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Hajile

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Everything posted by Hajile

  1. Presumably the reason he gets to do what he likes is because nobody at Turbine gives the tiniest shit about their forums any more, so nobody cares how he runs them. Clearly, however, the players do which is why they're all coming here instead. Perhaps eventually everyone remaining will abandon ship too, leaving Sapience at the helm of a deserted vessel, tooting his whistle and mumbling to himself "I'm still captain..." while crying and dribbling like a baby.
  2. What can you say except: What a prick.
  3. Just logged in briefly to see these trait trees to see what all the fuss is about. Hateful things. Played around with them and tried a few builds before concluding that they are inflexible and designed to shoehorn players into rigid predefined playstyles in a way above and beyond any other trait tree system I've ever seen. Rift, SWTOR, hell even old-school WOW all have better devised tree systems than this. This tree system is newer than all of its predecessors, so theoretically it has over a decade of trial and error to call on so should not be making any of their mistakes. How they've managed to bugger it up as badly as this is beyond me. Every other tree system I've seen has a universal cost for all traits, but only provides you only enough points to either max out your current tree or spread your spending around, never reaching the peaks of any specialisation. This creates balance and variety - you can either specialise totally in one field or be a jack of all trades, and the system supports every iteration and combination in between based on your own quirks, requirements and habits. In LOTRO there is now only one option - you max out a trait tree, which you can comfortably do way before the level cap, then blow the rest of your points at double cost somewhere else, which has the unfortunate side effect of making your later spending a seem like a perfunctory afterthought. I can only imagine that this was designed to slow down and render into a background detail all level-based progression at higher levels, so the player will concentrate instead on all the other progression systems in game, of which there are now too many. But if that's the case they've gone about it in an entirely ass-backwards way, because this new system has none of the flexibility of a tree system and all the rigidity of the former trait system, but without the advantages of its achievement-based structure and it's intuitive cost-benefit tradeoffs. Moreover, the interface is cheap. The icons and frames look garish and tacky, and the trait frame is far larger now. But instead of creating new art to go inside it they have recycled the old virtue and race trait backgrounds which are now far too small for the window, creating lots of bland and empty space. I remember when the UI for this game was beautiful. Now it looks like they just couldn't be bothered engaging their art department for new assets to use, which makes the whole thing look half-finished and lazy, like a low-budget afterthought. That being said, maybe 'low budget afterthought' is bang on the money. I've been dubious about this new system since its reveal, and the feedback about it only made me more so. It took me less than ten minutes of looking at the thing before logging off, having concluded than the furore surrounding it has actually been quite lenient and forgiving. Absolutely laughable.
  4. I've been playing lots of Final Fantasy XIV recently, so I've been listening to the OST for that. Some of the boss themes are badass. http://youtu.be/N3u9c6ENhps http://youtu.be/6kPPFAIRrzk
  5. As a Welshman myself I have always imagined that dwarves all have Welsh accents. Must be something to do with all the mining. Presumably he used the Jewish language as the basis for Khuzdul because it was a germanic language that sat well with the runeletters and so forth. But Welsh was a language that fascinated Tolkien, so much so he used it to devise Sindarin.
  6. I'm enjoying the spin taking place on Massively, where this is described as a "Temporary delay." How does that work? Surely something is either delayed or it isn't. You can't temporarily delay anything - by their nature delays cannot be anything other than permanent. A delay isn't some mercurial thing that can be taken back at a later date. You know, because time only ever moves forwards. I suppose massively are saying that it's temporarily delayed until the 20th, then on Wednesday Turbine will un-delay it by travelling back in time and bringing it out on the 18th after all. Logic, Massively. It is your friend and you should spend more time with it, because it must be feeling pretty neglected about now.
  7. LIke I said, it's the moustacheless beard. Those pics demonstrate exactly what I said about why you think that. So long as you're selecting superficial aspects of the design to criticise, I'm surprised you didn't also say he looks like Santa Claus, with his white beard and red outfit.
  8. Yup. I thought Balin was wonderful, and wonderfully played by Ken Stott. I understand where you're coming from though - it's the whole amish-style beard-with-no-moustache thing, isn't it?
  9. Some people criticise Fili and Thorin, but they look fine to me. Big hands and feet and stocky frames, they're sufficiently long-haired and beardy for me. Bofur, Dori and Ori do a grand job of looking like dwarves but with none of the generic design decisions. Cinematically, they couldn't have them all looking like regular dwarves. They'd be indistinguishable from each other in wide shots and the actions scenes would become cluttered and messy. Mostly I find that the sillier looking ones are well disguised by the more traditionally dwarvish ones, like Oin, Gloin, Bombur, Balin and Dwalin. It's probably better to look at them as a collective. Taken individually some of them are a bit incongruous, but as a group and with the less-dwarvish ones peppered between the very dwarvish ones, I think they work quite well. The only ones I think are poor from a design point of view are Kili, who looks more like a ranger or an elf despite his big dwarf ears (which are covered for the most part by his long hair); Bifur, who would look okay if not for that daft axe in his head; and Nori, who has a stupid hairdo (which I'm expecting to vanish in the second and third films due to the characters slumming it in the wilderness. No time for a stylist, etc.)
  10. Okay, okay. I'll bite. That's the original definition of it, yes. It was a synonym for 'chart music' in that it was the sort of stuff that was popular enough to make it into the top 40. However, pop has taken on a life of its own in the last few decades and what people refer to as pop these days is effectively a hybrid genre, which cherrypicks various basic aspects of genres such as dance, R&B, gospel, new age, folk, country, rock and roll and whatever is currently fashionable in order to make its appeal as broad as possible. Worse, it's rarely anything other than creatively bereft, because it takes these genres and it abbreviates and simplifies what it finds in them until there is little of accomplishment remaining. It runs that sound into the ground until it wears out its welcome, then casts it aside and moves onto the next music fashion to latch on to. The artists that work in that genre then have to struggle to salvage it, because most cursory listeners now think their sound is dated and hackneyed due to its overuse in pop circles. They invariably succeed, because there are always fans of certain kinds of music, but when it becomes fashionable again pop once more descends on it like a vampire, ready to suck out its soul anew. It's happened with soul, rock, R&B, and rap in the last 20 years alone. And who among us can forget the rise and fall of "Nu-Metal," in which the music industry grasped the growing heavy metal movement of the late 90s, strapped it to an operating table where it harvested its organs and homogenised them into a chart-friendly pop sound. As a full-on headbanger myself, I found that particularly distasteful. Thankfully as a result most right-thinking people refuse to take pop music seriously, if not treat it with outright contempt. But often artists and music that belongs to the more specific genres it is currently pilfering from get tarred with the same brush, erroneously labelled as pop acts and summarily derided or dismissed as being without merit. This can be very unfair to the artist, who can be a genuinely talented composer within their field but never recognised as such due to the misconception of the listener that they are a 'pop' act. There. Told you you didn't want me to get started.
  11. Fair enough. I agree for the most part. I prefer my music to have a bit of crunch to it, and Sheeran's non-Tolkien stuff is altogether too light and fanciful for me. Still, he knows his way around a guitar and his voice is capable. On a bit of a tangent, I find it odd the frequency with which people in general refer to music as 'pop,' which is a misleading term for a genre that doesn't technically exist except in the music-luddite minds of producers and publishers. But the definition of 'Pop music' as a genre is a really expansive topic of discussion for another thread, maybe. It would probably derail this one quite a lot, especially if I let myself start harping on and on about it
  12. I feel really sorry for Jeff Steefel. It must have felt like such a demotion to be moved on to this rubbish. I can only imagine how he felt about the dreaded Paizes being handed his baby LOTRO and then ruining every aspect of it.
  13. I just typed his name in to Youtube and got a bunch of his songs. Not my cup of tea in general, but he's obviously very good at what he does. His Thorin song is lovely.
  14. I googled Sheeran a bit this morning, just to see whether or not there was any credence to those comments. He writes his own songs, has never had anything to do with X-factor, he doesn't use autotune, has a genuinely good singing voice and he's as ugly as sin. So it seems there isn't and those comments are ill-informed. His music is contemporary folk, which is the same genre occupied by people like Joni Mitchell or Bob Dylan, so Sheeran is no more and no less "X-Factor loser style crap" than they are. It's not a genre I like very much but you don't have to like a genre to recognise talent within it.
  15. The closing song of Desolation of Smaug has been revealed: It's called "I See Fire" and it's by some bloke called Ed Sheeran, who I've never heard of. It's a song for Thorin. I like it. I think it's one of those things to give a few listens to in order to let it properly settle in your mind, because at first I hated it. I thought it was a bit soft and folksy, and I generally dislike folk music. But me disliking the genre is irrelevant - it's a perfectly appropriate genre for the subject matter. Despite my feelings about it dwarves would have a great deal of folk music in their culture, and upon listening to the song's fiddle section a few times it eventually started to feel very dwarvish. The lyrics are good, too, summarising Thorin's mindset quite eloquently. So far the songs of the Hobbit films haven't been measuring up to "May it Be," "Gollum's Song" and "Into The West" from the Rings movies, but It's good that they're not simply repeating what they did with Rings and doing three more stirring, ethereal songs by throaty female vocalists. That sort of music wouldn't work for this story. Hopefully they will maintain consistency with the Hobbit songs and close all three films with folk songs by male singers. They're proving very fitting even though they don't tickle my particular musical preferences.
  16. As ever, the extended edition is by far a superior film. Not flawless, and it certainly won't suddenly make anyone with an aversion to Jackson's, ahem, embellishments suddenly love them, but it's got much more Middle-earth flavour, more Tolkien songs, more material tying events in to the Lord of the Rings, more dwarf lore and most importantly many more character moments. My favourite is the scene where Bilbo is just wandering around Rivendell enjoying himself, which is important because it shows us why he's so keen to go back there in later life. It's so nicely done I can't imagine why they cut it out in the first place. Vitally there's a little more of the dwarves' characters, which will hopefully expand even further in the subsequent films. Most fascinating to me though were the 9-hours worth of documentary extras. Some information was glossed over more than I would have liked, such as Howard Shore's contributions, the exit of Rob Kazinsky and the recasting of Fili, but they refreshingly pulled no punches when showing just how beleaguered a production it was. They covered a lot of stuff that occasionally put the documentaries on something of a downer, including Del Toro's involvement, the rights struggles, and yes, even McKellen's frustrations - that Radio Times "article" was obviously written by someone who'd just watched the new DVD, because it lifts entire sections verbatim from the interviews with Sir Ian found in the extra features. There was a surprising dourness and tension in some of the interviews and events chronicled therein, almost as if people were finding some of their early experiences on the film painful to recollect. It certainly struck me that the production of the first film was incredibly arduous for everyone involved, and it's a minor miracle that they got through production without the cast and crew all killing themselves. Some of them seemed very cynical at times. Except James Nesbitt. That man seems to be terminally cheerful. It also felt that that people grew much more at ease the later the shooting schedule got and the more they got stuck in to the later material, so I'm optimistic the trilogy will turn out okay after a patchy start.
  17. WB do own Monolith. Just like they own Traveller's Tales, developers of Aragorn's Quest. They also owned Snowblind, developers of War in the North, before merging that team into, yes, you guessed it, Monolith. Shadows of Mordor is basically War in the North 2. Turbine, are, it seems, just one developer within a family of WB owned studios who output Tolkien-themed materials.
  18. Wow. Congratulations WB. You've managed the impossible. You've jaded me to such degrees that I'm utterly disinterested in any Middle-earth video game you can output. That sounds like a Middle-earth themed game devised by people without the slightest inclination of understanding the source material. All for the sake of writing a story that features some supposedly badass death knight type as the lead, who broods darkly over some half-baked descent into darkness. If they wanted to reboot Legacy of Kain they got hold of the wrong license.
  19. I've done a bit of homework this evening and have established a pretty solid timeline of the events that preceded and directly followed the free to play switch and WB buyout. It goes a little like this: Pre-April 2009 LOTRO maintains a relatively consistent update schedule. June 2009 DDO goes free to play. Scourge of Khazad-Dum update launches for LOTRO. LOTRO's 15 month drought of content updates begins. August 2009 WB begins heavily investing in LOTRO. At this point negotiations are likely well underway for both the eventual WB buyout and the free to play switch over. Mirkwood is in development, but little else is underway at this stage due to resources being diverted from new content and instead towards laying the groundwork for the free to play move. September 2009 Siege of Mirkwood expansion annoucned. Turbine assure players they have "no plans" to go free to play, while planning to go free to play behind the scenes. October 2009 Fernando Paiz replaces Kate Paiz as Executive Producer of DDO. Kate Paiz replaces Jeff Steefel as Executive Producer of LOTRO. This is not announced but happens behind closed doors. Turbine continue to insist they have "no plans" to take LOTRO free to play, even though they have just secretly appointed as the new Executive Producer someone who is known for taking games free to play. Turbine test the waters for microtransactions in LOTRO by revealing they will be selling shared storage as an optional extra with Siege of Mirkwood. December 2009 Siege of Mirkwood launches, providing the only major update during the 15-month drought of new content. Drought continues afterwards. Turbine still insist they have "no plans" for free to play. December-March 2009-10 15-month drought of new content continues. Behind closed doors, work continues on the free to play switch while Turbine continue to insist they have no plans to do so. Work begins in earnest on Enedwaith. March 2010 Volume 3 patch launches. Besides Siege of Mirkwood it is the only significant update during the 15-month drought, and it is a book quest only. The 15-month drought of new content continues. April 2010 The WB Buyout is formally announced. The free to play model of DDO developed by Turbine is specifically mentioned as main reason for purchase. Reassurances regarding their plans to take LOTRO free to play cease entirely. June 2010 4th: Free to play switchover is formally announced. Players go ballistic, but still think Steefel is in charge so they blame him directly. Codemasters go ballistic, because Turbine never told them. 7th: Kate Paiz formally announced as "new" Executive Producer after already spending 9 months on the job. Players welcome the leadership "change" as they still hold Steefel responsible for the 15-month drought of new content, even though he was only Executive Producer for the first 4 months of that period. September 2010 Free to play launches accompanied by first significant update in 9 months. It is heralded by the players as a turning point for the game, who consider it an early example of the success of the free to play model, despite the fact that it would have been funded entirely by subscriptions and the profits from Siege of Mirkwood. Kate Paiz has been in the Executive Producer seat for the 11 months leading up to the switch. Players welcome the launch of free to play and praise Paiz for 'putting a stop to the drought' that she was responsible for in the first place. Post-September 2010 Free to play repeatedly claimed to have revilalised an ailing game, even though the reasons for it appearing to be ailing in the first place were the direct result of their plans to take the game free to play. Cretins who are unaware of this irony begin to claim the subscription model is dead. That's roughly it. I've checked the dates and that seems to be the chronology of events. There may be some things I've missed, but this is pretty much how it all went down.
  20. You're correct. Turbine set the game on this path, and much earlier than most believe - as I've detailed previously, if you check the chronology of events you can see very clearly that their plans to go F2P began when they ousted Steefel before SoM even launched, and Paiz was in control and moving towards F2P during the post-Mirkwood dearth of content that most hold Steefel responsible for. Turbine's consistent track record of shoddy development and poor customer care speaks for itself, so much so that it seems in hindsight that the halcyon days of SoA-MoM were a freak occurrence that we as customers simply fluked upon between their screw ups.
  21. WB bought Turbine for their F2P model, not for the LOTRO license. LOTRO's F2P move was most likely designed to further demonstrate the soundness of their business model so the sale could go ahead. The WB buyout and LOTRO's F2P move are almost certainly intrinsically linked.
  22. I'm not particularly fond of giving Sapience any attention, but his latest nonsense with Fredelas is very familiar to me. If it serves to demonstrate to anyone that their CM team's repeated lamentations of innocence do not ring true in any regard, note this: I'm still in Coventry on their forums for attempting to get them to clarify their unclear and potentially misleading marketing campaign for the release of RoI, and the tissue of whoppers that accompanied the release of Draigoch. If you recall I even had their retail partners Digital River agreeing with me that their product was not as sold. Not only that I did the impossible and obtained a refund from them. But of course they never ever ever send people to Coventry, if you believe Sapience, and I was merely another disgruntled and petty oik who was spreading lies and deceit in order to stab at his poor defenceless heart with my vindictive little daggers. And it's not a coincidence that after he made me invisible all that time ago they've gone on to conduct the same misleading marketing campaigns for every subsequent expansion in exactly the same ways. Safe in the knowledge that those who called them on it in the past had no voice to do so any more. He and Turbine don't believe in silencing criticism. Even they understand that's futile. They believe in silencing the critic, because if they do that they can discredit them in their absence and in turn they get to go on doing whatever they want with no accountability. Just as they did with me, and just as they are now doing with Fredelas. And who knows who else in the meantime. By now if you believe anything Sapience says, you're a mug and a mark. He's a child, and this time he's employing the same childish tricks, the same wounded protestations of innocence as he did with me. Years later and he hasn't changed a bit. If anything he's getting worse. But more noteworthy than that is the fact that Sapience isn't just a liar, he's also a knob. He has always been a knob and has never once been called to account for his knobbitude by the company that he works for, which means that Turbine have always tacitly condoned his unique brand of "community management." Trust me, this problem has only ever been about accountability, and there isn't any for the way he conducts himself. Don't even try to complain, either. Complaints against him get diverted either to himself, or to the hands of impotent and complacent Turbine employees who wash their hands of them. Whether that's by design or incompetence I couldn't say, but it still comes back to the lack of accountability. He's totally unaccountable, he knows it and he loves it. Don't expect him to ever change unless that does.
  23. During this case, the definition of "tangible" will be plucked at like a stripper's g-string on a rowdy stag night. If it came to it I have no doubt that the Estate's lawyers would have a field day at Turbine's expense and turn their own language and weasel words against them - LOTRO became intangible the moment Turbine took it free to play and started overtly marketing it not as a product you purchased and instead as a service you paid into. Boom, end of. If I was a belligerent high-class solicitor on the payroll of a powerful family organisation and was paid very handsomely to cause trouble for people they didn't like, that's precisely what I'd do.
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