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Everything posted by Hajile

  1. Part of the Estate's complaint is to import that Enterprises never purchased particular rights, including online gaming, which didn't exist at the time of the sale so couldn't have been explicitly mentioned in the terms of the original contract of sale. That's the nub of the matter - what is the precise definition of everything that was sold to Enterprises at the time? Enterprises cling to that nebulous "other rights" claim like they know they've been pulling a fast one for years and have finally been caught out. The fact of the matter is that if "other rights" were never granted to them, or if they were and it's decided in court that "other rights" doesn't cover the things for which they have been using the IP, they're guilty of misappropriation of rights they never should have had in the first place. It entirely depends on the exact wording of the original contract of sale, and I have no idea whether that particular legal document is available for public viewing. It's all very interesting, and Enterprises (and by proxy Warner and Turbine) could be on pretty dodgy legal ground. It could be that Turbine shot them all in the foot by adopting the free to play model they did - if there was still a box purchase required even for an online service it's likely to qualify as "tangible merchandise" because it's an object that you can hold in your hand and need to play the game. As soon as that requirement was removed, it became "intanglible" and therefore not covered by the terms of the sale. If that's the case, then Enterprises could have avoided the whole sorry business if they had refused to allow Turbine to adopt that model for the game under the terms of the license they were granted. But I can't help feel that there is a culture of ownership at Enterprises and through either assumption or arrogance they figured nobody would ever try to stop them doing whatever they like with the property. If that's the case then it'll be wonderfully ironic - I always said that free to play would be the death of LOTRO. I never thought it could literally be just that.
  2. SWTOR's much-talked about secret space project is coming, and will insert into the game x-wing versus tie fighter-style 12-vs-12 PVP arena space battles. For free. Not my thing (don't PVP, can't be bothered with space stuff) but kudos to them for this. Although it's Bioware and EA, who are the enemy or whatever. So naturally, the internet being full of petulant and unreasonable arseholes it has decided to have an en masse strop about it, ranting about how rubbish it is based on a teaser trailer, and how Bioware are scum for not re-releasing SWG or some stupid shit like that. Some people are so dumb it's not even funny.
  3. ...which is why someone should create a website that gets its sponsorship and advertising money from anyone and everyone but the gaming industry themselves, and/or has a policy of never featuring any game until its marketing dollars stop flowing. If it also had a 'naming and shaming' policy of making public any attempt to coerce more lenient coverage it'd be ideal. It would ensure the bare minimum of pressure from publishers on editorial policy, and would do a good job of ensuring true impartiality. There's no other way I can think of to run a website whose reviews are even remotely trustworthy.
  4. That's their 'spectacular graphical effect'? Sprites on a backdrop? Snort.
  5. You know what I find the most disheartening and scandalous about this whole affair? The wall of silence about this matter from the gaming press. Not three days ago, sites like Massively were casting thinly veiled aspersions at Cryptic for consolidating Neverwinter servers - like they've been saying they wanted to do before the game even launched - and tearing Bioware to pieces over rolling out a patch for SWTOR a day early. Both these things are comparatively innocuous and innocent when alongside this disgraceful conduct from Turbine, and there isn't a peep from the press about Turbine potentially costing their customers hundreds of dollars/pounds/whatever through their own screw ups and colossal hubris. That's all the evidence anyone needs that sites like Massively are partisan and in the pocket of Turbine and WB. At least we know that the producers are still getting a sizable budget, but instead of using it to invest back into the game they're spending it on backhanders to ensure positive press at all times. It makes me fucking sick.
  6. People should leave Brrokk alone. He's all right. He's almost always decent and fair-minded, and we should welcome his point of view. It's refreshing to see well-reasoned opinions of someone who is supportive of the game, even if we don't agree with them, and it serves as a helpful reminder that we are not this den of negativity and spite some would like to paint us as. However, just a quick employment of maths shows how badly out Turbine's dimensions are. "so thick that four men could walk abreast along the top" equates to less than seven feet wide, so the width of the Deeping Wall should be only marginally greater than a man is tall. Smooth and with a leaning overhang has translated into rugged with many handholds and an ornate and defensively impractical parapet. The narrow gaps in the tall battlements are thrown so wide by the designers that it now looks less like a defensive wall and more like a series of ornaments for the express purpose of helping attackers gain easy purchase. It is inaccurate, it is not a well-designed piece of in-game architecture, and is quite horrendously ugly. There is little about this version of Helm's Deep that is accurate, or even evocative, of the original. Alan Lee's version - which was the starting point for the movie version - may not be 100% accurate to the source material , but its differences are nothing on the scale of Turbine's appalling botch job. It makes me wonder if Turbine's artists even bothered to do their homework.
  7. They are legally culpable in any EU Territory to cover all banking charges incurred due to their error. The only proviso is that you are required to provide evidence of the charges. If they then refuse to refund you after that, never mind suing them - you can have them prosecuted. Just sayin'.
  8. Apologies for going a bit editorial for my last post. Once I get started I find it very hard to turn it off.
  9. Ruined Theoden? Generic facsimiles? We'll have to agree to disagree on that one. I found Theoden to be one of the most compelling characters in the LOTR movies, and the nuanced and intricate performance of Bernard Hill in the role was one of the films' most striking. That was a man who understood his flaws, overcame them and met his fate head on, like a king should. I'm so far enjoying Thorin's interpretation immensely, too. I always found him rather one-note in the book - a blank canvas with no definitive character beyond being a selfish, haughty arsehole. The film does an excellent job of demonstrating motive for his attitude problem by depicting him as a tragic prince, by turns bitter and noble, who will never have the opportunity to be the dwarf he could be because his myriad character defects will inevitably spell his undoing. In many ways he is the antithesis of Theoden, who rose through his weaknesses rather than fell to them. Do they veer from their personas in the books? Certainly, but not significantly. Aspects of their characters are abbreviated on the page, but it's to the credit of talented film-makers such as Jackson that his actors can be trusted to take the parts of their character that are in the book but not in the script and suggest those deeper facets through performance. Film is a visual medium and both story and character must be conveyed visually. They can be conveyed as powerfully and as effectively by a look or a breath at the right moment than they can through swathes of dialogue or back story. In film if something isn't stated then that doesn't mean it's not there. For example, in a book if you wanted to convey to the reader that someone is tired because they have just run a marathon, you would explain that. You could dedicate paragraphs to it if you wanted to. You have the luxury of space and time to delve into it in as much depth as you desire. In a film you don't need any of that. You just need to show them in a tracksuit looking haggard and red in the face and the viewer can fill in the blanks themselves. It's the same with character. You can thank talented actors like Richard Armitage and Bernard Hill for that, because performers of that calibre are exceptionally good at expressing a great deal of character information without having to mention much of the finer detail. Adaptation does have to take place when you are adapting a story, and distillation of character certainly must happen from book to film. Just to make non-visual characters fly on a visual level. Accuracy for accuracy's sake at every turn would do any film adaptation no favours at all.
  10. The digital comic book anthology I wrote for earlier this year now has a Kickstarter for a hard copy edition! http://www.kickstart...comic-anthology Throw money at it! It's a corking read, and my short story is top notch. Ooh, and if you ant to buy it digitally on iTunes, go here: https://itunes.apple...d569086316?mt=8 Yes, yes. I am a whore.
  11. Exactly. In addition, these days half the stuff in trailers is taken from alternate takes, if not stuff that's outright cut from the film. It's movie artifice at its most glaring and obvious, designed to sell not the actual story but merely the flavour of a film to as many people as possible. Criticising juxtaposed lines that are obviously taken from two different scenes just seems unreasonably quick to criticise to me. Those figuring on a romance subplot between Tauriel and Legolas would also do well to remember that some of the criticisms of the first Hobbit movie trailer were levelled at a perceived romance between Galadriel and Gandalf, which turned out to be nothing more than platonic affection between them in the final film. It would be unwise and potentially very wide of the mark to assume romance based on one line from a character who is a known misanthrope. Some people's comments make me wonder if they've ever seen a movie trailer before. They are rarely indicative of the final film and only serve to whet the appetite for the real thing. But then, the internet at large is very pessimistic and seemingly can't grab at reasons to disparage Peter Jackson fast enough these days. Nobody has yet singled out anything for positive comment. Like the clearly darker path they will be taking with Thorin. And Benedict Cumberbatch. Dear God, Smaug is going to be terrifying.
  12. I remember that Sean Bean story. If I recall, he got gashed in the face by a broken bottle or something during that fight. And when it was all over, he sat back down with his lass and finished his goddamn pint before going for stitches. Dude is a proper bloke. There is a reason he can so convincingly play warriors like Boromir: he is one.
  13. ...I believe that the topic was skill trees. Time to get back to it and leave silly people to scream into the wind until they get bored and wander off, maybe?
  14. It's almost as if some people don't realise how tedious they are...
  15. I believe its root is in Middle French, specifically the term razza, a word for a tribe or a clan, so from its inception it has been used to segregate. Sadly the English language has, over the centuries, had few words that can be used to describe ALL peoples, which probably says all it needs to about our role in world history. Even the word 'people' was originally segregative in origin, being used to describe a group. That's why the word 'species' is so important, because it's inclusive instead of exclusive. Anyway, that's enough talk from an etymology buff like myself. Lets get back on topic. That short film looks like it could be fun.
  16. We don't need to reclaim it because we already have a word that fulfils the exact function you're intending for it, which is 'species.' Besides, 'race' has never been synonymous with 'species' anywhere outside fantasy fiction, where it is used erroneously.
  17. Dalthalion, the term 'race' has next to no meaning in taxonomic etymology or biological theory. The correct term to use to describe precisely what you have done is 'species.' 'Race' is a dogmatic and unnecessary attempt to compartmentalise our one single shared species based on arbitrary ethnic, cultural or geographical differences. It is ultimately quite superficial and has no bearing on our mutual compatibility or our scientific status as a unified species. On a biological level race is precisely as unremarkable as two Plains Zebras or two Bengal Tigers having different patterns of stripes, or someone being ginger. Race is so unworthy of note that it isn't even used as a term when regarding any animal other than Humans. Calling us "the Human Race" is a misnomer. Race is meaningless and an unfortunate construct of our turbulent world history. It only exists in people's heads. We are the Human Species. And we are all awesome.
  18. That's because they were all designed as distinct, self-contained zones that had their own unique aura and a natural flow to their landscapes. It was long before Turbine took up their ill-advised habit of microzoning everywhere and everything lost all sense of identity.
  19. Thinking about it, if the Tolkien Estate are successful in their lawsuit then WB, Turbine and Middle-earth Enterprises could be buggered either way. They; along with every other oppressive, consumer-hating developer and publisher in the gaming industry; have been positioning their output as 'services' and not 'products' for a long time. Now that very manoeuvring and legal chicanery may be set to bite them in the backside. Either LOTRO is a service that the customer is merely allowed to access, in which case it isn't a tangible property that the customer ever owns and The Tolkien Estate wrestles the rights from them; or LOTRO is a product that the customer owns, which immediately makes a nonsense of all their draconian and unpleasant EULAs and Terms and Conditions and sets them up for about a million actions against them in the small claims courts. Half expecting them to try redefining LOTRO as a "Prodvice" or "Serduct," something that combines all the aspects of each that are most preferable to them and argue that none of the existing rules apply. Shame that won't work either, as part of the Estate's lawsuit is that they never sold the rights to any media or format that were not specifically defined at the time of sale.
  20. The ideal game you are describing sounds a lot like LOTRO before it went free to play. So you had that game for a time, before it was redeveloped away from you. Sadly, we should probably take that sort of thing as a given when dealing with MMORPGs - just because something suits us right now doesn't mean it will always be that way. Conversely and more optimistically, just because a game doesn't appeal right now doesn't mean it's not going to become an attractive proposition in the future. Just look at the turnaround that Final Fantasy 14 is currently enjoying. I've concluded that this circle of appeal-alienate-appeal is something endemic to MMORPGs as a whole. These games change more than any other, because they're designed to last longer than any other, so it's guarateeing disappointment to become attached to any of them long-term. Now I understand that I may be less likely to become invested in any of these games, but I'm also having much more fun in a wider portfolio of them. I've currently got four that I'm flitting between, and while none of them are ideal, each of them has certain specific things I like so all my preferences are represented. I get what people say about GW2 though - I played it, could understand that it was a polished, well-executed game, but something about it just seemed ...off. Took me a long time to put my finger on why, and it was its scrappy and unfocused combat, the kind that only comes about when you abandon the Holy Trinity. The Trinity is a system that works. It's an aid to design, too - having clearly defined roles and structure helps you to devise at a steady pace compelling content in which everyone has a role. The fact that Damage classes so badly outnumber all other class types in these games shows that it could stand revision though. I would be curious to see how a system would work if you eliminated exclusively DPS classes, made the third of the Trinity a Support class and spread DPS evenly between Support, Tank and Healer so that they all did damage equally in addition to their primary function. That would be an novel evolution of the Trinity that I'd be interested in experiencing. A lot of design is when knowing when it's an appropriate time for evolution and when for revolution, and I think some developers get so caught up on the revolution side of things that they forget that the Trinity is something that needs honing, not replacing. Revolution for revolution's sake just generates something as messy as the combat in GW2.
  21. I don't think that they will fail to renew the license. WB seem to like laying claim to all things LotR-based, so I doubt that they will relinquish licenses without an almighty struggle. WB will throw their weight around and LOTRO's license will extend by proxy. If, however, anything does happen and this license doesn't renew, you can bet your bottom dollar that it'll be for reasons out of the hands of WB and Turbine, most likely connected to the Tolkien Estate lawsuit. There may be legal provisos in place that prevent Tolkien Enterprises from granting further new licenses until the case is resolved. It would make sense that their ability to do so is suspended if what they are actually entitled to license is in dispute. If Tolkien Enterprises are unable to grant new licenses, their hands may be tied regarding extensions to expiring ones like Turbine's for LOTRO. That could be the Tolkien Estate's legal tactic - block Tolkien Enterprises from granting new licenses or extensions to old ones, tie up the matter in long-term legal wranglings, wait for all the active licenses to lapse then claim abandonment. I'd like to think that's what will happen. It would be very satisfying were it to unfold in that way. But I'm reasonably certain that the rights will be extended.
  22. I think that it is in the game, but it's not in the Shire. Isn't that one of the Hobbit homes in Staddle? There's a little lake there and a house on the opposite side that rings a bell with that screenshot.
  23. If they are not spending less money on the game, then it's being spent far, far less wisely and more wastefully than previously. To the extent that if I was a shareholder I'd be wondering if someone at WB was using Turbine as a front for a large-scale embezzlement operation. There is no way that a budget similar to the one that produced the sizeable and impressive expansions and updates of the past should be only able to deliver the meagre, slapdash, amateurish rubbish that Turbine have been peddling for the last few years. Either Turbine is now staffed by a skeleton crew that is doing the best they can with inadequate resources, or by a parade of incompetents who wouldn't know how to spend money on making a game if someone gave them a book on the subject. I'd like to think the former is more likely than the latter. I'd hate to imagine that the Lord of the Rings license was in the hands of harping seals who can barely understand how to go to the toilet.
  24. Wow. Helm's Deep looks ...awful. Considering the wealth of artwork depicting it I would have thought it utterly impossible for them to screw it up. Weird, boxy and so very, very wrong. Shame on them for going to so little effort. But considering how it seems not even WB can be bothered with the game any more, I can hardly blame the devs for phoning it in and collecting their paycheques. Oh, and Big Battles are going to be Skirmishes with fancy graphical tricks. They can dress it up all they want, but they are going to be Skirmishes with fancy graphical tricks. They know it. We know it. Everybody knows it. They are not fooling anyone. On another subject entirely, I can't help but find it hilarious that they are specialising the classes again - after spending several years tweaking and altering them all to be multifunctional and less distinctive, they seem to have begun altering them to be closer to how they were at the game's launch, with clearly defined roles and specs that set them apart from other classes. This seems to be a habit of theirs - I remember when they revamped the Elf and Dwarf starter areas for the first time. They claimed that by separating out the Elf and Dwarf prologue stories it would 'improve' the game and the players' experience. Yet two-ish years later, when they re-amalgamated the Elf and Dwarf stories in that horrible 'Evil Dwarf Mine' effort, they claimed the exact opposite would 'improve' the game. They do it a hell of a lot. They muck about with things and change them, then change them back again at a later date and call both progress. I've never encountered another developer that spends so much time re-developing the same stuff over and over again. They must just like mucking around with things they've already done a lot more than they do generating new material. The persistent botch jobs they've been doing on new content since Enedwaith is testament to that.
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