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Real Name SMA   
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Nickname Scottish Martial Arts
Email Concealed by request - Send Mail
ICQ None given.
Homepage http://
Signed On Jun 16, 2002, 23:16
Total Comments 2681 (Senior)
User ID 13410
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir
7. Re: Ships Ahoy - Neverwinter Nights 2: S Nov 23, 2008, 01:23 Scottish Martial Arts
So is this good or not?

I haven't played that much of it yet, but so far it looks pretty good.

Death is now functions according to DnD rules: if you hit 0HP then you are incapacitated, losing additional HP every round, until either a teammate heals you or you die. If you die, then you have to pay for a resurrection back in town.

Combat is quite a bit more challenging now, partly due to the new death system and partly because the encounters are just tougher. It took me a half dozen reloads or so to finish the opening battle.

There are skill checks everywhere: every dialogue so far has had multiple skill checks. Likewise, the two short quests I've done so far both made liberal use of skills. Furthermore, Overland Travel relies on skills such as survival, spot, hide, and diplomacy extensively.

I'm really, really early in the game so this is all I can comment on so far. I spent about 3 hours crafting my party so I very little of my play time has been spent advancing the plot.

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News Comments > Game Reviews
6. Re: Game Reviews Nov 11, 2008, 01:31 Scottish Martial Arts
you suck at games

Seriously. The only challenging area I've encountered is Old Ohlney which is infested with Death Claws. At least Death Claws are still fearsome and dangerous as hell, unlike the emasculated Super Mutants. Now that I have T-51b Power Armor and a Plasma Rifle however, I kind of doubt even the Death Claws will pose much of a challenge.
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News Comments > Fallout 3 Patch
34. Re: Fallout 3 Patch Nov 7, 2008, 12:53 Scottish Martial Arts

Mostly because it doesn't play much like a Fallout game. Most of your time in Fallout 1 and 2 is spent in towns, talking with NPCs, getting and doing quests, and solving puzzles. Compare this with Fallout 3 where there are only 2 towns of a any size (Rivet City and Megaton), which you really only visit to sell off loot you picked up either fighting monsters in the wastes or exploring dungeons. Likewise, every quest I've encountered so far has been a dungeon crawl, usually with some item you have to retrieve at the end of it. Fallout 1 and 2 certainly had quests like that, but they were few, and the dungeons themselves had puzzles, NPC interaction, and a storyline. Given that all the quests seem to be dungeon crawls, it's no surprise that about 85% of the game is spent either in combat or immediately between fights. Fallout 1 and 2 simply weren't this combat focused.

When I play Arcanum I feel like I'm playing Fallout: Steam-Punk Edition. When I play Fallout 3 I feel like I'm playing Elder Scrolls: The Oblivion of Post-Apocalypse. Fallout 3 simply doesn't play much like Fallout, no matter how often you see the Vault Boy. In other words, it plays like an Elder Scrolls game. Admittedly I think this is the best Elder Scrolls game since Daggerfall, but nevertheless it's an Elder Scrolls game regardless of it's post-apocalyptic setting, just like Arcanum is a Fallout game regardless of it's steam-punk setting.
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News Comments > Fallout 3 Patch
27. Re: Fallout 3 Patch Nov 7, 2008, 02:00 Scottish Martial Arts
If you dont like this, frankly just fuck off and quit playing games.

I'd tell you to go fuck yourself but given how far the game industry's cock is up your ass that would just be redundant. If you want to champion mediocrity be my guest. But don't tell me that I have give a blow job to a game that doesn't hold a freaking candle to it's decade old predecessors. A Fallout game Fallout 3 most definitely is not.
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News Comments > Fallout 3 Patch
9. Re: Fallout 3 Patch Nov 6, 2008, 17:49 Scottish Martial Arts
It's more or less bug free on my end (PC.)

Seriously? I get regular crashes on saving or exiting the program. Additionally, there seems to be a scripting error that prevents me from progressing now that I've just entered the Citadel. I guess that means I need to either reload an old save or call it quits on this game. At this point I've seen what there is to see, and I highly doubt a couple more dungeon crawling fetch quests will change my opinion. Given that Bethesda says that the isometric perspective and turn-based combat of the originals were only due to technology limitations, I can only assume that good RPG design must also be unnecessary now that we have radiant AI and bloom to make up for it.
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
96. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 6, 2008, 02:32 Scottish Martial Arts
I think that voting is for the ignorant and we should just pull the shadow-government out the fucking shadow install a goddamn Empire.

I shouldn't even bother responding to this, because you either didn't read what I wrote, or didn't bother to understand it. Whatever, I like talking about Rome, so here we go.

Fuck it if the Roman Republic turned into an Empire, thats the way the US republic should go too!!!

You are aware that Julius Caesar was a Populares, right?

It would take way to long to go through the fall of the Republic step by step but here are some key themes:

1. The wealth of empire was overwhelmingly benefitting the senatorial class. Meanwhile, the small land holders were losing their farms after years of overseas service (during the Republic the army was a propertied militia).

2) The land redistribution legislation proposed by the brothers Gracchi marked the introduction of political violence.

3) Gaius Marius reorganized military recruiting to allow the poor and disenfranchised to serve. Since these new poor soldiers were dependent on their commander for getting payed, their loyalty was to the general and not the state.

4) Beginning with Scipio Aemilianus, we see Roman politicians leveraging popular support in order to force policy through.

Combine the above factors, and you have a situation in which Roman politicians, in order to achieve their political goals, leverage their armies and their supporters among the people, offering such incentives as land reform or, after the Social War, voting rights for the Italian allies. The result was essentially a mob turf war, starting in 133BC (need to double check that date, whenever Tiberius Gracchus was assassinated) and not ending until the Battle of Actium 100 years later.

The point here is that the Republic didn't fall because Octavius woke up one morning and decided he wanted to be emperor. Rather, there was extreme discontent among the ever-growing class of urban poor, which folks like Tiberius Gracchus, Gaius Marius, Cinna, and Julius Caesar were able to leverage to achieve their political goals, often resorting to mob violence, assassination, and ultimately marching on Rome. Likewise, conservative politicians like Sulla were not above using their essentially private armies to knock some heads among the Populares. Over a century of civil war, Roman statesman were killed off one by one, until only Octavius was left standing, allowing him to take control.

Look, I'm not proposing genocide or something here by saying that there isn't supposed to be a popular vote for President. It's in the US Constitution for crying out loud: Article II Sec. 1, check it out if you don't believe me. All I have tried to say in the past few posts, is that I believe that what is in the Constitution is a little more coherent and well thought out than the mishmash of electoral procedures we currently have.

The Founding Fathers didn't have blind faith in democracy, and, honestly, that's because they thought a little more seriously about its implications than most do today. Most of us have been raised in democracies, and been taught since early childhood that democracy is the one, true, best way to govern a country. If you want to cling to your enculturation, fine. But the Founding Fathers didn't take your faith in democracy for granted, and accordingly they thought more seriously about what the dangers of letting a simple majority decide everything might be, and designed the US government accordingly. You don't like it? Fine, but it's what's in the Constitution, and I happen to believe in that document and to believe in the thinking that went into it.

This comment was edited on Nov 6, 2008, 02:36.
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
92. Re: Out of the Blue Nov 5, 2008, 00:18 Scottish Martial Arts
If you seem hell-bent on painting the entirety of the American citizenship as completely ignorant and unworthy of having a say in their own government, why do we vote at all?

That's not my intent, although I can certainly see how I've come off that way. The essential danger of democracy is that the majority can be wrong. The challenge then, and I quote this straight from High School Civics, is to have majority rule while protecting minority rights. Part of how the Constitution sought to prevent a tyranny of the majority was to have various offices, with different powers, elected at different times, or not elected as the case may be, by different constituencies. This way a simple majority cannot dominate the policy making process, but instead must compromise with various parties in order to get anything done.

If we consider the Congress and the Presidency, we will find that there are three tiers: from lowest to highest, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the President. In order to make policy, all three tiers have to cooperate. As designed in the Constitution, the higher the tier, the less the office is directly influenced by a simple majority, so that a misguided majority cannot dominate the policy making process. Accordingly there is an additional degree of separation between the people and the office-holder for each tier; the people directly vote for their representative; the people vote for their state legislator who votes for a Senator; the people vote for their state legislator who votes for electors who vote for president.

Since the President has the most power, there is the most danger if he makes the wrong decision. Accordingly, it is dangerous to make his decision making directly accountable to a majority that may or may not be right. That's why the Article II Section 1 makes no provision for a popular vote.

This is thinking that I happen to agree with. Your mileage may vary. I don't believe that the majority is always right, and I believe that moderation is the best way to avoid bad policy. Accordingly, I think the Founders were right to design the Constitution as they did. Again, you may feel differently, but I hope you at least understand that I don't simply feel that Americans are too incompetent to vote.
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
88. Re: Meh. Nov 4, 2008, 19:51 Scottish Martial Arts
Now we have a direct, nearly transparent view of our candidates, and we can all make proper judgments.

Uh, are you sure about that?

The electoral system is antiquated and serves now only to obfuscate the voting process.

Stupidity and mob rule, which the electoral system was designed to mitigate, are never antiquated.

This comment was edited on Nov 4, 2008, 19:56.
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
84. Re: Meh. Nov 4, 2008, 19:23 Scottish Martial Arts
Personaly I think the electorate system youve got there in the US is total bullshit. A vote is a vote. For some reason a vote in one state is worth more than a vote in another.

As designed in the Constitution, there are three degrees of electoral separation between the average citizen and the President: citizens vote for state legislators, state legislators vote for electors, electors vote for President. The idea is to insulate the Presidency from the whims of the majority, and therefore to allow him or her to take a more circumspect and thoughtful approach to governing, less pressured by a volatile popular opinion.

What has happened is that over time state legislatures decided to turn the selection of electors over to a popular vote. As a result, when a citizen votes for President, you aren't voting for the candidate per se, but voting for a slate of electors who have pledged to vote for that candidate. Electors can vote how ever they want once selected, but it is virtually unheard of for an elector to vote against his or her pledge.

It's important to note that this is not how it was originally intended to work, nor how it worked for quite some time. Again, state legislatures would select prominent non-office-holding individuals in their state, whom they felt would vote wisely, to be electors. These electors would then vote for the presidential candidates, with the first place candidate being President and the second place candidate being Vice-President.

That a vote in one state is worth more than a vote in another state is not because the electoral system was stupid to begin with, but because there was never supposed to be a popular vote for President to begin with! Now, with a very poorly educated populace thanks to the failure that is the US public education system, people have come to believe that there is supposed to be a popular vote for president, when there never was supposed to, and cannot understand what this baffling electoral college is for.
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3
115. Re: Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3 Nov 3, 2008, 11:09 Scottish Martial Arts
Is it as prevalent in fo3?

It's not as obvious as in Oblivion, but there is still a fair amount of voice actor repetition.
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News Comments > Game Reviews
9. Re: Game Reviews Oct 30, 2008, 11:02 Scottish Martial Arts
Huh, seriously? Can anyone who actually plays real RPGs (no oblivion doesn't count) verify this?

It's bullshit. Fallout 3 is very, very RPG-lite. For what it is, it's a decent action game but it certainly isn't much of an RPG. I've been playing it for two days now and I have posted some extensive impressions over in the Ships Ahoy Fallout 3 thread, if you're interested.
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3
99. Re: My Two Cents Oct 30, 2008, 01:33 Scottish Martial Arts
I also wanted to say that although I've been mostly negative about Fallout 3 so far, I'm still having fun with it. It doesn't feel much like a Fallout game, and it still has all of Oblivion's flaws, but it still manages to improve on Oblivion and be a decent first person shooter. I highly doubt I'll still be playing this a decade from now, and it certainly doesn't even hold a candle to the originals, but I'm sure I'll finish it and don't feel like I flushed money down the toilet by buying it. I still think this is a lame sequel and that Bethesda was the absolute wrong choice of developer, but on the other hand, for what it is, Fallout 3 isn't terrible either.  
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3
98. Re: My Two Cents Oct 30, 2008, 01:26 Scottish Martial Arts
Either you're talking shit or you're playing on the easiest mode or something.

I'm playing on Normal difficulty. I met the Super-Mutant in a tricycle factory that I think was to the southwest of Megaton. It took a clip worth of VATS headshots to bring him down, plus 2 stimpacks to keep me alive, but was otherwise no trouble. Given that I had about 100 rounds of 10mm ammunition and 20 stimpacks, that was hardly a huge outlay of resources to kill what had been in the earlier games one of the most dangerous foes you could encounter.

In other news, I've got a pretty good feel for VATS and the combat system now, so here are my thoughts: VATS is a slightly more sophisticated autoaim system, nothing more. Locational damage is in the game, whether you use VATS or not. Therefore, if you're a good shot, you can simply aim for your targets head and score critical hits without having to wait for your action points to regenerate. VATS is just a tool to be used if you don't want to go through the trouble of aiming, or you really want to see a slow motion rag doll fly through the air. Other than that, combat is exactly like any other first person shooter. Combat skills affect damage, both in and out of VATS, and your accuracy, in VATS only; in other words, combat skills don't seem to have a dramatic impact on your character's ability to fight.
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3
91. Re: My Two Cents Oct 29, 2008, 21:00 Scottish Martial Arts
Just killed a super mutant at level three with my basic 10mm pistol. Either combat is insanely easy in this game, or Oblivion-style level is in.  
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3
90. Re: My Two Cents Oct 29, 2008, 20:36 Scottish Martial Arts
Does intelligence have any effect on dialog?

Not sure yet. I remember reading in prerelease coverage that there is no special dialogue for low intelligence characters, but whether that means there are no additional dialogue options for high intelligence characters I don't yet know. I'm about to sit down and play for another hour or 2 here, so I'll keep my eyes open for that sort of thing.
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3
85. Re: My Two Cents Oct 29, 2008, 11:12 Scottish Martial Arts
No one has yet mentioned the SPECIAL ruleset, character progression, items, armour etc. know the stuff that is the staple of cRPGs.

SPECIAL has been simplified, dumbed-down you might say.

First off, there are no traits, which means that you can't take a weakness in exchange for an advantage for your character.

Second, the number of skills has been cut by a third. Of those skills that made the cut, a little less than half are combat skills. The non-combat skills seem to have a one to one correspondence with a specific minigame or mechanic. For example, First Aid and Doctor have been combined into Medicine which determines how much health you recover from a stimpack, as opposed to the originals where these skills were treatment options separate from stimpacks, could be used to solve quests, and gave you specialized knowledge in NPC and computer interactions.

Third, Tag Skills are now a one time skill point bonus to a particular skill. In other words, Tag skills no longer improve at a faster rate, they just start off a little better.

Fourth, skills now have a one to one relationship with your SPECIAL attributes. For example, perception no longer has any affect on your accuracy in ranged combat. Instead, Small Guns is related to Agility alone, and if you increase Agility you get small skill point boosts to Small Guns. Additionally, SPECIAL attributes only seem to affect your skill ratings, not any additional variables related to your skills. Again to use the example of Perception and ranged combat, in the originals Perception didn't increase your small gun skill but instead determined how many hexes you could be away from your target before starting to get range penalties for your accuracy. That doesn't seem to be the case in Fallout 3.

Fifth, Perks come every level and the overwhelming majority of them provide one time stat bonuses as opposed to new abilities. Also, perks for the most part have very low prerequisites and never require you to have chosen an earlier, related perk.

There's what has changed in the SPECIAL system. I've only played a few hours, and my opinion may change, but so far I get the distinct impression that it's been dumbed down.

This comment was edited on Oct 29, 2008, 11:14.
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3
79. Re: Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3 Oct 28, 2008, 21:01 Scottish Martial Arts
I went against my better judgment and bought the game this afternoon. Although I don't yet regret purchasing the game, I don't exactly feel compelled to blow off my remaining homework and play until the wee hours either.

For those that are wondering, this is Oblivion 2: With Guns. Whether that's good or bad depends on your opinion of Oblivion. To me, Oblivion was fairly entertaining but ultimately flawed and not worth a replay. From two hours or so I've spent playing Fallout 3, it looks like this game will be about the same.

I haven't played enough yet to give a final opinion but here are some of the things I've noticed, in no particular order:

-Animations have not improved since Oblivion.
-Graphics are generally good, but some texturing is muddy, and the gray-brown color palette immediately gets old.
-Writing has varied between bad and mediocre. The dialogue during your birth is particularly awkward and unnatural: I was tempted to just bypass the cutscene rather than endure it. Otherwise, dialogue hasn't made me cringe but isn't particularly interesting either
-In the first treasure chest I discovered in the wasteland, there was a laser rifle. So much for energy weapons and big guns being a reward for reaching the late mid-game.
-VATS feels a little unbalanced since headshots seem way to easy to get. As others have mentioned the slow motion deaths are unskippable. , which will surely get annoying. Non-VATS combat feels a little wonkey; hitting your target manually seems to be matter of chance, but I can't tell if that's because of poor hit detection or character skill limited accuracy.
-There is a lot of combat when just walking around.
-The game hard crashed, forcing me to restart, when I tried to exit the program.
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3
38. Re: Ships Ahoy - Fallout 3 Oct 28, 2008, 10:52 Scottish Martial Arts
Or so I heard, don't have the game myself yet.. prolly gonna grab it on steam to avoid all the BS.

Apparently SecuROM is present in the Steam version as well.
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News Comments > Mobilization
5. Re: Mobilization Oct 26, 2008, 02:38 Scottish Martial Arts
Religion is responsible for an obscene amount of conflict, now and throughout human existence

Only with the rise of Christianity and Islam, monotheistic religions wielding political power, has this been true. Polytheism, the dominant strand of religiosity throughout our species' history, is by nature tolerant: if you believe that there are numerous gods, each with power limited to a specific piece of geography, then you aren't going to begrudge some foreign people for worshiping different gods than you. Given that our species has been around for roughly 200,000 years, 2,000 years of monotheism is hardly "throughout our existence".

Additionally, Christianity and Islam have certainly committed sins throughout their existence, but it's wrong to suggest that these religions have only enhanced conflict. Although there are notable exceptions, Christianity, for example, acted as a mitigating force on warfare during the Middle Ages. A city siege in the Classical period, despite the period's religious tolerance, ended with the extermination of the male populous, the wholesale looting and destruction of the city, the rape of city's women, and the enslavement of any survivors. Compare this with the Medieval period in which warfare was largely limited to the society's warrior class, and in which the Catholic Church inforced strict prohibitions against harming non-combatants or allowing warfare to escalate beyond battles between combatants. To violate those prohibitions was to be excommunicated, which was the end of a ruler's political authority, and his virtual exile from the community of Western Christendom. Granted there are notable exceptions, particularly the sack of Jerusalem at the end of the 1st Crusade, but regardless, it was better to be a non-combatant in the medieval period than in the classical period.
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News Comments > Fallout 3 Midnight Launch Events; Steam Pre-Purchase
8. Re: Fallout 3 from Steam Oct 25, 2008, 01:55 Scottish Martial Arts
No box, disc, or manual, and for a game like this, I want genuine hard copies.

Unless you want the collector's edition, you aren't missing much by getting an electronic copy. You can take a look at the manual on the Steam store page if you're so inclined. Other than a half-dozen or so vault-tec advertisements, the manual is just a straight description of the interface, exactly like the manuals for Morrowind and Oblivion. In other words, this is not like the 150+ page Fallout 1 and 2 manuals, and you won't miss much if you don't get a hard copy of it.

Interestingly, the manual describes 13 skills, 6 of which are combat skills and 3 of which govern minigames. So good to see that the Fallout skill system survived Bethesda's custodianship intact. /sarcasm
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