While I would have loved to see Megan make it over the other chick, I was glad (and a bit shocked) to see Kris made the cut. Actually he was the only one I voted for as I wanted my eye candy for the season PLus I thought he had no chance. On a side note, I found it amusing that on the VFTW forums, they were (like me at home) commenting on how hot his ass was in the tight jeans (more so than his singing).
I agree with Zinfan that this new format favors the guys more, as tweens and queens will vote more, and vote for the cute boys. I don't see why they couldn't have just kept the 2 top guys and 2 top girls each week, but I suppose the lingering "Wild Card" adds to the mystery. Hopefully it will bring Anoop and Megan back, I think they would add greatly to the mix. Unfortunately I wonder if it immediately puts those final 3 at a disadvantage since they didn't make the original cut.
Yet another amazing episode in the annals of Lost-dom. Just when you think you have predicted a pattern or know where they are heading, they twist you around again. I am now getting more and more anxious about how the show will end. But mostly in the sense that I believe if they can deliver even a semi-satisfying conclusion, it will become (and remain) my all-time favorite television series. On to the content:
Spoiler for Hiden:
WTF? Ben saves Locke from killing himself but then kills him himself. Although the scene seemed to be building that way, I still was surprised at how quickly it happened. Was Ben just fishing for a name? Or was the name of Hawking too controversial? Since I believe she was the young girl in the past (with Widmore), it's plausible Ben assumed she was with Widmore and John was already "compromised". Yet he makes no indication of animosity toward her in last week's episode. Never trust Ben! But then who do you trust? Widmore? Someone call Jack Bauer!
Surprised the plane actually did crash! Hooray, more redshirts to kill!!
Locke resurrects! We knew it would happen, but never guessed it would be this soon. The question is "when" is he and will he continue to elude death/sacrifice since Ben killed him (as opposed to committing suicide).
And Ben made it back to the island? I thought he could never come back? Or is he just a renegade gone rogue so he can break all the rules?
Poor Haitian (yes I realize it's not the Haitian but that's what I call him). Glad he got one more ep as he is too busy in Fringe now At least they let Walt live in what I presume was his finale as well.
I continue to hate this new format, but whatever. The whole show might as well been called the "Adam Lovefest Idol". As if he didn't have enough footage going in, he gets the coveted final spot as well and a standing ovation from Paula barely before he begins singing? I am going to have trouble watching this season as he seems destined for Final 4 if not Final 2. Ugh. To my ears his "singing" sounds like a bunch of over-the-top screaming and yelling (which apparently is enough to make Paula cum like a schoolgirl), and I do not find him the least bit attractive in his pseudo-emo-punk-vampiric way. But it looks like the tween girlz will eat him up, particularly after the Robert Pattinson (Twilight) reference.
I thought the Allison girl was just OK (also kind of screechy), the fawning over her was also a bit overboard if you ask me. Or maybe I just didn't like her braces and purple hair. I guess this season dying your hair a freaky color or making it look pseudo-punk is the way to go. I enjoyed Megan more, I thought her singing was decent and her bizarre dancing was quirky and interesting, and she is very pretty. I agree with the guess it will be the 3 of them to advance.
Sadly, the new format will kill off some decent performers who likely needed another week or 2 to develop a fan base. In spite of a kind of low key performance, I really enjoyed the Bette Davis Eyes (interestingly that was the song I was humming after the show so clearly she left some impression). I also liked the cute boy (Kris?) who sang Man in the Mirror - my guess is he would have been a sure bet for Top 12 in the traditional format but in this format he is done. Jasmine definitely picked a poor song for her style; if she wanted to go commercial she should have sang Umbrella and knocked it out the park. Would love to see her get one more chance.
P.S. Was it my imagination or did they already show a group of 4 wild card picks? Maybe I dreamed it lol.
Any chance we can get this thread title changed to something more generic? I guess it doesn't matter that much but...
Anyway, some revised first impressions. The full version installed without incident. Manual is a bit sparse, as CK mentioned no spell listings, and also surprisingly no class listings. I believe this game is based on a famous German RPG system, I seem to remember an old game which used this system as well. I only mention that because I get the sense they've tried to port over a lot of that system into the game, and it is/was fairly complicated and detailed, perhaps more so than D&D. They try to cover quite a bit of these details in the manual; I wonder how much of it is really applicable to the computer game and how much is part of the PnP RPG system.
With the full version you get access to a ton of classes (over the demo). It's actually a bit odd they give you so many choices but don't mention much about the classes in the manual. The bad news is graphically you don't get to change anything, it's completely locked into what class and sex you choose. My elementalist guy looks like some renegade Aladdin wannabe, I would have loved to be able to change him up a bit but whatever. I am kind of curious how much difference it makes to choose a different starting class. Nothing I've seen so far seems to indicate a reaction to a different race/class.
As before, the environmental graphics look absolutely amazing. This may be the best looking game I've played in a long time, if not ever. Granted I haven't seen a lot yet but thus far it's gorgeous. Once I adjusted the camera speed (I like 0.5), I really felt the engine worked very well. I don't know if the better textures have kicked in, but definitely this is a great looking game (everything maxxed).
This time around, I took a slightly different path, perhaps more of the "intended" path, and I think it worked out better. I felt more engaged in the game, and came across more action. I also picked up a second party member, and it made more sense to me since I was coming across a number of locked chests with no way to open them my first playthrough. Of course maybe it was just having more time to play or being familiar with the game a bit, or maybe a class I liked better, I don't know. In any case, I liked what I saw a lot more this time. There's a nice feel somewhat like a cross between Dungeon Siege 2 and NWN 2. Obviously a deeper RPG system than DS2 but just a good feel. The pausable party-based combat is very D&Dish, but allowing it to play real time makes it fairly exciting.
I don't 100% understand the levelling and progression yet. Apparently you earn XP and adventure points. The latter is used for your overall level progress, and the first you can spend points to improve your skills and stats. Apparently you can do this any time you want. So for instance you can spend 10 points to boost your stamina or 8 to improve your ability to heal wounds. It's an interesting system, but I don't know exactly how they determine what you are allowed to improve. I guess it is all class/race based?
I'm really hoping the story becomes more engaging because I like a lot of what I've seen of the engine. It's clearly not going to be a substitute for Dragon Age but hopefully it will satisfy in other areas and make its mark as a nice bridge between the D&D games and DA. If nothing else, the excellent engine should get some good use (it looks like a sequel is in the works and you can download more content).
This is going to sound kind of lame, but I thought it was worth mentioning. On my previous system I experienced lockups similar to what you describe, sudden freezes sometimes accompanied by a locked up sound stutter, sometimes not. This was specifically playing Warhammer Online, but since I wasn't playing many other games I'm not sure if the problem also existed there. I tried tons of different fixes and nothing ever stuck; I assumed it had something to do with the heat or the motherboard or video card overheating. It drove me crazy because I was using a top of the line vid card and a decent E8400 based system. I was never able to solve the issue and eventually moved on to different backup computers which didn't have the same issues.
Flashforward to a couple of weeks ago. I upgraded to a brand new i7 based system with the new top of the line GTX295. Everything was going great until I ran Warhammer. Same thing started happening. Random, unpredictable lockups with the sound stutter. I started freaking out for a bit, then updated sound driver and then to a beta video driver. Each time I thought I'd solved the issue it would happen again. I then read somewhere that I should try disabling Aero in Vista. I don't recall exactly how I did it (disabling Aero that is), but after making this change I haven't had a single lockup. My UI looks like junk but Warhammer has maintained stability. One of these days I should go back and try the same thing on the other machine, that would be kind of crazy.
Quote from: Moliere on February 25, 2009, 09:08:16 PM
No comments about Heroes this week? They could really take a lesson from Lost on how to conduct a plot and the use of flashbacks. I'm not sure why Matt can only read minds in Black & White.
What a shocker, Daphne is alive because none of the Heroes noticed that she only had a SHOULDER wound!
After spending the entire episode talking about and demonstrating the extensive government surveillance system they end the episode with HRG finishing a conversation with his Government boss and then walking 20 feet over to a park bench to chat with Mama Petrelli. I guess they took the precaution of sitting next to each other, but not actually making eye contact during the conversation. That will throw off the surveillance team.
Another shocker, Peter can't pull the trigger when he has the drop on someone. Instead he tries to snarl and talk them to death.
LOL, nice one Moliere! The point on Daphne is well taken too. Matt, a former cop, couldn't tell that Daphne was dead or just shot in the shoulder? OK...
In spite of some of the inane plot points, I actually thought the episode worked fairly well (relative to other episodes). The acting and explanation of HRG's motivations seemed at least a bit more thought out and the characters (with some over acting) did get some decent character moments. The sad part is you can see how much the writers are struggling to bring back some of the "feel" of the best episodes of season 1, but the way they are doing it is basically just re-treading the same motifs. HRG walking the line between doing his job and supporting heroes - that sounds familiar! Future paintings of a city in fire - that also seems familiar!
Quote from: Pharaoh on February 23, 2009, 05:47:31 PM
I thought the new format was awesome, with presenters giving out multiple awards in the same category, I thought the actors paying tribute to the nominated actors was fun, and Hugh Jackman was a perfect combination of slightly funny, actor, dancer, and manager. I actually didn't even find myself getting bored at any point, which is the first time in 10+ years of watching the Oscars.
The intros to each category, montages, intro musical number doing lowbudget knockoffs of the movies, "I haven't seen the reader".....good times.
Hopefully they stick with this format in the future.
Completely agree with this assessment. I thought Hugh Jackman did a great job all things considered. Especially enjoyed the 5 "power" presenters at once - even though there were some awkward moments, there were a few really genuine ones like DeNiro to Penn and Kate Winslet's (was it Nicole Kidman?). Just that second when the 5 powerhouse actors/actresses come on stage at the same moment was awesome. Interestingly all the critical reviews of the show I saw were bad, not sure why.
As for Slumdog, I didn't see it so it's hard for me to comment. I did hear some folk in the Indian community were not happy with the film though.
Quote from: pingwrx on February 23, 2009, 12:23:07 AM
I believe Demigod does'nt come out until 2010.
It's listed as 4/14 at Gamestop but who knows...
After a few more hours of play time, I'm finding myself totally enamored with Battleforge. It definitely plays like a conventional RTS to a large extent, but there's definitely enough strategic twists to keep me intrigued. You have to capture points to both produce more units and special points ("Orbs" - these are like "Land" in Magic: The Gathering) to access your better units.
What makes it fun/cool is that there are so many units/cards to play around with, and some of them are damn cool to "bring to life." I seriously could not get enough of my big ol Fire Dragon, damn that thing is fun. The problem I see (and this could be because of my newbishness) was that the lower end units seemed really weak in comparison to some of the later ones. I guess this isn't too different from other RTS games but it seemed really pronounced in this one. The unit designs, and just having so many of them to experiment with (and without a traditional build order), give the game a unique feel/pace on top of the traditional RTS dynamic.
The other thing I love is the ability to mix/match the cards and build your "deck" as it were. While this is M:TG like in principle, in reality all it means is that you choose 20 units or spells/abilities a priori (from a ginormous list, and 4 different "colors") and that's all you get access to in a particular mission/fight. Unlike Magic, you get access to ALL of the 20 cards immediately, although they can only be "played" if you have enough power AND enough orbs (i.e. "Lands") of the right color. So strategically, like Magic, you can try for all low power cards for quicker access, or presume you can capture enough orb spots to access your better units. Lots of strategy involved, clearly. I still don't understand how they determine how many of each unit you get at the start, or exactly the rules of when you can re-access them. For instance, some prelim archer units usually start with 5, whereas the dragon is always 1. The dragon took a long time to get access to again (like a minute or 2).
The Meta-Game is kind of interesting as well, taking a page or 2 from Guild Wars, I guess. You have one Profile/Name and that records all your PvE and PvP progress separately. I *believe* (not sure) any card you "win" in either case (PvE or PvP) becomes accessible to your main deck. There's a main map where you can select single player campaign missions and a variety of multiplayer missions.
Can't wait for release on this one, I hope it does well.
If you're playing on the PvP server, please post your names here and maybe eventually we can get a guild up and running just for kicks. I'm at about 70k gold now so I'm pretty sure we can put together enough very soon.
- - -
Oh yeah, so having past 15, I guess I am now a legitimate target for ganking, hooray! I've been PK'd twice thus far in about 2 hours. Looks like the PKer will get reputation penalties, etc if he kills significantly lower levels, which eventually makes them unable to enter the main towns. I think someone said on killing another player this is a small percentage chance you'll get a bag to drop or something like that. Not a lot more info thus far. I don't personally plan to get too involved until I'm a little higher level and know what I'm doing.
This looks to be an interesting year for the RTS. Myself, I'm not a big fan of RTS games, though I do tend to end up buying a lot of them. DoW2 is obviously the current craze, but on the horizon, each about a month apart, comes Battleforge and then Demigod, each with its own subtle yet similar twist on the genre. And of course there's still the big gorilla on the horizon, Starcraft 2.
So which are you most interested in? Which do you think will be the most commercially successful? Which do you think will have an impact on the genre?
I played through 3 of the single player campaign missions. All in all I'd concur with much of what's been said here and the reviews I've read. The graphics are sharp and the environments look great. The traditional RTS elements managing resources, etc. have been eliminated in favor of a tactical squad feel. It appears you at most control 4 squads, though in effect you are controlling a party of 4 characters (for instance the band of stealthers may contain a squad of 4 troops but you treat them from a control standpoint as a single entity). This makes for a much more streamlined approach - you hit buttons 1 to 4 to select your units of choice and then issue orders. They have special abilities, etc that you can make use of. In between missions, you can "level up" and assign 2 points in various categories (melee dmg, ranged dmg, etc) and/or give equipment drops to different units. It's a pretty cool, streamlined system (though comparisons to Diablo are a bit overstated - there is nowhere near the loot/customization/levelling involved) that gets you attached to your characters as you watch them level. In some sense the meta-game plays out like console SRPGs, e.g. Final Fantasy Tactics. You have to choose who to bring to missions, and only they will earn xp, and you choose who gets what gear bonuses, etc. - but this only happens in between missions, not during.
While I do like the game, I'm a little surprised at just how well reviewed it is. Graphics wise, it looks great but it's not mind blowing (and yes I have everything maxxed). Gameplay-wise, it's not a major change/leap over some other games. In fact, it actually plays out not unlike the RTS sections in Hellgate London. You maneuver your team of 4, use cover, take out a boss, etc. The levelling aspects have been done in other games as well, and the single select for a group of troops I believe was done in Kohan. It does feel well polished and stream-lined, so definitely kudos for that. But innovative or really changing up the RTS genre? I don't see it. Maybe the multiplayer is really where it shines.
One thing that bugged me was the inability to change keyboard commands. I hate having the camera on the arrow keys and wanted to relocate them. Interestingly, the other game I tried out right after (Battleforge beta) DID have the camera keys mapped to wasd where I like them. Oddly enough the gameplay/interface felt fairly similar to DoW2. Of course Battleforge carries more of the traditional RTS elements of taking power nodes, etc. It's chief difference is the Magic: The Gathering like meta game. You put together a deck and that's what's available to you in a fight. In all honesty, while DoW2 looked much better and felt more polished, I think BF actually felt fresher and more fun to me, maybe it was just the card aspect I like. Anyway, kind of interesting to see a bunch of new RTS's coming out this year, will be interesting to see which stand the test of time.
Quote from: StriderGG on February 20, 2009, 06:46:39 PM
I am getting a weird feeling while playing this game that I am playing a severily patched WoW from the future (or from an alternative reality). The game is similar enough to WOW to induce deja vu, but different enough to keep things fresh. Weird.
Yep, I think you are essentially playing a cannibilized AsioGermanicWoW. The game was "developed by the Taiwanese developer Runewaker Entertainment and adapted for the English and German speaking market by German firm Frogster Interactive." So international!!!
It certainly has some of the feel of many of the free Asian MMORPGs I've tried blended into the WoW-esque world. But also incorporates some Diablo-esque features as well. The dual class thing definitely reminds me of Final Fantasy. I'm not sure what the German influence is
Quote from: Roguetad on February 20, 2009, 05:47:13 PM
With that said, I agree with Rittchard's thoughts. I can't understand why pc developers seem to be making it harder to install their games. It's silly. I'm all for playing without the dvd in the drive, but not by turning the install process into 1-3 hour pc tinkering/troubleshooting exercise. As pc gamers we already have to tinker and troubleshoot to optimize performance, having to spend hours on the install process just makes console gaming that much more appealing.
Thanks for the support! I felt a little bad about my rant, but it's nice to hear some similar feedback. What happened to the good old days when we just had a code wheel lol? I am certainly for games not requiring a CD/DVD in drive, that's been a pain in the ass for a long time, but this just seems incredibly egregious. Particularly for a game that is not 100% multiplayer, apparently if you had no access to the internet, you wouldn't be able to play the game at all (single player), which is a shame.
As for Steam, we'll see if I get used to it. I was certainly not pleased that as soon as I turned the computer on this morning it was asking for my login.
Oh well, hopefully I'll actually get to play the game some time tonight for some real impressions!
My impressions: PC gaming is about ready to kill itself if this is the future. Steam is a steaming pile of crap that can suck my ballz.
Here's the story: I get home eager to install and get playing. Insert the disk and after an inordinate amount of waiting I get a screen saying Steam is going to install. I'm like, uhhh why do I need Steam? I just want to try the single player campaign really quick. Whatever. Steam finally finishes and then I'm asked to enter obscure code on back of manual. Game finally installs after more waiting. Finally I get a window asking me to Launch. With yet another obscure code I guess I am supposed to write down for multiplayer. Did I ever say I wanted to play multiplayer? Thanks for asking, Steamcrap. I hit Launch and... after waiting and waiting I get a message saying the game is not available. Try again later. What the flying F*&^*?!?! So here I am trying it again and again and getting the same message. This is complete bullshit. I'm looking at my copy of Dragon Quest and thinking, screw this PC, I could have spent the last half hour actually PLAYING a console game.
I'm not sure whose brilliant idea it was to make game installation such an incredible chore, it's like they deliberately want to punish you and send you to your Xbox. Not to mention requiring a bunch of bloatware crap (steam) I wasn't necessarily interested in. So after 45 minutes have passed, I can't even see the opening cutscene of the game I just bought, and that's about all the gaming time I had tonight. What an absolute joke.
Quick Edit: as I wrote this it finally updated and allowed to see the opening cutscene. Pretty damn cool, points for that.
Then I'm getting ready to spend a few minutes in game, but... it won't let me do anything until I sign into Windows LIVE. Grrrr. After trying every email and password combo I can think of, it FINALLY lets me in. Exactly as I run out of time lol. There's something so wrong about this, playing a game should not be so difficult.
Oh yeah, as a sidebar to my long-winded prior post, I'm curious what are the most important factors for you guys for ultra-portable and netbooks - is it more the form factor or weight? If weight was held constant (and price/performance), would you prefer a larger screen and keyboard, or is the present netbook form factor one of its biggest assets?
So after some careful consideration, I decided to cancel my EEE 1000HE pre-order for the time being. I'll probably be back on the netbook hunt once Win 7/Ion hits (and hopefully higher screen rez), as discussed above. Next time I will for sure get at least 10" assuming that's still in the mix.
Instead, I decided on going for an Asus F6A-X2 (Best Buy only I believe) as part of my ongoing economy stimulus mission:
It's on clearance in store for just $594, which seems like a great deal to me. Looks perhaps like a casualty of the previously mentioned changes in Asus.
While it's nothing that special feature for feature, it caught my eye at the store and particularly after doing some considerable research, I found it was almost in a class of its own when I considered everything (price, size/weight, processor, memory, graphics power, etc). I'll have more details on it later, at some point I'd like to face off my army of Asus laptops against each other lol. Somehow I've become a total Asus fanboy with now THREE Asus computers!
Anyway, it's actually quite interesting to look through the myraid of options we have these days starting from netbooks up to hardcore desktop replacement gaming laptops. But I certainly did find some holes. It's still very tough to get the relatively smaller, lighter weight machines with halfway decent gaming/graphics power. There's like this sudden jump into the $1000-$2000+ range when you want power plus lightweight (which explains why the Macbook Air can maintain its price structure). A laptop with power comparable to the MBA and lightweight (Sony and Lenovo compete here) are in the $2000-3000+ range.
So going back, you start at the sub-$400 to $500 range with 2.5-3.2 pound netbooks. Then you hit the $500-700 range and you can get regular laptops, but generally these are 14-15" screens and above 5 pounds. There's very little in the 11-12" range (3-4pounds), and what's available is either skimpy in graphics (X3100 maybe) and/or much pricier (everything in Newegg at 12" is above $1000). So then you get to the 13" market, where things start to get very interesting. A lot more tradeoffs to be made and lots of options available, but much of it in the $800 and up range, particularly when you want to start talking about better graphics. Now honestly, if you are willing to spend in the $1000 range, one of your very best bets is the latest Macbook for $999 which gives you substantial graphics and processing power for a very decent price. Throw your favorite version of Windows on it for dual boot and you are good to go.
So anyway, this led me to the F6A. Graphics are mediocre (X4500), processor is OK (2GHz), but weight is good (4.3 pounds I think) and it comes with 4GB of RAM, 64-bit Vista, a decent hard drive (250GB) and DVD drive. For $600 (or 50% more than the 1000HE, or 1/4 the price of the MBA), I think it's a very nice deal, and as mentioned I couldn't find something comparable for a competitive price. Sure I'd like Centrino 2 and 9300M graphics, but not for double the price. I liked the overall form factor (except for the ugly battery sticking out the back) and am hoping performance will be decent.
Sorry for the long winded post, just thought it was an interesting exercise considering so many factors in the portable to ultraportable world. Seems like things are ever so slowly heading toward a convergence. I would love to see a dual core Intel netbook, maybe 10-11" (12 OK if weight is held low), 3 pounds or less, 1280x800 resolution, with at least Ion graphics, in the $500 range, maybe $600 with more RAM, etc.
Jeff, again I think this is a problem with this year's new (horrible) format. With a field of 24, I'm guessing guys like that doofy funny guy (Neil?) and the lip ring whiner would never have made it. However, under the radar (but good quality) singers who might not have stood out with a sob story (like your Braddy guy who I also enjoyed), would very likely have had *at least* a second and third chance to develop and show growth, whether it be in vocals or image. As I mentioned earlier, I could very well see David Cook not making it past a round like this based on his relative low profile and "word nerd" image at last season's outset. Same goes for Jordin Sparks, I don't think she really started to catch her audience until the middle of the competition.
That said, it's still plausible with the wild card thing I keep complaining about that we will get to hear some of these guys one more time.
Quote from: hepcat on February 19, 2009, 02:34:41 PM
My impressions after one hour of game time last night are generally favorable. The SP portion feels more like Diablo than it does an RTS to me. I love the customization of the characters, the leveling up via xp and the unlocks you can get from putting points into their version of stats.
Damn you GT-Effect!!! This statement alone made me rush out to buy the game, which I originally had not planned on.
It's interesting that they are not being at all forward about their wild card plans. This is not Survivor, they do not need "twists" in the rules to make it interesting. Ryan's goodbye comments were mostly vague last night, I assume intentionally, but I thought when he said goodbye to Tatiana it was a more traditional, end-of-the-road type of comment. I don't remember exactly now. From that article reference, are we to infer the judges will choose 12 of the remaining 27 for another audience vote? If that's the case, why not make it known so people won't be upset that their favorite has no more chance?
If you guys are on the PvP server (forgot the name again, sorry) and want to form up a guild some time, let me know. Need 100k gold and 4 other members I believe. I have about half the cash or close to that right now.
Jack: "what happens to the rest of the people on the plane?"
Ben: "who cares?!?"
I don't even know where to start. Though I knew they were going to move things along to get people back to the island, this was far faster than I thought they'd go. Clearly they've left a lot of dangling threads, as to how Hugo, Sayid, Ben, etc all end up on the plane, but these can be tied up pretty easily in an ep or 2. I'm just glad we are back on the island. I love the concept of the island *always* in motion in space/time, never occured to me but it certainly makes sense - if anything makes sense in the Lostverse. Still don't know how they will tie the mystical stuff to the scientific, should be very a good ride.
Quote from: PaulBot on February 19, 2009, 06:00:31 PM
Quote from: Jimmy the Fish on February 19, 2009, 06:36:27 AM
As for the final three, no surprise that Gokey and Alexis Grace move on. A little surprising that the oil rig guy made it. Not a great performance, but the nice guy factor apparently carried him through.
Agree. I was predicting Danny, Alexis & Anoop-Dog, but Mr. Oil Rigger doesn't surprise me. I think he got a lot of sympathy votes. At least he isn't annoying.
Tatiyana is GONE! WOOHOO!
Don't be too sure, they have yet to explain the "Wild Card" rules. I agree this new format gives the producers a much better way to control and manipulate who makes Final 12. Looking at week 1, if we believe Ryan's results, either Oil Rigger or Anoop would have made it. Both have fairly distinctive fanbases, so the producers win either way. The 3 who made it were all featured in the opening weeks, and all had some form of sob/family story. Coincidence?
Even though I was happy Oil Rigger made it, I still think this format is Teh Suck. It feels much harsher than normal, and they seem to deliberately be hiding the new ruleset. Are we supposed to care about the others who got cut or not? Is there any hope for a return? What exactly is the Wild Card round? Is it the judges just picking 3 people, or picking 12 for one more competition? Or is it based on number of overall votes?
Quote from: PaulBot on February 19, 2009, 12:21:14 AM
Another thing about the way they're doing it: what if the other groups have 4-5 super good people, and after seeing them you decide you wouldn't vote for anybody from the first group?
Maybe the contestants have been grouped in a certain way for a specific reason that we'll never be enlightened to. Oh well, I should quit trying so hard to analyze everything and just enjoy the hot women.
Some good people are going to be cut based on their one bad (or mediocre) performance last night, and that's too bad.
Agreed and agreed. Except of course I'm enjoying the hot guys
As to point 1, this is still essentially the same as splitting between guys and girls; you could very well have not wanted to vote for any of the girls last season, for example.
I guess I'm also confused why they bothered with letting 36 people through, only to give us virtually no time to experience more than half of them. I didn't remember seeing about half of last night's folks in Hollywood, and it won't matter because they'll be gone after tonight. Then next week it will be a completely different set, and then another. Breaking the continuity in any reality show seems like a mistake to me. While I'm glad they are trying to mix up the format somewhat, I think they've done themselves and the contestants something of a disservice by toying with a formula that was working well.
Quote from: Jimmy the Fish on February 18, 2009, 09:21:54 PM
I would like to see Danny Gokey and Alexis Grace make it to the next round. The third...gah. Who knows.
Agreed on this. I wouldn't mind seeing the oil rig beefy guy make it, but I thought he was just OK. I'd say Gokey is the early on favorite to win it all, unless he peaks too early like David A last year. He's like a better looking David Cook with as good a voice and a better story (lost his wife). Still it was annoying to see the judges fawn over him and it seemed decidedly unfair. Maybe this will backfire.
I'm actually very disappointed in this new format, and I think ultimately it's a mistake. It puts way too much pressure on the contestants at the getgo and doesn't allow for any growth. It favors the people who got the most opening/Hollywood coverage (familiarity), as well as the older, more experienced contestants. As Simon said, they basically are ONLY getting this one chance (as opposed to prior seasons where you might get away with a slow start or one bad night early on). My guess is with this kind of system, David Cook and Jordin Sparks could both have been eliminated in their first weeks when neither was a particular standout. This new format also makes you less involved with the singers, as apparently you just won't see batches of them for multiple weeks, and this certainly lessens the feel that you are watching some of them grow and develop.
I felt particularly bad for Stevie Wright, who I thought had a ton of potential, but just was way too nervous for night 1 and is pretty much done. Don't know what they have planned for the wild card round, but maybe they can save a couple of good folk with that.
Quote from: StriderGG on February 18, 2009, 03:05:46 PM
I am not very impressed with Dual classing system. IMO it was implemented much better in Final Fantazy Online. Here, you are limited to two classes (if you select Mage/Scout, you can only switch between these two, you can't drop Scout and take Rogue) and you have to grind them out separately, so if you want to have a maxxed out char, your level grind is effectively doubled. Not necessarily a bad thing if you like the leveling process though (and if you don't why would you play a game like this anyway? ). It could have been an altoholic heaven if they allowed to switch your classes at any time - play Mage/Scout one day, switch to Warrior/Knight the next, all on one char, no "I screwed up my char, I need to re-roll" ever. For a game that is trying to be casual, it's strange they don't have this. As it is, if you don't like your Mage/Scout by lvl 20/20 (remember double grind?), you will have to re-roll.
Have to disagree with you on this. I wouldn't mind having the option of changing secondary classes, but I do think it's good to maintain a ruleset for dual classing. Just for gear alone it would be impractical to maintain 6 (actually more since you are advocating allowing all 30 combos to be possible on a single character) sets of gear on the same character so that you could change on a whim. I'm actually having trouble maintaining my inventory for just the 2 classes. If I want to play something entirely different from my main character, I would rather just reroll a new toon. The levelling process is friendly enough as is (particularly with all the bag gifts), so I don't see this as a problem.
It's hard to say right now without getting deeper in levels (and seeing later skills), but thus far I think the dual class system is fun and allows for enough creativity as is, particularly since you get to choose which skills to invest in. I'm liking this system better than WoW's or WAR's. It feels like I have more control over character development in a Diablo-like way, and like Diablo, that my choices are significant (thus no easy respec trivializing them). I kind of go back and forth on just how casual I like my games. I think in general I prefer a fast/easy level system with harder respec over a grindy level system with easy respec, but that's purely personal preference.
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Daehawk, sorry I am still too newb to comment on PvP specs. I imagine Priest as a secondary will benefit any class, if only for the regen and bubble spells. I'd imagine that these 2 alone would be beneficial in PvP since both are instas.
I'm a little ambivalent after playing the demo. I loved the graphics and atmosphere, this is one of the best looking engines I've seen in a while. I had some weird stutter problem at first but I updated my sound and mouse driver and it appears OK now. Compared to the screenies I've seen of Dragon Age, this looks just as good if not better so far.
The game/demo itself, though, felt very slow, for lack of a better word. I didn't feel like I was engaged into an engrossing story, and then when I decided I should get my feet wet with some combat, I had to walk quite a ways (to the aforementioned cave) before I could find some action. Unlike CK, my chick seemed to autoattack just fine. I didn't adjust her stance or whatever at all, though I think you can change them to aggressive or whatever. The wizard was killing everything as mentioned. The pausable action was reminiscent of NWN2 and I'm guessing DA will be similar. Somehow it felt a bit lackluster, though this could just be because it was so early in the game.
Maybe it's due to drooling over the preview of Dragon Age in the latest PC Gamer, but my first impression was just OK. As mentioned, I thought the engine looked excellent, but I was hoping to be drawn in more intensely. Damn that Bioware!!!
Last night seemed like a bit of a setback to me. After firmly establishing the more "gritty" fugitives with less powers and "on the run," suddenly Hiro and Ando are magically in India?!? WTF? No explanation is given and presumable fugitives on the run from the govt should not have easy access to flights out of the country. I suppose we could imagine Peter flew them both there with Ando powering him up, but this again ruins the premise of our heroes being in dire straits and on the run. They might as well have just teleported. As for that plotline, I'm not sure if it served any purpose that couldn't have been accomplished in a different scenario, i.e. what was special about India? Maybe the chacter will be important later, have some relation to Mohinder or perhaps be a love interest? Otherwise it was just filler.
Ali Larter looked hot in what I'll call the stripper prison (love the red neon lights, you go girl!). But her motivation and plotline was skewed. I thought she was trying to help Nathan by scaring Moira Kelley, but the next scene seems to show her development as a badass revenge chick? No idea what to make of her. At least she's hot so whatever.
I'm a little mixed on the Sylar+protege. I do like Microwave Boy and I'm glad he's back for more. My guess is he's Sylar's half brother, but who knows.
Claire's plotline was a bit annoying, and at times laughable (scene in comic book store was very Scooby Doo). Not sure where they are going with her or Aquaboy (who's even more useless than she is!) but hopefully the reveal of the Rebel will be some sort of payoff.
Next week looks better. Any time I see Matt do the head tilt I am happy.
I really enjoyed last night's episode! Pretty much all around fun with Chloe insulting the FBI dude, plus the spoiler return mentioned above, and finally the reveal of the mole. No big surprise but I just wanted to hurry up and get it out there so the mole can go up against Chloe.
Quote from: morlac on February 17, 2009, 01:53:52 PM
I have it downloaded but just picked up LOTRO for $6 and am playing with that atm. However, I might need to install and give it a whirl while folks here are interested. Can anyone comment on how grouping vs. solo play is? Is there a 'need' for grouping in the dungeons etc. I would imagine with the dual calssing that you come up with some kick ass, well diversified duo or trio groups.
Thus far I've had to group for exactly 2 quest finales. One of them I'm pretty sure I could have done on my own with another level or 2. The second one, harder to say. You have to launch yourself past a ton of mobs to get to the boss, so if you can take down the boss quick it might be soloable.
It's very solo friendly. Actually thus far I think friendly is the best way to describe the game. It's easy to just pop in for half an hour to an hour and feel like you've accomplished something, even if it's just beating down some annoying beetles. There's even a feature to auto-move you to a quest NPC if you happen to be unable to remember where they were (right click on their blue name in the quest log).
It's funny that soulbringer calls it a "keeper" - at a monthly cost of $0 it's definitely that!!! Almost makes me feel guilty for enjoying it so much
DQ5, maybe Fire Emblem. Street Fighter 4 is a maybe for me, I was a huge fan of the original but frankly the game footage I saw looked completely unimpressive. Well that's not quite accurate, it just looked like slightly prettier graphics (and only slightly) than what I remember from the past. Even the herky jerkiness seemed like it was artificially added in to make it more like the original. So what's special about SF4?
Here are my compiled impressions off Wanderers forum. I am playing on the US PvP Server, not sure what the name is but there is only one:
First off, the download is about 3GB or more, a variety of sources are available. This is no big deal, but unfortunately after the install it goes through another 20 or so downloads of various sizes. It can be kind of annoying because occasionally you need to be around to hit OK or choose English or something. So overall install process was fairly long. You can get your acct and everything set up in the mean time, and browse the forums for starter tips.
Once started, you have a choice of 4 servers in the US, 3 are PvE and 1 is PvP. I started on the PvP one just for kicks, though I have seen a ton of messages bitching about the ruleset. It appears PvP doesn't actually begin until level 15 so I haven't had any experience with it yet. I don't know much about it except that there are reputation based points, etc to deter PKers (I think).
Anyway, on to startup. I have to say this is hands down the best looking and most polished, free to play MMORPG I have tried. And I have tried a ton of them. I'd say Wizard101 is a close second, but this one gets you progressing in the game even faster and friendlier. Graphics are very WoW like, but there's definitely an Asian MMORPG influence and feel in addition to it. Maybe it's the characters or the spell animations, I'm not sure. Initial gameplay is very WoW-esque: quests, kill some mobs, return, etc. The whole starter town is essentially an extended beginner's guide, including for crafting (which is also similar to WoW, maybe even more streamlined). The nicest touch in the game, though, is the way they keep giving you things. Who doesn't like presents? Every level they give you a bag which you can open and out pops some usable piece of gear. A couple of quests also reward you with a bag that contains something nice. Unlike many other games, initial drops are not just vendor fodder. There are halfway decent items, recipes and runes which you can use to upgrade your items.
Again, while there's nothing particularly new or innovative in terms of gameplay (particularly mobs and quest grinding), what does feel fresh is the developers' apparent desire to reward you and give you things early and often. Most free games are not like this. You can rent horses from the getgo, and you even have a free 24 hour rental to start with. You get access to your player house right around level 5, which seems unheard of in most games (forgot when EQ2 gave it to you). There is hearth recall, and I think a selectable recall system, so hopefully travel will be fairly friendly throughout. There's a bunch of different crafting choices from the getgo too. Just all and all what looks like a focused effort to get you in the game. And thus far I've only seen 1 time when real money (you buy diamonds for real cash) came into the picture (for a minor weapon upgrade).
In any case, I'll see how things develop. I can imagine the game getting boring and grindy once levels and rewards start to taper off. But it's also possible the dungeons or PvP content may be fun. For what really seems to be a 100% free game, it's hard to complain too much. Most of the other free to plays I've tried almost immediately you can see how they are directing you to pay real cash for improved gameplay. As mentioned, this game does not seem to have that mentality.
- The dual class system definitely is a great touch to the game. It is reminiscent of a couple of the older Final Fantasy games where you could change "jobs." In this case you can only have an active Primary class along with a secondary, which you can switch between by talking to a particular NPC. There are class specific skills which you can only access as the primary, but the remaining skills you can always access, provided you are the correct level. For instance, after changing to Knight/Priest, at levels 6/10, I can access all my knight skills up to level 6, and then the basic priest skills up to level 6. This makes for some interesting combos and clearly adds to the replayability and experimentation value for classes and builds.
- To further refine this class build system, you earn another batch of points (TPs) which are used to upgrade particular skills. You can only use the TPs you've earned while playing a particular primary class for that class, and can only upgrade that classes' skills. Without having played enough, it's hard to tell if you need to save points (a la Diablo 2) or not. As a Priest, I only maxxed out a HoT, nuke and a DoT. I barely used the main heals so I didn't upgrade them. I suspect in group situations they will become more necessary so I saved up some points for the future.
- Lots of little touches are nice. Sometimes when you kill a mob a glowing icon will remain, kind of like an FPS. These will give you temp boosts to HP, defense, etc. The interface is highly customizable as we've come to take for granted, with hotkeys available for everything. There's an AH and even a lottery system you can buy tickets for.
- I don't really know what's in store for the late/end game, but as it stands, this looks like an incredibly solid, friendly PvE game for casual gamers. In many ways it's even more friendly than WoW at the getgo, and that's saying a lot. Particularly when you factor in the game is 100% free.
- I have now levelled up to a 12/12 Priest/Warrior. Not sure how many hours it's been but I've had a great time, and it hasn't felt like a grind. I've taken time to do some gathering and crafting, and as yet I haven't seen any need to spend a penny of real money. I am considering buying a perma-horse, but in all honesty I haven't even been using a horse for most of my play.
- The teleport system is generous and friendly. There is a standard hearth system on a 1 hour timer. On the same 1 hour timer you eventually get a couple of city teleports. That's just for starters. There are also items that allow you to port back to your house from anywhere. Once you are done at your house, you are ported back from where you originated the port. This essentially allows you to jump home and completely switch your classes and gear, and then jump right back to the adventure! But wait, there's more! Similar to Might and Magic (and was it Daggerfall), you can also set Recall locations and then port back to those specific locations. These require some items which I'm not exactly sure where you can get as I was given a bunch for free. Maybe these are buyables for real cash.
- Unlike WoW/WAR, the game makes much more consistent use out of its zones. I've played almost entirely in the same zone, for better or worse, and have gone back to different dungeons and locations numerous times. While this may sound annoying to some people, I kind of like the feel that I'm familiar with an area, and not just rushing through some breadcrumb system from one place to another, never seeing that zone again. It's sad that in WAR, you can tell a lot of effort went to designing certain locations, but my guess is many players never even see those areas, and those that do, spend roughly an hour or less there, complete the quest and never see it again. In RoM, you can easily spend a very good portion of time in the starter village/town. It kind of reminds me of some console RPGs where you are rewarded by re-visiting previous areas.
- There are "daily quests" on the bulletin board, of which you are limited to completing a certain number of per day (surprise). These are typical grind quests (kill/get X) but are a nice supplemental to main quests.
- A couple of the chain quests are pretty fun. One issue I noticed is that it's not always clear when you'll need a group to complete a tough stage of the quest. Not a big deal, but something to be aware of.
- I still have yet to see the impact of playing on a PvP server. Aside from the usual asshats, there is also a pretty decent amount of helpful folk enjoying the game. I guess once I hit 15 the PvP aspects will start to kick in.
- Again, it's hard for me to compare this game properly to games like WAR/WoW when it is 100% free to play. It's not that I can't afford the monthly fee games, but I love that these other developers are challenging the rigid dynamic. I really hope they do well. The games we pay for, clearly try to use old school mechanisms (content lockouts, gear restrictions, etc) to force you to play longer. Those dynamics are falling to the wayside now, as this is the type of game they clearly just want you to have fun, and only spend your cash to make your experience even more fun.