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Real Name WaltC   
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Nickname WaltC
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Signed On Jan 31, 2003, 04:03
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User ID 16008
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
6. Re: Out of the Blue May 24, 2012, 15:01 WaltC
Gosh, Blue--all of that frenetic activity! One would think you and Mrs. Blue were in your 20's instead of your 70's! You've got tons of energy for your age bracket. Don't forget your Life Alerts (TM) when you go out (because it really sucks when you fall and you can't get up, doesn't it?);P
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It is well known that I do not make mistakes--so if you should happen across a mistake in anything I have written, be assured that I did not write it!
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News Comments > Morning Safety Dance
3. Re: Morning Safety Dance May 24, 2012, 12:57 WaltC
Computer World is such an obvious anti-Microsoft shill these days that I never read their articles and opinions anymore. The article is deliberately misleading: Vista service pack 2 has been out for a long time, years, it's free like all of Microsoft's updates to its OSes, and according to CW's own chart, Vista sp2 has a lower infection rate than Windows XP sp3. And while CW mentions that Vista sp2 will be fully supported by Microsoft until 2017, the article ignores that fact (!) and talks up the expiration date of Vista sp1 support (last year) as if that is the only date that counts. Regardless of the OS, after Microsoft puts out an sp2, they drop support a short time later for sp1, because they want people to install the latest service pack. Just good sense on Microsoft's part. They did that for Win9x, Win2k, WinXP, Vista, and now for Win7.

What a bunch of half-wits...;) After this post I'm going back to the article and write the author a nasty little note as to how those of us who see what he's doing are not impressed. People didn't like Vista because it was so different from WinXP--just like they didn't like Win95 at first, and they didn't like WinXp at first, and so on. I used Vista x64 for 2.5 years prior to Win7 and never had a problem with it--but I *like* new things. It's almost comical the number of people who don't know that Windows 7 is simply Vista 2.0, renamed. That's why it's so funny--hilarious, even--to hear people trash Vista but praise Win7! Basically, Vista is to Win 7 as Win95 was to Win98, and Win 2k was to WinXP, etc.
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News Comments > Diablo III Claims Sales Record
106. Re: Diablo III Claims Sales Record May 23, 2012, 20:09 WaltC
Slippy wrote on May 23, 2012, 18:05:
Hey Walt,
Been thinking about purchasing Skyrim... Didn't have any time to game when it came out and then just never got around to it. Use Fallout 3 as a comparison... I love that game... do you think I would like Skyrim?

Thanks for your input in advance!

Warning--I really like this game! What follows is me trying to temper my emotions so that I can give you an objective read. As you can see, I failed!...;)

It's great, Skyrim is great--I liked F3, too, and I've modded that one extensively, as well. I think, however, that F3 doesn't hold a candle to Skyrim. (To be fair, though, F3 is a different story and hits many different themes accordingly.)

Skyrim surprised me on so many levels that I'm still tallying them up...;) Skyrim is sort of like...let's say, maybe, Morrowind or Oblivion, except that in Skyrim everything is done right! For instance, in Oblivion I always felt like I was traveling these vast distances to reach these tiny alcoves of human (and otherwise) activity, and that much of the game I spent ogling the scenery while fighting to stay awake...;) Skyrim is positively amazing in that in every single square acre of the game world, and it is huge!, there are, literally, several things of note to do, like cavern and cave explorations, lost treasure surprises, or battles with ferocious beasts or rogue sorcerers, hostile and friendly clans and tribes--the net affect is that compared with Morrowind/Oblivion, Skyrim is a virtual beehive of activity! You never get bored playing this game--I don't--a literally there's something new under every rock it seems! Even more remarkable for a computer game is the fact that the physical world inside Skyrim has differing geological features, depending on where you are--sort of like good 'ol earth, actually. Get ready for all kinds of marvelous terrain to travel.

The game is fairly non-linear in that you can decide where and how you want to play the main quests while exploring and taking on the seemingly endless array of secondary quests--and all of these generally involve a bit more than merely steppin' and fetchin'...

According to Steam, I've logged in 143 hours play, and I am not even 1/3 the way though the main quests and with still 3/4 of the world left to unroll and discover! Best news is that it hasn't bored me yet--not even once. This is the way I like to play--I don't lollygag (heh...;) If you don't already, you'll understand that slightly archaic word a bit better when you start playing) but I don't rush through it as though my britches were on fire, or because I have to take a really big "dump" and I need to finish the game a'fore it starts hurtin' bad!...;) I've never understood the mentality of rushing through a game by bypassing 70% of the content, simply to boast about "How fast I beat the game." I think in those circumstances it is clear that the game is beating its owner on or about the head, and quite severely, too.

Did I mention the mods? The game is very mod friendly and there are tons of cool mods, many of which definitely complement and improve upon the game play! The customization possible is remarkable.

The darn game is just fun, fun, fun...I don't know what else to say. It's a masterpiece--a definite classic in the making. It isn't "perfect"--but nothing is perfect. It's close, though.

If you like single-player role-playing games--Skyrim stands at the summit of them all at the moment, as far as I am concerned. If you don't buy another game this year--buy Skyrim (it has enough content to keep you hooked for the rest of the year, all by itself, if need be.)

I hope this is of some help to you even though I *did* try (somewhere in the above text) to present things coolly and dispassionately.
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News Comments > Blizzard on Diablo III Security
50. Re: Blizzard on Diablo III Security May 23, 2012, 18:56 WaltC
CJ_Parker wrote on May 23, 2012, 05:37:
Jeez what a load of BS. You clearly have absolutely no clue what the fuck you are even talking about. The icing on the cake is that you come across as some wannabe high horse intelligent elite when in reality your post is one of the most retarded anti-factual write-ups to be witnessed on here in a long time. An amazing display of arrogance and stupidity. Well played, Sir.


Be aware that your display of "ignorance and stupidity" just topped mine, and by a landslide margin. Your problem is likely that you don't understand the simple post I've made and this inability to communicate with the outside world fills you with rage and causes you to vomit up irrational personal insults. That about it? Heh...;)

If you can't do better than to hurl idiotic insults then please--say nothing. OK?

Anyway, you may want to look up how trojan horses and keyloggers are used to hack "individual systems in people's homes". That's what the vast majority of these account hacks are like. Some dumbass downloads "diablo3infinitegold.exe" and contracts a keylogger either by directly downloading and installing the infected file or by means of a drive-by infection. Hacker then remotely receives account credentials. Hacker logs into victim's account using these credentials and does whatever they're after, i.e. steal gold or items, delete the character, whatever...

OK, you have outlined exactly one way it might happen. You know, if it had happened to maybe *one person*, maybe *one time*--I might even agree with you.

That's your theory? Let's see, as I told another guy, we live in an age where banks and credit-card companies and US Government files and police stations and tech companies like Valve (who has been hacked twice, IIRC) have all been hacked by 16 year-olds. Yet you want to allege that Blizzard is invulnerable and can't be hacked. The most logical assumption is that Blizzard has been hacked--either from the outside or an employee inside--and that this is the only credible source for all of this information.

Keyloggers are old hat, guy. "Drive-by" infections--that's pretty good--I'll have to remember that the next time I want to tell the owner of a computer that the reason his Battlenet account has been hacked is because he did it to himself, because he's such a dunce. You do realize that with the right kind of firewall it wouldn't matter if someone had slipped in a keylogger?--it would get blocked and couldn't do anything or go anywhere. If someone gets a dose of malware so powerful that it takes over his machine and refuses to be blocked, among other things, then even an inexperienced person will know to format C:\ and reinstall, if that's what it takes.

You cannot categorically say that all of these cases stem from "keyloggers" (so retro) and users too dumb to properly wipe their noses. Seriously guy, if they are that clueless, how do they play the game? They shouldn't be able to figure out the rules...;)

No one who is only after account credentials hacks Blizzard's (well protected, well monitored) servers directly. There may be hacker groups (like the infamous 'Anonymous') who have made it a sport to try to break into Blizzard's backbone or to disturb their services via (D)DOS attacks but the goal of these direct high level attacks is totally different from your regular small scale account theft.

What happens a lot is that somebody inside the company wants to make some pretty good money so he sells some crucial info to interested parties. That's one way it happens--and it happens in a lot of situations. As I mentioned, Valve has a bunch of "well-monitored, well-protected" servers--and Valve got hacked--info was taken--it was not merely a DoS, either. Same thing has happened to the "well-protected, well-monitored" servers at banks, hospitals, credit-card companies, PayPal--the list is impressive. None of those were DoS attacks, either.

My premise is simple: It is Blizzard's responsibility to ensure that its customers' account security is maintained. It is just that simple. You can hold Blizzard's customers accountable if you wish--in that case, the situation will never be remedied and it will just get worse. Or, you can demand (if you are a paying customer) that Blizzard protect its customers' accounts--and this is a solution that I think will ultimately work. In fact, it's the only solution I see that has a prayer of working.

Just about everything you wrote is therefore 100% bullshit.

Nah...;) You just got confused and meant to describe your own post. It's not your fault, though, because I reached over and installed a keylogger when you weren't looking! Your fault! Bzzz-z-z-zt! What I did to you was your fault, right?

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News Comments > Blizzard on Diablo III Security
49. Re: Blizzard on Diablo III Security May 23, 2012, 18:17 WaltC
Dirwulf wrote on May 23, 2012, 04:47:
WaltC, you've been smoking weed or something. The paid authenticator is $6.50 and the mobile app is free. You are reading posts from people talking out their ass and repeating it as fact. Also, no one is hacking Blizzard to get account information. They are getting the information from 3rd party sites or phishing scams.

You wrote a really long post that is 100% pure bullshit.

Sorry, but no...;) One thing--it was very late and I was tired last night--almost delirious, actually--but I stand by the nuts & bolts of what I said.

If the only way Blizzard can guarantee people's Battlenet account security is through a $6.50 authenticator (I know the other folks get it free)--then why is Blizzard charging *anything* to anybody? The "authenticator" should be standard and paid for in the game with every Battlenet account.

But that wasn't the main issue for me--I read post after post yesterday--I will not rejoin those forums because I have read enough rubbish on the issue--that claimed that people's own boxes were being hacked--that's right--that their own computers were being hacked, and they blamed the people who got their accounts compromised for the problem!

Wherever you and I may think the hackers are getting their information, I think we can agree on the fact that *it isn't coming from individual Battlenet customers who forgot to install Norton's last month*...;) That's ridiculous.

I don't understand why you'd think Blizzard wasn't being hacked--banks get hacked, police get hacked, hospitals and credit-card companies get hacked, Valve has been hacked a couple of times--why not Blizzard? After all, the Blizzard servers contain all the information the hackers need, don't they? There's no need for the hackers to look or go anywhere else.

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News Comments > Diablo III Claims Sales Record
82. Re: Diablo III Claims Sales Record May 23, 2012, 17:56 WaltC
I'm so happy I passed on D3--not one thing in that game of enough "redeeming social value" to make me think twice about passing it up.

I'm just a little disappointed that in the trailer Blizzard released a few days before the game went online, a Blizzard employee definitely states that "there's a single player game in D3." To be fair though, he did say the game's emphasis is on multiplayer, and he did say that single-player mode also required an always-on Internet connection. And he did say that even in the single-player version a lot of things would be restricted to server side and would never be parked on a client's local machine at all.

Most of the people who bought this game did so because they enjoy multiplayer gaming, and so they are used to buying games that require being online before you can do anything of note. Heck, that all started way back there with Quake III and Unreal Tournament. If you didn't go on line you could shoot local bots all day (but you could play in a LAN)--but that was all you could do with either game. I bought both those games but lost interest in them quickly--I'm just not a multiplayer, "always online" kind of guy, I guess...;)

I'm gratified the PC version of the game is selling so well! As consoles continue to get longer in the teeth and the much-more capable PC hardware continues to drop in price, I'll bet we'll see a lot more of this in the future. It's likely the PCs best days are in front of it, and I think that will be the case for a long, long time. Most of the people buying D3 are multiplayers at heart--and those folks could care less about being "always online" because that's how they most often play whatever computer games they own, anyway.

Thank goodness for Skyrim...;) Here's a great single-player game that can be played entirely OFF LINE and with 100% of the game elements stored on my computer. I mean, I bought the game, so it follows I'd like it *all* to sit inside my box at home. Skyrim looks as if it will easily sell as many copies as D3 will sell, and perhaps more over the long run, as interest in D3 may well begin to wane drastically in a few months after everyone has had whatever multiplayer goodness he wants served up until they grow sick of the repetition and they've simply tired of it and are ready for the next great multiplayer ripoff to come their way...;) I think Skyrim has much, much longer legs than D3. (But, I will admit to being prejudiced towards great single-player games like Skyrim.)

It's too bad Diablo 3 did not have an offline, single player mode of play. I would have bought it. At least with StarCraft II I can *play the game* if I need to be offline, and that's a relief. I'm not giving that privilege up as it is one of the crucial things I paid for when I bought the game. I want to be able to fire it up when I want to--not just when Blizzard's servers are up to the task.
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News Comments > Blizzard on Diablo III Security
33. Re: Blizzard on Diablo III Security May 23, 2012, 03:46 WaltC
It amazes me that people are buying this kind of software! I think I've made the point before and so have a lot of people: offline single-play and local LAN multiplayer play have, at worst, workable configuration issues--not friggin' security issues out of the *ss!! If you're playing an offline game and your loot disappears then *you* did it, somehow, or else the program is still very buggy. Case closed. Life is sweet when it's kept simple. This kind of D3 crap is for the birds.

I read so many posts today on battlenet written by people who were blaming other customers for the fact that hackers were breaking into Blizzard's D3 servers! How many times did I hear--"If you aren't running Norton's and this or that malware program, etc., then it's nobody's fault but yours if Blizzard's servers get ambushed and whacked, and all your account data is stolen." These posters weren't going to let a little thing called "good sense" interfere with their apocalyptic ramblings!

You know it's really, really bad when the self-appointed experts in these threads start yelling and screaming about the customer's *local* security--when, by golly, it isn't even the customer's box that's being hacked! Good grief, a third-grader could figure this out...;) Why should a Blizzard account hacker, any hacker, waste his time trying to hack into someone's individual machine at home when the client at home doesn't have the information he's looking for, even if our hypothetical idiot was to decide to hack it anyway!

All of the information the hackers want and need is right on the Blizzard servers--all of it. It's concentrated there so that information on literally millions of D3 accounts is at Blizzard's finger tips. So....not being stupid themselves, the hackers after this information for nefarious reasons look for it on the Blizzard servers! They don't need to break into individual boxes at home because those boxes wouldn't supply them with a microscopic fraction of the info they want.

I really would not think I'd have to spell it out for anybody these days, but if your D3 account has been hacked then *nobody broke into your home machine and got this information*--LoL--they get it all right from Blizzard's own servers! There's no way in hell they could get that kind of info from trying to hack individual systems in people's homes remotely! The idea is unbelievably dense and stupid, imo. People who have online D3 accounts with Blizzard and who are experiencing these hacked accounts should understand--your machine at home was not and is not now being hacked for that information! IE, *you* "didn't do it!" Hope this makes you feel better...;)

The account hackers--just like the game-play hackers--are *hacking BLizzard*--not Blizzard's customer base one at a time--Haw!--even assuming such a thing could be done, when it probably cannot because of the sheer scope and size of the hacking project itself.

In fact, trying to remotely hack into people's systems at home and when they are online is such a preposterous notion that I cannot believe anyone would so much as consider it. The people stealing from Blizzard account holders are stealing it with the information they have gleaned from their studies of the Blizzard network and how it might work. It is that network, the Blizzard owned and operated network, that is being hacked.

This darn "account verification" exercise seems a bit daft, to me. Apparently, in acknowledging that their security such as it is cannot adequately protect people's Blizzard account information, Blizzard seems determined to continue to pour gasoline on this fire by offering to *sell* its customers a service--does Blizzard call it the "authenticator"?

Anyway, I also heard this service was voluntary for the customer, although Blizzard is only providing these services [i]for a fee.[/i] I saw the figure of $10 in one post in which the fellow said that's what Blizzard charged him to set up the "authenticator" for his account. I have no idea at the moment whether this is just a temporary situation, however. Also--I don't have or want the authenticator service myself (it is called something very similar to "authenticator," so please forgive any inadvertent errors on my part.)

After account setup, an "authorization" signal simply cuts out all legitimast that whenever your BN account is being accessed or run, a phone number you supplied is rung, which means it has the highest probability of working as advertised. When you answer the call, a robot informs you that your Battlenet account has just been activated, but if you know about it then everything is fine (of course.) If not, the friendly but oil-guzzling robot provides you with a list of people and their telephone numbers if you suspect your account has been hacked. Presumably, these people can help.

Since it's Blizzard's network being illegally accessed in all of these account breaches, I certainly think it can be persuasively argued that Blizzard should be providing this service gratis for all current patients.

The service seems very simple: it is tied to your wired or wireless telephone number, and every time someone rings you up on it, a real Westerner dies in Western Yugoslavia, Africka...;)
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News Comments > 38 Studios Misses Payroll; Bounces Check
28. Re: 38 Studios Misses Payroll; Bounces Check May 18, 2012, 10:22 WaltC
Bhruic wrote on May 17, 2012, 23:37:
Where is everyone getting this "scam" thing from? They planned to produce an MMO and came to the realization they wouldn't be able to produce one with the resources at hand, so they switched over to making a single player game. They hoped sales of that game (as well as establishing the IP) would bring them enough money to finish off the MMO version. That plan failed when they had insufficient sales of the single player game.

Apparently, the only "plan" they had was to *buy* another studio--which was deep into KoA development at the time. And so their only tangible result with--was it 701 employees, claimed?--comes from *another company*--the actual developers of KoA!

With all its employees and all of that investment money, why couldn't 38 studios create its own, original game? Heck, Gabe Newell claimed the multi-year development cost for Valve's HL2 was $40M. 38 Studios had more money than that--a lot more than that. That's why people think it's a scam, and I have to agree with them.

I had to edit this for Beamer's benefit, because he doesn't seem to understand that it isn't Schilling's $75M on the line--the state of RI is who will be picking up the tab. *That's* what makes it a scam. Yessir, the good ol' RI tax payers will foot the bill for this one--*not* Schilling. So, forget about claiming Schilling "lost" anything because he didn't, and he knew he wouldn't going in. Give me one--just one--other similar example of a state government guaranteeing loans for a game developer. That's so rotten you can smell it all the way into Denmark.

This comment was edited on May 18, 2012, 10:35.
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News Comments > Unreal 4 Details & Screenshots
38. Re: Unreal 4 Details & Screenshots May 18, 2012, 10:07 WaltC
Beamer wrote on May 18, 2012, 09:14:

Hard facts and data like the average Xbox 360 age being 35-44?

Hey, let's keep calling everyone that does something we don't like "kiddies!" I hate those Olive Garden Kiddies, and those Japanese Luxury Car Kiddies, and those Grapefruit Juice Kiddies!

LoL...;) Joystiq says the research done is "somewhat sparse" and then links to "", which is, of course, an environmental rag with apparently a lot of hate for human beings and computer technology--but that's beside the point, anyway. The point was that the joystiq link only returns a "page not found" error, instead of the actual survey. But I guess you didn't try to read the actual article the joystiq article is based on. They may correct the error, but as of 2 minutes ago, that's what you get when you follow the joystiq link. I make it a habit to always follow such links just to see if the article is honest about what it reports the *other article* said...;)

When Internet kiddies grow up one of the first things they learn is not to believe everything they read...;)

Consoles in particular, because their cpus/gpus and general hardware resources are so limited, have been holding back the state of 3d game-engine development for years. I gave up on Epic when Epic gave up on the PC. There are several developers of note who have *recently* made a great deal of money writing great games for the PC, and they haven't been shy about reporting it, either. But this article surprised me, as I had no idea just how full of s**t Epic, and particularly Cliffy, is! No idea! Unreal.
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News Comments > Diablo III Launch: Error 37 Gains Infamy
71. Re: Diablo III Launch: Error 37 Gains Infamy May 16, 2012, 10:57 WaltC
Talk about screw-ups, Blizzard must have been hallucinating during the development cycle of this game. The whole idea behind client-server games is that you turn over everything you can to the local client, because the customer can shape and control his own local environment but there's not a thing in the world that the customer can do if the server has trouble. Blizzard should be awarded the "How Not to Design a Game Award" for this one. They're selling their customers half the game--the other half they are keeping on their servers, to be released to their customers under very strict circumstances:

1) The Blizzard servers have got to be functioning perfectly
2) The customer's broadband service has got to be functioning perfectly

..or it's no-play, Jose'! Good Job, Blizzard!

I'm unquestionably passing on this one.

Now, back to something much more predictable that I'm actually enjoying quite a bit (again): my 16-year-old CD copy of Anvil of Dawn, which runs perfectly on Win7x64 through DOSbox .74...;) No error 37's here--not a single one--*and* I get to play when I want to instead of when Blizzard allows me to play. What a concept!

(It's really amazing, isn't it, when you see how much a formerly good name like Blizzard can forget about good game design? Can companies develop Alzheimer's? Something is really wrong with the Blizzard picture.)
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News Comments > Diablo III Interview
45. Re: Diablo III Interview May 7, 2012, 14:51 WaltC
What a thread...;) First off, I want to say that I very much enjoyed the original D1&2 games at the time they were released. IIRC, they were both very good single player games that were so much fun, in my opinion, because of the atmosphere they created for the player--the music, the narration, all of it. If you didn't play the original D1&2, then pick up a copy of Torchlight (1) by Runic--it has much of the same wonderful atmosphere of D1&2 (If you haven't played Torchlight, play it immediately!).

It's too bad, but I understand that D3 will not be single player and cannot be played offline--basically, the opposite of D1 and D2. The guy in the interview, near the end, says "You can play single-player, but we don't recommend it." How is that possible offline with Blizzard selling only the client? I also understand that D3 will use a fixed camera. OK, so that lets me out--not interested at all anymore. Absence of single-player/offline play for a Diablo sequel seems like a nutty design decision if ever there was one. Cameras were indeed often fixed a decade or more ago, but it was because of the hardware technology limits of the day, and programming decisions relative to writing to the lowest common technology denominator of the day--as opposed to some kind of appealing design decision.

If you have played Witcher 1, then you'll know what kind of camera I prefer. In Witcher 1 you can zoom all the way in to First Person, out to third person, and still further out to an overhead view. It's your choice. (I think it is one of the things I really missed in Witcher 2, which has a fixed, third-person camera view.) Today I think it's silly not to include a zoom-able camera, like the one found in Witcher 1 and lots of other games, actually.

So for these reasons I will likely skip D3. T2 looks very promising. I'm only hoping that Runic hasn't ruined the Torchlight series by changing the game play to cartoon graphics as shown in the game's opening trailer.
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News Comments > Diablo III Auctions Detailed
50. Re: Diablo III Auctions Detailed May 2, 2012, 02:38 WaltC
AnointedSword wrote on May 1, 2012, 21:21:
The argument about not paying money for pixels is getting old as well. You pay real money to play pixels, don't you?

I'm thinking that this is one of the goofiest statements of belief I've ever heard...;) I don't think that arguments urging people not to become fools will ever get old. But that's just me, and I do realize that as a comparative proportion of society, the "fool quotient" has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years.

It's remarkable this idiotic idea is even being discussed let alone implemented. Is Blizzard trying to ruin the launch of Diablo III with this kind of off game-topic buzz? Maybe, though, the real situation is that the game is pretty darn bad--and Blizzard knows it--and anything goes in the Diablo III game experience that serves the purpose of helping people forget about the how supremely rotten the game itself actually is. Is this the old "Dazzle 'Em with B***Sh**!" ploy with a new coat of paint? Heh...;) Sure looks like it, Blizzard!

Traditionally, within a computer game, players may buy and sell virtual items for virtual money if the game is the type that provides it and if the players wish to spend time doing it. It's been that way like, forever...;) Mentally healthy people can enjoy fiction to the utmost without getting it hopelessly confused with real life in the slightest. It's the real nutters who read a Superman comic book one too many times and then get killed trying to fly off a bridge because they had come to believe that not only was Superman real, but that *they* were, in fact, Superman himself. Likewise, only real nutters would pay real money, over and above the price of the game, for virtual items that do not exist as real objects in the real world--and only have an existence as collections of pixels on the 2d screens of Diablo III (Yes I know it is a "3d" game--and I don't mean the horrible psuedo-3d glasses effect!--but still, even today we are all constrained to 2d monitors.)

Next thing you know, some people will actually be buying programs that sell virtual iPhones for real $50 prices that are "fully operational" on-screen via a mouse and keyboard or *shudder* an xBox controller or GAAA_A_A_A!-a Touch Screen "that lets you touch the virtual touch-screen iPhone you now proudly own!" (Cue the men with the butterfly nets! Action! Roll'em!)

You can spend hours of blissful joy having fake cell-phone conversations with fictitious people from all over the world whose voices and syntax and languages and accents have been very cleverly compiled into recordings by dozens of skilled voice actors! Via a touch screen you "can hold the virtual iPhone in your virtual hand"--just like a real iPhone! With your fingertips you can mash the colorful fake buttons on the screen and your virtual iPhone will "go online" or use "Google Maps" (using very clever pre-compiled animations, of course, since your 4g LTE virtual iPhone network is virtual, too), or you can manipulate your virtual iPhone to make lots of spiffy tech-sounding noises and flash beautiful colored lights--just like the real iPhone does! Yea, baby! What an awesome virtual deal for just $50 real dollars and NO DATA CAPS and NO MONTHLY FEES!! (But that's only because, of course, the "virtual iPhone simulator" is just a virtual object with virtual functionality that doesn't really do anything at all in the real world--except of course separating you from your real $50.)

Back to Blizzard. Blizzard *says* it is going to have TWO, count 'em, two, "Auction Houses" inside the Diablo III game. One of them will sell fake game items for real money; the other one will sell fake game items for fake, in-game virtual money (gold, etc.) The unstable nutballs will quickly migrate to the Auction House selling fake items for real money, and the mentally healthy Diablo III players will do as they always do when playing games like Diablo III--they will buy and sell virtual game items in the in-game stores that deal only in virtual money, or they will collect their gold, buy and sell their fake game items as it suits them, and then they will either participate in the "virtual items for virtual money Auction house," or they will skip it altogether and just *play the game* as it was *originally* intended to be played...;)

And, no, AnointedSore, (sp?) when people buy computer games they are *not* paying for collections of dumb, pixelated virtual objects of all kinds that allow the purchaser to do *nothing* with them except look at them on a computer screen and rotate them and fake-use them, etc. That's *the* most dumbed-down definition of a computer game I think I've ever heard...;) Games like that would sell about as well as the fake iPhone simulator I describe above, and be about as much fun, too.

What people are buying when they buy a virtual computer game of some kind, AnointedSpore, with *real* money, is an interactive *story* of some kind--with a plot, a beginning, an end; a story with fictional characters, hopefully some depth, and hopefully a lot of entertainment along the way. Or else they are buying a "frag-everything" FPS. Buying a computer game with real money is not too different from buying a book or a movie with real money--except the computer game (if it's decent) is probably a lot more entertaining and a lot better buy for the buck in that you get many more hours of entertainment out of it...;)

If you can think of a single computer game ever made which does nothing except auction off virtual (fake!, as in not only do these objects do nothing in the real world, they don't even *exist* in the real world!) items for *real money* (and real money, of course, is both functional and it exists in the real world)? Maybe there has been a game like that in the past--but I've been gaming for 26 years and I've never heard of it if it exists--which tells me that if it existed at all it was not popular enough to rise above background noise. And I can understand why.

Back to Blizzard again. Why does Diablo 3 need two player auction houses, one of whom will attempt to peddle virtual *Diablo 3* objects for real money, money that Blizzard is planning to take for itself to the tune of 15% +; while the other is strictly virtual Diablo 3 goods for virtual money, of which Blizzard bothers, for some reason, to take a *virtual 15% cut*?

But that's not the real question that begs asking--it isn't a question of "Why two auction houses?"--It's a question of "Why even One?" auction house of any kind is needed in Blizzard's Diablo 3? When I think of Diablo 3, as I have been doing off and on now for awhile, this is a concept (player auction houses) that has never crossed my mind before reading this announcement today.

Then there's the "Global Play" stuff, too--again, which doesn't interest me at all when I think of Diablo 3. I hope I'm wrong, but these announcements seem like very rushed efforts to inject more "content" into a game that Blizzard thinks is too short, too shallow, and generally below expectations--just in order to try and keep people interested longer and playing longer.

I just finished the FAQ, and the truly goofiest statement Blizzard makes in all of this is that "lucky" players are going to be able to buy virtual gold in the game with *real* money--at an "exchange rate" which fluctuates according to some kind of scale that apparently the players at the fake-goods-for-real-money auction house are going to regulate.

According to Blizzard, all of this is happening because Diablo has always been chiefly been about accumulating in-game goods. Gee, and here I was thinking *SINGLE-PLAYER* like the Diablo's of old and that *THE EVIL IS BACK* meaning that there was some kind of good vs. evil *story* going on here, which unfolds as the player progresses through the game. But Blizzard says I must be wrong about that--because Blizzard says it's like this: The item-based nature of Diablo gameplay has always lent itself to an active trade-based ecosystem, and a significant part of this trade has been conducted through unsecure third-party organizations. And to think I played Diablo I & II for years and enjoyed them quite a bit, especially D2, and never once heard of or used an "unsecure third-party organization" for anything at all--most especially for the truly idiotic adventure of buying virtual Diablo goods for real money.

I think this game will likely disappoint me in a very big way--but I can still hope otherwise. We'll see. This looks so much like a Herculean cash grab by Blizzard that the resulting whiteout is giving me a splitting headache.

This comment was edited on May 2, 2012, 02:48.
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News Comments > Gothic 3 Community Patch
15. Re: Gothic 3 Community Patch Apr 29, 2012, 08:45 WaltC
netnerd85 wrote on Apr 29, 2012, 04:58:
yuastnav wrote on Apr 29, 2012, 04:47:
I really wish Piranha Bytes would just try something new but apparently many developers are afraid of that in today's industry.
People don't buy games anymore unless they are on Sale.

I think the smart developers stick with what they are good at doing and leave the rest to other people...;) Your "sale" comment mystifies me since most people I know often wait for sales before they buy anything. Why games should be any different at all is a strange thought. Surely--you don't think all of them are worth $50 on some kind of auto-pilot price plan, right?

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News Comments > Skyrim DLC Hints?
15. Re: Skyrim DLC Hints? Apr 28, 2012, 11:59 WaltC
Shok wrote on Apr 27, 2012, 23:13:
Quinn wrote on Apr 27, 2012, 21:22:
Surprised people are still passionately involved in Skyrim. I had enough after about 40 hours (max!) of gameplay. As every Elder Scroll's game: After mutliple hours into it, it becomes too obvious for my allowed amount of delusion to handle that nothing you do really matters. About 40 hours (max!) into the game, I feel like a mindless zombie wasting my Real Life.

I'm basically the same except for 40 hours it's more like 4 hours. I like what someone posted, I think it was here; Elder Scrolls games are basically glorified hiking simulators. I'll still buy the next Elder Scrolls game though. I'll keep thinking it's not like the others and really isn't more of the same...until I start the hiking.

Heh...;) So sad...but...this is what happens when you buy a game like Skyrim and haven't a clue as to how to play it. One guy becomes, in his words, "a mindless zombie" after a mere 40 hours of total play; yet another plays for all of *4 hours* (shock-gasp) and thinks Skyrim is a nature-trail game about hiking in the woods...! What either of them could tell you about the *actual game* or the *plot* could fill a thimble, maybe...and yet they think they've seen it all. Nothing like buying a game--Skyrim isn't cheap--and walking away after seeing maybe 10% of the content. Amazing. These guys sound like they're guessing as opposed to relaying any kind of actual experience with the game. Sounds a lot like pretend to me...;)

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News Comments > Torchlight II Pre-Purchases Get Free Torchlight
34. Re: Torchlight II Pre-Purchases Get Free Torchlight Apr 27, 2012, 11:30 WaltC
Alamar wrote on Apr 26, 2012, 11:22:
nin wrote on Apr 26, 2012, 11:10:
Woot! And only $20! Played the hell out of the last one, and I'm sure I'll do the same here!

Yes, $19.99 is definitely a sweet spot for a game like Torchlight. I was dumbfounded at the amount of game and content it offered (though much of it was randomly repetitive.) The mood, the music, the play--reminded me so much of Diablo 2 and was why I liked it so much. It has almost a mesmeric quality about it.

This is a great example of how piracy generates revenue; many many people who pirate a product will buy a sequel. Which incidentally, is also why Windows is THE operating system of choice : )


The psychology of piracy is interesting. But to boil it down, if you offer general consumers a product which they find highly enjoyable or very appealing or very useful, and you price it right from the start, most people will buy it as opposed to pirating it. Same thing exactly is true of books and movies and music. That's why Microsoft and movie companies and the book publishers are not only "still in business" but *thriving.* If more people were pirating than not this would not be the case.

The problem for software, book, and movie publishers is when they release a poor or sub-par product and *expect* it to sell as if was a AAA title! That's never going to happen, and the publishers are idiots if they think it should. Products that aren't compelling and which are also priced as high as other very compelling products won't sell nearly as well as they might had they been priced right from the start. IE, a poor game, a poor book, or a poor song or a poor movie should be priced anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 the price of an AAA title. At that point, even the sub-par stuff will move briskly.

But publishing cartels like the RIAA and the MPAA stupidly keep complaining that their bad stuff isn't selling as well as their good stuff and so they keep complaining about "piracy" to a Congress largely so technically non-adept most of them would have a problem listing in ten words or less the differences between a ram chip and a mouse.

People buy good software when it is priced competitively from the start, in a measure commensurate with its worth. But when the RIAA & MPAA companies keep trying to push poor-quality products on the public for the same prices as the good stuff--it isn't going to sell nearly as well no matter what they do. Whether the poor quality products they throw out into the market are pirated or simply ignored, the result is the same: far few people buy them.

Although I agree with you that it is likely that Microsoft's OSes are among the most pirated pieces of software in history, it's still a fact that Microsoft is the financial success it is because most people--yes, most people--buy Windows as opposed to pirating it (at least, this is true in North America and Europe. Probably not so much in China.) They buy it because they think that for the price it is an excellent buy for what it does!

A good example by which to prove that observation is desktop Linux distributions. Windows outsells them on the desktop 100-to-1 even though the Linux desktop is essentially *free* and has been for years. That's fairly dramatic proof that billions of people around the world find desktop Windows so much more valuable than desktop Linux for their personal computing needs that they gladly pay to own Windows and choose it over a desktop Linux distro which they could get for free if they so desired! You don't have to pirate desktop Linux to get it for free because it already is!

That's an incredibly strong and clear statement about what companies need to do in order to minimize the effect of piracy on their bottom lines: make products that are compelling enough that people will see their value and be glad--happy, ecstatic, even!--to buy them at reasonable prices! Piracy will never be 100% eliminated, but a company can darn sure knock out at least 90% of it if their customer-value-for-the-dollar strategies are sound and their products are compelling enough to inspire strong demands. Smart companies don't fight piracy with a pack of ambulance-chasing attorneys suing and threatening their customers--that's a dead end strategy if ever there was one. Smart companies *overcome* piracy by offering fantastic value to their customers and fantastically useful&desirable products. Microsoft has been doing that, on balance, for most of its existence--and that's why the company is still here, let alone why it has become dominant in many areas.
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News Comments > Torchlight II Pre-Purchases Get Free Torchlight
33. Re: Torchlight II Pre-Purchases Get Free Torchlight Apr 27, 2012, 10:29 WaltC
Graham wrote on Apr 26, 2012, 13:16:
deqer wrote on Apr 26, 2012, 11:56:
I was going to pick this up, but ever since they released that childish cinematic last week, I fear I would be picking up a game for 5yearolds--I'm not a 5yearold.

You sound like a rational person with reasonable opinions.

Protip: Being worried about you own personal, private hobbies appearing childish shows that you still have some growing up to do.

Sounds reasonable. I wonder how you'd relish a public revelation of your private Voodoo-Barbie doll collection, replete with long pins stuck through intestines and thoraxes, though...;) Seriously, he wasn't worrying about appearances, he was simply making a statement that in his opinion, based on the intro cinematics, the game looks childish. If it turns out that the intro to the game bears no resemblance to the game itself, he might very well purchase the game. I feel the same way. That intro, for me, was so childish it was very nearly insulting.

It closely reminds me of the way Asus used to package its $300 3d accelerators sold in the US: the cover invariably had a picture of what had to be an 8-year-old male, one thumb very nearly in his mouth, the other balled into a sort of fist and clutching some sort of purple plastic dinosaur, a hairdo that looked like he'd stuck a finger into a light socket--and a set of huge, wide-open eyes that looked as if they saw everything and understood nothing. It was plain to whom Asus was marketing that $300 3d card--and it *wasn't* to the US adults who could afford to buy the thing. Asus might as well have blared with a megaphone: "We have no idea why anyone would want to actually buy a 3d card in the US, but they buy lots of them, and all we can figure out is that the child on the front of this box best represents the demographics for our 3d accelerators in the US."

I don't know if Asus is still making product boxes like that, and I think Asus makes great products, but if I had to guess about that based on nothing more than the design of the box I'd guess it was a pile of junk...;) Impressions, especially first impressions, are extremely important in marketing.
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News Comments > Morning Legal Briefs
15. Re: Morning Legal Briefs Apr 21, 2012, 12:49 WaltC
scratz wrote on Apr 20, 2012, 14:50:
I have four HDTVs, and the oldest, a 32 inch Vizio is no longer able to receive certain premium HD programming since this "update." Apparently it predates HDCP's wide adoption. I can't remember how long I've owned it. Probably 6 years now?

It is always a mistake when a provider chooses to remove service that a customer has been using for many years. "Buy a new TV" is a silly answer. I pay nearly $150 a month for my DirecTV service. They should grandfather existing accounts.

Check for an HDCP-HDMI adapter--should be one available for you somewhere. My old HD 4850 cards from ATi came with a DVI-to-HDMI/HDCP adaptor, which I supposed worked although I never tried it. I do know, however, that a plain DVI-to-HDMI adaptor, without the ATi HDCP circuitry, would *not* work satisfactorily with the 4850, though.

The newer HD cards, the ones with on-board HDMI ports, already have the HDCP functionality built in, so no worries there.

I agree that this sort of thing sucks. Paying customers are always the ones that pay out the most while the crooks sail on, scot-free.

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News Comments > Legend of Grimrock Patched
36. Re: Legend of Grimrock Patched Apr 21, 2012, 12:29 WaltC
rist3903 wrote on Apr 21, 2012, 02:03:
Thanks for the monitor feedback!

I will take it under advisement.

Best advice: by the largest, highest-resolution monitor you can afford--and it won't hurt to extend the warranty on it out a couple more years, if possible (usually doesn't cost too much at time of purchase.)

If you are looking at tiny screens from 6" away the pixel density might be important to you, but generally a larger screen which allows you to comfortably observe it from 2'-3' away at minimum, is far more preferable, visible, and easy on the eyes. I do agree that 1920x1080 should be the minimum native res--with 1920x1200 being the sweet middle of the road--and ~2500x1600 being the absolute maximum. The first two resolutions are definitely the better buys--the top resolution only if you have money to burn and also plan to drop a wad for gpus powerful enough to drive all those pixels...;)
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News Comments > Torchlight II Cinematic
10. Re: Torchlight II Cinematic Apr 21, 2012, 11:28 WaltC
Zoso wrote on Apr 21, 2012, 11:16:
I have to say that trailer was pretty bad. I would even go as far to say it might even chase a few buyers away.

Agreed--it looked like an ad for Romper Room's Dirty Diaper Capers...;)

These guys could have a mega-mega hit on their hands with Torchlight II. If this "opening cartoon" is any indication of the quality and depth of the the game, however, it looks like they will fail miserably in reaching that potential. If the game turns out to be the great game we all hope it will be, then this trailer could not possibly be less representative. Bad move, Runic, bad move.

If I didn't know better, I might say that Runic would be "embarrassed" at one-upping Blizzard (gosh knows, we wouldn't want people thinking Runic could do great things if Runic can't do them, would we?), and so Runic has decided to put out a game that will really cause Diabolical 3 to shine, shine, shine!

Excuse me while I enter my private restroom and throw up.

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News Comments > Torchlight II Cinematic
7. Re: Torchlight II Cinematic Apr 21, 2012, 11:16 WaltC
Gridphoenix wrote on Apr 21, 2012, 03:02:
Cant wait to see this one. However: Will there be a Mac version ? I am still hoping. Playing Torchlight 1 on my iMac from time to time.


I really don't understand all of this self torture...;) "Macs" have been x86 PCs for several years now, and will boot from Windows as handily as from OS X. Why not buy a copy of Win7, run Bootcamp, and save yourself all of the needless "hoping" and nail biting? Then you *wouldn't have to worry* about OS X-specific versions, or wait year(s) for them, etc. It's like deliberately choosing not to use 50% of the computing environment you bought. Sheeesh.

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