hellfire99x: (Default)

Didn't do all that badly, all things considered. It surely could've been a lot better -- my control of the fight was a little off, which resulted in a few near-wipes. Switching focus between dotting up the boss and keeping an eye on his actions (where he places the little field of death magic AOE) was my biggest problem. Keeping myself alive during "oh shit" moments was problematic, and even impossible at some points since I'd only spent points in Reaver -- I've since loaded a few points into Paladin for extra "oh shit" hotkeys.

I noticed the boss also switched targets quite a lot... I presume it's standard boss behavior to switch targets & hurl random spells or AOEs (in the case of this boss) at ranged attackers. I could be wrong though... I'll have to pay closer attention next time and see if there's some kind of threat meter or something.

Overall, fun times. More practice is definitely in the works, though. ;)

Also, yeah, I did have to switch back to the game's old renderer again. I love the game's detailed graphics engine and all... but I enjoy having a stable framerate, too. ... which is something I never thought I'd say with this computer.

Random bonus! One of the first screenshots I ever took in Rift. )
hellfire99x: (Default)

The title says it all, really. Though I suppose I could copy the small write-up from the video itself.

So while I was first playing Rift... )
hellfire99x: (Default)
I haven't had much of anything to update with, honestly. Though I did upload a very short video to Youtube a few days ago. I'll probably give that its own separate entry.

Starting Monday, I'll be out of town. I'm traveling to Pittsburgh again. Wewt! If anybody else will happen to be there next week and over the following weekend, feel free to drop a line or something -- maybe we can meet up and say HI and stuff.

I'll be going up there by train this time. First time for everything, eh? Means I'll have a LOT of travel time, but hey... it'll be different. And at the end of the train ride, I'll be right there in the center of town, too. Looking forward to it.

Aside from that and Rift... that's about it. I'm not a very eventful person. :P


Jun. 2nd, 2011 06:45 am
hellfire99x: (Default)
I think I'm quite enamored with it. Especially when insanity like this happens:

Anybody else looking forward to the 1.3 patch? (Free server transfers!) And, anybody wanna meet up on a particular server?
hellfire99x: (Default)
So while I was reading through the docs for creating a Trion Worlds account, I came across this small gem:

F. In the event that Trion sponsors, and you are an eligible participant and winner of, any contest or sweepstakes, you may be required to report as taxable income the value of any prizes received by you. To collect a prize, you will be required to provide a valid Social Security number or other tax identification number and any other information reasonably required by Trion. Trion and/or any sponsor who provides a particular prize may report the value of the prize to Federal and/or state taxing authorities.

A social security number to claim a prize... online. Really. Man, even Blizzard's agreements don't have anything in there requiring a social security number in their hands. I checked.

Now granted, I generally don't participate in "sweepstakes" or other contests -- is it common to require a social security number from the winner(s)? I'd assume it is for huge transactions (major state-sanctioned lottery events, for instance), but I can't even begin to imagine we're talking about million-dollar contests here.

Regardless, I won't be participating in any Trion sweepstakes, and I'll just LOL at any attempt to require such personal information. "You've won a thousand dollars! We just need information from you including your SSN which could potentially be used for identity theft, our servers are and always will be secure, promise with cherries and sprinkles and a small blue ribbon on top." Sorry -- it ain't worth the risk for me, and it shouldn't be worth it for you either.
hellfire99x: (Default)
I hate to sound a bit like a broken record in my last few entries... but, wow, Sony just won't step out of the limelight.

First, they took away features from the PlayStation 3. Then, when people broke the encryption on the PS3 so they could put OtherOS and other features back in, Sony started filing lawsuits. To make matters a million times worse, they demanded and were given permission by the courts to acquire the IP addresses of every single person who visited the blogs, video logs, Twitter & Facebook accounts, etc., of the people who broke the encryption. Supposedly it was for "jurisdictional" purposes: trying to convince the Judge that the people who cracked the PS3 should be tried in California, where they'd have the home court advantage. Ultimately, they settled out of court.

Then they flaunted it. They bragged about their "victory," and put out a message to the world that they'd sue anybody else who tried to break the encryption of the PS3... and they happened to have a nice, long traffic log of everyone they could refer to later.

So the world responded... and is actually still responding. Sony's PSN was not only DDOSed but also breached, and during that breach SOE silently got nailed as well. A separate Sony site (not sure which) was silently breached, and briefly hosted a phishing site before Sony pulled the plug. Sony's Music store in Greece was breached in the last few days, as well as the Sony Music in Japan using the same exploit. A Sony ISP in Japan was also breached, with virtual money stolen. (The motherland is doubly not pleased, I'm sure.) A Sony site in Canada was also breached, as well as one in Thailand and one in Indonesia. Nearly all of these breaches involved data theft.

I'm sure I'm leaving out a few... I recall reading a tally of 10 or 11 Sony sites in total being breached. The exact number doesn't quite matter, though: the idea is, Sony and their lawyers have quite clearly poked the hornet's nest, and are reaping the terrible consequences of doing so. The fact that users' personal data is caught up in the mix of this whole mess is very, very unfortunate... and could be very costly to fix. They've already admitted that the barebones costs of the PSN breach and outage, not counting any costs related to identity theft protection or related to the lawsuits recently filed against them, will be at minimum $180 million.

If after all of this the costs skyrocket into the billions (I certainly don't think they'll stay in the millions, but I could be wrong)... could we be witnessing the start of Sony's downfall? Who's going to trust them anymore after this? And if someone does still trust their security... who's to say they won't ban you or sue you later on for looking at a certain blog, or watching a certain Youtube video?

Sony, Sony, Sony.

In my opinion, if you've gained any wisdom from this you'll come forth and publicly (humbly) apologize for your previous hardline stances against your own hacker community and try really, really hard to repair what little reputation you have left. You've not only become very hostile towards your own hacker community (the same hackers you yourself invited when the PS3 started shipping), you've also become hostile towards customers in general. That is thoroughly despicable, and perhaps a sign that the only way to truly repair things is to see some executives canned.
hellfire99x: (Default)

I got a kick out of this video. +1
hellfire99x: (Default)
The subject says it all: the PSN is back up. (Kind of. It doesn't seem to be up right at this moment, but eh. *shrug*)

I've noticed that since the PSN came back online over the weekend, the volume of junk mail in my Spam folder has shot way up. Apparently I have Moneygrams waiting for me in India, and the Bank of China has e-mailed me personally.

Or somebody is desperate for me to open a tainted piece of junk mail and infect my computer with something nasty, in the hopes of acquiring more up-to-date login & contact information. Not gonna happen -- I'm juuuust about set to completely abandon that e-mail address anyway, since it's already seen its fair share of exposure, so by all means keep sending me moneygrams and overseas bank notices. I'll be amused while it lasts.

So I sent off an e-mail to Sony about closing my PSN account with them, and they sent me back a generic form letter addressing a completely different question... one which I never asked. Good job, Sony Network Entertainment -- stay cool, stay classy. You're rapidly approaching Comcastic levels of terrible awesomesauce!

This disjointed bit of rambling was brought to you by coffee. Yes. Coffee. No, I don't need anymore.
hellfire99x: (Default)
On Monday morning, I finally got my Aco up to Job 50, and changed her over to a Priest. Wewt!

(apologies if the image is grainy; I still don't have full access to my main PC or its software)

Around the same time, I bumped into a random battlesmith who tried to party with me. I was in the middle of my Priest quest though, so we added each other to our friends lists and moved on. That evening, we saw each other online again, and decided to try out the new Overlook Water Dungeon that was recently patched it.

In summary, it is essentially a carbon copy of the old Byalan Dungeon, pre-Renewal. I have no idea whether the mobs in there are statted the exact same way as they were pre-Renewal; however, I'll say that they felt about the same. Very tough compared to their post-Renewal counterparts; in post-Renewal, just about everything except MVPs are soloable.

The two of us made it all the way to the final floor of the dungeon before he had to log; the exp was pretty amazing. At my level (~60), most mobs that I can solo easily give between 250-500 exp per kill. The exp scale slides depending on your level vs. the enemy's level, so once you're 10+ levels above them (their names grey out), the exp drastically drops off.

In this case, the trash mobs on the 1st floor, all greys, awarded 600-800 exp per kill -- and that's divided in half (two party members.) By the time we reached the 5th floor, mobs were significantly harder, but were awarding 1400-1600 exp per kill. Very, very nice... I gained 3 levels and 9 job levels in that hour and a half.

Overall, I likey. Well worth my time. I hope I can go back again soon.

Sadly, the dungeon becomes VIP-only after Thursday maintenance, I believe. I'm currently a VIP, so the change won't affect me, but it will limit who I can run the dungeon with.
hellfire99x: (iRO - Renvaras)

Ah well, it went pretty much as I expected -- nobody showed. It was worth a try, at any rate. ;)

Oi vey....

May. 3rd, 2011 07:10 am
hellfire99x: (EverQuest)

Our ongoing investigation of illegal intrusions into Sony Online Entertainment systems has discovered that hackers may have obtained personal customer information from SOE systems. We are today advising you that the personal information you provided us in connection with your SOE account may have been stolen in a cyber-attack. Stolen information includes, to the extent you provided it to us, the following: name, address (city, state, zip, country), email address, gender, birthdate, phone number, login name and hashed password.

Customers outside the United States should be advised that we further discovered evidence that information from an outdated database from 2007 containing approximately 12,700 non-US customer credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates (but not credit card security codes) and about 10,700 direct debit records listing bank account numbers of certain customers in Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Spain may have also been obtained. We will be notifying each of those customers promptly.


hellfire99x: (iRO - Renvaras)


We'll see how long this lasts. It depends mostly on how long the content can keep me engaged, though having peeps to hang out with would be cool, too. If nothing else, I might nab a second account and level a Priest, since the accounts are free-ish now.

I already like some of the changes I've noticed. Exp requirements have been softened quite a bit, though at the same time combat and experience have been softened up in general, too. Orc Dungeon level 1 was great from level 57/43 to 63/50, which happened within just a few hours yesterday. Each kill gave me about 0.6% towards my level -- far more than the previous < 0.1%.

However, I'm not happy with other changes I've noticed. There doesn't seem to be a clear-cut "next" area to go beyond that... Orc Dungeon 1 and Toy Factory 2 each give about the same amount of exp per kill, about 350/350. My old stomping grounds, Mids 4, has also been "normalized" to a degree -- Isis and Matyrs give about 500/500 exp and are quite a lot harder than Orc Dungeon, mostly because of the Mimics and Ancient Mummies which still suck. Seals, which used to have 9000 HP, dish out a lot of damage, and gave ~3700/~1800 exp, now only have about 1000 HP, deal out only a couple hundred damage per hit, and also give about 500/500 exp. I never found any Alligators where they once were, but the mobs that now replace them -- Groves, I think? -- are much the same.

Glast Heim also received similar treatment -- Wraiths and Ghouls only pony up about 500/500 exp, while Evil Druids, annoying buggers that they are, only cough up about 300/300. Churchyard now also has random spirit mobs that seem to be Crusaders, using Holy Cross and whatnot -- haven't been able to kill one yet.

Interesting changes and whatnot, but also a tad frustrating. Like I said, we'll see how long the novelty lasts.
hellfire99x: (Default)
Source: http://consumerist.com/2011/04/sony-playstation-network-users-credit-card-info-may-have-been-leaked.html

Bad news: User account information was nabbed by badguys, though it isn't clear how many of Sony's 77+ million PSN users are affected. For those affected, compromised information includes the following information on file: "name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID."

Worse news: "It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained."

They aren't entirely sure just yet how many users are affected, or whether ├╝ber-sensitive information like credit card info or security questions/answers were compromised. But if you have a PSN account, even an old one --

- If any of your non-PSN accounts on the web use the same password as your PSN account, change those passwords to be unique immediately.
- Keep an eye on your credit card activity.
- If you use your PSN username (your e-mail account) as your primary e-mail address, you might wanna consider using a different primary e-mail address for your other web accounts.
- Once the PSN comes back online, check your Security Question & Answer to find out which one you used for your PSN account. Make sure none of your other accounts on the web use that same Security Question & Answer.

What a doozy...
hellfire99x: (Default)
Dear Microsoft,

Why in the world would Windows Setup install Windows to a harddrive... and once Setup is complete, decide to mark the newly-installed drive (a fresh install with no other harddrives connected) Drive I: instead of Drive C:?

/boggle, Microsoft. /boggle. What a way to waste a Sunday.
hellfire99x: (Default)
So today, as I was browsing through the TeamLiquid website and finding random articles, I came across a few comments about how Starcraft 2 isn't faring as well as Starcraft and Brood War in South Korea. I started Googling around a bit, and eventually came across a very informative article.


The story goes something like this: In 1998, a small developer named Blizzard released Starcraft. It was a very popular game for its time, and helped shape Blizzard into what it is today. However, the game's popularity exploded in South Korea -- out of 10 million copies sold worldwide, 5 million of those were sold in South Korea. South Koreans are the most competitive Starcraft players in the world, and non-players (or non-competitive players) enjoyed watching them play... so the Korean e-Sports Authority (KeSPA) was formed with blessings from the government, and among other things they regulate television networks in South Korea which are dedicated entirely to e-sports. Three such networks are MBC Game, GOM TV, and OnGameNet.

So, where does Blizzard fit into all of this in terms of Starcraft and Brood War? Well, they developed the games, and when players or sponsors bought a copy of the game, Blizzard got money for it -- in terms of broadcasting and e-sports leagues, Blizzard was pretty much left in the dark.

Fast-forward to today. Blizzard's seen many changes over the years -- it was picked up by Vivendi a while back, which later merged with Activision. The company Activision-Blizzard as it exists today is quite a lot more power- and money-hungry than it used to be. As such, when it came to Starcraft 2, they decided to shake things up a bit -- they wanted control over Starcraft 2 in the Korean market, including broadcasting, marketing, ad revenues, etc. They didn't simply want a slice of the pie; they wanted the whole pie. Plus, they want to expand the e-sports phenomenon to a global scale, far beyond the humble beginnings in South Korea.

Thus, when it came time to "negotiate" the demands, there really wasn't a whole lot to be negotiated. Blizzard wanted the level of control over Starcraft 2 broadcasting that KeSPA had with Starcraft and Brood War broadcasting. KeSPA disagreed -- after all, they helped create the whole industry in South Korea. Eventually, Blizzard came to an agreement with only one of KeSPA's networks -- GOM TV. This, of course, left KeSPA as a whole out in the dark, as well as MBC Game, OnGameNet, and many other networks. To seal the deal, GOM TV had given the other networks a deadline to cease their now-illegal broadcasts.

As a result, it seems a lot of South Koreans have an aversion to Starcraft 2. Who can blame them? Reading up about this type of stuff from Blizzard in recent years has given me a bit of an aversion to them, myself.

It's sad, really. I wish the South Korean government had come down hard on Activision-Blizzard's power-grab: "Hey, this is our country, and we already have an existing infrastructure in place. Use it and/or come to a power-sharing agreement, or Starcraft 2 will be banned from our market." Imagine how quickly Activision-Blizzard would've changed their tune.
hellfire99x: (EverQuest)

16 deity quests. Lots of exploration, re-exploration, crafting, and other things with varying levels of tedium.

The rewards: aside from 16 deity-themed fireworks and launchers, plat and experience, I also picked up this mechanical roboboar (which is soooo slow, but hilarious -- it feels like a merry-go-round ride), a pair of wands with various rabbit-related effects (summoning a bunch of rabbits to run around, turning the user into a rabbit, etc), and the "Favored of the Gods" title.

I also had to say goodbye to Breusheni. QQ. :( Mobs are getting tough, and Ren's healing just isn't able to keep up anymore with the damage being dealt -- especially on the stuff I need to kill for the Epic 1.5s. But, he still makes a very good "oh shit!" healer.
hellfire99x: (EverQuest 2 - Renvaras)

SOE gave out 7 free days to former EQ2 players... though once again, I never received any notice of this, even though I should be on their e-mail list. If I weren't playing EQ, I'd be missing out on this -- again. /boggle

I assume I can't do anything that I would consider to be "fun" right now... which would be something like, explore Velious (I don't own Destiny of Velious)... which is really a shame, since Velious was probably my favorite EQ1 expansion. I would just love it if I could get a small glimpse of what it looks like right now. What's become of the Coldain dwarves and the dragons of Skyshrine, both of whom I was max-allied with in EQ1... what sort of fortress Kael Drakkel has evolved into... I wonder if there might be some videos on Youtube.

That aside... while I'm not able to do much of anything in EQ2 right now, I did take this opportunity to tackle a rather large problem I've always had with the game: Ren's appearance.

Two screenshots + babble )
hellfire99x: (EverQuest)
So I should be playing Ar tonelico Qoga. I really should. I want to complete the series.

But, a few days ago I was reminded that this month is EQ's 12th anniversary, and as such all kinds of special events, critters and whatnot are happening in-game. So, what else could I do but participate while I still can?

Sadly, this is the only image I have right now of anything directly related to the events -- the avatar of the God of storms, Karana, who conveniently hangs out in the vast Plains of Karana. The rest of the screenshots involve traveling to and visiting certain destinations for anniversary scavenger hunts, but are otherwise just scenery. I may add more later... assuming I remember to take the screenshots. >.>

Screenshots! )


hellfire99x: (Default)
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