    * Crashes will not occur on death of Shadow Warrior/High Elf characters
    * Singleplayer coop is not treated as a single player game
    * Chat functionality is no longer faulty or non-existent
    * Scorpion King (desert boss enemy) no longer kills players instantly
    * The game no longer has to be executed as administrator under Vista
    * Items can not stolen by using the ALT key
    * F12 now correctly teleports MP characters to the MP start location, not the singleplayer start location or a resurrection monolith
    * Keyboard configuration updates are now correctly stored
    * Nether Allegiance is no longer inactive after teleport
    * Divine Gift of "Testa" now works correctly
    * The severed tentacles of the giant octopus can no longer be picked up as items, however the player can still pick up their normal loot drops. [pretty sure I've never seen *that* in patch notes before-bj]
    * SP character playing MP: When you see the message saying that "Your quest progress will be preserved" your progress is now saved
    * Books are now being displayed in quest log
    * OpenAL exception no longer occurs
    * There is no longer a sound loop when encountering opponents using trap spells
    * Sounds no longer disappear after playing the Kobold Chieftain quest
    * There are no longer sound problems when videos play (i.e. no spoken text during the intro etc.)
    * Voice overs are played less frequently
    * Fight music is played less frequently; regional music is played more frequently
    * When clicking on a player in the lobby, it now tracks that player instead of the person in that position on the lobby player list
9942  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: October 15, 2008, 04:41:29 PM
A little buttscuttle about netbooks boosting Acer's third quarter sales in Europe:
Taiwan's Acer Inc surged past global champion Hewlett-Packard Co in European personal computer sales in the third quarter, in the clearest sign of the move toward cheap, small mini-notebook computers, research firm Gartner Inc said on Tuesday. ...

The July-September period was marked by strong growth in the lower-cost mini-notebook category, which Acer has been focusing on, Gartner analyst Mika Kitagawa said. This helped bolster the overall PC market in the face of slumping consumer spending.
9943  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dead Space on: October 15, 2008, 04:25:27 PM

Quote from: ChrisGrenard on October 14, 2008, 05:46:45 PM

The thing that sealed the deal is that they severely muffle sounds in a vacuum.  Granted, I would have preferred no sounds, but I love that they used that trick.
That would be cool in a vacuum I agree.  icon_smile

More generally about sound -- I have to wait for the PC version, but I watched a lot of dev diaries at the site last night. One thing the producer mentioned in the Sound diary is that if they tried watching a horror-themed game with no sound, it wasn't remotely scary; but if they blocked the screen out and just listened to it, it often felt scary. My memories of System Shock 2 are like that -- the sounds in the game (screams, chants, metal grinding etc.) scared me more than any visual I can remember in it. It sounds like this has a lot of that sort of appeal too.
9944  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: October 15, 2008, 02:35:24 PM
Dev diary up about the new warden class, a spears/javelin specialist capable of some tanking and "drain-healing" (my term) over time.

There's a bigscreen pic of the Warden in action, though I'm more impressed with the enemy he's fighting.  icon_cool
9945  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Starcraft 2: The Milking? on: October 15, 2008, 02:17:28 PM
I didn't want to get too graphic (udders, etc.), but does this work?  unibrow

Or maybe this?
9946  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: October 15, 2008, 02:09:37 PM
That Apricorn ultra-slim DVD drive I had previously been enamored of is at Micro Center:

The drawback seems to be that it requires AC to work (it does come with the AC adapter at least). I think otherwise it's comparable in size and features, including the Lightscribe stuff.
9947  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pirates of the Burning Sea - new combat revamp on: October 15, 2008, 01:54:14 PM
Sounds promising, thanks for pointing it out. I "missed the boat" on that.  icon_smile I did *buy* the game months ago, and gave my free trial to someone here. I too though was waiting for avatar combat to get a revamp. I don't think it goes into effect for a while, hopefully soon.

I'm too rehooked to LOTRO for the time being, but Pirates is something I'll finally want to check out once the avatar revamp is in place.

I think what's sort of sad about the MMO industry is when people try to do "vehicular" MMOs, the masses just don't seem very interested (think Auto Assault, Earth and Beyond, this). It's not stopping the industry from trying - Netdevil has hopefully learned something from Auto Assault's failure that it's putting to work in Jumpgate, Star Trek Online will have a lot of ship focus, etc. I think it's just harder to get people feeling attached to a mechanical thing (even if you can customize it) than it is to an avatar.
9948  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Starcraft 2: The Milking? on: October 15, 2008, 12:19:02 PM
"Milking" came up in another interview.  smirk

Blizzard: We're Not "Milking" StarCraft [the actual headline]
Some people say that the decision to release StarCraft II as a trilogy is a sign of Activision flexing its muscle over Blizzard—to “milk” the StarCraft franchise. Is the trilogy format related at all to the Activision merger?
The Dairy Council is really missing a golden opportunity for some excellent cross-marketing here.

"Got Starcraft II?"
Instead of "Got Milk?"  icon_lol

Anyway, the Blizz guy does say Activision had nothing to do with the decision. And he gave some more specific mission numbers:
All we’re really doing is reshuffling how players are going to experience the single-player content. In StarCraft II, we’re going to have a campaign that focuses strictly on the Terran. It’ll be 26-30 missions long, and you’ll play as Jim Rainer. When we release first expansion set, that’s going to focus on Zerg. So that’s going to be another 26-30 missions strictly focusing on Zerg. When we go to the final expansion pack, it will be the Protoss experience, probably another 26-30 missions.
9949  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: CHUCK IS BACK! Chuck vs. The First Date Spoilers! on: October 14, 2008, 09:31:09 PM
One of the Zach Levi fan sites has an amusing gallery of "Chuck personalities as South Park characters":
9950  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Starcraft 2: The Milking? on: October 14, 2008, 07:43:52 PM
Voodoo Extreme had a Q&A about all this:
A little bit of tension right about here...
VE3D - Are you afraid that turning StarCraft 2 into three different games dilutes the brand name?

Bob Colayco
-- Well, the name “StarCraft II” is prominent on each title, so I’m not really sure what you’re getting at here, or why there’d be any dilution of brand name. Maybe if I mention what we’re delivering with each chapter, it’ll become more clear?
There's a a bit of detail on what each chapter will entail:
The first chapter will deliver the Terran campaign where you take the role of Jim Raynor and lead your mercenary band across the galaxy to exact your revenge on Arcturus Mengsk. You’ll interact with old friends and enemies, like Zeratul and Kerrigan, and meet tons of new characters and their storylines. ...

The next expansion, or chapter, will delve deeply into the story behind Kerrigan and her swarm of Zerg, and then the third chapter will likely focus on the Protoss hero Zeratul.
I guess I could keep hyperventilating about the Milking, but they've made up their mind, and no tidal wave of Internet rage will change it.

That doesn't mean I'm going to make a You Tube video of me in Starcraft pajamas under my blankets crying, "Stop HATING Blizzard's Starcraft II Milking! Blizzard's perfect and you don't Understand Them!!!" as a flashlight illuminates my face, but I do hope to hear more - generally, obviously they won't want to give away twists and turns - about what the campaigns entail.
9951  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: October 14, 2008, 06:18:39 PM
Yeah, I need some inspiration to get back to my 48 captain so I know how you feel.  crybaby I've got my hunter nearing 43, so I'm hoping to get those two at least on the cusp of 50 by the time Moria releases.

Update: dev post reminded that everyone (even if you didn't get Moria) will have a large patch to download so that you can properly interact with the new classes, and players that have the post 50 stuff; and that servers will be down longer than usual on Moria launch day while they prep all the servers for the mega-updating of the game.
9952  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: CHUCK IS BACK! Chuck vs. The First Date Spoilers! on: October 14, 2008, 06:08:50 PM
I enjoyed Monday's episode though I'm not sure just how long they can ride the "can Chuck and Sarah ever really be a couple or not" wagon.  icon_razz

#3 is up at Hulu today:
Episode 3: Chuck vs. the Break Up
If you ever watched "Crossing Jordan," you'll recognize one of the guest stars. I think it would've been more fun to cast retired NY Giant Michael Strahan as a nice guy or a wimp (maybe even a Nerd Herd wannabe), rather than just make him a frothing-at-the-mouth bully, though he certainly plays it to the hilt.

There's an interesting (if you're into ratings anyway) site called TV by the Numbers. Here's the recap from Monday. The mildly good news for Chuck is it seemed to finally improve a bit from the previous week. Nothing spectacular, but any sort of forward progress would be nice.
Both Heroes and Chuck were up slightly versus last week’s fast affiliate numbers but that’s probably little consolation for NBC, especially with My Own Worst Enemy debuting to a last place (in terms of viewers) 7.3 million at 10pm. Enemy came in second among 18-49 year olds.
The whole "came in second" is kind of a misnomer. The non humongous networks are so far behind in these sorts of ratings numbers (aside from Fox's American Idol) generally, that "second place" is almost more like "second to last." It all goes down to that "glass half empty" vs. "glass half full" viewpoint.  icon_neutral

My Own Worst Enemy seems too much like "Chuck minus the comedy" (split personality guy is violent spy in one life, and boring family man in the other).
9953  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Iron Man 2 on: October 14, 2008, 04:39:36 PM
What seems an unfortunate development -- at least in terms of continuity -- for Iron Man 2 (which is in production, and Marvel is pushing for a summer 2010 release afik):

Iron Man 2 Switcheroo: Cheadle Replaces Howard
It seems Terrence Howard just didn't have the mettle for another Iron Man.

The Oscar-nominated actor is out of his role as Jim "Rhodey" Rhodes, Tony Stark's BFF and would-be flying partner War Machine, in Iron Man 2, after negotiations with Marvel fell through, per the Hollywood Reporter, due to "financial differences."

Don Cheadle has been tapped as Howard's replacement for the second go-round, in which Rhodes and his heroic alter ego War Hammer get a much meatier part.
I don't think I see enough movies because I still remember Howard more for his early role as the drummer in Mr. Holland's Opus, with the character later dying offscreen in Vietnam.

Because the sequel's release date is so tight (rather than the more typical 3 years between franchise flicks), they presumably didn't have time for a lengthy salary negotiation.
9954  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: October 14, 2008, 04:30:59 PM
Turbine posted dev diaries outlining the 50+ goodies for the Champion, Minstrel and new Rune-Keeper classes:

Developer Diaries: Champion, Minstrel, and Rune-keeper Advancement Beyond Level 50!

I'm probably going to do the $29.99 digital upgrade this week some time. They seem to have worked out the billing and billing software kinks that were cropping up initially, and I just wanted to wait those out a bit.

I kinda wish now I'd done the lifetime billing back when it released. I went for the $9.99 monthly, but canceled when I had stopped playing several months. Now I'm re-hooked, but I don't know if I can see myself playing it in 20+ months, which is roughly mathematically about how much time you'd have to put into it for the $199.99 lifetime to be "worth it." Though maybe it's just better to look at it as a way you can leave/visit the game as you like over time without worrying about reactivating or re-billing.
9955  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: October 14, 2008, 02:38:08 PM
Samsung apparently plans to bring its nicely loaded 10.2" netbook, NC10, to the U.S. It appears (maybe? or maybe the touted $499 price is for a 3-cell model? icon_confused) to have a 6-cell battery standard.

Samsung announces NC10 Netbook for U.S.
Of particular interest is the NC10's six-cell battery, which we'd expect to last 5 hours or more (according to the company, it will provide up to 8 hours of battery life). We're also curious to spend more time with the Netbook's keyboard, which is 89 percent of full size.
That number (89) seems odd, I think the smaller AA1 is 91% of full size.

If $499 is really the price that seems like a fine one for a 6-cell, 10" with a large hard drive (160GB) and Windows XP. The rest is really par for the course in this category these days (Atom CPU, 1GM RAM etc.).
9956  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: October 14, 2008, 02:32:59 PM
Everybody's ship has arrived - the pink Acer Aspire One is here!  Fabulous

New Pink Acer Aspire One Netbook on Sale [at Wal-Mart]

This ZDnet blogger said he decided to use only his AA1 for a week for blogging, to see how it feels:,1000000567,10009523o-2000458459b,00.htm?new_comment
End note: as an experiment, I'm away from my desktop for a week so doing 7-days straight on an Acer Aspire netbook to see how it feels. So far, the unit is looking good. Use on a plane tray table is much easier – it's the first time I've not been worried about the guy in front snapping my screen off by reclining.
9957  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: October 14, 2008, 01:36:32 PM
Newegg has it but the price sucks ($99.99 vs. $74.99 sale at BB - which has *ended* tear). They are optionally packaging it with an Eee PC too.

Man, can't remember the last time resisting an impulse buy cost me $25.  disgust
9958  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Left 4 Dead. You are not ready. on: October 14, 2008, 02:18:18 AM
Well I have to get it. I mean, I've been whining about lack of co-op for probably a decade and blaming Counter-Strike's success (and deathmatch and team DM fragfests in general) for the dearth of co-op games and then the CS guys *do* a co-op game that everyone raves about?

I *have* to sign up even if I can only play in 10 minute sessions before running to the porcelain throne.  puke

I will scribble down the console adjustment directions and hope they work in this.
9959  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Starcraft 2: The Milking? on: October 14, 2008, 01:13:32 AM
Clearly, this Blue's News headline indicates Ceekay's thread title has struck a nerve!  icon_lol
Blizzard Denies Milking StarCraft II

If I was a gaming editorial cartoonist, I'd have a picture of a guy in a shirt marked "Blizzard" busily swapping buckets under a cow marked "Starcraft II."

Mooooooooooooooooooo...  icon_mrgreen
9960  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: October 13, 2008, 09:52:21 PM
OK I think finally I'm getting back by that Best Buy for the LG drive. If they have sold out since I saw it last week, you will hear the sound of me banging my skull against the front door there.  puke

Update: Did you hear the sound of my bloody forehead banging against the Best Buy door? I don't know what the heck happened with the several stores in my area having plenty in stock Thursday and now *poof*.
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