Monday, November 17, 2008

Murdoch gets it?

Found this interesting. Rupert Murdoch, the owner of News Corp., basically confirmed what the conservative right has been saying for years, and by conservative right I mean people like myself and Rush Limbaugh. The liberal media thinks people are too stupid to think for themselves.

While ABC is currently hosting Mr. Murdoch's lecture series, I have a sneaking suspicion ABC probably don't want to be associated with somebody whose called them out now.

The point, however stands. The liberal media has been busted, collectively, by bloggers and people sitting in their homes so many times, it's almost become a game. I know some people... okay. I know two people who the only reason they subscribe to a local newspaper (Augusta Chronicle for those interested), is to go through and look up what the Associated Press and Reuters got wrong. I know for a personal fact that the furry community is horribly misrepresented by the liberal media, and I know for a fact that video games are horribly misrepresented by the liberal media.

What the liberal media failed to realize is that as they were coming up with pigeonholed stereotypes for furries and videogamers, such communities were setting up their own news services and methods of communication, using basic bulletin board systems, then forums, then websites with forums. When I want to read about what's new in gaming, I don't go to The Washington Post or New York Times. I do, however, drop by IGN, Kotaku,, GamesPress, or simply write it myself from a press release. Although, I will admit, Kotaku editors should be kicking themselves in the arse for having campaigned for Obama.

The real big problem, as I see it, is that the Liberal media is not going to be able to rebuild the trust it once had. Newspaper subscriptions are going to continue to drop, internet media is going to go to more specialized sites who stay in better contact with their readers, and TV reporting is going to become a past history event. Well, maybe not this year, probably not next year, probably not by 2012, or even 2015. In all seriousness, stuff like the Wii's real-time whether channel, and online up-to-date streaming programs will probably become the sources of daily news for the average US citizen. Afterall, that's how CNN succeeded. Any news, any time.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

is there a long-term future for the netbook?

Many tech-news websites spent the past couple of weeks betting on AMD introducing a new processor line aimed at the currently red-hot netbook market. For those unfamiliar with the term, a netbook is a class of laptop computer inspired by the OLPC project. In short, a netbook is a laptop computer with a sub 10inch viewing LCD, a solid state hard-drive, limited memory, and a low-end processor. Because of the low system specs for the netbook type computers, most netbooks ship with a Linux distribution or Windows Xp, simply because Vista, and the upcoming Windows 7, won't run. The best known brand of netbook, the Asus EeePC, has a starting price of about $300 on a 7inch screen version.

Much to the shock of many analysts, AMD decided to downplay the netbook market, which resulted in statements like this:
Yeh but AMD does need to enter the market sometime if they wish to keep up, intel is coming out with some nice processors thanks to the work they have done in the netbooks so intel can take the market over entirely if AMD isnt careful
Well, by the same logic, just because your best friend decides to stick his head in an oven pre-heated to 600 degrees, doesn't mean you should join in.

From an objective viewpoint, I'm tossed on the netbook market. On hand I applaud anything that pushes forth Linux as a viable competitor to anything that's spewed out of Redmond Washington. The retail impact of Linux in the netbook market has been huge, with many retailers reporting that Linux based netbooks were taking up 40% or more of their notebook class shipments.

Not that the success of the Linux netbook hasn't had some vendor detractions. Case in point would be a vendor that claimed that returns of their Linux netbook were 400% higher than returns of their Windows Xp netbook. What the vendor didn't mention, and then promptly buried when it was brought up, is that the sales of the Linux netbooks were well over 4 times the sales of the Windows Xp netbooks, actually somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 times to 10 times, which is 800% and 1000% respectively.

On the other hand, I'm not really sure the netbook market has a viable long term value. The basic reality is this. An HP netbook with a 1.6ghz Via C-7 and 2gb of memory will set you back around $650, if you can find one. The slightly less mobile friendly Intel Atom at 1.6ghz and 2gb of memory will be setting you back $700 new, or maybe $680 if you shop around. Granted, the Via system only has a screen size around 8 inches, while the Intel has a screen size around 10inches. Lowering the price abit, lets say to just over $400, at $430, you could pick up an Intel Atom powered Asus EeePC with 1gb of ram and a 10 inch screen.

By comparison, $400 will grab you a 1.8ghz dual core Athlon64 from Acer with a 15 inch screen, albeit with only 1gb of ram.

15 inch laptops with 2gb of ram have a general starting price around $500-$600, although if my money was involved I'd be spending out some extra for the Athlon64 in this Compaq over the lower priced Pentium based computers.

So, realistically, from a laptop operating view, consumers will pay more for less performance when it comes to netbooks. Don't let the Intel brand name fool you on the Atom. As HardOCP found when they ran the Atom, Intel had managed to catch up to Via's previous processors, the C3 and the C7, which weren't exactly speed demons to begin with. By comparison, Via had gone a step further on the new Nano, surpassing the C7. According the HardOCP guys even Microsoft Vista was comfortable to run on the Nano, but they couldn't say that about the Atom.

There are two sides to every story though. When Xbitlabs did a similar comparison, they handed victory to the Atom over the Nano.

From a purely performance point of view, the current crop of Via and Intel mobile processors are pretty much on par with an Athlon4 from 1999/2000. Remember, the Athlon4 was the mobile varient of what became the AthlonXp.

While Linux users often brag about how efficient their Operating System is compared to whatever Redmond is producing at the time, Linux performance really comes down to the applications in use, and like it or not, the current crop of Intel and Via processors for mobile devices are perfectly capable of running most common Linux applications without a single hitch. So while the Nano and Atom processors won't be entering into the Top 500 list of Supercomputer processors, they are more than adequate enough for everyday use.

The real big problem is whether or not the battery life that the Via and Intel mobile systems offer is enough to make up for the loss of performance, loss of screen area, and the price tag difference, against a standard laptop.

The product question is complicated by the emergence of more mobile devices that are well suited to mobile computing. The two leaders of the mobile computing convergence are of course Apple with the Iphone, and Google with Android, both of which offer many of the computing capabilities normally found in laptops.

Then there are products that aren't designed specifically for mobile computing, but handle some aspects such as gaming and internet access quite well. The two leaders there consist of Nintendo with the DSi and DS platforms, followed by Sony with the Playstation Portable and if you can actually find it in the wild, the Sony Mylo.

Speaking as a gamer, I have both a DS and a PSP, and I also have a Cellphone. Most of the time, I'm carrying one of the gaming platforms along with my cellphone anywhere I go, and it's not the PSP. So of course I'm very interested in the upcoming DSi, which with the integrated Opera Browser, should make surfing at hotspots a bit easier. It's not to say that I'm not interested in a netbook, but if I know I'm going to be needing an x86 computer where-ever I'm going, I'd much rather be toting something with a little horsepower.

The mobile market is made even more complex by the number of competitors involved. In the desktop computing segment there are only two players. Intel and AMD. If you want to get technical, you could say that IBM plays in the desktop market, but Sony blows that chance every chance they get. And yes, I'm fussing about Sony not having the balls to simply sell, ship, and update the PS3 as a Linux Desktop computer.

In the mobile market though, there actually is quite a bit of processor activity. Processor designs like ARM, as implemented in Marvell's (formerly Intel) Xscale processor, are quite common in mobile devices. The MIPS architecture also has a wide range of uses in routers, telecommunications equipment, and cell phones. Even though Apple kicked Power to the curb, the architecture is used in all 3 current major gaming consoles, as well as many other embedded devices, including mobile communications devices.

The mobile market simply isn't open to everybody though. Even companies with a rich portfolio of genuine patented hardware inventions can go under, such as Transmeta. So merely having a good, or even the best architecture, doesn't mean that a company can be profitable in the mobile market.

Intel is one of the few hardware companies than can sink a few million dollars into a dead-end research, well, okay, a few billion dollars if you want to stop and look at Itanium for a minute, but anyways. Intel has the money to invest in the mobile market in a meaningful way.

However, most of the other companies involved in the mobile market, don't have plans or production lines spread out very far beyond that. Case in point is Via, which has slowly withdrawn from offering desktop computer parts and chipsets for AMD and Intel platforms.

AMD, unfortunately doesn't have the cash available to chase after every market Intel goes into. That means that AMD has to pick their battles and do the best they can with their resources.

Even with the blazing success of Netbooks today, Intel has a large problem that as the Atom processors improve, the Atom processors will begin to cut into Core2 processors.

Intel also has a large problem that Ubuntu will now officially support a Ubuntu distro on an ARM processor architecture. Imagine the implications of Dell offering an ARM based netbook with Ubuntu. Running Linux, it would be just as fast as an Atom, and have better power management. If I was in Intel's shoes, I'd start throwing F.U.D. about ARM. Oh wait, Intel's already doing that.

The basic reality is, the netbook class of laptops has a lot of incidental, indirect, and direct competition, from a wide range of devices. To the average business user, stuff like the MacBook Air is the way to go. Ultralight weight laptop without sacrificing screen real-estate. Which is where AMD said they would be putting their money. Into bringing stuff like 13" ultra-lightweight notebooks down from $1800, to half the price.

AMD has decided to go after a market where there is a clear difference between simply a laptop, and a glorified cell phone.

Right off hand, that's a much better use of their money, than to go after netbooks.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Is proprietary software responsible for the so-called recession?

wcc1776 posted this link on Mepislovers :

Rather than get into politics there, decided to get into politics here.

Okay, to start with, I'm not convinced the world is actually in an economic recession. And yes, I do actually pay attention to the news. Many of the attributes of a recession are present, such as massive layoffs and massive bankruptcies.

But what would happen if these massive layoffs and bankruptcies were caused by criminal actions? It is still a recession when somebody deliberately broke laws in order to cause an economic downtown? The fact is, I believe the Liberal Democrats and many of their leaders are guilty of acts consisting of treason. A case in point would be executives of housing companies bailed out by the US Federal Government that promptly went on a multi-hundred thousand dollar retreat. People like Presidential-Elect Obama that made off with lots of money as well. Am I accusing Presidential-Elect Obama of treason against the US? Yes. Yes I am. Given his track record on foriegn visits and the people he keeps as advisors, it is my believe that Presidential-Elect Obama has actively worked against the government and citizens of the United States.

But that's not really a big surprise.

Lets start with the housing problem. I think Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear had the best explanation for the housing market crash. Banks lent money to banks that didn't have money, and the banks that didn't have money lent money to illegal Mexicans in California that couldn't pay the money back.

The fact is, Liberal Democrats have several political policies that have been foisted on the American Taxpayer and business man. One of those policies is a complete rejection of anything resembling racial profiling. It's known now that the Associated Press, Reurters, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and other news agencies actively worked to suppress and censor data, from at least 15 years ago, that housing companies were getting hit with charges of discrimination.

In simple terms, a person who was black, hispanic, non-white, or whatever of some minority, believed that they were unable to qualify for housing because of their minority status, rather than on points such as time in job, pay rate, expected job length, and so on. The result was a rash of small and large housing companies that took the risk to bet on the minorities, and bet on people who simply couldn't pay back the money for housing.

Eventually, that house of cards was going to fall, and many in the housing business saw the crash coming years ago. I know several local real estate dealers that were surprised the housing market managed to last as long as 2008 under the policies of the liberal democrats.

Quite simply, there were several people in the real estate and housing market that simply had no business being there in the first place. Had banks and housing companies stuck with strict standards for approval, the housing crash would never have happened. Many of these companies and banks knowingly violated federal regulation, willing broke existing laws, in order to make quick bucks, and comply with the demands of Liberal Democrats.


So, what does this have to do with proprietary software? Well, notice a common theme in the housing market? Liberal Democrats? Is any of this ringing a bell? The complete lack of personal responsibility? The complete lack of accountability?

It's no secret now that Steve Ballmer is firmly in the Obama camp, and it's no secret that I believe that Steve Ballmer is guilty of criminal fraud in the US. It's no secret that his company is a federally convicted, not just suspected, convicted criminal organization.

The same policies and beliefs that lead to the collapse of the Housing Market were the same policies that lead to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Those same policies would have also lead to the collapse of quote Red China, up until China adopted some free market economic policies to survive. There is empirical evidence that the political and economic beliefs of the Liberal Democrats do not work. An entire country collapsed, what more needs to happen?

I know a lot of people in the Open-Source world who live and work in the US are stepping back from the election and wondering what they voted for. People wanted change, but Obama never defined change. Now we know what change is. That change is an implementation of the social and economic policies of Communist Russia. There's no other way to put it.

And Microsoft is a key part of the Democrats world. It's a key part of bringing together the control over everything, the key to making the government larger and more pervasive. Microsoft is the Big Brother capability, made real.

And I've been screaming at the top of my lungs for years that the Liberal Democrats are not your friends, that they are the enemy. And now? the evidence is coming to light that everybody who voted for Obama in the US... made one of the worst political mistakes ever.

PepsiCo... stay out of the culture war

I normally don't bother passing on stuff like this, since I figure anybody who is interested is probably already subscribed to the AFA.

Long story short I buy a lot of Pepsi products when it comes to drinks. For starters, I try to support companies that partner against the likes of the RIAA and MPAA. Given Pepsi's overly long cross-promotion with's DRM free music I've been more than happy to buy up Pepsi products.

Second, I've come to actually like the taste of Caffeine Free Pepsi. I can honestly taste tell the difference between most caffeine free drinks, and their original versions. With Pepsi? Still tastes enough like a Soda to me.

So when I find out that Pepsi has decided to get involved with the Liberal Democrats Culture War on the United States, I'm a little upset:

I've already gone into the reasoning behind the homosexual agenda before. My view is that people just want money, and they see the Homosexual agenda as a quick way to get that money. From what I directly know, all of the reports about the size of the Homosexual agenda use falsified data, and that far from having a 1 in 10 minority rate populated by the likes of falsified data surrounding the Michael Kinsey reports, the real rate is somewhere around 1 in 10000, not that the MPAA or various television shows would ever dare suggest that Homosexuals make up one of the smallest minority groups in the US.

My take is that a corporate business has no business getting involved with the Homosexual agenda, on any level. Doing so is a recipe for disaster. A good case in point is Disney, which under boycott managed to save itself on paper by scrapping multiple cruise ships, international clubs, and rapid expansion of the Disney Corporation. Even today television watchers and movie goes have noted that Disney's quality isn't what it used to be, a large result of cutting costs under the Boycott caused by partnering with Homosexual groups.

Now the executives who pursued a gay-friendly work enviroment, and worked for the gay-causes are now gone from Disney. Ejected because it was simply bad business. The same story is true with McDonalds, which under financial pressure, severed it's ties with the homosexual agenda.

One would think that after a while, corporations would learn that supporting Homosexuals in any way, in the US, is a sure fire recipe for ticking off the majority of consumers, and will inevitably result in profitable companies having to scramble to look good on paper, even while bleeding heavily underneath.

Pepsi's pretty much always played second fiddle to Coca-Cola as a world-wide soft-drink, and supporting the Homosexual Agenda in any way... based on past histories of companies that have done such support on the fraudulent data put forward by the Homosexuals, could easily turn Pepsi-Co into a niche market product like Royal Crown Cola.

Speaking for myself, when I hit Kroger today, it won't be for Pepsi. I'll simply go to Coca-Cola.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CoH Stories - 2008

Okay. While trying to explain City of Heroes to a coworker, I went over some of the main storylines of the game. Well. Some of them get kind of complex.

Now, this isn't a listing of all of the enemy groups. This is attempting to be a listing of the major storylines, and where those storylines stand as of Issue 12.

Nemesis - Current :

Nemesis is a reclusive genius bent on taking over the world. He does so because he honestly believes he can make the world a better place. At one point he was Emperor of America. He is noted for his advanced steam powered creations.

Nemesis also caused the Rikti invasion.


Nemesis - Ourobous :

Nemesis has succeeded in taking over the world at some point in the future. Something went screwy, and now he's trying to prevent himself from taking over the world... but not letting himself know that he's preventing himself from taking over the world.

If that confused you... don't worry. The general rule of thumb for CoH is that if there is no explination, it's a Nemesis Plot.

Nemesis also has his hands in the downfall of the 5th column and the rise of the Council through Ourobous.


Hamidon - Current :

George Hamidon loves the earth. He loves it a lot. There's just one slight problem. George Hamidon hates the humans. In fact he hates everything that isn't the earth. Now he's a big giant blob of sentient jelly that is literally eating his way through the earth to take control of landmasses and send his minions, the Devouring Earth, all over.

Hamidon has, at one point, developed the ability to turn humans into minions.


Malta - Current / completed :

The Malta are a goup comprised from members of the CIA and other secret agencies from years ago. Their aim is to control... everything really. They also work on building a giant super-hero killing robot. While the storyline is effectively completed, with the core of the Malta halted, there are hints that the Malta have some plots and plans up their sleeves.


Carnival - completed :

The Carnival is a group of mystics controlled by an ancient evil mask. The storyline is effectively completed, with explinations on the mask, it's powers, and how the Carnival came to be. However, it's widely presumed that the original mask has not yet been destroyed.


Rikti / The Lost - current :

The Rikti are from an alternate earth. Attacked by Nemesis they launched their own assault against the Heroes home dimension. The Rikti have appaerently captured and brainwashed Hero 1, and keep trying to shore up their positions in Paragon City.

The Rikti have perfected a method of turning an average Human into a rikti. The Lost, a low-level enemy faction, appears to be either Humans that are turning into Riktis, or Humans that have failed to turn into Rikti.

The Rikti themselves are split additionally by two factions. There is the Traditionalist faction, which is the small minority on earth, mostly made up of scientists and politicians. The Traditionalists are open to peace talks and a treaty, but have strict rules against non-Rikti. Basically there's a glass ceiling to the Traditionalist faction if one is transformed from human, into The Lost, into Rikti. While the Traditionalists hold power on the Rikti homeworld...

The Restructerist faction makes up the bulk of the Rikti on Earth, and they hold power in Paragon City. Driven by the Lord Of War Hro'Dtohz the Rikti they seek to conquer the planet, and occassionaly mass enough forces to invade parts of Paragon City they don't already have footholds in. Their only concern is getting enough portals back to their homeworld to bring in enough troops to crush earth once and for all. Various hints show that the Rikti Restructerists haven't been giving the full story of Earth's activities to the Rikti Homeworld.

They just have one... slight problem. Since they went after Nemesis's headquarters of operation first, their foothold just happens to be surrounded by one of the strongest superhero concentrations on the planet.

Another problem in the Rikti's plans is that as of Issue 12, a cure is available for The Lost.


Council / 5th Column

Another Nemesis plot story. The 5th Column is a Nazi-like organization headed up by a villain known as Requim. The Council is a similar organization headed up by a villain simply called The Center.

Early in the life of City of Heroes the Council overthrew the 5th Column and seized control. However, as found out later, the Ourobous collective was responsible for the overthrow of the 5th Column.

Currently there is a split between the Council and the 5th column soldiers. While the bulk of the Council follows the orders of The Center to the letter, the various generals inside the Council fight against each other on a regular basis. Many times the 5th council soldiers stay loyal to 5th council generals, resulting in what appears to be some nasty infighting.

The story seems to be getting more complex as Requim appears to have control over an Ouro Crystal of his own, and has been found to be time traveling. Various hints in the dialog indicates Requim has his eyes set on Atlantis.

Speculation presumes that there is a massive fight coming up as Requim and Nemesis go at each other threw time, and it's presumed that Requim will take up a direct fight against The Center in present time to overthrow the Council.


Circle of Thorns:

The Circle Of Thorns are... different. At first glance they are a mystical cult that specializes in summoning demons, offering sacrifices, and generally fitting the bill of mages gone wrong. However, the Circle of Thorns aren't... from the present. Their physical bodies are, but the minds and spirits of the Circle of Thorns are the minds and spirits of an ancient race, the denizens of Oranbega. The higher mages of the Circle of Thorns aren't just possessed by the spirits of old... they are completely made of the spirits of old.

Short version, the Circle of Thorns have mastered a power that allows them to store a person's mind and spirit in a crystal, and move it in and out of bodies almost at will.

The Circle of Thorns constant demon summoning and dark rituals provide a never-ending source of pain to both Heroes and Villains alike.


Banished Pantheon

The quick shot on the Banished Pantheon is that they are the undead. The majority of their ranks are formed of zombies raised from the dead. They also feature multiple summons, and priests that wield superpowers.

Unlike most other villain groups, there is no central head to the Banished Pantheon. Rather, the heads of the Banished Pantheons are presumed to be Ancient Incarnates banished centuries ago. Where those incarnates were banished too, and how those incarnates can be brought back... hasn't been revealed in the storyline.

The Banished Pantheon's main impact on the storyline is the take-over of Dark Astoria, a section of Paragon City continously shrouded in a supernatural fog. It is presumed that the dark rituals of the Banished Pantheon cause this mystical fog.


Praetorians : Completed / Current

The Praetorians are much like the Rikti in being that they are both from an alternate earth. However, while the Rikti are from an alternate earth that is completely different in most physical aspects, the Praetorians are from a mirror dimension. In the Praetorian world the Heroes are villains, and the villains are heroes. Groups such as the Carnival of Light fight for what is good and lawful, while the corrupt twin of Statesman, the evil Tyrant, conquers all.

The Praetorian world is made all the more complex in that their are multiple dimensions of the Praetorian world, and multiple planets. In one Praetorian Dimension, the Council suceeded in taking over the world, becoming the Council Empire.

The Praetorian arc is largely completed, which players getting most of the in-game story wrapped up once they have a face down with Tyrant. However, the sheer number of hero / villain alts opens the Praetorian worlds up to future problems. As is now, nobody knows who, or what, Lord Recluse is over in the Praetorian World.


Lord Recluse / Arachnos

Lord Recluse wants to control the world. However, before he controls the world, he wants to take down Statesman first. There's nothing Lord Recluse wants more than to see Statesman on bended knee surrendering.

Storyline wise players face off against Arachnos at pretty much all levels. The spider forces even show up as low as Faultline. Currently one of the high-level TaskForces is dedicated to stopping one of the plans to take over the world.

The Arachnos storyline is further complicated in that like the Council, there is a lot of infighting among Arachnos forces, and even one of the top generals, the spooky Ghost Widow, isn't following Arachnos because she wants to. Not to mention the fact that another top general, Scirocco, only follows Arachnos because of a curse.


Shadow Shard:

If you thought the above storylines were complex ... the shadow shard is even worse. In the Shadow Shard, an extra-dimensional plane (which also houses Pocket D) is filled with unending amounts of Rularuu forces.

There's also 3 demi-gods, consisting of
Ruladak the Strong, Faathim the Kind, and Lanaru the Mad. Oh, and then there's the master of these 3, the so called Rularuu... which is never clarified as an actual entity, or extra-dimensional force, or another Incarnate.

The short version is, as learned in the Rikti Warzone, even the Vanguard is scared of what would happen if Rularuu were to be set free in Paragon City.


Okay. That's the list of the ongoing / not resolved storylines that I can think of.

There's also some on the villain side that aren't wrapped up by the time the players finish most of the story arcs in Ourobous.

And yes, I know that there are a lot of other minor arcs, like the Trolls Superdine, and the Family, and the Cage Consotorium not covered here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

General British leaves NCSoft

There's... a lot that could be said here. I used to love Tabula Rasa, to the point that I even started writing fiction that took place in the Tabula Rasa universe. However, after Richard Garriot was promoted out of Destination Games, the game... suffered. The developers caved to the pvp crowd, and Tabula Rasa stands as the worst performing NCSoft game going. Now that Richard Garriot is gone, for good, from the game, I really wonder what the development team will do from this point.

Speaking for myself, when I played during Operation Immortality, I found a lot of bugs that were still unresolved, after literal months. The game just never lived up to what it could have been... and now... I doubt it ever will.

(well... I dunno, unless NCSoft hires me to direct the storyline and game mechanics... but I don't see them doing that)

Heads up: Matt Hartley might have found somebody willing to touch him

If you don't know who Matt Hartley is, don't worry about this. If you DO know who Matt Hartley is, Jupiter Media seems to have picked up some his articles to publish.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

CoH: I13 Epic / Patron power changes

Now that Issue 13 is in open beta, I figured it was time to go over some of the changes that are in the game right now. One of the major changes is that Hero Epic and Villain Patron powers are getting some reworks. Epic and Patron powers are player powers that become available once the player achieves level 41.

As I understood the Epic powers back in I7 when I got my first 50 they were basically intended to round out various weaknesses in various builds, giving classes like Defenders and Controllers some protection against damage; giving Tanks and Scrappers some ranged damage or extra accuracy; and basically turning trigger happy blasters into maniacal weapons of destruction. Just trust me on this, Blasters get a bunch of awesome epic powers, ranging from the debuffing cold mastery that my Archery / Fire blaster took, to an extra nuke, to a sniping nuke, to a self rez.

The big problem with the Hero Epic powers is that for many classes, only one or two of the Epic power sets available made any actual sense. A good case in point is the Controller archtype which typically lacks any status protection, force field and sonic field controllers to the side. The Epic Psionic set gives Controllers some protection against status effects, as well as helping to shore up direct and aoe damage. A defenders biggest problem is the sheer lack of damage, and they get a Power Boost as an Epic power choice. Scrappers and Tanks typically have a bit more flexibility, but by and large, most Scrappers and Tanks go after Focussed Accuracy because it doesn't matter how much damage you do, if you can't hit it will not matter. The Blaster class is really the only archtype where it didn't matter what players picked, the choices were pretty much all good.

Then came Villain Patron powers which were... well... confusing. The Villain Patron powers didn't clearly shore up any obvious weaknesses in each archtype. In fact, I know a lot of villain players that decided to just skip the Patron power sets. Granted, I only have one 50 villain, and it's a stalker, where as I have 50's in tanks, blasters, controllers, and defenders. Speaking for myself, as a stalker, I really don't need a summon pet that I have no control over when, where, or what it attacks. Okay, I can appreciate having a decent hold as a stalker, and yeah, there are times when being able to snipe from range while being invisible has it's advantages. However, I really didn't have a choice. Pretty much all the Patron sets for stalkers consisted of a short ranged attack, a sniper shot, a hold, then a pet summon.

Players in Grandville could also check out the Patron powers that other classes got, and it was pretty much the same. No matter which Villain Patron you went with, be it Captain Mako, Ghost Widow, Scirocco, or the Scorpion, the powers each archtype got were pretty much all the same for each Patron. Compared to the Hero side where even the most limited archtype, scrappers, still had 3 drastically different sets to choose from.

For reference, scrappers can take Body Master, which offers extra accuracy, an endurance usage buff, and two ranged attacks; Darkness Master, which offers a hold and 3 ranged attacks including a group immobilize; or Weapon Mastery, which has 3 ranged attacks and a mob slow.

With Issue 13, a lot of the Epic and Patron powers are changing. If you don't mind the CoH Forums, the full list of powers is located here.

Some of the changes directly affect characters I have. A good case in point would be my archery / fire blaster which has the Cold Mastery set. One of the current Cold Mastery powers is flash freeze, which does a quick hold that can be broken by any more attacks. Pointless on a class that does nothing but attack. Well, flash freeze is gone, being replaced by the Health Buff power, Hoarfrost.

Tanks are also getting a rework, with their epic sets getting various debuffs, such as Melt Armor, Shiver, and Quicksand.

One of my older builds on the test server was still specced for the Pyre Mastery set, and I also have a Thermal Radiation controller, so I decided to check out the Melt Armor for tanks.

Well. It's not good. It's actually really bad. To set up how bad the Epic power is against the normal power, I did a comparison of various Epic powers against their normal cousins on other archtypes at about lvl 41.

As always, click on the picture for the full size version. A side note before we start. I know these pictures are cropped. I forced myself to use Vista to put these together, and... no other way around it. Vista's handling of grabbing images from the frame-buffer is the worst Microsoft has managed yet.

First up, the Controller power of char

The Tanker version doesn't look so hot, pun intended. It does less damage, and has a much longer recharge time, works for less time, but the status magnitude effect is about the same. From a status effect point, the Tank is about 30% down on effect time when comparing the controllers 21 second effect to the tanks 13 second effect.

So how about the controller power of Shiver?

Compared to the Controller, a Tank isn't that bad off on shiver. The recharge time is actually faster, while the endurance usage goes up a bit. Once again, the overall status effect is down by about 30%, comparing the ~80% debuff against the ~50% debuff, around 40% on length of effect comparing the 18 second effect time versus the 10 second effect time.

Okay, lets take a look at another debuff, the Freezing Rain from the controller Storm set.

Surpisingly, at 41, the damage between the Controller version and the Tank version is the same. The status effect also remains consistent with an average difference of 30-40% on the length of the status effect, and the strength of the status effect.

For a tank then, most Epic debuffs seem to fall within 40% to 30% of the effect that a controller using the same power. So what about attacks?

Well, lets check out the Blaster Fire Blast.

At 78 points of damage on average to 51 points of damage, the Fire Blast power is staying well within the expected delta of 30% to 40% drop.

Okay, how about Energy Torrent?

59 points of damage on average versus 39 points of damage again holds true to a difference around 30%, and actually falls on the high 20's side. Granted, the slightly higher damage comes at the price of a little less... I don't mean little. I mean a lot less knockback. However, the tank's attack will always do knockback, where as the blaster power only has a chance of knocback.

How about a power that's not native to blasters, but is still ranged? Well, Tanks can get Laser Beam Eyes, and as far as I saw, there was no direct equivalent in the other normal archtypes.

However, the Peacebringer Epic Set has a Glinting Eye attack...

In fact, it's pretty much the exact same power. The only numerical differences appear in the recharge time, 4 seconds versus 6 seconds; the debuff, 18% versus 14%; and endurance cost, 5.20 versus 6.50; which all fall on the 20% side of 30%.

So, overall then, players can expect their Epic Tank powers to have an average of 30% difference versus getting the power natively on another archtype.

Or can they?

Melt Armor Controller

Melt Armor Tanker

The word you are looking for is OUCH. The status effect is the WRONG SIDE of 60% difference.

Word of advice to the developers? Get consistent with the epic powers. Melt Armor is just outright tacky.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Don't believe me that Microsoft and Obama go together?

Some people seem to want to believe that Microsoft does not equal left wing liberal democrats.

Yeah. Right.

So why then does Steve Ballmer back Obama?

There's no other way around it. When the chief executive of one of the largest criminal organizations in the world says he backs somebody, his entire company backs that person.

I've been telling readers for years that Microsoft is hand in hand with the liberal democrats, and that they are friends with the likes of the RIAA and MPAA. I've laid out in extremely plain terms the relationships and the logical 2+2=4 arguments behind these statements.

And nobody wants to listen.

Until I'm proven right. Once again.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Open Source is /screwed/

No other way to put this. The election of Obama as president, and a sitting congress comprised with a majority seating of Democrats in both houses... has officially utterly screwed open source.

If you thought that the RIAA, MPAA, Microsoft, and their friends were hard hitting in the past when it comes to removing personal freedoms, ownership, fair-use, and everything else, the next two years are going to be extremely tough.

The only plus to the election disaster today is that the liberal democrats and their anti-consumer friends only hold 53 Votes in the Senate, 7 spots shy of the needed 3/5th's number of 60 votes, as well as only holding 242 votes in the house, 46 votes shy of the 2/3 majority rule. In 2 years time, consumers will have a chance to kick the Democrats out of majority in congress, and put representatives in place that will stand in for the consumers rights.

Remember basic politics 001. Obama, as president, can't actually do anything for any extended length of time without congressional approval. He can't pass laws, order military action, place judges, or any real tasks without the approval of congress.

So the good news is, the democrats don't have enough votes to do any real damage, and in 2 years time, that capability can be rejected outright.