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3881  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Age of Conan Server Poll on: April 25, 2008, 06:12:38 PM
Head-start begins 3 weeks from Saturday (May 17th).  Curious to see where most GT/OOer's are planning to play.  I think I already know the answer but I'd still like to see. 

Also FYI, the Wanderers will be playing AoC, though we haven't determined server type yet (still under discussion).  If the poll here shows overwhelming support for one server type or another, that may help to influence our final decision.

Thanks for voting!!

Edit: Here's a link to the PvP specifics.  As mentioned below, the "standard" server also includes PvP mini-games and siege warfare in the "Borderlands".  The FFA PvP server adds full free-for-all PvP everywhere on top of that.
3882  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Survivor 4/10 on: April 25, 2008, 06:03:23 PM
Wheee, another week, another blindside!!!  Who's next!?!?

Those chicks are starting to creep me out.  I love the reference to a bunch of witches boiling their evil cauldron of spells.  That Natalie is out of control, it was pretty funny.  I actually wouldn't be too surprised to see her go if she gets too overconfident and cocky.  I could see James+Erik+Amanda grabbing Cirie to knock out one of the 3 Witches to teach them (mostly Parvati) a lesson and break their alliance.  That would be sweet, plus force Parvati to choose on her final 3 alliance. 

Otherwise, it's looking more like an all-girl/witch finale.  Still, they'll have to contend with 2 strong immunity contenders in James and Erik; I could see either of them sweeping the challenges.

3883  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost 4/24 (Spoilers) on: April 25, 2008, 05:59:16 PM
Wow, that episode just blew me away, I need to rewatch it to let it all sink in.  I was pretty heartbroken for poor Alex, that was just... harsh and I didn't think they'd actually go there.  Then watching all the extras get blown away (kind of gratuitous), I'm really starting to wonder if they intend to actually kill everyone but the Oceanic 6 off. 

The Ben flash forward was very nice, and the confrontration sequence with Widmore was great.  Going after Penny, wow.  Loved that.  I wonder if Desmond escaped or not, that could be some classic stuff if Sayid is sent to kill them.

Also enjoyed seeing Sawyer take on more of a hero role, looks good on him.
3884  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: American Idol 2008 on: April 25, 2008, 05:55:40 PM
David C will be more successful either way - personally I think he's more talented, more attractive and has a better voice than Daughtry.  I still think he can win the whole thing - he's been winning on dialidol more often now, and he has had more volume of feedback in the iTunes reviews (and apparently more sales if you believe that one site that was trying to track it).  Contrary to David C, David A needs to actually win to be more successful.  Maybe he can carve it out as a #2 the way Clay Aiken did, but I think he'll need more guidance from producers, etc. to sell well, and they always tend to favor the winner in terms of release schedule, etc.
3885  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I really like this site! on: April 24, 2008, 11:57:18 PM
Oh man that diva smiley rocks!!!

P.S.  I think I mentioned this before but I have to say I really love that I am rewarded (with new smileys I haven't seen before of course!) when I click the "Go Down" button.    The Weghted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you.
3886  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (It's Golden!) on: April 24, 2008, 11:54:26 PM

Quote from: Harkonis on April 24, 2008, 10:33:16 PM

I'm taking 2 weeks for WAR, and 1 week for Gencon.  I think that's enough gaming vacations for this year slywink

Isn't it a bit presumptuous to assume WAR will make it out this year?   slywink
3887  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (It's Golden!) on: April 24, 2008, 08:48:17 PM
I'm not sure if they changed the way they were doing it over the last couple of days, but I was sent an email to tell me I had a key available.  So I'm not sure why the need for the refresh on a particular page...

Also I got another email today saying some of their emails were getting rejected and sent back, so you should install some "Fileplanet Comrade" thingy.
3888  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Big Mythos update on: April 24, 2008, 06:08:15 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on April 24, 2008, 05:45:18 PM

I interrupt my griefing to say I'm glad they seem to be taking their time more with Mythos, and I don't think it'll suffer the same rushed-to-market fate as HGL.  icon_neutral

I'm sure they learned some valuable lessons with HGL.  But more importantly, Mythos is free to play anyway so I doubt there's any significant pressure from EA or whoever to put a solid release date on it.
3889  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I really like this site! on: April 24, 2008, 06:06:00 PM
Man, those things were priceless.  One of these days I am going to scour my graveyard of hard drives and see if I get lucky and can find any of them.  If not, hopefully I'll be able to work something out in AoC Tongue

I suppose all those old wanderer site screenshot galleries we used to have are all long gone by now.

BTW, on an unrelated side note, all these new smilies are awesome! Who needs a new game when I can play with these all day!  bowdown
3890  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: American Idol 2008 on: April 24, 2008, 05:58:17 PM
You guys are mean!  Leave my poor l'il David A alone!  As much as I love him, I still think he looks like an awkward robot any time he isn't singing.  Maybe it's just flat out shyness/nervousness at age 17, who knows.  I do think it may hurt him towards the finale though.  One thing to note, his "Think of Me" rendition as kind of a pop ballad marks the first time he's actually transcended the "save the world" thematic songs and allowed himself to be more of a teen pop crooner for all the pre-teen girls.  The studio version sounds great, btw.

Back to the show, man Leona Lewis kicked major ass.  Compare her performance to Mariah's the last couple of weeks and I think Mariah may be getting a little nervous.  And keep in mind she was discovered in the British Idol so she should theoretically be in the same league as Idol winners or contestants we see now.  Kind of puts Syesha, Carly and Brooke into a different perspective.

In the mean time, my weekly predictions continue to suck big time.  Given the popularity vote, it's just too hard to predict.  Jason was so horrible he looked like he was practically asking to leave the show and yet didn't even fall into the bottom 2.  I loved seeing him yawn when the camera panned to the backstage.  What gives?  While I've never been a Carly fan from the getgo, I thought she had the skillz to reach the final 4 or even 3, but bam, she's gone!

I guess in the end unless there's a major surprise, it will be all about David vs. David.  Both of them have proven extremely versatile AND popular.  David C has the momentum now, though, and possibly a stronger fan base, plus more range, confidence and experience (side note: I recently learned he has a full album released in 2006).  David A has the more accessible, pure voice (for non-rockers), and is so damn cute you want to put him in your pocket; the camera can focus all the way in on him without scaring little girls away.  I would guess he commands the very young female vote, and probably the senior citizen vote while David C has the majority of everyone in between.  Who shows up to vote at the finale, and who gets Jason and the girls' votes is the big question. 

After he sang "Imagine" I declared the competition over and David A the winner (over at OO), so I'm gonna stick with that prediction to the end.  Unfortunately (or fortunately for you haters) I may be a horrible jinx since my predictions in the subsequent weeks have been wrong just about every time.
3891  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (It's Golden!) on: April 23, 2008, 11:19:16 PM
Mini derail: I just realized why I was confused; there's a *Zarkon* AND an *Arkon* here! 

Back OT: The Fileplanet Beta thing might be a perfect opportunity to try out the different classes and get a feel for what you want as your main at release.  I'll probably try out all 3 healers and a couple caster classes if I get enough time, though I've pretty much already decided my first main will be a Priest of Mitra (seemed to play similar to Cleric class from DAOC).
3892  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I really like this site! on: April 23, 2008, 11:13:43 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on April 23, 2008, 10:22:02 PM

sure, just up and abandon PreviewedDVD whydontcha?   Tongue

LOL, ack!!!  Is there an embarassed icon???   paranoid  paranoid

I'll still be going back and forth between forums, but I think GT will be my "must visit at least once a day" page.  I really like the full spread of game news in the front.
3893  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / I really like this site! on: April 23, 2008, 06:25:00 PM
I love that there's a "Gone Gold" type section and a front page with gaming news.  Gives me the old GG nostalgia feel.  I used to check that gone gold page all the time.

I kind of wish I had discovered this one prior to OO, it was all just kind of random for me. 

Anyway, whatever happens with OO, I think I may just end up parking myself here instead.   ninja2
3894  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What should I do, guys? (job related) on: April 23, 2008, 06:19:32 PM
What's your age/marital/dating situation?  I would think having a set schedule is definitely worth pursuing, unless you enjoyed/preferred the original.

Definitely a bit disappointing that no raise is involved, but I'd think after 6 months to a year they would have to do something for you.  Either way after that amount of time it will look great on the resume and serve as a stronger bargaining chip if you do decide to move on to a new job.
3895  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Men on Film] The Forbidden Kingdom on: April 23, 2008, 06:16:36 PM
I actually loved it, but then again I was probably in a very very small percentage of people that would hit their target on every front possible.

Jet Li/Jackie Chan - for fans of either, you get about the same amount of screen time, and both do a good job with their roles.  Their "confrontation" sequence was, contrary to some reviews I read, very satisfying for me.  Both provide a great mix of action and humor.

Micahel Angarano - I love him, he's absolutely adorable in every thing I've seen him in, but this was definitely his most physically challenging role.  Not very well known, he may seem familiar to many people.  He was Jack's son in Will and Grace, also starred in Sky High and Lords of Dogtown.  He basically has to carry the "straight man" role in this film, and gets kicked and smashed around by virtually everyone.  They trained him Keanu Reeves style and he pulls it off well.  Plus no one does sad puppy dog eyes like he does.

Hot Asian Chicks - though I'm gay, I still love seeing hot Asian chicks on screen.  So sue me.  I saw Liu Yifei on a TV show briefly and really liked her.  She doesn't get a lot of screen time here, but enough to make an impact.  Very cute and I think she'll have a bright future if she decides to go the Zhang Ziyi route and mix English and Chinese films.  For genre fans, she plays "Golden Sparrow" which was an awesome character made famous in some very old Shaw Brothers martial arts films.  They even kept details like her weapons consistent (dual short swords), which I loved.  Li Bing Bing plays an evil White Hair (modelled after, or maybe even the same character?) as the Bride with White Hair.  I liked her a lot here as well, she reminded me of Halle Berry as Storm.  Hope to see more of her too.

Story - a nice mish mash of martial arts genre films with plenty of homages paid to the genre, mixed with more myth/fable-esque stories based on the legendary Monkey King (of which I was a huge fan as a kid).  Throw in some more conventional Hollywood-based grounding (using the Caucasian Angarano was a nice touch) and you've got yourself a much more accessible movie.  Tone is more light hearted than some might like, but still remains faithful to the martial arts genre.

Filming - they did a lot of filming in China, and the on location stuff is gorgeous.  Also some very nice martial arts choreography from the same guy who did the Matrix and Crouching Tiger.

All in all, a lot of fun, particularly for me personally.  As someone who loves The Monkey King, old and new martial arts films, both Jackie Chan and Jet Li, cute Asian chicks, and adorable Michael Angarano all grown up and showing mad kung fu skillz, it had a little bit of everything for me.
3896  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: My Dream Next Gen MMORPG on: April 23, 2008, 05:56:49 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on April 23, 2008, 03:04:27 AM

The MMO AI problem I've generally read is that you simply can't have amazing AI in a game that has thousands of NPCs running around everywhere. There just aren't enough CPU cycles to slice up the AI like that. That's presumably why most MMOs simply turn nasty bosses into bigger and bigger foot stomps, or why all the Monster class enemies in City of Heroes basically don't do anything more interesting than foot stomp or maybe projectile vomit.  smirk Even if you hate shooters and RTSs, you're probably always going to find more interesting and challenging AI in those types of games (or even sports games).

That's presumably why a lot of Asian MMOs just do PVP entirely, rather than try to find creative ways to squeeze an interesting AI into their games.

Sorry to be a wet blanket. icon_smile What I do like to see in MMOs is at least more variety in AIs. If they can't make them better, they can at least make their attack patterns more interesting, give them some ability to retreat strategically etc. They don't have to be Half Life marines, they just need to be a little unpredictable so I don't get bored so easily, imho.

Is it plausible that the AI/CPU cycles are all contained on the main server (some supercomputer), so all your PC has to deal with is the results? 

I'm just thinking out loud here.  I've been playing MMORPGs close to 10 years now and CRPGs close to 30 years (yikes!) so obviously I'm a little jaded by the conventional standards now.  As much as I look forward to new games like AoC and WAR being released, I can't help but feel a bit disappointed that these "next generation" games are offering so little in the way of innovation and true next gen gameplay.
3897  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: American Idol 2008 on: April 23, 2008, 05:05:36 AM
Wow, Andrew Lloyd Webber tonight!  Filled with surprises, both good and bad.

Syesha - she blew me away, loved her personality and sass and sexiness.  Finally got to see some vibrant personality emerge on top of the voice.  Should get her through to next week but because there's only 6 left she could still be in the bottom 3.

Jason - ack, train wreck was right.  I thought Syesha or Carly may go for memory, maybe even David A.  But Jason?  Yikes!!!  A disaster waiting to happen, maybe just maybe this can rid us of him.  Then again, his fanbase may just be too strong.  I still say he hits bottom 3 again, maybe his time is up.

Brooke - yikes, second time she did the restart thing.  The first time was fine, this time not so much, it had gone a bit too far already.  Still, she pulled out a very nice performance.  I thought she actually sang it better than the judges gave her credit for, but the restart was a bit too distracting and that may be all people remember.  Surprised that Paula did not protect her through it.  She may be done this week.  Singing out the loss with "You Must Love Me" may be very appropriate.

David A - yet another strange choice.  I love the original Think of Me but I associate it with a very high pitched female voice and a music box.  He did a pretty nice job with it, but ALW made him (and all of us) too conscious of whether his pretty l'il eyes stayed open or not.  Will be interesting to hear the studio version, all in all I still think he did well.

Carly - she looked and sounded pretty good doing Jesus Christ Superstar.  But sadly I still don't like her much.  Like Syesha, she may hit the bottom 3 just because someone has to.  Though I guess I should stick with my theory that she makes the final 3.

David C - a fairly conventional version of Music of the Night.  Very interesting.  Also an interesting reveal he used to do musical theater.  He sounded decent to good but if you've ever experienced the original sung live by Michael Crawford, you'd have to be fairly disappointed in the final notes of the song, which should sound simply transcendent if sung well.  His choice to go slightly rock-ish at the end, I thought was a major cop out.  He'd already committed to doing a fairly standard version, why not stick with it in that case to prove versatility?  Maybe his voice wouldn't hit the pretty note, I dunno, but I would have been much more stunned/impressed if he pulled it off.

Predicted Bottom 2: Jason and Brooke.  Carly or Syesha join them as the bottom 3.  I hope Jason goes, but after bottom 2 last week and tepid judge response this week, I fear it may be Brooke's time.
3898  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: My Dream Next Gen MMORPG on: April 23, 2008, 02:08:12 AM

Quote from: Rumpy on April 22, 2008, 08:43:04 PM

Advanced NPC AI - in conjunction with the above, I would love to see some actual true AI improvements in NPCs.  It's almost unbelievable to me that after so many years of development, most designers are perfectly happy with static NPCs with a ? over their head.  I want to see living, breathing NPCs that are nearly undiscernable from human players.  With not just their own schedules, but their own agendas and politics and "levels" that also evolve over time.  We've seen some of this in games like Gothic and the TES series, but why only in single player games, and why not take it further?  So for example, at lvl 25, an NPC decides she wants to venture out into the world and vanquish robbers.  She goes out and starts killing robber mobs.  If you were to follow her around, you'd see how her story unfolds.  You could choose to help and get involved, or do nothing, or play evil and turn against her.  All of which would affect how she (and her NPC family) reacts to you

All nice thoughtful ideas, however, as much as I'd like the kind of AI you describe, I can easily see how it would pose a problem. I think the most obvious one however is that when playing an MMO, people want to find NPCs easily. They need to be in the same spot where people can always find them, otherwise people would get frustrated at not being able to find the NPC they need. The second is bandwidth and processing. Can you imagine the bandwidth needed to tell each client playing where such and such an NPC currently is located? It's one thing for a single player game like Oblivion to have wandering NPCs, but the moment you introduce it into a multiplayer situation becomes too much an overhead. Not to mention how silly it would look if a lot of people were following this NPC at the same time in order to finish up a quest or something. It already looks silly enough with them standing in one place.

Part of the problem I see is that most of us (myself included) are now conditioned to think in a certain way based on what developers (mostly WoW) have fed us game after game.  The paradigm of ? on static NPC head now just seems like it's the right way to go, it's simple, elegant, efficient, little room for error.  But because of this, developers seem to fear trying something different.  It's almost as if they've given up on innovation or change for fear of having it stray too far from the WoW model.  An easy solution to the problem you pose is to have quests posted on an adventurer's board or some such central location in a town.  Upon completion, maybe you automatically get credit.  Or, maybe to get the full reward, you need to eventually go back to the board or the NPC, or send a note (if you want to be more "realistic"), but certainly it could be worked around fairly easily.  For some quests, it's plausible the NPC AI would dictate it follow you or the party and he/she may reward you immediately.

- - -

YK, we've been watching Darkfall for so many years it's sad.  I think we finally gave up and decided it was vapourware.  Still hoping I'm wrong but...
3899  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / My Dream Next Gen MMORPG on: April 21, 2008, 10:47:24 PM
I would start off with a baseline game in the Shadowbane style.  Freeform and highly changeable by the player community with player-built structures.  But that would just be the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, the launching point for real next generation gameplay.

Evolving World - I want to see the world evolve over time, not just in terms of buildings/cities rising and falling, but also in terms of game time passage, so that the world develops its own lore over time.  The actions and events in Real Year 2008 would be talked about as the stuff of legends in Real Year 2010.  Maybe every real time year is 100 game time years, just as an off the top of my head example.  The world keeps evolving whether you play or not.  If you take a break a few months, the world you come back to should be vastly different.  This should (theoretically) keep people wanting to (pay to) play.

Evolving PCs and NPCs - likewise, I want to see all characters evolve over time, both players and NPCs.  Grow old, even die.  Leave behind a legacy and offspring that allow you to continue playing the game.  Same for NPCs.  Maybe this means permadeath for toons, but the pain of this perhaps alleviated by allowing transferral of some skills/spells/persona/items to an offspring so that not all is lost.  "Levelling" in whatever form it's carried in, would have to be relatively quick and efficient (and of course fun) such that your offspring toon can quickly catch up to where you were

Advanced NPC AI - in conjunction with the above, I would love to see some actual true AI improvements in NPCs.  It's almost unbelievable to me that after so many years of development, most designers are perfectly happy with static NPCs with a ? over their head.  I want to see living, breathing NPCs that are nearly undiscernable from human players.  With not just their own schedules, but their own agendas and politics and "levels" that also evolve over time.  We've seen some of this in games like Gothic and the TES series, but why only in single player games, and why not take it further?  So for example, at lvl 25, an NPC decides she wants to venture out into the world and vanquish robbers.  She goes out and starts killing robber mobs.  If you were to follow her around, you'd see how her story unfolds.  You could choose to help and get involved, or do nothing, or play evil and turn against her.  All of which would affect how she (and her NPC family) reacts to you

Advanced "Mob" AI - similar to the above, I'd like to see mobs/creatures/adversaries with their own (evolving) agendas and varying degrees of intelligence.  Different mobs may have different hierarchical societies, as well as different motivators/needs.  Maybe a pack of dragons has exhausted its food supply and needs to move out further toward a river, inadvertently encroaching on a player built city.

Game World Emergent Questing - instead of the same static quests that everyone repeats and then reset, how about quests that emerge from the game world itself.  From the above example, the dragons are burning down a city.  The mayor (could be human or NPC) sends out a request for help.  Initial quests are as simple as the fedex to get the message for help out.  Bigger challenge quest (needing a group or groups) is to actually battle and drive the dragon pack out.  Different example: a small merchant town has a master crafter of swords.  An adventurer (again human or NPC) brings him a new undiscovered metal that is x times better than the previous best metal.  He then creates multiple quests himself, including quests to get more of the material, to gain information on how to process it faster (maybe a fedex type), etc.  Players role-playing adventurers may take the first quest and end up exploring a deep cave, wherein they gather the material but also discover other things (treasure, a journal, or perhaps a new race of creatures) that lead to other quests developing.  Last example: an "evil" guild decides to kidnap and hold for ransom the city mayor's daughter (possibly an NPC).  Now the baseline quest is of course to rescue her - but in the process you've made an enemy of this guild and of course player politics may come into play. 

Mobile/Remote Mode Gameplay - taking a beat from some web-based games, add features that allow the player to interact with his character(s) and the game while away from home.  Maybe similar to the strat games where you issue some orders for crafting or buildings.  Or maybe from your cel phone, you re-organize your inventory or sell/buy things from an auction house.

Merc Mode - as an adjunct to mobile play, add a mode to allow the user to put a character (remotely of course) into Merc Mode(TM).  That character can then be pulled out by anyone on his friends list to serve as a Mercenary that functions similar to one in Diablo 2 or other such games.  Merc gets taken along wherever and earns xp as well.  Then when the user gets home, he can log right in and take control over the merc.  If the AI is really good, you might not notice the difference!

- - -

So basically the idea is a real sandbox-type world, but one that truly evolves over time, with player, NPC, mob AND "natural" (i.e. disasters) actions.  Every player can go in and choose the role he wants to play, whether it be adventurer, politician, crafter, assassin, mercenary, soldier, etc.  His offspring will gain much of his identity from the original, but still has the option to choose his own different path.  The game world and everyone in it (both real and AI) determine the depth and nature of the "quests" and their solutions, and none of these are static.  If you miss it because you took a hiatus from the game, too bad.  But very likely there will be similar adventures or problems to deal with once you get back into it.  Some of the grander scale events become part of the game/server history, and eventually become part of a (hopefully) rich world background and lore. 

Obviously there are some extremely ambitious game elements I've listed.  But many of them have been done in some shape or form in some game or another.  Yet in many of those cases the last iteration was many years ago.   The traditional MMORPG (fantasy) genre has really stagnated of late and I would love to see it actually evolve. Even the 2 newest upcoming games (AoC and WAR), while offering some minor innovations, are really looking like iterations on proven designs, rather than true next generation games.  Problem is, who has got the balls (and huge amount of resources) to make a next gen game happen?
3900  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: April 21, 2008, 09:38:05 PM

Quote from: YellowKing on April 21, 2008, 08:29:42 PM

You still have to have a broadband connection and log into the servers to play to 20.

The "solo" play to 20 is a bit of a misconception. In reality, the only part that is *truly* solo is from 1-5. After that you enter Tortage and are running around with other players. You have a "Destiny" series of quests to complete to get out of Tortage and into the real world, and these specific quests are solo instances. However, in order to gain enough XP and enough levels to complete the Destiny quest path, you'll end up having to do plenty of non-Destiny quests, which can be completed solo or with a group.

Sounds similar to LOTRO's opening, moving you from solo to the outside "main" world?

What about the post 20 game?  Is it more heavy on instances?  Quests?  Solo or grouping both viable?  Is there any sort of "mentor" feature that makes grouping with disparate levels possible?
3901  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: April 21, 2008, 08:13:49 PM

Quote from: Destructor on April 21, 2008, 07:16:56 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on April 21, 2008, 03:41:14 PM

System Requirements have been announced!

Online Gaming;

        • Broadband connection required.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the way that this is worded is that playing online is optional. In short, if you want to play online, you have to have a broadband connection. We all know that as a MMO, you have to have an online connection to play.

I think the intent of it is that a *broadband* connection (as opposed to dial-up?) is required.
3902  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: April 21, 2008, 05:42:33 PM
I found this little story amusing.  It's from a recent Gamespot interview of the game director.  I'm not sure if it makes me more or less prone to playing on the PvP server:

"GG: I think I will end with a personal story here. I play undercover on the beta, naturally, and the Funcom employees had made an in-game guild called "Incognito" (we figured that being in-your-face was the best way to hide things). I was playing a level 23 conqueror on the PVP beta server, and was loitering around outside Conarch Village in Conalls Valley when I was approached by this level 35 assassin, I think.

He said, "Would you like to leave your guild and join ours? We are a tough, no-nonsense PVP guild. What do you think?"

I replied, "Sounds interesting, but I am sorry--my friends and I just formed this other guild, as you see. Maybe with another character?"

"Too bad for you," he said, and then went on and beheaded me.

Some of you might be a bit puzzled over what is really funny about this story, but to me it is just such a cool, hardcore PVP is like the [epitome] of PVP in Age of Conan. Tough, deadly, and definitely not for kids! "
3903  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: If I were to build a new gaming rig... on: April 20, 2008, 12:48:37 AM
Oops I actually made a mistake.  The *Penryn* Core 2 Duo chip is the E8400 - 3GHz, which I highly recommend.  Basically it's based on a better process, so it's all around a better chip for close to the same price.  Supposedly you can overclock these very well since they run cooler in general.

If you already have a monitor and can put a little more money in, another nice touch I like is to have the main system run on a fast "gamer" hard drive (Western Digital Raptor) and then put data on a second drive.  It's not extremely noticeable, but general performance (boot up included) tends to feel a bit more "zippy," for lack of a better word.  Also never hurts to have another GB or so of RAM.
3904  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: If I were to build a new gaming rig... on: April 18, 2008, 10:06:56 PM
I like to use Cyberpower ( as a reference.  I've found that using Newegg for parts, it generally ends up pretty close just pricing the system out from them. 

I really like the 8800 GTS (which is what I currently own) and also recommend the Penryn series (latest Intel Core 2) CPU.  I chose the 2.66GHz below for its optimal price point, but going up to the 3GHz is not too much more.  You can fiddle around with motherboards but I think ASUS does a really good basic SLI ready mobo.  With this system you should easily be able to handle any game out there right now at close to max details.  Crysis may not run 100% maxxed out, but it will be close.

I put together a modest recommendation for about $1000 (no monitor):


CASE: ($10 off Mail-in Rebate) Raidmax Sagitta II Mid-Tower 420W Gaming Case w/ Side-Panel Window (Black Color)
CPU: (Sckt775)Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6750 CPU @ 2.66GHz 1333FSB 4MB L2 Cache 64-bit
MOTHERBOARD: Asus P5N-E nForce 650i SLI Chipset LGA775 FSB1333 DDR2 Mainboard
MEMORY: (Req.DDR2 MainBoard)2GB (2x1GB) PC6400 DDR2/800 Dual Channel Memory (Mushkin or Major Brand)
VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB 16X PCI Express (Major Brand Powered by NVIDIA)
HARD DRIVE: Single Hard Drive (500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)
Optical Drive: (Special Price) 20X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (BLACK COLOR)

Power supply was upped to a 500W one, not sure why it didn't show up.
3905  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Survivor 4/10 on: April 18, 2008, 09:54:40 PM

Quote from: MHS on April 18, 2008, 08:28:48 PM

Quote from: iloveplywood on April 18, 2008, 06:52:59 PM

I like Ozzy, but he got way too cocky.  I never feel sorry for people who get voted off after giving up on an immunity challenge for food. 

No kidding.  I don't care if I had two hidden immunity idols in my pocket and an alliance that was written and sealed in blood... you shouldn't go on survivor unless you are willing to fight to the end on every single challenge.  I mean... *maybe* I could see arguing that you keep up your strength by eating so you can do better in the next challenges, but he has just eaten at the reward challenge feast, so there's just no excuse.

Yeah, Ozzy definitely lost his edge, got way too comfy with his babe and his alliance. 

And similar to last season, I still think there was no strong reason to save the "hidden" immunity idol once everyone knew he had it with only a few more opportunities to play it anyway.  At that point, he had to realize its a target in itself (just to flush it out), so in some sense it becomes more of a liability to continue to hold it. 
3906  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: April 18, 2008, 09:38:32 PM
For those of you in beta or with access to beta forums, I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts/comments on the PvP vs. PvE server rulesets and discussions.  Before our forums went down, we were running a poll in Wanderers that was (slightly) favoring the PvP server.  Just wanted to hear any information about that to help with the decision.  PM's or posts here appreciated.
3907  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Got my first white hair this morning on: April 18, 2008, 08:17:15 PM
I'm closing in on 40 this year, and have been getting more and more gray hairs of late.  While I got my first a while back, there hadn't been too many at a time, so generally I tend to just pluck em out if I can reach em. 

I don't know if it's my imagination but it seems like the more stressed I am at work, the more I see.  The worst is sometimes at work I'll look in the mirror and see a bunch; the bathroom has weird flourescent lighting which seems to make the gray hairs shine extremely bright (my hair is black).   crybaby
3908  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Survivor 4/10 on: April 18, 2008, 08:11:57 PM

Quote from: YellowKing on April 18, 2008, 06:45:21 PM

Though I'm not watching the show this year, I did read an article that says that Jeff is not aware of what goes on in the camps and the questions he asks are on the spot...

Then the guy must be a freaking psychic, since he tends to target people for questioning that are specifically central to the "plot" of that week's episode.  Though maybe he just asks a lot more questions than are actually shown, and then the producers go back and edit in the ones that were most relevant to the storyline.

I know the guy has been host for umpteen years and probably knows Survivor inside and out, but there has to be something going on to explain that uncanny accuracy every single week.

I think it's all a matter of the editing.  Jeff is with them a lot more hours than we see (including at tribal council), so he can probably pick up on a number of things he thinks are interesting/relevant and then target those issues.  Some of the things probably come up *during* the council itself (and are left on the editing floor), and he can continue to probe down different paths depending on what comes up.  Then as you said, the producers sift through the footage to build up the "plotlines" and story background to match it all up. 
3909  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I love Amazon (and UPS and USPS and 3rd party sellers)! on: April 18, 2008, 05:56:27 PM
I've been on Prime for 2+ years now and I love it.  Free 2-day shipping on everything is sweet, and definitely has been well worth the money come Xmas time.  Plus, pretty much if I pre-order a new movie release, it will always ship Monday and arrive Wednesday without fail.  Very nice.  Even scarier they recently created a custom interface on the iPhone which is so easy to use it felt like a direct link to my credit card.
3910  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Survivor 4/10 on: April 18, 2008, 04:04:52 AM

Quote from: rittchard on April 11, 2008, 06:07:01 PM

I'm hoping to see some massive cat fights in the weeks to come.  Something tells me some of the power guys (Ozzy, James) may be going but who knows.  I did read there were supposed to be a bunch of backstabs week after week.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Holy frickin crap!!!!  OMG the Ozzy falls hard!!!  Ouch man what an IDIOT.  Play the frickin idol dude, everyone knew you had it so why not just get that out of the way.  Did he not learn anything from James last season?  But still, it follows the cardinal Survivor rule, don't ever get overconfident or too cocky or comfortable with an alliance alone.  Unless you have the necklace around your neck, anything can happen.  Honestly you could tell Ozzy had lost his edge this season.  Old Ozzy would never have lost either of these challenges (this week or last); the desperation made him nearly unbeatable.  Comfortable Ozzy taking food to give up?  Yuck.

So now Jeff P's comment about multiple backstabs in a row should begin.  The question will be who is it next week?  Likely not Erik, James or Amanda since that wouldn't be much of a backstab.  Maybe it will be Parv herself for playing too many sides.  Or sneaky Cirie.  I'm wondering if the 2 chick fans will go to the end since they've been getting such little footage so far.  Especially the homely looking one.

Either way, as much as I enjoyed seeing Ozzy again, getting rid of him finally makes this a season to watch/remember!  Eliza's bug eyes looked like they were going to pop out, I loved it.  Classic/historic Survivor moment.

3911  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Broadband access: FIOS vs. Cable? on: April 17, 2008, 11:50:33 PM
So about 2 months ago 2 redshirts from Verizon are going door to door and tell me my street is getting FIOS (fiber optic) put in, and ask me if I want to make an appt to get it installed.  I say sure, but as we're doing it he realizes there's some physical wiring that still has to take place first.  He gets an appt for that setup (supposedly) and tells me to call back in a couple weeks to set up my installation appt.  Sounds great.  I wait about a month and finally get a chance to call in.  Of course the person I talk to has no idea what I'm talking about, and finally tells me they'll "look into it" and get back to me in a couple days.  Of course I hear nothing back, and busy with work, another few weeks passes.  I call again yesterday and they have no record of the 2nd conversation and all they show is my phone number isn't ready for FIOS.  The lady checks back and forth, keeps second guessing everything I tell her (specifically about the guy telling me the rest of the street was already wired and some people had it), and finally ends up with: you guessed it, someone will get back to me in a couple days.

So I check out the cable modem speeds and prices, and its very close.  I've just about had it with Verizon's lameness, but I'm still a bit leery to jump to cable (presently I'm using Verizon DSL).  I think the local provider is Time Warner/Road Runner.  If anyone has any thoughts on it, I'd be interested.  I'm thinking I'll give Verizon a few more days to give me some kind of answer.  If I hear nothing, I'll start pursuing the cable option.
3912  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: American Idol 2008 on: April 17, 2008, 06:46:34 PM
KLC gone, boohoo!  Another bad prediction by me lol.  Seems like each week whoever I don't pick in the bottom 3 ends up eliminated.

Unless something drastic occurs, Final 2 should be David vs David.  The interesting thing will be to see which of the girl(s) makes it to the final 4.  My guess is whichever it is will also make it to the Final 3 (knocking out Jason).  While I don't really like Carly I think she's the most versatile of the 3 gals plus the judges' favorite.  Personally I favor Brooke but I think her style/act has reached its limitations.  Very interesting this season, and unlike previous seasons, pretty much we've seen everyone's personal styles and I don't see any big changes occuring.

So here's my guesses for the remaining weeks:

5: 3 boys, Carly and Brooke (I guess that means Syesha goes next)

4: 3 boys and... Carly? (Brooke leaves, sobbing all the way)

3: David, David and... Carly (finally bye to Jason)

2: David vs David

Winner: David A.  David C is more talented, but still more voters captured by David A, who I think has a more balanced, wider fanbase, and can take more of the voters who were voting for Jason and/or whichever female lasts the longest.  FWIW, I asked my 3 year old cousin who he liked, and he said "I like... little David."  Meanwhile, my 12 and 13yo nieces both actively dislike the one they call "Picklehead" (David Cook). 

- - -

Andrew Lloyd Webber week will be interesting.  Should favor showtune fanboy David A but who knows.
3913  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: American Idol 2008 on: April 16, 2008, 04:37:27 AM
Well Mariah night has come and gone, definitely an interesting one!

David A started the night out strong.  Picked a good song (When You Believe) and sang well, but I thought he made a few noticeable mistakes that the judges let him get away with.  He's so lovable I guess it doesn't matter.  He did sound great in parts and took some chances going higher and lower than his normal range, so points for difficulty. 

David C was back in form again and turned an upbeat pop song (Always Be My Baby) into a darker, almost creepy, obsessive anthem.  Really enjoyed it.  Not sure if this was yet another borrowing of someone else's version, but given his reaction (he seemed really relieved/surprised) I'm guessing this was a risk he took on his own. 

Jason - I still don't get him, but I can see his Jack Johnson style being very appealing.  I like that he took a risk as well and really made a strange tropic-y version of I Don't Want to Cry.

In any case, the guys clearly outdid the gals, and I doubt any will show up in the bottom 3, particularly after the surprise exit of MJ last week, i.e. MJ's votes may get spread to the other guys, probably David C.

The girls were all good but very likely one will be going tomorrow.  Syesha sang well again but chose a more obscure song, Vanishing.  It may be a bad move as Simon suggested to pick a song people may not remember.  Brooke took on Hero and did OK but I thought she rushed the song the whole time.  Hero is made for having "moments" in the song, and she rushed through them all.  I think she could have cut a verse or 2 and slowed the whole arrangement down.  May be bad news for her.  Carly as usual did a good job, but again I just don't like her voice when it goes loud.  Finally, Ms. KLC did a very nice job with her song.  I thought she stepped up again and has shown the most vocal improvement of any of the contestants. 

Prediction: Syesha, Carly and Brooke in the bottom 3.  I've incorrectly predicted Syesha going home already so I'm going to go out on a limb and guess Brooke leaves this week.
3914  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Amazon Rocks re: HD-DVD on: April 14, 2008, 06:02:15 PM
Yeah, I have about 30ish HD-DVDs, including season one of Heroes.  Enough that I plan to continue using the player.  Also I am anticipating big price reductions for existing stock, so I'll beef up my collection further when I see good deals. 
3915  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Big Mythos update on: April 14, 2008, 05:58:45 PM

Quote from: Thin_J on April 14, 2008, 10:54:33 AM

Is there any way to actually get into the beta at this point? The people I know that are in said their invites up and disappeared and rumor is that it's because they're going open beta soon?

That's correct, the old invite system is gone in favor of upcoming Open Beta.

There's a spot on the main website:  for Beta signup, which I don't think gives immediate access, but they may still be letting people in.
3916  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Amazon Rocks re: HD-DVD on: April 14, 2008, 01:51:25 AM
I purchased a "backup" HD-A3 to replace my original HD-A1 as soon as the price fell to $99 on Amazon.  I wanted to make sure I had an extra once the hardware was no longer available.  So I was pretty lucky, as I got the Amazon email AND a gift card from BB for the original unit, completely out of the blue for me.  So between the 2 $50 bonuses, I essentially got the second unit for free.  Even as a stand-alone DVD upconvert player, the picture quality is great so it wasn't a bad decision all in all.  Still can't stand the long boot up time, though.  Oh well.
3917  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Big Mythos update on: April 14, 2008, 01:44:45 AM
I was finally able to get 5 gold scrounged and formed a Wanderers guild.  As expected, guild interface is identical to HGL.  Nothing exciting worth mentioning, it's very barebones.  Basically just a chat channel for now, I guess.  The only good part about it is they allow you to toss invites to offline players.  So all I need is a character name and I can invite.  Hopefully they won't wipe until after open beta so it will persist and I won't have to save up again.

If anyone is playing and wants an invite, just post your character name(s) in this thread.  I don't think it matters if its Normal or Elite, etc.  so feel free to post em all.
3918  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: American Idol 2008 on: April 13, 2008, 08:12:54 PM

Quote from: Zinfan on April 13, 2008, 10:15:43 AM

She could also break out the skimpy outfits to try and stave off another week of elimination and I'd be ok with that  icon_twisted.  Any idea what next weeks theme is?  I can never seem to find a list of what is coming up.

This week is Mariah week.  Definitely a chance for KLC to sex it up a bit.  How bout "Touch My Body" while writhing around, that could be fun.  More likely she'll try to take some other hit and country it up though.

I'm looking for David A to do "Hero" - would be a slam dunk for him.  David Cook should be fun, I could imagine some weird rock version of "Vision of Love."  I have no idea what Jason Castro will do.  Syesha and Carly should have a bevy of choices to belt something out.  I could see Brooke having trouble choosing a song.

On a side note, apparently people were fussing over Mariah surpassing Elvis with the most #1 hits.  Of course it's over like 20 years but still an admirable accomplishment.
3919  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Need some help. on: April 13, 2008, 08:06:41 PM
How come it doesn't seem like the vote count goes up after it says your vote is counted?

Oh well, I'll keep trying to help, you are damn cute btw.  Hopefully we'll get to see you with your shirt off more lol nod  nod
3920  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / American Idol 2008 on: April 11, 2008, 06:19:44 PM
I only found a 2007 thread so I thought I'd start a new one here.  Not sure if any GTer's watch the show but we had a fairyl active OO thread going...

- - -

Last night's kickoff was a pretty big surprise.  Expressions on everyone's faces pretty much told the story.  I really thought Carly was going (and it looked like she did too).  Second week in a row where a contestant went from not being in the bottom 3 even once to being knocked out.  Ouch.  I think only David and David remain as never having shown up in the bottom 3, and are likely going to be the final 2 contestants.

As for Michael, I always liked him but I think he had an issue picking songs, so his time was always limited.  He's got a ton of talent, now he needs a good writer or producer to get him the right material to sing.
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