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Comment Wrong company coming out on top (Score 1) 136

Yahoo! at least has some brand name left, while AOL is just a farce at this point. If they were going to do a merger, it should be the other way around.

Interesting side note: For the first time in over a year, I saw a commercial on TV that actually said "AOL Keyword". I haven't heard that phrase in a long time, which just shows how far off the map AOL has fallen.

Comment Re:Only one way out.... (Score 1) 215

SOE botched the whole SWG:NGE thing in an epic way. And they've admitted as much. The problem was, SWG was dying. The game was pretty lousy, and was losing players at a rate that was going to spell the end of the game. Which would have been a huge black eye. How could a Star Wars game fail? Movies were coming out, and the name was as popular as ever. So, SOE tried to do something to revive a dying game, and in the process of trying to attract new players with a better game experience, pissed off every single one or their subscribers that liked the game as is. Instead of one black eye, they had 2, plus a broken nose and broken jaw, and all their teeth knocked out. With that one move, SOE made potential players of all their games worry about what might happen in the future. SOE probably listens to its player base at least as well as Blizzard does, if not better. But the facial injuries endure.

I seriously believe that if it wasn't for the Station Pass, SOE would have pulled the plug on SWG a while ago. And when the new Star Wars MMO comes out, SWG will go out with a whimper.

Comment Re:Beta to Live (Score 1) 215

I hate to tell you this, but SE is no different from just about every other MMO maker out there when it comes to player feedback during the closed beta. Yes, they do read what you send them. Most of the time, they fail to do what the players suggest.

Blizzard added the Paladin's talent trees in a final version less than 2 weeks from WoW's launch. So, they got no feedback that they could really use to make changes to the tree, because nobody had enough time to test everything, give feedback, and give Blizzard time to make changes. The player base was fairly vocal about not releasing it until the testing was done on the new tree. Blizzard released anyways, and the Paladin was a poor class at launch.

NCSoftt was told by the CoH closed beta player base that the instances for questing were just too repititious for long-term play during the closed beta. They released the game as it was, and after a few months, players left in droves for either EQ2 or WoW. When CoV came out, they CONTIUNED the same mistake. They knew better.

Look at SOE's famous SWG NGE fiasco. 'Nuff said. The only credit I give SOE is that they admit they made a horrible mistake. And they have listened to the player base of EQ2 a whole lot, and the game continues to improve. (Though my necro still needs a little more love, damnit! hehehe)

Most companies making a MMO are like that DM in D&D that came up with what he thought was this incredible scenario/dungeon he wanted players to go through. He spent all these hours making it challenging, interesting, and what he thought was fun. Then, the players try to wander in a different direction, and the DM is furious because he didn't PLAN for that. Why would anyone want to go THERE when he spent all this time creating this wonderful setting right HERE! That, in a nutshell, is the creative director behind just about every single MMO made. Little despots with bad cases of game-designer megalomania. THEY KNOW BETTER! The players just need time to adjust to their brilliant ideas.

We've seen it with Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. We saw it with that Richard Garriott futuristic shooter MMO. We're seeing it with FFXIV. We saw it with APB, which just went belly-up. We saw it with Hellgate: London. And we'll see it with several upcoming games.

Blizzard didn't invent the wheel with WoW. They refined a lot of existing things, made a game with a very low hardware requirement, and removed a good portion of the "Evercamp" factor. That's why they are the 11+ million player goliath they are.

Role Playing (Games)

Co-op Neverwinter RPG Announced For 2011 169

Atari and Cryptic Studios are teaming up to make a new Dungeons & Dragons-based RPG called Neverwinter, planned for Q4 2011. Gameplay will center on five-person groups that can include other players and/or AI allies, and there will be an extensive content generation system. Gamespot spoke with Cryptic CEO Jack Emmert, who explained parts of the game in more depth: "I think there are two very unique gameplay elements in 4th Edition that we've done something interesting with: action points and healing surges. In the tabletop game, an action point lets a player perform a reroll or add an additional die to a roll. In our game, action points are earned through combat and spent to power special abilities called 'boons.' These boons give players special boosts, but only in certain circumstances. Healing surges represent the amount of times a player can heal himself before resting. In D&D and Neverwinter, various abilities let players use a surge immediately or perhaps replenish the number of surges available. It's a precious resource that players will need to husband as they adventure in the brave new world. Positioning, flanking, tactics, and using powers with your teammates are also all things that come from the 4th Edition that are interesting. Of course, we're using power names and trying to keep power behavior consistent with the pen-and-paper counterparts. Neverwinter will definitely feel familiar to anyone who has played the 4th Edition."

Comment Re:Parenthood (Score 1) 256

Probably pictures for grandparents who live far enough away to miss moments.

Sure, I took video of both of my kids starting to crawl and walk, but we also took photos. Pictures of the first tooth. Pictures of messy faces at the dinner table. Pictures of really crazy bed hair.

Both sets of grandparents for us live more than 1,000 miles away. Photos posted via Picasa give them a sense of inclusion.

Besides, happy grandparents really want to buy those big presents for the bdays. Having just been laid off, I'm all for that.

Comment Have toddlers, will snap photos (Score 1) 256

I have two toddlers, and I bought a very nice digital SLR before my first was born. My older turns 4 in less than a month, and my other child is 2.5yrs old.

With both sets of grandparents living out of state (over 1,000 miles away), photos have become a way to keep the grandparents involved in how the kids are growing up, their antics, etc.

I think a lot of parents with the grandparents living far away will have amassed a ton of photos. Especially if it's with a SLR camera, which doesn't lose nearly as many photos due to blur from waiting for the auto-focus to work.

Submission + - Virtual currency becomes real in S. Korea. (massively.com)

garylian writes: Massively is reporting that the South Korean Supreme Court has stated that virtual currency is the equivalent of real-world money. For those of you who might not be drawing the link, the core there is that selling in-game currency for real money is essentially just an exchange of currency and perfectly legal in South Korea. This could have sweeping implications for RMT operations the world over, not to mention free-to-play games and... well, online games in general. The official story is available online from JoongAng Daily.

Comment This is pure anti-piracy, nothing more (Score 1) 362

This whole subject has little to do with software companies rushing out software in most cases. It has a whole lot more to do with breaking the zero-day pirating scene.

If they leave in certain bugs that are certain to break the game about 2-4hrs in, then the zero-day piracy crowd (which relies on the cracked game being available before or on the day of release) have a game that won't work for them. They either have to worry about cracking the patch, or buying the game.

What you buy when you get the game box is a very expensive demo copy. Get your feel for the game, and then run into a crippling problem that prevents you from really advancing. Then you have to download a patch, which will re-install the copy protection the zero-day pirates removed.

Those same zero-day pirates are usually a few days behind on the first patch, which means anyone who downloaded it is stuck, and either has to wait or buy a legitimate copy.

Really, you think these massive bugs really make it through Q/A without being noticed? You think they are able to correct such bugs in about 24-48hrs, and a lot is taken care of?

NWN2 left in a crippling water effect when you got to the main city, which they had to patch out. Really, they never saw that even high end machines came to a lag infested halt trying to walk around?

Besides, how many times do you see a game released on both PC and XBox 360/PS3, and the console versions don't have the same bugs, but the PC version is a mess?

Comment game magazines/blogs will feel this (Score 1) 310

So, all those gaming mags and their companion websites, as well as other sites, will start taking it on the chin.

"Here at (blahgamers!) we consider (newgameX) to be absolutely killer! The graphics were uber, the gameplay awesome, and the chicks had almost nothing on!*"

*The above review was compensated for by (producers of newgameX) with a free lifetime subscription to (newgameX), a cool $5K, and dates with each of the kiosk girls we used at the last game convention. Condoms not included.

Comment Re:A few comments from a guy from this field... (Score 1) 294

I agree with you whole heartedly.

There are so many things that you have to consider.

I work for a software vendor that makes many different applications for prescription filling and related pharmacy stuff. It seems like the problems never stop coming, even though we have some great coders and spec writers.

Consider this. There are 50 states plus D.C., and the federal government, that each have rules and regulations on how presciptions can be filled, how things have to be labelled, etc. One seemingly minor change to a law can been hundreds of lines of code changing, with testing needed to make sure we don't break something that previously worked. I used to joke that if we fix one thing, we always break at least 2 other things.

As far as NCPDP goes, the currently used standard (5.1) is a pain in the ass, and D.0 (the next HIPAA compliant standard) is going to be worse. Every single insurance company and healthcare provider is trying to work some little niche rule exception into place, and NCPDP is a bunch of spineless bastards when it comes to enforcing the regulations they publish. Plus, they are slower to respond to the industry than an old man wearing a hat driving a land yacht on his way to church. But, they are no longer the complete dinosaur you portrayed them as. Almost nobody uses the 3.2 stanard anymore, and spaces and variable lengths are non-issues with the current standards.

Electronic prescription transmission is even worse. SureScripts is another relatively spinless orginzation that fails to police the prescriber vendors, but gets all over the pharmacies like flies on shit for any little problem that crops up. Pass the buck and freak out later is their motto.

Let's not forget other pertinant aspects of healthcare software. Drug Utilization Review (DUR) is a major component, provided only by a very few vendors, and the number of editorial errors are higher than you'd like. Often it takes up to a month for new drugs to get into the review systems, and can take longer for the new DUR hits to show up due to it taking time for it to be recognized that there is a problem.

Comment Re:A terrible idea (Score 1) 111

I would think that some older and more established MMOs would have quite a bit more lines of code than WoW. EQ comes to mind, with 14 expansions released, probably has more code. EQ2 may have more, since there has been more expansions released for it. Lineage II has been around for a long time and has had quite a few expansions. And there are plenty of Asian style MMOs out there that have had numerous expansions. And Vanguard, for all its crappiness, is a huge game.

I don't have the latest EQ2 expansion installed on my PC, since I stopped playing before it came out, and it takes up 9.5GB on my HD. WoW is sitting at 15.9GB right now, but well over 2GB of that is old patch files that don't seem to delete themselves after being applied, and there may be more that I haven't deleted manually elsewhere. By c ontrast, my Vanguard install (that hasn't been patched in more than a year now) that never had a box expansion, is at 18.7GB.

You have to remember that WoW is designed to run on a fairly low end machine. The graphics are pretty tame, not being much advanced over EQ's graphics these days, and they certainly don't require a powerful graphics card. It's one of the reasons the game is so popular. People don't have to upgrade their PCs to play it. Just about any stock PC will play WoW fine.

Don't assume that because the most people play the game, it has the most code. It just appeals to the most people.

Comment Re:As WoW gets older, so do its players (Score 1) 204

Probably EQ2. It sounds funny, but in many ways, it is more casual player friendly than WoW. It really grew up from its not-so-great launch.

Plus, you buy the latest expansion, and you have the complete game, all previous expansions included. It makes it much cheaper than most established games.

Throw in the nostalgia a good portion of WoW players have for seeing the various lands of EQ again, and it's a fairly logical choice.

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