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3561  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Torchlight, a follow-up to Fate and Mythos on: November 03, 2009, 07:56:16 PM
Glad to see people taking to this game as much as I have.  I was seriously trying to think of one other game I've enjoyed this much this entire year, PC or console, and couldn't come up with anything.  Of course it's not fair since this is my favorite genre, but still.  We'll see how Dragon Age fares, but quite unexpectedly Torchlight could end up my personal GOTY.

Gameplay-wise, I went 180 degrees from day one (easy mode) and have been playing exclusively Hardcore - Very Hard.  It's been pretty exciting and a very different experience overall, almost like a different game.  My first attempt lasted 7 minutes lol.  Second attempt over 2 hours.  I've gone through about 5 deaths now, and it's always when I get overconfident in my build that I tend to lose it.  I have to play much more strategically, not much room for saving points or money or experimenting with this or that.  Every decision has to be made with care to improve the build and survival capability.  Lovin it!
3562  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Legend of the Seeker, Season 2 on: November 03, 2009, 07:50:45 PM
Saw a poster for this at the mall, excited to see it's coming back.  FWIW there was a huge picture of some (new?) hot chick clad in a full leather outfit bending over to show her cleavage.  Not sure if it's a new character they are introducing this year or what.

I really enjoyed the first season, there were some hits and misses but given that it's a syndicated show I felt the quality and fun factor (as well as eye candy for everyone) were more than acceptable. 
3563  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Do you play on easy? on: October 30, 2009, 11:06:57 PM
As I've gotten older, I find that I tend to play on Easy a lot more than I ever did before.  I do this because I want to reduce the amount of frustration I encounter when playing a game, in the hopes that that will improve the percent chance I will play and finish it and I can get some semblance of my "money's worth".  My gaming time is precious, and I know myself well enough to know that even a minor frustration (on top of about a million other distractions) might cause me to stop playing and move on to something else. 

That said, after being told that Torchlight on Easy is for "retarded monkeys" by my guildmate, I re-started it on Hard  icon_wink
3564  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Torchlight, a follow-up to Fate and Mythos on: October 29, 2009, 05:45:38 PM

Quote from: Toe on October 29, 2009, 05:07:31 PM

Quote from: Butterknife on October 29, 2009, 04:35:05 PM

Quote from: Toe on October 29, 2009, 03:44:03 PM

I am up to level 20 now and one of the things I think is a bit overly frustrating is inventory management. Even with the dog inventory and the ability to send him to town, I am just getting too much shit dropping to keep things moving along at a good pace. I swear I fill up both my and my dogs inventory after two big battles sometimes. Then I got to ID all the magic items, then send him off. It does not help that a 3rd of my inventory is taken up by potions and scrolls. Can't carry any consumables and if I started getting a few gems, ugh, I end up with little room at all on myself. Since I am still burning through gold I can't afford to just leave stuff behind. I wish they would have merged the spell inventory with regular inventory, that would help out alot since we never get that many spells scrolls anyway.

I agree with you.  The inventory feels limited.  One of these days the action-RPG developers are going to realize that inventory management really isn't very fun, and they will have a better solution.  Sacred 2 had a nice feature where you could drag loot over an icon in your inventory to sell it immediately.  All of these games give you a steady stream of loot, but some of them make it more difficult to sell than others.  One thing I recommend is actually just using a town portal scroll and teleporting back to town when your inventory gets full, instead of using the pet.  There really is no point in using the pet to do the dirty work unless you are in one of the dungeons that doesn't let you teleport, because when you do you are significantly weaker and it can take quite some time for the pet to get back.

I dont feel that much weaker without my pet to be honest (I am playing on normal mode however). So that really does not factor in. If things work out right, I can send him with full pack and keep moving and by the time he gets back I am just getting full again. Problems arise when i get gems and/or,  preimium items I want to send to other characters, and replaced items that had gems in them (I go to the goblin guy in town and have him reclaim the gems). But I will heed the advice (I have the spell so dont even need scrolls to get back to town anymore).

I don't know if I fully agree with the inventory complaint.  While I do feel the crunch at times, I also think that inventory management and decisions are really a big (and in many ways fun) part of the gameplay itself.  This game offers you so many options already, a pet that can store and sell stuff, a nice stash for yourself AND a large shared stash.  You don't *have* to pick up every single item, or maintain a third of your inventory with potions and scrolls - that's all your prerogative.  You could choose to simply maintain 4 slots (20 of each for health, mana, TP and ID) and leave the rest.

Going through loot and picking and choosing what to keep is a huge part of the loot portion of the "loot and level" experience IMHO.  I think the real complaint might be that the game is dropping too profusely (and you can't help but pick up everything in sight) - but that's a big part of what makes it fun for some of us.  While it does bug me at times to leave stuff unpicked up, I also feel confident this game is going to provide me with something just as good if not better around the corner, so I'm learning to just ignore many drops.  It might be nice to have an option to only see rare and above, I remember some game did that.
3565  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Torchlight, a follow-up to Fate and Mythos on: October 28, 2009, 10:43:47 PM

Quote from: Zarkon on October 28, 2009, 08:00:57 PM

Its also supposed to save when you open/ close menus, according to Relic.

Whoa!  Can anyone confirm this?  It didn't seem like it to me, because I kept losing quite a bit of progress, but I'm not 100% sure if I open/closed a menu or not.  Or maybe you mean the ESC menu in particular?

Also someone mentioned a shared stash?  I didn't see it, can anyone confirm?

And there's really a button to keep item names on permanently?  Does it also turn on "Barrel" etc so you know what to go whack?  Otherwise I'm also constantly hitting Alt/Shift as well.
3566  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Torchlight, a follow-up to Fate and Mythos on: October 28, 2009, 05:42:49 PM
OK, here's my impressions in GBU format (cross posted from Wanderers forum):

GOOD: Just about everything is well done and polished nicely. The game is definitely most reminiscent of Fate, but without the cutesy factor of the main character, and with 3 classes to choose from, which have clearly borrowed skills profusely from Mythos. They have also borrowed completely freely from Diablo 2 in terms of sound effects and music, and the 3 skill tree per class system. One cool novel feature is the addition of spell scrolls which you can have 4 active - so even your tank dude can possibly cast an ice bolt if he gets one of these. You can really have a field day designing hybrid classes or focusing on a particular style.

The gear/loot, as promised by the devs, is possibly one of the strongest ever for a game of this type. Within the first hour of the game you should start seeing a nice mix of magical and rare drops, plus you can buy actually useful rare gear at the vendors, not to mention items have slots for more variability. The nice thing about going single player is without need to worry about balance and other players whining about this or that, they clearly felt free to drop gear with impunity. My first character is only lvl 10 and is loaded with rare items already, plus a unique and set item or 2. So much fun! Someone needs to translate this kind of system into the MMO-verse, it seems to me like it's just a matter of creating the illusion of coolness without unbalancing things. So far the variety of skills, the levelling pace, the graphics and atmosphere, everything is just top notch considering it's a $20 title. They've really refined this style to an art form.

Performance wise, things have been pretty smooth on my main computer. The game even features a "Netbook mode" so Netbookers should be happy. It runs great on my Mini 311 (load times a bit slow), though that's not really a true netbook.

BAD: Not a whole lot, aside from lack of multiplayer. The only thing that caused concern for me was the save system. It seems like the game only saves when you portal or quit. Normally that would be fine (assuming a stable game), but last night the power kept going out on me and I didn't have a backup battery system (mine broke), so I kept losing progress (and more importantly awesome gear). So I eventually I just played more cautiously and returned to town more often than I normally might. The other problem I had was trying to run full screen at 1920x1200, it didn't seem to want to let me do it. Could be something on my end though.

UGLY: Did I mention no multiplayer? Yes we all know they are working on a F2P MMO, but after playing the last incarnation of Mythos (for those that only played earlier betas they had completely re-vamped it to give a much different MMORPG feel to the game; in fact in many ways they had achieved what HGL was probably hoping to in terms of creating a MMORPG-like environment) it's a bit of a letdown to only have single player. If there were even a way to trade items it would be nice.

- - -

Side note: I am very excited to see the level editor too. I have a really fun idea for a short adventure, but I'll have to see which tools are easier for me to use (this or Dragon Age).
3567  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: So... Borderlands uses GAMESPY to join friends games. Add your GAMESPY handl on: October 27, 2009, 03:13:39 AM
3568  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Awesomely Bad Movies on: October 23, 2009, 09:00:55 PM
By far, THE CRAPPENING was the most awesomely bad movie I've ever seen.  Horrible scripting, acting and terrible direction all fill out a just absolutely awful movie.  Normally good actors are rendered into terrible ones.  Gratuitous violence and child killing is used to garner an R rating.  The cut I watched I clearly saw the microphone/boom come into the shot twice.  And finally, Betty Buckley's insane performance takes it just over the top.  I almost want to rewatch it now lol.
3569  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Apple unveils the new iMacs on: October 23, 2009, 08:58:08 PM

Quote from: Brendan on October 22, 2009, 11:44:39 PM

Quote from: rittchard on October 22, 2009, 11:18:33 PM

 Another product which has been IMHO unfairly maligned has been the Macbook Air - yes it is pricey, but again when there hasn't been a true PC equivalent, and the closest equivalent cost the same amount or more.  PCs are catching up, but Apple it's taken them over a year to get closer.

At this point, there are plenty of equivalents to the Macbook Air, and almost all cheaper.  The new Adamo is the hotness, though I foresee the guy in the row in front of me crashing his seatback into it.  On the lower end, the Acer Timelines and Asus UL30A are fine machines.  I have Win 7 running on the latter quite happily.

Don't want to belabor the point, but since you brought it up:

The price is not released yet but the X4500 graphics are still a generation behind the MBA's 9400M.  They are calling it a $2000 machine; the MBA has $1499 and $1799 models with arguably better processors.  So again, my point is when you delve deep, the perception that Apple is flat out more expensive (spec to spec) can often be wrong.  That's something they clearly have to fight against, as clearly it's a notion that's sunken in deep for the majority of consumers.
3570  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: First all-new gaming rig in six years...opinions? on: October 22, 2009, 11:47:13 PM
Verrrrrry nice system!  I don't think you'll regret at all going with the 120GB SSD - that's the exact one I'm using on my desktop and I love it.

I hadn't heard about this new Lynnfield i7, this must be the one they are using in the new iMacs that runs at 2.8GHz as you mentioned it has less heat and power draw.
3571  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Apple unveils the new iMacs on: October 22, 2009, 11:32:47 PM
Found my Apple Analysis, this is from April 2009 so it doesn't include all the recent upgrades to both the iPod and computer lines, but the gist is the same.  I should probably update it.

Here's the thing with Apple. They make quality products, they are on the leading edge of electronics tech. Yes, in many cases their prices are high or "overpriced" but in others they are reasonable, and in some cases they have no true competition so they set the bar and the pricing. What bugs me is when people blanket bash the entire company (and their entire lineup) as being overpriced, the implication being they are deliberately price gouging or whatever. Here's an assessment of most of their lineup:

iPod Shuffle ($79) - it's frickin tiny and effectively weightless, that's got to count for something. But with no screen or other extra features, I think it's at least $30 overpriced. With the competition increasing, it will come down sooner or later.

iPod Nano ($149 or $199) - already covered this. Looks slick to me but aside from possibly a better screen and construction than competitors, pricing is looking like a dinosaur. Needs to come down about $50 to be competitive.

iPod Touch ($229-399) - Expensive product, but I think the price for entry is fair enough for a piece of high tech gadgetry like this. There's certainly touch-based competition out there, but nothing that can presently compete with the App store. It's essentially a palm-held computer/PDA with all the music, movies, TV and video capability you could ask for from a portable device with an incredible touch interface and accelerometer built in for added functionality. But add on top of that wireless capability and an awesome browser plus an infinite amount of apps from the App store and you've got a hardware/software combo with no true competitor.

iPhone ($199 or $299 with AT&T contract) - add a Phone and GPS to the Touch and you get the "Jesus Phone" lol. Everyone has a clone to compete with the iPhone, and some have made some hardware advances. But without the App Store and an incredible software base to back it up, these guys are still a couple years behind the game. Not to mention the price with contract is pretty standard compared to all the competitors. For the base model I'd say it's well worth the price. The AT&T monthly cost ($70 min), not so much.

(Sidebar: how cool/nerdy is this? ... iphoneorch )

Macbook ($999 - $2400 fully loaded) - in spite of the complaints and naysayers, I believe (as already mentioned) the baseline Macbook price at $999 for it's featureset, quality + size/weight ratio is a very fair price. The 9400M sets it apart from other competitors in its same size/weight range. As mentioned earlier though, Apple tends to overcharge for adding RAM and hard drive space, particularly with SSD drives (thus the large max price).

Macbook Air ($1799 - $2499) - yes it's pricey but this thing is an engineering work of art. As I already mentioned, there is no true competitor (again thanks to the 9400M chipset). I won't re-review it, but I've been watching for possible PC contenders for the past year and everyone keeps coming up short one way or another. Even Dell's Adamo (just released at same price range) can't compare. Expensive but sets the bar, so I will call the pricing unattractive but fair.

Macbook Pro ($1999 - $4899 super loaded) - I've never owned a Pro but the ones I've seen (older models) were just amazing in terms of performance, power and portability with gorgeous screens and excellent keyboard, etc. Still they are starting to lag in graphics capability (9600M is their best option) so I'm going to call these guys overpriced.

Mini ($599 - $1049) - these things are adorable. Haven't owned one but I know people who do, and everyone tends to love these guys. People use them as servers or for entertainment systems, and some for their main computer. I haven't looked, but I don't think there is a strong direct competitor in this kind of form factor, and again now with 9400M graphics also a halfway decent gaming machine. Fair.

iMac ($1199 - $3249) - I presently have 1 of the newer models and have used the previous generation for 2 years. I love this thing. The monitor is gorgeous and the All-in-one assures no clutter and no excess hardware. I still remember a couple years ago when I showed my PC loving buddy one of these, even he was amazed at how slick it was. At first he didn't even believe me, he was asking where the DVD drive was. When I showed him he was impressed. Flash forward, the competition is catching up and adding features like Blu-Ray and TV tuners in the same relative price range. This one is a close call, I'd have to do more research.

Mac Pro ($2499 to ... $14k totally souped up) - this thing is crazy expensive and likely crazy powerful all built up. I was ready to call this severely overpriced but then I saw some comparisons showing it really wasn't. I'm actually not sure where I'd go to get 8-core performance and 32GB of RAM in the regular PC market. Anyway, I will leave this as a question mark.

Time Capsule ($299 or $499) - pretty slick unit, I own the first gen. Enterprise grade hard drive combined with a Wireless N router. Nothing too fancy but a very nice, solid product. Pricing is OK for the 500GB version but too much of a jump to get to 1TB.

Apple TV ($229 or $329) - this is kind of unique in its complete integration with iTunes, both the store and your library. The addition of rentals to the store has made it much more valuable, and the interface is slick and gorgeous in HD. I know there are quite a few competitors, but linkage and access to the iTunes Store I think is the trump card here. If they could add games/apps to this thing it could be really killer. I will give their pricing a pass on this one since it's fairly unique, though I think they'd do better at $199 for an 80GB version and $249 for the 160GB. Then again, you don't really need to make this the place you store everything so the whole drive space is debatable.

So there you have it, a full on analysis which I think I've been pretty fair at evaluating.
3572  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Apple unveils the new iMacs on: October 22, 2009, 11:18:33 PM

Quote from: iloveplywood on October 22, 2009, 10:33:48 PM

I can get my wife a PC for $500 that will more than meet her needs (pretty much the average computer user), can this be done with a Mac?  I'm sure you are getting your money's worth out of the Apples but it just seems like it's extreme overkill for the average person.  I'm pretty ignorant regarding Macs, though, so I could well be wrong.  

On topic, the new iMacs do indeed look super cool.  I can see why people would love them.  

The best you can do on the low end is a Mac Mini for $599, but this doesn't include a monitor.  It may still be a bit overkill for the average person, but I think it's just about right overall.  Would love to see it at $499 base though.

Of course if you are talking a $500 PC you are probably getting a pretty low end monitor with it, so it's hard to make an apples to apples comparison (pun intended).  If you already have a monitor, though, I'd definitely say the Mini is worth looking at.  Always keep in mind that it's very easy to dual boot with a Mac, so you can have Windows 7 loaded up as well.

- - -

We've re-hashed this plenty of times, but I think by now everyone knows that, yes, Apple products are more expensive in general than PC products.  No one is saying otherwise.  However, one thing I try to point out, and with as much fairness as I can, is that there are times when the perception of Apple's products being unreasonably highly priced is simply a perception, and often a misconception.  

For instance with the iMac above, at present, there IS no PC equivalent (that I know of anyway) which offers the same size and performance in an All-In-One.  Whether or not you want/need that performance or need it in an All-In-One is not the debate, the fact is you are getting plenty of bang for the buck from a performance standpoint even when compared to desktop PCs - and again, you can't even make a 1 to 1 comparison on the hardware because the PC world doesn't have it yet.  Another product which has been IMHO unfairly maligned has been the Macbook Air - yes it is pricey, but again when there hasn't been a true PC equivalent, and the closest equivalent cost the same amount or more.  PCs are catching up, but Apple it's taken them over a year to get closer.

I think I did a comparison somewhere of the majority of Apple's lineup, and really it only looked like a select few of their items were severely overpriced.  Everything else was either fair or fair enough considering there was no true equivalent.  I just don't like it when people flat out assume everything from Apple is horrendously and unfairly overpriced.
3573  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Apple unveils the new iMacs on: October 22, 2009, 06:51:36 PM

Quote from: coopasonic on October 21, 2009, 07:11:18 PM

Quote from: rittchard on October 21, 2009, 12:25:14 AM

Performance-wise you now have the option to go full bore.  Quad core i5 or i7, up to 16GB of RAM, 2TB hard drive, HD4850 graphics.  Of course it's all gonna cost you, but people complained the iMacs weren't powerful enough relative to what you can get in a desktop PC, not to mention in an "all-in-one" unit.  This certainly takes them to the next level, the only weakness I see is the graphics card.  My recent iMac is weeping  crybaby

You wanted a $3849 iMac, you got it.

Actually the only upgrade I'd get is the i7, and it's $2199.  

2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
1TB Serial ATA Drive
ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB
8x double-layer SuperDrive
Apple Magic Mouse
Apple Wireless Keyboard (English) and User's Guide

For an All-in-One with a 2.8 GHz i7 and what I believe is an awesome 27" LED-backlit monitor, the price is really not unreasonable.

Edit:  Here's a reference from what you can get comparable from HP right now, discounted for $1900:

• Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
• Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo processor T9800 [2.93GHz, 6MB L2, 1066 FSB]
• 4GB DDR3-1066MHz SDRAM [2 DIMMs]
• 1TB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
• 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT230M
• Slot-load SuperMulti DVD Burner
• Wireless-N LAN card and Bluetooth(R )
• 6-in-1 memory card reader, 5 total USB, audio
• No TV Tuner
• Integrated high-performance 2.0 speakers always included (No external speakers)
• HP low-profile, wireless keyboard and HP wireless optical mouse
• Microsoft(R) Works 9.0
• No additional security software

The processor is the best they offer but it's only dual core.  Screen is touch screen but only 23".  I don't know how the video card compares (edit: Notebookcheck puts it a full "Class" below the HD 4850 FWIW).  They do offer Blu-ray option which is certainly nice.

All in all, I'd say Apple is giving you MORE bang for the buck - processing power AND a much larger screen.  

(One more point of reference: I threw together the base components with a 28" monitor on CyberpowerPC (curious there is no 2.8GHz i7 processor so I did an OC'd 2.66GHz) and it was still around $1900.)
3574  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Stargate Universe on: October 22, 2009, 06:46:57 PM

Quote from: biggercup on October 22, 2009, 04:14:45 AM

Seems like Lou Diamond Phillps and Ming-Na characters are being under-utilize and

I'm sure Ming Na's time/plotlines are coming, as they've already made a fuss about her being the first major gay/lesbian character in SG.  Plus I read they cast Reiko (24's Michelle, also in AvP) Aylesworth as her (on earth) girlfriend!
3575  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age Countdown on: October 21, 2009, 08:20:50 PM

Quote from: metallicorphan on October 21, 2009, 12:10:07 PM

Just release it to us already!!!!!
3576  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Apple unveils the new iMacs on: October 21, 2009, 06:25:11 PM

Quote from: leo8877 on October 21, 2009, 02:36:07 AM

I have a 3 year old macbook that I love, but I was hoping the rumors of a redesigned macbook (non-pro) would lead to a cheaper price.  The specs of the new macbook are much better than what I have, but still, cut the price a bit Apple!

Just curious, what is your magic pricepoint?  I don't see Apple coming down past $999 much.   
3577  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Stargate Universe on: October 21, 2009, 12:32:21 AM

Quote from: SkyLander on October 20, 2009, 04:43:44 PM

Quote from: farley2k on October 20, 2009, 03:35:01 PM

Quote from: walTer on October 20, 2009, 03:32:10 PM

Although I recall someone bringing up the fact that using the meeting stones to go see an estranged spouse instead of having Daniel Jackson go to the ship to fix it was pretty lame....and it is.

+1  Why aren't McKay, and Carter using the stones all the time to figure out how to help?  Instead we have stereotypical ego guy 101 Rush. 

Yeah that doesn't really make any sense either. Instead we get pissed off Colonel dude that is useless and no help but at yelling at people. Which seems to constitute 3 quarters of series WE SOLVE PROBLEMS BY YELLING AT EACHOTHER ALL THE TIME. SO EFFECTIVE.

I've now seen the first 3 episodes and I kind of like the grittier feel and the Voyager-esque perspective, but I can't help but think McKay and/or Amanda Tapping would have solved the whole problem in about 15 minutes, particularly if someone put a gun to Rodney's head.  They could also use some hotter people.  That said, I'm really digging Eli; David Blue is a cutie, and it never hurts to introduce a character playing an MMORPG  icon_wink
3578  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Apple unveils the new iMacs on: October 21, 2009, 12:25:14 AM

Quote from: Chaz on October 20, 2009, 09:58:24 PM

It looks exactly like the previous iMacs to me.  What's the difference?

Visually it's the LED backlit screen.  I haven't seen it yet but I imagine it's going to be awesome.  I'm imagining it will be like my Macbook Air screen but HUGE.

Full brightness with no waiting. That’s the big advantage of the LED-backlit iMac display. Unlike most displays that take time to warm up before they reach maximum brightness, an LED-backlit display is instantly on and uniformly bright. LED backlighting also gives you greater control over screen brightness. So you can finely tune the iMac display to suit the ambient light in even the dimmest room

Performance-wise you now have the option to go full bore.  Quad core i5 or i7, up to 16GB of RAM, 2TB hard drive, HD4850 graphics.  Of course it's all gonna cost you, but people complained the iMacs weren't powerful enough relative to what you can get in a desktop PC, not to mention in an "all-in-one" unit.  This certainly takes them to the next level, the only weakness I see is the graphics card.  My recent iMac is weeping  crybaby
3579  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: What's new in the world of netbooks? on: October 20, 2009, 12:24:11 AM
FYI on games compatible/tested with the 311:
3580  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: October 19, 2009, 09:39:51 PM

Quote from: Arclight on October 19, 2009, 07:54:37 PM

I guess Im meaning when PvP becomes more common place. I hear we're pretty mediocre in PvP unless surrounded by a group. But maybe that rings true for any class. Glad you're an enchanter....I'll be looking to you for guidance Master Chanter.

Hark pretty much covered it below.  It's actually not so much a class thing as a group/level thing.  Once you're in the Abyss there are no level restrictions or numbers restrictions, so generally as a lower level, solo, you are going to die.  Hard.  And fast.  And many times.  I pretty much decided I wasn't going to visit the abyss much solo (and I don't generally like to do PUGs), so that's why I ended up grinding so much.  

All that said, I do agree that the Chanter in general is at more of a disadvantage PvP-wise, and was clearly intended as more of a support/hybrid role.  If you want to consider all other things more or less equal (level, gear, numbers, etc), at level 25 we simply have relatively fewer capabilities in a fight.  Let's disregard potions for the moment.  Basically we have a 2 second medium heal and a HoT at our disposal.  Let's say you use the HP chant, so technically we can have 2 small HoTs at once.  Defensively we have the Defense chant and the parry buff, and likely the Protective Ward as a stigma, which are all decent against melee.  Offensively we have an incredibly weak 2 sec nuke for range, and then a variety of melee options/chains, and possibly an offensive chant.  I'd probably go with Celerity for overall usefulness.  The problem?  No snares, no real ranged options, no DoTs, no way to interrupt without madly rushing in, no "dispel" to remove adverse effects.  I haven't studied most of the other classes, but I have been killed enough by them.  If I don't get insta-nuked to death, I generally get poisoned/DoTTed to death.  If I last longer, I am pretty much always snared/slowed, so without a ranged option or a way (aside from potions) to remove poisons/slows, I can either try to run away or just press forward like a madman.  In the mean time, the opponent can choose from a variety of options, whether it's ranged weapons, nukes, more DoTs, etc. to finish me off.  I can try my heals and HoTs, but the HoTs are way too small to compensate for most damage, and the heal can easily get interrupted.  So my best bet is to get into melee range and use my melee skills to get a stun or something, but usually I'm dead before that happens.

At 28, it's not much better skill wise, though a couple of the stigmas look promising.  One gives you a 1 sec cast time snare.  The other looks like a really nice group defense buff (but is an uncommon stigma).

In any case, I don't plan to be doing much solo pvp-ing  icon_razz
3581  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: October 19, 2009, 09:21:42 PM

Quote from: Harkonis on October 19, 2009, 06:25:21 PM

heh, maybe if you guys upgraded your gear and slotted properly you'd be 10 levels higher slywink

see, it goes both ways Tongue

But do YOU go both ways?!?  Tongue
3582  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: What's new in the world of netbooks? on: October 19, 2009, 06:35:17 PM

Quote from: Thin_J on October 19, 2009, 11:23:02 AM

A netbook with the Ion and an SSD sounds like a sweet little machine.

As I mentioned in the other thread, I upgraded my Mini 311 to 3GB of RAM, SSD and Windows 7, and it's pretty much smokin!  Boots to internet ready in about 40 seconds, frustratingly faster than my i7 desktop lol.  I haven't done too much with it in terms of hardcore testing or evaluation, but thus far it seems like a great machine.  It kind of re-defines what you expect from a Netbook, even without the upgrades, as it is built to run 720p HD smoothly, as well as play the majority of the newest games (at lower quality of course).  I'll definitely be trying out Dragon Age and Torchlight when they release.
3583  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: October 19, 2009, 06:23:02 PM

Quote from: Harkonis on October 18, 2009, 08:30:48 PM

I'd kill for a chanter to group with most times slywink  A large % of my current quests are group quests and I hate PUG's to the point that I think I'd rather sit and stare at the screen doing nothing.

PL me and I'll group with ya!!!  Maybe if you weren't 10 levels ahead of the rest of the guild at all times you could group with some of us.

- - -

Arc, I haven't seen any indication (yet) that soloing as a Chanter is going to become more difficult (depending on what you mean by difficult of course), at least in the PvE areas.  I'm about midway to 29 at the moment.  This isn't to say some of the levels weren't a horrendous grind (mostly because I didn't do PUGs in the Training Ground), but I pretty much solo grinded mobs the entirety of 26 to 27, and about half of 27 to 28.  That's millions of exp in solo grind lol.  If you use a staff and all the offensive tools, you can pretty much solo non-stop until your hand hurts, probably 2-3 mobs a minute if you can find a good spawn of easy things to kill.  In fact I was watching some lvl 33 assassins grinding the same mobs as I was at 28 last night, and they weren't killing anything much faster than I was, FWIW.
3584  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: First all-new gaming rig in six years...opinions? on: October 16, 2009, 08:33:31 PM

Quote from: disarm on October 16, 2009, 05:51:40 AM

damn you guys and your talk about SSDs.  i really don't need to add another $100+ to my build, but you're making it hard to resist.  i just need to get my order in and be done with it, but a couple critical components (video card, 1TB HD, and Windows 7) aren't available at the moment and are keeping me on hold.  it won't be long though...

You aren't really adding that much to your build cost depending on what drive you choose.  Once you've made the decision to forgo some storage space (again keeping in mind it will be for your OS and some key programs), prices are actually not bad. 

You can go with either of these OCZ 60GB solutions for right around $200 (which I believe is what you'd pay for the Velociraptor):
3585  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The boy in the balloon on: October 16, 2009, 08:24:11 PM
So did anyone see the Wife Swap episode featuring this family?  From what I read it sounded pretty funny - kids out of control, parents believe they are alien offspring, etc.   saywhat
3586  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: October 16, 2009, 08:21:55 PM
I prefer it when weapons EXTEND and not retract.
3587  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: First all-new gaming rig in six years...opinions? on: October 14, 2009, 11:59:04 PM

Quote from: disarm on October 13, 2009, 12:48:24 AM

 i've strongly considered going with a SSD for my system drive rather than the Velociraptor, but i just can't bring myself to spend so much more money for so much less storage.  sure it's going to be faster, but the technology isn't without its own limitations and i'm just not convinced that it's something i want for full-time use yet.  if anyone has experience with a SSD, your thoughts would really be appreciated.

I have a rig fairly similar to what you've listed, except I went with the nVidia video card.  With all that computing power, I think you really want to go SSD to compliment your build.  Once I took the plunge I never looked back.  In your case, you have the extra 1TB for storage so why do you really care if your first drive is small?  Put the OS and your top 5 games on the SSD, and everything else on the storage drive. 

I highly recommend the OCZ SSD drives, seem to be the best bang for the buck at the moment.   And don't skimp with their cheapest versions, look at the Vertex and Summit series for a good midpoint solution.  Personally I think a 60GB drive is plenty to get you by.  Boot and shutdown times with Win 7 will amaze you.
3588  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: October 13, 2009, 09:13:29 PM
At this point, most of my goals are to improve my gathering skill.  I cannot explain why I am addicted to gathering.  Maybe it's that the name "extract vitality" sounds hot.

Seriously though I'd urge people to try to get to 25 and experience the Abyss.  As Kub mentioned you can surely get one shotted running around alone, but I think if a group of us roamed around together it could be a lot of fun.  The flying experience in the zone is very unique and does give this MMO something special.

Also if you are still playing "seriously", we recently started up a dedicated forum section at the Wanderers guild site.  We can use this to set up events or organize crafting, etc. without letting things get lost in the four (?) threads here.  Please wander over if you are interested.
3589  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: October 13, 2009, 09:08:17 PM

Quote from: Destructor on October 13, 2009, 01:23:41 AM

Holy crap. A $400 netbook that can run Aion? That's just nuts. Although, it's not technically $400 anymore, as you'd need more than the usual standard 1GB of RAM in order to play it in the first place (at least I'd assume so).

Congrats on a great netbook. Now, do I want to upgrade my AAO for something like that...

Thanks!  The RAM upgrade is pretty much a no brainer - I got the 2GB stick for about $40, and this is the DDR3 version.  I don't know/think moving from the N270 to the N280 is really that much of a performance bump, so sticking with N270/DDR2 you can probably do the upgrade for about $20.
3590  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: October 12, 2009, 11:26:47 PM
OK here's some early impressions on the HP Mini 311.

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

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

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

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

- - -

I'll probably write up something in more detail on my blog, specifically comparing this to the MBA.  But first impressions are very good, aside from the disappointment with HP as a company (so sad what has happend to what used to be one of the most highly respected engineering companies in existence).  Essentially I consider the Ion chipset + higher resolution screen a game changer in the ultra-portable market.  I actually don't think the new HP is smart enough to understand what they have here, essentially having made the same graphics/gaming leap that Apple did when they first got ahold of the 9400M.  But at netbook pricing!  As mentioned earlier, it's the leading gaming netbook to date.
3591  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [Photography] Robert Kawika Sheer on: October 12, 2009, 04:58:37 AM
It's not often you'll see me pimping any form of artwork, but this guy does some really visually interesting stuff.   My partner caught him at an art show a few weeks back and was intrigued by the "star trail" image below:

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

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

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

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

and keep in mind that the images definitely look much more impressive printed in full/large size and framed, etc.  The website only shows a small sampling; they also sell a coffee table book which gives a much better look at his body of work.
3592  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age is looking good! on: October 08, 2009, 05:24:55 PM

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

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

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

Probably not what you wanted to hear from me, but I think your voice sounds pretty sexy, and kind of younger than I'd imagined Tongue  One of the Bioware guys I can't really hear or understand, though - I thought he might be sick.  How come they don't have funny Canadian accents?  I love when I hear "aboot".
3593  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Guild Wars 2 on: October 06, 2009, 09:39:15 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Victory in World PvP will confer benefits to your world. This may include improved drop rates, better energy regeneration or other bonuses.
3594  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: So, I've unsubscribed AION and re-subscribed to... on: October 06, 2009, 09:35:34 PM
While I completely agree that AoC did a great job with Tortage 1-20, I'd also have to ask if you are looking for a great personal story/experience that changes with what character class you play, why not just play a single player RPG (Gothic, Morrowind, any Bioware game, etc)?  I still think there is a disconnect in the whole RPG genre when it comes to MMO vs SP.  Naturally, most of us want to feel "important" (or integral) within a deep, rich storyline - we want to change and affect the world and have an impact on it and other characters.  But these desires seem to be in direct conflict with offering an MMO experience, where everything in the commonly experienced world (or instance as it may be) is designed to "reset" so everyone can experience it.  Some games like GW, DDO or AoC have offered pre and post versions of an area to show that you've really affected it - a neat concept until you realize that the player who hasn't done the same thing can't share in the experience with you.  You could both be playing at the same real time period and yet be unable to interact because one of you is in a pre and the other the post version of the same city/instance/world.  Thus the immersion from the MMO side can be broken, and again, I often wonder if that is the experience I am looking for, maybe I should stick with single player games.  

Sorry to derail, just got me thinking.
3595  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Zombieland on: October 05, 2009, 05:52:13 PM
Thumbs up for me too - very funny, very entertaining, and great performances all around!

Best zombie fun since Shaun of the Dead.
3596  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Anyone recommend any of this season's new series? on: October 05, 2009, 05:45:40 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's moving a little slower than I'd like, but it's really not fair because I'm still thinking in Buffy/Angel mode.  Both those shows had reasonably rough starts to get their mythology and storylines cracking, so I'm willing to give these guys a season (or at least a half) to get into the groove.  I'm almost ready to recommend it to some vampire fan friends.  If they can just push the envelope a little further...
3597  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Sound off if you're planning... on: October 02, 2009, 06:24:10 PM
Traditionally I've upgraded almost every new cycle (or every other cycle).  I would resist a while and then give in.  So I put "wait and see" just because I have so little self control.  But if you asked me about it right now, I'd have to wonder what the point is.  There's nothing out there right now that's taxing my system at all, and it seems like the trend in software is moving backwards toward lower end compatibility.  I'm really losing the urge/interest in high end graphics hardware, as I really don't see any need whatsoever.  This is definitely a problem I think for the hardware guys, as if they can't even get ME interested/excited, they are going to need to do some real work.  Are there any games upcoming that are pushing the envelope software-wise?
3598  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: October 02, 2009, 06:15:46 PM

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

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

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

Is the xp group level limit confirmed to be 5 levels - if so we could potentially bring along people lvls 16 (or 17) and above?  I think Kub is 21, not sure on everyone else.
3599  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Glee on: October 02, 2009, 05:55:09 PM

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

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

from Kristin Chenowith (last seen on the pie show)

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

LOL I just remembered it on the walk in from work.  BTW, if you really like the music (and Kristin), I recommended purchasing the duet of "Alone" from her and the teacher on iTunes.  I never thought of Alone as a song you could do a male/female duet with but they make it work amazingly well, and I think this is the best he has sounded.  Kristin is perfect and the overall version is wonderful.  I wish they had shown a more complete version during the episode, but I guess it's nice to have the "full" audio version available.
3600  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Stargate Universe on: October 02, 2009, 05:52:40 PM

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

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

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

Yes but this one has an Asian Lesbian in it. BAM!!!
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