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161  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: iPad 3/HD on: March 07, 2012, 08:31:32 PM

Quote from: Crusis on March 07, 2012, 07:21:04 PM

I wonder how much of a cluster this launch is going to be. I remember last year's nightmare of stores getting 5 iPad 2's and having 50 people waiting in line for them. Why can't they just get Amazon a few million of these babies. They have the most organized ordering system around especially if you have prime.

Wasn't the iPad2 launch partly messed up by the Japanese Tsunami situation messing with shipments coming in from the Pacific Rim?  That's my remembrance anyway.  I realize that iPad's come from China, not Japan, but I still recall general shipping issues.  
162  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: let's talk tablets on: March 07, 2012, 02:22:31 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on March 07, 2012, 02:04:59 PM

Would anyone slap me if I started an iPad 3/HD thread, given today's upcoming event? So we can keep this thread more generally tablet-y in nature.

Another more weird rumor about possibly haptic-touch:
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/03/07/apples_third_gen_ipad_rumored_to_feature_never_before_seen_touch_technology.html
*Yes, of course, the mind quickly runs into the gutter about "creative" ways to use that.   drool icon_lol

Hmm, well the original announcement was "We have something you really have to see.  And touch."  However, unless they can do it pretty cheap, it just doesn't seem worthwhile.  They need to keep their prices low to box out the Android tablets.
163  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic (dev posts, news items, fan sites etc.) on: March 05, 2012, 12:17:13 PM
Schedule for today's Guild Summit livestreaming and recorded videos to be provided.

    10:00AM CST (4PM GMT) – Welcome and Introductions
    10:30AM CST (4:30PM GMT) – State of the Game and Game Update 1.2 Presentation
    Break (Livestream offline from 11:00am to 2:00pm)
    2:00PM CST (8:00PM GMT) – Operations and Flashpoints Discussion
    2:45PM CST (8:45PM GMT) – Player vs. Player Discussion
    3:30PM CST (9:30PM GMT) – Legacy Presentation
    4:00PM CST (10:00PM GMT) – Economy and Crew Skills Discussion
    4:30PM CST (10:30PM GMT) – Roleplayer's Discussion
    5:00PM CST (11:00PM GMT) – Guild Features Discussion
    5:30PM CST (11:30PM GMT) – User Interface Presentation
    6:00PM CST (12:00AM GMT) - ...And The Rest
164  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: let's talk tablets on: March 05, 2012, 12:41:12 AM

Quote from: ravenvii on March 05, 2012, 12:27:10 AM

Based on recent trends (the last year), I think it's likely that Apple will release the iPad 3 a week or two after the announcement, not months.

And unless you're talking about the screen, don't hold your breath on being blown away - aesthetically it (likely) will look almost exactly the same as the iPad 2.

Well.  I have an iPad 1, which I love.  But it's got issues. 

The web browser, for example, crashes constantly on some websites -- AIUI it has something to do with Safari's poor handling of memory used for JavaScript.   While the web browser can hold a full nine tabs, switching between tabs almost always forces a reload, which I assume is also a main memory limitation, although I haven't tried an iPad 2 so it's possible Apple's software just sucks.  Similarly hitting back forces a reload and has a really bizarre behavior on some websites where the page slowly reloads, but it does so from some cache displaying data from a day-or-two prior.  So for example if I'm on MSNBC, I'm on the homepage, I visit an article, I hit the back button, I don't see today's homepage, instead it seems to drag a version of the homepage from the previous day.  It's really strange, since it doesn't load quickly like it's coming from a memory cache, yet it clearly is because of the content.  This happens in probably 30-40% of all news websites.

There are also some games which don't work all that well.  Again I'm assuming they've been thoroughly tested for iPad 2's greater memory and processing speed and only sort of work in iPad 1.

I'm hoping an iPad 3 will do much better with more main memory and a much faster and multi-core processor.
165  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: March 04, 2012, 02:36:32 AM

Quote from: ericb on March 03, 2012, 07:11:50 PM

I'm really disappointed the "coming soon" features are still coming soon.  I quit playing around a month ago (in the 30s with 2 characters) while waiting for the dungeon fixes and UI changes.  I don't understand why we're still waiting especially when they've shown a working UI scaling design in a video over a month ago.  Meanwhile we get bug fixes like not being able to leap to a hologram.  Also the changes they took out from beta (that were working) that still haven't made it back in...honestly with that much money and talent and months of work you can't get a working search field in your AH?  It's very clear this is their first real MMO and I can cut them a little slack but it's getting to the point of just coming back 6-12 months later instead of a month.  So much missing or still broken.  

One thing to keep in mind is that some changes are easier to make than other changes.  Changes to the underlying engine are going to require much more extensive work than scripting or geometry changes.  The vast majority of the changes we've seen look like they are tweaks to numbers or scripting code, not to the underlying engine.

Also throwing more programmers at a program particularly at this stage can be counterproductive over the short term.  If you take a programmer that hasn't been working on the User Interface and toss them into the User Interface team, it's going to take them time to come up to speed on how the UI code works.  The current UI team is going to have to take time away from their programming to get the new guys up to speed.  Over the long term, more programmers may increase the productivity of the team.  But not over the 2 to 2.5 month period that you are expecting them to get these changes done in.
166  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: March 04, 2012, 01:55:19 AM

Quote from: tcweidner on March 04, 2012, 01:28:36 AM

actually software development is not really slow, compared to the rest of the business universe. Excuses are pretty shallow in an endeavor such as this with so many resources.

FYI- I work in software development.

I have also worked in software development.  I also have a PhD specializing in Software Engineering.  A 3-month product cycle is very fast.

I don't think there is much excuse for SWTOR not having a modern scalable user interface with properly moveable windows at release.  However, given that they didn't have one, expecting them to come out with one in less than 3 months is not particularly reasonable or realistic.  Yeah they might have come out with some half-assed piece of junk in a shorter time frame, but it would have been pretty crappy.  (Of course they might still come up with something pretty crappy, I guess we'll see one way or the other in the next month.)

Think about what ericb is asking for.  The game was released a little over 2 1/2 months ago.  However, the release coincided with the holidays.  The team is probably coming off of major crunch time from release.  You are not going to keep the team pushing hard until after New Years.  That means the team has had 2 months at most to get the new scalable user interface up.  Unless we want a piece of crap the team has to spend some time thinking about what this feature should look like.  Then they need to implement it.  Once the thing gets implemented they need to thoroughly test it.  It's scheduled to be released for beta testing shortly (they are currently asking for beta testers and have promised release sometime in March).  I think that's pretty short time frame, and I think it's actually pretty fast.
167  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: let's talk tablets on: March 04, 2012, 12:38:22 AM

Quote from: Blackjack on March 01, 2012, 07:04:40 PM

Another rumor du jour:
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/03/01/rumor_apple_to_unveil_8gb_ipad_2_alongside_ipad_3_on_march_7.html
*This latest one from Taiwan suggests Apple will drop the 64GB option and offer 16GB and 32GB iPad 3 models, alongside a closer to bargain-priced 8GB iPad 2 model with the idea of combating lower priced tablets at least to some extent on price (Kindle Fire, Nook Color Tablet etc.).

Seems in line with the iPhone in the past from the standpoint of continuing to offer at least one older model at a substantially lower price than the new line.

But, it also conflicts with other rumors with purported iPad 3 price lists showing the traditional three models (16, 32, 64GB).

Dear lord I hope not.  I wouldn't mind seeing a 8GB model, but as far as cutting the 64GB model, ugh.  I'm already constantly out of memory with my 64GB model.  I want a 128GB model and I don't mind paying a few hundred dollars more for it.
168  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: March 03, 2012, 11:54:24 PM

Quote from: ericb on March 03, 2012, 07:11:50 PM

I'm really disappointed the "coming soon" features are still coming soon.  I quit playing around a month ago (in the 30s with 2 characters) while waiting for the dungeon fixes and UI changes.  I don't understand why we're still waiting especially when they've shown a working UI scaling design in a video over a month ago.  Meanwhile we get bug fixes like not being able to leap to a hologram.  Also the changes they took out from beta (that were working) that still haven't made it back in...honestly with that much money and talent and months of work you can't get a working search field in your AH?  It's very clear this is their first real MMO and I can cut them a little slack but it's getting to the point of just coming back 6-12 months later instead of a month.  So much missing or still broken. 

Because software development is relatively slow and there's a heck of a difference between having prototype quality code and having bulletproof code that can actually be released to customers.
169  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Could GOP be in for a late entry? on: February 26, 2012, 12:59:32 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on February 25, 2012, 05:41:41 PM

http://nbcpolitics.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/23/10487536-gop-skeptics-holding-out-for-late-entry-hero-to-save-2012

Quote
What were once murmurs about a late entry by a candidate into the Republican presidential primary or a potential convention fight for the nomination have become a topic of open speculation in the GOP, reflecting concerns about the party’s existing crop of competitors.

Odds remain heavily stacked against the party arriving at its convention without a nominee, but the remaining candidates face lingering doubts about their strength versus President Barack Obama ... and that's fueling discussion that some kind of “knight in shining armor” could, or should, ride in to “save” the GOP at the last moment.

Mitt Romney in particular is facing fresh doubts about his ability to take the reins in the Republican primary after failing to win several recent caucus contests. Now Romney appears to be at risk of losing next Tuesday’s primary in his native Michigan to Rick Santorum.

Romney has failed to seal the deal in a series of key primaries and caucuses over the month and a half, struggling to win over skeptical conservatives. Santorum, in turn, has rallied those conservatives to score victories which stymied Romney’s momentum, but did nothing to quell doubts about the former Pennsylvania senator’s ability to square off against Obama in November.

The speculation -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who’s endorsed Romney, acknowledged Wednesday that he’s still facing pressure to wage his own campaign -- may well reach a fever pitch after Super Tuesday on March 6.

Chris Christie is way too liberal for today's GOP.  Among other things he recently appointed a Muslim as a judge and an openly gay man as a judge.  He also dismissed concerns that the Muslim might impose Sharia law as pure bullshit.

I don't like Chris Christie because he's an ass and a bully, and I don't think we should have elected officials who act like asses with their citizens, even when those citizens may deserve it.  It's unprofessional, and would result in serious reprimand or firing in any regular professional position.  But got to give him big props for his defense of the Muslim he appointed.

Right now he's a clean blank slate to most conservatives, same as Rick Perry was before him.  They've put him in the role of their next great hope.  But once they see that he's a muslim/gay loving governor of a North-Eastern state he's pretty much toast.
170  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: XCOM: Enemy Unknown on: February 16, 2012, 06:33:55 AM

Quote from: Doopri on February 16, 2012, 03:56:02 AM

odd - should i infer, from the button-presses indicated onscreen, that this is coming out for consoles as well?  also, love firaxis as a dev and am sure theyll do a nice job of it

Yes definitely cross platform.  If you've seen any of the screenshots they clearly show XBox controls all over the place with X, Y, A, B, and RB, LB sprinkled about.  If you haven't seen any screenshots get yourself to GameInformer.

Here's their central XCom hub.  Two of my favorites are the Tactical Battles walkthrough (part 1 and part 2).
171  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: XCOM: Enemy Unknown on: February 16, 2012, 03:01:28 AM

Quote from: Blackjack on February 14, 2012, 02:58:51 PM

...
Dunno if that was previously confirmed, but you can apparently rename soldiers.

Here's a screenshot showing their current soldier customization (from GameInformer's interactive X-Com base):



172  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic (dev posts, news items, fan sites etc.) on: February 14, 2012, 06:36:30 PM

Quote from: rshetts2 on February 14, 2012, 06:32:11 PM

... That being said, Ive enjoyed SWTOR a lot and have no regrets with the purchase.  I am gettling great bang for the buck out of the game. 

Me too.  I finished the Jedi Knight story and have restarted as an Imperial Agent.  Currently in the low 20s and enjoying seeing things from the other side.
173  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (02/13) on: February 13, 2012, 02:01:13 PM
Crusader Kings 2
174  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: February 09, 2012, 05:29:43 PM

Quote from: Teggy on February 09, 2012, 04:33:34 PM

A note to anyone getting into the high levels - the first planet story quest on Voss is bugged and you can't progress past it. Devs know about it but have not said when it's going to get fixed.

I assume this is on the Imerial side?  I don't recall running into any problems finishing Voss on the Republic side (or did they break something during one of their patches).
175  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic (dev posts, news items, fan sites etc.) on: February 07, 2012, 11:24:18 PM

Quote from: msduncan on February 07, 2012, 06:41:07 PM

3.   Very good (but again different) rewards for the non-raiding player, that are rare and difficult to get but possible with persistance

Yeah, there doesn't seem to be much too shoot for past upgrading Orange items.  I've already got all the top level Armoring elements from the dailies and can make my own top Enhancements.  I suppose the next step would be to upgrade all my companions stuff.  But until they get more dailies, level 50 for a non-Raider/non-PVPer has gotten pretty dull.  In fairness, I found LotRO end game pretty dull, and after calculating I'd need to run dailies for an entire month to get the next level of equipment on Rift, I unsubscribed on that game.

So instead of running dailies, I rerolled as an Imperial Agent (my primary is a level 50 Jedi Guardian), and I'm having a good time with him.  Also I'm the type of RPGer who would be happy to replay a class and choose lightside or rejigger my combat tree with a different emphasis.  So if they provide us with more character slots (I'm fine paying a premium for that), I'm probably set.  I suppose I could switch servers for more slots, but I really like my guild.
176  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic (dev posts, news items, fan sites etc.) on: February 07, 2012, 03:20:46 PM

Quote from: The Grue on February 07, 2012, 02:41:39 PM

Remember when Blackjack used to post in here?

In fairness, there just isn't that much information coming out anymore.  I'm not really expecting much until they start ramping up the publicity for 1.1's March release.

The SWTOR Dev Tracker doesn't even have posts in it some days.

Probably the most interesting thing I've seen in the past week is Bioware has promised us weekly Q&A sessions.  But at this point they haven't actually done it, just announced that it's coming and asked us to post questions on the forum.
177  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Anyone read The Order of the Stick webcomic? on: February 02, 2012, 02:35:02 PM
I'm a big fan.  I own all the books.
178  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic (dev posts, news items, fan sites etc.) on: February 02, 2012, 08:52:36 AM
Upcoming changes currently on the test server:

Quote
Biochem
  • Energized and Exotech stims and adrenals no longer require Biochem to use.
  • Energized and Exotech stims and adrenals are no longer bound, allowing them to be traded or sold to other players.
  • Rakata reusable stims and adrenals have been reduced in power, providing buffs equal to Energized stims and adrenals.

and post on thinking behind change:

Quote
First off, we removed the requirement to have the BioChem profession to use Energized and Exotech stims and adrenals. This was done to (a) remove pressure of players to pick up BioChem for optimal combat performance and (b) to open up the sale of BioChem products to a larger audience on the Galactic Trade Network.

Additionally, we've reduced the effectiveness of the BioChem exclusive Rakata Stimpacks to be equal to Energized stimpacks. Their intended benefit is the cost savings they provide over time, not an increase in power. We are also in progress of reviewing the creation costs of many consumables in the game against the economic realities (acquisition cost of purple mission materials on our live servers) and will likely make adjustments to these in the future.

It is our intention to gradually, over multiple patches, reduce the impact of situational consumables on endgame combat resolution and shift the factors which determine the outcome of combat more towards personal skill. As part of this effort, specifically for PvP, we are also working on changes that will reduce the gear related power difference between new characters at level 50 and players in full PvP gear. We feel that at the current time, this difference is too high.

On a more general note about crafting, our changes to make BioChem consumables freely tradeable are just a small first step as part of a larger scale effort to extend our crafting gameplay, for all professions, into the endgame.

Major changes are currently on schedule for the next major content patch, such as extractable basemods (armoring, barrel, etc.) from purple items, critical crafting successes on orange outfits, more bind-on-equip schematic drops for artifice and other professions, increased relevance of augments, better reverse engineering chance, and other improvements. We want to create significant incentive for players to engage in the crafting economy – as provider of goods or supplier - without requiring players to take up a specific profession as a ticket into endgame.

Long term, our plan is to evolve Star Wars: The Old Republic’s game economy to a more player driven model, strengthen and improve the GTN and embrace the game’s extensive appearance customization throughout the game. We have a long list of improvements planned for that but we’re also anxious to hear from you. Feel free to use this thread to give us your feedback on the topic!
179  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: This Is Fun Pt 3: This Time It's Personal! (possibly NSFW) on: February 02, 2012, 05:44:09 AM

Quote from: kratz on February 01, 2012, 06:35:44 PM

I didn't realize the thread was only for things that are funny?  It's certainly notable.

Dude, the thread title is "This is Fun" not "This is Notable."  I can imagine things that are fun aren't necessarily funny, but I can't imagine potentially losing one's dog is fun.
180  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic (dev posts, news items, fan sites etc.) on: February 02, 2012, 02:10:18 AM
Information on SWTOR business performance from today's EA earnings conference call via DarthHater:

Quote
[EA] sold through two million units of the game since December. We currently have a little over 1.7 million active subscribers. The rest have either not started playing yet or have opted out.

Quote
nearly 40% of the December sell through went through Origin

Quote
Active subscribers means anyone paying or in their trial period. Most of those 1.7m are paying at this point.

Quote
unique log-ins are averaging about one million per day and their average play time is approximately four hours per day.

181  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Rift on: January 29, 2012, 11:54:45 PM

Quote from: Arclight on January 29, 2012, 03:21:23 AM

Thinking of jumping back into Rift. I'll be done with SW:ToR in a week or so. I got so much more out of Rift than I did in ToR. What a let down that was.

I leveled a character up to 50 in Rift, but once I hit endgame I burned out very quickly.  While I had notions of running a character up on the other faction, I never got around to it.

In SWTOR OTOH I feel a lot more attachment to my main character, and I've started leveling up some more characters.  I'm really enjoying the story focus in SWTOR.

We'll have to see what Bioware does or does not add.  If they can give me the equivalent of a top notch DLC storypack every 2-3 months or so, I'll be pretty happy with it.  If all we ever get is new Warzones and Flashpoints, that would make me sad.  But either way I'll still be having fun until I run out of character storylines.  I did play through Mass Effect 1 at least 5 times though (including 3 with the same character on all three difficulty levels).  So I may be overestimating what it takes to keep me happy.
182  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: This Is Fun Pt 3: This Time It's Personal! (possibly NSFW) on: January 25, 2012, 02:34:04 AM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on January 24, 2012, 04:17:24 PM



And to quote George Takei about this: "I think this Trekkie ended that sentence with a proposition."

Along the same lines, if you haven't already seen it watch this.
183  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Fallen Enchantress on: January 25, 2012, 02:30:10 AM

Quote from: Qantaga on January 25, 2012, 01:43:32 AM

I completed an early quest and received a mace as a reward. The mace served me well in battle. When I started the next battle, though, my hero was missing (not causing any damage) on every attack she attempted. When I examined her profile, the mace was gone and she was fighting empty handed.  Then, I finished another quest and received a nice battle axe. I equipped it and won a battle, with her doing some nice damage. Then, a couple turns later, some bears jumped her and, voila, she's fighting empty handed again. No sign of the new axe.

Definitely sounds like a nasty bug.  At this point I've got many hours of play in and have not seen any behavior like this.

Quote from: Qantaga on January 25, 2012, 01:43:32 AM

Also, I can't seem to find a way to examine my equipment in the battle screen. I can open the hero, but not access her inventory. Do I have to make all my equipment choices before battle begins? Or am I missing a button to access inventory mid-fight? For example, I have a sand golem that I can theoretically summon, but I can't find a way to access my inventory to call him during the battle screen. Do I have to summon him before battle?

There does not appear to be, which is kind of sad for changing between bow and melee weapon.  Any items in your inventory that are not equipable, but can be used in battle will show up as buttons along the bottom of the screen just as the spells do.  So for example if you have a healing potion, that will show up alongside your spells.

The sand golem should be summoned before battle, you can do that using the standard "Equip" window while in Strategic Map mode.  Once you summon him he will join your group and will stay with you and join all your battles until he dies.  One thing about sand golems, they hit pretty hard but they don't hold up very well and will die in one or two hits (I suppose that makes sense given that they are made of sand!)
184  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Fallen Enchantress on: January 24, 2012, 10:08:05 AM

Quote from: Caine on January 24, 2012, 06:15:39 AM

did they ever patch elemental up to a decent state?

My impression from people who kept up with it is that the game was patched to a state where it was okay, but not great.  It got to the point where it would have been one of the many "also-ran" titles that come out, enjoyable for some, but not really something that really puts a gleam in most gamer's eye. 

Of course the type of people still following Elemental a year or so after release were probably the gamers who liked it most in the first place.
185  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Fallen Enchantress on: January 24, 2012, 09:02:31 AM

Quote from: Crusis on January 24, 2012, 01:46:09 AM

I put a few hours into the game over the weekend and came away pretty happy. I never really bitched that much about Elemental, I liked the game and played it quite a bit. I really got into it after they released the 'final' patch.

That said, this game is still Elemental but the mechanics are so much more ... epic. I'm not sure what other word to use. The game just feels like you are in charge of a fantasy kingdom where things can go bad very quickly. I love all the huge creatures that roam the land and keep you from exploring certain sections.

One of the downsides are the crashes. I have been deep into a few games when it crashed to the desktop. This is a beta so I understand there are bugs.

Overall I am really impressed with the game. In fact - off to play some right now.

I think that's a good description of it.  It's like Kael sat down and thought "What would make the player feel more heroic?" and then added that all into the game.
186  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: January 24, 2012, 04:38:35 AM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on January 24, 2012, 03:51:48 AM

Quote from: Gratch on January 24, 2012, 03:17:01 AM

Quote from: Crawley on January 24, 2012, 03:14:03 AM

At the very least there should be some type of warning message about the choice being final.

I remember the trainer saying very specifically that the choice was final.  There was a pop-up message stating it as well, iirc.

I find it amusing that I can go 12 hours without having a single conversation option with my companion, then all of a sudden they'll cram her entire backstory + romance options into four back-to-back conversations that take about 5 minutes.  Guess it's back to ignoring her for the next 10 levels...

That's an unfortunate side effect of the game not allowing any conversations until the key bit of back story is revealed following that certain story mission.   All of your Affection Points are back logged until that time.  After you open the floodgates things should get back down to a more normal pace on availability provided you continue to get good affection games. 

Sometimes it needs to be that way for story though.  For example, Kira the JK companion has some things she needs to talk about, but it doesn't make sense to reveal it via her conversations.  It's way better getting revealed via storyline quests first.
187  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Fallen Enchantress on: January 23, 2012, 04:06:50 PM

Quote from: Enigma on January 23, 2012, 03:36:56 PM

I am trying not to get excited about this one.  I really was disappointed with EWOM and lost interest in it after they tried in vain to fix it.  But from feedback like this, it's hard not to think this one might be great.

It did take me a while to get into it.  My first thought on playing it was "this is just like Elemental."  But the more I've played it the more I like it.  It's got a lot more character and it makes everything much more personalized.

There are still decisions I'm not thrilled with.  Having to place city improvements is IMO a needless annoyance.  I also wish they'd stuck with traditional fantasy races.  The factions don't feel very different from each other -- especially now that the two tech trees seem like they are exactly the same.  The Fallen do feel a bit different in that none of their heroes have Life magic and vice-versa for the Kingdom player.  But mostly the factions play out like different Civ nations, rather than different MoM races.  Playing as China is not that different from playing as Rome and that's the way FE feels, whereas playing as Dwarves is quite a bit different from playing as Halfings or Elves or whatever that Bug race was Klakkons (or was that MOO).
188  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Fallen Enchantress on: January 23, 2012, 12:44:00 PM
So the new Fallen Enchantress Beta is out, designed by Derek Paxton (aka Kael).  Derek designed the Fall From Heaven Civ4 mod and is a long time Octopus Overlords community member.

Someone out on Qt3 asked for early impressions.  After spending a fair amount of time writing them up, I thought I'd post them up here too.

I'm actually enjoying Fallen Enchantress quite a bit.  It took me a while to get in to it, but the more time I've spent with it and the more I've gotten to know the game mechanics the more I'm liking it.  I'd really love to start another game tonight and do an up all night playing move but I have to remind myself I've got a meeting tomorrow morning.

Things I like about it:

  • It does a good job highlighting the role of heroes.  Leveling them up, the perks you choose for them each level, the equipment they earn from questing (or purchase at exorbitant cost from the shopkeeper if you've managed to research the appropriate technologies) all make a huge difference in how the heroes turn out.  They also all start out quite differently, with a wide range of different abilities and specialties.  Plus they all have cute little stories you can read about if you're in to that -- I usually am not, but some of them are actually pretty neat and really make the heroes feel more personal.
  • It does a good job making questing in the world meaningful.  Sending out your heroes to explore the world early on is of key importance.  Partly to scout out the land, partly to find heroes to join your cause, partly to destroy heroes of the opposing alignment before they get recruited and leveled up by your enemies.  The experience points you earn and the equipment you find while exploring and questing makes a big difference in your heroes effectiveness long term.
  • Magic makes a huge difference in the game, yet there is only a limited supply of it.  You'll need to decide how and when to use your limited supply.  Do you use it to enchant your cities, enchant your units, or store it up for direct use in combat.  Even within these categories there are lots of options -- do you buff your cities for research, casts spells on them to improve the units they build, or use it to defend your cities (surrounding them with a wall of fire, for example).
  • In contrast with the original Elemental game where the spells all felt very similar to each other, all the spells are quite different.  Fire magic is used for direct strikes, Water magic can be used to slow opponents or speed up friends, Death magic curses and blinds opponents, Earth magic toughens your units.  There's a small bit of overlap, for example Fireball and Earth Shockwave both do area damage, but Shockwave is centered around the caster whereas Fireball is ranged.  To make up for Shockwave's limitations it does more damage, but it also costs more mana. 

    There are all sorts of interesting magic spells out there.  Obscure fog makes your units harder to hit.  Shrink makes your enemies smaller, which halves their attack value, but makes it much easier for them to dodge your attacks.  Growth makes your unit big, which means they hit hard, but can't dodge.  One neat one I ran into last game (on an opponent ...) was Mana Shield, instead of taking hits to health the enemy's mana pool is depleted.  Because the global mana pool is usually pretty big, that one is crazy good, because it makes whoever it is cast on nigh un-killable, but the downside is that if your mana supply gets chewed up, you're going to be hurting long term.  Another neat one is Crusade which is super-expensive (340 mana) but gives all trained units +1 level.  Unfortunately I think it's currently bugged, or they decided it was overpowering and it just gives all units XP but not a full level.
  • The game changes a lot depending on your starting location.  If you don't have a lot of mana, you'll have to figure out another way to play.  If you don't have metal, you won't be able to equip troops with chainmail or plate armor.  If you don't have horses, you won't be able to build cavalry.  Sometimes the heroes in your starting area will seem to make better casters, whereas other times they're more suited to act as warriors.  Sometimes they'll even act best as administrators reducing the building costs and training costs of units in cities in which they are stationed.  The game also changes up depending on what types of magic your heroes have (Fire, Water, Life, Death, etc.).
  • As your heroes level up you'll make meaningful choices.  Do you level up this hero's ability to go toe-to-toe with monsters by increasing their strength, do you take that perk which lets them stun an enemy for a turn, or do you take a perk that gives a slight bonus to your entire army's defense, or do you want to do something entirely different like take a perk that increases your faction's prestige (generating more fame and bringing more people to your cause)?  Each time they level up they can choose one of 5 perks, all of which are good.  The perks are rated as common, uncommon, and rare, and some of the rare ones are really great!  But sometimes you'll have to choose between two rare ones, or maybe there's a common one that matches what you're trying to do with that hero, but oh boy that rare one sure does look nice, maybe I should make this guy more of a caster/warrior instead of a straight warrior -- hmm choices, choices.
  • I really love what they've done with the perks in the unit designer.  You can create scout troops which improve your army's speed and visibility on the strategic map.  You can create troops that are specially trained to fight larger monsters.  You can create troops that provide a defensive bonus to others in the army.  There are traits to fight harder when your strength is below 50%, there are traits where your unit gets all bloodthirsty when the enemy is damaged.  For evil players there's even a trait that gives you mana each time someone in the unit gets killed.  Each unit gets up to three perks, most of them do increase the cost of the unit, but two actually decrease the unit cost.

    To provide you with an example of how a unit design might work out, I designed a fast Light Lancer cavalry unit.  I wanted them to move as quickly as possible to get across the map, so I gave them fast (+1 movement, +1 initiative), scout (+1 movement, -20 carrying), and charge (+3 movement, +3 initiative on first turn of combat).  Not only can these units move quickly across the strategic map, they can also charge across the tactical battlefield in a single turn to take out enemy casters and archers.  On the other hand, I wanted to create some heavy duty knights, these guys I gave Ironskin (+3 defense), Constitution (+2 constitution), Potential (+25% xp).  These guys act entirely differently than the Light Lancers.  Even though they're on horseback, they can't cross the battlefield in a single turn.  They have a lot more staying power though.

    The equipment on each is different.  My Light Lancers started out with leather armor and a spear and I later upgraded them to chainmail and a spear.  The Knights used all plate armor and shield.  But in addition to the equipment the perks definitely make a big difference in how they're able to operate.
  • There's all sorts of dangerous stuff out in the world.  At the lower levels, you'll definitely want to watch your step.  Even at the higher levels there are some really tough monsters.  I ran into this massive multi-square beast in this special desert area.  He was kind of a giant armadillo named Torax.  I had a heck of a time taking him out, but when I did, I was rewarded with his head, which I could place as a trophy in one of my cities, where it provided slight bonuses to growth and revenue (unfortunately it's currently bugged, IIRC it was supposed to give me a 10% growth and 10% revenue bonus, instead it give me the growth bonus, but actually gives a -100% to revenue -- ouch).
189  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Screenshot thread on: January 23, 2012, 06:06:37 AM

Quote from: Harkonis on January 23, 2012, 05:11:53 AM

Quote from: Arclight on January 23, 2012, 03:27:47 AM

Concerning AA, when I mouse over it in the options it says AA isn't implemented at this time. The option to use high or low AA, but it's not turned on.

AA is on and working for me

Working fine for me too.  Running an nVidia GTX 285 at 1920x1200.  I can run low AA without any problems, feels a bit sluggish on high.  But I can definitely see a pretty significant difference between no AA, low AA, and high AA.
190  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: January 21, 2012, 05:54:30 PM

Quote from: Exodor on January 21, 2012, 04:04:09 PM

Has anyone had trouble with the game crashing when you try to exit?  Since the last major patch when I hit exit it just hangs and I have to end-task to kill it.

I haven't had it crash, but it makes my system very unhappy -- it seems to grab all the memory and not give it back up when I quit, so everything acts very, very sluggish even after I've quit SWTOR.   What I have discovered though is if I don't quit directly during a play session, but instead "log out" and go to the character select screen and then quit from there, my computer is much happier.
191  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Screenshot thread on: January 20, 2012, 03:12:35 AM

Quote from: USMC Kato on January 20, 2012, 01:10:40 AM

I killed this lvl 50 Jedi in open pvp, he was camping an IMP shuttle and ganking newly arrived players on the planet Voss

Way to go Kato!  Good job thumbsup
192  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Trek Online (Cryptic's "other" new MMO) on: January 17, 2012, 11:42:37 PM

Quote from: Doopri on January 17, 2012, 11:40:14 PM

worth checking out?  whats required to sign up?  anyone know and / or interested?

I played quite a bit when it came out.  Ship combat is IMO really great.  Plus I loved the whole bridge officer concept.  Ground combat was so-so, they've updated it since I was last on, so it may or may not be better now.  If you like Star Trek, I definitely think it's worth checking out.
193  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: January 13, 2012, 10:26:50 PM

Quote from: jersoc on January 03, 2012, 09:20:36 PM

Quote from: hepcat on December 30, 2011, 02:54:35 PM

Wait a minute...jersoc doesn't like a game????

yes, i hate aspects of a game, like everyone else. i never said i hated because I don't buy games that are awful. you got a real problem understanding things i can see.

Quote from: ydejin on December 30, 2011, 10:58:14 AM

Quote from: jersoc on December 30, 2011, 08:07:06 AM

i'm also getting a bit bored of the questing. kill this, collect that. the world just feels so dead too. the server is listed as heavy to full even at 2am and yet i see no one. a pvp server is useless because i've seen a sith 3 times. there's just no sense of danger of having to watch my back. makes questing even more boring. i'm only lvl 34, i assume that's about average for people who play a few hours a day since early access. monday was really the only day i've played for a long stretch since then too. this phasing thing for the world is stupid and needs to go like right now.

I think you're way, way ahead of the curve.  I've been playing since the first 15 minutes of early release and since I'm on Winter Break, I've put in a huge amount of time -- /played says over 7 days! -- and I'm only a few levels over you at 38.  Our 76 person guild shows only 9 players over 30.  

I don't think most of the higher level planets are currently being phased.  Right now, for example, I am in the only Hoth instance and there are only 34 players on.  And that's with a Heavy load on one of the most popular servers out there (The Harbringer) -- it is admittedly early in the morning, but our server load is still Heavy and we are one of the unofficial Oceanic servers.

sure doesn't feel like it. i'm not in a big guild, but there's already 5 people who hit 50. game is pretty easy to level. Still the world feels very dead. Pretty sure republic and imperials have no overlapping quests that bring world pvp to each other. and if they do, guess it doesn't seem like it.

oh, luckily some of the stories are sort of interesting because at times i get pretty bored doing essentially the same quests for the last 37 levels. i can't be bothered to sit and spam for groups all day either. so hopefully bioware gets a real looking for group system and not a 15 year old one that never worked.

A little more data tucked into a developer post on a different topic which came out today:

Quote
At the same time, both player feedback and the data gathered from hundreds of servers made it very clear that this issue needed to be dealt with decisively now with only a small minority of players at endgame level and the vast majority of our characters in their 20s to minimize the number of affected players.
194  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: January 13, 2012, 03:35:50 PM

Quote from: Teggy on January 12, 2012, 09:50:10 PM

Oh, the one graphic pet peeve I forgot to mention is the magically growing grass. So odd.

LOTRO also has a magical circle of grass that follows you around.  I tried upgrading my video card to get rid of it, but alas no graphic setting or tweaking the draw distance was ever able to get rid of the LOTRO grass circle or put it far enough out that I didn't find it annoying.
195  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: January 12, 2012, 09:26:35 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on January 12, 2012, 03:43:41 PM

My Smugger>Gunslinger's nearing L45 now. Tatooine probably remains my favorite zone. For my tastes, it had the best mix and volume of both regular content and Heroic 2/4 content. Riding around the dunes on my STAP mount was always fun, and I think because the 1977 SW film starts out on Tatooine, it just tugged on my nostalgia strings to run around there despite being in a different era.

Places like Quesh and even Alderaan (which I only know from the original movie as a place our intrepid heroes were trying to get to that blew up) don't really tug at my movie memories that way.

I'm with Blackjack.  My favorite planets have been Tatooine and Hoth, undoubtably because of there movie connections.
196  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: January 12, 2012, 03:34:11 PM

Quote from: Teggy on January 12, 2012, 03:28:33 PM

The place I think the game will need work is on the community. Without a capital city that's easy to get to, there's no reason for lvls 10-50 to mingle, and they can't talk to each other easily either. If I'm on Alderaan and I want to get to Carrick station, I need to haul ass back to my hangar and go through all the animations of getting on my ship, picking a destination, traveling, landing, etc. At minimum, I need to find a republic shuttle. In Rift, WoW or any of those other "single world" games, I can just hearth. By having just a single capital city that was easy to get to, Rift did really well with building community. Not that you even have a reason to go to Carrick station anyway - all planets have a full set of trainers and vendors. About the only thing Carrick has is the starship commendations vendor. The primary reason to go back is for flashpoints, which is my other nitpick...

The easiest way to get back to the station for Flashpoints is your 16-hour cooldown "Fleet Pass" ability.  If you've already used that and it's on cooldown, you can also purchase "Quick Passes" to the Fleet for 1k each from a Security Key vendor.

Other than Flashpoints, the main reason I go to Carrick is for the Auction House.  Also Carrick has a full set of Commendation Vendors for every planet except somehow Quesh is missing (there are Quesh Commendation Vendors on Quesh itself).  Also many (most?) planets don't have Crafting Trainers, so sometimes I'll go back for that.
197  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: January 12, 2012, 12:45:10 PM

Quote from: jersoc on January 12, 2012, 10:57:01 AM

the killing of 3-5 mobs is becoming draining and multiplied by a crazy fast spawn. 5 more levels, but god damn the personal dungeon spawns needs to be halved. most of the time i say fuck it, die and port out. whatever cash is flowing water no loss.

I have not noticed any problems at all with respawning in green personal areas.  AFAICT there is no respawn within personal instances.  Public areas on the other hand, yes, very annoying.  You fight your way in, and then all the bad guys have respawned so you either teleport back out with Quick Travel or you have to fight your way back out of the dungeon.

This is why I'm all for instancing.  There are two sides to spawn rate in public areas.  If you leave the respawn rate low, you can kill all the baddies, get the foozle at the center of the dungeon and then walk out.  But if you're the second person to come to that dungeon you find all the bad guys lying dead on the floor, and it's very unsatisfying walking past all the dead things someone else killed to pickup your foozle.  The clear answer is all dungeon areas should be instanced so each person can kill their own bad guys.

Quote from: jersoc on January 12, 2012, 10:57:01 AM

finally started to run into sith, unfortunately it's usually 2 or 3 at a time. so meh.

There are a fair amount of individual sith that you'll run into.  Although for my Jedi Guardian at least they are much, much easier to handle than multiple Sith.  Three strong Sith are a tougher enemy than one elite Sith.  Heck two strong Sith and a trash standard mob are probably tougher than an elite Sith.  For the elite, you just hammer him with an interrupt everytime he tries to do something fancy, otherwise you and your companion just pound the crap out of him.

Quote from: jersoc on January 12, 2012, 10:57:01 AM

i really hope bioware makes their planets more alive. we need a day/night cycle and some weather. when wow got weather is vastly changed how stale the world felt. i was on hoth with no snow. i guess that's pretty accurate to the weather in real life, but what? how do you have hoth with no snow? might as well make it rain tattooine!

Day night cycle is almost certainly not going to happen.  Bioware says it's an artistic issue.  Their planets are designed for a particular look which is dependent on the lighting.  
198  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic (dev posts, news items, fan sites etc.) on: January 10, 2012, 02:45:13 PM
Bioware on Orange Gear and the End Game:

Quote
The current situation with end game gear and item modifications isn’t final and, in fact, many community members like yourself have correctly guessed at what our plans to correct the current design are.

Since this is a fairly important issue to many players, let me disclose more details about what is currently in the work regarding purple items and mods:

- All partially moddable purple items will be made fully moddable again, allowing the removal of the armoring, hilt and barrel.

- The set bonus of end gear purples (PVP and PVE) will be transferable to custom items.

- Some item modifications will be restricted to a certain item type. For example, some item modifications will only fit on helmets, while other will only fit on chests, etc.

As usual, the caveats about unfinished work apply, but this should give you and the community a very good idea of our intentions. We are serious about making custom gear an entirely valid alternative to end game gear and we support the players’ ability to customize their appearance all the way to (and including) end game.
Emmanuel Lusinchi
Technical Design Director
Star Wars: The Old Republic
199  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic Screenshot thread on: January 06, 2012, 06:02:36 AM

Quote from: Blackjack on January 06, 2012, 05:14:29 AM

While I haven't had need to use the escape pod, I wonder if maybe it comes into play somewhere near the end of your storyline quests? I kept thinking for many levels that the intercom and holo-com in the XS Freighter was just set dressing, but they did eventually get used for class quests.

According to a news article I read (can't remember where, might have been IGN) at some point during early beta, Escape Pods were used to for getting on and off of some planets.  Apparently like the Item Modification Stations it's something that's no longer needed, but Bioware didn't bother taking out.  I can imagine they might use them for some story-based sequence at some future point.
200  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Star Wars: The Old Republic announced on: January 05, 2012, 10:11:23 PM

Quote from: Roguetad on January 05, 2012, 05:40:16 PM

Without selling any gathering resources or loot items at the auction house, I easily had enough credits to purchase a speeder at lvl 25 from just questing and selling junk.  48K for speeder training plus a noob speeder, and I had about 75k when I hit 25.  Credits seem to come fairly easy in this game (at least upto lvl 25).  If it's that easy to amass enough credits for the major purchases, hopefully the gold selling companies won't find enough customers in swtor to justify their time/expense.   

Credit really start rolling in at a good clip starting in Alderaan.  I'm sure I would have a huge amount of cash saved up if I hadn't wasted it all crafting.  The training costs go way up too though as do the repair costs.  At level 40 it's not unusual to spend 50-60k at the class trainer on level up (although 30k is more common -- usually about 30k per skill sometimes there's one, sometimes there's two).  I've also spent over 10k on repair costs, although I think that's repairs for more than one player death.
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