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3121  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: October 12, 2009, 11:26:47 PM
OK here's some early impressions on the HP Mini 311.

Note that I've upgraded to 3GB of RAM and a OCZ Summit 60GB SSD.  With the N280 and Wireless N upgrades, in this configuration I've bloated to about $750. 

The Good:  Upgrading was exceedingly easy.  There's an empty slot for RAM so pop in a 1 or 2GB and you're good to go.  Hard drive was a little trickier but still not a problem.  I did both at once and it took about half an hour at most.  Windows 7 installed without incident, except for one issue later resolved (see below).  It now boots up faster than my desktop, taking just about 40 seconds total.  I was able to install and run the graphics intensive MMORPG Aion - it crashed at first and then ran fine after.  FPS was low but playable in one of the busiest areas of the game, and this was with settings from auto-detect, i.e. I can go lower for better performance.  3DMark06 registered a 1600 - this is almost exactly the same as my Macbook Air (which sports a 9400M and 1.86GHz processor) so basically any game I ran there is probably fair game for the Mini.  I installed another game (Spectromancer) which wouldn't work on my previous netbooks due to the resolution limit, and it installed and ran fine.  Hooray!  Other users have already confirmed WoW, Fallout 3, Oblivion, etc and other high end games all run fine on this machine.  I tried some HD video and it looked great as well.  Screen is nice, higher resolution is perfect for this size, and I like the keyboard for the most part.  It is the definitive gaming netbook for the time being.

The Bad:  Build quality seemed a bit shoddy to me.  The back cover was partly popped up.  Removing the cover and looking inside, some of the connections seemed rushed and there was some black tape over one of the cables which just looked flat out cheap.  This is about par for netbooks, though - I guess I was hoping HP would be a little better than the rest.  The packaging and manual were easily the worst of all the netbook (or netbook like) products I've purchased (mostly from Asus).  No driver or restore disks included and the manual was pathetic.  The weight felt a bit on the heavy side considering it's just over 3 pounds; I guess the chunky battery gives it kind of an illusion of being heavier than it really is.  The swirl pattern on the top is kind of annoying.  All in all - don't expect anything special or any bells and whistles; this is barebones at its barest.

The Ugly: After installing Windows 7, the WIRELESS was non-functional.  I don't know if it was because I chose the Wireless N option card, but in any case HP had no drivers available and their support was utterly and completely worthless.  Thank god for the internets, some folks eventually found the part number and driver - on HP's own servers no less, and it's working fine now.  The competency of the support staff made me want to cry.

- - -

I'll probably write up something in more detail on my blog, specifically comparing this to the MBA.  But first impressions are very good, aside from the disappointment with HP as a company (so sad what has happend to what used to be one of the most highly respected engineering companies in existence).  Essentially I consider the Ion chipset + higher resolution screen a game changer in the ultra-portable market.  I actually don't think the new HP is smart enough to understand what they have here, essentially having made the same graphics/gaming leap that Apple did when they first got ahold of the 9400M.  But at netbook pricing!  As mentioned earlier, it's the leading gaming netbook to date.
3122  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [Photography] Robert Kawika Sheer on: October 12, 2009, 04:58:37 AM
It's not often you'll see me pimping any form of artwork, but this guy does some really visually interesting stuff.   My partner caught him at an art show a few weeks back and was intrigued by the "star trail" image below:



It doesn't look as cool shrunk like this, but on a "live" large print it is very impressive.  Another image I like is this one:



which for some reason feels kind of eery and sexy at the same time.  I like this type of photography which evokes something at first glance but brings you back to look at it closer to find different details from each viewing.

We met the artist and his wife today (he's originally from Hawaii but now lives really near where we do in LA), and they showed us a lot of his work, while revealing some of the tricks and stories involving the many pieces of work.  I thought it was cool that he does all his photos without any digital enhancement; the tree with star trails was taken with a 6 hour exposure.  He creates other light and shadow effects all with human models or flashlights, and has a fun sense of humor and spirituality integrating aliens and angels and other figures into what would otherwise be just some really great natural shots.

I won't belabor the pimpage, but if you are interested in this kind of alternate take on photography, check out his website at:

www.sheerentertainment.com

and keep in mind that the images definitely look much more impressive printed in full/large size and framed, etc.  The website only shows a small sampling; they also sell a coffee table book which gives a much better look at his body of work.
3123  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age is looking good! on: October 08, 2009, 05:24:55 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on October 08, 2009, 04:05:47 PM

http://www.gamingtrend.com/News/news.php?NewsID=14405

Part 1 (including my interview with the founders of Bioware) is up!  I'll take questions and answer what I can.

(Also, FYI - I had the flu pretty bad so hopefully it doesn't sound too bad)

Probably not what you wanted to hear from me, but I think your voice sounds pretty sexy, and kind of younger than I'd imagined Tongue  One of the Bioware guys I can't really hear or understand, though - I thought he might be sick.  How come they don't have funny Canadian accents?  I love when I hear "aboot".
3124  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Guild Wars 2 on: October 06, 2009, 09:39:15 PM

Quote from: Harkonis on August 20, 2009, 05:42:58 PM

The trailer looks like it was done by the art crew from Disciples.

I still dont' see anything that leads me to believe this will be a true mmo.  They said GW was an mmo also before it came out and technically I guess it is.

I want a game with Guild Wars type system of combat but with open areas instead of every non-city place being an instance.

Not exactly what you are asking for but hopefully it will feel close:

Quote
World PvP will allow you to play characters of any level, using the skills that you have in your possession at that particular time. It is intended to be a more relaxed bridging point between PvE and structured PvP. It will be on a larger scale than the original Guild Wars PvP with large battles which could take place over a long period with people coming and going.

Each battle will have a number of different objectives which can be met such as taking guard towers or defending choke points or joining a larger battle to take a castle. Battles will take place in the Mists.

Victory in World PvP will confer benefits to your world. This may include improved drop rates, better energy regeneration or other bonuses.
3125  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: So, I've unsubscribed AION and re-subscribed to... on: October 06, 2009, 09:35:34 PM
While I completely agree that AoC did a great job with Tortage 1-20, I'd also have to ask if you are looking for a great personal story/experience that changes with what character class you play, why not just play a single player RPG (Gothic, Morrowind, any Bioware game, etc)?  I still think there is a disconnect in the whole RPG genre when it comes to MMO vs SP.  Naturally, most of us want to feel "important" (or integral) within a deep, rich storyline - we want to change and affect the world and have an impact on it and other characters.  But these desires seem to be in direct conflict with offering an MMO experience, where everything in the commonly experienced world (or instance as it may be) is designed to "reset" so everyone can experience it.  Some games like GW, DDO or AoC have offered pre and post versions of an area to show that you've really affected it - a neat concept until you realize that the player who hasn't done the same thing can't share in the experience with you.  You could both be playing at the same real time period and yet be unable to interact because one of you is in a pre and the other the post version of the same city/instance/world.  Thus the immersion from the MMO side can be broken, and again, I often wonder if that is the experience I am looking for, maybe I should stick with single player games.  

Sorry to derail, just got me thinking.
3126  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Zombieland on: October 05, 2009, 05:52:13 PM
Thumbs up for me too - very funny, very entertaining, and great performances all around!

Best zombie fun since Shaun of the Dead.
3127  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Anyone recommend any of this season's new series? on: October 05, 2009, 05:45:40 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on October 02, 2009, 12:18:01 AM

Quote from: hepcat on October 01, 2009, 05:49:03 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on October 01, 2009, 03:48:34 AM

Quote from: CeeKay on October 01, 2009, 12:41:59 AM

Quote from: rittchard on October 01, 2009, 12:37:27 AM

Vampire is actually fairly entertaining, but I'm looking forward to them advancing the mythology (as has been hinted at) and getting more "Buffy-like" as has also been promised.  So for fans of the original MP I'd say it's a yes, and for fans of Buffy I'd say Vampire is worth a look.

dammit, I was happily ignoring the series until you had to go and say that.

Eh, I'd say keep ignoring it.  My wife watches it so I've seen a fair amount of all of the episodes and so far I see it still seems to be heavily pandering to the Twilight crowd (hence my wife's interest). 

I sat through the first episode.  Then I went outside and slammed my penis in the door.  Between the two, I felt that the latter was more fun.

figured I'd tune in for an episode.  so far we got vampires walking around in the daylight.

It's explained - they have some magic ring that allows for it.  They have made it clear that they are going with more traditional vampire rules; in fact Boone flat out says "Anne Rice got it right" while poking fun at Twilight's vampire system. 

The last episode you can finally see some of the seeds they are sowing.  The witch descendent is growing in power (she lights a room full of candles), the townspeople have an assembly of leaders prepped to fight the vampires, and allusions are made to the original townsfolk (including our 2 vampires). 

It's moving a little slower than I'd like, but it's really not fair because I'm still thinking in Buffy/Angel mode.  Both those shows had reasonably rough starts to get their mythology and storylines cracking, so I'm willing to give these guys a season (or at least a half) to get into the groove.  I'm almost ready to recommend it to some vampire fan friends.  If they can just push the envelope a little further...
3128  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Sound off if you're planning... on: October 02, 2009, 06:24:10 PM
Traditionally I've upgraded almost every new cycle (or every other cycle).  I would resist a while and then give in.  So I put "wait and see" just because I have so little self control.  But if you asked me about it right now, I'd have to wonder what the point is.  There's nothing out there right now that's taxing my system at all, and it seems like the trend in software is moving backwards toward lower end compatibility.  I'm really losing the urge/interest in high end graphics hardware, as I really don't see any need whatsoever.  This is definitely a problem I think for the hardware guys, as if they can't even get ME interested/excited, they are going to need to do some real work.  Are there any games upcoming that are pushing the envelope software-wise?
3129  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: October 02, 2009, 06:15:46 PM

Quote from: YellowKing on October 02, 2009, 04:52:26 PM

I plan on being there, and as far as I  know Rittch is still on board. I actually got a couple of my Tursin/Krall stuff done via pickup groups this week but I don't mind helping you guys finish up. I still have a couple more myself to knock out.

I told Kub I would try to be home around 8pm EST, so maybe we could start (hopefully) around 8:30 or 9pm depending on queues and when people arrive.  I think we all have the beginning stuff done so we can meet up at one of the higher level entrances (observatory or holy ground).  We can always come in and out, I don't know how "deep" you have to go/stay.  I still have plenty to do: Marks, rations, chiefs, some other crap I don't remember.

Is the xp group level limit confirmed to be 5 levels - if so we could potentially bring along people lvls 16 (or 17) and above?  I think Kub is 21, not sure on everyone else.
3130  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Glee on: October 02, 2009, 05:55:09 PM

Quote from: EddieA on October 02, 2009, 06:12:07 AM

Quote from: rittchard on October 01, 2009, 05:25:00 PM

from Kristin Chenowith (last seen on the pie show)

that "pie show"?  It's called Pushing Daisies.  Show some respect!   slywink

LOL I just remembered it on the walk in from work.  BTW, if you really like the music (and Kristin), I recommended purchasing the duet of "Alone" from her and the teacher on iTunes.  I never thought of Alone as a song you could do a male/female duet with but they make it work amazingly well, and I think this is the best he has sounded.  Kristin is perfect and the overall version is wonderful.  I wish they had shown a more complete version during the episode, but I guess it's nice to have the "full" audio version available.
3131  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Stargate Universe on: October 02, 2009, 05:52:40 PM

Quote from: Kagath on October 02, 2009, 04:59:50 PM

Quote from: Daehawk on October 02, 2009, 04:06:45 PM

I liked Atlantis. We didn't need this show. I hate SYFY.
This.

Yes but this one has an Asian Lesbian in it. BAM!!!
3132  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age Countdown on: October 01, 2009, 10:25:41 PM

Quote from: marcusjm on October 01, 2009, 09:56:32 PM

Lots of videos released to Marketplace today and the excitement rises by alot.

So anyone already counting the days until release? I hope the multiplayer is flexible enough to allow
for play with some GT.ers smile.

Wasn't it confirmed that Dragon Age had no multiplayer element, or was I confused?
3133  Gaming / Portable Gaming & Apps / Re: iPhone/iTouch app and game thread on: October 01, 2009, 06:22:22 PM

Quote from: Simon on October 01, 2009, 04:44:39 PM

Quote from: rittchard on September 30, 2009, 01:58:52 AM

Not sure if this one was mentioned earlier, but another strong Diablo clone, Dungeon Hunter.  Reviews look good so far and the gameplay footage seems solid.  Why don't some developers make some more clones for the PC or other consoles?  This is like the 3rd (or more?) Diablo clone on the iPhone/Touch.

http://ifones.com/dungeon-hunter-finally-returns-to-the-app-store/

I'm really enjoying it. The gameplay is straight forward hack-n-slash and looting, but the graphics look fantastic and overall it's really well done. I didn't like the virtual stick to control my character though, fortunately you can turn it off and just touch to move. Other than that, it's an addicting little Diablo clone and worth checking out (and if the price drops then definitely grab it).

Agreed!  I've only started it but it definitely has a great Diablo-like feel to it.  Only complaint so far is the longish load time, plus it looks like your progress into the dungeon is not saved at the exact spot (xp and loot is) when you need to stop.  My guess is it will have waypoints or something that you save at.

Here's another review:

http://toucharcade.com/2009/09/30/the-dungeon-hunter-review/
3134  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: October 01, 2009, 05:34:03 PM

Quote from: Arclight on October 01, 2009, 01:25:10 PM

I love this about life. Life refuses to be put into a neat little box. The ambiance, the intangibles, the surprises of life is what I love about my time on this planet.  icon_lol

Wow, that's an awesome quote for the day, seriously I love it, I'm putting it on my Twitter for my 5 followers to enjoy smile 

- - -

YK, that's so funny about the number sequence, I find it is exactly the same for me, and btw, similar to what that one guy wrote on his early review.  In fact I was annoyed early on when I had a missing fraction of a second where I could not mash a key because everything was recharging.  Now I've just about got it so I can hit my number sequence with impunity, as long as I don't get interrupted  icon_biggrin
3135  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pay Per Hour/Time MMO? on: October 01, 2009, 05:29:52 PM

Quote from: Daehawk on October 01, 2009, 12:34:27 AM

I would never buy/play/pay for a per min/hour MMO.

What if it was Diablo MMO??!?!   icon_twisted icon_twisted icon_twisted

But seriously, what if it was as I suggested, a quarter an hour?  Or a dime?  Is it the dollar amount that bothers you or the concept itself?  Just curious. 

I'm not saying I love the idea btw, I just think it might be an interesting alternative if done correctly.  I like that it would put pressure on developers to make sure you can get online.  I also like that it would punish gold spammers and farmers.
3136  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Glee on: October 01, 2009, 05:25:00 PM
Now THAT was an episode!!!!

Last night's show was an epic that rivaled (and perhaps surpassed) the original premiere.  Multiple musical numbers, including a stunning performance of Queen's "Somebody to Love" and an awesome take on Carrie Underwood's "Last Name" from Kristin Chenowith (last seen on the pie show).  The duet between the teacher and her on Alone was also awesome.  Just an all around great musical night for the show, and very little about the pregnancy or the sabotage.  This is what the show should be like every week but I suspect they will only do these "big" episodes every 4 or 5 to make them feel more special. 

On the acting side, I loved seeing Finn run his seduction scheme, that was about as hot a come on as a dumb jock could pull off.  I love the actor and I think he does a great job coming across awkward and vulnerable and dorky but still adorably cute.  Kristin is awesome, she needs her own show.  I do hope they bring her back again.  Also the counselor chick was great.

Big thumbs up again!!!
3137  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Anyone recommend any of this season's new series? on: October 01, 2009, 12:37:27 AM
Glee is great but may be kind of niche.  If you like adult-ish themes in a high school environment (Freaks n Geeks) and/or crazy cool musical numbers, it may be your cup of tea.  (BTW tonight's ep features that awesome Kristin Chenowith(?) from Pushing Daisies).

Modern Family and Cougar Town both look like fun comedies based on the premieres.

Flash Forward looks like a big thumbs up if you enjoy a different kind of drama with sci-fi elements.

Jury is still out for me on Melrose Place and Vampire Diaries.  Melrose is campy fun, and they are using a lot of the old timers, so fans of the original should enjoy it.  Heather Locklear recently signed on so that's a big plus.  Vampire is actually fairly entertaining, but I'm looking forward to them advancing the mythology (as has been hinted at) and getting more "Buffy-like" as has also been promised.  So for fans of the original MP I'd say it's a yes, and for fans of Buffy I'd say Vampire is worth a look.
3138  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pay Per Hour/Time MMO? on: October 01, 2009, 12:32:58 AM

Quote from: MaxSteele on September 30, 2009, 08:55:03 PM

Quote from: rittchard on September 30, 2009, 01:27:31 AM

Quote from: MaxSteele on September 29, 2009, 11:15:34 PM

A big con I see is changing the attitude on the development side.

If MMOs started charging per hour, I would want dedicated GM support, a 24-hour help desk with any issues I had, and unique live events happening on the server I played on.

Why shouldn't we want these things even now with the standard $15/month?  There are plenty of free to play games that can offer similar gameplay these days, so shouldn't we be expecting more from games that we are paying for?  What exactly are we getting for our monthly fee?  

Yes, we should want these now, but we're not getting them.  And yet people are still paying $15 a month for what they're getting.

For the monthly fee you're getting an always-updating game and servers that are ran for you to play the game.  You're also getting the ability to play with thousands of other people at the same time.

And the free to play games are still making money off of the 10% of players who buy items in their store.  If they weren't making money, they wouldn't exist.

This is true, but from what I've seen the difference between overall "quality" between free to play and pay to play is decreasing dramatically.  Everything you mention above for the monthly fee I could say the same thing about Runes of Magic.  And from what I played of RoM, I definitely felt like I could get considerably more hours of fun without paying a single cent.
3139  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: October 01, 2009, 12:30:35 AM

Quote from: skystride on September 30, 2009, 05:12:03 PM

Quote from: Harkonis on September 30, 2009, 03:23:13 AM

there is character customization, you just haven't got there yet.  check out stigmas while you wait in a queue.  guess I'm just defending the game again by pointing out facts though. ;P

Well it remains to be seen how versatile the Stigma system is.  One of the biggest complaint in beta was lack of class customization.  They responded to it by increasing the slots from 3.  I haven't done in-depth research on it, but it still seems like customization is limited compared to what we are used to in other MMOs.

My other comment to this is why in the design put the customization so far down the line?  For an average player, I believe the level time to hit 20 will be in the 20-30 hour range (it's hard for me to gauge how much time I've actually been in game).  So why withhold a fun/critical element of an RPG for so long?  It's like not getting sex til the 6th date  Tongue  OK so you say it's built for the long term - but then I'd ask are the developers deliberately trying to dissuade casual players from playing?
3140  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: September 30, 2009, 05:18:32 AM

Quote from: Harkonis on September 30, 2009, 03:23:13 AM

there is character customization, you just haven't got there yet.  check out stigmas while you wait in a queue.  guess I'm just defending the game again by pointing out facts though. ;P

You know, at least some of the advanced information they could have explained in the MANUAL, or at least mentioned it.  I love the box but the manual was sooooooo skimpy.  Some of us old folks still like to read hard copy material you know.

And besides, these were just impressions from 1-20, so it wouldn't make sense to talk  about things I hadn't experienced yet.
3141  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: September 30, 2009, 02:51:29 AM
Aion Impressions while I wait:

So since I have an extra hour of time on my hands, I thought it might be a good time to put down some early impressions of Aion.

Here's the short version: this game has an intangible, addictive old-school feel and quality to it, leaving me inexplicably wanting to play it more. For the first time in a long while, I actually can't wait to get home to play an MMO. It's gorgeous to look at and has a lot of nice small touches that make for an overall fun and even at times relaxing gaming experience.

Now for some hard critique. If you are looking for a rosy review, stop here because it's going to get ugly fast.

Technical - I am not playing the game at the moment because for the umpteenth time I am sitting and waiting in a player queue. I don't recall this kind of fun since the early days of WoW's release, and that was very short lived. I've also never experienced such long queues. Very typically they are over an hour. Today it's TWO plus hours. On top of this there have been sporadic server crashes. So if I had to estimate the percentage time I've been playing compared to the time I intended to be playing, it's probably around 75%, and this only because I was able to sneak in a lot of time over the weekend and after prime time (we are on an east coast server). Fanboys will say this is part of the design and is important for the longterm survival of the game, or that I am being "naive" for having any other expectations. As a paying customer, I call BS on that - I need to be able to login during the spare hours that I am able to, or the $50 I spent (and the $15/month they want from me) is worthless. Every moment I can't is like a denial of service. I wouldn't tolerate this from my phone, ISP, or TV service, or during a movie or for pretty much any other paid service, so why should I be forced to endure it for this? Just because it's an MMORPG and I should have known better? I don't think so. Other paid services measure their reliability in the 90+ percentiles; I think MMO companies need to start being held to similar standards if they want their customers to pay a monthly fee.

On the bright side, the game looks and sounds great, and I have run into very few bugs or hardware related crashes. Also very little lag or issues of that nature (which I'm told is directly related to the queue system). When I am in the game, aside from a server crash or 2, it has felt remarkably stable, so I will give kudos to that.

Gameplay - at the outset, this is essentially yet another combo of many/most the MMOs we've played, blending elements from DAOC, WoW, WAR, FFXI, Lineage, other Asian MMOS, etc etc. There are 4 starter classes which you can branch into 2, leaving you 8 class choices, and 2 races to start on. The first 10 levels are in a fairly independent area, basically a primer for MMO players to get used to the interface. A campaign ties the gameplay neatly together with a storyline intent on having you remember your past to recover your true future. Side quests galore are doled out as per usual, with the generic find X, get X, fedex system fully in play. Still, some of the quests have a bit more personality than others, and the main campaign is different enough to keep you engaged. There's nothing new here, but it's well done. After the starter levels, you graduate to your "main" class and enter the next phase of gameplay. You also get your "wings" - but soon enough you'll find they are limited in use, as apparently certain areas do not allow you to fly.

The next phase (where I'm currently at) is from 10-20, and continues the PvE experience with more quests and levelling. Make no mistake, there is a "grind" factor to it, no matter how much fans of the game might want to argue differently or shield the game from the dreaded "g" word. Honestly, whether you want to take "grind" as a negative or not is up to you. The fact is if you play this game, you WILL spend time killing X of particular mobs, gathering X of certain resources, and then repeating to get enough xp or skill level to move on to the next area to find more quests. Or you won't progress, simple as that. Quest rewards and xp can be very generous, but it is also possible to level just "grinding" on mobs. Certain quests will require you to gather X of certain material, which means you have to have enough skill to do so, i.e. you may be forced to return to older areas to "grind" your gathering skill. To make matters worse, you have little to nothing to look forward to each level. After 10 you don't get any new skills or spells til every THIRD level. I used to hate it being every 2 in most games, so 3 just seems retarded. Worse, you get no stat boosts or points to play with whatsoever in the interim levels, the best you get is maybe access to a new piece of gear. The only way I've seen to differentiate myself thus far is through choice of gear and "manastones" - boosts which you can slot into most gear. There are varied boosts such as more HP, more mana, higher magical attack, +parry, +evasion, etc, so you can kind of tailor your gear a certain way. It's a nice system, but it's no substitute for a more robust class differentiation system.

There is little group-required content until the late teens, but obviously it's always more fun and easier to work together to complete quests or take on higher level mobs. I haven't done enough grouping to understand the group xp system (as in whether there are boosts to make it worth your while). So thus far I haven't seen any teamwork aspects. Hopefully these will be more prevalent in the later levels.

Now I do have to say that although normally all these things would drive me insane and make me want to shred my game DVDs, there's something oddly addictive in the gameplay that makes it all feel OK and forgivable. Even as I grind one mob after another, I get an odd sense of relief and relaxation that I can't quite explain. So in this case, I'm not construing the basic pve level grind as a negative.

I have yet to experience the PvP (or the advertised PvPvE) so we'll save that for another day.

Summary - this game has almost all of the "features" that I typcially criticize in new games (death penalties, time sinks, level grinds, lack of character differentiation, I could go on and on), but somehow it all feels forgivable for lack of a better word, with the exception of the inexcusable queue times rendering me unable to play - leaving me bitter and helpless to do nothing but post on forums  icon_twisted
3142  Gaming / Portable Gaming & Apps / Re: iPhone/iTouch app and game thread on: September 30, 2009, 01:58:52 AM
Not sure if this one was mentioned earlier, but another strong Diablo clone, Dungeon Hunter.  Reviews look good so far and the gameplay footage seems solid.  Why don't some developers make some more clones for the PC or other consoles?  This is like the 3rd (or more?) Diablo clone on the iPhone/Touch.

http://ifones.com/dungeon-hunter-finally-returns-to-the-app-store/
3143  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: September 30, 2009, 01:28:53 AM

Quote from: YellowKing on September 30, 2009, 12:32:26 AM

And WTF Aion - a TWO HOUR queue when I tried to log in at 8pm EST tonight. I thought things were getting better. Apparently it's the exact opposite.

LMAO.  2 hours 10 minutes for me.  Yeah just keep defending them Hark  icon_wink
3144  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pay Per Hour/Time MMO? on: September 30, 2009, 01:27:31 AM

Quote from: MaxSteele on September 29, 2009, 11:15:34 PM

A big con I see is changing the attitude on the development side.

If MMOs started charging per hour, I would want dedicated GM support, a 24-hour help desk with any issues I had, and unique live events happening on the server I played on.

Why shouldn't we want these things even now with the standard $15/month?  There are plenty of free to play games that can offer similar gameplay these days, so shouldn't we be expecting more from games that we are paying for?  What exactly are we getting for our monthly fee? 
3145  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Pay Per Hour/Time MMO? on: September 29, 2009, 09:02:21 PM
During our semi-heated debate on queue's and MMO developer's responsibilities, etc., Hark mentioned some Asian (?) MMOs use a pay by the hour system.  I've never heard of that but I'm wondering what people think about it.  I could see that it would be bad for hardcore players, but if priced fairly it would seem to be a win for most casual players.  It would certainly encourage developers to make sure their game was getting people online and playing as much as possible.  In terms of balance, it would make it so players would have to spend both time and money - possibly evening out some level disparities that arise from players who have no time constraints.  I think it would help to contain gold farmers and possibly bots as well.

As for pricing, I was thinking something along the lines of $0.25 per hour.  So for semi-casual players that play 2hrs/night, it ends up being very close to the conventional $15/month. 

What are some other pros and cons?  Would you encourage a developer to go this route in the US?
3146  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dollhouse Season 2 on: September 29, 2009, 08:54:52 PM

Quote from: hepcat on September 29, 2009, 07:57:43 PM

that's hysterical...I honestly thought Bamber was American this whole time.  While I was watching his episode of Dollhouse, I remember thinking, "That accent isn't very convincing.".   icon_lol

A friend and I were having the same discussion yesterday and we both thought his accent faded in and out.  Also I'm not sure but I think Wesley was faking the British accent, i.e. that was his real accent in the episode?

Also on a side note, I don't think I'm going crazy as I've now rewound it like 5 times, when Faith enters Ballard's secret hideout, she takes off her shoes and refers to her "fucking stilletos" - does anyone still have it on DVR and can verify or not?  Maybe it's a different word?
3147  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Glee on: September 28, 2009, 05:43:28 PM

Quote from: raydude on September 28, 2009, 03:13:18 PM

I like this show. I have to wonder though, is this like High School Musical for adults?

No, more like High School Musical for actual high school age people (and above).  HSM is for pre-teens and below.   Tongue
3148  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Flash Forward on: September 27, 2009, 07:57:18 PM

Quote from: Jiffy on September 26, 2009, 02:03:56 AM

I liked it, and will keep watching it.

I also enjoyed the Oceanic airlines advertisement in the background in one scene.

Cute homage!  Also enjoyed the kangaroo (which I'm guessing will have a simple explanation like it came out of the LA Zoo).

As much as the show has been framed to be the successor to Lost, aside from the opening confusion sequence (Very reminiscent of Jack in the Lost premiere), the rest of the show really didn't feel too Lost-ish, which is fine even for a rabid Lost fan like myself.  I suppose the thematic issues of destiny/fate will be explored, but that's just a small part of Lost, where here it's likely to be the primary theme for the characters.  That said, I love Penny and I can't wait for Charlie to show up  Tongue
3149  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Dollhouse Season 2 on: September 27, 2009, 07:51:17 PM
I thought it was pretty enjoyable, some hints toward the Epitaph One futureline but nothing too overt.  It did seem a little disjointed and my concern is it might be completely inaccessible to new fans, unless they just want to see cheap hints at hot girl on girl action.  Speaking of which, even though I am gay, I still want to see a Summer Glau on Eliza Dushku on Amy Acker 3-way scene.  3 hot long dark haired ass kicking chicks all in one scene would make your TV explode.  Come on, you know you want it too!!!

As much as I love Faith, it's becoming clear that the other actresses (Amy Acker, Olivia Williams and the Brit/Asian chick) are all better actresses, which is making it difficult to spotlight her as the lead.  Hopefully they can find storylines that play to her strengths (ass kicking and bitchy reparte) because some of her Dollhouse roles are kind of painful to watch.

On an unrelated note, I rewound twice on the scene where she is taking off her high heels, and I can swear she says "fucking heels".  Since no one else noticed this, I'm guessing I just heard it wrong.
3150  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: September 26, 2009, 05:19:18 AM
Remember folks, if you like it then be sure to put an earring on it.




(If you look closely you will see that even the earrings are animated when you equip them!  And wtf is that fluffy pink shoulderpad they gave me to wear?  I was promised CHAIN armor!)
3151  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Pandorum on: September 25, 2009, 09:13:29 PM
Anyone gonna see this?  I need a GT review, stat!
3152  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Glee on: September 25, 2009, 09:12:47 PM

Quote from: PeteRock on September 25, 2009, 04:53:57 PM

This week's Beyonce football dance number was one of the funniest things I've seen on TV in a long time.  I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes.  Absolutely hysterical.  But I felt that this week's episode focused too much on the baby crap and I really wanted the show to focus more on music.  The underlying baby stories are awful and they're already wearing thin on my patience.  The rest of the show is really fun, but the baby stories are terrible and are really ruining the show for me.

I agree.  I could do without the baby storylines, and honestly I'm getting a little annoyed with the sabotage stuff as well.  I mean, they have enough going against them already without dealing with that craziness, and constantly having one of the "Big 3" (teacher and 2 leads) threatening to quit.  There is more than enough material to farm just from the characters themselves, and doing more singing.  Of course Jane Lynch and Stephen Toblowsky are pretty damn funny, so I guess they need something to do.

I still love the show, but I find myself loving certain elements and getting annoyed at others.  The coming out storyline on its own was excellent, funny and touching, particularly with the folding in of the Beyonce/football sequence.  The baby stuff and the sabotage is starting to wear on me - I just wanna see these guys perform.  Next week's preview looked promising.
3153  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Aion Open Beta starts September 6th on: September 25, 2009, 09:05:09 PM

Quote from: skystride on September 24, 2009, 07:21:49 PM

Quote from: Hotfreak on September 24, 2009, 07:03:47 PM

Aion unearths some buried EQ feeling for me when I PvE.  Back then, the idea of rushing didn't really enter my mind.  I was just excited to play a rpg with a bunch of other humans online.  And in 3D!  Just running and gliding around the environments in Aion, feeling its danger and beauty makes it very pleasant even if I am only killing 90 Tempest Spirits and 48 Frost Wind Spirits and searching for resources to gather.

Yeah, I played EQ and I'm getting the same vibe too.  Being a jaded MMO gamer, I can't really think of one great thing to say about Aion.  However, I still can't wait to get back home and play it.  Weird.

This is the same thing with me.  This game has pretty much every thing in it about MMOs I typically criticize and hate (grind, repetitive gameplay, limited skills/customization, standard kill X/get X/fedex questing, questing with little to no consequence, etc etc).  And yet all day all I can think about is when I can get home to play it again.  Oh wait, I mean, sit in the queue for an hour and THEN play it.  Maybe the queue is the magic of the game - by denying me the ability to play, the more I want to play it. 

I dunno, somehow it ultimately has some bizarre calming, almost comforting appeal to me, even as I grind away mindlessly on silly crab mobs.
3154  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: What I'd like in an mmo on: September 25, 2009, 08:59:33 PM
I've spouted this out in much more detail on other forums, but this is what I'd like to see in an MMO:

Quote
I'd love to see an "emergent AI" or "evolutionary AI" that would allow AI NPCs to evolve completely on their own, to grow, change, build, develop cultures and lifestyles, even politics, live and die 100% without any interaction. Kind of like The Sims mixed with Oblivion, but taken to the next level, and with more significance in terms of time passage and independence of the AI. The growth and AI would continue on and evolve. Then as real players we could come and interact with the NPCs/towns and affect and change their world. I want to enter a virtual world that actually feels like a living breathing changing world without any reliance on human players.

The only MMORPGs which have truly created a version of an independent evolving world were Shadowbane (and I think Darkfall though I didn't play it).  But the depth of the worlds in these pure sandbox games was too reliant on the players, and eventually there's only so much you can do with building cities and tearing them down.  On some level I still want to interact with an interesting and crafted world that is not 100% player defined (though I would encourage the use of player built content a la CoH).  And allow that world to have a history, but continue to develop its own history through random events, AI, and eventually the player's interactions with it.  I want a world that evolves and changes and reacts to the players, and I want players' actions to have consequences.

I am really tired of the paradigm in current MMOs of doing long complex quests or killing super NPCs or mobs but having absolutely no consequence, as they pop right back up for the next guy to kill or re-enact.  I'm really looking to see what Bioware is going to do with their heavily story based concept and consequences for choices.  Will these consequences reflect the entire world, or will it still be individualized?
3155  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Aion Open Beta starts September 6th on: September 24, 2009, 01:07:33 AM
In the mean time, just got home, rushed to login and....  1 hour queue.  By the time I get in it will be time to logoff for dinner again.  Lovely.
3156  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: September 23, 2009, 11:33:14 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on September 18, 2009, 02:32:01 PM

Here's Laptop's initial take on the HP Mini 311 Ion Netbook mentioned by rittchard:
http://blog.laptopmag.com/hands-on-with-the-hp-mini-311-ion-netbbok
Not much detail yet as they haven't received a test unit. It is nice that the price is netbook appropriate ($399), and that it'll ship (eventually, late October they say, after shipping with Windows XP initially) with Windows 7 Premium rather than "Starter Edition" though I wonder if the switch from XP to Windows 7 might bump up its price.

OK I bit the bullet and put one on order, I just couldn't help myself.  I upgraded to the N280 and Wireless N so it was another $50 plus taxes, eek.  Supposed to be built/shipped around 10/2, so I'll give some impressions after I get it.  Hopefully will be able to upgrade the RAM as easily as the Asus.
3157  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Book] The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins on: September 23, 2009, 11:27:30 PM

Quote from: Belhazamar on September 23, 2009, 04:31:20 AM

I've read it and the sequel Catching Fire.  Both were good, though the second started out a just a bit slow.  As for what age, I guess it would depend on the child, but 7-9th grade should be appropriate.  (I work in a Jr. High and a lot of kids there are reading it.)

There is already a movie in the works.

Thanks for the info and recommendation, I'll probably lend it to my niece at some point then.  It's surprisingly brutal if you stop to think about it, but the violence is more left to your imagination, very well done IMHO.
3158  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season Four details leaking out on: September 23, 2009, 11:25:29 PM

Quote from: msteelers on September 23, 2009, 09:10:23 PM

As for your other points, they did all of those...poorly. There was the guy referenced at the end of season one, who I think ended up being Peter's father. Mohinder was a bad guy for awhile, along with Nathan, Tracy...hell, pretty much all of the main characters. Sylar even became "good" for awhile.

That's always been my biggest beef with the show, with the writing and absolutely incredible inconsistency of it.  It's hard for viewers to buy into characters and plotlines when they change personality on you at the drop of a dime, and in this case, change powers, change amount of powers, change the "rules" of powers.  It seemed like the writers/producers stopped having any responsibility to anything they put up on the screen.  When it's convenient they do it one way, when it's not, they just change it to the way they want, and no one holds them responsible.  I think at some point it just becomes insulting (not to mention confusing) for the audience, and even die hard superhero/scifi fans like myself are left shaking our head. 

Here's a great example: when Ando finally got his powers, they were very clear to show he had a "booster" power that made, for instance, the fast girl even faster.  Then without any explanation or acknowledgment, now he has "red lightning" as his power.  Huh?  Or Peter - does anyone have any idea what powers he has and how he gets them?  Is it proximity based?  Can he only have one at a time, as was implied at some point?  My guess is they will continue to change the rules however they see fit.  It's all a bit aggravating.
3159  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Aion Open Beta starts September 6th on: September 23, 2009, 11:15:03 PM

Quote from: skystride on September 23, 2009, 10:53:05 PM

Quote from: Harkonis on September 23, 2009, 10:36:58 PM

Any number of Asian MMO's have the same or greater number of vendors, and it's not to avoid being logged out.

There are a few that you literally could not see the floor or npcs in any towns because of shops.

I don't think it has anything to do with Asians.  The game allows it so people will use it.  EQ1 allowed vendors in a zone and it was always packed.  If you mean more Asian MMOs have this feature than western MMOs then you may be correct, I'm not sure since I didn't play that many other Asian MMO.

I think he was implying that the large number of vendors was not a legitimate excuse (by itself) for the excessive q times, or at least that's what I thought he meant.
3160  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Aion - Official Server = Lumiel, Faction = Elyios on: September 23, 2009, 05:32:05 AM
Finally got in late!

Rittchard - Priest
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