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1761  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Tales of Vesperia announced on: September 02, 2008, 02:50:05 AM
After playing it a bit more, I realized one reason I'm not annoyed by the game is that it's the first JRPG I've played in years in which I actually liked the characters. It seems that every JRPG "hero" has to be either an effeminate cross-dresser or an angsty teen punk. Yuri, while slightly angsty, seems too good-hearted and laid back to express it much.

The supporting characters are equally tolerable, and the interactions among them during the "skits" are humorous without being hostile. The word "charming" keeps popping up, and that's about the only way I can describe it. Instead of controlling a party of squabbly ingrates like you do in most JRPGs, you feel like you're controlling a group of good-hearted kids who are just doing the best they can.

I agree that so far (and again, I'm only a few hours in) the combat, aside from bosses, has been really easy. However, I have been trying to keep slightly ahead of the level curve, so that may be a contributing factor. I haven't been outright grinding, but I do try to fight every monster in my path even in the overworld map. One thing I really like about the combat is that out-of-combat party members still get XP. I'm not a big fan of forced switching of party members to keep everyone leveled. I still do it in this game to an extent just to learn their moves and usefulness in combat, but it's nice to not have to stress about it. I also, until this game, didn't realize how much I *don't* miss random encounters. I used to be of the mindset that random encounters were just a fact of JRPG life, and if you didn't like them then go play Oblivion. But this weekend with company down and my playtime limited to short 20-30 minute intervals, the ability to dodge encounters if necessary was a true blessing.
1762  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: GT Warhammer Casual Guild. Anyone interested? on: September 02, 2008, 02:32:45 AM
I thought the Wanderers *was* a casual guild.  saywhat
1763  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I'm sorry New Orleans ... on: September 02, 2008, 02:31:39 AM
Hanna is officially a hurricane now, and is starting to make me a little nervous. A slight shift to the east in the path, and I may have an unwanted date with her. As it is now, she's aimed for South Carolina or north Georgia.

This makes me particularly nervous, as my experience with hurricanes that have hit close to Wilmington is that they often initially predict them to hit much farther south than they actually do. It seems like every one that hits us is destined for south or middle SC in the early forecasts.

Is it bad to say my major concern is power outages during the start of the Warhammer Online beta?  icon_razz
1764  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Will Wright says SPORE is Overhyped on: September 01, 2008, 03:50:58 AM
I'm not very hyped because I got burned so bad by Black & White that I've been hesitant to trust any game that "tries to be everything." I have a feeling Spore will be freaking amazing until the novelty wears off and people figure out that it's really rather dull underneath.

However, I hope I'm wrong. After 8 months of gaming slump, I'd love to see it blow me away.
1765  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Tales of Vesperia announced on: September 01, 2008, 03:47:02 AM
Bought this Sunday and have been playing sporadically between visits from company.

I too, had an inexplicably hard time finding the game. I finally lucked out at Gamestop and nabbed the last copy they had.

I was unimpressed with the combat in the demo, but bought the game based on the good reviews and word of mouth from people who were familiar with the series. I've been doing a lot of "grinding" trying to master the combat system, and I must say I'm finding it to be a lot of fun. It's a great blend of strategy and reflexes, and I have yet to become bored with the minor "random" battles.

So far the voice acting has been terrific, and the graphics make me feel like I'm watching a decent-quality anime. Thumbs up so far!
1766  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Make your VEEP predictions! on: August 30, 2008, 12:09:20 PM
To the people lauding the choice of Sarah Palin: do you see any logical disconnects at all between how you were judging Obama's experience on Thursday compared to Saturday?  If so, why are you pretending otherwise?

No. I don't think Sarah Palin is qualified to be President. But since she's not running for President, the point is moot. And why is the Obama camp trying to twist this around? I could just as easily say that if *you* don't believe that Palin is qualified to be Vice President, then how the hell do you think Obama is qualified to be THE President? This is not a one-way argument, as much as the media and the Democrats seem to think it is.

And again, why is the left so up in arms over this? If your candidate is going to win in November, then who cares if Palin is inexperienced or not? She's going to lose, right? She's not going to be able to take on Joe Biden in the debates, right? Why is there this atmosphere of pure panic and outrage coming from you guys?
1767  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: OMFG I don't like videogames! on: August 30, 2008, 12:01:09 PM
Nah, it will pass. I go through those gaming slumps 2-3 times a year on average. All it takes is for one big A-list title to come my may and suddenly I'm hooked again.
1768  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Make your VEEP predictions! on: August 30, 2008, 04:55:07 AM
At the end of the day, why shouldn't a Presidential candidate try to win an election? Aren't politicians trying to get elected so that they can enact their ideas and represent their constituents? Or are the Dems just upset that McCain didn't hand them the election on a silver platter by picking an easy target like Romney?

I'm puzzled when the Obama-philes criticize McCain for trying to win the Presidency. Isn't that the whole goal of running for President?

1769  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Make your VEEP predictions! on: August 29, 2008, 07:16:11 PM
The more I think about it, the more insane this seems for McCain.

Who, exactly, will be swayed off the fence by a Palin pick?  I'm sure she's appealing to red meat conservatives because of her pro-gun, pro-drilling, pro-creationism, anti-choice views, but they would have voted for McCain anyway.  Given that she has no credibility or visibility on any national issues (like foreign policy), she doesn't pull in any single-issue voters that McCain hadn't already cornered.  And finally, when you consider McCain's age and battles with cancer, who's going to believe that she'd be ready to step into the presidency?  She may be the least qualified VP candidate in history.

McCain had several problems. Chief among these was that the Republican base is not as energized this year as they have been in the past. Palin will bring that base back into the fold, and do it without the polarization of someone like Romney. He also has a good chance to pick up some independent women. In addition, Palin has a good record on reform and battling corruption, which will help with the "McCain is just like Bush" argument.

I think it was a rather clever (if risky) move. By picking a true conservative, McCain accomplished his goal of shoring up his base, with maybe a little gravy on the side if he sways some independent women voters. However, by also picking a dark horse and a woman at that, McCain totally crushed the media hype over Obama's victory speech. It was devilishly good timing, and I think the ruffled feathers of the Obama camp who have been hemming and hawing over this all afternoon simply prove its effectiveness at throwing them off their stride.

The inexperience thing is being blown out of proportion. As someone pointed out in the OO thread on this subject, McCain is running against Obama. Palin is not running against Obama. Of course the experience argument is still valid.
1770  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: A few nerdy Star Wars questions on: August 28, 2008, 07:25:27 PM
I think the best way to bring balance to the Force would be to vaccinate half the population against midichlorians.
1771  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Time Magazine interviews McCain. Hubris ensues on: August 28, 2008, 07:22:03 PM
There are many people who prefer the McCain approach.  That perception of the differences in the candidates is what alot of people fear about Obama, and find security with in McCain.  Obama is seen as the kid in high school who would try to negotiate his way out of getting his lunch money taken.  While McCain would punch the bully in the face.  Who do you want as President?

I'm not saying I agree with the McCain approach.  But there are many Red State Americans who do.

I agree wholeheartedly. Bush "won" debates not through good speaking skills - as far as Presidents go, he's by far the worse public speaking President I've ever seen in my lifetime. He won by connecting at some level with the man on the street. Maybe his bumbling made him more "real" to voters than the wind-up robots of Gore and Kerry.

I think McCain has a similar opportunity to connect with voters during the debate. Perhaps not with Bush's huckleberry charm, but with blunt "Hell yeah, USA! USA! USA!" rhetoric. The danger for McCain is that Obama, unlike Kerry and Gore, does not come off as robotic. He combines the eloquence of previous Democratic candidates with an actual personality.

It's going to be a fascinating thing to watch, and I can't wait for the debates to begin. The contrasts couldn't be more exciting. The visionary n00b versus the grizzled veteran; the eloquent speaker vs. the gruff straight-talk express. I can't wait to see what America is looking for right now. Hope for change, or blunt acceptance of reality.
1772  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I'm sorry New Orleans ... on: August 28, 2008, 07:09:13 PM
maybe TD 8  will hit north of Florida if it hits land.  Isn't NC or Baltimore due for something?

Yes we are.

If that big pine tree beside my house finally decides to fall on our roof, I'm sending you the bill for jinxing us.  icon_smile
1773  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Space Virus on: August 28, 2008, 01:35:23 AM
I guess for those Independence Day aliens, it's PAYBACK TIME!
1774  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Great trailer for Warhammer on: August 27, 2008, 07:22:06 PM
Unfortunately the graphics look horrible in that trailer - worse than a lot of the screenshots and videos I've seen others posted. You'd think they'd at least try showing it in a positive light running highest resolution possible.
1775  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I'm sorry New Orleans ... on: August 27, 2008, 04:51:38 PM
I figure God must be voting for Obama this year.
1776  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Desktop wallpaper 8-26 on: August 27, 2008, 02:51:27 PM
Where'd you get that one, Haplo? I've got a dual monitor setup at work as well.
1777  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Desktop wallpaper 8-26 on: August 27, 2008, 02:44:48 PM
1778  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 1989 Joker or 2008 Joker? on: August 27, 2008, 12:44:23 PM
I didn't like either of them fully. The Joker is by far my favorite comic book villain of all time. I thought Nicholson nailed the comic aspects, but missed the dark side, while Ledger nailed the dark side but missed the comic aspects. A blend of the two would be about perfect. I wasn't crazy about Ledger's makeup either. While it did make for a more gritty, realistic feel, it was absolutely nothing like the Joker of the comics. Odd that they went that "more realistic" route, then made Two-Face an almost perfect CGI replica of the comic book.
1779  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: Extreme Arcade Home Arcade w/ 50 Games $399.88 on: August 27, 2008, 02:52:43 AM
I asked my wife if I could get this. I managed to get out the words "Extreme Arcade" before she said, "NO!"

1780  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: please tell me this gets easier on: August 27, 2008, 02:19:35 AM
Having a full time job will really make you appreciate free time in way you never did in college. For me that's been a good thing, though. I tend to take more joy in nights out with friends, vacations, even little things like spontaneously going to a movie.
1781  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer: Best fleshed out class, worst fleshed out class? on: August 26, 2008, 08:46:53 PM
I haven't played the game yet, but I sort of like the dwarves. I've always enjoyed seeing tiny characters in MMOs kick ass, and these dwarves are almost gnome-like in their height.
1782  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Perry Bible Fellowship guys on: August 26, 2008, 07:18:46 PM
You can be nostalgic for your grandparents, simple living and a more innocent age without including the soul deadening aspect of Hee Haw, you know.

You can, but it's a cold, hollow journey.

I will agree with you on Mama's Family though. I loved the Carol Burnette show, but that's where my tolerance of Vicki Lawrence ended.
1783  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Perry Bible Fellowship guys on: August 26, 2008, 05:18:35 PM
I get a little defensive when people knock Hee-Haw.  icon_biggrin

One of the fondest memories of my grandmother was staying at her house and watching TV with her after dinner while we shelled peas, cut up strawberries, or worked on some other small chore. One of the shows we always watched was Hee-Haw. Sure, even as a kid I knew it was cornball humor, but I loved the country music and hearing my grandma laugh.

My granddad had tons of joke books, and they were always squeaky clean and of the corny "variety hour" type. But that was the way my grandparents were - I never heard them utter a word of profanity in all my years growing up with them, so that's the type of humor they enjoyed. My brother and I would take jokes out of those joke books and perform our own little comedy show (heavily influenced by our Hee Haw viewings), and my grandparents would clap and laugh like they were watching A-list comedians.

So yeah, Hee-Haw brings a smile to my face whenever I think about it. It was dumb, it was cheesy, but it also hearkened back to a time when clean comedy and simple country sing-alongs was decent entertainment. Even though I work with technology every day and love cutting edge modern stuff, there's a part of me deep down that really appreciates that simple country living my grandparents embodied. I know I could probably never live that lifestyle, but I love the little reminders of it when I run across them.
1784  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [MMO's] Realisticly, what did you expect? on: August 26, 2008, 05:04:13 PM
My friend and I were discussing this topic over lunch, and another thing we felt was lacking in modern MMOs was that of player choice.

If you look at D&D - particularly when they added feats - a great deal of the fun was customizing the character as you saw fit. He also recently went back to Star Wars Galaxies, and is having a great time customizing his ship to fit his playstyle.

I know MMO developers don't like to give out a lot of choice because it makes balancing difficult, but it would be really nice to see an MMO where players weren't limited by a couple of skill trees. If my fighter wants to cast a fireball, and he is willing to put forth the effort (perhaps a much greater effort than a mage would need to), then he should be able to work his way into casting a fireball. As long as there are caps put on things so that nobody can master everything, I think it would be awesome. Balance be damned.

At the end of the day, is a preset character class with preset skills handed out at preset levels really character customization? Is choosing from 5 hairstyles and 3 eye colors really roleplaying? Why not let me pick from a pool of feats at each level, so that in theory my 10th level fighter could have a completely different skill set than your 10th level fighter? Let me upgrade my skills as I see fit. EQ2 touched on this with their ability to upgrade skills to more powerful versions via crafting resources. Expand that. If I prefer "Whirling Sword" over "Raging Cleave," then let me expend effort to improve Whirling Sword in some fashion - be it an achievement for repeated use, earning points to put into selected skills, whatever.

I've seen a lot of MMOs give the slightest taste of it, but none have come out and really embraced the concept of putting power in the hands of the players. I'd love to see roleplaying put back into MMORPGs, instead of a bunch of people running around playing paper doll.

1785  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 26, 2008, 02:28:58 PM
With any beta you have to be able to read between the lines and separate the noise from the truth.

I haven't played Warhammer yet (come on open beta!), but the vibe is definitely very good for a closed beta. What encourages me the most is that the endgame PvP stuff is getting positive buzz. Contrast this to Age of Conan, where the buzz was pretty positive about the game in general, but people were having to make assumptions about how the endgame PvP turned out.
1786  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [MMO's] Realisticly, what did you expect? on: August 26, 2008, 01:06:43 PM
That's the rub - you guys are talking like 1-2 months to max is a significant amount of time. Oh how the measuring stick has changed!
1787  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There's a special level of hell for this guy on: August 26, 2008, 01:02:11 PM
My only experience with one is when I was young and a friend of mine and I rode up to the mall. He had a brand new bike. We got back from the mall, stowed the bike's in the garage, and went inside to get a drink.

Literally not 2 minutes had passed before I caught movement out the front door, and some guy is throwing my friend's bike in the back of a pickup truck. We ran after them but couldn't catch the license plate number. I thought it was pretty damn brazen they blatantly came up the driveway and took the bike right out of the garage with people home and everything.

We called the cops, but catching a bike thief wasn't on their high priority list of things to do.

To this day I won't leave my garage door open for even a brief moment when I'm not in the front yard.
1788  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [MMO's] Realisticly, what did you expect? on: August 26, 2008, 12:30:41 PM
WoW is not necessarily the best example of fast leveling - but they tend to get the blame since they seem to have started the trend. It's sort of hard for me to even wrap my brain around, but MMOs pre-WoW didn't have XP-driven quest systems for starters, and very little to no solo content. Those two features - quest XP and soloability - made MMOs faster to level virtually overnight.

I'm not bashing WoW here. I think those two features are pretty revolutionary, and certainly changed the genre. There are some negatives associated with both, but in the long run I think they were a net positive. 

Now I just wish someone would come along to implement those features without sacrificing challenge/effort to level.
1789  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [MMO's] Realisticly, what did you expect? on: August 26, 2008, 12:07:15 PM
Out of curiosity, which MMO allows you to level in a couple of weeks?

Age of Conan would be the most recent example.
1790  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Frop Attack! on: August 26, 2008, 12:04:24 PM
Doesn't that grow mosquitoes?

We have an ornamental pond in the back inhabited by frops. When we first moved in I was worried about mosquitos as well, but we've never had a problem. The frops are plenty good at keeping the mosquito population under control.
1791  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [MMO's] Realisticly, what did you expect? on: August 25, 2008, 10:55:09 PM
I don't really think I understand the challenge inherent in stretching out a process. If it takes 6 months to level, does that mean it's more challenging? If you take away XP earned for making mistakes, is that more challenging? You might make less mistakes because you don't want to be punished - but I'm not sure that constitutes challenge.

The only good yardstick we have to measure progression from Level 1 to Level 70 is time. So while I agree that longevity alone doesn't necessarily constitute challenge, comparing two games - one in which I can level to 70 in 2 weeks, the other I can level to 70 in a minimum of 6 months - I would say the one that takes 6 months is a more challenging game. Does that mean it's more challenging to play, to fight, to avoid death, to get good gear? No. It simply means it's more challenging to get from 1 to 70, and that's the only claim I make.

So why is that important? I think it's important in terms of character investment. I see too often in guilds with "alt-itis" that the people playing one main character are far more attached - and better-skilled - with that main than their various low-level alts. Why? Time investment. They're more emotionally attached. Likewise, it goes without saying that a character you've been playing for 6 months and hundreds of hours is going to mean more emotionally to you than an alt you rolled a couple of days ago and have spent 5 or 6 hours with.

If you look at pencil and paper origins of the RPG like D&D, the focus was on playing a role. People became their character. They spent many, many hours with them. I think it's sad and disappointing that this mentality has been thrown away in favor of "getting to the end as quickly as possible." People no longer want that emotional investment. They just want to get to the end, beat their chest, and say, "I was here first!"

That's why I'm really intrigued about Darkfall's skill-based system. With no levels and dozens upon dozens of skills to build, will we finally see a game where the end-game rush is eclipsed by traditional character development and <gasp> actually roleplaying in a roleplaying game? I don't know, but it's nice to see at least one developer trying to make it happen.

1792  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Frop Attack! on: August 25, 2008, 10:44:24 PM
We get toads in the backyard,

We do too, but we call them toaps.
1793  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [MMO's] Realisticly, what did you expect? on: August 25, 2008, 08:55:33 PM
I'd also like to see MMOs stop heading into the "level as fast as possible" trend they've been doing ever since WoW. If I'm going to play an MMO, I want to immerse myself in that world for many months. In that respect, I want my character to have to work over a course of many months to achieve great rewards. This stupid business of leveling a character in a couple of weeks so I can level 15 alts is utterly ridiculous, and in my opinion sucks the "RPG" out of MMORPG.

The disturbing trend with games nowadays is to dumb them down and cater to short attention spans. I think it's a terrible thing to strive for in an MMO, whose sole purpose is to keep subscribers. If I've "beat" the game's content in a month, what the hell is my incentive to keep subscribing?

I know people look back and say EQ1 was a grind, and the idea of XP loss is enough to make people look at you like you kicked their puppy. But the fact is, challenge breeds attachment. Risk vs. reward. Where lies the greater sense of pride and accomplishment? The toon you leveled in 2 weeks, or the toon you leveled over the course of 6 months to a year? Call me hardcore if you will like it's a bad thing, but I'm tired of carebear MMOs.
1794  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [MMO's] Realisticly, what did you expect? on: August 25, 2008, 08:30:01 PM
Three things:

1. A relatively polished product at launch (this includes server-side issues)

2. Abundant amount of end-game content.

3. Frequent updates.

The MMOs that I have stayed with the longest have met these three criteria at least to some degree of satisfaction. The MMOs that I have dropped in the quickest amount of time have failed miserably in one or more of these three areas.

1795  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [XBL/PSN]Star Wars :The Force Unleashed demo Impressions on: August 25, 2008, 05:22:35 PM
I was a bit surprised at the negativity/meh feeling a lot of people had in this thread. I thought it was one of the most bad-ass demos I've played in a very long time.

The graphics are impressive, the physics are impressive, and the demo had a lot of "wow" moments for me. Ripping a hatch off a wall to slam into a stormtrooper running after me, dodging strafing TIE fighters, hurling people off balconies, force pushing doors open, etc.

I could care less about the details of why lightsabers don't lop off limbs or whether or not the force powers obey the physics of the movie. To me this game was all about being a bad motherfucker and tearing shit up, and that's a goal it achieved quite satisfactorily. Day One purchase for me.
1796  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Poll] What do you use for your home ISP? on: August 25, 2008, 05:16:22 PM
I've been pretty happy with Time Warner. They bumped my speed up at least twice without any additional charge, and I recently moved to their premium service which offers 10Mb with a 12Mb "burst" when first initiating downloads. Since FiOS is not available in my area yet, it's the next best thing. I had some issues with them when I first moved in my house 6 years ago, but they've improved steadily year over year.
1797  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: MMOs for Life? on: August 25, 2008, 03:26:17 PM
None of the above. The MMO I played the most was EQ1, at 3 1/2 years. Runner up EQ2, for 2 1/2 years. Every other MMO has been a year or less. Neither EQ1/2 are ones I would go back to and play again. Once I'm done with an MMO, I'm generally done with it for good. Besides, technology changes too fast, and I'm a graphics whore. I find it extremely difficult to go back to games even a few years old. I tried going back to WoW earlier this year, for example, and the graphics were just too dated for me to have a good time.
1798  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Make your VEEP predictions! on: August 24, 2008, 07:34:10 PM
Or how about one of these?

Oh, MSD, the fun has just begun for you and I.  icon_twisted

1799  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online headed to Open Beta on 9/7 on: August 23, 2008, 10:08:17 PM
You get an open beta code with standard edition pre-orders as well through participating retailers.
1800  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Make your VEEP predictions! on: August 23, 2008, 05:00:18 AM
Well, that settles that, then. Sorry Obama, you lost your chance to win over this conservative. Biden has been fairly level-headed on Iraq, but the guy has always rubbed me the wrong way.

Of course, I reserve the right to change my opinion if McCain ends up choosing an equal or worse douchebag.  icon_biggrin
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