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3561  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.
3562  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.)
3563  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!
3564  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!!!!!
3565  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.   
3566  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
3567  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
3568  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:
3569  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
3570  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
3571  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.
3572  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.
3573  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):
3574  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
3575  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.
3576  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.
3577  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.
3578  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.
3579  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.
3580  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.
3581  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".
3582  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.
3583  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.
3584  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.
3585  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...
3586  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?
3587  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.
3588  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.
3589  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!!!
3590  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age Countdown on: October 01, 2009, 10:25:41 PM

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

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

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

Wasn't it confirmed that Dragon Age had no multiplayer element, or was I confused?
3591  Gaming / Portable Gaming & Apps / Re: iPhone/iTouch app and game thread on: October 01, 2009, 06:22:22 PM

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

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

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

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

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

Here's another review:
3592  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: October 01, 2009, 05:34:03 PM

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

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

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

- - -

YK, that's so funny about the number sequence, I find it is exactly the same for me, and btw, similar to what that one guy wrote on his early review.  In fact I was annoyed early on when I had a missing fraction of a second where I could not mash a key because everything was recharging.  Now I've just about got it so I can hit my number sequence with impunity, as long as I don't get interrupted  icon_biggrin
3593  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pay Per Hour/Time MMO? on: October 01, 2009, 05:29:52 PM

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

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

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

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

I'm not saying I love the idea btw, I just think it might be an interesting alternative if done correctly.  I like that it would put pressure on developers to make sure you can get online.  I also like that it would punish gold spammers and farmers.
3594  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Glee on: October 01, 2009, 05:25:00 PM
Now THAT was an episode!!!!

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

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

Big thumbs up again!!!
3595  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Anyone recommend any of this season's new series? on: October 01, 2009, 12:37:27 AM
Glee is great but may be kind of niche.  If you like adult-ish themes in a high school environment (Freaks n Geeks) and/or crazy cool musical numbers, it may be your cup of tea.  (BTW tonight's ep features that awesome Kristin Chenowith(?) from Pushing Daisies).

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

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

Jury is still out for me on Melrose Place and Vampire Diaries.  Melrose is campy fun, and they are using a lot of the old timers, so fans of the original should enjoy it.  Heather Locklear recently signed on so that's a big plus.  Vampire is actually fairly entertaining, but I'm looking forward to them advancing the mythology (as has been hinted at) and getting more "Buffy-like" as has also been promised.  So for fans of the original MP I'd say it's a yes, and for fans of Buffy I'd say Vampire is worth a look.
3596  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Pay Per Hour/Time MMO? on: October 01, 2009, 12:32:58 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is true, but from what I've seen the difference between overall "quality" between free to play and pay to play is decreasing dramatically.  Everything you mention above for the monthly fee I could say the same thing about Runes of Magic.  And from what I played of RoM, I definitely felt like I could get considerably more hours of fun without paying a single cent.
3597  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: October 01, 2009, 12:30:35 AM

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

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

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

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

My other comment to this is why in the design put the customization so far down the line?  For an average player, I believe the level time to hit 20 will be in the 20-30 hour range (it's hard for me to gauge how much time I've actually been in game).  So why withhold a fun/critical element of an RPG for so long?  It's like not getting sex til the 6th date  Tongue  OK so you say it's built for the long term - but then I'd ask are the developers deliberately trying to dissuade casual players from playing?
3598  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: September 30, 2009, 05:18:32 AM

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

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

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

And besides, these were just impressions from 1-20, so it wouldn't make sense to talk  about things I hadn't experienced yet.
3599  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: [Aion] Official Gaming Trend Legion Thread on: September 30, 2009, 02:51:29 AM
Aion Impressions while I wait:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary - this game has almost all of the "features" that I typcially criticize in new games (death penalties, time sinks, level grinds, lack of character differentiation, I could go on and on), but somehow it all feels forgivable for lack of a better word, with the exception of the inexcusable queue times rendering me unable to play - leaving me bitter and helpless to do nothing but post on forums  icon_twisted
3600  Gaming / Portable Gaming & Apps / Re: iPhone/iTouch app and game thread on: September 30, 2009, 01:58:52 AM
Not sure if this one was mentioned earlier, but another strong Diablo clone, Dungeon Hunter.  Reviews look good so far and the gameplay footage seems solid.  Why don't some developers make some more clones for the PC or other consoles?  This is like the 3rd (or more?) Diablo clone on the iPhone/Touch.
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