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9961  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTORO Volume 2: Mines of Moria (paid, full-box expansion) on: September 16, 2008, 01:41:32 AM
I've no clue who "Zombie Columbus" is (a member of LOTRO's dev team, and apparently head of the team developing the new Rune-Keeper class), but he posted a pretty interesting attempt at a "Rune-Keeper mini-FAQ."

Rune-keeper Mini-FAQ
http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?&postid=2216382#post2216382
Quote
I’m worried that no one at Turbine [has] considered the lore of the Rune-keeper.
Lore consideration has been part of the classes design since day one. Since I was first asked to head the development of the class, keeping the class grounded in Tolkien’s work has been a high priority. Actually, the lore was a great help in deciding what he could and couldn’t do, which helped focus the gameplay design choices. On a personal level, I am very proud of the result and believe that playing the class in game is fun, exciting and less lore jarring then most fear.

How will the Rune-keepers DPS compare to the Hunter or Champion?
As stated in the dev diary, the rune-keeper is designed to be a primary DPS class. Expect the damage he can deal out to be in the same ballpark as those two. Much as the Hunter and Champion are different yet comparable, the Rune-keeper will have is own strengths and weaknesses. The Rune-keepers biggest difference is that it takes more time to ramp up to full effect, due to his DoT (damage over time) based gameplay. The best example of this is the Writ of Fire skill. Using it puts a DoT on a foe, but using it a second and third time will upgrade that DoT up to full damage. After that, occasional uses of the skill will be required to maintain the DoT at full strength.

What about healing? Will my Minstrel be useless?
Minstrels will not be useless, but they will no longer be the only primary healer. Much as with damage, the Rune-keeper will be healing comparable amounts as the Minstrel, but in different ways. The Rune-keeper will do some things better and some things worse then the Minstrel. The Rune-keeper’s emphasis is on maintenance and HoTs (heal over time), with his quick heals lacking compared to the Minstrel. Like DPS, it will take time to get all of his HoTs pulsing.

CC? But that’s what Burglars and Lore-masters are supposed to do!
That wasn’t a question, but I know what you are saying. The design of the Rune-keeper was interesting because when Battle attuned (as most solo players will likely be) there are no good heals to get you out of a bind. This, coupled with his light armour and lack of a shield, made adding some form of CC important to keep soloing viable. However, since the Rune-keeper is not a CC class, any skills that were added needed to be low potency and not very useful during group play. With those design goals in mind, I made the few CC skills that he does have. Shocking Touch, from the dev diary, is a good example. It dazes, but for a short amount of time and only at melee range, and pulls Attunement towards the Steady state. This skill works very well while soloing, but not terribly useful during group play, since the Rune-keeper will usually try to be a distance from the fighting.

Heals and DPS on one character? You sir, are mad!
Just about every LOTRO class has multiple roles it can fill if geared, traited and played particular ways, the Rune-keeper is no different. Like those other classes, the Rune-keeper has stops in place that keep him from being multiple roles at the same time. In fact, the stops for the Rune-keeper are more extreme then other classes we’ve done this with. Consider the Minstrel swapping from War-speech to healing (1 toggle) or a Champion dropping from Fervor to Glory stance (1 toggle). The Rune-keeper will require multiple skill plays to go from fully Battle Attuned to Healing, and if not properly traited, will not be able to dish out as much healing or damage as others.

Will Elves be able to use the same runes as Dwarves?
There is no mechanical difference between the two races. There was some thought of doing this, but it was decided not to make the initial race choice (a choice that cannot be changed later) significantly impact a player’s gameplay style.

Will Rune-stones really be the only weapon? Where do they come from?
Yes. You will be auto-attacking in melee with them. The Rune-stones will not allow the Rune-keeper to block, but parrying is possible. Rune-stones will be able to be crafted by Jewelers and be found in loot, boss drops and as quest reward.
I think part of the reason for all the flame wars (at the official forums) over this class is fear, and lack of precise information. I can understand Turbine not wanting to reveal too much too soon in terms of the expansion, but LOTRO has has no new classes since launch. You gotta expect players to be nervous about how new character types change the mix, impact other character types, etc.

9962  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 15, 2008, 09:20:47 PM
That's cool, hope you find our posts enlightening or amusing.  icon_smile

Hey, I hadn't been paying attention to this LG X110. Cosmetically, it's just a re-branded MSI Wind -- however, they apparently plan to offer 3G and GPS "modules" built-in as options, and that seems to be the main differentiator. Prices (at least U.S. equivalents) are a bit steep if you want the module stuff though, it looks like $699 or thereabouts?

Hands-on with LG's X110 netbook: HSDPA, GPS and a price to match
http://www.engadget.com/2008/08/28/hands-on-with-lgs-x110-netbook-hsdpa-gps-and-a-price-to-match/

If you're as unhip as I am, you're scratching your head and saying "What the Sam Heck is HSDPA???" It's apparently just a fancy pants term for this 3G stuff:
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-hsdpa.htm
Quote
HSDPA, short for High-Speed Downlink Packet Access, is a new protocol for mobile telephone data transmission. It is known as a 3.5G (G stands for generation) technology. Essentially, the standard will provide download speeds on a mobile phone equivalent to an ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) line in a home, removing any limitations placed on the use of your phone by a slow connection. It is an evolution and improvement on W-CDMA, or Wideband Code Division Multiple Access, a 3G protocol. HSDPA improves the data transfer rate by a factor of at least five over W-CDMA. HSDPA can achieve theoretical data transmission speeds of 8-10 Mbps (megabits per second). Though any data can be transmitted, applications with high data demands such as video and streaming music are the focus of HSDPA.
So, in other words, HSDPA is a fancy way of saying 3G, and will improve on W-CDMA while being roughly the same as ADSL. Simple! Ugh! If I read any more acronyms or gobbledygook initials, I'll scream!  retard

I guess HSDPA could be prounced "Hussedpa!" icon_razz
9963  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Your First PC on: September 15, 2008, 01:10:41 PM
I was never able to pull the trigger on Commodore stuff although I recall often looking at them longingly in catalog stores (Best, C.W. Bell etc.). My mom did buy an Atari 800, but we never really did much with it (about 1982).

My brother owned a Kaypro II "portable" (more like lugging a loaded suitcase) text-only CP/M computer for years in the mid 1980s.

I still own a 1987 Amstrad (UK) green-screen word processing system that used proprietary 3" disk cartridges, a "disk-based" CP/M system (no internal storage of any kind) and the world's loudest dot matrix printer. It was still notable for bridging me from my trusty Smith-Corona into word processing and some crude green-screen computer games, and I used it heavily from 1987 to that First PC in late 1992. The Amstrad's still in my closet. The best thing I can say about that one is that if the Apocalypse ever comes and some virus destroys every PC on the planet, I'll still be able to plug that sucker in and at least write, even if the printer is enough to cause deafness if you don't leave the room.  icon_razz It's not something I ever had to troubleshoot - it was as reliable as a toaster oven.  icon_neutral

Then again, I'm not sure I still have that dot matrix paper with the perforated, holed stripes on the side. So maybe it wouldn't save me afterall.  icon_razz

9964  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 14, 2008, 03:43:06 PM
My couple scenic contributions:


Pretty sky, from the newer area Forochel, north of Evindem, added in a free update while I was away.




My fellowship got stunned, although it looks like we're praying to the giant.  icon_razz
9965  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC official forum Dev Postings of note on: September 14, 2008, 03:19:07 PM
fwiw, next week's update should finally bring their ballyhooed PVP Progression System (which has been on test server for a while):
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=968136#post968136
Quote
Next week will see the release of the next game update and we are busily preparing everything to bring you the start of the new PVP systems for the game (as well as a host of other fixes and tweaks). This update will see the PVP progression system activated on the live dimensions so that players can start to earn PVP levels and compete to achieve their new PVP armor sets. We are aiming to release the update on Tuesday morning so keep your eyes peeled for the details.
==================
I haven't seen much dev posting in English of late (and most of the other language dev posts are actually moderator posts). Saw a Sept. 12 posting about Role Playing rules:

Roleplaying Rules
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?t=92336

Folks might get a chuckle from the Character/Guild Name rules section there. I also liked this part:
Quote
The world of Conan is a rough place, and swearing as well as being cursed at is a common day thing. If you swear in RP, please make absolutely sure to use non-modern day swear words that cannot be confused as harassment. Mark your words with in-game terminology (stygian whore!). Consider the use of old swear words to keep it in-character (******* instead of *******). If you are in doubt if someone swearing at you is doing this in-character or OOC, simply kindly ask them by /tell to avoid confusion and problems.
I'm confused. Did Robert Howard invent a "Conan" style of cussing? I'm sorry I didn't get the handbook.  saywhat icon_lol

I guess it's OK to tell another play to *bleep* themselves as long as you tell them to "Stygian bleep!" themselves. Tongue
=================
One reason I've been more content in LOTRO is its more expansive worlds/regions, and the fact there are (esp. as you get higher in levels) multiple areas and regions to visit, and quests to do. In the mid/upper 40s my characters can find things to do in Angmar, Misty Mountains, and to some extent the newer (I never spell this right, correct me!  icon_razz) Farochnel region just north of Evindem (mostly 45ish). My quest tracker is actually clogged, to the point at times I have to clear quests to make the room.

If Funcom realized (at least for PVE-focused players) you need multiple areas to visit, with a broad variety of quests spread across levels (not, a bunch unlock at level 50, and you're done with them in 15 minutes) to the point that you seem to have an obnoxious glut of them, then maybe, maybe you'll have enough quests for PVE players not to be bored or reduced constantly to grinding, or to practically fighting each other to complete the same quests cause they don't have anything else to do. Yada yada, I'm just beating my dead horse on this. It's just, I don't see much in the pipeline in AoC (other than a new 55-60 area) that's going to remedy my selfish little complaints.  disgust And it's a shame, cause I loved the combat in it, and certain other aspects.
9966  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Your First PC on: September 13, 2008, 07:32:23 PM
Well, I finally decided to say goodbye to my first-ever PC today. I took it and my 1998 Micro Center 450PII PCs to a computer parts recycling center in Virginia on their monthly 'residential drop off day.' I also paid $10 apiece to have them Destroy my old hard drives (physically) using a special hydraulic machine on the premises. It cuts through and rips apart the hard drive disks. The operator ran over to me to show the results with apparent glee - they just want to confirm that you saw the results.  icon_cool

My first ever PC was a Laser-branded (by the Texas company VTECH) 486 SX/3 with a 16mhz CPU, a then whopping 16MB of RAM and a then humongous 100MB hard drive. CD-ROM drives seemed like the device of science fiction at the time, though I added one later. I primarily ran DOS in its various iterations. Windows 3.1 seemed like more of a toy at that time, and I owned very few Windows programs while I had that machine.

I stumbled onto it while browsing at a very tiny Staples store that was sort of nested within the end of a Montgomery Ward store in a mall (though the Staples had its own separate entrance). This was sometime in fall of 1992. I was particularly impressed at the time that it came packaged with its own CRT 14" VGA (640X480 rez *only*) monitor, by Samsung. My retired mom continues to use that monitor, and her fading vision really is content with that sort of resolution, what with the giant icons and text.  icon_razz

I didn't think to take a photo of the Laser's interior, but here's the exterior. It's the only horizontal-case PC I ever owned. It was quiet enough to use on top of my desk without bothering my ears (I wouldn't dare try it with any of the tower PCs I owned over the years):

You can see it had a few ventilation holes on the bottom of the case. It originally came with a 5.25" floppy drive which I did use quite a bit, but by the time I retired it in 1995, I had removed it.

I'm sentimental about it in a geek way because it's the first machine I ever did any sort of upgrades on. I learned how to replace its hard drive, install sound cards and Stone-Age videocards, how to install a CD-ROM drive and remove the eventually useless 5.25" floppy disks. It and the 1995 machine I got later were the only machines I upgraded the CPU's on, as that was an era where it was just a simple lever push, w/ no Thermal Paste crap and gigantic CPU units to mess with.

On it I ran all sorts of classic games in the 1992-1995 era, including lots of Dynamix and Sierra titles, Wolfenstein: Spear of Destiny, Doom, X-Wing and Tie Fighter, X-COM, etc. I also enjoyed thrilling adventures online with my 2400 baud modem on Prodigy, Compuserve and America Online.  icon_razz

I can't say I got weepy about finally getting it out of my computer room and closet here. It was bulky, heavy, and it was good to finally get some junk out of my closet (including a Wi-Fi router with a missing AC adapter, a couple of old video cards, a computer speaker subwoofer, etc.). But it did make me think about when my foray into PCs was new, and there's a certain excitement I had about PC hardware and gaming in 1992-1995 that I never was able to recapture.
================
It's not as memorable, but the 450 Pentium II machine (1998) was from Micro Center. I think it had the best OEM case of any PC I've owned. The case panels required *no* screws whatsoever to slide on or off (either side). There were two large "finger divots" that you lightly pressed on, then the panels just slid off. Everything else I've owned (I'm talking stock cases, not fancy pants aftermarket ones) requires one screw - if yer lucky - or a bunch. Sometimes, people get it right, and then they screw it up later on.  icon_razz



The sad thing is, in 1995 I probably thought CPUs would get smaller, and faster, and run even cooler. Instead, they got bigger, more complicated, and generated so much heat you needed to attach them to goop. Progress sometimes puzzles me.  icon_confused

Addendum: Not sure why I referred to case panels as "cases." Duh. I revised that.  icon_redface icon_razz
9967  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 13, 2008, 01:19:07 PM
Don't know how significant it is, but I'm seeing a lot more "general interest" news articles on these things...

Attack Of The Netbooks
http://www.forbes.com/technology/2008/09/12/netbooks-umpc-laptops-tech-techsolutions08-cx_mji_0912netbooks.html

Shoot For the Clouds
The bigger the better? Not when you're trying to reach the next level of portability
http://www.usnews.com/articles/business/small-business-entrepreneurs/2008/09/12/shoot-for-the-clouds.html

Netbooks and Mini-Laptops Buyer's Guide
http://www.osnews.com/story/20286/Netbooks_and_Mini-Laptops_Buyer_s_Guide
9968  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 12, 2008, 08:34:00 PM
Reuters pontificates on the Limitations of the Category:

Without Wi-Fi, mini-computers not as magical
http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSN1146965220080912
9969  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 12, 2008, 06:39:03 PM
Acer posted a little press release about its participation in a fundraising effort to help fight malaria in Africa. The classroom raising the most donations get Acer Aspire Ones for the teacher and each student in the class:

Acer Supports Chicagoland Students Participating in United Nations Foundation Netraiser
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/acer-supports-chicagoland-students-participating/story.aspx?guid={31092F0C-EC59-490B-B129-87CBA6E211DC}&dist=hppr

My initial thought was, "How are AA1's going to fight Malaria? They're going to use them as mosquito-swatters?"  saywhat So it pays to actually read it first.  icon_razz

I'm actually toying with doing a little AA1 news blog or fan page. I don't think you'll find a better forum than that Acer Aspire One User forum, but I think the AA1 could use a more regularly updated news site than I've seen so far. But maybe people are better off just using RSS feeds than a "Blackjack feed" and I'd probably get more traffic just posting stuff here than I ever would on a blog in nowhere land.  icon_neutral

9970  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Large Hadron Collider to Have "Practical" Spin-Offs? on: September 12, 2008, 05:56:15 PM
I can't believe we don't have a histrionic thread about the Collider/Atom Smasher in France that just opened that's attempting to unlock the secrets of the Big Bang Theory, among other things.

Here's the Official Site for it:
http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/LHC/LHC-en.html
Quote
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.

Two beams of subatomic particles called 'hadrons' – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy.

The more hysteric view:
Black holes that suck up the earth!
Extra dimensions!
Faster than light travel!
Or maybe a lot of money spent on hooey!  icon_razz

Large Hadron Collider to Have "Practical" Spin-Offs?
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/09/080912-lhc-practical.html
Quote
Though admittedly far-fetched, one sexy idea is that the LHC may find extra dimensions of space/time. If so, the discovery could open the door to technologies that allow people to travel faster than the speed of light.

In a sense, Parker explained, scientists may discover an ability to move chunks of space-time from one place to another through those extra dimensions, effectively bypassing the known laws of physics. [Didn't Doc warn Marty McFly not to do this! saywhat]

"If you went to the 23rd century and there were people flying around faster than the speed of light, you would say, What is it you found out that enabled you to do this?" Parker said.

"And the answer might be, It all started when we discovered there were these extra dimensions."
My favorite speculation/fear quoted in some other articles (mostly dismissed as hysteria) was that the contraption might create a black hole that grows and grows, eventually sucking up the Earth and maybe even the entire Solar System. Even X-COM didn't have a weapon that cool...

What I was hoping for was a Personal Black Hole that would eliminate the need for trash and recycling. Wouldn't that be cool?  icon_cool

* Note: If we already have a thread on this, please point me to it and I'll delete this. I did several searches, and didn't see anything on it.
9971  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 12, 2008, 05:11:54 PM
In case ye seeking a newer review (many older review links reference the Linux version, which was more widely available at first), this one just out yesterday:

Netbook Review: Acer Aspire One
http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/mowi/article.php/3770921/Netbook+Review:+Acer+Aspire+One.htm
Some babble on the keyboard. I haven't seen keyboards measured in this way before.
Quote
Like all netbooks', the Acer's keyboard reflects some downsizing -- the A through apostrophe keys span 7.25 inches, compared to 8 inches for a desktop keyboard and 7.5 inches for the category-leading HP 2133 [aka, HP Mini Note - bj].

But it's considerably more comfortable than the 6.5 inches of the original Eee PC 4G, with a sturdy, first-class typing feel that encourages almost-full-speed touch typing after just an hour or so of practice or consciously precise fingerwork.

Considering that we could come up with only one minor gripe about the layout -- the lack of dedicated PgUp and PgDn keys (they're Fn-key combinations with the Home and End keys) -- you're left with a keyboard that ranks near the top of the netbook category.
9972  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 12, 2008, 04:54:08 PM
Well, it's not as bad as me creating a new thread for every Age of Conan update, is it?  icon_lol

I'm not complaining. One of the reasons I left a board to come here, was because on that board, 2/3 of the threads were me talking to myself. Entertaining, but not very informative. I don't learn much or expand my horizons talking to myself.  icon_razz So even if it's just 3, 4, 5 of us exchanging info, I'm still glad for that much at least.

So, Quantas [which sells netbook types like AA1 and Eee PC] says, "Netbooks are kicking our arse!" or to that effect...
Netbooks to blame for loss of revenues, says Quanta
http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/09/12/netbooks-blame-loss-revenues
Quote
So, the netbook, it seems, is both a blessing and a curse. Consumers, fed up of shelling out thousands of dollars for power they don’t need are voicing their opinions with their wallets, snapping up the cheaper machines by the drove but taking a serious chink out of company revenues at the same time.
I'm assuming what they mean here is that companies like Quantas are still churning out more typical, much more expensive laptops. If said laptops are languishing in inventory because everyone decided to get AA1's, Eee PC's, Winds, etc. then it'll hurt their bottom line, but it's probably too early to start hollering "The Sky is Falling!"  icon_razz

Quantas is planning to ship even more netbooks by different manufacturers in the near future, so they're certainly not reacting by getting away from netbooks - they want to sell even more of them.
9973  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 12, 2008, 03:47:21 PM
I prefer swords because I just do. Even if I have a club with better stats, or an axe that does more damage. ninja2 To be honest, the more people tell me I *have* to use other equipment, or play a certain way, the more likely I'll do things differently. Variety's the spice of life.  icon_cool

Actually, one of the things I liked in Age of Conan was having a full set of skills specifically devoted to 2-hand swords (far too many games treat 2-hand swords like rejects, so nobody uses them). I've liked my particular sword (Georien's in LOTRO) because it has +28 might, +28 agility, +2% parry and increased chance to hit. I use the shield in some rough areas, or when I'm just trying to survive a long run through heavy-mob territory.

All that said, I got to finish Book 5 Chapter 5 last night on a nice, full size team, and I chose a big fat 109 damage halberd as my quest reward, so we'll see how that goes.  icon_smile I look like a pole-vaulter when I'm wearing it... I'll be using it tonight.
9974  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Dungeon Runners (NCSoft's free MMO/$4.99 premium option) on: September 12, 2008, 04:31:11 AM
This Kotaku interview seems to suggest either NCSoft's going to continue DR with a Skeleton Crew ("distancing itself" is such corporate speak, as I know from my business reporting experience Roll Eyes) or stick a fork in it at some point.

At this point they seem to be majorly investing in COH's dev team, and focusing on more traditional fee games. I don't know if the ballyhooed focus on big budget, AAA-titles is necessarily a smart economic thing to do, but I don't think you can be a profitable company charging nickles and dimes for free-to-download titles either.

With Hellgate dead and this on life support, perhaps the "free, and pay a few bucks for this and that if you want to" format isn't financially viable, even if does appeal to some players.
9975  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 12, 2008, 02:02:14 AM
I hope it works! Let us know.  icon_cool Pay it forward, as they say.  icon_mrgreen

Hey I like the shields in the game, especially into the 30s and 40s some neat ones pop up. I've been trying to capture some screenshots of them. Here are some, including a crafted one my 46 Captain uses (when not using a 2-hand sword, which is my preference):

Crafted by an L50 in my kinship on El... what's it's name server


Pretty wild one I saw today on a Guardian in Misty Mountains. If you leap off a mountainside flapping it, you might glide.  icon_razz


I was Inspecting another L50 and saw this.

9976  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Ryzom any good? Its free now on: September 11, 2008, 10:40:34 PM
Ryzom Ring, which gave players a chance to create their own quests, scenarios, etc. and a chance to do "dungeon master" type games (think Vampire Masquerade - Redemption) was the main selling point to me. But the trial I tried briefly way back left me disinterested. Still, I'm glad it got a second lease at life, and I'm always rooting for the underdog, even when it's not my cup of tea.  icon_smile

Here's link for the Ryzom Ring info:
http://www.ryzom.com/en/ryzom_ring.html
Quote
Ryzom Ring (R²) allows you to create your own Adventures on Atys. By travelling in the world of Atys you will open up access to more and more landscapes and NPCs to use in your own adventures, culminating in Ryzom's entire plethoric bestiary and a huge number of different terrains across all of the different ecosystems and environments of Atys. In just a few clicks you will be able to layout the scenery and NPCs of a new scenario and to open it up to your fellow players. Join the community and enjoy the player-made adventures or develop a taste for playing god as an Adventure Master ("AM")!
I just think it's hard for people weaned on "A-List" MMOs to really get into smaller budget "alternative" MMOs. I liken it to when people play Crysis and COD4, and then play a $19.99 budget shooter and find it wanting.

However, if the Big Ones leave you cold, then things like this have a chance to charm you.

Oh, Massively.com had a basic impressions piece from their visit to the game in its current form:
http://www.massively.com/2008/09/11/first-impressions-the-saga-of-ryzom/
9977  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 11, 2008, 10:32:58 PM
Ah, the true sign AA1 is becoming a "commodity?" It's available at Wal-Mart.  eek icon_razz
http://www.i4u.com/article20222.html
Quote
What a difference a color can make. The Sapphire Blue Acer Aspire One netbook tops the netbook sales charts on Amazon.com and on Walmart.com.

XP version (sold out online, only limited store availability)
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10238325

Linux version (seems to have better availability fwiw)
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10243009
9978  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 11, 2008, 08:23:16 PM
If you can't find any other way for it to work, I believe I still have a few trial keys to give out as a Founder's Member. I played in beta and from opening day, so I think that gave us Founders "X" number of trial keys to give out. I think I gave out a couple early on but probably can provide more. I'll check my account today.

And do check your Junk e-mail folder or whatever spam filter you use to make sure the trial key didn't get stuck somewhere.

Update: OK i've sent Xmann a "Guest Pass," I'm not sure if it's exactly the same as a trial. Let us know if that works any better.  icon_smile

Georien's finally closing on 46.
9979  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 11, 2008, 12:55:38 PM
The trial terms are here:
http://www.lotro.com/index.php?page_id=144

Here's Trial FAQ (copied from support site). Note the part that says many trial users don't successfully receive their keys due to spam filters; also, you're only eligible for one trial per e-mail addy so if you ever tried the trial before (it doesn't sound like you had, but I thought it worth mentioning) that could have something to do with it.
Quote
The Lord of the Rings Online 14-Day Free Trial FAQ
Answer/Article

14-Day Free Trial FAQ

The questions below apply only to the 14-Day Free Trial Program. If you have general questions regarding The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™, please check out the game FAQ.

Q. Do I need a credit card to play the 14-Day Free Trial?
A. No credit card is required for the 14-Day Free Trial.

Q. Where can I sign up for the 14-Day Free Trial?
A. Everything you need is at http://www.lotro.com/trial

NOTE: Many of our users never receive our e-mails due to spam filters used by their e-mail providers or programs. This could be because the e-mail address registered to the customer's account is no longer used or because they once could receive our e-mails but no longer can due to changes by their e-mail provider. Many of these e-mails contain important information, such as help for technical issues, replies or requests for information from in-game support as well as important information from Turbine Account Management.

It is very important you ensure your spam filter is properly configured to allow e-mails from @turbine.com so that when you contact us, we can contact you back

Caution:  Please be sure to complete the trial registration process prior to exiting the 14-Day Trial Download.  Failure to complete the trial registration process prior to exiting the 14-Day Trial Download may result in account setup error.

Q. What limitations exist for 14-Day Free Trial accounts?
A. 14-Day Free Trial accounts have all the same options as member accounts, with certain exceptions. For example:

Mail Access: 14-Day Free Trial players cannot send or receive in-game mail.
Auctions: 14-Day Free Trial players cannot buy or sell items in the auction house.
Trades: 14-Day Free Trial players cannot trade with other players.
Limited Tells:  14-Day Free Trial players have a limit on how many /tells they can send over a given period of time.
Limited Time: Trials only last for fourteen (14) consecutive days.

If a 14-Day Free Trial player attempts to perform these actions, they receive a message indicating that these functions are only available after becoming a LOTRO subscriber.

Once a 14-day Free Trial player converts to a paying subscriber, all of these restrictions are removed.

Eligible fans can participate in The Lord of the Rings Online trial program and play the game for 14 days free of charge. At the end of the trial, players will have the option of continuing to play LOTRO, and to keep the characters created during their 14-day free trial time, by purchasing the game either online or at retail.

To participate in the 14-Day Free Trial or to find out where to buy LOTRO, visit http://www.lotro.com/trial .Please be aware that this is the North American version of the LOTRO 14-Day Free Trial.

For a European trial, please click HERE.

If the information in this article does not resolve your concern, please leave feedback in the "Enter Comments Here" box below.

Enjoy your journey through Middle-earth!

Exceptions/restrictions (once you're in the trial):
Quote
14-Day Free Trial Exceptions

14-Day Free Trial accounts have all the same options as member accounts, with certain exceptions.

These exceptions are present to prevent abuse of the 14-Day Free Trial program.

Lord of the Rings Online trial access has the following use exceptions:

Mail Access:  Free trial players cannot send or receive in-game mail.
Auctions:  Free trial players cannot buy or sell items in the auction house.
Trades:  Free trial players cannot trade with other players.
Limited Time:  Trials only last for fourteen (14) consecutive days.

If a free trial player attempts to perform these actions, they receive a message indicating that these functions are only available after becoming a LOTRO subscriber.

If you or a friend are a Trial or Referral account and you'd like to be able to use /tell in-game, you should contact each other via email, IM, or the forums and arrange to add each other to your Friends lists.

Once a trial player converts to a paying subscription, all of these restrictions are removed.
9980  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 11, 2008, 01:05:55 AM
Now that we got a few folks in this thread -- which I love, I'm not complaining  The Weghted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you. -- posts are scrolling away.

My post on the Init case, w/ photos, was back here:
http://www.gamingtrend.com/forums/index.php/topic,27480.msg459084.html#msg459084

There are lots of things out there though. I mean it depends on style vs. utility, whether you want a shoulder strap or not, whether you want to be able to use it "in" a case (which I'm not sure you can do for along sitting w/ the Init case cause of heat issues), etc.

That AA1 fan site has a very lively cases thread at:

Cases for the Aspire one?
http://www.aspireoneuser.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1940&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=cases

Some of the sewing-knowledgeable sorts are even Making their own cases.  icon_cool
9981  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Brothers in Arms Hell's Highway on: September 10, 2008, 10:19:26 PM
I've been more keen on the 6 fully articulated Action Figures with 13 Accessories in the collector's edition (though I doubt it's anything spectacular in quality):

Brother's in Arms: Hell's Highway Limited Edition
http://enewsi.com/games/index.php?itemid=25549

Limited Edition image
http://ig.enewsi.com/g/image.php?aid=25549&mode=view&album=Ubisoft%2FBrothers_In_Arms_Hells_Highway&pic=0.jpg&dispsize=600&start=0

While I played the original game, I never really got all that competent at it. I especially had a hard time dealing with German mortar and artillery. I seem to recall getting stuck on a mission dealing with that, and never getting past it.

I'm probably most interested in the destructible environments, and supposedly more wide-open environments. The original suffered a bit from "funneling you down aisles" design, and I know some military shooter buds of mine were turned off by that and wanted more open environments and less linearity.

From about Medal of Honor: Allied Assault through COD4 I was a military shooter nut, but I've really lost interest in the whole genre. I'll keep an eye out for this though.
9982  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 10, 2008, 07:41:18 PM
Laptopmag has some breathless speculation about a 10"-screen HP Mini Note successor (possibly), in the guise of a "fashion model" version of the Mini Note shown off at a fashion week presentation:
http://blog.laptopmag.com/hp-shows-off-10-inch-netbook-the-next-mini-note

They couldn't get hands-on time with it per se, so they don't know what the innards are. Or whether this is an existing HP Mini Note modified to accept a 10" screen that extends to the edge of the bezel, or if it's a new case altogether.
9983  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 10, 2008, 06:55:28 PM
If you describe it as what it literally is, technically speaking, "A wimpy, underpowered, Windows XP machine with a cut-height, fixed 1024X600 resolution, soldered RAM and an 89%-of-full-size keyboard encased with smudge-attracting plastic that doesn't ship with a System or XP recovery disc," then all your techie co-workers will look sad, downcast, walk away slumped and leave you alone.  smirk

For my purposes it's fine, battery life wise. I can see where some road warriors, if they get into situations where they don't have some sort of external power supply handy, might fret.

Here's a news bit - a South African company's press release announcing they got AA1 distribution rights there:
http://www.itweb.co.za/sections/computing/2008/0809100720.asp?A=DSK&S=Desktops%20and%20Notebooks&O=FPIN

They're hoping it'll have wide appeal in the commercial sector, which is their focus.
9984  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 10, 2008, 06:50:10 PM
Once he realizes how fast the 3-cell battery drains, the bloom will be off, and then he can sell it to you and get a 6-cell version!  icon_razz Though those are certainly taking their sweet times reaching retail stores.
9985  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 10, 2008, 06:46:23 PM
If you want a Bluetooth mouse, just remember to get one of the tiny USB Bluetooth transmitter thingies (some folks have been perturbed it doesn't have Bluetooth built in, so I thought I'd mention that).  icon_smile

Glad ya like it. Welcome to the AA1 Club!  icon_cool
9986  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 10, 2008, 01:44:20 PM
I returned already, in spite of my "mean people suck" experiences.  icon_neutral Had a very therapeutic fellowship with a 50 guardian and 41 hunter last night, as we worked through a few quests in Angmar.

The guardian and I exchanged stories about being "told off" by people when we thought a healing buff would be welcome, and we laughed about it. I felt better someone else had just experienced the same thing the other day.  icon_smile

I just pledged to offer no help to non-fellowed players unless they ask for it, even if that's against my usually helpful nature. If they beg for it and give me precious things, maybe I'll consider the offer. I'll be like Montoya in The Princess Bride...
Quote
Georien: Offer me money
LOTRO player: Yes
Georien: Power too! Promise that!
LOTRO player: All that I have and more. Please!
Georien: Offer me everything I ask for.
LOTRO player: Anything you want!
Georien: Sorry, chum. I can't take a chance you'll get pissed at me about it.
*walks away*
LOTRO player: No! I need a healing buff! Now I need a rez! Come back!
Apologies to William Goldman.  icon_razz
9987  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: MS Closes Ensemble on: September 10, 2008, 01:39:47 PM
Microsoft is every bit as committed to PC gaming as a whole, as it was to the MMO market!...

Oops.  Roll Eyes

I imagine the pundits will read it as:
-Microsoft sucks! (not a very original thought icon_razz)
-You can't survive as a PC-game-only developer in today's market (the idea being Halo Wars came too late to "save" them), and pundits will lump this in with Flagship Studios, Iron Lore, Westwood Studios and others though they're clearly all different situations
-If your name isn't Blizzard or Relic, you can't survive as an RTS-only dev in today's market.
-The economy sucks, everybody is suffering, across many different industries, and this is just another illustration

Because pundits must oversimplify everything. 
9988  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: September 10, 2008, 01:25:30 PM
Massively.com had some Funcom interview bits from Dragon*Con (about 3 pages long):
http://www.massively.com/2008/09/05/massively-goes-to-dragon-con-2008-funcom-qanda/

Quote
Boobies are still a large part of our philosophy [he really said that, I can't make stuff like that up-blackjack icon_lol]. Mature content, you've got two sides to the Mature coin. You've got blood and boobies, which is Mature content, and then you've got deep meaningful choices Mature content, where you've got to think about what you're choosing in the game, think about the consequences of your actions. A game that asks you to be mature adults.

And from a quest design point of view, we're attempting to put that in the game all the time. We want the quests to be meaningful to you as a player, we want to put you in a position where the choices aren't always easy. And as for boobs and blood, I mean, that's a constant, we'll continue adding that sort of stuff.
Whew, I'm sure that's reassuring to everybody who's been leaving the game.  icon_razz

"If only there were more boobs and blood, I'd still be playing Age of Conan!" is a most common refrain...  Tongue

It mentions various PVP features they're trying to get implemented, so there's that. And acknowledges some problems they've had with their GMs not acting professionally -- which probably comes with how frantically they had to grow their support staff after launch.

And there's this positive nugget:
Quote
Q: Are you bringing in any sort of transportation for low-level characters in besides running?
A: That's something that many players have mentioned, that there's too much running. That's something we are aware of, and are doing something about, but I can't give you any specific dates.
Once you have the various death "touch stones" in a zone, you pretty much end up "death teleporting" everywhere until you get a mount. The stones/platforms generally are evenly spaced throughout a zone.

I think the easy solution is just to treat those touchstones as waypoint portal points - as in a Diablo-style game - and then *boom*, low level players can skip tedious running around (unless they really need to see the sights or grind things along the way).
9989  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 09, 2008, 07:49:25 PM
That would void the warranty, which certainly doesn't bother hardware junkies, but for us less hard-cores we'd just like it to come with as large a drive as possible out of the box.  icon_smile

JKOnTheRun (a neat gadgety fan site run by two guys) got a reader tip supposedly about Toshiba showing off a netbook entry of their own (all the typical stuff, including the Atom CPU and 8.9" screen) to university suppliers in a case labeled "Libretto."

http://www.jkontherun.com/2008/09/toshiba-to-ente.html
9990  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 09, 2008, 06:04:04 PM
If you want a painfully detailed review of the Windows XP version (many review links point to the Linux/SSD version still), Brighthand obliges:

http://www.brighthand.com/default.asp?newsID=14349
9991  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 09, 2008, 05:01:18 PM
There were some bits yesterday about a new 3G model going on sale later in Taiwan (no indication yet whether there are North American/Europe plans for it):

http://www.mobilemag.com/content/100/334/C16117/
http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2008/09/acer_aspire_one_with_integrated_3g-2.html
Quote from: Gizmodo
The Acer Aspire One will reportedly let you surf the web via an integrated 3G connection as well, but this will come at a $95 premium over the regular Aspire One.

Reports say that Acer was planning for 3G connectivity all along and it's just that they got around to doing it now. The upgraded Acer Aspire One netbook will go on sale this November in Taiwan, but there has been no indication as to when (and if) a 3G-equipped Acer Aspire One will make its way over to the United States and Canada.
9992  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 09, 2008, 05:05:59 AM
So I was having fun, and then I apparently made the aggregious mistake of doing a drive-by "buff", I think I put a 12-second Morale boost on some L47 hunter as I walked by. And he started frothing at the mouth, basically, about it halving his exp when someone does that. mad (that smiley about describes his attitude).

Is that really true? And why doesn't the game warn you in some way? I've certainly not seen anything in the skill descriptions that says "oh, never use this unless someone's on your fellowship cause you'll screw them over?" I didn't know if was more upset with this dimwit calling me names, or the game for not giving me the information to avoid inadvertently screwing other players over (I thought I was being a good citizen, nothing more). I'm used to my healer types in other games lobbing the occasional drive-by buff or heal just to be nice (never heard a complaint).

A sour ending to what had been a productive evening. I think I'm going to pull back away from the game for a while. I've started to get that "stay up too late to get one more quest done" feeling, and now the "getting too upset about things in the game" feeling, which was on top of being yelled at for my inability as Guardian to figure out which of two people I was supposed to listen to instructions from, the other night in the Great Barrows instance. I don't think I need this sort of crappy feeling from my games. icon_frown
9993  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 09, 2008, 03:08:26 AM
I'm slooowly progressing on my Captain's L45 Implements of War quest, but figuring out some of the mob locations making me nuts.

Hey I saw they added a new graphical character Sig feature there for the forums, which you can use at some other forums (although pic sigs can get really out of hand some places):
http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?&postid=2191935#post2191935

The actual avatars for the sig are generic, but it does grab some of your crafting stats from the actual character.

Here's a few of mine for reference... (you can also use a Monster Play character, re the Warg here)




9994  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 09, 2008, 02:39:17 AM
The main stumbling blocks:
-AA1 doesn't come with a system restore disc (it has a "recovery image" on a separate partition on the hard drive). You can buy a recovery CD from Acer, but I've read mixed reviews about whether it works well at doing its job (recovery). Lots of brainier types than me are doing recovery image gizmo compilation things (see the fan site forum I mention later, I can't keep track of it all).
-The AA1 has no CD/DVD-ROM drive. So far it seems USB CD/DVD-drives are inconsistent about working properly with the machine, but maybe I'm just reading about Linux version experiences.  icon_confused

For technical questions, you may want to try the fan site forum I hang out at:
http://www.aspireoneuser.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=1

There's a brief thread on XP Pro there:
http://www.aspireoneuser.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2857

Right now I'd be really hesitant to do anything like an XP Pro upgrade until you're familiar with the machine, and its various eccentricities. It would've been nice if they'd included a proper system recovery disc (or God forbid, a real copy of Windows XP), and if maybe Acer had just gone ahead and offered their own USB CD/DVD-drive that you would know, out of the box, is guaranteed to work with it.
9995  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 08, 2008, 09:11:50 PM
Oh yeah, agreed. I think on my first stint I was often telling my Kinship-mates that. That I enjoyed the Epic/storyline stuff so much, but in certain level ranges where you'd have to wait 5-10 levels (realistically) before you could tackle the next epic stuff, I'd fall back into what felt like a rut of harvest this, harvest that, deliver this, deliver that.

Eventually, you can get the hang of grabbing overlapping hunt/harvest quests and reduce some of that tedium, but when you get to do a quest that's interesting and has some drama and suspense that really makes you feel like you're impacting Middle Earth, having to go back to being "Boaramir, King of the Boar Body Parts Harvesters" or "Wormamir, Queen of the Slimy Worm Parts Hoarders," it feels like a let down to me, at times.  disgust icon_razz

I know that realistically the game can't be wall-to-wall Epic/storyline quests. It has to have some form of meat-n-potatoes. I guess I'd just like a little bit more sprinkling of the Epics in the level ranges where you have to wait a good while before you can tackle one again.
9996  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 08, 2008, 08:42:00 PM
They do Do price matching on seven other Internet retailers, fwiw:
https://secure.buy.com/corp/support/guarantees/lowpriceguarantee.asp

But that's a lot of hoops to jump through.

It appears to be back in stock at some Micro Center locations btw, but you can only order the Windows versions for in-store pickup, and limited to one per customer.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0293528

A lot of locations still don't list it in stock at all, but Columbus, Ohio had 187, and Fairfax, Va. 102 when I just checked. The Houston and Philly locations had a few too.
9997  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 08, 2008, 08:25:56 PM
The 6-cell/160GB models are listed on the U.S. Acer site though they don't appear to be available at retail yet.

They are the top four in the list (difference is just color)
http://us.acer.com/public/page4.do?link=oln56.redirect&dau22.oid=40836&UserCtxParam=0&GroupCtxParam=0&dctx1=25&CountryISOCtxParam=US&LanguageISOCtxParam=en&ctx3=-1&ctx4=United+States&crc=1628973581#inu57_54868

Depending on where you check online, they may be hitting the market about the last week of September.
9998  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 08, 2008, 03:56:38 PM
It took most of Saturday but I got my mothballed Captain to 45. I'm working on the special L45 quests that reward you with some pretty outstanding stuff, though it requires a certain amount of tedious hunting (nothing groan inducing like "kill 50 blah blah" though).

I'm definitely "re-hooked" at this point. We'll see if I can get her to 50 and be ready for the 50-60 content (I'm assuming there is some, with the level cap being lifted and all) in Moria.
9999  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an Acer Aspire One? (yet another mini-notebook) on: September 06, 2008, 03:08:22 PM
There aren't many cases specifically for AA1 yet. A gal at that AA1 fan site found one at a site called CarryMobile. It's a form-fitting leather case, very snazzy ($43.99), and you can use the unit without removing it from it (it actually has perforations in the area where the AA1's one cooling fan is)

Carrymobile Leather Case for Acer Aspire One - Book Type
http://www.carrymobile.com/scripts/main/viewitem.php?itemid=ACSONELCBT1BK&pdaid=SONE
4 different colors: black, snake-pattern black, brown, bi-color; it seems to indicate only black has been released to this point.

It opens and closes with magnetic studs, and has a few SD card slots built in. Pics:


Notice the perforations...




10000  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: September 06, 2008, 02:51:53 PM
A sour unraveling of a Great Barrows team last night with my new Guardian turned into a surprise, happy reunion with my old, mostly Australian Kinship, when I switched to my 44 Captain. It turned out they were about to tackle the Chapter that I could never get past (where Legolas the NPC aggroes everything in sight  disgust). I got a warm welcome, they were shocked to see me back.  icon_biggrin

With a L50 Guardian on team, and me trying desperately to remember the Captain's hotkeys (even worse, since they added 6-7 new Captain skills that I went ahead and picked up), we got through it.  icon_cool Some pics...


This isn't the "end boss," I used to get excited when my Fellowship would finish it, but it's not The End of the chapter.

Now, if you hadn't played your Captain since late 2007, how would you make sense of all those hotkeys?  icon_confused icon_razz
Below is her hotkey setup:

I'm never comfortable reaching for keys 6-zero on my keyboard, so I tend to throw potions and food there, and assign hotkeys to various letters my left hand can reach easily.


Finally getting to turn it in at the end.  icon_smile
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