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Comments

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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

Remus Shepherd Re:RPG Games (197 comments)

I spell it CDO, because it doesn't annoy me as much when it's in alphabetical order.

2 hours ago
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Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

Remus Shepherd Re:Are you kidding (810 comments)

What you call 'spiral dynamics' sounds a lot like Machiavelli's theory of political history, which he laid out in his book The Prince.

Machiavelli postulated that Monarchy tends to devolve into an aristocratic and oligarchic Tyranny, Tyranny is supplanted via revolution by Democracy, Democracy eventually (and inexorably) falls into Anarchy, and Anarchy is solved when one person rises to lead the masses and forms a Monarchy.

History is cyclic. The question is whether we can break the cycle, and do we want to. As powerful as the security state has become, we're likely to break the cycle by spawning an eternal Tyranny instead of a sustainable Democracy.

about a week ago
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P vs. NP Problem Linked To the Quantum Nature of the Universe

Remus Shepherd Computable? Simulatable? (199 comments)

Hmn. This sounds as if they are trying to prove that the essential nature of quantum mechanics is not computable. I wonder, if they framed this research another way, if it could solve the question of whether or not the universe is a simulation. (I suspect not, it might just indicate that classical and quantum objects are simulated in different ways.)

about three weeks ago
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An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

Remus Shepherd Question: How to un-screw up a Windows Install? (353 comments)

Years ago I built a computer with all the right ingredients, an SSD, a good graphics card and CPU, enough fans to aerate a 747, etc. I made one major mistake. When prompted by the Windows 7 installer whether I wanted 32 or 64 bit operating system, I chose 32. I have a lot of legacy software (most importantly an old version of Photoshop) that I was worried would not work on a 64-bit OS.

That one decision has severely limited my computer. Most noticeably, it caps my RAM at 4 GB. The SSD drive has helped by providing swap space.

How can I undo this? All I can think of is to cleanse the drive and reinstall -- a hell of a hassle.

(Don't advise me to change to Linux, I have too much Windows software on this PC. I have a separate Linux machine.)

about three weeks ago
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Diablo 3 Expansion Reaper of Souls Launches

Remus Shepherd Re:And it costs almost as much as a new game... (166 comments)

'Content' includes many things -- storyline, enemies, zones, and *character build options*. Being able to replay the game using an entirely different strategy is a form of additional content. That's what I love most in these type of games.

PoE has that in spades, at least through the first one or two difficulty levels. (At high levels, only a few strategies are viable, which is why the game starts to get more tiresome.) It also has enough storyline lore and enemy diversity to be consistently interesting. (I disagree with your comment about PoE exiles having no backstory, by the way. Ask the Scion about her husband sometime.)

D3 has more enemies and more storyline, but there are almost no character builds to speak of. You choose a class. Every character of that class has the exact same skills, and they all do the same thing, and if there are slightly different builds it's free and easy to switch between them. That means there are reduced strategic options, which means less replayability.

about a month ago
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Diablo 3 Expansion Reaper of Souls Launches

Remus Shepherd Re:Nope. (166 comments)

My crossbow was not a stat stick in D2. I marched an army of skeletons between me and the monsters, then took the monsters out with crossbow bolts. Got to level 73 that way. It was a viable weapon choice and a viable strategy. In D3 it no longer is.

about a month ago
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Diablo 3 Expansion Reaper of Souls Launches

Remus Shepherd Re:Too Little Too Late (166 comments)

The developer *claims* to have listened to criticism, and *claims* to have fixed the game.

By not purchasing the 'fix', the players are sending the message that 'We Don't Trust The Developer Anymore'.

How do they regain our trust? If things actually are fixed and the developers are actually listening, word of mouth will eventually filter down to those of us that hold a grudge. It will take time.

about a month ago
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Diablo 3 Expansion Reaper of Souls Launches

Remus Shepherd Re:Nope. (166 comments)

D3 character builds were set by the game design and are very limited compared to D2 character builds.

In D2 I had a crossbow-using Necromancer. That's flat-out impossible in D3. A Witch Doctor (the D3 Necro class) can't even pick up a bow, if I recall correctly.

They severely limited player choices, while giving them free respecs. This destroyed replayability. A character of any class in D3 plays the exact same as any other character of that class. (Or could after a quick respec.) This is a fundamental problem with D3 that the expansion doesn't fix.

It does sound as if the expansion fixes the loot/drop rate fiasco, at least. That's a separate issue, and one that is more important to some players.

about a month ago
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Diablo 3 Expansion Reaper of Souls Launches

Remus Shepherd Re:And it costs almost as much as a new game... (166 comments)

Through Normal difficulty, Path of Exile is an amazing game. The character build paths are numerous and distinctive, the item/gem mechanics are interesting, and the skill tree is a genuine work of art. It beats D3 soundly.

But after the end of Normal, PoE starts to seem a little lackluster. I finished Normal at level 35, and I won't see any random maps until the end of Merciless at about level 65. So that's 30 levels -- and two full playthroughs -- to go with no new content. Add to that the fact that character builds that worked at level 35 will probably fail at high level, and specific unique items may be required for high-level builds. I just don't feel compelled to stay with the game. The high-level PoE game looks very intimidating and not very fun.

That's not to say D3 is any better; it's still grinding the same content with very little fresh loot. And D3 (plus the expansion) is expensive while PoE is free. I just wish there was more to do at high levels in both games. Adventure mode sounds like a step in the right direction.

For casual players who don't intend to play through either game the expected three times, I heartily recommend Path of Exile. The new D3 content doesn't make up for the flaws in D3 -- the characters, skills, and combat mechanics are still poorly designed and lack the appeal of D2. PoE has that appeal, plus some innovative charm of its own.

For the heavily invested type of player who loves the grind...I don't know which to recommend. I'm not that type of player.

about a month ago
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43,000-Year-Old Woolly Mammoth Remains Offer Strong Chance of Cloning

Remus Shepherd Re:Sexist much? (187 comments)

No supervillain named 'Madam' would be pretty enough for today's comic readers. A 'Madam' doesn't have huge yet perky breasts or a tight bottom that she can bend to point at the reader while also looking the same way.

At most, we'd get something like 'Mammatha', or maybe a 'Mammoth Girl'.

about a month ago
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First Study of the Evolution of Memes On Facebook

Remus Shepherd Re:Evolution? (56 comments)

Did God design us to believe in Evolution?
Or did Evolution breed us to believe in God?

I prefer to believe that God designed us to believe that Evolution would breed us to believe in God designing us to believe in Evolution's ability to breed us to believe in God.

about a month and a half ago
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'Data Science' Is Dead

Remus Shepherd Re:It's data, and it's a science, so... (139 comments)

...and the only place that will hire me with that description is the place I'm working at now. Very few private subcontractors are flying remote sensing satellites.

about a month and a half ago
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'Data Science' Is Dead

Remus Shepherd Re:It's data, and it's a science, so... (139 comments)

As an addendum, the day I put 'engineer' on my resume is the day my career is over. My degree is in theoretical physics. I have zero engineering background or training. I'm a scientist, and I can't compete with engineers for engineering jobs, nor do I want to. I've spent decades keeping the word 'engineer' off my job title and resume despite stupid managers trying to tack it on.

about a month and a half ago
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'Data Science' Is Dead

Remus Shepherd It's data, and it's a science, so... (139 comments)

Um, I'm a calibration scientist. My job is to pick through data and look for errors, which I then correct. I'm a scientist, not an engineer, because the data and its errors are from real physical processes. (The data I work with comes from multispectral satellite instruments.)

If I can't call myself a 'Data scientist' on a resume, what term should I use? Approximately zero jobs are available for a 'Calibration scientist'.

about a month and a half ago
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MtGox Files For Bankruptcy Protection

Remus Shepherd Forget Bitcoin, how will this affect MTG prices? (465 comments)

Considering Mt. Gox's original business -- as a Magic: The Gathering Online eXchange -- I'm much more worried about how this will affect card prices. I don't own any bitcoins, but I have boxes of cards in my spare room that I've been counting on as retirement income.

about 2 months ago
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Blizzard To Sell Level 90 WoW Characters For $60

Remus Shepherd Re:Value (253 comments)

Yeah, I figured that my approach to MMOs was 'wrong' for GW2. They designed it for a different kind of player. No harm no foul.

The question is, how many players like me were driven away for the same reasons.

about 2 months ago
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Blizzard To Sell Level 90 WoW Characters For $60

Remus Shepherd Re: Value (253 comments)

You're right, I don't think I ever found 'sPvP'. WvW is a button on the GUI. I don't even know how to get into an sPVP zone.

All the discussion about traits goes right over my head. My max level character was 26. I never got high enough level for traits to affect my gameplay. At all. They are a completely useless mechanic for new players -- 'new', in my case, meaning I had played for a full year. A game mechanic that means nothing to players after a year of play is a badly designed mechanic.

about 2 months ago
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Blizzard To Sell Level 90 WoW Characters For $60

Remus Shepherd Re:Value (253 comments)

I think you missed the fact that I was leveling several characters simultaneously, all of a different race. Yes, I could have taken my Human mage off to the Charr newbie lands and leveled there...but I had already done that content with my Charr engineer. It's still repeating content that I had already played. There were no level-appropriate zones that I had not already completed. That's how I play MMOs -- I try several different characters until I find the one I like best.

Good suggestion, though. If I ever feel the urge to pick GW2 up again I might give that a try. There may be some replayability in re-doing content as a different race/class. (In other games I'd say there definitely would be, but in GW2 I'm not so sure.)

about 2 months ago
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Blizzard To Sell Level 90 WoW Characters For $60

Remus Shepherd Re:Value (253 comments)

I did my storyline as far as I could. I completed every heart and every exploration point for every zone up to where my storyline was. (So, the first two zones for each race. I think my 26th level mage got to the third zone but didn't complete everything.) I did dynamic events when they happened near me, but I didn't go out of my way for them. I even tried crafting. With all of that, I was still underleveled for my storyline missions and could not handle PvE in the next zone.

My only choice to level was to re-do all the heart content that I've already done, pour more money into crafting, and just generally whack monsters to grind for xp. I can't get into dungeons, I can't survive in any new zones, and I can't progress in my storyline. I had five characters with no choice but to grind or give up on, so I gave up. I'm a casual player; I don't have the time to waste grinding the same content over and over.

(I did have the option of entering PvP. I don't like PvP in general, but I'll play it if it's fair. It's not in GW2. While my low-level character was boosted to level 80 upon entering the PvP zone, everyone else had three more skills than I did and better equipment, not to mention guilds backing them up. PvP in GW2 is very, very unfriendly to solo casual players. I'd prefer grind over PvPing.)

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Robots will outnumber humans by 2035

Remus Shepherd Remus Shepherd writes  |  about 2 years ago

Remus Shepherd writes "From the Early Warning blog comes an interesting extrapolation — the global population of robots is rising exponentially, and will overtake the global human population in the 2030s. The article mentions some consequences of this, including an anti-robot backlash, the potential Singularity, and/or 'all hell breaking loose'."
Link to Original Source

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