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3081  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Excruciating Tooth(less)ache - any thoughts? on: January 01, 2010, 06:20:28 PM
So I survived the night, it was bad but not as bad as I thought.  I took a half an Ambien at my partner's suggestion, which didn't really put me to sleep but it finally calmed me enough mentally to stop thinking and worrying so much.  During the night I would drift off but then be awoken by pain or ice water choking me or getting on my shirt.  I finally fell asleep around 4am til around 9, which was nice.  The pain was definitely not as intense and for a moment I thought it might be gone.  But no such luck, it's back again, though not nearly as intense, so the good news is I believe the antiobiotics are working on something.  I still can't tell what they are working on though something in the "socket" as dragon mentioned or perhaps the tooth next to it.

Luckily, my dentist just called and is still willing to see me - so I'm hoping he can figure it out.  He may not be able to do much since I think he is on his own (no staff coming in) but hopefully he can at least give me some idea of what I'm dealing with.  I'm the type that hates not knowing.
3082  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the Apple iPad? on: January 01, 2010, 06:24:23 AM

Quote from: KC on December 31, 2009, 01:56:01 AM

Aren't several other companies planning to release tablet devices in 2010?  If the software side is done well, I can see them being viable competitors with the Apple product.  The competition should give us more options and lower prices.


My guess is that competitors won't be able to match Apple in terms of user interface, and possibly also with partnerships Apple is already cultivating (with magazines and newspapers).  And if they take full advantage of existing Apps and the App Store (very likely considering Apple has asked some vendors to prepare a "full screen" demo), Apple will again have a huge advantage in the applications and games departments.

But - as is ever the way with Apple - I also predict their initial entry price will be very steep (and very criticized) by a lot of people.  I'm thinking something like $799 or $899, maybe even more.
3083  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Excruciating Tooth(less)ache - any thoughts? on: January 01, 2010, 06:19:33 AM

Quote from: Teggy on January 01, 2010, 05:29:31 AM

There was at least one dentist on this board - can't remember his name. Left dentistry to become a lawyer or something.

I think that was Eightball but I haven't seen him around in ages.
3084  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Wanderers - Starting "Group-centric" MMORPG experiment (EQ2 Rebirth!) on: January 01, 2010, 04:52:12 AM
BAM!!!!

We are going full (well maybe half) steam ahead with this starting this week, come join in on the fun!!

www.the-wanderers-guild.com

for all the excruciating details that weren't posted here.




P.S.  I apologize for being out of touch on the "launch" of the project, between the holidays, getting sick and now this awesome toothache from hell (see Off Topic) it's been a pretty crappy couple of weeks and I haven't had a solid block of time to logon.  Hopefully once we get started in earnest, things will go a bit more smoothly.
3085  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dollhouse Season 2 on: January 01, 2010, 04:47:26 AM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 31, 2009, 03:32:24 PM

Quote from: Turtle on December 31, 2009, 03:15:04 PM

Strangely enough, Joss does a good job of finding new-ish talent.  He does use a lot of actors he's already worked with, but that's probably because they mesh well with his style and they're friends.

Yeah, sometimes I think he should work as casting director for other shows.  He really has an impeccable eye.  Even with Dollhouse he has now discovered Enver Gjokja and Dimen Lachman and I hope to see them on roles on other shows. 

I definitely agree the 2 of them are awesome finds (that's Victor and Sierra right?).  In a better world, Dollhouse would have had awesome ratings and they could have spunoff onto their own show slywink  Really hope they can find new work soon.
3086  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Excruciating Tooth(less)ache - any thoughts? on: January 01, 2010, 04:45:24 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on January 01, 2010, 04:37:27 AM

Infection maybe? I'd start popping my extensive collection of expired antibiotics, just in case. And I'd hit my Celebrex stash, too. Maybe visit your local Oxycontin marketplace if you can't get Celebrex?

Drugs. It always comes back to drugs.

Hehe yeah.  My oral surgeon prescribed antibiotics so I started those.  I checked online and it sounded pretty hit or miss whether it would be effective.  The problem is no one has actually taken a look so there's no way of knowing what the problem is, it's just guesswork based on the symptoms, and even I'm pretty sketchy on the exact symptoms, other than I'm in pain and the ice seems to calm it.

Normally drugs work great for me, but the Motrin has been almost completely ineffective, even upping the dose to 600mg.  As I mentioned the Hydrocozone (Vicadin?) which people say is so great totally flipped me out earlier today, so I'm hesitant to take any more of that.  I still haven't come down from the effects, it's like part of my brain wants to calm down and rest but the rest of it and my whole body is whacked out and can't keep still.  I've been cleaning, walking on the treadmill, anything to burn some energy but I can't seem to shake it.  When I close my eyes it feels like a part of me just wants to drift to sleep, but then the ice or the pain jolts me back to reality in an instant.

This is some incredible torture, with just about everything else I can usually at minimum sleep or be miserable watching TV or reading, but with this I can't seem to relax at all, and I can't stop thinking about the pain.
3087  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Excruciating Tooth(less)ache - any thoughts? on: January 01, 2010, 04:39:19 AM
Thanks for the kind words, Q!

Yeah the weirdest thing (and in some ways scariest) is that the tooth is already pulled, what more can happen?  Particularly after a month has past?  I'm thinking it could be the tooth next to it in the very back is actually the culprit, but then it's odd that the ice on the empty socket would help it.  But with all the crazy nerves and stuff, who knows how it's all connected?

Biggest fear for me now is the long night ahead, and worse if my dentist changes his mind tomorrow or can't make it.  But just one step at a time, I guess, still about 12+ hours to go before I can call him.
3088  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Excruciating Tooth(less)ache - any thoughts? on: January 01, 2010, 02:55:31 AM
I had a tooth pulled (#30 if it means anything to you, lower back right) about a month ago after the crown came off of it, and it was infected yada yada.  The extraction went without incident and I experienced little to no pain after.

Now a couple of days ago, I start getting this strange shooting pain which seems to stem from that area (not 100% sure).  On day one it kind of goes away as soon as I brush my teeth, instantly, but comes back again.  I take some Motrin and sleep it away.  Next day is OK, but at night the pain comes back.  Same thing, and I am able to sleep it away.  Next day pain is more severe but seems more or less manageable.  Stupid me doesn't do the math and thinks I can handle it instead of trying to get into a dentist before new year's eve (in my defense it didn't feel like an emergency at the time).

Come today, I wake up on NY Eve and almost immediately the pain is unbearably excruciating, just shooting straight up to my eye and literally bringing me to my knees and tears.  The toothpaste trick no longer works and seems to aggravate it more.  Ditto on Ambesol and salt water goggle.  The ONLY thing that works is sucking on or leaving ice right by the area.  I think sipping cold water would work too but there's only so much of that I can handle.  Even the ice is driving me insane.  The interesting part is just how effective the ice is, almost instantaneously quelling the pain.  But it's constant, and in less than a minute will begin again if there's no ice.  Interestingly even if there's a tiny tiny piece of ice in the gap, it seems to be enough.  I don't know if that means anything. 

I tried taking stronger painkiller (Hydrocodone) but it didn't help and later made me extremely panicky and nervous, so I decided not to use it again. After calls all over the place (of course every dentist even the 24 hour emergency ones are gone or closed until MONDAY!!), my original oral surgeon calls and prescribes antibiotics (Clindamyacin).  I took one a few hours ago but so far no dice.  Not that I was expecting an immediate miracle but one can always pray (and I did).

I have to say I was impressed, but my regular dentist called later and offered to see me... but not til tomorrow.  So now I'm left with the torturous task of trying to make it through the night, I've got about 15 hours to go.  I have no idea if/how I will be able to sleep given that I have to keep ice in my mouth pretty much constantly, and I'm afraid of taking excessive painkillers or sleep medication after going through major phases of panic and jitters today.

I've dealt with horrible tooth pains before but nothing ever quite like this.  I can poke and prod around the area in question and it just feels a bit sensitive, but nothing seems to indicate or prompt the excruciating pain.  It's just completely bizarre how painful it is, yet how easily it is stymied by ice.  I'm kind of sick with fear and worry it's something that the antibiotics won't be able to deal with (or are inappropriate for) but I guess I just have to have faith.  Plus I'm hungry being largely unable to eat, and totally sick of sticking ice in my mouth which is driving me insane.

All in all (and later hearing my nephew had a bad accident and is now in the hospital!) one of the worst days of my life frown
3089  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: December 31, 2009, 06:36:59 AM


Quote
Up until now most storytelling in MMOs has been basically done through a single method, and that's a text blurb shows up on screen in front of a character who's just standing there waiting for you to come and, you know, give you a quest to kill 12 things. And the fact is, that's not very compelling. Like, have you ever read a book where that happens, or seen a movie where two no, no.

Story is something that unfolds over time, where you meet characters that are interesting, where you develop relationships with them, and that's what we're trying to do in this game, and I think that's going to get people into it. And the fact that it's fully voice overed and that they have facial animations they feel like real characters that you want to interact with.

The reason people skip over it, and I skip over it myself when I play MMOs, is it's just that it's not very compelling. It's hard to tell a story in a text blurb that pops up in front of someone. It's much easier to tell a story when you have a character that is fully animated, fully developed, and that can develop over time.

Interesting points, and unfortunately I just responded in the other thread to essentially the same topic.  So here's a blurb from my response for this discussion as I assume many people here are not necessarily following that one:

They talk about story, characters and character depth over time - so my question is how that is maintained and kept consistent for all the players, taking as an example Dragon Age as an MMORPG.

Quote
I suppose there might be ways to "cheat" and individualize the experience to not impact other players, but I wonder how they can maintain story/character depth consistently.  Will every player interact with Alistair, and every player's Alistair behave differently due to our conversation choices?  That may be OK in a single player game, but in an MMO, won't it be odd if I have one conversation with him, tell my guildmate about it, then he has a completely different one with the same character?  Maybe that's OK.  But in a more extreme case, if I chose to kill Alistair, then my guildmate tells me about how he is going to rule the kingdom alongside him, I might find that very jarring and it would really break my immersion.

With today's relatively simple quests/storylines, you can use the traditional reset button and players just ignore the inconsistency.  But it seems to me if you truly want to go deeper and more complex, you are going to run into significant problems to maintain immersion consistently between all players.
3090  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Next Gen MMO Discussion Topics (now with SW:TOR!) on: December 31, 2009, 06:31:55 AM

Quote from: Rumpy on December 29, 2009, 11:03:57 PM

To me, the structure of SWTOR, the way it's focusing on the player and having all NPCs have voicovers isn't insignificant. I feel it's a major hurdle into getting MMOs feel more immersive, and I see Bioware trying to find a solution to reading all that boring text that one often reads. I see that as Bioware understanding the need for advancement in the genre. They see more than a need for better graphics. They see a need for social engagement; to make the player feel emotional about his choices.

I agree this would be in theory a major "innovation" (contrary to what the PC Gamer guy says) if pulled off effectively.

But this is ultimately what I'm most worried, interested and curious about when it comes to SWTOR.  So far the articles I've read make it sound interesting, but more in the sense that coopasonic describes, as a single player version of a present MMORPG.  My big question is how do you realistically blend these seemingly opposing game elements together? 

Let's take Dragon Age as our example.  You become more immersed and emotional about the choices because you care about very specific characters and events, and because your choices have direct impact on how they turn out.  The world feels deep and consistent in part because it changes with your actions, and/or characters you interact with may appear again later in the story (assuming you chose not to kill them!).  But how do you apply this to an MMO and remain consistent between the multitude of players, or do you just ignore that entire concept?  What if I choose to kill Jowan in the introduction sequence and player B chooses not to?  How does the world reconcile itself if I choose to aid one character rule the kingdom, but player C chooses another?

I suppose there might be ways to "cheat" and individualize the experience to not impact other players, but I wonder how they can maintain story/character depth consistently.  Will every player interact with Alistair, and every player's Alistair behave differently due to our conversation choices?  That may be OK in a single player game, but in an MMO, won't it be odd if I have one conversation with him, tell my guildmate about it, then he has a completely different one with the same character?  Maybe that's OK.  But in a more extreme case, if I chose to kill Alistair, then my guildmate tells me about how he is going to rule the kingdom alongside him, I might find that very jarring and it would really break my immersion.

With today's relatively simple quests/storylines, you can use the traditional reset button and players just ignore the inconsistency.  But it seems to me if you truly want to go deeper and more complex, you are going to run into significant problems to maintain immersion consistently between all players.
3091  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the Apple iPad? on: December 29, 2009, 10:52:49 PM
Looks like it might possibly get named the "iSlate" or "MagicSlate"

http://www.macrumors.com/2009/12/25/apple-islate-trademark-and-what-is-a-magic-slate/

3092  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Next Gen MMO Discussion Topics (now with SW:TOR!) on: December 29, 2009, 07:57:03 PM

Quote from: Harkonis on December 29, 2009, 05:15:07 PM

There are lots of cases where I wish I had more of the same.  crimson skies, xcom, mechwarrior, I want more of the same slywink

I'm not saying more of the same is horrible - in some cases, like Diablo 3 for instance, more of the same is perfect.  But there's a difference here, in that the games you mention (and Diablo) are self-contained games that had a finite lifetime in terms of true developer content (discounting mods).

But for MMORPGs?  I think it's a waste of an awesome genre.  Think about it.  Just by nature of the genre, you are *already* getting MOTS every day in the original existing games themselves (EQ, DAOC, etc) as they continue to update their games and bring out new content and expansions.  So when the engines are getting a bit old, you then have WoW come along and re-polish and re-package everything you liked in the genre almost to perfection.  So is that the end of the genre in terms of new developments?  Just more polishing?  How much more polished can it get, particularly when WoW itself continues to keep going strong?
3093  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Two MMO Discussion Topics from my blog on: December 28, 2009, 11:28:11 PM

Quote from: Alefroth on December 26, 2009, 08:01:57 AM

I think you were pretty close when you wondered if innovation in the genre is impossible. How can you possibly make meaningful, dynamic, unique content for a game that thousands of people play? If you can create a world that changes permanently with players actions, then likely only those players with the most time and capability will be able to experience that content.

I'm not going to pretend that I can solve this design dilemma that you are talking about in a few words, but I think it's still possible, though a developer may have to do some tricky things or create some illusions to make it all work.  And in some sense, the game/design itself may need to redefine players' conventional thoughts on what constitutes "content".  Let's take the next-gen Shadowbane/sandbox game to its ultimate implementation.  In my concept, the world would constantly be evolving and permanently changing - everywhere, through advanced AI (or something that mimics AI).  So in one part of a forest in one part of the land, there might be an uprising of a new breed of beasts that is encroaching closer and closer to a civilized town, maybe an NPC town, or maybe your guild's town.  Somewhere completely different, there may be a huge war between 2 major political factions, again it could be players, NPCs, or a combination of both.  "Content" now takes on a completely different meaning, it's not a set of static quests and storylines, it's the world as it keeps moving.  When you login, you have to make a choice as to what you want to participate in.  Of course that means you will miss some events that you might not want to, but the trick would then to be ensure that there are plenty of events happening all the time, and all accessible enough so that even a casual player could come in and find something he wants to contribute to.  What it also means is that even the most hardcore player will have to pick and choose his "content" as he can't be in two places at once!  The thing is, SB already showed the framework of this concept in action and proved it can work, it's just a shame no one has taken it further.

- - -

Now this is what scares and disturbs  me.  The quotes below are taken directly from Gary Steinman's Editorial note in the latest PC Gamer magazine:

Quote
...the real reason The Old Republic is shaping up to be so awesome?  Because it's not in the slightest bit innovative.

Quote
This is a revolution in sensibility.  Finally, a massively multiplayer online RPG that's set to deliver the comfortable yet undeniably compelling offline experience that we've all come to cherish - and covet in our online gaming.

Quote
...unabashedly eschews innovation for the sake of polish, familiarity, refinement and classic storytelling.

Quote
So let this be call to action for developers everywhere: Innovation is overrated.  Who needs "new" when you can have awesome instead?

This exact attitude is what I feel is slowly killing the MMORPG (perhaps even the entire gaming industry, some genres more so than others) and driving it stagnant.  What he describes as "awesome" for TOR can be (and likely was) attributed in the exact same way to WoW - but that was FIVE years ago!!  And now he wants me to be excited about MORE of more of the same?
3094  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Bryan Singer to return to direct X-Men:First Class on: December 24, 2009, 08:55:52 PM

Quote from: Razgon on December 24, 2009, 09:12:40 AM

Man, you guys are a negative bunch - None of us has any clue as to how the movie is going to be, and people are already complaining? I'm sure they picked what would make an awesome movie, and wasnt going for what would make a lousy movie. After all, who's the establish hollywood movie director here? Us, or Bryan Singer?

I think people were disappointed with the direction of the franchise with the Wolverine movie, which I'm guessing producers also thought would make an "awesome movie".  While I thought it ended up being OK (but missed the opportunity to delve deeper into Wolverine's past), I just don't understand the need to backtrack and do prequels with a franchise as incredibly rich as the X-Men - not to mention the diverse amount of spinoff potentials you get with the New Mutants, X-Factor, X-Force, even Exiles.  If you want to go fresh/young, go with New Mutants, if you want to go "dark" the new X-Force is an awesome place to start, etc.  If you don't think you can get the original set of actors, just start with a fresh new batch of X-Men, there are a ton of characters, new and old, that fans love but were never explored fully in the movies (Shadowcat, X-23, Psylocke, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Polaris, Thunderbird, Cable, etc).

Hollywood producers are an odd bunch, and clearly they are prone to make major mistakes when it comes to some beloved franchises.  This is kind of reminiscent to me of Star Trek: Enterprise, another case where no matter how good the show was, it always felt like a step backward.  Comic books in general are a media all about moving forward, about the next great story and next months' new issue - when you only get a new movie every 3 years, I think most fans want to see something spectacular and fresh.
3095  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movies] James Cameron's Avatar on: December 24, 2009, 01:20:59 AM

Quote from: Soulchilde on December 22, 2009, 07:37:37 PM

Awesome visuals, but the story and plotline was shit.  I guess I'm in the minority as a weak story line was total distraction for me. I was rolling my eyes at some of the dialog.  Anytime, I'm rolling my eyes at the movie something is wrong

I very much felt the same way, so even though we're in the minority, you're not alone.  Even being pretty much on the left politically, I found the plot irritatingly preachy and some of the references just too obvious and in your face.  Antagonists that could have been interesting and nuanced such as Ribisi (compare to Paul Reiser in Aliens) and Lang are made into simple caricatures.  Ditto on the motivation for the humans, just some subtle changes to the scripting would have done wonders for me.  Plot "twists" felt telegraphed, and the combined effect was I also felt distracted, so much so that I couldn't enjoy the effects as much as I would have liked to.  Normally I am the type that is perfectly happy to shut my brain off and enjoy the ride when I see a movie, but Avatar seemed to keep slapping me in the face so that I would effectively have to roll my eyes, similar to Soul.

It's so weird, this movie the more I think or talk about the plot and characters, the more irritated I become.  And yet at the same time I can't wait to go see the movie again in an IMAX theater.  My hope is that without the expectations on storyline, I can relax more and enjoy the visuals.
3096  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Bryan Singer to return to direct X-Men:First Class on: December 23, 2009, 10:03:05 PM

Quote from: Wargus on December 23, 2009, 06:51:07 PM

Another prequel?  How about doing something original instead of following the pack of prequels & reboots?

Yeah that's kind of disappointing.  I was hoping for a New Mutants movie if they really wanted to go with a younger cast.  And if they absolutely had to retread older storylines, there are plenty (as mentioned above) that could have been awesome. 

That said, here's my casting suggestions to get the most number of viewers:

Cyclops:  Chris Pine
Storm: Zoe Saldana
Beast: Zachary Quinto
Banshee: Simon Pegg
Sunfire: John Cho
Marvel Girl: Kristen Stewart
Angel: Robert Pattinson
Thunderbird: Taylor Lautner (only shirtless)
3097  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Next Gen MMO Discussion Topics (now with SW:TOR!) on: December 23, 2009, 09:47:25 PM
I still don't know if it makes more sense to repost the whole thing or just link to my blog, so anyway...

What happened to the MMORPG genre?

10 Suggestions to Improve the Next Big MMORPG
3098  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: December 22, 2009, 06:38:56 PM
As a diehard gamer, I really like the concept of bringing back previous players, as the emphasis from day one truly becomes the game.  Even though the show has been on for so many years, the regular season is always still loaded with players who seem like they've never seen the show or thought about how to play.  So then you typically end up with a small group of true players, a few coattail riders, and then the rest of the bunch who seem to play the game like fodder, or are "just there for the experience."  That was OK in the first couple of seasons when the audience was learning the game, but now it seems like a good time to step it up a notch.  From a gaming standpoint, I would love it if they could bring back every single first place winner and pit them against each other.

Interesting about Russell being on the new show - I would think he would be at a big disadvantage since no one would have heard or known anything about him.  His aggressive attitude worked on this season because there were so many fodder players, but in a team with a bunch of "villains" as devious as he is or worse, I don't think he can go very far.  Maybe that's why he looked so devastated to lose this one as well because he'd already been voted off in the other?  Then again, maybe the producers can just load a bunch of "hidden" immunity idols for him to find without clues lol.
3099  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: December 21, 2009, 11:42:03 PM

Quote from: Rumpy on December 21, 2009, 07:35:54 PM

You know, I saw the leaked footage that was on Youtube, and it didn't look particularly inspiring. What really rubbed me the wrong way was how the person bumped into a ship, but the other ship just stayed there like an obstacle until he moved around it. That kind of interaction really looked like something that would throw someone's immersion out of the game. Would it really kill the devs to include some kind of collision physics? You know, have the other ships get bumped and move away due to impact instead of stopping your ship dead cold. This is something I'd expect to see in an Alpha build, not a beta.

Yeah I completely forgot about the collision physics or lack thereof.  In one of my big "boss" ship battles, I kept rubbing up against the ship, slowly rotating around and firing at it, it was so sad.  Then when I couldn't beat it and tried to run/hide, I would just butt up against an asteroid while my shields recharged.  I mean literally I would butt my ship up on the asteroid and just kind of rub on it like a dog lol.  Some fighters would periodically attack but those I could handle. 

Come to think of it, I suppose the ground combat is kind of similar where you end up just rubbing up against the bad guys once they approach, which of course adds to the whole "choppy" feeling of the entire game/engine.
3100  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: December 21, 2009, 09:48:45 PM

Quote from: Purge on December 21, 2009, 08:55:26 PM

I hope Christopher Eccleston reprises his role as the invisible guy who trained Peter Petrelli.

What? WHAT?

LOL, I was thinking about that too.  They might as well have a chubby Asian guy in it too so he can keep pronouncing villain as "virran".
3101  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movies] James Cameron's Avatar on: December 21, 2009, 09:45:57 PM

Quote from: Rowdy on December 21, 2009, 08:56:10 PM

You thought Weaver and Rodriguez were wasted?  Wow.  I thought they did great jobs.  Rodriguez in particular was great.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I am a HUGE Aliens fanboy, I consider it my all-time favorite movies.  So coming from that perspective, I expect first that the major sub-characters will be memorable for some reason or another, and if/when a character is going to die, it will leave an impact on me.  Thinking back on Aliens, each of the characters' sacrifices/deaths was memorable.  It's not that the actresses didn't do well, I love them both in pretty much anything, but I just felt their characters were not given enough to do within the film, and didn't leave the kind of impact on the story that I would have liked.

In Avatar, I never had any doubt Michelle's character would turn to help the "good guys" so that "twist" was lost on me.  Having her sacrifice/die for really no purpose other than to solidify how "evil" Lang was didn't cut it for me.  If she had to die, I wanted to see her kamikaze into the explosives or dive bomb into one of the big ships, or something on that order.  As for Sigourney, she had some decent moments in the movie, but ultimately her character seemed more of an expository role to set the movie up in the first half, and her death did nothing except telegraph exactly how they would allow the hero to join the aliens.  I wanted to see her face down Lang, or bitchslap Giovanni Ribisi, just give me a classic line or 2.  Too cheesy?  Maybe, but clearly the script was not written with tons of depth to begin with, so why not give fans something more classic to remember?  Honestly, I can barely recall what she did in the latter half of the movie.
3102  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [TV] Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on: December 21, 2009, 07:26:20 PM
For Season TWENTY, looks like they are going all out:

http://www.transworldnews.com/NewsStory.aspx?id=150572&cat=2

No cast members announced yet but from the finale last night, it looks like they are probably pursuing Johnny Fairplay and Richard Hatch, maybe Russell (though not sure the timing is right if the show is in February), the guy who fell in the fire, can't remember the rest.  As a longtime fan starting from Season 1, I am excited!

- - -

Also did anyone catch the finale?  I was pretty shocked/surprised that Russell lost to Natalie.  I guess he was just too arrogant and over the top aggressive, and she was just likable enough.  Poor Mick never had a chance (or a single vote, apparently).  It's always interesting that some seasons the "snake"/mastermind/gameplayer gets the votes, and others the coat-tail riders do. 
3103  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dollhouse Season 2 on: December 21, 2009, 07:19:31 PM
Absoultely amazing show with so many great plotlines.  It's so unfortunate as you can see the vision for the show is being completely rushed to completion due to the cancellation.  So many of the storylines we've seen were likely meant to develop over the course of a full season, or perhaps multiple seasons, and now they are being pushed into single episodes (similar to the series finale of Angel).  I suppose it does make the pacing much more exciting and almost entirely plot-driven, but it's such a shame for fanboys like myself that the stories weren't allowed to evolve more naturally.  I suppose I should just be happy that they had enough notice to tool the show toward a series finale, and I believe Joss is involved in every one of the last 3 eps.
3104  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movies] James Cameron's Avatar on: December 21, 2009, 07:15:30 PM

Quote from: kratz on December 21, 2009, 06:57:14 PM

I went last night... first 3d movie I've seen.

The script and plot were pretty much totally ridiculous - another white man's race fantasy movie like Dances With Wolves or The Last Samurai... really it was just a Dances rehash with the added gimmick of the white man being a parapalegic driving a 10 ft tall blue Brendan Fraser.  Everything was over the top, characters were caricatures, the dialog was generally wince worthy... visually it was obviously quite an accomplishment, though it lacked the grit of the CGI in something like LOTR, and was overall less convincing, it was still impressive.

I'm not sure what I think of the 3d technology... it was sort of distracting, and I think interfered with my ability to connect with the film, which you would imagine would be the opposite of what they really wanted to be doing with it.

I'm gonna agree with Kratz, I was really not as enamored with the movie as most seem to be.  I did enjoy the 3D and I do want to see it again in full IMAX-3D to see if the impact is different, but for the most part I think I was actually distracted by the preachy script and obvious plot "twists" (with even more obvious foreshadowing of each), plus the complete waste of some of my favorite actresses (Sigourney and Michelle Rodriguez).  Some of the effects still felt very CG to me, I almost felt like I was watching an nVidia tech demo in some instances.  Still there were others that were very impressive and took great advantage of the 3D.  I will say I was very happy that they didn't do any of the traditional annoying 3D tricks like sticking things into your face just for the hell of it. 

Plot question:

Spoiler for Hiden:
Early on Giovanni Ribisi (can anyone say next gen Paul Reiser?) says they are at the planet solely for money reasons, the Unobtanium (god did he really use that term?!?) but later it seems to be implied/said that the Earth is "poisoned" and the humans want to come to the planet for the green/resources?  I was a little confused there, though it really didn't matter I suppose.  I guess I might have liked the plot better if all of humanity had somehow been forced to come to this new planet after ruining their own, giving the humans a little more depth in their motivation.  Instead we have a bunch of over-the-top caricatures, with that General being the most egregious.
3105  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: December 21, 2009, 07:04:58 PM

Quote from: Aganazer on December 21, 2009, 02:48:13 PM

Whoever said that Cryptic is in denial is right. They are making excuses for the criticisms instead of addressing them. I have never seen the MMOG community more negative about a MMOG. Not for AoC, not for WAR, not even for Champions. Are Cryptic's hands tied? Are they being forced to release a game too early, guaranteeing that it will flop, just to meet their investor's deadline? Or do they really think that the problems don't exist?

Then again, even if they did have more time they would probably squander it in the same way that they did with Champions. Instead of polishing the game during a few month extension they would probably just keep piling on more crap and new features that don't do anything to address the game's shortcomings. They need to make a content freeze, then spend a few months polishing the gameplay experience instead of trying to add more lines to the list of game features.

I guess this is the big problem.  I originally was going to offer feedback on the official beta forums, but soon I realized it was a complete waste of time because in all honesty I feel like the game should be scrapped.  Clearly they are in too deep financially to start over or dump it now so I suppose they will release it and hope for the best.  If it were up to me, I'd cut my losses and turn the game into a tight, strong story-based single-player game and hope to recoup some money that way, then start over from scratch with a vision closer to the original one for this game to develop the MMO.

In spite of a few interesting moments and some nostalgia pulling me in, it just feels like a bunch of bad ideas forced into an existing engine, coupled with no vision of how to take advantage of the MMO genre, and no understanding of what to do with the TNG license.  As you said, this is not the typical bad word-of-mouth and I feel sad being so negative about it, but they've somehow managed to even turn off people like me who are essentially a "sure thing" when it comes to either TNG or the MMO genre. 
3106  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: December 21, 2009, 05:03:39 AM
I'm gonna have to agree with Razgon... the "haphazard" comment in particular.  I'll definitely read some of the other reviews to see what I might be missing though.  In the mean time...

Quote
I finally got a couple hours in to test/try the game during the weekend (after an absolutely horrible patch process during the week which made it impossible to test). The saddest part about it was I had plenty of time to play but I often chose to do something else instead. The good news is I got a lot of holiday crap done and did some more work around the house. The bad news is that this may be one of the worst, or most inconsequential, or simply most disappointing, new MMO releases to come around in a long time.

I completed the tutorials, and I must say nothing really grabbed me.  That's OK though, it's just a tutorial, I thought.  The ship combat I felt was kind of fun though fairly limited, which I assume will change as you get deeper into the game.  Of course if I jsut wanted fun ST ship combat I think that RTS game from a few years back already did quite a good job.  The away mission portion was pretty stale, and combat was just not engaging. Essentially 3 buttons to push, and really most of the time just 1 button to wait for and push again.  The enemies are pretty much on you in a few seconds so there's really little in the way of tactics, it all just feels awkward.  I do like the phaser sound effects though, and the idea of the away party NPCs.  Coming off of pretty much any MMO (particularly Champions Online) though, this is a step backwards in terms of fun/action.

After the tutorials I fiddled around with upgrades and got a new crewmember, then went off to try another mission. I made it through a good portion of it, a mix of space combat (decent fun though pretty much just maneuvering the ship and then mashing the same 3 keys over and over, again I felt like this was done better in that RTS) and ground combat (see above).  I got to what seemed to be near the end but couldn't take out the "boss" ship on my own. Presumably I need to level up or group with more ships to kill it? So I left the area with no penalty and went and did another mission. Apparently the people waiting for me to save them were fine with me coming back whenever, and I'm pretty sure the same boss ship will be waiting for me if I ever decide to come back. So I did a really easy ground mission which involved the excitement of running around an area and talking to 5 NPCs and then flying back. Yawn. The rewards were also unimpressive and certainly nothing that would help me complete the other fight. So all I have left is an open mission to patrol a bunch of different systems. Yawn again, I logged off instead.

The entire game ultimately feels very "choppy" to me. Not necessarily performance wise, though that's a part of it (in terms of movement and actions feeling almost turn-based). The constant loading screens (some of them quite long) and the shift between ship and non-ship just feels disjointed and there's really little to no story element that compels you to continue. It's also rather oddball to have so many starships all over the place, it takes away all the "specialness" of the Enterprise.

So basically you have a choppy feeling engine mixed with a lack of compelling story or other engaging elements making for one of the biggest disappointments I've ever experienced in terms of new MMO releases. One of my all-time favorite licenses, and finally set in an open time period (instead of in between movies or a prequel or whatever), but this is what they come up with?  Makes me sad.  I have to wonder what benefit it was to make this into an MMO, I just don't see the vision.
3107  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: What was your top MMO in 2009? on: December 16, 2009, 06:56:26 PM
Definitely WAR.  In spite of the flaws and late game issues I had with it, I still think it was a very decent MMO and I had a lot of fun while it lasted.  Scenarios were by far my most favorite part of the game, and the pacing and gameplay variety in T1 into T2 were just about perfect.  Unfortunately it seemed like T3 and T4 were just slowed down versions of T3 and T4, and then a completely different group of designers created the endgame content, both PvE and PvP, to make it grindy and inaccessible to the casual player. 
3108  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Drag Me to Hell trailer on: December 15, 2009, 07:02:10 PM
I thought it was a lot of campy fun, and I really enjoyed most of it.  I do agree the ending left something to be desired, I'm not sure if he was intending a sequel or what.
3109  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Wanderers - Starting "Group-centric" MMORPG experiment (EQ2 Rebirth!) on: December 15, 2009, 06:58:00 PM

Quote from: skystride on December 14, 2009, 09:36:38 PM

Do we have to be level 15 by two weeks or is the two weeks when we officially start leveling to 15? (for those who haven't done so already)

I view it as:  the target Week 1 (Jan 1-7) level limit will be 15ish (actually I think we agreed to 16), so by the end of the week hopefully everyone (new and old) will be right around 14-16 and be doing our first dungeons together.

This way new players just starting have the full week to get there.  Based on our testing it should take anywhere from 4-6 hours, possibly a bit more, which stays in line with our most casual members.

Players who already have a character (or two) waiting in the wings can jump immediately into the dungeons and grouping, but will likely want to put all their experience into AA.

Of course with 2 weeks to go this is all still negotiable and subject to change icon_razz
3110  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age mods on: December 15, 2009, 06:49:49 PM

Quote from: Chaz on December 15, 2009, 01:44:24 PM

Hey Fuzz, thanks for the links.  I tried the high res textures, but wasn't able to get it installed.  I tried unpacking them with winrar, but I found there was a rar within the rar, and then an exe inside that that crapped out about 25% of the way through the unpacking.  I don't know why there was an exe in there.  Any thoughts? Also interested to hear about the stability, since a bunch of people seemed to start crashing once reaching Denerim.  When installing, does it overwrite textures, and if so, how do you uninstall?

This is what I did to get it to work:

1 - Unzip each of the 3 files in the same directory, you should have 3 different .rar files in that same directory

2 - Winrar (or whatever) the first of the three files; what it should do is generate a single large .exe file that's about 700MB large, automatically combining with the other 2 .rar files

3 - Run the new large .exe file, and it should finally generate a new folder called "Override" with all the files in it; at that point you know it worked right

4 - If that all worked, you might as well run the other zipped patches at this point, as they will update the "Override" folder.  You can then copy the whole updated folder over to your main DA folder, as described in the website

To "uninstall" I believe you simply just delete or rename the Override folder.
3111  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age is looking good! on: December 15, 2009, 06:43:04 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 15, 2009, 01:50:46 PM

Quote from: disarm on December 15, 2009, 05:29:31 AM

Dragon Age does so many things right, and tells such a great story, that i honestly have a hard time stating exactly why BG2 is a better game.

Better sidequests.  BG2 has the best sidequests ever.  Indeed, I think they used up every sidequest idea possible because very few games have even tried to have sidequests as awesome as BG2.  It's like everyone saw perfection and decided to pack it in because you just cant' compare.  

While I completely understand that point-of-view, it's one of the exact reasons why I prefer DA.  I found BG2's many sidequests to be fun, but ultimately too distracting to the main storyline, and thus I eventually had trouble completing the whole game, I think I simply became overwhelmed in side quests.  I do understand that some RPGers are looking exactly for that kind of gameplay, and probably there was a time where I was more of that mindset.  Ultimately, I felt DA is an overall tighter story-based game (I might actually like it streamlined even further/shorter), which for me (at this point in my life) feels more easy to absorb and thus more satisfying in the long run.  I realize I'm probably in the minority in that aspect.

Also, I have to say I do prefer the overall more "adult" feel of DA, and I enjoyed for the first time in an RPG feeling a sense of actual physical interest in a character (Alistair).  I think the graphics and perhaps more importantly voicework are finally at a stage where they can entertain on a level approaching TV/filmwork.  No matter how good a game BG2 is/was, it certainly does not compete on the audio/visual level.  Just the sheer amount of voicework and cutscenes is incredible in DA, and while in the past I wouldn't have made a big deal about it, I really felt that these made a big difference in the overall immersion into the game.  Many of the cutscenes in particular have a truly film-esque feel to them in terms of cinematography and camera angles, etc.  Facial emotions are still weak, but definitely an improvement from many games we've seen in the past.

For me, DA marks a new threshold in CRPGs, combining incredible artistry, visual effects and storytelling with solid traditional RPG gameplay.  Definitely my top RPG of all time, and in the top 5 of my favorite games of all time.
3112  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age mods on: December 14, 2009, 06:44:48 PM
Thanks for the links on this.

I started a new game last night with the hig-res textures and they look fantastic.  Even Korcari Wilds looks decent.  Some of it is just subtle improvements but all in all the game (which I felt already was great to look at) looks even better.

I also installed the nude mod, but I had forgotten I did, so I got a big surprise during my origin sequence where suddenly I wake up to my bare ass and get to fight completely naked.  Hot!!

The only other mod I used was (not listed earlier), I forget the exact name, but it has a bunch of cheat-type items.  The only ones I used were the Genderbender ring and Love Potion No. 9, which when used in conjunction allow me to romance Alistair from the outset of the game (essentially the ring allows you to temporarily change sex to initiate gender specific conversation, while the love potion undoes any relationship issues and initiates romance with whomoever you gift it to).  Muhahahaha!
3113  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Wanderers - Starting "Group-centric" MMORPG experiment (EQ2 Rebirth!) on: December 14, 2009, 06:38:37 PM
Two weeks 'til go time! 

This is a good time to do a little research, pick your class and/or tradeskill, get familiar with the interface, etc etc. 

Also, a reminder regardless of whether you played before or not, you might want to consider starting fresh with the recently released Complete Collection.  For $20 you get all the expansions plus SIXTY free days of play and 500 points.  Makes for a good (and relatively cheap) Xmas gift too  icon_razz

http://www.amazon.com/Everquest-II-Complete-Collection-Pc/dp/B002NWOP4K/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=videogames&qid=1260815662&sr=8-5
3114  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: December 12, 2009, 12:52:43 AM

Quote from: Rumpy on December 11, 2009, 10:07:55 PM

Isn't that guy risking being booted from the beta for breaking the NDA?

I think he doesn't care much since they seem to be arranging their 2-3 hour test blocks at extremely inconvenient times for him.

Also, my personal feeling is that although the impressions are clearly of just a very limited experience (and it's not like he's hidden that fact), one can certainly get a sense of a game pretty quickly to develop first impressions.  The use of the CO engine, the game perspective, the general atmosphere, the fact that nothing is really altered in the world (mentioned by others in this thread too), are all factors in how the game will be judged whether it's in 10 minutes or 10 hours.
3115  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: December 11, 2009, 06:40:27 PM
Here are "someone's" extremely limited impressions thus far.  I believe this person is a huge TNG fan, as well as a huge MMO fan, for reference:

Quote
I finally got to play for about 10 minutes last night. The limited time beta hours are annoying as all hell. How do they expect to truly test the game when they have such a minimalistic set of test hours for the majority of gamers? I realize they probably have another subset that can test 24/7, but it's short-sighted to continue to test without a broader range of feedback. CO did the same thing and will likely suffer for it.

Anyway, back to the game. I have to admit I got caught up in the overall feel/atmosphere of being in the TNG universe, and I loved in particular hearing all the familiar sound effects. Graphics/uniforms/ship looked like they should. So from the nostalgia/atmosphere point of view, they get a big thumbs up. The engine itself, I'm not sure why, but it made me kind of nauseous. I remember people complaining about this in CO but it didn't affect me as much there, I'm really not sure why. Somehow the motions just seem jerkier or something. In terms of gameplay, I only got a few minutes in the tutorial but it seemed rather limited/basic. Everything amounted to hitting the F key in different spots, similar to CO.

No way to give any significant feedback other than thus far my opinion holds that the game seems like it should have been a single player or at best small MP game. While running the tutorial another player popped onto the ship next to me and essentially ran the exact same content as I did with 0 interaction between us.  Once something was "completed", it appeared to just reset to the way it was before (as it does in all MMOs).  Bleh.  Obviously I have barely scratched the surface but I see nothing that makes this game seem like it needs to be an MMO. It reeks of the feeling that it could have been a great SP game (a la Dragon Age) but instead they are going to shove MMO elements into it and hope for the best.
3116  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Might & Magic : Clash of Heroes on: December 11, 2009, 06:19:54 PM
I'm curious, are the actual fights randomized, at least in terms of initial units, or is each fixed like a true "puzzle" at the outset?  I'm assuming the former, but I had run the tutorial before starting the campaign and they clearly had the exact same unit setup for the first few battles.
3117  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Might & Magic : Clash of Heroes on: December 10, 2009, 10:52:03 PM
Ack!  Sorry to hear the game has frustrating sequences upcoming.  I just started it yesterday after being forum effected and had a blast.  The screenshots and descriptions seemed kind of lame to me, but after playing a bit it quickly became addictive.  Not sure how long I'll last if there are really difficult sequences coming up - there's no way to change the difficulty is there?
3118  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I think we need a newyears oscar emmy GT award! on: December 10, 2009, 01:25:11 AM

Quote from: JayDee on December 09, 2009, 04:41:02 PM

Can I nominate myself for "Teggy's Favourite Forum Stalker"?

Sure, but only if I can nominate myself for "Sluttiest Forum Stalker" and "Gayest Poster" (though YK or CK may defeat me for that second one).
3119  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Wanderers - Starting "Group-centric" MMORPG experiment (EQ2 Rebirth!) on: December 09, 2009, 01:14:27 AM
Some quick updates:

- We're still planning to start first week of January with a level cap of about 15

- The prime playtime from the most recent poll looks like 9-11pm EST every day of the week

- We'll be choosing 3 "prime nights" as well where we hope to have slightly more organized grouping activity.  Friday night looks like one of the three for sure, the other 2 still TBD

- From another poll, it looks like we have a very even mix of "true casual" players (planning to play <10 hours per week) and semi-casual (planning 10-20 hours per week)

As always, everyone here is welcome to join and we always love to have more friends playing! 
3120  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Tiger Woods seriously injured in car crash on: December 02, 2009, 07:36:12 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 02, 2009, 06:32:00 PM

Quote from: msteelers on December 02, 2009, 06:30:49 PM

Quote from: Teggy on December 02, 2009, 06:23:19 PM

I never really understood this. You are young and would like to run around. There are many, many women willing to share you. No one would care if you did this.

So you get married and have a few kids and cheat on your wife.

This is almost verbatim what I was telling my coworker. You want to be a playboy? Fine. Do it. You will be even more famous because of it. Just don't get married.

Yeah, George Clooney seems to be one of the few that seems to understand that. 

But of course George Clooney is GAY:

http://www.hollyscoop.com/matt-damon/matt-damon-of-course-george-clooney-is-gay_21475.aspx
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