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3201  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online patch 1.2.1 preview on: March 31, 2009, 05:44:20 PM

Quote from: skystride on March 31, 2009, 04:55:51 PM

Quote from: Razgon on March 31, 2009, 01:08:46 PM

I can guarentee you that there are people with a doctorate in both communication and in psychology attached to major game developement companies today, to ensure that you play their MMO's the most, and KEEP playing them.

Its no coincidence they are structurered the way they are.

They should fire those psychologists because they obviously don't have a clue.  They add grind to the game after 20+ but then 90% of the population quit once they reach this stage.  Good idea!  If only they realized that you can keep people playing a long time by allowing them to play various alts, the game has 22 class.. people could be playing for a really long time.  Instead they resort to the grind methodology which obviously isn't working for Warhammer.

It's funny I posted on the official forums my suggestion of "extreme levelling xp increase" (my proposal long story short was to level to 40 in about 40-50 hours under "normal" play) - and the majority of responses said it was too fast, blah blah blah.  Or that it would just make people reach boring T4 faster.  Unfortunately it felt like no one really got my point, which was to ensure you were always having the same feeling of fun and progression at T4 as you were at T1.  But anyway...
3202  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: March 31, 2009, 12:23:28 AM
Posted in the other thread as well but I wanted to keep this one current/fresh:

http://www.engadget.com/2009/03/30/dell-finally-adds-720p-lcd-option-to-inspiron-mini-10/

Dell has what I think is the first full 720p screen.  I think a couple of people here were waiting for true 720p resolution.
3203  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Best Netbook? on: March 31, 2009, 12:21:49 AM
Looks like Dell is offering native 1366x768 resolution (for full 720p).  I believe they are the first netbook to have that available?  Plus it seems to be lighter than many of the present offerings:

http://www.engadget.com/2009/03/30/dell-finally-adds-720p-lcd-option-to-inspiron-mini-10/

Tradeoff looks like poor battery life and GMA 500 graphics and I think a worse processor (not sure on this  Z520 or Z530).  Kind of odd to have all around poorer specs but the best screen resolution.
3204  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elemental: War of Magic on: March 30, 2009, 06:35:59 PM
I don't want to get myself too excited since it seems like such a long time til release.  MoM is/was one of my all time favorite games and this seems like it will be as good or better.  Of course I already pre-ordered hoping to get some beta action.
3205  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 30, 2009, 06:33:33 PM
Updated Friend's list (all on Overlord server), please post your name if you are playing!

Ayngel
FalconBF
Vermithrax
Kublai
Makkum
AndDrag (Ayngel's friend)
Cortilian
Rittchard
GrimmReaper
Harkonis
3206  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: March 27, 2009, 08:55:06 PM
LMAO Crawley!

P.S.  Was I the only one who wanted to see a Stevie/Scotty duet?
3207  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: March 27, 2009, 08:49:21 PM
I know it's been said before, but clearly Roper and co. just outstepped their bounds.  They essentially tried to recreate the entirety of what made Blizzard so successful in one fell swoop, forgetting that it took time to build Blizzard up to what it is/was at the time they released.

That said, I still think the majority of people were unable or unwilling to look at Hellgate: London - the game - objectively without getting caught up in Flagship anti-hype or sub models or whatever.  At its core it STILL stands (even as a single player only game) as a strong game, the only full 3D follow-up to the Diablo loot and level, random map, action RPG style of game.  I loaded it up the other day in SP, and it still looks and feels great.  I don't typically like FPS but I loved D2 - somehow the way they blended it felt good to me.  Sure it had some quirks and bugs, but overall a much better game than was given credit for, particularly at the time of release if you include multiplayer mode.
3208  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: March 27, 2009, 06:15:23 PM
Bye bye Oil Rigger, I'll miss your awesome chunktastic "dancing"!

If the judges have their way, Final 3 = Adam, Danny and Allison (as Zinfan notes).  Allison may need some help though since she's already been in the bottom 3, and let's face it, she just isn't that pretty.  Short Round is falling out of favor quickly so 4th and 5th spots might be up for grabs.

I was surprised (kind of) to see Matt in bottom 2, even after all the judges pimping.  But seriously I just don't think he's that great a singer, nor is he nearly as cute as Kris.  Of course Simon's comments are often (purposely?) used as measures for the audience to do the opposite, and I think that helped Megan out this week, and possibly hurt Matt (his fans didn't sense he was in "danger").  Anoop seems to have a fairly set fanbase now, but I always get the sense he's on the brink of a disastrous performance.  Eye Mac is definitely an anomaly, as the sympathy factor is so hard to measure.  Still, his place in the Bottom 3 shows vulnerability.  This of course leaves Megan, who may actually be building on her core fanbase, not to mention rallying the anti-Simons and the VFTW crowd.  Notice she hasn't been in the bottom 3 the past 2 weeks.  I always have the opposite feel (from Anoop) for her, that she's just on the brink of a totally hot breakout performance.  Being the prettiest girl, and pretty much the all around best looking person remaining, shouldn't hurt either.

While I still think last season's overall quality was much higher than this season's, I think this one is shaping up to be interesting and a bit more unpredictable.  While Adam vs Danny seems like a strong bet, there's plenty of time left for that to change.  Adam has the internet/gay factor that can bring him down, and Danny's boring factor (or peak too early, whatever you want to call it) may also come into play.  That definitely opens the door for ugly Allison (with enough judge and producer pimpage), though she's already shown vulnerability, and maybe even Short Round if she can just break out and deliver a "moment".

So no predictions for next week or word on a theme, all they've revealed is Cookie and Gaga performing on April 1:

http://weblogs.newsday.com/entertainment/music/idol/blog/2009/03/american_idols_adam_lambert_vs.html
3209  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 27, 2009, 05:49:41 PM

Quote from: Chaz on March 27, 2009, 03:23:18 PM

I'm tempted, but the collectible aspect of it makes me nervous.  I know you get a certain amount of credit to buy cards in the box, but I'm less crazy about the idea of having my choices restricted unless I spend real-life buckz.  Keeping my eye on it though.

Seems like a lot of people are worried about this aspect.  All I can say is with the base number of points you get (3000), you can buy 2 full "Tomes" for 1250 each and 2 more "booster packs".  Each pack I think has 8 cards, I forget how many packs were in the Tome.  Either way you start off with a ton of cards in your collection (definitely well over 100), considering you are only going to use 20 at a time.  For 2-color decks, it's highly unlikely you won't have enough cards to pick and choose from.  I have about 30-40 hours invested already and have only touched 2 of my 4 colors, and have no idea really what cards I might be "missing" or "needing".  Of course most of my play has been PvE missions.  I haven't felt myself "needing" more cards in the pool to make my playing experience better or more effective (even upon failing missions, see below), but I do feel myself wanting more out of obsessiveness slywink

- - -

Back to the PvE.  The 5th (I think?) solo mission is/was kicking my ass hard.  I failed twice in a row really quickly on first trials.  The early part of the mission requires you keep a certain number of NPC units alive (2 of 6) and I kept losing them all.  Last night I got more serious, and still failed another 3 more times.  Each time I seemed to make a little more progress and learn a little more about the mission, and in between each set I tweaked my deck with 1 or 2 cards, and altered my strategy just a tad.  Normally such failings would drive me away from a game, but in this one it just kept me more motivated.  I love the fact that unlike other RTS games, I can not only change my strategic moves, I can alter what units I bring to the table.  Just one switch in your deck can be a game-changer.  For that matter, I could also have just started from scratch with a completely different deck and color scheme.  Very cool.  By the final time I tried it, I had tweaked and strategized just enough to soundly complete the mission (with all 6 human units surviving!), and it felt gooooooood  smile
3210  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 27, 2009, 05:36:33 PM
I don't know if they do "guilds" or not so I'm just collecting names on my friends list at the moment.  Unfortunately it appears you need to be online to add. 

As with other games, you guys are free to hook up with the Wanderers and use our Vent, etc. for playing this game.  It definitely helps in coordination. 

www.the-wanderers-guild.com

Here's my list of peeps so far (on Overlord server):

Rittchard
Kublai
Ayngel
GrimmReaper
FalconBF
3211  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 26, 2009, 10:24:48 PM

Quote from: Lockdown on March 26, 2009, 08:23:28 PM

Everyone already knows I'm a huge fan of the game from my beta experience, but I won't be able to dig in until Sunday at the earliest due to my work schedule.  I'm really looking forward to it though.  My 1vs1 pvp matches have been a lot of fun.  (except the time I tried a really bizarre deck configuration and got completely and totally destroyed...  icon_neutral)



Will your acct/avatar name be Lockdown?

Mine is, no surprise, Rittchard, so please add me to your friends list! 
3212  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 26, 2009, 05:43:49 PM
If you can get a buddy to partner up with, I think the game can be even more fun.  I've played 2 of the 2-player co-op missions so far with a guildmate.  It's kind of cool how they blend the mission to be both solo and interactive.  The first mission you both kind of move independently and then eventually meet up to kill the big bad.  No surprises but well done map-wise.  The second is much more interesting, there is a gate control that essentially forces you and your teammate to switch off on offense and defense for set amounts of time.  It's an interesting dynamic.  In addition, I like that as long as either of you have a ground unit nearby, both you and your teammate can cast spells to aid the other.  So my partner was able to cast some fireballs to help me offensively, and I was able to help him with some healing spells.  Very cool in an RTS.

While I haven't tried it yet, my friend also said the 2v2 mode was a lot of fun...

- - -

In the mean time, I started the next single player mission and got pwned twice in a row.  Even in Standard difficulty this game can be challenging!
3213  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: March 26, 2009, 05:32:37 PM
Kind of a boring and surprisingly predictable episode for me this week, one of the bigger disappoints of the season thus far...

Spoiler for Hiden:
Any time any one in Lost has been shot and not checked upon to be 100% sure they are dead (or buried alive), they generally survive the experience (see Locke, Patch, the helicopter chick, etc).  Daniel's rule is you can't change what has already happened, so likely in the meta-story the shooting has to happen in order to turn Ben into "Ben". 

Though I'd love to see a Back to the Future-ish plot where they are revising history, I don't think Lost will go this route so Lil Ben should be back soon enough.  Likely he will regenerate or Jack will operate and save him, or the bullet hit some medallion he was wearing lol.
3214  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: March 26, 2009, 05:21:42 PM
Here's my review, stealing the Toe Format (TM):

Adam: This performance for the first time knocked me outta my socks.  I should have presumed he could get in touch with his inner gayosity to pull this out, but I was still caught off guard.  I thought the vocal and the control was excellent (though I would have had him tone it down even more), and it was the first time I thought he might actually be able to pull out a win - if only because he seems to maintain the element of surprise each week and is far more interesting than the other top contenders.  

Allison: Huge improvement over the last two weeks. I agree it was the best female performance of the night though that's not saying much with only 3 girls.  I'm still not a fan though, and it irks me how much the judges and producers are pushing for her.  Clearly they want another Kelly Clarkson to mold in case the real one goes astray again or gets too chubby.

Anoop: Like Toe, I did not care much for his performance. I agree he was way too pitchy on the chorus and it seemed like he just couldn't pull off some of the critical notes.  I thought the small part he sang for Smokey actually sounded better.  He should survive but just another performance showing he is fodder, i.e. no chance of actually winning.

Danny: Another solid performance, but that's all it was.  Interesting how he snubbed the Smokey advice.  I love his voice but he's getting boring for me, and it's too soon for that.  I still consider him the one to beat, but without an extra wow factor or a "moment" as Simon likes to call it, he may slip into the Archuleta zone and fade away by the end.  If Adam can continue his changeling intrigue without the gay stuff ruining his chances, he may just win it all.

Kris: I love Kris and unlike Toe I thought he did a great job.  I'll buy any record he releases, including his AI stuff.  I like the sound of his voice and his whole cutey boy on guitar shtick.  His problem is he is essentially done in this competition.  He already is who he is, kind of a Jason Mraz-lite, but cuter and probably less talented.  Even the way his mouth contorts into weird shapes is extremely Mraz-ish.  This is fine for me since I also love Jason Mraz, but the question is do we really need another one?  He has zero chance to win it all so it's almost pointless for him to be here other than for fans to see him a few more weeks.  If he takes some risks he will likely fall on his face.  If he doesn't he will continue to just be what he already is.

Lil Short Round: Another week of "meh" song choice along with a decent performance.  I agree with the judges that it was an excellent tribute piece - but that was all it was.  There was nothing that took it further from the original and that's too bad.  But I think this is actually just showing us what Lil is: overrated.  Her vocals are NOT that great, if they were she would have been able to change up the songs the past couple weeks and stood strong like Fantasia or Melinda.  The one knockout she had was on Mary J Blige - but let's face it, it was just because that's who she is closest to and probably relates to the best, not that she "made it her own."  Within the AI diva category, I would say she's a weaker candidate than Syesha or even Vonzelle, because she ain't that cute either.  I don't see her going too far unless the judges can pimp the crap out of her.

Matt: I thought he did a good job but I just don't like him.  He's like JT-lite but uglier.  I don't think he's anywhere as good as the judges are saying, but obviously they see some JT marketability in him.  He's kind of like Kris but with less identity.

Megan: Not sure why everyone hated her so much, I thought it was unjustified.  A lame choice of song but I thought it was interesting and fun.  At this point it's clear to me you're either a fan of hers or not.  Personally I think she's unique and has her own identity as a singer, and not in a clone-like way of anyone else.  She's the only other competitor who I know I will buy whatever she releases, just because I find her so endearing and interesting.

Michael: Poor guy, he caught the Meganflu and was unable to rise above it.  Sorry, (C)hunky, but big beefy guys aren't gonna get the sympathy that cute blond girls do.  Given he was bottom 2 last week, I don't think he'll survive tonight, unless the judges' influence kills Megan.

Eye Mac (stolen from Zinfan): Sucky song choice and performance, agreed. I also hope he would be sent home tonight, but since he was out of the bottom 3 last week, I also concur he will survive. Bottom 3 material but how long can sympathy votes keep him afloat.  Torture!


Bottom 3: Megan, Sarver and Scotty

Leaving tonight:  close call but I think Sarver goes, Simon is busy licking Paula's &()&() when Ryan asks about using the judges' save
3215  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Good and Bad TV Series finales on: March 25, 2009, 11:39:02 PM

Quote from: Scuzz on March 25, 2009, 11:31:08 PM


And How Did ST:Enterprise end?

It got cancelled (early too) so I don't think it's fair to judge the finale as a series finale.
3216  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Good and Bad TV Series finales on: March 25, 2009, 11:37:18 PM

Quote from: Teggy on March 25, 2009, 09:16:20 PM

I don't understand why people liked the ending of Angel. It left everyone's future (apart from Wesley) in question. I should probably read the comics. Buffy's ending, while a little quick to resolve, at least tied up most loose ends and didn't make you wonder what would become of the main characters.

The ending of Angel was definitely NOT the intended ending for the series.  I think they were pretty much blindsided and had to completely adjust things to make it something of a finale.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I'm reading "After the Fall" now which I believe has a lot of ideas that were intended for Season 6.  Angel becomes human but still fights the fight, Gunn becomes an evil vampire, Wesley becomes a ghost due to Wolfram and Hart, Illyria shifts back and forth between herself and Fred, Spike is a champion, and Connor and Lightning chick both return as a couple as they all battle it out in Hell on Earth.

My favorite series finale was the ST:TNG finale, which actually ended at the poker table with my all-time favorite finale scene where the Captain starts dealing and Deanna says "you were always welcome" then he starts dealing and something like "sky's the limit"...  always brings a tear to my eye even after umpteen viewings.
3217  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Chronicles of Spellborn is out! on: March 25, 2009, 11:30:13 PM
First impressions: game looks and feels good. Character creation gives you a lot of options in terms of costuming and colorization, not as much as CoX series but much more than most other MMOs these days. I was able to create a (hopefully unique) look which I really liked a lot from the getgo. The tutorial is reminiscent of EQ2 and Morrowind where they place you in an instance on a boat and you get to learn the interface at your pace. It feels like a fairly polished single player RPG opening. Combat is kind of different, though they only teach you the very rudimentary portion of it. Involves a lot of mouse action, RMB to target and LMB to attack.

But then, they dump you on the starter island/area. It looks great but the tutorial kind of ends abruptly. You pick up starter quests which are essentially the same as any RPG, fedex and kill X. Unfortunately the map is not as friendly as games we are used to (some might like this) so I found myself running around a lot aimlessly. I found it difficult to find quest goals in general; the map only helps a bit and the radar only shows a quest goal once you are very close.

The Kill X quests would be fine, but the mob populations were scarce (seems to be a bug hopefully) and combat is much more difficult than a conventional MMORPG. Even facing down 1 same level mob took me to the brink of death or got me killed. That said, the combat skill deck system itself (which unless I missed it was never actually explained in the tutorial) is very unique and cool. (This is on top of the skill-based combat Razgon talked about in terms of positioning, aiming, etc). It took a while experimenting but I finally got a sense of how to set it up - basically it involves creating combos or possible combos and mixing in button presses with clicks. Your core combo might be melee actions, so you put the skills in slot 1 of the first and second "decks". During combat, you hit LMB to activate slot 1 of deck 1, and then if you don't change anything, deck 2 appears and you can hit LMB again to hit the second part of the combo. Now something might change in mid-combat, you might want to cast a heal instead, so if you had slotted that in slot 2 of deck 2, you can hit "2" and LMB to cast that instead. Not a great description, sorry, but it definitely makes for more involved combat even at this early stage.

Anyway, game could use some polish, but I do like the combat system so it's kind of a toss up at the moment. I could see some intense duels or PvP using this combat. I just wish the game sucked you in a bit more at the outset.

From day 2:

Played about another hour or so before I went back to WAR. The game world still looks gorgeous, and I really like the combat system more and more. It definitely feels more dynamic and interactive than conventional MMORPGs and even at this early stage I found myself needing many on the fly adjustments while in combat. This is with only 2 "decks" and 3 "slots" on each deck open. It looks like at max you open up 5 (?) decks with 5 slots each, which would probably be pretty insane. In addition, each skill itself seems to have mods or something on them, I didn't bother to look into the details yet. So the game seems to have a fairly intricate character system, with 2 different types of levelling ("Fame" and "PeP") which I believe translates to questing and mob-killing. Sounds good on paper but seems to unfold excruciatingly slowly. This is made worse by the lack of mobs I already mentioned. People in chat seem to suggest skipping the mob kills and just doing regular quests; however unless I am mistaken the main quest line that allows you to leave this area forces you to kill mobs, so you're stuck unless you finish that. At that point I lost my patience and stopped.

Haven't given up completely as it's still in open beta, but things are not looking good. It's a shame because it really seems to have some different ideas and a rather unique combat system.  I will likely try again, hopefully the mob populations for particular quest mobs (young bears) will be enhanced and I can move out to outer areas.
3218  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 25, 2009, 11:10:50 PM

Quote from: MonkeyFinger on March 25, 2009, 09:19:55 PM

So... for an old curmudgeon like me who pretty much sticks to single player, is there enough here to make a worthwhile purchase? Or does it really come down to the multi?

When I played in beta, I played exclusively the single player campaign, and it wasn't until late last night that I played my first co-op mission with a friend.  I ended up doing the first mission about 5 different times on the same difficulty level with different deck builds, and each time was fun in different ways.  I've only made it to the 4th (I think) mission and have already got at least 20 hours of game time in (including deck building, upgrades, and losses).  Also for additional challenge you can play the same map on 2 more difficulty levels (advanced and expert).  As I mentioned above, I believe the main single player campaign has 18 missions (not 100% sure on this). 

I'd say there is a ton of playability for a single player presuming you do indeed like the core game - BUT with the caveat that like Guild Wars, you still have to login online to get to the main map interface (which may be a turn off for some players).  The counter point about this though is that, like Guild Wars again, your progress is all tied to your account, so you can bring it with you on different computers or on the road.

You can download the game demo and see how you like it - it's set up in a shareware format, but it gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect.
3219  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 25, 2009, 09:07:49 PM
Some of this is repeated from other posts, but I thought I'd put together a more detailed impressions post. Short version: I'm lovin' it!!

Now I should start this off by saying that although I've tried/bought a ton of RTS games over the years, I wouldn't call myself a true fan of the genre, nor would I ever consider myself good at them in general. I just find it hard to resist when a new one comes out with some new twist or a fun license like Warhammer or LoTR. Battleforge adds the Magic: The Gathering (M: TG) twist in that your units/spells are based on "cards" which you can collect and trade a la M:TG. There are four different colors to choose from, and you can create a deck from them any way you choose, from a single color to all 4. Most decks I guess will be 1 or 2 colors for maximum effectiveness.

For any given fight, regardless of how many cards you have access to, you can only bring 20 to a battle. The cards can be anything from standard soldier units to a massive flying dragon that spits fire all over the place, to buff or heal spells, to large defensive towers that themselves cast buff spells. The variation and creativity of all the different units, as well as how they are brilliantly brought to life, are a large part of the game's appeal.

The traditional "resources" in the game are kept relatively simple: one is a tower that generates power/mana and the other is a "monument" of a given color (corresponding to the colors of your card deck). Each card has a casting cost (in power) and a requirement of color orbs (from 1 to 4). So a typical mid-range card might require you "own" 1 red orb and 1 of any other color, and 50 units of power to cast. A high end focused unit might need 4 red orbs and 300 power. There's a clear tradeoff in how you build your deck, and in cases where you don't know what you are going to face tactically, it can be a tough trade between using, say, extra defensive towers vs. extra mobile offensive units vs. offensive or defensive spell casts. There is a ton to choose from even at the outset.

Campaign missions play out as fairly standard RTS fare, with decently aggressive AI even in the early missions. You are generally faced with a mix of offense/defense decisions and splitting your forces effectively. What sets the game apart is that playing the exact same mission/map with a new/different deck can feel entirely different. While you might argue this is just the same as playing with a different race in a different game, I'd say strategically it's quite different because you are the one making all the choices in what units to bring to the table. It definitely feels more personal/special in that regard. Graphics and spell effects are all top notch throughout.

The game itself is pure GAME in terms of providing options. What do I mean? There is a "Forge" area which allows you to experiment with your cards in a completely benign environment. Just drop your card in and face it off against an opponent of your choice to see how it fares. I believe you can cast spells/buffs, etc to see their effects as well. It's an awesome little tool to let you play around and bring your cards to life. From there, you have a very extensive tutorial, and then a series of campaign missions. Campaign missions are either single player, 2 or 4 player cooperative, which you unlock as you move along the world map. I believe the main single player campaign has 18 missions. There's also a 12-player mission which I've heard is really 3 4-player missions running in conjunction somehow (basically it appears the devs have pinned the game's max number of players at 4, presumably due to balancing of the number of units, etc for performance). You can jump into a stranger's open game, or "group" up with friends to tackle a mission together. Each mission can be played in 3 difficulty levels as well. On top of that there is a Sparring area where you can essentially duel with someone with no consequences good or bad. And finally a true PvP arena (1v1 or 2v2) where you can fight it out and win rewards. All of this content can be played either with decks formed from your core collection of all cards, or from "Tome Decks" which are limited to a single Tome purchase of cards, thus dramatically lowering the pool you can choose from and offering a different type of challenge where randomization and luck come into play as much as skill and strategy.

All your game results are captured in the meta-game in a simple but effective journal. This keeps track of xp and gold which you earn during PvE missions as well as points and rewards and win/loss records, etc in PvP battles. All of this is tied to your user avatar. I don't know all the details of the rewards yet. What I have played with is "upgrading" cards. Cards that you've been rewarded after a completed scenario are placed in a separate pool. If you already own the same card, you can choose to upgrade it for a cost of in-game gold. In addition, if you happen to own multiples of the same card, you can simultaneously enhance the card's "volume" (# of usages). So I was able to upgrade my Skeleton Warriors to have higher damage AND 10 uses instead of 5 for the cost of 50gold. Apparently you can use PvP rewards as well to make these types of upgrades.

All in all, I'd say this game's replayability is off the charts. Just fiddling with cards and combos in the forge could suck up inordinate amounts of time. Not to mention all the different modes of play. The online setup is streamlined in a very clean interface which allows the player to easily pick and choose the type of gameplay, be it a single player mission or a 2 on 2 PvP match. The degree of professionalism in the release is very reminiscent to me of Guild Wars, and it seems like this really has the feel of being the GW of RTS games.

That said, I'm still scratching the surface of the game, so feel free to ask questions or comment. Based on what I've seen so far, this game is very likely to go into my top all-time games, and is certainly already one of my favorite RTS games.
3220  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 24, 2009, 10:57:45 PM
WTF?!!?  It was only $40 at Target?  Paid $50 for the stupid download version!  Boooooo!
3221  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: CHUCK IS BACK! Chuck vs. The First Date Spoilers! on: March 24, 2009, 09:02:54 PM

Quote from: Gratch on March 24, 2009, 06:51:26 PM

Don't feel too bad, HIMYM does nothing for me either.

I love the cast on that show, pretty much everyone on it - but every episode I've seen has left me a bit hollow and wishing I was watching a repeat of Friends instead.  That said, the geek show that airs next to it (Big Bang Theory I think it is) I've found hilarious.  Interesting to see the 3 "nerd" shows (Chuck, Reaper and Big Bang) from last season all hanging in there.
3222  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season 3 (spoilers for our less fortunate European friends) on: March 24, 2009, 08:59:58 PM
Wow, no comments on Heroes?!?!  Even though I slept through about half the episode (will rewatch), I'd have to say this was easily the best episode of the season, and one of the top eps of the series.  Is it a "blip" in the writing as my friend claims, or a sign of good/better things to come?

Spoiler for Hiden:
The Hiro+baby stuff was OK, I thought the baby was very cute, but Hiro not so much.  Still it's nice to see him get his power back, as well as see Ando in action again. 

Daphne's death sequence was excellently done, great acting from both actors.  I was genuinely touched; I hope they don't marginalize this by having "baby touch and go" rez her.

Speaking of which, I wonder if the baby can restore some of Peter's powers as well...

Ali Larter - awesome effects in her cold-snap "death" sequence.  Was that a wink at the end and what did it mean?  Either way look for her to come back, either as Tracy or the third sister we've already heard about - or even better BOTH!

Return of Micah as (no surprise) Rebel - just OK with this, but he's definitely better/edgier than before.  Hope they have some decent plans for him
3223  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 24, 2009, 06:15:13 PM
Game is out today!!!  Anyone picking it up?

I have it pre-ordered from EA store and game downloaded (trapped in demo mode), but no key has been sent.

Edit: key was sent, now I just need to get home to start playin!
3224  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24: Season 7 (spoiler tags are certain!) on: March 24, 2009, 06:12:06 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on March 24, 2009, 03:43:38 AM

so we've gone from the first half of the season where everything goes Jacks way to the second half where Jack cannot get a break...

My guess is the bio-crap inhalation will be the impetus to get Kim to visit him before he dies.  Will probably be some deal like he has 6 hours to live - unless he can get the magic antidote that Jon Voigt has kept in his pants.  So he'll get to see Kim one last time before he thinks he is going to die.  But Angelina Jolie will show up at the end and shoot a bullet in a circle that kills her and Jon Voigt and drop the antidote in Jack's dying hands.  Kim will defeat Angelina's mountain lion guardian and feed the antidote to her Dad as the clock winds down!  End of season (don't know if Jack lives or dies).  Beep beep beep.
3225  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: CHUCK IS BACK! Chuck vs. The First Date Spoilers! on: March 24, 2009, 06:04:57 PM
Good ep!!!  A lot of continuing plot advancement on "Orion" (following up from last week), that's all I'll say to not spoil it.  Oh and there's a cool geeky laptop lol.
3226  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New game - post the first image in your My Pictures folder! on: March 24, 2009, 06:02:55 PM
I can't post mine (inappropriate), but let's just say it looked a lot like that cute hunk in Rubyeye's post - but completely naked  icon_eek
3227  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Joss Whedons Dollhouse starts Friday on: March 23, 2009, 08:47:09 PM
Loved the episode as well, definitely think it lived up to the hype!  Everything from the main plot to the advancement of a new larger story arc to the Faith-esque battle sequences... and of course the Whedonisms like (paraphrasing) "Don't make me throw the Kindle at you."

I also had pretty much the same exact experience that Kevin mentions in his spoiler in terms of my reaction to that part of the plot.  Definitely well played out in the script and direction.

Hopefully the plot developments in this one as well as the general "feel" and direction of the show carry over into the remaining episodes (as both Joss and Eliza have seemed to indicate in interviews).  I'm sure they are already on the bubble in terms of being picked up for more episodes...

3228  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: March 23, 2009, 08:40:08 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on March 23, 2009, 08:22:56 PM

Quote from: Teggy on March 23, 2009, 05:52:24 PM

Quote from: Davidbld on March 23, 2009, 12:53:03 AM

I think someones gonna turn the underground wheel again. Unless the scientist Daniel, who was seen working in the Dharma mines (in the 70's) can figure out another way.

Dave

There was an offhand comment made during the episode that Daniel wasn't there anymore. Did I miss something or did they really just throw that in there to be mysterious?

There to be mysterious- I'm sure we'll be finding out what Daniel has been up soon. 

/agreed.  My original thought was he might have took a sub off the island to go work with his mom or something, but that might be awkward.  They still haven't explained that opening sequence mentioned above and when it occured, maybe that has to do with where/when he is now.  And I'm not 100% convinced he won't find some way to save the redhead girl, even after his declarations that you can't change what's already happened. 
3229  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Need show, have money on: March 23, 2009, 08:36:44 PM

Quote from: Razgon on March 23, 2009, 08:23:08 PM


I actually bought the first season of 4400 and we watched the first episode, but..well, didnt really grab us

Taken? Never seen it - oh, and Buffy I've seen everything with, and same as Angel - gotta love those two shows! :-)

I'd seriously give 4400 more of a chance than just the first ep.  When the show first started, they were looking for an identity.  I think there was some desire to make it an X-Files-ish case of the week style show, but eventually the writers were allowed to progress the true story arcs and the show really picks up in the later seasons with a mix of sci-fi heroes plots as well as good character-driven storylines.  Also  some fun/familiar cast members from other sci-fi shows start to show up too, like Rocketman, Summer Glau, and the current Terminator in Sarah Connor Chronicles.
3230  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Knowing on: March 23, 2009, 08:31:02 PM
I really enjoyed the movie - while watching it.  There were some good scary/creepy moments, some excellent effects and good characters/acting.  I'd call it a cross between Final Destination, Deep Impact and The Day the Earth Stood Still (new version).  Unfortunately upon retrospect, the plot of the movie itself doesn't hold up well (as discussed in the spoilers above) which kind of ruins the aftertaste.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I presumed the other ships were all part of the Noah's ark effect.  It's a big ship but most of the size is for fuel for interstellar travel.  The aliens are very light so they can't carry heavy adult humans, so from each zone you get to bring 2 of the cutest kids and a baby animal.  For example, the Chinese get the cute girl from the Olympics and that boy who saved people from the earthquake, along with 2 baby pandas.  Australians send koalas, etc etc. 

But seriously, the whole intrigue of the movie and figuring out the numbers/pattern, etc. is diminished by the finale.  In essence the numbers were completely pointless as it made no difference whether Nic Cage figured it out at all.  The aliens could just have easily zapped the kids away whenever they felt like with no rhyme or reason.  I suppose this allowed the character to gain some closure in his own life but are we really supposed to think the aliens are this sensitive?  Unless the argument is that this is just the way all the events had to turn out in order to bring exactly those 2 kids to that location at the correct time and place.  And that in other parts of the world, a similar series of tests/events had to occur in order to weed out the correct children to preserve the future of humanity.
3231  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Need show, have money on: March 23, 2009, 08:20:25 PM
I'd recommend:

Taken - miniseries (alien abduction based storyline)

The 4400 - 4 (I think) seasons worth, started out as an X-Files type of alien abduction show but evolved into a Heroes-ish type (pre-Heroes)

And of course if you've never seen them, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or Angel
3232  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: March 20, 2009, 10:05:31 PM

Quote from: Moliere on March 20, 2009, 07:50:32 PM

I think we can call this the awkward episode. Awkward as in all the characters in 1977 have to walk around like they don't already know each other some of whom have hooked up in the past, I mean future. Anyways, great episode as usual for this season. It seems like Sawyer should have been able to tell the annoying guy to shove it when he came to get Sayeed. Sawyer is the head of Security while this is some lackey at a listening outpost. Is this the first time that Christian as a ghost has interacted with the real world? Usually he just walks around without touching anything. Now he is going as far as taking a picture off the wall and handing it to Sun.

Best line of the episode.
Captain: I thought you said you trusted him?
Sun: I lied.

Totally agree with everything Moliere said.  Lots of awkwardness all around.  I love the look on Kate's (actually more the actress herself) face as they are discussing what the heck to do.  It's like she's thinking, I didn't sign up for this sci-fi BS, how the hell should I know how we get "back to the future"!  Jack looks like he's on drugs, but my guess is he's just playing it cool before going "Jack" on us again next week.  The whole episode was kind of setup and filling in things we'd guessed (like little Ben being there and the plane crash in the future on the second island, where and when were Sayid and Sun, etc), but still filled with some interesting sequences.  I didn't like it as much as the previous 2 eps, but still a good one overall.  Will be interesting to see if they are going to shift to the future or Sun will come back in time to join them. 

The Christian question is good, I believe it's the first time he's seemed so "physical" - though you could argue he interacted with the rocking chair before and has cast creepy shadows.  But still, the first time TWO living characters with no relation to him interact with him as if he's a normal person.  Very intriguing.  Definitely changes the nature of the more hallucigenic kind of presence he has always had in the past with Ben, Locke and Hurley.
3233  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Joss Whedons Dollhouse starts Friday on: March 20, 2009, 05:51:15 PM
Episode SIX tonight, I'm pimpin' it up!!!

The show has had some mixed episodes, most of them on the weak side but a couple have been fun enough.  At the very least you straight guys can see Faith and that other hot chick in a towel or shower scene every week.

Both Eliza Dushku and Joss Whedon have been non-stop pimping episode 6 as the turning point for the series, so I urge everyone to give it one more chance.  This is the first episode written by Joss since the (weak) premiere.  He claims after filming it the entire atmosphere on the set, etc changed for the remaining episodes.  I have no idea why, nothing in the plot description seems to indicate what the big deal is.

Either way, if you like Faith, or Joss, or slutty chicks, please give this show one more chance to suck you in!!!!
3234  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO) on: March 20, 2009, 05:42:16 PM

Quote from: Destructor on March 20, 2009, 02:01:12 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on March 20, 2009, 01:02:42 PM

Emanation Points [i.e., choosing where your powers come from, and what exactly "emanates" them]
And how long will it take before we see the first Champion with all of his ranged powers firing from his groin? biggrin


Man you exposed (no pun intended) my entire hero concept already, boooooo!!!!! 
3235  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Chronicles of Spellborn is out! on: March 19, 2009, 10:32:53 PM
They supposedly released another 30k beta keys today - anyone?
3236  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Weird Vista Problem - extra restart needed on: March 19, 2009, 08:51:02 PM
This has been happening to me on a regular basis lately.  It's happened to me on some previous machines as well and I have no clue why.

Basically on first boot up I seem to get a different profile loaded up, so certain shortcuts are missing, history on websites missing, different desktop picture, etc.  There may be only one other different profile but it actually seems like there are multiple different versions.  If I restart it almost always boots into my main profile.  I am the only user (though there might be a named one for me and an Admin account as well) and neither has a password.  I boot directly to desktop, no choice of user account.

Any suggestions?
3237  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Thinking about buying a new PC on: March 19, 2009, 08:46:32 PM

Quote from: Jag on March 19, 2009, 02:58:58 PM

Jeff, (or anyone else) what do you think about the system I listed above? Thinking about finally getting around to doing some movie editing with it.

I really wanted to wait until the fall and get a system with Win7, but this deal is pretty hot.

Jag, FWIW I tried pricing a comparable system out on Cyberpower and it came up to about $1200 with a 22" monitor and $1300+ with a 24" monitor.  So that pricing definitely looks pretty incredible for Dell.
3238  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New Watchmen Trailer on: March 19, 2009, 06:24:04 PM

Quote from: tiktokman on March 19, 2009, 04:00:14 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on March 19, 2009, 03:57:19 PM

Quote from: tiktokman on March 19, 2009, 03:45:51 PM

And what's with them referring to themselves as "Watchmen"?

Are you trying to understand some deeper meaning behind the chosen name or just questioning the idea of a superhero team having a name?

If I recall correctly they never referred to themselves as "Watchmen" in the book. It was just a slogan spray painted on the walls. They used some really lame name that I can't remember at the moment, or at least they tried to before it fell apart.

Original team was Minutemen, and the later team was lamer:  Crimebusters!
3239  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: March 19, 2009, 06:17:25 PM

Quote from: Toe on March 19, 2009, 05:40:07 PM

Quote from: Zinfan on March 19, 2009, 05:34:14 PM

You are correct, if it was a straight rip off of Dilana (or didn't Kara reference Jeff Buckley last night?) then Adam is very lucky and may have ended up in the bottom 3 had the voters realized it.

I don't think the voters that vote for Adam would have even the slightest clue who those people are. I think the majority of people voting for Adam are clueless tweeny boppers that still don't know he is a homosexual and was a drag queen before idol.

Last year the winner "ripped off" alternate verisions of songs just about every week, sometimes giving them props later, sometimes not (or it was edited out). I don't think many AI voters care about that type of thing.


Agree with Toe on this, I'd say the majority of people actually dialing in are completely clueless to all the "technicalities" and a lot of the internet chatter.  Hopefully most parents keep their 7-12yo girls off the main internet so they aren't exposed to all the horrors. 

But this makes for an interesting dynamic.  Without the drag queen and boy kissing, Adam would likely be a Finals contender if not a possible pick to win it all.  The question is how long they intend to insulate him and what they may or may not be able to do.  A lot of this depends on the producers and how they choose to "handle" it.  I'm going to presume the combo of his creepiness and gayosity will take him out around the Final 4.  In which case is there anyone there right now to give Gokey a run for it?  Gokey is kind of in the middle of the 2 Davids last year.  He's a clear favorite of the judges, has great vocal talent, but is seeming kind of complacent (a la David A) already.  Aside from his dead wife and great singing, does anything else jump out about him?  Archie had this problem last year when he became the one to beat too early on.  And then the producers turned on him in the midgame when they thought they could create Daughtry 2.0 out of Cook (apparently not). 

So which of these yahoos this year have a chance to beat him?  I'm really not sure at this point.  I don't think any of the girls have it in them and most of the guys I see as fodder (Anoop, Sarver, Kris, Fake JT, Scott).  Which still brings me back to Adam, who I hate but still think is the most interesting of the contestants, at least in a Cook-ish sort of way (whether it's changing things up or stealing others' more obscure versions).
3240  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: March 19, 2009, 06:00:40 PM

Quote from: Zinfan on March 19, 2009, 05:38:31 PM

I've heard this before, If two singers want to use a very popular song then they draw for selection order.  Makes you wonder if there is a very limited number of song choices for them to use.  Perhaps Eye Mac is actually getting the high numbers but since he can't read the slip of paper the others are like "Awwww dude you pulled #6 out of the hat again!"

LMAO Zinfan, I love that!!!!  But yeah, this has been mentioned a few times in the past when 2 people want the same song.  I remember David A saying something about it last year in particular.  I don't think it's extremely limited song choices, but I do think the lists are more confined than we might think due to licensing, etc.  Which is why they made a big fuss when Kelly Clarkson and then recently Carrie Underwood opened their "catalog".

- - -

So onto last night!  Nice surprise, bye bye Pinky!!!  Not that I hated her but it broke my Final 5 prediction, and I was clearly way off on Blindy.  It just makes the show more interesting/unpredictable for me now.  So you guys were right about Sarver, he is likely the next to go.  I thought he had a bigger hick fanbase but I guess not.  I like it when they tell you the bottom 3 so you can get a better sense of voting blocks, etc.  I wish they had told us the top 3 too, but oh well. 

One thing they haven't really explained about the new rule: if they use the immunity idol and 2 people get eliminated the next week, how is the order determined?  Do they combine the vote totals or is it strictly based on that week's results?  I wonder if that was part of the reason they chose not to use it last night.  Since Top 10 is a huge deal due to the tour, if they used it and Sarver got kicked the next week, I could see some people getting even more pissed at the lame new rule (which seems to be universally panned AFAIK).

Next week:  MOTOWN, woowoo!  Free ride for Little Short Round!!!!
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