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3441  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Prison Break - Fall 2008's Best Unwatched show? on: November 14, 2008, 09:29:08 PM

Quote from: hepcat on November 14, 2008, 07:22:05 PM

Quote from: rittchard on November 14, 2008, 07:11:22 PM


Worst Week - I love that main guy, he's absolutely adorable, and haven't seen much of the show yet, but again - it's called Worst WEEK and isn't it based on the week before he gets married?

Look at 24.  It's actually 168 after 7 years.   icon_biggrin

I was thinking 24 too but actually on second thought, it's premise is a natural for continuation.  Each season only 1 day passes, that's a perfect format to go on forever.  And actually, there's nothing in the title that constrains you as to what the 24 represents.  24 hours, 24 days, 24 months.
3442  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: HBO to begin filming pilot episode of A Game of Thrones on: November 14, 2008, 09:26:58 PM

Quote from: Thry on November 12, 2008, 10:58:45 PM

Its hard to believe Dragons isn't done yet :\

As much as I loved the series, I've all but given up hope on finishing it.  One of us (me or George) will likely die before it's finished, just not sure who.
3443  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Friend is on the new Survivor on: November 14, 2008, 09:26:01 PM

Quote from: Crux on November 14, 2008, 07:50:11 PM

Sugar = so clueless it isn't even funny.

This is the one thing I'm wondering about.  Is she truly clueless or is she being edited that way, and then in the endgame she'll turn around and not be as clueless as we thought.  Every now and again she's shown glimmers of thought, which make me think she may be playing a ditz, and then edited further to look clueless and crybaby.  With idol in hand, she can make it to the final 4 or 3 if she is smart.
3444  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Friend is on the new Survivor on: November 14, 2008, 07:30:28 PM
Grrrr, of course the moment I choose to root for someone they get voted off.  At least as he said, he now gets to stalk I mean hang out with hottie Marcus the rest of the time smile  They are definitely the cutest couple on the show.

All that's left is a bunch of ugly, mean-spirited people, I pretty much hate them all but am such a tool I will watch to the end.

Kenny - I should favor him since he's Asian and a gamer, but he is starting to irritate me with over-confidence and plus he took out all my hotties.  That his cheap/simple ploy of telling everyone Charlie ran the show worked so easily just proves how simple minded the remaining cast is

Randy - could he be more racist and annoying?  ugh

Krystal - I kind of liked her at first, now she just annoys me with her constant need for attention and bickering

Susie - yuck x 10

Matty - tool x 10

Corrinne - she seems like a nice girl but what a bitch.  I can't believe how mean she was in her comments about Sugar. 

Bob - give him credit for making it this far at his age

Sugar - she's sweet and cute but the crying is getting old.  She's about the last one I kind of hope wins, but I can't say I care that much one way or another.

Looking at these Loser 8, logically it seems like the 5 have the numbers to remove Randy, Corrinne and Bob before they start feasting on each other.  After that, who knows.  Of course logic seems to defy most of these folk so who knows.  Sugar having the immunity idol and everyone knowing may make for some interesting gameplay, or may make for absolutely nothing.

All in all, it's hard for me to predict much since I dislike most of these cast members so much lol.  If I had to guess.... final 3:  Kenny, Crystal and Suzie.  Kenny wins as the best choice between these 3 horrible choices, claiming his growth and mastermind-ship of the game in his speech.  Audience yawns, nerdy Asian gamers rejoice!
3445  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Prison Break - Fall 2008's Best Unwatched show? on: November 14, 2008, 07:11:22 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on November 14, 2008, 12:40:02 AM

they really should have called the show something else, like The Scofield Chronicles or something since half the series didn't involve breaking out of prison.

Yeah, semi OT, but there seems to be a number of these type of "high concept" shows ever since Lost, that almost limit themselves from day one with their title or premise.  I wonder if it might make more sense for studios to start doing what they do in many foreign countries, just building shows that are meant/designed/written to end in a set number of episodes and advertise it as such.  I know the industry doesn't work that way right now, but maybe it's time for a change.

Lost - this is the grand-daddy of the high concept shows, whose success spawned many of these others.  The basic premise of people trapped on an island has been drawn out in so many ways, it may be impossible to satisfy everyone in the end.  But they did things right by defining an end point and can now move toward it with a stronger sense of direction.

Prison Break - pretty obvious limitation, it's a wonder they could stretch it as long as they have.  Of course the writers claim to have had seasons 1 and 2 planned out early on, and that did show.  Planning = good.  Seat of your pants = ruh roh.

Vanished - show looked pretty cool, but how long can you drag out finding someone who is missing.  They started to lace it with lots of interesting backstory, at which point the show was cancelled.

The Nine - everything based on flashing back to a single day's events.  Interesting but flawed concept from day one.  How many seasons were they thinking they could do this, seriously?

Life on Mars - love the show, but again the concept is iffy.  If they "resolve" the mystery of is it real, is he dying/dead, is it time travel, whatever, the show is over.  If they don't resolve it, how long can they drag the concept out?

Journeyman - loved the show, but the high concept was apparently too much for people.  Similar to Life on Mars, how long could they drag out the concept?  At least it seemed like Journeyman was willing to go deeper into the sci-fi aspects with its main plotline, at which point it was promptly cancelled

Worst Week - I love that main guy, he's absolutely adorable, and haven't seen much of the show yet, but again - it's called Worst WEEK and isn't it based on the week before he gets married?
3446  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Prison Break - Fall 2008's Best Unwatched show? on: November 13, 2008, 11:38:27 PM
Ouch I knew ratings were down but I forgot how quick they are to dump things.

Next week's Mission Impossible looks fun, but all in all I am ready for some resolution.
3447  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: CHUCK IS BACK! Chuck vs. The First Date Spoilers! on: November 13, 2008, 11:36:21 PM

Quote from: cheeba on November 11, 2008, 02:31:09 PM

Last night's episode was... interesting. They seemed to ignore everything that happened before it. Chuck shares a touching moment with Sarah for like 3-4 episodes in a row, learns that she has feelings for him and basically admits that he's in love with her and the best thing that's ever happened to him, but seemingly forgets all of it and re-falls for Jill? Bah. I expected better.

But this was the first in a 3-series story arc I guess, so I'll happily wait and see if they get back on track.

I thought they established in one of the previous episodes that they could "never be together" blah blah blah.  I don't remember the exact context but it seemed to me like Sarah plays him hot and cold, then does Bryce any time he appears.  Not to say I'm not rooting for them to get together, but I thought it was implied everything had gone back to a stalemate, leaving Chuck again with no real relationship, thus freeing him to fall for Jill.  Of course I haven't been watching as closely as I used to so maybe I missed more.

I did love this week's episode, and as contrived as it was, the kiss was AWESOME lol.
3448  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Wizards First Rule dated (Legend of the Seeker for you illiterate cretins :p ) on: November 10, 2008, 09:10:40 PM
Show is pretty cheesy but I must admit it is growing on me.  Of course I am enjoying the Richard eye candy more than most here.  Having him tied up half the episode was amusing  nod

The one thing that bothers me or makes me laugh I should say is that it constantly seems like someone (generally Kahlan) is running, running, running, running.  Why is she always running?  Where is she running to?  Who knows, but let's show some more running!  It reminds me of a lot of old Chinese martial arts TV shows.  There were limited locations to film at, so often midpoint scenes were just running around the same few spots again and again.
3449  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Left 4 Dead Opening Cinematic on: November 07, 2008, 07:38:53 PM
Downloaded the demo last night, but only watched the opening cinematic so far.  Which, btw, I thought was excellent!  Very cinematic.  In fact the only thing that bothered me was that I actually wanted to learn how these 4 different folk ended up together, but it looks like this is where they are dropping you in to start the storyline.  Unless there's going to be flashbacks or something...
3450  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Resident Evil Degeneration on: November 07, 2008, 07:33:47 PM
Does this movie have anything to do with the live action movie series or completely independent?  Is it more closely based on the games and characters in the games?
3451  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Friend is on the new Survivor on: November 07, 2008, 07:27:59 PM

Quote from: Toe on November 07, 2008, 07:04:03 PM

Quote from: Crux on November 07, 2008, 03:44:08 PM

Rock and a hard place, man. Susan was the swing vote. And there just isn't a plausible scenario by which you convince Susan she's in the top 3. She's physically weak, not trustworthy... there's just nothing to keep her around except luck and circumstance.

I disagree. There are several angles you can work. You want your "good friends" on the jury instead of the top 3. You don't want player x, y, or z in the final three because the jury likes them better than you, you want x, y, z out because they are a threat in physical/mental challenges, etc, etc. Lots of ways to twist it around where it would seem plausible enough for Susan to buy it, especially since she seemed open to any idea at that point in time. Heck, it might not even have to be a lie, she would make a good person to take to the final 3 because she would probably not get any jury votes.

As for the immunity idol at the feast, I really wish one of the old Fang had picked it up. They had a lot to gain and little to lose with just going ahead and grabbing it. If the other tribe wanted to force it out, it opens up a lot of other options when it comes time to vote due to them needing to split votes, because how could the power 6 have split their votes to flushing out the idol without putting one of the own members at risk? (had the tribes not be re-divided)

I totally agree with everything Toe wrote.  In fact Susan would be the BEST candidate right now to take to the final 2 or 3 because NO ONE would vote for her lol.  It's interesting her goal seems set at making the 3, as if she knows exactly she has no chance to actually win. 

And yeah, anyone could have grabbed that idol.  There's nothing saying whoever grabbed it couldn't give it to someone else - just having it out there in the Fang hands is a massive threat and in some sense was a stupid/risky power play by Marcus.  Granted it worked at the time, but it could easily have backfired.  I still maintain if Sugar grabbed it, she could have parlayed that into any number of scenarios to screw the power 6 up.  She could tell everyone she had both, then they'd have no idea if/who she might give it to, or whether she'd just play it herself.  So many options as Toe mentioned, to split votes and take out whoever they wanted.  Of course in the end with the twist they knocked out Marcus anyway so it worked in their advantage, but still, can you imagine if Sugar had grabbed it and things still played out like this?  She'd have almost guaranteed final 4 status.
3452  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Friend is on the new Survivor on: November 07, 2008, 06:00:26 PM
ARRRRRGHHHH!!!!!  So as usual my favorite hunks get voted off quick, and in this case back to back weeks, leaving me with a hodge podge of people to root for.  I guess I will go with Charlie now, he's pretty damn cute.

Marcus, oh my precious Marcus, for a moment last night I thought you might go all the way to the finals and actually be one of the very few "good guy" winners.  Then as the evening progressed, and overconfidence seemed to overcome strategy, and the vaunted "twist" came about, I realized it was looking bad. 

Now I know it's always easy to be armchair quarterback from home and the editing can be manipulated, but from what we saw it really looked like Marcus just lost his edge and got far too overconfident.  Even with the new split, had he stuck to his plan and worked with Susie instead of Krystal, I think he would have been fine.  He is shown agreeing that Susie is a nut and unstable, and then he still tries to play both sides of the fence WITH her?  Makes no sense.  If he really wanted or felt he needed Krystal as a better #6, just take the psycho out first so she's not a threat.  Again, I don't know if it was edited that way but Krystal specifically says she won't write Kenny's name down, and what does he do?  Asks her to vote Kenny instead of Psycho Suzie!!  Yes I realize from a challenge standpoint she looked like a non-issue and Kenny is a much bigger threat strategically, but that's exactly the kind of overconfident attitude that has cost many a survivor a million bucks.  How many times has an unstable swing vote backstabbed a stronger player?  When you have the numbers, play the numbers.  It's boring but it works.  Trying to manipulate too many people for what might happen 2 or 3 steps down the line is a recipe for disaster.

So as usual, it makes for less eye candy for me but a much more interesting game.  The Power 6 is now a Weak 4 vs. an Unsteady 5.  Kenny is showing signs of overconfidence (from the previews) that may mean he is the next big target.  Sugar is easily manipulated and go either way, probably Matty as well.  Suzie is a flake and can go either way.  Randy is also unreliable.  All the alliances are unsteady, though I think Charlie and his chick are fairly tight (also with Bob), as are Kenny/Krystal.  Should be an interesting finish.

Another aside, why didn't Sugar just grab the frickin immunity idol?  I realize there was a peer pressure/target kind of thing going on, but holding TWO idols?  That's some power in the game, even if everyone knows you have both.  At bare minimum it guarantees you a spot in the final 8.  It forces people to either allow you to go all the way to the final 4, or keep trying to force both idols out.  Each time they play for the idol, it's a crapshoot who may be the alternate. 
3453  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Prison Break - Fall 2008's Best Unwatched show? on: November 05, 2008, 09:44:39 PM
Still enjoying the show, though I likewise hope it's the final season and they wrap plotlines up. 

Nice payoff on the torture sequence, Jack Bauer would be proud.  Bellick's swansong was out of character but needed to tighten up the cast.

That evil chick (why can't I remember her name?) is one of the best/worst characters on TV.  I love to hate her.  The grossout "my girl" kiss scene was just icky x 10.
3454  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Fallout 3 Impressions PC Edition on: October 31, 2008, 07:54:04 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on October 31, 2008, 07:43:58 PM

Even if the game doesn't end up suiting me (we'll see soon enough), who can resist a bobblehead and a metal lunchbox?  smile

That was definitely my impression as well, I love that bobblehead!

Oh yeah, also recommend the CE of the guidebook, the paper and overall quality just feels so nice.
3455  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Fallout 3 Impressions PC Edition on: October 29, 2008, 06:27:20 PM
First Impressions (cross posted from Wanderers forum)

Warning: I am going to be a poopoohead on this, so don't read if you are a crazed fanboy. Also note I have barely scratched the surface of the game, this is truly FIRST impressions after only an hour (maybe 2) of gameplay.

As some of you know, I wasn't extremely excited with F3 to begin with, but after getting absorbed in all the hype and glowing reviews and "game of the year" talk, I felt I owed it to myself as a longtime gamer (and big Fallout fan back in the day) to try it out. By the time I had assembled my bobble-head while waiting for the long install to complete, I was pretty damn excited to see what all the fuss was about.

Opening cinematic.... meh. I've seen better, I've seen worse. Pretty much it brings you into the opening sequence, but I was not impressed. I thought it might be funnier, or edgier, or... something-er. Anyway, I did enjoy the character creation sequence and readily admit this was one of the most clever and engaging versions of character creation I've seen. I enjoyed how they moved you through at a fairly even pace as the years passed.

However, this is immediately where my problems with the game began as well. Without meaning to, I immediately started having Oblivion flashbacks. The NPCs, while improved, had that same kind of creepy, soulless feel, even the kids. The voice acting was uneven, some of it good and some of it pretty standard and some just... not. Understanding I was in the opening sequence, I had a mixed feeling as to whether I should be rushing through it to get to the "real" game, or trying to absorb as much of it as possible to dive into the world and characters. I ended up somewhere in between and all in all it just felt kind of weird. There was one storyline involving a bully which I thought started with potential, but ultimately felt rushed and mis-handled. As things started to advance, I couldn't help but think about the opening of Oblivion in the cave, and it just felt like deja vu - particularly when I finally made it out. That's not necessarily bad, per se, since I did enjoy Oblivion at the time - but I was hoping for something that transcended what I played a couple years ago.

Now for the most part, I'd say the Vault 101 opening was fairly well handled. I liked that there were clearly a few different "paths" you could go on, even in the opening sequence. I ended up killing someone I shouldn't have while "roleplaying", not sure that was the greatest of moves but whatever. The problem for me was the constant feeling like I was playing with an old engine, more like a "total conversion" mod than a true major release. I realize most people will say this is unfair, but I'm just conveying impressions. As much as I loved Oblivion, it's a 2 year old game with a core engine that's probably much older. Even the combat felt Oblivion-clunky. I like to play Fallout by roleplaying a Buffy the Vampire Slayer-like melee character named... Buffy lol. Wielding a bat and/or my fists and angling down to whop bugs felt awkward at best, and often I couldn't tell if I was hitting them or not. Similarly hitting guards I didn't feel the "connection" - unless I switched to VATS mode to do the Matrix-like moves which were admittedly cool and a nice addition. I tried shifting to third person to see if combat would "connect" with me better, but it didn't. I suppose this is how many people felt towards Guild Wars combat, that it just didn't feel right to them.

In any event, this is not meant to bash the game. I can tell it was made with lots of care/love and tons of hours of replayability and depth in mind. I bought the guide book (the expensive one) and it's just gorgeous and very clear there's a huge world to explore and dive into. Fans of "deep" RPGs with tons of content and side stories and quests will no doubt be satisfied with all there is going on.

That said, I will say I was mildly disappointed that I wasn't just "sucked in" to the game somehow, as I thought/hoped I might be. Maybe that's too demanding a desire, but in a game where it's been touted the main storyline can be completed in 10 hours (no idea if this is true), I sort of just expected to be really drawn in one way or another after the first hour. Instead, I kind of just felt almost exactly like I did when I first emerged from the cave in Oblivion. I do feel like there's a huge world out there to explore and somewhere along the line I should probably search for my father. I just don't personally feel an impending sense of immediacy to get back to the game to find out what happens.

And finally, what I do question is why it is a game like this (reminiscent of how Bioshock was received last year) is immediately given such adoring attention by critics and forum-goers, with GOTY being thrown out again and again, while many other games seem to get nitpicked to death. This game is no doubt good, and of high quality - but game of the year? What has it added to the genre? What makes it special (no pun intended) and/or unique? Thus far, I'm not seeing it.
3456  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season 3 (spoilers for our less fortunate European friends) on: October 28, 2008, 06:36:19 PM
Well, this "Chapter" is entitled Villains so clearly they are trying to establish a set of good bad guys (pardon the pun) - one of the big criticisms last season was the lack of a strong villain, so they are working hard on that.  Admittedly the show has had much more impact with a stronger villain who has already wiped out 2 of last season's villains, I suppose in a way to show you just how badass he is.  Now of course the writers are going to have to be careful yet again, because anyone with Peter's powers is essentially omnipotent (Time Travel, Teleportation, Healing, Telepathy, Telekinesis, Lightning, Fire, etc etc) - so how exactly are you going to fight that and make it plausible?  Well, I can think of one easy way...

...and that's the ongoing issue of the Haitian, who is in fact even more powerful than the Omnipotent One, as he clearly can negate anyone's powers from range.  His existence creates a cheap method to circumvent any logistics, yet he is always held in the background until it's deemed useful.

Random segue: I made a joke when Elle showed up last night that they needed to get some L-word action to boost the ratings, then minutes later they had the cute scene with Elle and Hayden holding hands on the airplane.  Had to chuckle at that one!  That said, there are too many blondes in the show, so I predict death for probably Elle and Hayden's mom.

Anyway, the show is definitely more fun with the new bad guy, but clearly these writers could use a lesson or 2 in comic book writing and story/character continuity.  They've broken so many rules already it's sad.  There was an entire article in Entertainment Weekly (cover story) essentially repeating what we've said here about the bad and lazy writing.

Next Chapter which I think starts in January is called Fugitives, so essentially the survivors from this sequence will be on the run for whatever reason.
3457  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Bethesda sucks and they and anyone who likes them are going to hell (Fallout on: October 28, 2008, 06:21:18 PM

Quote from: Destructor on October 28, 2008, 06:05:45 PM

Quote from: rittchard on October 28, 2008, 05:46:14 PM

With the advent of netbooks and other systems with no optical drive (i.e. Macbook Air), I really wish they would make CD checks a thing of the past.  I hate feeling like I have to do something "illegal" to play a game I just spent over $100 on (including guide book) the way that's most convenient.

The reasoning on that is simple - the most absolute basic protection to 'prevent' piracy (which is easily broken). It's far better than the DRM crapola other publishers use.

Not to get OT, but I dunno about this, it seems like times are changing.  I realize I'm probably in the minority on this, but DRM seems to work fine with, say Apple iTunes.  Yes, I can only play content on 5 computers and any of my Apple gear, but the fact is it works fine for me, and millions of other people.  Once I've maxxed out and I need to change to a new computer, it's a pretty simple procedure to wipe all the old ones out and re-register once on a new machine.  Of course you can argue it's a completely different situation because Apple is trying to sell their hardware, not their software, but I'd actually question that as their Apps Store takes off with the iPhone and Touch.

So how exactly does Steam work in this case?  If I bought it on Steam, clearly there's no CD check so I presume it's a DRM thing? Do you get multiple installs?

Edit: just saw the other thread on DRM and Stardock.  That works well too... there must be some effective way to combine a physical media purchase without later requiring the physical media for convenience' sake.
3458  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Bethesda sucks and they and anyone who likes them are going to hell (Fallout on: October 28, 2008, 05:46:14 PM
With the advent of netbooks and other systems with no optical drive (i.e. Macbook Air), I really wish they would make CD checks a thing of the past.  I hate feeling like I have to do something "illegal" to play a game I just spent over $100 on (including guide book) the way that's most convenient.
3459  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: October 28, 2008, 12:35:14 AM
New Dell Inspiron 12 released in Japan, looks pretty cool:

http://gizmodo.com/5069020/dell-inspiron-mini-12-officially-the-biggest-netbook-on-the-block

http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/corp/pressoffice/en/2008/2008_10_26_rr_000?c=us&l=en&s=corp
3460  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Bethesda sucks and they and anyone who likes them are going to hell (Fallout on: October 28, 2008, 12:21:43 AM
Sorry if this was already asked and answered, but will there be any way to play the game (PC version) without the disk even if you buy the retail/disk version?
3461  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: (Hellgate: London) Who's in? on: October 24, 2008, 11:08:39 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on October 24, 2008, 09:42:56 PM

Nothing's dead as long as we remember it. ninja2 As screwed up as the game was, I still have a lot of memories of memorable combat situations, very strange/cool outfits with lots of differentiation between players (when you play MMOs where half the populace all wear the same things, you realize how cool differentiation can be) and often having a pretty good time teaming with other players. And of course blowing up monsters to smithereens is always fun.

I can't help thinking that if they'd used an existing, mostly bug-fixed engine to do it with, instead of years developing their own tech, maybe things could've been different. To this day, I'm still not sure if it was a broken, Sybil-like ("I'm a Diablo clone! I'm an FPS! I'm an RTS! I'm an exasperating turret game! I'm a discount MMO! I'm a dessert topping!"  saywhat) game that no endless months of beta testing could've polished properly; or if it was a decent game at its core hamstrung by inadequate beta testing, a rush to market and possibly steel-toed publisher unwilling to wait.

Ditto on first paragraph, I had a great time in the game and loved the loot system.

Sad to hear the end of the online component, very sad conclusion to what could have been a great game/series for many years.

I don't believe the game was broken.  I believe the developers over-reached on what they could deliver in the time frame they had (things like multiple languages and same day release all over the world etc.), and on top of that, over-reached with an incredibly poorly thought out, poorly advertised, and poorly planned subscription model.  There were times even the developers seemed confused by their own model.  In terms of overreaching, they mistakenly thought they were Blizzard with all the resources and backing and fanbase to rely on, but the truth is they were only a startup company with very little to lean on. 

That said, even with everything that went wrong, I think they could have succeeded if they had just introduced the game without the sub model (I mean not even bringing it up).  For whatever reason people seemed to freak out and react incredibly negatively to this, even though in context of standard MMORPGs it really was not a big deal.  I always thought it was odd, many comments I read seemed to take the sub model like it was an affront to their personal life.  But worse was the conflicting and confusing elements of it that just turned a lot of people off from even giving the game a chance.

Oh well, live and learn.  Hopefully the lesson in humility will pay off for whatever they do next.
3462  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer - Is the player base leaving on: October 23, 2008, 09:19:55 PM
Hey Fez, what kind of crashes are you having?  System freezes, or boots back to the desktop, or blue screen, or just pushed back to the login screen?
3463  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: October 22, 2008, 11:08:41 PM

Quote from: cheeba on October 22, 2008, 02:40:28 PM

Unfortunately, I think no one will remember the good aspects of SWG and they'll all remember it for the failure it was. I'm looking forward to seeing what Bioware can do. It already worries me how much they are talking about "story," however. Story is all well and good, but once you've experienced it, what else is there?

I have to agree on SWG.  In spite of all the problems we had with it and some of the inane gaming elements (nerf melons!), as well as being set in the middle of a story whose outcome you know, there were a lot of things they did well in terms of realization of a MMO gaming world/universe.  And let's not forget the hotpants and eightball's clothing shop!  Many fond memories.

Speaking of story, though, I do wonder about this and have discussed it a lot with other people.  How do you create an epic, deeply involving, *personal* story and still fold it into an MMORPG world/universe?  Because on some level, you know that Hands Solo is likely doing the exact same thing as you are.  If you kill evil Jabba the Slut after a glorious fight, chances are he's going to pop right back up in a minute.  In a single player world, you can change the game world and experience in meaningful and substantial ways; in an MMORPG world, you are far more limited because you need to cater to everyone else playing.

Actually, in spite of its other faults, AoC did a great job melding the 2 gameplay styles in its 1-20 Tortage content.  You had a relatively deep main storyline that unfolded seemingly just around you, but mixed in with "daytime" content that was more traditional MMORPG that you could group up with your friends with.  Even though you knew everyone was doing the same storyline, keeping it instanced and isolated made it less in-your-face.  Clever use of instancing and changes to instances based on completion of particular criteria can judiciously be used (a la AoC or Guild Wars), but too much of this tends to split up the playerbase, which is generally not a good thing.

I don't know what/how Bioware is planning to do it, but it will be very interesting to see what they come up with.  They may be great at story telling and world building for a single player audience, but understanding the MMORPG market and player is a whole other animal.
3464  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer - Is the player base leaving on: October 22, 2008, 10:50:22 PM
While that poll is only a rough indicator because many people don't visit the website, it's a fairly strong percentage indicator which is good.  I also updated our guild roster thread and even after deleting a number of people I know quit, the overall membership actually grew in size pushing us well over 200.  I'd estimate our actual "active" playerbase is in the 100-150 range, and thus far it's been one of (if not) the strongest showings we've had in any game over the past 7 years.
3465  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season 3 (spoilers for our less fortunate European friends) on: October 21, 2008, 06:50:43 PM

Quote from: Lockdown on October 21, 2008, 11:27:38 AM

Let's see if I get this straight between the 3 characters that sap powers:

Sylar:  Must open up a person's head to understand how things work.  At this point, he 'learns' their power.  Detrimental effect: death to the original owner.

Peter: Must simply be near someone, and uses his power of 'empathy' to absorb the power of the original user.  Detrimental effect: none.

Mr. Petrelli: Must physically contact someone, and literally 'steals' their power from them, almost vampiric in nature.  Detrimental effect: power is transferred from original user to Petrelli, effectively stripping the original user of his power(s).

Conclusion:  The Haitan is one badass character.  This guy could end up being monumentally important because of his ability to completely negate the whole shabang.

Do I have that right?


Sounds right to me.  The only problem is the writers will conveniently not use the Haitian and only bring him in for emergency plot corrections smile

I will admit to enjoying the episode more last night, but only on the "turn brain completely off" mode level.  In fact I should stop this post here before I think about it too much and finding plot holes.
3466  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Marky Mark does have a sense of humor? on: October 21, 2008, 06:46:11 PM
No I meant, what was the whole original skit of Marky Mark talking to animals in reference to?  Or was that just totally out of the blue?
3467  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Marky Mark does have a sense of humor? on: October 20, 2008, 11:58:39 PM
Back OT, what was the original parody in reference to?  I mean the whole thing about Marky Mark talking to animals that is...
3468  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Which MMO is most casual-friendly? on: October 20, 2008, 11:56:13 PM
Huw, not sure if you already made up your mind, but one thing to consider with Warhammer is that there is a pretty robust Wanderer guild going right now (roughly 100+ active members), many of whom you may know or may recognize from these forums and OO.  If you do join us, you won't have to worry about Blackadar's issue of being closed out of major objective warbands, since we happen to be one of the biggest guilds on the server nod  Also, if you enjoyed GW's balanced/competitive PvP style, you will love Warhammer's scenarios, which are very similar and in some ways more engaging.

In terms of casual-gamer friendliness, things like open groups, public quests and scenarios (on top of traditional solo PvE quests) give you more options when you first login than any other MMORPG.  Forget about what happens later, if you are really "casual" (as many of the long time GW fans are/were), you are looking for what you can do in the here and now, and that's what Warhammer is best at offering.

Just my 2 cents...
3469  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer - Is the player base leaving on: October 20, 2008, 10:45:49 PM
I would say based only on the number of people I see logged in our guild at night, there's definitely a downward trend now hitting the first month complete.  Nothing close to the mass exodus of AoC, but also not necessarily the strongest showing we've had.  Certainly we've had a number of folk quit or "take a break" already.  I expect another exodus when games like Fallout and WotLK release, but I also suspect we'll recover some in December when the 1.1 patch (and new classes) hit.

The thing that did and does worry me about the game's longevity is exactly what made/makes it great to begin with.  Getting access to "endgame" like content from day 1 is a great design choice - but it also means that in some sense you aren't looking forward to -something- as much as you might be in a game where you are forced to slog through one type of content to get to another.  I'm also a bit leery about the scenarios in general.  Don't get me wrong, I love them and would be happy if that was all there was to the game.  But I'm also a Guild Wars fan, and realize there is limited appeal to that style of competitive PvP gaming over the longer haul.  How to get the playerbase to do a solid mix of pve, open rvr and scenarios could be a tough endeavor longer term.  It's really a shame, too, there is a lot of good PQ and PvE content and design out there which I think a lot of people end up skipping or missing.

Now personally, I'm still loving this game in spite of some of the faults that people have mentioned.  The itemization can be a bit wonky but I'm pretty happy with the loot thus far.  Certainly having non-obvious stats show up on items may lead to alternate builds in the future for the creative player.  There is more than enough PvP AND PvE content to keep me interested, and if the levelling pace could be increased just a bit I would be happy making alts here for years.  In any event, it's pretty much kept me resolved to pass on WotLK, which I believe will be the first Blizzard product I pass on since... I don't even know when lol.
3470  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: October 17, 2008, 07:55:12 PM
I'm finding this UMPC/Netbook development really fascinating, and it's really jumped so far so fast.  I was shocked to see the specs on the Acer Aspire One at the price point of $400 on Amazon.  I almost pushed the button to buy on pure instinct lol.  Heck I still might get one just for kicks!

But now for discussion's sake, I'll throw this out.  I've found from my terrible gadget buying tendencies that like a love affair, while the first month or 2 with these products is typified by finding all the amazing things they *can* do, the later portion is dictated by finding all the things they *can't*.  This is primarily the gamer in me, and as much as I tell myself I'm not buying a particular unit for gaming, eventually I can't help myself and I start trying to install all manner of games and then generally get disappointed when this or that doesn't run. 

Looking at that Aspire, clearly the only significant issue is the Intel 950 graphics.  It's going to handle a lot, but it's still a significant weak link if/when you want to get a bit more serious about gaming.  So I'm very excited about the recent release of nVidia's latest entry (now being used on Apple's new Macbook line):

http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_9400_mgpu_us.html

While full benchmarks are pending, scores of 2000 in 3DMark06 are being talked about, and there's a Youtube video showing the new Macbook running Warhammer Online very well. 

http://www.obsessable.com/news/2008/10/16/warhammer-online-on-a-macbook-2008-running-xp/

This gets me very excited and I'm waiting (I'm sure it will happen faster than I can imagine) for the convergence of the Netbook with the "semi-gaming laptop" that can handle online games like WAR and WoW.  The updated Macbook Air is already taking advantage of this chipset, but the price point ($1800) is still ridiculous relative to the Aspire, and the specs are really not that far off.

So it's going to be interesting to see what people (and gamers in particular) really like/want.  I could imagine very soon a $600-800 Acer-like Netbook with the nVidia chipset being a pretty killer product if marketed to the online gaming audience.

Anyway, curious to hear what you all think - do you care about the gaming capabilities on your netbook or is it all about price/size/performance?
3471  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [warhammer] more experience! on: October 17, 2008, 06:16:38 PM

Quote from: Harkonis on October 16, 2008, 08:53:54 PM

The scenario damage meters aren't really much of a sign of anything imo. 

Actually I've found a fairly consistent marker from my personal play experience.  This is only for the Archmage class though.  Essentially I've seen roughly 80% (guessing a bit) of the times my team wins, my damage number will be close to or greater than my healing.  The magnitude of the numbers is not necessarily relevant, often I've been in huge wins where my numbers were both low, but the relationship between the relative magnitudes was consistent. 

This may seem a little odd, particularly when you couple that with the fact that I am specced heavily toward healing (presently 100% Isha).  Basically this says more about the class and role of the AM.  In PvP, AM is most effective as a secondary healer, and when you are able to take advantage of the synergy of building and releasing Force.  I've found games where a Runepriest is the primary healer in the group, I am free to "roam" and do a multitude of things (bubble, group heal, attack, debuff, de-hex, wind blast, rez, etc), including keeping the runie himself alive.  This is what makes the AM so much fun for me to play, it's one of the best all around support classes I've played in any game.  If it had a bit more survivability and an instacast snare, it would be close to perfect.
3472  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: the New Star Trek Crew! on: October 16, 2008, 06:38:08 PM

Quote from: walTer on October 16, 2008, 05:55:36 PM

But, is it just me or these photos make the show look like some teen-angst-ridden CW version of One Tree Hill in space or some such show?  I hope I am wrong but I see those photos and I can't help feel a sense of doom.

I don't feel any sense of doom but my first impression was exactly what you said.  I thought it was a new Star Trek Academy show, not the movie.  I think the thing is that little cutie boy on the far left and the hot young Uhura are what caught my eye first, and it immediately made me think of 90210/CW/One Tree Hill lol.

That later picture of Spocklar has not instilled any more faith in me either, his expression is exactly the same as Sylar.


3473  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season 3 (spoilers for our less fortunate European friends) on: October 15, 2008, 09:03:15 PM

Quote from: YellowKing on October 15, 2008, 08:27:10 PM

Quote
This whole 'blurring the lines between villians and heroes - they really don't have any idea how to do it, do they. I can't see the good in Sylar. He never once showed a moment of being good and yet, we're supposed to believe he is 'trying to be' good now.

You might have just hit on what is bothering me the most this season. "Blurring the lines between good and evil" doesn't mean suddenly just making everybody the opposite of what they were without giving any good explanation why. Now perhaps this whole season is about slowly revealing their motivations, but it's sort of a bass-ackwards way to go about it and is really pissing me off.

And Suresh's abrupt character change can't even be explained away by that theory.

I wish they'd just go back to the formula of Season 1. A bunch of heroes getting together to kick ass and save the world. Why does it have to be so fucking complicated?

EXACTLY!

The writers are just flat out crappy, there's no way around it.  The actors, while each appealing in his/her own way for the most part, are also not top notch either.  Put it together and you've got a recipe for a mess.  Again, I stand by my theory that these writers are good at coming up with scenes or sequences, but NOT story and characters.  They come up with something that will look/feel dramatic, regardless of what's happened in the past and leave it to the audience to figure some way to justify it for them.  For instance, Hiro stabbing Ando?  WTF?  Completely out of character and unjustified but it made for a compelling "cliffhanger."  Look for the writers to troll the forums for a way to write themselves out of that one.  The Sylar thing was another example, I had actually forgotten about his super hearing until someone mentioned it to me.  Grrrr.  But OK, yeah, we find out he knew what was going on (not too hard to figure out), but clearly the actor was portraying it like he wasn't hearing the conversation.  Whatever.

It's not that I'm some super fanboi that takes the show super seriously, I just like things to remain fairly consistent within the context of the world they've created.  Sure, every sci-fi/fantasy show has taken some liberties with its own mythology, but for the most part, shows like Buffy/Angel, ST:TNG, etc have shown you can write a show for 7 years and maintain a level of consistency from week to week.  The Heroes crew almost seems like they just don't care enough to bother.

Sadly, like Lockdown, I am their little bitch and continue to watch lol.
3474  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [warhammer] more experience! on: October 14, 2008, 06:25:52 PM

Quote from: Destructor on October 13, 2008, 09:54:32 PM

Quote from: rittchard on October 13, 2008, 09:14:53 PM

And speaking of guild/friend groups, this is decidedly NOT "luck of the draw."  If people actually took the time to put together a specific balance of classes and levels, and all coordinate on Vent with focus fire and target calling, AND practice together as a group, etc etc - before going into scenarios - they clearly have a huge advantage.

Well, of course this is the truth. The trick though is to get into said group/guild to begin with. Can this be done with the guild we have now? Of course. But I'm not always playing with the guild, so I get to see how well the 'luck of the draw' works somedays.

Yeah, I get to see this too when a group is not available, or I just feel like jumping in solo, and often it ends up pretty "unbalanced".  My point was simply that the unbalance that occurs is not so much the game design's fault as some people seem to be saying - there are clearly steps players can take to help mitigate things. 

In terms of game design there is only so much that can be done within the game design to account for bad teams, bad class mixes, poor players or lack of teamwork.  I suppose Mythic could try to improve the matching system to balance out healing, tank and dps classes (though this may choke scenario pops), and/or put in more mechanics that allow some scenarios to be "flipped" (like making the murderballs much more powerful).
3475  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [warhammer] more experience! on: October 13, 2008, 09:14:53 PM

Quote from: Destructor on October 13, 2008, 05:56:26 PM

The game right now is unbalanced simply because you never know what group you'll get on your side on PvP. If you're lacking in ranged classes or healers, you're screwed. Period. Or the required line of tanks in that stupidly designed T3 Scenario. And you also have to have a group that has a brain (so your players ignore the knockback-heavy tanks and go for the squishies).

I can see where RvR in the keeps might be fun, assuming your guild has a good balance of a team. But the Scenarios? It's a total luck of the draw.

This is generalizing the situation a bit much, I'd say.  It's not the game per se that's unbalanced, it's *some* of the scenarios, and even then I'd say they aren't as unbalanced as people like to bitch they are.  While there appear to be certain slight advantages given to one side or another on a given map, I have played pretty much every scenario through T3 enough times to have seen blowout wins, blowout losses, close wins, close losses and everything in between (including matches which seem "unwinnable" being turned around and matches which I was counting my points get blown up in my face with a loss).  The fact that I've seen so many different results would imply to me that the core of the design is fairly well balanced, with the random factor of who enters each scenario being a significant part of the gameplay randomization.  Imagine if they allowed full guild warbands in, there would be complete domination by the best teams.  As it now stands, a guild group can still get paired with a crappy random mix and give the other side a chance.

And speaking of guild/friend groups, this is decidedly NOT "luck of the draw."  If people actually took the time to put together a specific balance of classes and levels, and all coordinate on Vent with focus fire and target calling, AND practice together as a group, etc etc - before going into scenarios - they clearly have a huge advantage.  This was very much the case in Guild Wars and you can see it play out on occasion in WAR, i.e. when your whole team is getting dismantled simultaneously, seemingly in seconds.  Good teams, good team concepts, and of course good individual players all contribute to making a very very different experience in a fight.  My contention is all of this is something that IS under your control, if you are willing to put in the time and effort.  Granted most casual players are not going to do this, but that isn't a failing of the game.
3476  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Suggestions for Diablo 2? on: October 09, 2008, 11:11:41 PM
One of my all time favorite (and arguably all time strongest) builds was a Hybrid Amazon - going both bow and javelin.  Obviously this is a tough build to master/complete because your skill points are spread thin.  You really need as much +skills as you can possibly get.  Even then it doesn't really get going til the 30s and/or in Act 5 Normal or in Nightmare.  But once it gets going, it is great.  You can do every single kind of damage by swapping between bow and jav (physical, fire, poison, magic, cold and of course lightning) which makes you a major player in Nightmare and Hell.

Now given that you have a team of 4 already, you may want to stick with just one specialty, in which case I highly recommend javelins.  Maxxed out Lightning Fury is a thing to behold, and incredibly fun.  If the Sorceress focuses on cold and fire, you can provide lightning and poison as a complement.
3477  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Prison Break - Fall 2008's Best Unwatched show? on: October 09, 2008, 10:58:00 PM

Quote from: JohnathanStrange on October 09, 2008, 02:52:37 AM

Yeah, I just tried watching some of the recorded episodes I had; just couldn't care. If I'm going to treat it as comedy relief, Prison Break's just not funny enough. If it's a drama, then well...where's the drama?

You don't think a guy dealing with the murder of his young son by a cold-blooded psychopathic killer is drama?   Or the brothers dealing with the loss of most of their family, and now Michael dealing with a possible brain aneurysm? 

Anyway, I can see why people wouldn't get into the show, but personally I've really enjoyed the ride.  One big thing is I think you really have to buy into the Michael/Sarah relationship as the foundation that keeps things (Michael especially) going.  Even when they showed her head cut off last season I didn't give up hope it was a fake and they'd find a way to reunite - so obviously I got a nice payoff this season.

One of the other things I like (though some may say they do this too much) is how they contort and skew the "good" and "evil" characters enough to challenge and change how you feel about them.  Characters that you hated in one season you now find yourself cheering for, or at least appreciating in a different light. 
3478  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Picking up Blizzcon badge tonight... Anyone else going? on: October 09, 2008, 10:45:01 PM

Quote from: PaulBot on October 09, 2008, 08:18:00 PM

Grab me a copy of Starcraft II

Screw that!  Grab me a copy of Diablo 3!!!!!!!!!
3479  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [TV] Prison Break - Fall 2008's Best Unwatched show? on: October 08, 2008, 08:44:26 PM
Prison Break is on a roll this season.  To my great surprise I've been looking forward to it more than any of my previous Monday night favorites (Terminator, Chuck, Heroes).  Along with the standard suspense and drama, they've injected a healthy dose of fun and romance that has really altered the tone of the entire series which at times seemed weighed down by too much seriousness and despondency.  Each episode has felt like a mini-Ocean's 11 and it's really working out.  For the first time the characters seem buoyed by a sense of hope and direction and there's also a good degree of humor as well.

But in case you think they've lost their edge, we still have a good portion of torture and killing, and the return of the super evil bitch from last season is excellent.  Hard not to love her ruthlessness and the return of Sarah just makes it all the more juicy.  Speaking of which, her relationship with Michael really feels like the anchor the show was really missing last season.  Even with all the horrible stuff going on it's hard not to root for these two to live happily ever after.

The biggest problem?  Ratings seem to be tanking in spite of the show's improvement.  I can kind of see it's hard to get back into the show with all that's developed.  Stephen King wrote a summary about it in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly and even that was hard to follow.  I really hope they let the show run it's full season and maybe just end it this year, we'll see.


3480  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season 3 (spoilers for our less fortunate European friends) on: October 08, 2008, 08:33:27 PM
Yet again the writing/plot on this show infuriates me.  Time and again I question these writers' abilities to do anything other than dream up a cool sequence and then write their way around it with total disregard to the characters, their powers, or anything that's happened in the past.  Saying this show has become a "comic book" is an insult to comic books - because in general, comic books adhere to their own chosen rules and understand their characters' past history and abilities.  Heroes seems to just pick and choose whatever is convenient for the moment.  And then when all else fails they have super hot Peter take his shirt off to distract us (well me anyway).  Yes, it does make for some compelling, sexy, funny and/or dramatic moments which make the show watchable, but upon reflection it just feels insulting to core fans.  Examples:

Spoiler for Hiden:
Future Claire shoots Future Peter in the chest multiple times and he appears dead.  She later clarifies and reminds us the only way to stop the immortal effect is to shoot him in the back of the head.  Huh? OK let's presume the Haitian was around and his powers were negating everyone's.  Eventually in the end sequence he leaves the room and Naked Peter has his powers back.  Naked Peter's wounds don't heal, nor do Future Peter's.  I guess everyone forgot he had the healing power?  Even though he just apparently healed from the explosion at Sylar's house? 

When fast chick is pummeling Naked Peter, not once does he bother to use any of his multitude of powers.  Freeze time?  Invisibility?  Telekinesis?  Uhhh no, I'll just stand here looking sexy so Richard will stare at my chest.

So the great plan is to take SYLAR's power??!??!  WTF?!?!  Has everyone forgotten Peter just naturally gains people's powers through proximity or touch?  Or are we supposed to have conveniently forgotten that little detail?

Essentially the writers ruined themselves in Season 1.  They should never have created the Peter character allowing him to become so powerful so easily - or they should have killed him off at the end of the season.  He makes every other character (except the Haitian) superfluous, even Hiro who can bend space and time.  No way should multiple characters have been given such an incredible power.  That said, they could easily have found ways to depower or weaken him.  Instead their solution seems to be to make him an absolute tool/idiot (OK a sexy naked idiot but still an idiot).  I have a running theory that the more powers you gain, the dumber you get.  Heck, even that explanation would be better than what we've been getting thus far.
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