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1961  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / WoW: Many nice players amongst some idiots on: December 13, 2004, 09:28:05 PM
Quick example:  

Today during lunch I was running through Ashenvale with my tauren druid when a lvl31 NE rogue asks to duel.  I thought, why not, he's only 2 lvls higher than me.  We had a great fight that lasted almost 2 minutes, with both of us down to a miniscule sliver of health.  I ended up going down.  The NE after winning cheered me, clapped, and then bowed after the duel.  

There are some knuckleheads on the regular servers, but I have many more experiences like the one above than I do negative examples.  

On a side note, I love how pvp fights aren't over in 5 seconds like in daoc, they actually can last for quite some time before people start dropping.  The pacing of the fights seems fast, but the longevity of the character lives feels just right.
1962  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Best WoW solo class on: December 13, 2004, 09:07:00 PM
Druids are great solo.  They are very flexible, which makes them well suited for soloing.  You could focus on being a ranged/caster, a healer, or better at the feral forms (or any combination of those 3).  But no matter how you spend talent points, druids imo are excellent soloists.
1963  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Good/bad of WoW being on PvP vs PvE servers? on: December 10, 2004, 07:58:35 PM
PvP fights happen all the time on Whisperwind, which is a “normal” server.  It’s mostly all permissive PvP.  I say mostly because you can get someone to flag themselves for PvP if they aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing.  There’s no shortage of NEs in Ashenvale that are eager to PvP, and they make that clear when they stand near you hoping you’ll trigger an AoE attack or debuff that will hit them and flag you.  Plus, on any given night there’s always fighting going down near Zoram Strand or Splintertree.  If you’re a friendly druid, shaman or priest that happens to be running by and you decide to throw a heal on someone who’s flagged pvp, you’re now in the mix!  Normally all it takes is a few rude gestures or taunts, and then people flag themselves and it’s game on.  I’m thankful I’m on a “normal” server, since I’ve already run into a handful of idiots that are 10+ lvls higher than me trying to get me to “pull the trigger” against them.  I can’t imagine how frustrated I’d be to get ganked by those clowns on a pvp server.  

You’d be surprised, people are more than willing and even very eager to pvp on the normal servers, they just don’t want to deal with some of the bs that happens on pure pvp servers.
1964  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Regarding "Stealth" in WoW on: December 10, 2004, 06:31:34 PM
If you like playing a rogue, but suffer from alt-itis, druids are a fun class.  Druids can shapeshift into Cat form, which allows for some of the same abilities as a rogue (stealth, positional attacks, combos, dash, very fast attacks).  You’ll also get humanoid tracking while in cat form similar to what hunters get, which allows you to hunt down npcs or players.  In groups I’m almost always the healer, but for solo stuff I love tearing things up in cat form.  You’ll never be as good as a rogue at all of the roguish abilities (which is how it should be), but you can certainly have just as much fun.
1965  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 12/01/04 - HOLY CRAP! on: December 02, 2004, 09:53:14 PM
This is what I understood from the psychic subplot:

- for whatever reason, this psychic thinks her future child is going to be satan jr, or at least a very eeevil kid.

- he initially got rid of her because what he saw freaked him out

- my impression of him trying to help her to meet the "good family" in LA was his way of getting her on a plane that he knew would crash...killing her and the future sith lord.  

- the psychic didn't foresee that there would be survivors (if they are in fact survivors), or he underestimated the unborn powers of the sith lord.  

The episode next week looks like a good one!  Oh and the dude that dumped the aussie girl...insane.  Who cares about the pressures of impending fatherhood when you get to come home to her everyday!  That's the only part last night when I had to suspend my disbelief. smile
1966  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Sid Meier's Pirates Impressions? on: November 30, 2004, 05:20:16 PM
Quote from: "Misguided"
You know...I should still have my cloth map from the original lying around here somewhere...

While it's not a cloth map (I do remember that one!), the included map is much nicer than most of the cheap stuff that comes with games now.  The paper is heavier, and the map is colored to look like an old treasure map...nice touch considering games are now starting to ship without manuals.
1967  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Pirates! - A few thoughts... on: November 29, 2004, 08:00:54 PM
Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
It could be that I still play Pirates! to this day but I found that I could devistate a Spanish War galleon with a Sloop.  Maybe the difficulty level will rise as I play but it didn't take long before I was the top dog on the pirateyness list and I had purchased most items twice.

The first 3 difficulty levels range from really easy to easy.  After you start your first game, you can go back and start a new game and select: difficulty level, skill, and time period right from the start.  I'd suggest starting a game at rogue captain or swashbuckler for a challenge.  

At rogue or swashbuckler difficulty, a faster and more maneuverable 12 gun escort swoop controlled by the AI can tear up your slower moving flag galleon if you're not carefull.  Try fighting against 2 sloops at once with a lumbering galleon.  The 2 best ships I've found that have a nice balance of firepower (40 guns), crew size, and speed are the Large Frigate and of course the Ship of the Line.
1968  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Sid Meier's Pirates Impressions? on: November 27, 2004, 06:09:21 AM
Quote from: "Chaz"
I put a bunch more hours into it, and this thing's still really easy.  I'm on the third difficulty level, and so far I've taken out half of the top ten pirates list, including the top five, without even trying hard.  I think this crew's almost had it, so I'll be moving up to another difficulty level, and maybe it'll get hard then.  I still like it, but I miss the feeling that Sea Dogs gave me when I came upon a ship I knew outclassed me, and being really nervous that I wouldn't be able to get out of reach of her guns before she ripped me apart.  In Pirates, I can pretty much take on anything and win with no trouble.

I don't think it starts to get challenging until the 4th difficulty level.  On "Rogue Captain" level it's not terribly hard, but it's a noticable ramp up in diffculty.  The AI ship captains are much better at that level, which makes the ship battles exciting and more fun imo.  Swordplay is harder, finding treasure and quest locations is tougher without the nice land maps, crew morale gets bad much quicker if you're not pulling in new loot frequently.
1969  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Sid Meier's Pirates Impressions? on: November 25, 2004, 08:32:40 PM
I didn't start feeling challenged consistently until I accepted "Rogue Captain" difficulty at my last divide plunder.  I did a campaign of about 13 months at Rogue difficulty, and let me tell you, it makes a world of difference!  Some of the changes at Rogue level:

- No convenient land maps with landmarks for finding quest locations and treasures.  I don't remember if this went away at adventure level, but it makes things a little more difficult (and frustrating).  You still can reference the treasure or quest map, but when you select map while on land, it will just show the entire land mass without all of the helpful landmarks.  

- Ship captains are significantly more capable at sailing and using their special canon shots during sea battles.  You probably won't look at a sloop of war as easy prey ever again.

- Dueling becomes much harder, and you can no longer just spam attack buttons and consistently win.  I had my first losses against Blackbeard and the baron at this level.  The keypad flashing help is gone.

- Dancing is a little harder, but mainly because you have to watch her hands since the keypad flashing help is gone.

- Crew morale goes south much faster.

- Attacking towns is still pretty easy, I don't think that's one of the shining hallmarks of this game.  You can still split off a small group, keep the main enemy force engaged, and then send your small group to the gates.  

- My pirate is 30 years old, and he's already been downgraded to fair health!  What happened to all the old, crusty pirates still being badasses?  

- The plunder split is very nice at rogue captain level.  

- The wind and weather effects seem to impact your sailing more at this level.  

- Don't expect to sail into a 2 ship fight with your flagship and steamroll them like in the other difficulty levels.  The small, fast sloops of war will sail around you hammering you with their 12 guns, while the merchant ship will hang off and fire away at you.  It's still definitely doable, it's just not the cakewalk it was at the lower levels.

I played until about 4am last night, this is another Sid game that makes me completely lose track of time.
1970  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire Quest Help Thread-Spoilers!!!! on: November 25, 2004, 02:44:09 AM
Quote from: "tru1cy"
i am really early in this game, but I am stumped on the Werewolf Blood quest.  I need to passkey to get into the safe.  I know the clue was something vague " Its the number of Malcolm's dirty little secret" , but for the life of me after snooping thru Malcolm's PC I can't figure this out.  So can someone spoil me...please?

How good is your hacking?  There's a computer in a room on the other side of the floor that has a menu option to unlock the CS (Controlled Substances)  Door and unlock the CS Safe.  Keep in mind that once you hack the safe, the security camera will turn on for the CS room.  You'll need to run into the securty room right next to the CS room and disable Camera 1.  

If I can remember the actual passwords to hack the CS menu, I'll post them.  For some reason I think it might be "Paige", but I could be thinking of another password. Either way, that's the quickest way I was able to get to the werewolf blood. I think that computer requires a hack skill check of 4 or maybe 5.
1971  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 24, 2004, 07:02:41 PM
As far as ranking the clans by difficulty, I think nosferatu would be considered advanced due to the masquerade limitations.  They do have a nice mix of disciplines though.

I would also consider venture as one of the best all around choices since they have the potential to have a good mix of social, combat and discipline powers.
1972  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Sid Meier's Pirates Impressions? on: November 24, 2004, 05:32:59 PM
I played for several hours last night, and it’s very reminiscent of the original.  Nothing is really exceptional or ground breaking, but like most of Sid’s games, it’s the sum of the parts that makes for an addictively fun game.  Some quick bullet points:

-   There doesn’t seem to be a menu option to select the difficulty level.  As far as I can tell, you start as an apprentice captain, and through your adventures (fame, quests completed, pirate rank, etc…) you’ll be given the option to move up to a higher level captain when you “split the loot.”  I think I split the loot 2 times before I was given the option to move up to journeyman captain.  Your cut of the loot % also goes up as your difficulty rank goes up (as an apprentice capt you only get 5% of the loot split).  

-   The sim language that everyone speaks is a little goofy.  It would’ve been cool if they hired voice talent to do authentic accents for the 4 main nations (Dutch, French, English, Spanish).  And how could you pass up the opportunity to do pirate voices for the pirates!?  I don’t mind reading narrative and dialogue (Planescape anyone?), but it’s almost an expectation now to have spoken dialogue…or at least spoken narrative.

-   The ship to ship combat is fun and arcadey, and clearly not meant to be a Sea Dogs clone.  There’s enough depth where you can use all the different types of cannon shot to damage the ship, destroy the sails, and kill the crew.  Wind and weather play a role, but again, don’t expect Sea Dogs2.  Even though you can have an entire armada of captured ships, you can only fight with your flagship.  Although if you jump a merchant ship that has an escort, you’ll be fighting both ships with your lone flagship.  It would’ve been great if my 2 other 32 gun war galleys would join in the fight.  

-   The romance part of the game is pretty much just like the original, with the addition of the ballroom dancing mini-game.  The better looking the woman, the harder the dancing is going to be.  It’s not an easy mini-game, and takes awhile to get used to watching the hand gestures and/or flashing keystroke hints.  The governor daughters are tiered based on looks, just like the original.  There seems to be 10 ranks of romance escalation before you’ll be able to propose. Those 10 ranks or steps will include successful ballroom dances, gifts, and duels with fiancés or other love interest.  In return, the girls will give you valuable information about quests, or they may even give you a gift.  

-   The swordplay is really easy at the apprentice level, and even includes flashing keystrokes to help you manage your defense.  Some of the duels have actually started becoming a little challenging at Journeyman level, but it’s still easy to ram into a much larger ship with a larger crew and kick the captain’s butt, thus ending the engagement in your favor.  The duels are fun though, and do a good job of capturing that Errol Flynn swashbuckling feel.  I’m looking forward to seeing how the duels are at higher captain levels.

-   You now have basically a year to 14 months to take a crew out to sea and campaign.  Around 13 months or so the men will start getting pissed and want to return home.  You can be a heartless captain and use that opportunity to throw the men at an installation you want to take over, or you can take them home and “split the loot.”  At this point, your men will be dismissed, the loot will be split, but you will keep your flagship and any key staff that you’ve acquired along the way.  You’ll also be given the option to quit the story completely, to continue, or to move up to the next captain level.  You’ll then go through the process of recruiting a new crew and heading back out to sea.  The new crew will start with happy morale.  The longest I had a crew out campaigning was 19 months…they were pissed!!  I used them at the end as fodder to attack a town.  The crew size diminished greatly, and the lone survivors were “very happy.”    

-     There’s no tutorial, unless I’m just not seeing that option.  Even though the game is very easy to pick up and figure out, a tutorial would’ve been nice.  

-   I think there are a few quest bugs.  Nothing I’ve encountered that’s a game breaker, but I’ve hunted and defeated the same baron who supposedly knows where my family is 4 times now.  Each time I defeat him I get a new piece of the find my sister map.  It’s weird though because the folks giving me the tips on his whereabouts act like I’ve never heard of him, even though I’ve sent him to the ocean floor 4 times.

-   You can make good $ trading, but I haven’t had the patience to figure out the trade routes yet.  I mainly just travel up and down the islands fighting ships and then selling off the cargo and ships…while working on quests.  

-   At apprentice and journeymen levels the governors and towns seem a little too forgiving of my past deeds.  I’ve sunk and captured lots of Spanish and French ships, yet I’m still a major in the Spanish navy and an admiral in the French navy lol.  When I see their governors they tell me how upset they are at my asskicking of their ships, and even mention specifically the ships I captured or sank, but they never do anything.  I’m a count in the English navy (I love the made up ranks…colonel in the navy? Hehe).  

-   It was a fun diversion last night while I waited for my 170th spot on the WoW server line to open up.
1973  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire Quest Help Thread-Spoilers!!!! on: November 23, 2004, 03:41:45 PM
Great tip on the graveyard Fafhrd.  I suspected that killing them was making them respawn.  Running around just grabbing aggro worked well.
1974  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire Quest Help Thread-Spoilers!!!! on: November 23, 2004, 12:20:27 AM
Quote from: "Demosthenes"
Does the cemetary quest ever timeout/disappear or can I go back and do it at any point in the game?  I got bored of trying and failing at this juncture and thought I'd come back later...


I'm not sure, but I stopped trying after about 5 failed attempts.  I don't know what the answer is to that quest, maybe having a character that has celerity or is great with guns?  Maybe a tremere with the aoe blood attack would do well too.  My ventrue just couldn't do it.  The closest I came was about 10 seconds away from the countdown end.
1975  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 22, 2004, 09:20:53 PM
It’s easy to get the impression that obfuscate is unbalancing early in the game.  I’ve played a malkavian, gangrel, and ventrue, all are around the same point in the game in downtown and Hollywood.  My malkavian has obfuscate 4, which allows her to run while stealthed, and to make stealth kills (obfuscate 3), and to do a nice chunk of damage even if she isn’t making a stealth kill when attacking from obfuscate.  That sounds powerful, but bosses and vamps can’t be stealth killed, and once you exit obfuscate and start to fight, you better have other disciplines or combat skills to rely on.  Some of the missions or quests are much, much easier with a malk or nosf that has obfuscate 3 or higher, compared to characters that don’t have sneak or obfuscate.  You would think that there would be a nice trade off in balance, where a malk or nosf could stealth through a mission, a gangrel or brujah should be able to fight their way through with a similar level of challenge.  Here’s what I’ve found though:

-   If my malkavian gets caught out of stealth, or has to exit obfuscate, it can get very ugly really fast.  Obfuscate is an entire discipline, and when that is taken out of the picture, it’s dementia, auspex and whatever combat abilities she has.  Well, dementia works great against humans and lesser beings, but sometimes doesn’t work at all against tougher supernaturals or hunters.  And auspex is more of a utility discipline with a nice buff for hacking and ranged weapons, so it’s not terribly helpful.  I love playing the malk, but when you’re forced to fight on even terms with a boss that’s clearly melee, it can be ugly. I normally have to hit and run, hiding back into obfuscate and attacking again to get the attack bonus.  Gotta love the cowgirl outfit.  My eyeballs about popped out of my head after I equipped that outfit.    

-   My gangrel is good for one thing and one thing only, killing in close combat.  Unfortunately, the effect from protean kills my framerates, and makes crowded fights a delayed button clicking event.  His level of protean allows him to see heat auras similar to auspex, which combined with the red night vision effect makes for some slow framerates when lots of baddies are around.  It helps if I turn the particle slider down to just below 50%, but it can still be tough on my rig.  He is a badass though, and with the buffs from protean plus fortitude, he’s very hardy.  I miss the social skills though, they’re half the fun in the game for me.  

-   My ventrue is a lot of fun to play, surprisingly fun actually.  He has a nice mix of disciplines that provide for a lot of flexibility in different situations.  His 2 passive 1 blood cost disciplines, Presence and Fortitude, are very helpful.  Presence doesn’t seem like it would be that good initially, but since it doesn’t scale in blood cost, and by rank 4 you have a nice radius debuff plus chance to mez, it’s definitely worth it imo.  It also does a nice job of slowing the attack speed of baddies.  Fortitude is a must have imo, and also doesn’t have a scaling blood cost.  Having fortitude saves some points that would normally go into stamina, and by rank 4, it can make for a tough to kill vamp.  Dominate is incredibly useful both in and out of combat.  It has less of an affect on supernaturals and vamps, but it wreaks havoc on lesser beings and humans.  Unfortunately, the blood cost can add up if used a lot.  The dialogue options with dominate are great.  I’ve mainly put points into social skills, wits, melee and strength, and with the presence debuff and fortitude, he can definitely hold his own in combat.
1976  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire Quest Help Thread-Spoilers!!!! on: November 22, 2004, 08:06:53 PM
Quote from: "Fafhrd"
Actually if you  scare off the your ghoul Girl, then you do MISS out on a cool rare item. She will give you some Riot Armor. Very rare and very hard to find without her.

Doh!  Curse my humanity for letting her go!
1977  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / What's the truly scariest pc gaming experience you've had? on: November 22, 2004, 05:37:03 AM
System Shock 2 made my brain and nervous system beg for mercy.  I'd call the game brilliant at what it was designed to do, but it was that game that made me realize I like to watch horror movies, not be in them.  Just thinking about the game and the freaky ass sound effects makes my skin crawl.  

Vampire: Bloodlines has done a good job of freaking me out.  I actually had to stop twice during the 9th circle plaguebearer HQ mission to clean the sweat off the top of my mouse.  Here I was thinking I was supposed to be the scary vampire, not on the edge of my seat, heart racing and seconds away from involuntary pants soiling.  Thankfully there are plenty of opportunities for reprieve, as the scary and creepy missions are limited and not a persistent part of the game like in SS2.
1978  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 22, 2004, 02:20:39 AM
If you made it through System Shock2, you'll be fine with Bloodlines.  I did the haunted hotel quest again earlier today with another character, and I was done with the quest in less than 15 minutes.  The tension was definitely there, but it's not like in SS2 where it's there for the whole game...non stop.
1979  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire Quest Help Thread-Spoilers!!!! on: November 21, 2004, 09:26:02 PM
A note about playing malkavians:  their insight will often give away plot spoilers right at the start of the very first dialogue exchange.  Sometimes it's not too obvious because your character will use references from roman and greek mythology, but if you understand them, don't expect to be surprised by many plot twists (at least that surpsrised me when I experienced the same situations playing a ventrue).  Don't get me wrong, it's incredibly cool, but their insight will often completely floor many of the npcs they encounter.  Their inner sight makes for some funny conversations too.  

An early example:  A malkavian character will call out the therese - jenette scenario right at the very first dialogue exchange with jenette.
1980  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 21, 2004, 02:27:46 PM
Quote from: "Fafhrd"
Roguetad actually you don't have to press cancel to change your clan, up at the top of the Character creation screen when in Stats area there are two tabs, one tab you in currently, click on the other tab and you are back at  the clan and sex choosing screen. So you can easily flip back and forth between the two, seeing what skills go with what clan choice.

Great tip, don't know how I missed that.  Man do I feel like a knucklehead canceling out and going back to the start menu each time   smile
1981  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 21, 2004, 02:18:59 PM
belfong, if it's any consolation, I'm a wuss with games like the Undying and System Shock2, they freaked the hell out of me (at least the very beginning of the Undying did).  Bloodlines manages to do something I didn't think possible playing as a badass vampire, and that's make me feel like I'm the lead character in a horror movie!  But those moments are limited, and definitely don't represent the rest or even the majority of the game.  Both the recent dawn of the dead movie and 28 days later freaked me out, and there's a mission very similar to both of those movies.  I was seriously having to stop so I could wipe the sweat off my mouse lol.  Hey but that's me!  Plus I play in the dark with my wife downstairs, so I contribute completely to increasing the freakiness factor.  It was more creepy than scary though, for what that's worth.    

Not all the quests or missions are creepy though.  I've had several where I did feel like a true badass vamp, kicking the crap out of everything that stood in my path.  There is a funny zombie killing mission in Hollywood, but it's meant to be funny in a tatrantino dusk tell dawn way (and near impossible if you don't have celerity or an aoe attack).

I won't kid you though, it's rated M for a good reason, the violence and disturbing situations are...disturbing.  Bloodlines is definitely NOT a game to get for a youngster, unless you're in to scarring your kids psyche.
1982  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire Quest Help Thread-Spoilers!!!! on: November 21, 2004, 01:55:05 PM
Quote from: "Doomboy"
Oh, and I am so glad I did the job for the Tremere Primogen.  I have a swanky new pad in downtown, it is loaded with booze.  And Heather.  Although the guy didn't seem too keen on me having my "special friend" stay there.  I am hoping that she will be kept safe from harm by being  in the Tremere HQ...

Are you tremere?  He never gave me the option to do any missions.  He did start talking about the plague, but I had already completed that quest for the Anarchs.  You'd think being a fellow Ventrue the prince would hook a brother up with a nice penthouse loft downtown.  But no, I'm still living in that pos apartment in SM.  I see the prince's true colors, no loyalty to the clan.  Bastard!
1983  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Great Vampires: Bloodlines forum on: November 21, 2004, 03:31:25 AM
What are character histories?
1984  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire Quest Help Thread-Spoilers!!!! on: November 21, 2004, 03:28:39 AM
Quote from: "Doomboy"
Who is this Samantha person in Hollywood?  She seems to know me, and if I wait for her to make the call she wants to make, I get a masquerade violation... Is she someone that I knew when I was alive?  If so, they should have made that clearer.  I can understand, if that is the case why I get the negative point.  Not sure what I am supposed to do about it.  I don't want to kill her, but after she makes the call, she follows me around until I go into a builiding and then vanishes.

I just hope I didn't screw something up by losing her.

Also, why oh why did they have to make Heather a red-head with green eyes?  I want to get some humanity by releasing her, but I just can't bring myself to let her go!  Dangit! :oops:

From what she said, Samantha must have been close to your character in their mortal life.  I dominated her during the dialogue (jedi mind trick) and made her "realize" that the person she was thinking of died.  She then walked down the street, at which point I put her in a trance and fed smile

I released Heather after she tried to donate part of her college money to me.  Now I miss coming home and seeing her.  Every other hot vamp babe or human so far just leads you on to get you to do their bidding.
1985  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [TV] LOST tonight - 11/17 on: November 20, 2004, 09:11:18 PM
It's certainly subjective, but what makes Kate a hottie for me is her face.  Her eyes, mouth, smile and freckles all combine into one deadly hottie combo for me.  Then again some people think Julie Roberts has a great face and mouth, but when she opens her massive Mick Jagger horsemouth and laughs it makes me cringe.  I half expect a giant lizard tongue to shoot out and snatch the closest prey, or for her side jawbones to unhinge like a snake so that she can swallow whole the costar next to her.
1986  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 20, 2004, 08:57:01 PM
This is one creepy game!  I thought the game couldn’t get any creepier after the Hotel in Santa Monica…I was wrong.  I have to give an A+ for the under-your-skin freakiness factor.  

Don’t read anything after this sentence if you don’t want to be spoiled by several location and mission names plus some additional spoilers (up through some of the missions in downtown):


The two faced sisters (Santa Montica):  I saw this one coming, but it was still very cool and high on the creepiness factor when they started “talking with each other”

Haunted Hotel (SM):  creepy!  I haven’t jumped that much since the Undying and System Shock2.

9th Circle “Plaguebearer HQs” (downtown):  straight out of dawn of the dead meets 28 days later meets 9 monkeys. ..creepy!

2nd Plaguebearer in the sewers (downtown):  freaky.

Find the primogen (sp?) Malkavian (Hollywood hills):  holy crap…house of dementia + insane asylum + malkavians + fetish masks = major creep factor.  

I haven’t exactly felt like a badass vampire jumping out of my pants on ¾ of the missions I’ve done lol.  Excellent writing.  And yay, I have a nerdy hottie as a ghoul (make her change outfits :twisted: ).
1987  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [TV] LOST tonight - 11/17 on: November 19, 2004, 11:07:41 PM
Wth?!  I don't remember that lol!  I must be getting the PG version of Lost sent to my digital cable box.
1988  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 19, 2004, 04:17:40 PM
I had planned on only playing for an hour last night, but before I knew it 3 1/2 hours had gone by in the blink of an eye.  I was well beyond my window for any amount of decent sleep before work.  It takes a great game for me to completely lose track of time like that.  The last time I’ve pulled almost an all nighter on a work night was with Rome:TW.

I played a malkavian last night, and for anyone who hasn’t had the chance to experience the unique dialogue, it’s phenomenal.  You can tell that their writers put in a lot of work developing the very clever malkavian dialogue options.  It also adds another layer of challenge to the game because not only do you have to discern what your dialogue options actually mean, you have to help the people you speak with understand wtf you’re trying to tell them.  I’ve experimented with half of the clans up though the first couple of quests in Santa Monica, and none of them have anywhere near the interesting dialogue of the malkavians.  I can’t stress how clever the writing is for them, especially all of the terms they use for everyday objects and people.  The dialogue options range from hilariously clever to cryptically sarcastic, incredibly insightful to intellectually evil.  At some point in time, I’d definitely recommend giving a malkavian character a try.  

“I cast my shadow in other locations…I am no longer here.”
1989  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Chronicles of Riddick Movie on: November 19, 2004, 03:35:46 AM
I had to go see CoR solo when it came out since my family and friends turned their noses up at this one.  I enjoyed it for what it was, complete with the bad acting, script hiccups, and the occasional laughable dialogue exchange.  I still have no clue what Judi Denche was thinking when she agreed to play a role in the movie, she seemed so out of place in that sea of bad acting.  I liked it though, and some of the scenes were pretty damn cool.  It'll go right next to Blade in my fun to watch, bad acting, silly script DVDs section.
1990  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 11:43:56 PM
I'm playing a tremere too, very fun.  The aoe lifetap attack is pretty wicked.
1991  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Monday Night Football opening last night on: November 18, 2004, 11:38:54 PM
After hearing about the promo all day on the syndicated sports radio shows, and hearing callers from all over the country call into ESPN radio angry and offended, my expectations were definitely high when I got home.  When I had the chance to see a replay of the spot, my first reaction was "wtf...that's it??  That's what they're pissed about, some evening soap opera chick and her back?"  I can understand where someone would think it was just stupid and had no place during MNF, but to be shocked and offended, I'm definitely out of touch with mainstream America.  I guess I need to reconnect with my "society of friends" heritage to understand.
1992  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 11:04:42 PM
Thanks Rage, skipping spoken dialogue works perfect with a tap of the spacebar.

Once again I can't help but get the early impression that this is another Troika gem that lacks that next level of polish to be a masterpiece.  I enjoyed Arcanum and even played through ToEE twice when it was a bug ridden mess.  Most of the glitches, bugs and AI scripting problems I've seen in Bloodlines were hammer-over-the-head obvious.  I just don't think they put a lot of effort or resources into quality assurance and testing.  I bought the idea that they didn't have enough time with ToEE to implement the changes they had already caught themselves, but not with Bloodlines, they've had a reasonable amount of time to QA the game and make changes.  

I'm really enjoying Bloodlines, but if they had just cranked up the quality and polish a couple of notches, the game would be amazing.  Things I'd like to see improved in the next few patches:
- npc AI scripting
- get with Valve and figure out how to optimize the engine better. If HL2 can run at 1600x1200 on my rig with better graphics at 30-60fps, Bloodlines should at least get somewhere near that ballpark
- main menu (don't make us have to exit the game to change resolutions)
- add more video options, as it is there's really not that much to tweak to try and improve performance
- fix positional audio
- figure out what's wrong with the rendering during the cut scenes and fix that (to include vamps floating across the floor when they're supposed to be walking and robot-like jerky animations)
- add a cancel option during the character creation process that takes the player back to the choose a clan screen, not make them go back to the main menu and have to select "new game" again
- add in a way to skip cut scenes
- consider improving firearms
- fix the scripted sequences that break if you're using certain disciplines
- stealth and obs. are very strong and seem too unbalancing to me.  I stopped playing my first character because of this and started another...forcing myself not to use stealth or obs.  plus they break some of the scripted events, which is annoying, resulting in a reload.

That's all I can think of at this time.  Certainly not as bad as ToEE (from what I've seen so far), but enough to make me scratch my head and think that QA is just not a priority for them.
1993  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 05:29:25 PM
Quote from: "dmd"
Quote from: "Demosthenes"
Quote from: "Jocke"
Is the combat similar to morrowind? I really liked morrowind but the boring combat made me give up on it.

That's what I was thinking.  I'm happy to say that the combat is more like Prince of Persia than Morrowind.  Still awkward at times, and certainly not HL2 but workable.

Could you elaborate a little?  I've never seen PoP in action.  Is combat like a fish slapping contest with little numbers floating up when a hit is scored, or is it dynamic, where you're able to move around, fps style?

That's exactly what is throwing some people off, you can move around like in a FPS, but you have stats tied to your melee and range abilities that will result in misses even though you have the target dead in your sights.  So to answer your question, it is dynamic in that you can move around and the action is realtime, but it's rpg skill based too, so you're going to see some things in combat that will seem a bit off (until you understand there are stats driving the combat engine).  MW was similar in that you could aim at a target, swing at it, but miss or do poo poo damage because your stats stunk.  If you're looking for a true FPS experience, like HL2, you won't find it in Bloodlines.  It's definitely an rpg that uses a FPS engine.
1994  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [TV] LOST tonight - 11/17 on: November 18, 2004, 05:07:44 PM
I'm surprised the french woman's line: "There are no monsters" hasn't been brought up yet.  To me that's the first statement or real clue we've had as viewers as to the possibilities of what is or isn't happening on the island.  She also mentioned that "the others" succumbed to "the infection", which either was real or real enough in her mind to kill them.  Sayid asks her point blank, "When you said 'it killed them all', that was you, you're the one who killed them?"  And her reply was something like "I had to they were infected."  

This episode provided several decent clues about the story, and additional questions:
1.  The french woman is alive and real.
2.  She has managed to survive for 16 years, how?
3.  What is "the infection"?
4.  What is black rock, and have any of the current survivors been there?
5.  How did she not get the infection?
6.  When she said "there are no monsters", what then is the truth behind what they've been seeing?
7.  When Locke said he had been to the center of the island and had seen the heart of the island, had he actually been to black rock?  Is he a carrier for the "infection?"
8.  The sedative that she gave Sayid, was there anything else in those shots?  
9.  What if there is a prime carrier of the infection, and she was it for her group, and Locke could possibly be it for Jack's group?  That might explain why she didn't want to go back with Sayid and expose the new group.  It would also explain why she said he couldn't leave and go back to his group.  Her last comments when they parted were something to the effect of "keep an eye on them now."
1995  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 04:45:26 PM
Is there a way to skip the cutscenes?  It's been driving me nuts not being able to skip them, especially starting over with new characters.  I haven't been able to skip dialogue or fast forward through it either.
1996  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [TV] LOST tonight - 11/17 on: November 18, 2004, 04:13:42 AM
The noob characters came out of the woodwork tonight, they were everywhere!  My wife and I kept our own running commentary, "Look!  There's another one! And he speaks!!"
1997  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 03:28:16 AM
You're right, changing the resolution from 800x600 up to 1600x1200 hardly changes fps on my rig.  Unchecking high quality audio helped.  Thanks for the suggestion.

As far as the game goes, I'm really enjoying it.  Too early for me to stack up against any reviews.
1998  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 01:01:01 AM
Thanks LE.  Gonna try lowering the audio again, since I didn't restart after I unchecked high quality and environmental sounds.
1999  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 12:54:44 AM
I knew Bloodlines wouldn't be as well optimized as HL2, but sheesh, it's night and day.  I can run HL2 at 1600x1200 with most of the options at their highest (except shadows), and still get 20-40 fps using fraps.  I knew something was off when the game defaults to 800x600 at startup.  I immediately changed the res to 1280x1024, didn't touch any of the other settings, started a new game, and right from the first cut scene the fps are in the teens (I have an alienware P4 3.2, Geforce 6800 GT oc, 1mb ram).  I tried running around the first street, and the fps ranged from 15-27.  There really aren't that many video settings, so I tried the obvious and lowered the resolution to 1024, which didn't increase the fps even slightly.  So I went ahead and cranked it up to 1600x1200, and I was getting the pretty much the same fps, minus maybe 2.

I shut down shadows completely which gave a boost of about 4-5 fps.  I tried dropping the LOD slider to zero and back to full, but the fps difference was so minimal I just kept it at high.  Tried the same thing with particle effects, and that did seem to help while using disciplines. I tried unchecking the high quality audio and environmental effects, but neither seemed to have any affect on the fps.  

Anyone have good tips for boosting fps?  I couldn't find the option for lowering AA, where is that?
2000  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Half Life 2 - the reviews are in on: November 16, 2004, 12:08:11 AM
Quote from: "AgtFox"
Quote from: "Jafisob"
Quote from: "Hetz"
I am very excited about Bloodlines as well and will be picking it up tomorrow.

Huh?  Bloodlines is out tomorrow?


That's the best news I've heard all day.  I knew I'd find something good in this thread.
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