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Comment Re:Thumbs up for Valve (Score 1) 261

In TF2 hats are the rarest and most sought-after items. The vast majority of hats are purely cosmetic (there are 4 hats that are part of class sets that give you a bonus if you wear all of the items in the set). There isn't really any 'grinding' in TF2. The way the drop system works you receive an entirely random drop every once in awhile just for playing. Most of the time it's a weapon, but very very rarely it's a hat. There's a limit to how many drops you can get per week (I think it's 8, but I'm not positive) and it takes about 8 hours of playtime to hit your limit. If you don't get all of your items for the week the extras will roll over into the next week. All weapons can be found via random drops, gained through class-specific achievements, traded for or crafted. If you're trying to get a specific weapon it's extremely easy to do so.

An important thing to note is that even if you find you don't have the time to play for drops you can still get all of your drops for the week. Since the only requirement is being in-game for 8 hours a week you can simply run TF2 in offline and text only modes while you sleep one night and you'll get all of your drops for the week.

It's also important to point out that most weapons and set bonuses are 'sidegrades' to the default ones. That is, they do something better but also have a drawback. They're very much designed to foster different playstyles than they are straight upgrades. For example, the Pyro's "Backburner" flamethrower does more standard damage and always does critical (3x) damage from behind, but doesn't have the ability to airblast like the standard flamethrower. The airblast is a very versatile and useful ability that can be used to reflect projectiles back at attackers, extinguish burning teammates and push enemies away (usually to keep them from destroying sentry guns or off of cliffs to their deaths).

One other thing to keep in mind is that many of the items in TF2 were designed by players in the community and not Valve themselves. Anytime one of those community-made items sells in the store the creator gets a cut of the profits.

Comment Re:There must be a better way (Score 1) 863

We've been using the parking system in the article in my town for the last two years or so. I think it works really well here, but this is a pretty small (though densely populated) town. It'd definitely be annoying in a big city. On the plus side though, if it works like it does here the ticket you get works is good for the entire town. It's not tied to a specific spot.

Comment Re:Interplatform compatibility (Score 4, Interesting) 61

That isn't a technical problem, but a bureaucratic one. Rock Band was originally planned to have cross-platform play, but neither Microsoft or Sony would allow it.

EA uses their own servers (rather than the Xbox Live servers) and I've heard that they actually have to add code to STOP players from different platforms from connecting with each other (I guess they use the same servers for all platforms).

Comment Re:Sony not much better (Score 1) 346

It is happening (though you're right, not on a huge scale), chiefly to people with old 60gb models (like me). I actually had the same exact problem as the OP. Halfway through RE5 my laser crapped out. I shelled out 75 bucks and got a new one, but during my research I found tons of people having the same problem.

The reason it's not reported much is because:
- The occurrence of the problem seems to be relatively low (supposedly less than 1% of all PS3s)

- The PS3 has a smaller install base with a slower uptake than the 360. It seems to be happening to mainly the launch/early models (which most people don't have), but the fear is that in a year or two the newer models will have the same problem.

- It's covered by the one-year warranty and relatively easy to fix yourself if it's out of warranty. Sometimes it's not even the cause of a dead last; just a dusty one, so you don't even have to buy any replacement parts.

When my laser broke I was interested in buying a new one straight from Sony. There's apparently a bad replacement model of the laser (you can spot the difference because it has a white clip instead of a brown one) Of course, they can't offer anything like that, because it'd be admitting that there's a problem, so you just have to try your chances with 3rd party vendors and hope that their image is accurate and not just a stock photo.

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