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Revisiting the "Holy Trinity" of MMORPG Classes 362

A feature at Gamasutra examines one of the foundations of many MMORPGs — the idea that class roles within such a game fall into three basic categories: tank, healer, and damage dealer. The article evaluates the pros and cons of such an arrangement and takes a look at some alternatives. "Eliminating specialized roles means that we do away with boxing a class into a single role. Without Tanks, each class would have features that would help them participate in and survive many different encounters like heavy armor, strong avoidance, or some class or magical abilities that allow them to disengage from direct combat. Without specialized DPS, all classes should be able to do damage in order to defeat enemies. Some classes might specialize in damage type, like area of effect (AoE) damage; others might be able to exploit enemy weaknesses, and some might just be good at swinging a sharpened bit of metal in the right direction at a rapid rate. This design isn't just about having each class able to fill any trinity role. MMO combat would feel more dynamic in this system. Every player would have to react to combat events and defend against attacks."

Comment Put it on both sides of the keyboard (Score 1) 344

This looks really great. But for me, a mistake is that the touchpad is in front of the keyboard. You have to move your arms forward and back when you want to switch; using one hand on each is tricky if the touchpad registers your dangling sleeve or your wrist.

I think it would be much better if the total area of the touchpad was split between the two side of the keyboard. Then you could have both hands on the touchpad or one on the touchpad and one on the keyboard, and you wouldn't have to do the forward-back thing with your arms.

Comment Re:Celsius: It's for telling temperature (Score 1) 1233

Take one meter. Make a cube of that side, a cubic meter. Fill that with water near the sea level and you get a volume of 1 Liter of water.

Um. Negative on that, Command. Our cubic metre seems to be holding not 1 but 1000 litres of water at sea level.

Regardless, the elegance of your system cannot be denied.

By the way, while you Americans are converting from F to C, please also convert from liters to litres, from center to centre, etc. Cos it's prettier our way.

Comment Re:Qi (Score 1) 189

Heheh. Okay re the humility thing.

We disagree, then. But I think your attitude is an act of faith.

I would agree that Qi is not physical, but that doesn't mean it's not real. That it can't be detected by any known scientific instruments should not surprise us, as scientific instruments are designed to detect only physical things. So for instance, scientific instruments detect the physical correlates of consciousness but not consciousness itself -- and, thus influenced, some schools posited that mental states (e.g. emotions) aren't real.

But, like nonphysical but nevertheless real mental states, Qi can be detected and affirmed by your own experience. You can conduct scientific experiments into this sort of thing. You can do the practice as the experiment, and you can experience the results. You can retain your rationality and your skepticism throughout, and have experiences that are most accurately and comprehensively explained by a "Qi" model.

Comment Re:Qi (Score 1) 189

Nonexistent in your humble opinion, nomadic. If you were inclined to spend a few months doing Qi Gong or some other practice, you might have experiences that would change your opinion.

And just for interest's sake, people confuse the real with the fictional all the time. For instance, many people think there is a real, unitary, unchanging self behind all of their experiences, like a little homonculus just behind the eyes. That's about as real as it gets for most people, but that kind of self doesn't exist at all.

Comment Qi (Score 1) 189

Since the word Qi is already used to describe something rather different, it is a pretty idiotic name for this idea. It merely accords with the co-opting of all sorts of Eastern concepts for marketing Western stuffs, in the footsteps of 'Zen' which nowadays stands for just about anything you'd want in a product.

Submission + - Microsoft banned from selling Word

ElectricHaggis writes: BBC News reports that a series of court rulings against Microsoft concerning xml technology patent infringement are costing them large sums of money (nothing new here) and preventing them from selling Word within the U.S. The article states: "In the latest ruling, the court ordered Microsoft to pay $40m (£24m) for the wilful nature of the infringement and interest on the amounts totalling more than $40m...
In a separate injunction, the court prohibited Microsoft from "selling, offering to sell, and/or importing in or into the United States" any version of the software that can open custom XML files (with file extensions .xml, .docx, or .docm)."

Submission + - Scientists Identify Itch-Specific Neurons

Hugh Pickens writes: "A ticklish problem in neuroscience has been that although historically many scientists have regarded itching as just a less intense version of pain and decades searching for itch-specific nerve cells have been unfruitful. Now Nature reports that neuroscientist Zhou-Feng Chen and his colleagues at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri have found the first behavioral evidence that there are separate circuits of nerve cells to convey itchiness and pain and their studies suggest that itch and pain signals are transmitted along different pathways in the spinal cord. "Most people accept that there are specific, highly specialized neurons for sensations like taste," says Chen. "But for pain and itch this is much more controversial." Two years ago, Chen's group discovered that a cell-surface protein called the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) is important for sensing itchiness but not pain in mice. When Chen and his colleagues destroyed GRPR-bearing neurons by means of a cell toxin, the mice reacted to painful stimuli just like normal mice, licking themselves and flinching or jumping in response to heat, highly irritant chemicals and mechanical pressure. But when the researchers injected the animals with chemicals that normally cause scratching, such as histamine, they barely responded and the greater the number of GRPR-expressing neurons destroyed, the more subdued was the scratching response. "This is the first behavioral evidence that there are itch-specific neurons," says Chen. "People have been looking for these for many years." Although the present research only scratches the surface, the discovery highlights a new target for therapy and opens the field for specific treatments for itch that don't affect pain."

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