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AOL, Yahoo Mulling Merger

garylian Wrong company coming out on top (136 comments)

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.

more than 3 years ago

Square Enix Attempting Final Fantasy XIV Damage Control

garylian Re:Only one way out.... (215 comments)

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.

more than 3 years ago

Square Enix Attempting Final Fantasy XIV Damage Control

garylian Re:Beta to Live (215 comments)

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.

more than 3 years ago

In the past year I've taken [answer below] photos:

garylian Re:Parenthood (256 comments)

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.

more than 4 years ago

In the past year I've taken [answer below] photos:

garylian Have toddlers, will snap photos (256 comments)

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.

more than 4 years ago

Are Complex Games Doomed To Have Buggy Releases?

garylian This is pure anti-piracy, nothing more (362 comments)

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?

more than 4 years ago

FTC States Bloggers Must Disclose Paid Reviews

garylian game magazines/blogs will feel this (310 comments)

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.

more than 4 years ago

I am about to select ...

garylian A poll about polling... (315 comments)

How very /. this poll is.

To make it really hit home, though, we need a dupe of it in a week. Followed by a poll about this poll about polling.

more than 5 years ago

IT and Health Care

garylian Re:A few comments from a guy from this field... (294 comments)

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.

more than 5 years ago

Spurned Chinese Publisher May Create WoW Knockoff

garylian Re:A terrible idea (111 comments)

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.

more than 5 years ago

World of Warcraft 3.1 Patch Brings Dual-Specs, New Raid

garylian Re:As WoW gets older, so do its players (204 comments)

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.

more than 5 years ago

World of Warcraft 3.1 Patch Brings Dual-Specs, New Raid

garylian Re:Ulduar (204 comments)

I think a lot of rogues not playing on PvP servers would contend that a lot has changed in how the game plays and feels.

DKs have radically changed the landscape of the game.

more than 5 years ago

World of Warcraft 3.1 Patch Brings Dual-Specs, New Raid

garylian Re:Ulduar (204 comments)

They got away from the 40-man raids and got down to 25-man raids, but now they are upping the time it takes to complete places. I feel like I'm back in EQ in some cases, where you would pick an instance to tackle, and spend all day Saturday trying to beat it.

Sure, you can log out and come back in and the zone won't have reset (though trash mobs may be back). But instead of making 1 instance so big, I'd have preferred to have wings that were treated as seperate instances. Each wing of Naxx takes a long time to get through unless you are in an uber guild with a really tight-knit group of raiders.

I'm at the point where all my gear upgrades are either through Arena (hack-ptui!) or 25 man instances. And my guild doesn't even have 25 active players. I do a few PUGs, but I haven't seen a single piece drop that my class can use on any of them. And PUGs on stuff like 25-Naxx don't look for the same folks the next day. They just grab whomever and keep going.

more than 5 years ago

World of Warcraft 3.1 Patch Brings Dual-Specs, New Raid

garylian Re:Ulduar (204 comments)

This is at the core of why I get frustrated with WoW so much.

Blizzard has decided to blur the lines between classes, and keeps changing rolls with each expansion.

I'm on my second stint in WoW. I played for the first 9 months after release, and quit when I hit 60 and got bored with the gear grind. I went and played EQ2 for 3 years, and stopped playing after my kids were born. Recently the wife and I decided to give WoW another try.

After hitting 80 with my solo main, I can say that the game is definitely weak on class roles. The talent trees are cool and all, but I hate not knowing if a shaman is a healer or a dps class, and what kind of dps they are. I hate not knowing if a druid is going to boomkin, heal, or tank/melee. I could go on, but people that play the game get it.

When I join a pug for instance/raid runs, I'd like to not have to ask who is doing what. I like knowing that the druid is primarily going to heal, and maybe toss a few DoTs in.

I've grown to prefer EQ2's way of having 24 classes, and many of those classes are simple variations of a theme. I greatly preferred having someone ask my necro "you have lifeburn specced?" than asking my shaman "you enhancement, elemental, or resto?"

The dual specs are a nice touch, but I think WoW is hurting by its lack of timely expansions, and its problems nerfing PvE when it tries to fix PvP issues.

Now I'm going to go play some "I Win" mode, and get my DK on.

more than 5 years ago

Slashdot Launches User Achievements

garylian Re:Slashdot achievements (1582 comments)

Why the heck not? We need more of them, right? Right?

more than 5 years ago

EA Won't Use DRM For The Sims 3

garylian Re:It's great that they lightened the DRM load. (128 comments)

Considering that the serial code thing has been around for decades, I'd hardly consider it major DRM.

Just make it so that you can't download patch updates without connecting to the company's servers and having a valid serial #.

Sure, the patch will get cracked eventually, but you just made the pirating process a little less hassle free.

more than 5 years ago

How Steam Revived a Dead Game

garylian Re:How Verizon Killed Steam (234 comments)

I have Steam, and I have FIOS, with the Actiontec router, and I never had problems in the past. Granted, I don't use Steam a ton, but it connected, and I was able to list and enter TF2 games when I tried it out.

The Actiontec is not a great router, and it's a pain to open ports at times, but you can eventually work your way around things.

more than 5 years ago

The Age of Steam

garylian Re:Free the Digital Distribution Revolution! No St (159 comments)

There will always be the concern that a company/platform with the vast majority of users/subscribers will cause problems, but sometimes, it helps.

Not everyone loves iTunes, but let's be realistic about it. Apple has created a consumer's place, more than the paradise the RIAA would prefer. Apple has done more to champion music at a reasonable cost than the RIAA companies would like. And iTunes has become so powerful, it keeps all the rest of the companies in line. The RIAA would love to break iTunes' stranglehold on the market, as would several other people like Wal-Mart. Frankly, I hope they don't, because Apple seems to have its head on straight about this.

So, it depends on the company running the show. Apple and Valve have both shown themselves to be responsible towards the consumer. Others would surely ratched up the greed factor.

more than 5 years ago



Virtual currency becomes real in S. Korea.

garylian garylian writes  |  more than 4 years ago

garylian (870843) 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."
Link to Original Source

U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear COPA appeal

garylian garylian writes  |  more than 5 years ago

garylian (870843) writes "It looks like the COPA law passed by Congress back in 1998 has received its final death blow. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the government's appeal of a lower court's overturning of the law. From the brief article here;_ylt=Arx4Hfh8DA9BNNVAih8Q4W69IxIF

The Supreme Court, in an order Wednesday, said it won't consider reviving the Child Online Protection Act, which lower federal courts struck down as unconstitutional. The law has been embroiled in court challenges since it passed in 1998 and never took effect. The law would have barred Web sites from making harmful content available to minors over the Internet. A federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled that would violate the First Amendment, because filtering technologies and other parental control tools are a less restrictive way to protect children from inappropriate content online.

It's kind of a good start to the new administration, that this stupid law will never come into play."

Opus the penguin retired

garylian garylian writes  |  more than 5 years ago

garylian (870843) writes "Berkley Breathed has announced that he has drawn the final comic containing the greatest penguin ever, Opus. The author is now going to write children's books.

For those of you in your mid-30's and older, you remember Bloom County as a staple of the comic pages in a similar time frame as Calvin & Hobbes, and that time was probably the greatest the daily/Sunday comics have ever known.

From running for the vice presidency to impersonating Michael Jackson, from gracing a ton of t-shirts to being one of the weirdest stuffed animals ever, from rocking in a heavy metal band "Billy and the Boingers" to cleaning up Bill's hair balls, Opus was perfect for that time. And Bloom County wound have been perfect during the Bush 2 years.

Now, I'm going to pull out all my old Bloom County books and read them. After I dig through some boxes and find my old Opus dolls. I wonder what my kids are going to think of them."

NASA wants your input to create a MMO

garylian garylian writes  |  more than 6 years ago

garylian (870843) writes "From the website: NASA Why is NASA interested in launching a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO)? Persistent immersive synthetic environments in the form of massive multiplayer online gaming and social virtual world, initially popularized as gaming and social settings, are now finding growing interest as education and training venues. There is increasing recognition that these synthetic environments can serve as powerful "hands-on" tools for teaching a range of complex subjects. Virtual worlds with scientifically accurate simulations could permit learners to tinker with chemical reactions in living cells, practice operating and repairing expensive equipment, and experience microgravity — making it easier to grasp complex concepts and transfer this understanding quickly to practical problems. MMOs help players develop and exercise a skill set closely matching the thinking, planning, learning, and technical skills increasingly in demand by employers. These skills include strategic thinking, interpretative analysis, problem solving, plan formulation and execution, team-building and collaboration, and adaptation to rapid change. Submissions have to be in by Feb. 15th. Start your ideas!"

garylian garylian writes  |  more than 7 years ago

garylian (870843) writes "In an interesting article over at 22642 , they note that Sony's Station Exchange program for EverQuest II handled $1.87 million U.S. in its first year of operation. From the article: SOE president John Smedly commented, "We've found that Station Exchange is providing an excellent ancillary revenue stream for both SOE and our players. Some of our Station Exchange players are literally paying for their subscription to EQII, while others are making significant money. "The Station Exchange White Paper results demonstrate beyond a doubt that there is a significant demand for a secure, sanctioned online marketplace where players can enhance their gaming experience by spending real dollars." So, who needs "Chinese Farmers"?"

garylian garylian writes  |  more than 7 years ago

garylian (870843) writes "There is an article out on Reuters ipod_dc that is stating how there is a NY state senator who wants to ban the use of iPods and other electronic devices used by pedestrians when they are crossing the street. From the article: "But what's happening is when they're tuning into their iPod or Blackberry or cell phone or video game, they're walking into speeding buses and moving automobiles. It's becoming a nationwide problem." So, what's next? You can't park your car on the side of the street, in case a really dumb dog runs into it? To me, this sounds like Darwinism at its finest."

garylian garylian writes  |  about 8 years ago

garylian writes "According to a press release by the company, the MMO "Dark and Light" will be free for 3 months for current and new subscribers. From the website, they talk about how "... Farlan Entertainment now acknowledges that the game was released prematurely due to pressure from its investors and from the gaming community." That is a pretty amazing confession from a gaming company. I never played Dark and Light, so I don't know how bad it really was. But giving 3 free months as well as their other committments to make it better sounds like a good start towards rectifying things with the player base."


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