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321  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: The Wanderers & Warhammer Online on: August 13, 2008, 03:11:03 PM
Any of you Elder testers do any of the beta testing for AoC?  Don't want you to reveal any confidential info, but it would be interesting if you felt you had as positive an experience in general with AoC at this time.
322  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: The Wanderers & Warhammer Online on: August 11, 2008, 10:57:48 PM

Quote from: Harkonis on August 11, 2008, 07:05:56 PM

Quote from: skystride on August 11, 2008, 06:54:39 PM

Quote from: Fez on August 11, 2008, 06:29:29 PM

I'm always a sucker for trying the new MMORPGs out.  I think I just barely got my money's worth out of AoC for the first 20 levels of content.  However, in all the time I played, I don't think I got invited to a group once even with my LFG flag on.  Oh well.

AoC made grouping pointless for most PvE.  The elite zones designed for groups was another laughable hack that they tacked on last moment.  You won't ever have trouble finding a group in WAR.  Yeah I know that's a bold statement, but it's true.  The only exception being if you are playing at 4am and there are 10 people on the server, then it might be hard.

I don't think there will be a problem finding a group even then slywink  If I can find a group with limited population of late night closed beta, should be fine on release.

That's excellent news.  I don't mind doing some solo questing, but I like to balance it out with some grouping.  EQ2 certainly did this well, and WoW also provided a good grouping environment in instances (although I think EQ2 did a better job, due to mentoring, than WoW, which allows a level 70 to run through a dungeon with a low-level group and make the content extremely easy).
323  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: The Wanderers & Warhammer Online on: August 11, 2008, 06:29:29 PM
I'm always a sucker for trying the new MMORPGs out.  I think I just barely got my money's worth out of AoC for the first 20 levels of content.  However, in all the time I played, I don't think I got invited to a group once even with my LFG flag on.  Oh well.

I may check later to see if the pre-orders are available at places like Best Buy.  Hopefully the code is in the box so I can at least join the open beta.
324  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Good time to by a laptop? on: August 05, 2008, 05:09:19 PM
I've been considering buying a new laptop to replace an old desktop.  I usually go as high-end as I can with laptops for longevity, but before I spend a bundle, I was wondering whether now is a good time to buy, or whether there is new mobile technology coming around the corner that I should wait for.  It would likely become my best gaming system - my other is a single core fast P4 system with an 8800 card so it's not too bad, but slow playing the most graphic intensive games.    

I'd also likely use it as a Blue-Ray player to attach to my plasma- any thoughts on how to best set that up and get the digital audio over to my receiver that doesn't have an HDMI jack?  Might be time to upgrade the receiver.    icon_neutral 

Lastly, I'd also be interested to hear what people consider the best high-end laptops these days.  Thanks for any thoughts.
325  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: That clicking sounds can't be good.... on: August 05, 2008, 04:59:26 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on August 05, 2008, 03:16:16 PM

a few years back my C drive died-  wouldn't boot or anything, but when I got a new HD I just hooked up the old one as a slave drive to see if anything happened and it worked just fine so I was able to pull all my old data off of it.

I had the same thing.  In fact, unless your original hard drive is completely dead, you can attach it as a slave and when it isn't acting up you can pull files off of it (I have a drive that sporadically goes out and starts clicking).  However, when the drive does start to bug out, it can cause your whole system to crawl, so its best to only attach when you need it.
326  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Vanguard - free month for inactive accounts on: July 29, 2008, 04:37:40 PM

Quote from: Destructor on July 29, 2008, 02:13:14 PM

Diplomacy is basically a card game. From when I remember playing the game, it was sorta well explained in the (massive) tutorial thing you go through when you start it from the official trainers. Kinda fun actually, but it didn't have much of a reward to it at the time.

Yeah, Diplomacy is fun in spurts, but the problem is that they made it too much of a grind to advance.  I don't know what the current advancement pace is, but it used to be that you had to do a fairly high number of "parleys" just to get a point in diplomacy once your past "level 10" or so in diplomacy.  It got a bit boring.  I think they made a bit of a mistake trying to make diplomacy as "robust" as the other two spheres.  There just isn't enough depth there over the long haul.
327  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Vanguard - free month for inactive accounts on: July 28, 2008, 08:17:13 PM

Quote from: Destructor on July 28, 2008, 07:40:17 PM

Yup. It takes a bit of work (about 3-5 hours, give or take), but there's nothing keeping you from being a 'good' class as an 'evil' race on EQ2.

And you get some AA experience for doing the Betrayal quests, so it isn't all worthless.
328  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Vanguard - free month for inactive accounts on: July 28, 2008, 06:38:02 PM

Quote from: Razgon on July 28, 2008, 06:19:06 PM

Quote from: Destructor on July 28, 2008, 06:17:11 PM

One thing I wish with this game (along with Conan) - every race can't be every class. I SO loved that with EQ2. It really needs to be the standard nowadays.

And it's interesting - while playing EQ2 the other day, the conversation somehow diverged to Vanguard - a lot of people said that Vanguard has the best combat system out of all the MMOs today.

I dont understand what you are saying - in Vanguard every race CAN'T be every class...as it CAN'T be in EQ2, and in Conan as well...

Actually, in EQ2, every race can be every class.  Even if a "good" race can't start out as an "evil" class, you can betray and become that class if you started out as the opposite alignment version of the class you want to be.  So, as one example, there are High Elf Necromancers running around who started out as Conjurors.
329  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Bioware KOTOR MMO "confirmed" on: July 18, 2008, 02:07:07 AM
Interesting.  I'm really curious as to how the "classes" will all shape up.  I recall that there are only three basic Jedi "classes" and that, for the most part, they had quite a bit of overlap - too much from a MMORPG point of view.  Certainly there are plenty of races to choose from, but it will be interesting to see whether they make everyone start on the Jedi path.
330  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: AoC Patch Notes July 17 on: July 17, 2008, 07:06:05 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on July 17, 2008, 06:36:05 PM

Dev rep's update is that they are "feverishly" working on the "invisible players/enemies bug," and want to get a hotfix out. But the problem isn't proving easy to produce (which is probably why it didn't get weeded out on the test server):
http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=760172#post760172
Quote
Just wanted to update you with fresh information:
Devs are currently working feverish on the "invisble people" problem and as soon as they are able to fix it they will do so asap.

The problem at the moment is that this bug sometimes seem to be kind of random and that it is not reproducible, so that it is a little bit tricky to isolate the core of the problem.

No wonder the bug was introduced - the entire crew has the flu!   retard

Seriously, that list of fixes was so long I had trouble figuring out what would even apply to me beyond just the class fixes.
331  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Major feature cuts from Warhammer Online on: July 15, 2008, 04:35:22 PM

Quote from: Blackadar on July 15, 2008, 01:13:37 PM

I don't think many people realize how much was missing from WOW when it launched.

That's the key statement.  If WAR can match that, they'll have a solid game.  There are always going to be things missing at launch, but the key is making people not notice because what is there is so good. 
332  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Major feature cuts from Warhammer Online on: July 14, 2008, 04:42:13 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on July 14, 2008, 03:18:55 PM

on the plus side, WAR combat didn't seem like the 'hit auto-attack and go make a sandwich' combat that usually bores me (unless there is an option to keep on attacking and I wasn't aware of it due to no documentation).  I got to play for a bit at Origins 2008 (Disciple of Khaine if I'm remembering the class name right-  it was a dark elf with 2 blades and attacks that brought in essence or something like that), and since there was no NDA posted nor given verbally I can talk about (already did over at the Wanderers forums).  Their combat system is kinda like AoC, where you have to keep hitting the attack button to strike-  one attack was the basic attack with a really quick cooldown and then there'd be more advanced ones, naturally with longer cool downs.  After playing AoC I kept on expecting multi key combos to pop up. 

Graphics wise it reminded me of WoW.  maybe not as cartoony but nothing like the realistic look of AoC/EQ2 (unless they changed EQ2 in the years since I've played it  icon_wink).   It did run pretty smoothly, and I meant to go back and see if I could see what the system setting were set at the next day, but instead I decided to check out the miniatures room instead even though there were open machines available.

I liked how the game warned you that you were wandering into an RvR area and gave you a chance (via countdown) to get out before being flagged for RvR. 

Still, after 20 minutes I just walked away.  I'm going to give the open beta a shot but it definitely didn't suck me in right away like WoW or AoC did.

I know what you mean about the auto-attack and walk away routine, but these days, in a game like EQ2, for example, you really need to use all your offensive capabalitiy (e.g, special attacks) to win battles.  This is in all level ranges, but especially noticeable in the 70+ level range, where I've had to plan my battles fairly carefully against equal opponents.  There is no set-and-forget auto-attack option, although there is still an auto-attack going on when you're not using your other attacks. 

So, between the games, the difference, for the most part, is cosmetic or semantic in nature.  In AoC you have to press the buttons for each attack and combo attack, but the same can be said for EQ2, where you will need to do all your special attacks (and there are a lot more of them in EQ2) and do your "combos" (e.g., leading with snares, debuffs, etc., before your other attacks to maximize damage).  I'm not trying to say that one system is better than the other, but I'm just noting how essentially similar they are.  Neither is to the level of a MMORPG FPS - and this is an area where I think there is still some room for another MMORPG.
333  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Major feature cuts from Warhammer Online on: July 14, 2008, 02:31:52 PM

Quote from: madpeon on July 13, 2008, 05:48:36 PM

Quote from: Fez on July 13, 2008, 04:22:12 PM

Hmm..it will be interesting to see how it develops, but I remember EQ2 getting very badly criticized for failing to have more than two capital cities in its launch, primarily due to the comparison with WoW.  Somehow, WoW was able to get a starting city ready for launch for each starting race.   

Perhaps even worse is the fact that a few of the races are not even going to have a melee tank class.  Time will tell, but I think these cuts will hurt.

If you want to call 5 huts on the beach a starting area   icon_biggrin.

But yeah, outside of gnomes and trolls everyone got their own area. Not to mention the two new starting areas with the expac.

Yeah, and in WoW there is even lore to explain the gnomes' city becoming, essentially, a dungeon (Gnomeregan). I guess more my point is that it seems like many of these games are starting to fail in terms of releasing a similar level of content to what we saw released in WoW.  I actually prefer EQ2 overall to WoW due to perhaps the level of complexity, but WoW certainly was a very fleshed out product at launch.  Maybe companies are starting to sacrifice content to work on the graphics, but, to me, it doesn't seem like the graphical improvements of a game like AoC over EQ2 or WoW are significant enough to make-up for the lack of overall content at launch.  And I'm just comparing the content at launch - the comparison gets even more skewed if you consider the extra 4 years of development time that EQ2 and WoW have.

That being said, it's better that they are upfront with the changes, and we'll see what the finished product looks like.
334  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Major feature cuts from Warhammer Online on: July 13, 2008, 04:22:12 PM
Hmm..it will be interesting to see how it develops, but I remember EQ2 getting very badly criticized for failing to have more than two capital cities in its launch, primarily due to the comparison with WoW.  Somehow, WoW was able to get a starting city ready for launch for each starting race.   

Perhaps even worse is the fact that a few of the races are not even going to have a melee tank class.  Time will tell, but I think these cuts will hurt.
335  Gaming / Analog Gaming / Re: [D&D 4th Ed.] Official GT Campaign Thread on: July 08, 2008, 04:31:34 PM
Sounds like fun!  Let me know if you ever have room for an additional character who could join up in the adventure.
336  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Getting Fallout 1 to work on XP? on: July 08, 2008, 03:28:01 PM
Well, the subject line says it all.  I uncovered my Fallout 1 game and manual and I thought I'd try an install.  I find out the install doesn't work and the screen goes black.  Anyone get it to work on XP with a minimum of fuss?  I also looked online and saw some copies of Fallout 1 and 2 for XP?  Maybe it would be easier to just buy that copy, if it works?  Anyone had luck?  Thanks!
337  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Getting into Civ 4 (+BTS) for the first time on: July 04, 2008, 02:58:08 AM
It looks like there's some directions at the bottom of the home page for that mod that allow you to use the mod with the steam version of BTS.
338  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Getting into Civ 4 (+BTS) for the first time on: July 01, 2008, 04:14:27 PM
Jeff,

To attack a city that has high city defense, you really need to get some siege weapons on the field.  Use catapults early in the game to bombard the city to reduce its defenses slowly over a few turns, and make sure you have a fairly overwhelming force.  The 70% city defense means that each unit defending in the city gain that much extra strength, and this is in addition to other bonuses certain units may have when in cities (like archers who get a city defense bonus if I'm not mistaken, and/or if you took city defense as a promotion skill for certain units). 

Also, when attacking the city, try to keep your stack of units on an adjacent square to the city that has some defense bonuses, like a forest or hills (and less likely, jungle), and stick some strong defensive units to capitalize on the defensive bonuses of that terrain. 

Lastly, please remember that unless units have certain healing skills in the stack (some units get healing skills offered to them when they are promoted) or you've built certain wonders, your units will take forever to heal in an enemy cultural zone, and that's why you need to bring fairly overwhelming numbers.  And remember that war generals and spies can be a big help as you go to battle, as will be taking out certain squares that allow the defender to build stronger units (lie attacking and destroying his copper or iron mines early on).

To answer your question on turn order, it's pretty straightforward.  Whatever unit you choose in the stack will attack, and the defender's strongest defensive unit against that unit will defend.  For example, if you attack with a horse archer in early game, the defender will generally choose a spearman or pikemen which gets significant bonuses.  The game will actually show you the likelihood of winning a particular battle before you move.
339  Gaming / Analog Gaming / Re: [D&D 4th Ed.] Official GT Campaign Thread on: June 30, 2008, 04:25:38 AM
Glad to hear it was a success!  Keep me in mind in case you need a fill-in in the future.
340  Gaming / Analog Gaming / Re: [D&D 4th Ed.] Official GT Campaign Thread on: June 28, 2008, 04:44:02 AM
Crayola, are you planning on DM'ing future sessions as well?  I'd like to participate at some point if you have some room.  If that works, I'll grab the 4th edition books and get up-to-speed as I travel this weekend.
341  Gaming / Analog Gaming / Re: [D&D 4th Ed.] Official GT Campaign Thread on: June 27, 2008, 09:50:46 PM
Hey all - just saw this thread now.  I can't make the first session as I'm traveling this weekend, but I'd like to create a character and participate in the future if that's a possibility.  Any class that's currently needed?
342  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: June 20, 2008, 07:04:43 PM
Yeah, it's always a tricky balance in these games to create a balance between grouping and solo content.  You should always provide additional encouragement to make people want to group, because it is always difficult to bring people together.  I think, ideally, that a new game should look at EQ2 and WoW and take the best aspects of both to create the best balances.  Something that might include the following features for PvE:

1.  Grouping gives an exp bonus the escalates slightly by the number in the group  (EQ2);
2.  Questlines that are group based that result in substantial rewards (EQ2 - Heritage Quests);
3.  Group instances that net you solid item rewards from bosses (WoW, less so in EQ2);
4.  Summoning stones by group instance entrances (WoW);
5.  MENTORING, whereby others in the group can decrease their level to someone else in the group and still get exp and do quests (EQ2).

It seems like most games have determined that standard group questlines that result in standard quest rewards are on the way out as it becomes hard down the line to find people to help you complete them.  Sure, at the beginning of the lifespan of the game there should be enough people doing them to help, but later they are much harder to finish.  I know EQ2 changed a number of group quests to be completable solo later.

I'm looking forward to better use of group instances in the future in these games - namely, randomized dungeons for groups to enter that still have a good selection of bosses and loot.  Randomized dungeons would make each new dungeon experience fresh and exciting.  I was always hoping that D&D online would have randomized dungeons to make it more intersesting, but they failed in that regard.
343  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Return to the original Everquest - 3 Years Later (56K Warning) on: June 18, 2008, 06:26:49 PM
Yeah, I have not really seen good tattoos for characters in the recent games.  Conan has a ton of them, but I don't know, most of them seem really poor in the way they blend with the model's other tones and enviornmental effects.
344  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Return to the original Everquest - 3 Years Later (56K Warning) on: June 17, 2008, 04:10:42 AM
If you're looking for a popular server, the two RP servers are fairly well populated still, even if they aren't quite as RP as they advertise.
345  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: After retrying various MMOs, I find Vanguard is now REALLY actually playable on: June 05, 2008, 08:13:16 PM
Yeah, personally I find Vanguard and EQ2 to still be the most "complex" of the MMORPGs out there.  By "complex" I mean that there is more to the combat and crafting systems than other games.  Also, both Vanguard and EQ2 have the widest variety of races and classes to select from.  There are some drawbacks to this though - EQ2 has a much more difficult time adding in additonal armor models because they have to do them for each race and gender combination, and this is why it has taken so long to begin seeing some variety.  Vanguard took the easier way out - and that's why you don't see tails and the like.  They use similar models, but change out the head, hands, etc.

In any case, I'm a fan of having tons of different attack skills to choose from for different situations.  In EQ2 there are varieties of instant buffs, snares, facing dependent attacks that keep things spicey.  Vanguard also has chains and a variety of attacks to use that are situationally dependent.  Personally, WoW gets very boring - I feel for those pyro mages, for example, who just repetitively cast the same sequence of spells for damage.  Some people may prefer simplicity, but I have a good 6 hot-bars filled in EQ2 that contain useful skills, items that I use in situations, or potions.  Vanguard isn't too far behind there.

I'm playing AoC also right now, as well as EQ2, but I'm also in the camp that AoC needs to make some improvements.  Grouping in AoC is a pain as the "summon to instance" command seems useless at the moment so it is very hard to meet up with a group (basically you need to go back to the beginning of a zone, zone out, and zone back in to join the leader's party).  I have a station pass so I occasionally hop into Vanguard, but I'm waiting until they have some kind of rerelease so the population jumps up a bit.  I like grouping.  =)   Instancing and zones have never been pet peeves for me - I sometimes actually prefer joining a group and entering an instance.  It brings me back to the D&D days where it's just your group and the dungeon.  I'm looking forward to a time when some of these games can perhaps add some more randomness to the dungeons - kind of like what Anarchy Online tried to do but with more complexity.  D&D online gets a bit old because the dungeons are always the same after the first run through, and you rarely group with people who haven't been through the dungeon once.
346  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan - All Your Questions Are Belong to Us! on: May 29, 2008, 07:17:50 PM
Like the poster above said, there is a bit of timing involved, but not in the way you might think.  For all the talk of combat being closer to a first-person shooter, it's really not.  For combo attacks, especially those requiring more than one auto-attack, you need to wait to make sure the 1-2-3 (or q and e also for higher levels) directional attacks resolve in order before pressing the next button.  If you press them too fast you ruin the combo altogether.  Same for single combos.  Make sure the combo finishes before pressing any other attacks or you may ruin the combo.  Hopefully that makes sense.  The main thing is to watch the pop-up to see the directional attacks finish before pressing the next one in the sequence.
347  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: May 28, 2008, 08:37:47 PM
I guess I'm lucky that I've been running solo so far up to 16.  My main concern so far has been whether grouping would be as fun an experience as it is in EQ2 and WoW, and .  I'm not sure if the roles are as well defined in AoC as they are in those games, and typically that makes the battles more immersive.  However, it sounds like the bigger issue will be this disappearance bug.  Seems like it would make grouping futile to some extent.
348  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: May 27, 2008, 03:38:36 PM
That's good to know.  I was a little concerned that the higher level content might be lacking.  I'm taking my time though, and I'll keep bouncing between EQ2 and this for the time being.  The game is a bit too simple to drag me away from EQ2 in its current form, but I'm hoping more complexity awaits at the higher levels.

On that note, I've played all of the major fantasy MMORPGs that have come out, and I keep going back to EQ2 after a bit of time off.  I've always liked EQ2 for being more complex than most of the games out there, but this comes from a non-PvPer.  20 distinct races (different models, from rat people, to dragon people, to frog people) and 24 classes with their own uniqueness to the limited extent we can have it.  And, the GUI is really good - you can have three resizeable hotbars all triggered by numbered keys in conjunction with the CTRL and ALT keys, and you can have all 10 hotbars on the screen if you want to.  You can solo all the way up, group for dungeons, and raid in different tiers (not saying you can't do this in other games, but I'm just noting that this is possible in EQ2 now).  Mentoring is yet another nice addition, where high level characters can mentor lower level characters, allowing them to play at the same level of the lower level friends.

Personally, I have played all of the fantasy MMORPGs that have come out and I think EQ2 is the best of them at this point in time.  The number of expansions and quality of improvements puts EQ2 ahead of even WoW in my book.  I think WoW just feels a bit more repetitive, likely due to the simplicity.  Less spells, skills, easier crafting, etc., etc.  However, the biggest thing might be that EQ2 community consists of an older and more mature player-base.
349  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Impressions on: May 27, 2008, 01:55:59 PM

Quote from: YellowKing on May 24, 2008, 10:05:25 PM

One thing I've complained about in the past from beta is the "constricted" feeling of the zones. Now that I've delved deeper into the game, I feel a little sheepish because I was totally wrong. Some of the zones are indeed MASSIVE - bigger by far than anything in EQ2. I was very pleasantly surprised when I finally got deeper into the real world and realized that exploration was totally viable.

Needless to say, I'm having more fun than ever now. I've also got the hang of fighting really well now, including understanding what all my skills do and the best time to use them. When that flow of combat suddenly 'clicks' it becomes an entirely new game.

I'm liking the game so far as well.   P4 3.6 Ghz machine, 2Gb or Ram, with an 8800 card and I'm running fine on the middle graphics level.  Generally around 30 fps with minor slow-downs at times.  So far I guess I've been lucky.  I've only crashed once to the login screen, but I was immediately able to log right back in.  I'm hopeful that it opens up a bit after like King says above.  As one quick correction/note, EQ2's recent expansion Kunark has some absolutely enormous zones.  I'd say that some of them are 2-3, maybe 4, times larger than the largest zones that came with the original game.
350  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Dual or Quad Core for games? on: May 14, 2008, 11:24:27 PM
Thanks, that's a good idea.  I'm guessing an NVIDIA® nForce™ 790i Chipset board would support both dual and quad core chips?  I'd likely get an Intel® E8400 Core2™ Duo (overclocked to 4.0GHz x 2) with 6MB of L2 cache at first.  Hopefully it would be fairly easy to upgrade to quad core later. 

For video card(s) I'm thinking of going all out and getting: 2x NVIDIA® GeForce™ 9800 GX2's 2GB GDDR3 in Quad-SLI.  Would it be better to just go with standard SLI rather than Quad at this time?  Something like 2x NVIDIA® GeForce™ 9800 GTX 1GB DDR3 in SLI instead?


I'm still tempted to buy a laptop, but it seems like it's just not value for gaming.
351  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Dual or Quad Core for games? on: May 14, 2008, 08:14:26 PM
Hi.  I'm thinking about getting a new system, and I was wondering whether the extra price of a Quad Core would be worthwhile for a gaming rig?  Or is it better to go with an overclocked Dual Core?  Any thoughts?
352  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Advice on next computer on: April 30, 2008, 08:35:34 PM
Ok, it's about that time again for me as well.  My last, and most recent, computer is a Dell XPS still running off a Pentium 4, and I think it may be time for more than an upgrade.  I don't have time in my life, sadly, to put together a computer myself these days, but thankfully I work my you know what off so that I have some funds to play around with to buy fairly top-of-the-line stuff when I need to make the next jump.  However, I've been toying with the idea of getting a gaming laptop this time around so I can do some gaming on the road.  However, if laptops are still lagging behind desktops by a significant margin, I might reconsider.  Any suggestions on any computers I should be looking at that fit the bill?  I'd like to be able to play all the newest games when they come out this year at good resolutions.  Thanks!
353  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PC games you want to love but can't on: February 25, 2008, 12:32:32 AM
Yeah, with the Civ games, they are only going to be fun if you get into the number crunching required in a turn-based game with such complexity.  I kind of like that myself.  Here are some I couldn't get into:

1.  Tabula Rasa:  No grouping made me very sad.  Seemed a bit too simple, and everyone is too much alike.

2.  Heroes of Might and Magic V: For some reason the graphics actually hurt the gameplay for me.  Still nothing beats HOMM3.

3.  Neverwinter Nights 2: I may go back to this one, but I stopped playing about the time you have to start building a fortress.  Seems like too much "work" to play.
354  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO - State of the game on: February 13, 2008, 08:23:10 PM
Brandywine is a very active server if that helps.
355  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Vanguard on: February 08, 2008, 08:57:26 PM
Well, when I was in for the free month, the one thing that VG had going for it that some of the others don't is that people do actually group on there.  When I go on WoW, unless I'm on a level 70, I hardly ever group or see anyone in the low-level ranges.  Sure, you might be able to find some groups for instances, but it's hard to find them for anything else.  This proposal might meet with great disdain by the regular WoW players, but I think that they should allow Horde and Alliance players to group together on the non-PvP servers.  You can still keep the PvP flags and such in place, but it would be helpful in finding groups - I don't quite get why they can't talk to each-other on non-PvP servers.  Or, do what EQ2 also did (EQ2 long ago decided to allow the 2 factions to group with each-other), and allow mentoring so level 70s can level down to join up with lower level group members.  EQ2 is really ahead of its time in that regard for this kind of game.
356  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Mass Effect Mistake; POTENTIAL SPOILERS on: January 31, 2008, 04:39:17 AM
Well...moving on my frustration is still going on Noveria.  The Hot Labs proved to be a bit painful...I was too weak to make the mad dash through the Rachni at this level.  Finally made it on the 5th try or so.  I need to pay attention to the subtle hints next time! 
357  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: January 29, 2008, 09:34:08 PM
I kind of think this game made its biggest mistake in the art department.  There just isn't enough to customize your character with.  Seems like there is even less than say, Mass Effect, which I'm currently playing.  They need to add more looks to distinguish folks.  I'd also say that there isn't enough class diversity.  I hardly see anyone grouping at lower levels, and that doesn't make for an immersive environment.
358  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Mass Effect Mistake; POTENTIAL SPOILERS on: January 29, 2008, 09:25:26 PM
I kind of think I know what happened.  Because I was such a low level, my Adept's biotic skills (and Garrus' damping skills) were not powerful enough to stun Benezia (I tried everything, but nothing worked on her), so she could get off one of her big blasts before I could do anything.  Obviously the scaling for this battle is not as effective.  My comrades would be knocked down, but, being an adept, I could weather her blast a bit and stay on my feet a bit better.  Thus, they always seemed to be blocked when I tried to call them up. 

On normal combat level, I tried everything I could think of - to using Phasic rounds to get some damage through those biotic barrier shields, to trying radioactive damage, etc.  Sadly, it was further complicated by the fact that I was out of grenades after the first battle.  However, it was much easier on casual and I got past the battle on the first try.

It's really too bad that they don't give you at least some prodding to do this later in the game.  It seems like it would be a neat later battle if I had a bit more experience (and better gear) under my belt.  Overall, it's a fun story, but I hope they improve on the combat a bit in the next game in the series, if there is one.

Another note that some might find helpful - if your character, or your comrades, are actually capable of regenerating health, this actually happens WHILE you converse with someone.  I noticed that if I skipped through the conversation with Benezia between the first and second battles, some of my guys would not have fully regenerated yet, thus forcing me to listen to everything, or just let the conversation hang while I went and got some snacks.
359  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Mass Effect Mistake on: January 29, 2008, 05:51:11 PM
Calvin, yeah I got through that part....the fight after that is the hardest.  Sorry for any spoilers, but all the stuff talked about is pretty obvious, and you know this fight is going to happen from the beginning of the game.  However, this will be good for all people playing.  Do not go to Noveria directly after the Citadel.  Although they supposedly scale the battles, this one is not scaled enough, and it is very difficult on normal level.  I finally got around it by cheating slightly and turning the combat down to casual.
360  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Mass Effect Mistake on: January 29, 2008, 05:13:54 PM
Actually, I'm totally wrong.  I'm now stuck at the second battle, and I've tried a dozen times to no avail.  I may be screwed.  My foolish comrades are useless, and my biotic powers are very limited.  I just try to kill Benezia as quickly as possible, but usually the rest of the gang is close to dead, then we get ganked up there on the platform.  I really need some help here, otherwise I'll have to sadly start over from a much earlier point.
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