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3881  Gaming / Portable Gaming & Apps / Re: iPhone/iTouch app and game thread on: February 20, 2009, 09:40:22 PM
Cool!  I've been waiting for The Quest too, I think it was an old Windows Mobile or Palm game.  Looks a ton like the Might and Magic series.
3882  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Runes of Magic on: February 20, 2009, 07:09:45 PM

Quote from: StriderGG on February 20, 2009, 06:46:39 PM

I am getting a weird feeling while playing this game that I am playing a severily patched WoW from the future (or from an alternative reality). smile The game is similar enough to WOW to induce deja vu, but different enough to keep things fresh. Weird.

Yep, I think you are essentially playing a cannibilized AsioGermanicWoW.  The game was "developed by the Taiwanese developer Runewaker Entertainment and adapted for the English and German speaking market by German firm Frogster Interactive."  So international!!!

It certainly has some of the feel of many of the free Asian MMORPGs I've tried blended into the WoW-esque world.  But also incorporates some Diablo-esque features as well.  The dual class thing definitely reminds me of Final Fantasy.  I'm not sure what the German influence is smile
3883  Gaming / Portable Gaming & Apps / Re: iPhone/iTouch app and game thread on: February 20, 2009, 06:22:30 PM
Very excited about this release:

Rogue Touch finally brings Rogue to the iPhone, hooray!  Let the dungeon crawling commence (and I can finally erase that crappy Phat Lewt game).
3884  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: February 20, 2009, 06:19:55 PM

Quote from: Moliere on February 20, 2009, 06:11:01 PM

Quote from: rittchard on February 19, 2009, 06:51:59 PM

Best line of the night:

Jack: "what happens to the rest of the people on the plane?"
Ben: "who cares?!?"

That was good, but this one was better:

Jack: "How can you read?"
Ben: "My mother taught me."

Who was the other guy in First Class that told Jack "sorry about your friend dying"? I know he looks familiar.

Kate is a cold bitch. She treats Jack like shit, fucks him, getting him all happy only to give him the cold shoulder again.

That line was great, but what makes it even better, or creepier I guess (and I had to read this online to remember) is that his mom died giving birth to him (which I completely forgot).

Didn't know who that guy was either...

Kate is a ho!  Notice she always gets horny when she is sad or pissed off (see sawyer sex scenes for reference).
3885  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dawn of War 2: Reviews are trickling ou plus impressions. on: February 20, 2009, 06:15:55 PM

Quote from: Roguetad on February 20, 2009, 05:47:13 PM

With that said, I agree with Rittchard's thoughts.  I can't understand why pc developers seem to be making it harder to install their games.  It's silly.  I'm all for playing without the dvd in the drive, but not by turning the install process into 1-3 hour pc tinkering/troubleshooting exercise.  As pc gamers we already have to tinker and troubleshoot to optimize performance, having to spend hours on the install process just makes console gaming that much more appealing.    

Thanks for the support!  I felt a little bad about my rant, but it's nice to hear some similar feedback.  What happened to the good old days when we just had a code wheel lol?  I am certainly for games not requiring a CD/DVD in drive, that's been a pain in the ass for a long time, but this just seems incredibly egregious.  Particularly for a game that is not 100% multiplayer, apparently if you had no access to the internet, you wouldn't be able to play the game at all (single player), which is a shame. 

As for Steam, we'll see if I get used to it.  I was certainly not pleased that as soon as I turned the computer on this morning it was asking for my login. 

Oh well, hopefully I'll actually get to play the game some time tonight for some real impressions!
3886  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dawn of War 2: Reviews are trickling ou plus impressions. on: February 20, 2009, 04:22:41 AM
My impressions: PC gaming is about ready to kill itself if this is the future.  Steam is a steaming pile of crap that can suck my ballz.

Here's the story:  I get home eager to install and get playing.  Insert the disk and after an inordinate amount of waiting I get a screen saying Steam is going to install.  I'm like, uhhh why do I need Steam?  I just want to try the single player campaign really quick.  Whatever.  Steam finally finishes and then I'm asked to enter obscure code on back of manual.  Game finally installs after more waiting.  Finally I get a window asking me to Launch.  With yet another obscure code I guess I am supposed to write down for multiplayer.  Did I ever say I wanted to play multiplayer?  Thanks for asking, Steamcrap.  I hit Launch and... after waiting and waiting I get a message saying the game is not available.  Try again later.  What the flying F*&^*?!?!  So here I am trying it again and again and getting the same message.  This is complete bullshit.  I'm looking at my copy of Dragon Quest and thinking, screw this PC, I could have spent the last half hour actually PLAYING a console game.

I'm not sure whose brilliant idea it was to make game installation such an incredible chore, it's like they deliberately want to punish you and send you to your Xbox.  Not to mention requiring a bunch of bloatware crap (steam) I wasn't necessarily interested in.  So after 45 minutes have passed, I can't even see the opening cutscene of the game I just bought, and that's about all the gaming time I had tonight.  What an absolute joke.

Quick Edit: as I wrote this it finally updated and allowed to see the opening cutscene.  Pretty damn cool, points for that.

Then I'm getting ready to spend a few minutes in game, but... it won't let me do anything until I sign into Windows LIVE.  Grrrr.  After trying every email and password combo I can think of, it FINALLY lets me in.  Exactly as I run out of time lol.  There's something so wrong about this, playing a game should not be so difficult.
3887  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: February 20, 2009, 01:28:54 AM
Oh yeah, as a sidebar to my long-winded prior post, I'm curious what are the most important factors for you guys for ultra-portable and netbooks - is it more the form factor or weight?  If weight was held constant (and price/performance), would you prefer a larger screen and keyboard, or is the present netbook form factor one of its biggest assets? 
3888  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: February 20, 2009, 12:59:24 AM
So after some careful consideration, I decided to cancel my EEE 1000HE pre-order for the time being.  I'll probably be back on the netbook hunt once Win 7/Ion hits (and hopefully higher screen rez), as discussed above.  Next time I will for sure get at least 10" assuming that's still in the mix.

Instead, I decided on going for an Asus F6A-X2 (Best Buy only I believe) as part of my ongoing economy stimulus mission:

It's on clearance in store for just $594, which seems like a great deal to me.  Looks perhaps like a casualty of the previously mentioned changes in Asus.

While it's nothing that special feature for feature, it caught my eye at the store and particularly after doing some considerable research, I found it was almost in a class of its own when I considered everything (price, size/weight, processor, memory, graphics power, etc).  I'll have more details on it later, at some point I'd like to face off my army of Asus laptops against each other lol.  Somehow I've become a total Asus fanboy with now THREE Asus computers!

Anyway, it's actually quite interesting to look through the myraid of options we have these days starting from netbooks up to hardcore desktop replacement gaming laptops.  But I certainly did find some holes.  It's still very tough to get the relatively smaller, lighter weight machines with halfway decent gaming/graphics power.  There's like this sudden jump into the $1000-$2000+ range when you want power plus lightweight (which explains why the Macbook Air can maintain its price structure).  A laptop with power comparable to the MBA and lightweight (Sony and Lenovo compete here) are in the $2000-3000+ range.

So going back, you start at the sub-$400 to $500 range with 2.5-3.2 pound netbooks.  Then you hit the $500-700 range and you can get regular laptops, but generally these are 14-15" screens and above 5 pounds.  There's very little in the 11-12" range (3-4pounds), and what's available is either skimpy in graphics (X3100 maybe) and/or much pricier (everything in Newegg at 12" is above $1000).  So then you get to the 13" market, where things start to get very interesting.  A lot more tradeoffs to be made and lots of options available, but much of it in the $800 and up range, particularly when you want to start talking about better graphics.  Now honestly, if you are willing to spend in the $1000 range, one of your very best bets is the latest Macbook for $999 which gives you substantial graphics and processing power for a very decent price.  Throw your favorite version of Windows on it for dual boot and you are good to go.

So anyway, this led me to the F6A.  Graphics are mediocre (X4500), processor is OK (2GHz), but weight is good (4.3 pounds I think) and it comes with 4GB of RAM, 64-bit Vista, a decent hard drive (250GB) and DVD drive.  For $600 (or 50% more than the 1000HE, or 1/4 the price of the MBA), I think it's a very nice deal, and as mentioned I couldn't find something comparable for a competitive price.  Sure I'd like Centrino 2 and 9300M graphics, but not for double the price.  I liked the overall form factor (except for the ugly battery sticking out the back) and am hoping performance will be decent.

Sorry for the long winded post, just thought it was an interesting exercise considering so many factors in the portable to ultraportable world.  Seems like things are ever so slowly heading toward a convergence.  I would love to see a dual core Intel netbook, maybe 10-11" (12 OK if weight is held low), 3 pounds or less, 1280x800 resolution, with at least Ion graphics, in the $500 range, maybe $600 with more RAM, etc.
3889  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: February 20, 2009, 12:19:02 AM
Jeff, again I think this is a problem with this year's new (horrible) format.  With a field of 24, I'm guessing guys like that doofy funny guy (Neil?) and the lip ring whiner would never have made it.  However, under the radar (but good quality) singers who might not have stood out with a sob story (like your Braddy guy who I also enjoyed), would very likely have had *at least* a second and third chance to develop and show growth, whether it be in vocals or image.  As I mentioned earlier, I could very well see David Cook not making it past a round like this based on his relative low profile and "word nerd" image at last season's outset.  Same goes for Jordin Sparks, I don't think she really started to catch her audience until the middle of the competition. 

That said, it's still plausible with the wild card thing I keep complaining about that we will get to hear some of these guys one more time.
3890  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dawn of War 2: Reviews are trickling out on: February 20, 2009, 12:11:21 AM

Quote from: hepcat on February 19, 2009, 02:34:41 PM

My impressions after one hour of game time last night are generally favorable.  The SP portion feels more like Diablo than it does an RTS to me.   I love the customization of the characters, the leveling up via xp and the unlocks you can get from putting points into their version of stats.

Damn you GT-Effect!!!  This statement alone made me rush out to buy the game, which I originally had not planned on.
3891  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: February 19, 2009, 09:52:11 PM
It's interesting that they are not being at all forward about their wild card plans.  This is not Survivor, they do not need "twists" in the rules to make it interesting.  Ryan's goodbye comments were mostly vague last night, I assume intentionally, but I thought when he said goodbye to Tatiana it was a more traditional, end-of-the-road type of comment.  I don't remember exactly now.  From that article reference, are we to infer the judges will choose 12 of the remaining 27 for another audience vote?  If that's the case, why not make it known so people won't be upset that their favorite has no more chance?
3892  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Runes of Magic on: February 19, 2009, 07:05:55 PM
If you guys are on the PvP server (forgot the name again, sorry) and want to form up a guild some time, let me know.  Need 100k gold and 4 other members I believe.  I have about half the cash or close to that right now.
3893  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: February 19, 2009, 06:51:59 PM
Loved loved loved last night's ep!

Best line of the night:

Jack: "what happens to the rest of the people on the plane?"

Ben: "who cares?!?"

I don't even know where to start.  Though I knew they were going to move things along to get people back to the island, this was far faster than I thought they'd go.  Clearly they've left a lot of dangling threads, as to how Hugo, Sayid, Ben, etc all end up on the plane, but these can be tied up pretty easily in an ep or 2.  I'm just glad we are back on the island.  I love the concept of the island *always* in motion in space/time, never occured to me but it certainly makes sense - if anything makes sense in the Lostverse.  Still don't know how they will tie the mystical stuff to the scientific, should be very a good ride.
3894  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: February 19, 2009, 06:36:47 PM

Quote from: PaulBot on February 19, 2009, 06:00:31 PM

Quote from: Jimmy the Fish on February 19, 2009, 06:36:27 AM

As for the final three, no surprise that Gokey and Alexis Grace move on. A little surprising that the oil rig guy made it. Not a great performance, but the nice guy factor apparently carried him through.

Agree. I was predicting Danny, Alexis & Anoop-Dog, but Mr. Oil Rigger doesn't surprise me. I think he got a lot of sympathy votes. At least he isn't annoying.

Tatiyana is GONE! WOOHOO!

Don't be too sure, they have yet to explain the "Wild Card" rules.  I agree this new format gives the producers a much better way to control and manipulate who makes Final 12.  Looking at week 1, if we believe Ryan's results, either Oil Rigger or Anoop would have made it.  Both have fairly distinctive fanbases, so the producers win either way.  The 3 who made it were all featured in the opening weeks, and all had some form of sob/family story.  Coincidence?

Even though I was happy Oil Rigger made it, I still think this format is Teh Suck.  It feels much harsher than normal, and they seem to deliberately be hiding the new ruleset.  Are we supposed to care about the others who got cut or not?  Is there any hope for a return?  What exactly is the Wild Card round?  Is it the judges just picking 3 people, or picking 12 for one more competition?  Or is it based on number of overall votes? 
3895  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: February 19, 2009, 12:33:05 AM

Quote from: PaulBot on February 19, 2009, 12:21:14 AM

Another thing about the way they're doing it: what if the other groups have 4-5 super good people, and after seeing them you decide you wouldn't vote for anybody from the first group?

Maybe the contestants have been grouped in a certain way for a specific reason that we'll never be enlightened to. Oh well, I should quit trying so hard to analyze everything and just enjoy the hot women.  icon_wink

Some good people are going to be cut based on their one bad (or mediocre) performance last night, and that's too bad.

Agreed and agreed.  Except of course I'm enjoying the hot guys slywink

As to point 1, this is still essentially the same as splitting between guys and girls; you could very well have not wanted to vote for any of the girls last season, for example.

I guess I'm also confused why they bothered with letting 36 people through, only to give us virtually no time to experience more than half of them.  I didn't remember seeing about half of last night's folks in Hollywood, and it won't matter because they'll be gone after tonight.  Then next week it will be a completely different set, and then another.  Breaking the continuity in any reality show seems like a mistake to me.  While I'm glad they are trying to mix up the format somewhat, I think they've done themselves and the contestants something of a disservice by toying with a formula that was working well.
3896  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: February 18, 2009, 10:13:40 PM

Quote from: Jimmy the Fish on February 18, 2009, 09:21:54 PM

I would like to see Danny Gokey and Alexis Grace make it to the next round. The third...gah. Who knows.

Agreed on this.  I wouldn't mind seeing the oil rig beefy guy make it, but I thought he was just OK.  I'd say Gokey is the early on favorite to win it all, unless he peaks too early like David A last year.  He's like a better looking David Cook with as good a voice and a better story (lost his wife).  Still it was annoying to see the judges fawn over him and it seemed decidedly unfair.  Maybe this will backfire.

I'm actually very disappointed in this new format, and I think ultimately it's a mistake.  It puts way too much pressure on the contestants at the getgo and doesn't allow for any growth.  It favors the people who got the most opening/Hollywood coverage (familiarity), as well as the older, more experienced contestants.  As Simon said, they basically are ONLY getting this one chance (as opposed to prior seasons where you might get away with a slow start or one bad night early on).  My guess is with this kind of system, David Cook and Jordin Sparks could both have been eliminated in their first weeks when neither was a particular standout.  This new format also makes you less involved with the singers, as apparently you just won't see batches of them for multiple weeks, and this certainly lessens the feel that you are watching some of them grow and develop.

I felt particularly bad for Stevie Wright, who I thought had a ton of potential, but just was way too nervous for night 1 and is pretty much done.  Don't know what they have planned for the wild card round, but maybe they can save a couple of good folk with that.
3897  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Runes of Magic on: February 18, 2009, 09:57:16 PM

Quote from: StriderGG on February 18, 2009, 03:05:46 PM

I am not very impressed with Dual classing system. IMO it was implemented much better in Final Fantazy Online. Here, you are limited to two classes (if you select Mage/Scout, you can only switch between these two, you can't drop Scout and take Rogue) and you have to grind them out separately, so if you want to have a maxxed out char, your level grind is effectively doubled. Not necessarily a bad thing if you like the leveling process though (and if you don't why would you play a game like this anyway? smile). It could have been an altoholic heaven if they allowed to switch your classes at any time - play Mage/Scout one day, switch to Warrior/Knight the next, all on one char, no "I screwed up my char, I need to re-roll" ever. For a game that is trying to be casual, it's strange they don't have this. As it is, if you don't like your Mage/Scout by lvl 20/20 (remember double grind?), you will have to re-roll.

Have to disagree with you on this.  I wouldn't mind having the option of changing secondary classes, but I do think it's good to maintain a ruleset for dual classing.  Just for gear alone it would be impractical to maintain 6 (actually more since you are advocating allowing all 30 combos to be possible on a single character) sets of gear on the same character so that you could change on a whim.  I'm actually having trouble maintaining my inventory for just the 2 classes.  If I want to play something entirely different from my main character, I would rather just reroll a new toon.  The levelling process is friendly enough as is (particularly with all the bag gifts), so I don't see this as a problem. 

It's hard to say right now without getting deeper in levels (and seeing later skills), but thus far I think the dual class system is fun and allows for enough creativity as is, particularly since you get to choose which skills to invest in.  I'm liking this system better than WoW's or WAR's.  It feels like I have more control over character development in a Diablo-like way, and like Diablo, that my choices are significant (thus no easy respec trivializing them).  I kind of go back and forth on just how casual I like my games.  I think in general I prefer a fast/easy level system with harder respec over a grindy level system with easy respec, but that's purely personal preference.

- - -

Daehawk, sorry I am still too newb to comment on PvP specs.  I imagine Priest as a secondary will benefit any class, if only for the regen and bubble spells.  I'd imagine that these 2 alone would be beneficial in PvP since both are instas. 
3898  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Drakensang english demo (win a copy!) on: February 18, 2009, 07:24:13 PM
I'm a little ambivalent after playing the demo.  I loved the graphics and atmosphere, this is one of the best looking engines I've seen in a while.  I had some weird stutter problem at first but I updated my sound and mouse driver and it appears OK now.  Compared to the screenies I've seen of Dragon Age, this looks just as good if not better so far.

The game/demo itself, though, felt very slow, for lack of a better word.  I didn't feel like I was engaged into an engrossing story, and then when I decided I should get my feet wet with some combat, I had to walk quite a ways (to the aforementioned cave) before I could find some action.  Unlike CK, my chick seemed to autoattack just fine.  I didn't adjust her stance or whatever at all, though I think you can change them to aggressive or whatever.  The wizard was killing everything as mentioned.  The pausable action was reminiscent of NWN2 and I'm guessing DA will be similar.  Somehow it felt a bit lackluster, though this could just be because it was so early in the game.

Maybe it's due to drooling over the preview of Dragon Age in the latest PC Gamer, but my first impression was just OK.  As mentioned, I thought the engine looked excellent, but I was hoping to be drawn in more intensely.  Damn that Bioware!!!
3899  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season 3 (spoilers for our less fortunate European friends) on: February 17, 2009, 09:44:54 PM
Last night seemed like a bit of a setback to me.  After firmly establishing the more "gritty" fugitives with less powers and "on the run," suddenly Hiro and Ando are magically in India?!?  WTF?  No explanation is given and presumable fugitives on the run from the govt should not have easy access to flights out of the country.  I suppose we could imagine Peter flew them both there with Ando powering him up, but this again ruins the premise of our heroes being in dire straits and on the run.  They might as well have just teleported.  As for that plotline, I'm not sure if it served any purpose that couldn't have been accomplished in a different scenario, i.e. what was special about India?   Maybe the chacter will be important later, have some relation to Mohinder or perhaps be a love interest?  Otherwise it was just filler.

Ali Larter looked hot in what I'll call the stripper prison (love the red neon lights, you go girl!).  But her motivation and plotline was skewed.  I thought she was trying to help Nathan by scaring Moira Kelley, but the next scene seems to show her development as a badass revenge chick?  No idea what to make of her.  At least she's hot so whatever.

I'm a little mixed on the Sylar+protege.  I do like Microwave Boy and I'm glad he's back for more.  My guess is he's Sylar's half brother, but who knows.

Claire's plotline was a bit annoying, and at times laughable (scene in comic book store was very Scooby Doo).  Not sure where they are going with her or Aquaboy (who's even more useless than she is!) but hopefully the reveal of the Rebel will be some sort of payoff.

Next week looks better.  Any time I see Matt do the head tilt I am happy.
3900  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 24: Season 7 (spoiler tags are certain!) on: February 17, 2009, 09:36:27 PM
I really enjoyed last night's episode!  Pretty much all around fun with Chloe insulting the FBI dude, plus the spoiler return mentioned above, and finally the reveal of the mole.  No big surprise but I just wanted to hurry up and get it out there so the mole can go up against Chloe.
3901  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Drakensang english demo (win a copy!) on: February 17, 2009, 09:33:43 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on February 17, 2009, 07:03:28 PM

Quote from: rittchard on February 17, 2009, 06:17:33 PM

That contest link keeps sending me to the main news page, so I'm not sure what we were supposed to do...

Either way this game looks good to me.  I still haven't tried the demo yet though it's waiting on my hard drive smile

Link fixed. smile

Thanks!  I thought I was going bonkers!!   thumbsup
3902  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Runes of Magic on: February 17, 2009, 06:25:02 PM

Quote from: morlac on February 17, 2009, 01:53:52 PM

I have it downloaded but just picked up LOTRO for $6 and am playing with that atm.  However, I might need to install and give it a whirl while folks here are interested.  Can anyone comment on how grouping vs. solo play is?  Is there a 'need' for grouping in the dungeons etc.  I would imagine with the dual calssing that you come up with some kick ass, well diversified duo or trio groups.

Thus far I've had to group for exactly 2 quest finales.  One of them I'm pretty sure I could have done on my own with another level or 2.  The second one, harder to say.  You have to launch yourself past a ton of mobs to get to the boss, so if you can take down the boss quick it might be soloable.

It's very solo friendly.  Actually thus far I think friendly is the best way to describe the game.  It's easy to just pop in for half an hour to an hour and feel like you've accomplished something, even if it's just beating down some annoying beetles.  There's even a feature to auto-move you to a quest NPC if you happen to be unable to remember where they were (right click on their blue name in the quest log).

It's funny that soulbringer calls it a "keeper" - at a monthly cost of $0 it's definitely that!!!  Almost makes me feel guilty for enjoying it so much icon_razz
3903  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Drakensang english demo (win a copy!) on: February 17, 2009, 06:17:33 PM
That contest link keeps sending me to the main news page, so I'm not sure what we were supposed to do...

Either way this game looks good to me.  I still haven't tried the demo yet though it's waiting on my hard drive smile
3904  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (2/16) on: February 17, 2009, 06:11:43 PM
DQ5, maybe Fire Emblem.  Street Fighter 4 is a maybe for me, I was a huge fan of the original but frankly the game footage I saw looked completely unimpressive.  Well that's not quite accurate, it just looked like slightly prettier graphics (and only slightly) than what I remember from the past.  Even the herky jerkiness seemed like it was artificially added in to make it more like the original.  So what's special about SF4?
3905  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Runes of Magic on: February 17, 2009, 01:44:40 AM
Here are my compiled impressions off Wanderers forum.  I am playing on the US PvP Server, not sure what the name is but there is only one:

First off, the download is about 3GB or more, a variety of sources are available. This is no big deal, but unfortunately after the install it goes through another 20 or so downloads of various sizes. It can be kind of annoying because occasionally you need to be around to hit OK or choose English or something. So overall install process was fairly long. You can get your acct and everything set up in the mean time, and browse the forums for starter tips.

Once started, you have a choice of 4 servers in the US, 3 are PvE and 1 is PvP. I started on the PvP one just for kicks, though I have seen a ton of messages bitching about the ruleset. It appears PvP doesn't actually begin until level 15 so I haven't had any experience with it yet. I don't know much about it except that there are reputation based points, etc to deter PKers (I think).

Anyway, on to startup. I have to say this is hands down the best looking and most polished, free to play MMORPG I have tried. And I have tried a ton of them. I'd say Wizard101 is a close second, but this one gets you progressing in the game even faster and friendlier. Graphics are very WoW like, but there's definitely an Asian MMORPG influence and feel in addition to it. Maybe it's the characters or the spell animations, I'm not sure. Initial gameplay is very WoW-esque: quests, kill some mobs, return, etc. The whole starter town is essentially an extended beginner's guide, including for crafting (which is also similar to WoW, maybe even more streamlined). The nicest touch in the game, though, is the way they keep giving you things. Who doesn't like presents? Every level they give you a bag which you can open and out pops some usable piece of gear. A couple of quests also reward you with a bag that contains something nice. Unlike many other games, initial drops are not just vendor fodder. There are halfway decent items, recipes and runes which you can use to upgrade your items.

Again, while there's nothing particularly new or innovative in terms of gameplay (particularly mobs and quest grinding), what does feel fresh is the developers' apparent desire to reward you and give you things early and often. Most free games are not like this. You can rent horses from the getgo, and you even have a free 24 hour rental to start with. You get access to your player house right around level 5, which seems unheard of in most games (forgot when EQ2 gave it to you). There is hearth recall, and I think a selectable recall system, so hopefully travel will be fairly friendly throughout. There's a bunch of different crafting choices from the getgo too. Just all and all what looks like a focused effort to get you in the game. And thus far I've only seen 1 time when real money (you buy diamonds for real cash) came into the picture (for a minor weapon upgrade).

In any case, I'll see how things develop. I can imagine the game getting boring and grindy once levels and rewards start to taper off. But it's also possible the dungeons or PvP content may be fun. For what really seems to be a 100% free game, it's hard to complain too much. Most of the other free to plays I've tried almost immediately you can see how they are directing you to pay real cash for improved gameplay. As mentioned, this game does not seem to have that mentality.

- The dual class system definitely is a great touch to the game. It is reminiscent of a couple of the older Final Fantasy games where you could change "jobs." In this case you can only have an active Primary class along with a secondary, which you can switch between by talking to a particular NPC. There are class specific skills which you can only access as the primary, but the remaining skills you can always access, provided you are the correct level. For instance, after changing to Knight/Priest, at levels 6/10, I can access all my knight skills up to level 6, and then the basic priest skills up to level 6. This makes for some interesting combos and clearly adds to the replayability and experimentation value for classes and builds.

- To further refine this class build system, you earn another batch of points (TPs) which are used to upgrade particular skills. You can only use the TPs you've earned while playing a particular primary class for that class, and can only upgrade that classes' skills. Without having played enough, it's hard to tell if you need to save points (a la Diablo 2) or not. As a Priest, I only maxxed out a HoT, nuke and a DoT. I barely used the main heals so I didn't upgrade them. I suspect in group situations they will become more necessary so I saved up some points for the future.

- Lots of little touches are nice. Sometimes when you kill a mob a glowing icon will remain, kind of like an FPS. These will give you temp boosts to HP, defense, etc. The interface is highly customizable as we've come to take for granted, with hotkeys available for everything. There's an AH and even a lottery system you can buy tickets for.

- I don't really know what's in store for the late/end game, but as it stands, this looks like an incredibly solid, friendly PvE game for casual gamers. In many ways it's even more friendly than WoW at the getgo, and that's saying a lot. Particularly when you factor in the game is 100% free.


- I have now levelled up to a 12/12 Priest/Warrior.  Not sure how many hours it's been but I've had a great time, and it hasn't felt like a grind.  I've taken time to do some gathering and crafting, and as yet I haven't seen any need to spend a penny of real money.  I am considering buying a perma-horse, but in all honesty I haven't even been using a horse for most of my play.

- The teleport system is generous and friendly.  There is a standard hearth system on a 1 hour timer.  On the same 1 hour timer you eventually get a couple of city teleports.  That's just for starters.  There are also items that allow you to port back to your house from anywhere.  Once you are done at your house, you are ported back from where you originated the port.  This essentially allows you to jump home and completely switch your classes and gear, and then jump right back to the adventure!  But wait, there's more!  Similar to Might and Magic (and was it Daggerfall), you can also set Recall locations and then port back to those specific locations.  These require some items which I'm not exactly sure where you can get as I was given a bunch for free.  Maybe these are buyables for real cash.

- Unlike WoW/WAR, the game makes much more consistent use out of its zones.  I've played almost entirely in the same zone, for better or worse, and have gone back to different dungeons and locations numerous times.  While this may sound annoying to some people, I kind of like the feel that I'm familiar with an area, and not just rushing through some breadcrumb system from one place to another, never seeing that zone again.  It's sad that in WAR, you can tell a lot of effort went to designing certain locations, but my guess is many players never even see those areas, and those that do, spend roughly an hour or less there, complete the quest and never see it again.  In RoM, you can easily spend a very good portion of time in the starter village/town.  It kind of reminds me of some console RPGs where you are rewarded by re-visiting previous areas.

- There are "daily quests" on the bulletin board, of which you are limited to completing a certain number of per day (surprise).  These are typical grind quests (kill/get X) but are a nice supplemental to main quests.

- A couple of the chain quests are pretty fun.  One issue I noticed is that it's not always clear when you'll need a group to complete a tough stage of the quest.  Not a big deal, but something to be aware of.

- I still have yet to see the impact of playing on a PvP server.  Aside from the usual asshats, there is also a pretty decent amount of helpful folk enjoying the game.  I guess once I hit 15 the PvP aspects will start to kick in.

- Again, it's hard for me to compare this game properly to games like WAR/WoW when it is 100% free to play.  It's not that I can't afford the monthly fee games, but I love that these other developers are challenging the rigid dynamic.  I really hope they do well.  The games we pay for, clearly try to use old school mechanisms (content lockouts, gear restrictions, etc) to force you to play longer.  Those dynamics are falling to the wayside now, as this is the type of game they clearly just want you to have fun, and only spend your cash to make your experience even more fun.
3906  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Drakensang english demo (win a copy!) on: February 13, 2009, 01:00:02 AM
This is coming out next week??  Any word on how it compares to say NWN2 or Dragon Age?  Was the demo worth playing?

I watched the gameplay video footage, looked gorgeous. 
3907  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The PSP2 and the Return of Sony on: February 13, 2009, 12:45:45 AM

Quote from: warning on February 12, 2009, 10:58:22 PM

So what do you think the PSP2 should be?  Lean and game-focused or a convergence device ("an iPhone with buttons")?

Definitely the former - primary focus on best portable gaming experience possible.  Dump that horribly slow drive for starters, maybe use flash and/or an internal SSD.  Have the best (high end) screen, graphics and control scheme without sacrificing battery time.  Games should look and feel as good as they do on Xbox 360 or PS3.  If they can have the best portable hardware they wouldn't necessarily require exclusives; a game would be exclusive by virtue that it was too advanced to play on the DS.

Trying to be a convergence device and out-iPhoning Apple?  I honestly think they are way too far behind at this point.  My guess is Apple is already holding back features (like better camera, video conferencing, etc) in order to keep having new hardware each year and pretty much covers all the other features mentioned already.  And as far as development, I read the other day an 8 year old was able to create a drawing App for the iPhone.  Somehow I don't see Sony making hardware that's that easy to develop for.
3908  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer - Is the player base leaving on: February 12, 2009, 11:47:31 PM

Quote from: StriderGG on February 12, 2009, 09:37:44 PM

Oh maybe I am just in a bad mood today. smile

Maybe if I "dominated" you with a new mount, you'd enjoy these changes more.   drillsergeant
3909  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: February 12, 2009, 10:04:24 PM

Quote from: TiLT on February 12, 2009, 09:57:17 PM

Quote from: Creepy_Smell on February 12, 2009, 07:52:21 PM

The first guy into the temple made me think of Mustafa in Austin Powers. Seemed quite calm considering what happened after his team tried to give him a hand.

Otherwise I liked it.

What makes you so certain that was actually him? I vote he was either possessed by the smoke monster already, or he was dead and the monster manifested as him (an ability that has been documented earlier). If we assume that Danielle was correct and her people actually got "sick", it might mean that they were all possessed or manifestations eventually.

Given that she was still pregnant in the second flashback, it would appear all of this happened very quickly/soon after the initial event occured.  Were the 2 bodies that Jin saw 2 more of her crew (that she presumably shot)?
3910  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: February 12, 2009, 07:06:22 PM
Pretty cool episode!

Spoiler for Hiden:
Loved the way Sawyer was stuck holding the rope morphed into the ground after the time shift.

Sad to see the redhead die rather unceremoniously.  I kept thinking her plotline wasn't resolved yet, but I guess that was about it.  Aside from maybe seeing Daniel talk to her as a child.

I was a little confused about the second timeshift with Danielle.  She was still preggers but it seemed like a lot more time had supposedly past.  Maybe she just went nuts immediately after Jin vanished?

Yay!  Desmond's already in LA lol!  That sure didn't take long.  How much of the 70 hours is left?
3911  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Dragon Age is looking good! on: February 12, 2009, 06:58:29 PM
Just read some of the PC Gamer article in this month's issue.   Game sounds so good it makes me want to cry.  Really sounds like they've taken some essence of "Song of Ice and Fire" and pushed it into the game, at least for the origins stories. 

I hate game delays.
3912  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: February 12, 2009, 06:55:50 PM

Quote from: lildrgn on February 11, 2009, 08:18:11 PM

Whiny lip stud/headband boy NEEDS A PUNCH IN THE THROAT.


If either one of them make the top 36... I"m out.

HOLY CRAP they both made it?!??!  Along with the ridiculous "funny" guy?  I guess with 36 people they felt the need (or room) for some stunt casting.  Vote for the Worst is going to have a tough time choosing, though I'm sure the producers love having some polarizing cast members.  Kind of annoying all in all as this means some other folks' serious dreams get shattered in the process.  I felt worst for the second half of the best friend duo, I thought he deserved it all the way.  Certainly more than that other guy who completely forgot his lyrics and slammed his keyboard and walked out.  How the f did he make it in?

Anyway, there's still at least 10 really strong singers, hopefully the best talent can stay in and the riffraff quickly gets filtered out.
3913  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer - Is the player base leaving on: February 11, 2009, 10:54:11 PM
FYI, a small group of the Ostermark Wanderers has formed up a Destruction guild on Dark Crag, an Open RvR server.  Everyone is welcome to jump in if interested, though obviously this is considered our secondary guild.

Guild name is Wand Durr Wurz, so a "/who wand" will still find members for an invite.

Thus far this server seems to have the advantage (or disadvantage) of being highly populated so there will likely be a q to get in.  The good news is once you are in scenarios and oRvR seem to be much more prevalent and consistently available.

As for gankage, yes you will likely be ganked.  With the T+1 chicken rule, up to R21 can roam the T1 area so don't be shocked to see some higher levels around. 

Anyway, between the different server rules, the higher population, re-starting in T1, and different faction/races/classes, it's a nice change of pace to make the game feel fresh again.
3914  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: February 11, 2009, 07:17:15 PM
Bumping this up - almost time for the Top 36 (I think) cast!

Thus far I haven't been terribly impressed with anyone, and haven't found too many very memorable.  I really like that big oil rig hunky guy but usually the ones I like get kicked out.  Those 2 best friend dudes I'd say are sure things, possibly both early favorites for the top.  Also the one guy who got a standing ovation from the judges (gee was it a big surprise he made it through this round).  I like that Stevie chick too.  The blind guy will likely make it though I thought he was only OK.  Other than that I can't remember many of the people I liked, particularly the girls seemed weaker again this year.

The ones who have to go:  Tatyana, the guy who thinks he's funny, the whiny lip ring dude

3915  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Amaozon Kindle on: February 11, 2009, 07:08:28 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on February 11, 2009, 03:19:34 AM

But look at it from the perspective of where the iPod started- In the first 26 months of the iPod's life it sold 2 million.  Kindle doing 540k in 14 months doesn't sound nearly so bad compared to that.  Plus, the Kindle has been waitlisted almost since it hit the market so, similar to the Wii, we really don't know what total market demand was since they were supply limited the entire time. 

Good point there, I heard about it always being out of stock.  Then my question would be do you think they are incapable of supporting the demand from a hardware perspective, or are they doing the console game shuffle, deliberately limiting supply to increase demand?  Also do you think at the $359 price point they are selling at a loss like the console guys did or already making profit? 

Either way I'd still like to see this device at a much much lower price point ($99 would be a no-brainer and $199 would be much more acceptable) or in package deals with some books included. 
3916  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Amaozon Kindle on: February 10, 2009, 11:14:50 PM

Quote from: gellar on February 09, 2009, 11:41:48 PM

I love my iPhone, but you could not pay me enough money to read a full book on it.  My eyes mean more to me than that.


Obviously this is an "eye of the beholder" type of thing, depending on usage as well.  I rarely read for more than an hour at a time anyway.  On the iPhone, I've surfed maybe max half an hour at a time, and read for maybe 10-15minutes at a time.  To me the screen looks gorgeous, and particularly when reading from the Classics app, the quality seems as good as a nice hardback, and better than most cheap paperbacks.  I will take peoples' word for it that the Kindle is more suited for longer term reading.

- - -

That said, I have to wonder what Amazon's longer term game plan is.  Are they looking to become a hardware company?  I read they sold about 500k units of the first version, which really surprised me (how low the number was).  In contrast the iPhone/Touch user base is now estimated at 25 to 30 MILLION.  To me it would make more sense to develop an App that accesses their library and go back to selling the books, not the hardware.  With 50 times the potential userbase, they could stand to sell a LOT of e-books.  Ultimately the $359 price point is still a hard sell if you ask me.  For that amount you can buy a very nice netbook.  For $130 less you can have an 8GB Touch.  Granted neither will allow you to do exactly the same thing (focus on reading) but both are much more versatile and powerful products, ultimately making the Kindle feel substantially more "niche" than mainstream.

On a side note, I saw an old Steve Jobs quote saying something like only 40% of avg Americans read more than one book a YEAR?  Is that true?  Where did this stat come from?  I find that pretty hard to believe but who knows.
3917  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season 3 (spoilers for our less fortunate European friends) on: February 10, 2009, 09:25:52 PM
I definitely enjoyed last night's episode much more than the last batch and even the premiere.  It looks like they really took some of the fans' criticisms to heart, and interestingly it's almost like they specifically addressed issues I had of characters being over-powered.  I had also made a comment to a friend when I read about the Fugitives plotline "how do you have them running away from the govt when you have someone who can just literally run away from everything so fast or just time travel or stop time?" - looks like that has been addressed for the moment as well.  I like that Peter actually seemed a bit more like a hero again, and the actor seemed to have regained some personality as well.  The power limitation, while seemingly arbitrarily added, really helps to keep things grounded.  Now the villains (both Sylar and the govt) can actually offer a viable threat to the heroes without them acting like idiots first.  I wish Ali Larter had stayed with the boys, but it should be fun to see at least 5 of the core cast together for a bit.

Claire still needs work.  All she does is whine and pout and then try to act tough.  She needs an additional ability, or some sort of external influence (claws, a gun, combat training) to become more of an offensive force.  Otherwise her indestructability is just stupid; how many times can you throw yourself out a window as an attack?  Any ideas on who is contacting her?  Grandma? (boring)  Flying boyfriend?  (also boring)  Wireless chick frm Season 1? (less boring)  Myca?  (possible)

Sylar and his new boytoy/fanboy look like an interesting diversion.  I'm guessing they are maybe half-brothers, or is that too obvious?  Will be interesting to see where they take it next.  Sylar's acting has gone over the top, but whatever.  I like the boy they added, hope he doesn't die too fast.
3918  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Amaozon Kindle on: February 09, 2009, 11:39:59 PM

Quote from: Isgrimnur on February 09, 2009, 11:12:08 PM

Watch where you spread thoughts like that, rittchard, it might get you into trouble...   icon_wink

eek!!!!  sorry to offend anyone lol.   All I can say is I've seen and held the Kindle, and seen and used the iPhone extensively.  Anyone who knows me knows I am an absolute gadget whore and will buy/try just about any of the latest tech.  But the Kindle physically felt to me like a really cheap piece of hardware and the screen/text just didn't do it for me, I just couldn't convince myself to buy it after trying it out.  Contrast that with the complete surprise I felt while reading The Metamorphosis on the iPhone, I was stunned by the quality and I love the page-turning animation.  I never thought I'd want to read a book on a portable device, but now I find myself reading the iPhone quite often (cough bathroom cough).
3919  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [Chick Flicks] He's Just Not That Into You on: February 09, 2009, 11:31:01 PM
So as possibly the only male to have seen this movie over the weekend  icon_cool  I have to say it was overall an enjoyable chick flick.  Actually it's like 4 chick flicks smushed into one giant chick flick, so buyer beware!  Unfortunately this leaves some plots given less attention, but that's always the problem with an ensemble.

The standout performance is Ginnifer Goodwin.  If you've watched Big Love, you'll already be familiar with her and probably love her as much as I do.  She's just that adorable.  Here she's given the anchor role searching for true love and constantly getting beat down.  But in spite of the situation she always carries hope and the actress uses her beaming smile to capture your heart.  If the amount of "ahhhhs" in the audience counts during one of the films' "money lines", she could very well be America's next RomCom queen. 

Not so good, but probably the reason the movie did so well, is Jennifer Aniston.  She comes across yet again like Rachel, or maybe her character from The Breakup (nice nod at the audience in the script), and really just doesn't get much to do.  It's kind of a blah role but I always enjoy seeing her and it almost seems like the audience roots for her more for her sad real life lack of romance than anything in the movie. 

Then there's Jennifer Connelly.  I swear she played *the exact same role* (picture perfect wife that gets cheated on by gorgeous hunky husband) in Little Children, except more neurotic this time.  No idea why she'd want to re-enact the same basic role, it was all in all kind of misplaced if you ask me.  Scarlett Johansson does a bit better as the yoga instructor seductress going after her husband while simultaneously leading on her puppy dog boytoy (Kevin Connelly).  Last but not least is Drew Barrymore, who was very good in her few scenes.  Definitely wasted in the movie overall though.

For the guys, we have Bradley Cooper as the gorgeous cheating husband.  He does a decent job in kind of a thankless role, but he's so hot we forgive him.  Ben Affleck could have been replaced by a robot, possibly one his most stale roles ever as the "perfect" boyfriend with a catch - he doesn't believe in marriage.  And then we have Justin Long (yeah the Mac guy) in what ends up being the male lead.  He doles out all the smarmy "he's not into you" advice, so of course you know he's going to fall for someone in the cast eventually, no surprise.  He does an OK job in the initial portion, but jsadly ust isn't leading man type of material. 

The movie was a bit overly long, but had ample payoffs in not one but two (or three) super sacchirine final moments and plenty of decent laughs and cringe-worthy scenes along the way.  Personally I would have cut about 20 minutes, eliminated a plot line or two (particularly the cheating husband and Jennifer Connelly), moved Bradley Cooper to the male lead, and wrote in more for Drew Barrymore to do.

All in all it's a decent chick flick, though I do feel sorry for those of you straight dudes who have to take your wives/girlfriends to it for Valentine's Day lol.
3920  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season 3 (spoilers for our less fortunate European friends) on: February 09, 2009, 11:07:55 PM
Response in spoiler for added confusion  retard

Spoiler for Hiden:

I think maybe it was supposed to be a wink to the dad-trap you mentioned.  Maybe the fact that Pete makes it through the hug, but gets zapped right after was supposed to be funny or suspensefull, but failed?  I agree it could just be sloppy writing, though.

Also, I guess Pete could have been trying to take Nathan's power so he could escape, but that's definitely reaching on my part.

He already could fly at the end of last season - unless you are going with the theory he can only hold/handle one power at a time now, and for some reason had a different current ability.

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