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DarkLord Blog

AMDs Mantel

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So I've been playing the recent Battlefield 4 beta with my PC and amongst all the stuff I've talked about or heard about this new thing from AMD called Mantel caught my attention in a big way. Apparently, it's an API that will allow game makers to have unparalleled access to the lower end functionality of AMDs video card line. That would allow them to make the games with a lot more functionality and compatibility with AMD video cards. Even the gaming media thinks this will revolutionize the way games are made and could make power hungry games, like BF4, play a lot more smoothly and with fewer resources needed when played on AMD cards, even the older ones. DICE has already agreed to integrate it into Frostbite 3.

What do you know and think about this new software?? Give me some feedback! I'm eager for it!

I think it'll be something to see about a year after it launches when games are popping up with it having been used.

A Strange Election Indeed

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So I'm wandering through MSN as I'm prone to do (it's my home page in IE) and saw an article about the Senatorial race in Maine. It seems that one of the candidates is a gamer. Democrat Colleen Lachowicz is a player of WoW and her Republican opponents have caught wind of that and are now trying to use some comments she's used in forums, none of which were political, just one gamer commenting to another gamer, against her. I think it's a funny thing that our politicians can find all sorts of interesting stuff like this and believe that it will have any sort of effect on the outcome of the election. If you're interesting in reading the article I read you can find it here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49313145/ns/us_news-weird_news/

It makes me glad I'm not running for office.

Diablo III - Update #4!

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Not a huge deal or nothin' but I was just invited into the Diablo III Beta! I cannot put into words just how stoked I am to be apart of this thing! I've even had to troubleshoot it just to actually play it! Hours of working at it just so I could install it and then log into it! Whooo! Still I'm in and I couldn't be happier! :D

Update #1

Well I've managed to play through the beta as the Barbarian type. The beta itself gives you access to all the types but I started out with that one because it rocks! :P Anyway, the beta takes you through what I can only assume is the first big boss battle with the Skeleton King. While the difficulty is a constant 'normal' I found it to be rather easy at times. It felt like the enemy monsters didn't always attack like you felt they should. I think my health level dropped below 50% maybe twice in my entire experience thus far. Still it could be said that has to do with the type I chose to play as. It could be harder with a different type I'll have to play my way through to be sure on that.

One of the neat changes, and it's one that has been mentioned through an update or two for the game here on Gamespot, is the support powers are mostly all available as you unlock them. The powers are all available to you in either a numbered slot or by assigning it to the left or right mouse button. You can put the one you use the most on the mouse and put the others on the number keys 1-9. I didn't actually unlock that may powers as the beta wasn't long enough though. I got maybe 3 or 4 for my Barbarian before the game ran out. There are a lot more of them to go and I'm quite eager to see what they are and what they do!

I haven't had any contact with the multiplayer stuff as yet but I am going to see what I can see with that in the coming days. Also, I'm going to run through the game with another player type and see if there are any differences to be had in difficulty. It should be interesting to see!

Update #2

I've now gotten through the beta again but this time as the Witch Doctor type I can say that the two types play completely differently! With the Barbarian type it's all about brute strength and crushing and smashing your way to victory. With the Witch Doctor you aren't as brutishly strong so you have to go into everything differently. I found that one of the main equips for the WD right off the top is a Mana using ability called Poison Dart. It was initially equipped on my left-click mouse button with a basic knife on the right-click. Well as soon as I noticed the previous was draining mana I changed the two around. The dart was quite useful for engaging at long distances and I found I needed that distance more than once.

I also discovered that the WD can use many other types of weapons that the Barbarian cannot. The first was the crossbow. I enjoyed that one actually because then my WD was just a long range attack unit and barely had to get close at all. That got stale after a bit and when I found better weapons I used them, even if they were melee weapons. I found what the game called 'dolls' here and there but I just never got around to using them. They required a weapon slot in my hands and usually required me to give up the large two-handed axe I was annihilating everything with. I just didn't see the positive in that.

My WD also had some nice summoning power. I was able to summon a pack of three Zombie Dogs to my aide. They were quite useful in finding enemy monsters before I saw them. The pack would usually go off and start attacking something I couldn't see. The only downside I could see was that their attack power was rather weak. It would take forever for them to take down a basic zombie if I didn't help.

I haven't put in more play through the beta just yet but when I do I think I'll try my hand with the monster hunter type. End of update #2.

Update 2.5

It has been a couple weeks since I've found the time to jump into the beta. They've since released an updated version of the beta to the public that I had to download. That wasn't a big deal. What came as a minor annoyance was that my previous two warriors were totally gone. That kinda sucked! Still I had run through the game with them both so they were effectively done. I'm not that upset about it becuase of that fact. It also gave me reason to start up the new Demon Hunter type. I didn't have much time to play but so far it's been interesting. I haven't gone beyond New Tristram yet but will update again once I have gone through it all! Stay Tuned!!!

Update 3

I've finished up going through as the Demon Hunter. I can say for certain that I enjoyed this type just a bit more than the other two. My Demon Hunter had the nice ability of using two small crossbows at the same time. It gave her an action movie feel as she blasted away at large groups of monsters with both hands! On top of that bit of awesome her other abilities were fun to engage as well. The Caltrops special power could slow down a group of angry monsters, flying or not, and give me plenty of time to totally annihilate them. It saved me more than once when a hoarde of skeletal warriors were rushing me.

The Demon Hunter's passive abilities begin to unlock at level 10. I had a two to choose from and I chose Thrill of the Hunt. It locks my target on the ground for 3 seconds. Most of my enemies died in less time than that but still when they stop charging at you because they're locked to that spot it is a minor relief at times, especially with some of the larger/nastier monsters. The problem is that I didn't hit level 10 until after the death of the Skeleton King and so I don't know if this power would work on him or not.

I've run through the beta with three of the five character types. I've only got the Monk and the Wizard left to try. I suspect it will be fun no matter which one I choose. Not sure which one I'll go through with next but I'll keep you posted!

Update 3.5

So they ran patch 14 and I couldn't play at all! The updater would just stick and not even get around to downloading the patch. I waited patiently for them to fix that. They did so with Patch 15. I was able to download and run the new updated version of the beta but with the new patch came something unique. They totally erased any previous games I had played. It was just gone! Before I was able to start a new player type and would still have my gold and my blacksmith was untouched as well. With Patch 15 that was all gone, including my Sorceress. I was only about half way through the beta with her when the game was scrubbed.

So i went back into it with my remade Sorceress and I think I made it back to where I was before the patching. I have to say one other thing here. The updated version of the beta seems to be tougher. The demons don't go down as easily and I actually almost died with the game set on 'Normal'. No one almost dies on Normal! I'll have to finish going through it as it is now and will hit you with Update 4 soon! Stay tuned!!

Update 4

I've run through the beta as both the Wizard and also as the Monk types. I figured I'd update for both this time and kill two birds with one stone.

Anyway, the Wizardess that I played as (yes, it was female) proved to be a lot of fun. All her attacks were long range and the different skills she brought to the field were unique to me. The updated patch changed up some of her ability unlocks as well. Before, her unlocks had the Arcane Orb up first with the Ray of Frost next but they have since turned those around. The Rune updates for those two secondary attacks change them quite a bit too. Well, I can talk about the Ray of Frost's change up anyway. The one rune I unlocked for that particular skill changed it from a beam of cold energy into a swirling storm of cold that encircled me, called Sleet Storm. While it didn't have the distance the Ray did, it did do 215% weapon damage to enemies. I kept that. It got me out of a few tight scrapes!

These new patch updates also made fighting the Skeleton King much harder. While he never got close to unbeatable, his hitpoints were greatly increased and he came close to killing me at least once. I don't think that ranged attacks are quite as powerful as melee attacks either but I'll explain that with the Monk.

My Monk, which I named Cain before I remembered how Deckard Cain was spelled :P, was pretty badass! He gives off a pretty Kung Fu vibe with his attacks. While he comes equiped with Knuckles he is capable of using swords and shields and two-hand attacks/weapons like the Barbarian. He can't use two-handed swords but a javelan in one hand with a sword in another is a rather potent combination.

The monk's abilities unlock rather early too. The ones I managed to unlock were the Lashing Tail Kick, which is a powerful roundhouse kick; Deadly Reach, which is a punching attack that damages over a distance with the third punch reaching up to 25 yards. Lastly, Blinding Flash, which blinds enemies for 3 seconds. It even worked on the Skeleton King! The rune unlocks for Lashing Kick, called Vulture Claw Kick, gave the attack fire damage and did 220% weapon damage to enemies. The Lashing Kick by itself only did 200% damage.

The 'Mana' for the Monk type was called Spirit. This power doesn't recharge on its own and as such you can find yourself running out of it if you use a lot of the secondary attacks. Spirit is charged up using the Primary attacks. Depending on what that is you can generate as little as 6 Spirit/attack. Thankfully, those primary attacks are pretty powerful by themselves and I found I used my secondaries only when surrounded.

The melee attacks my Monk used seemed to do a lot more damage than those of my Wizard. It almost felt as easy as when I went through as the Barbarian. That leads me to think that melee warriors like the Monk or Barbarian get through this easier than ranged warriors do. I didn't feel like I was in trouble as much in close quarters with those two than I did with the Wizard or Witch-doctor. While they were both fun types, I think when I finally get the game I'm going to go through it with the Barbarian or Monk first and then try it with a different one. Maybe the Wizard.

Now that I've gone through with all the different Warrior types I'm eager to get my hands on the full version of the game. I preordered up the CE of it becuase it just looks to be worth it! I want to know what lies beyond the Skeleton King and what challenges I'll have to face. This game is going to be a lot of fun and I'm probably going to go blind playing it!

I hope my little amateur updates into the beta have been informative and fun to read! I may have another update once the game drops but I'm not 100% sure on that yet! Don't want to drop any spoilers! Until then, Good Game! :cool:

A General Update on Life

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I noticed recently that it's been almost a year and a half since I dropped one of these lovely blog bombs on the universe, so I decided it was about time to do so!

My last blog was about the StarCraft II beta. Since that blog, I've thoroughly enjoyed StarCraft II and I'm so eager for Heart of the Swarm it actually hurts! I'm hoping to get a spot in the Diablo III beta but I can also wait for it's release if I don't get in. I want that game as badly as I want HotS!

I've gone through a major hardware upgrade on my computer. I know am proud to say I'm running an Asus P8P67 Deluxe mobo, with an Intel Core i5 2400, 16GB of RAM, and some sweet USB 3.0 ports to boot! Windows 7 is still running strong with IE9 giving me grief only when I'm on Facebook. Not bad! I'm even able to continue to play some of my older games, like AOE3. I like that my nostalgia can still get a fix even with all the new hardware & software.

I'm considering a buy on MW3 when it drops, albeit I mostly play FPSs for the multiplayer and it seems a waste to buy a whole game when you would only really use the multiplayer stuff. Speaking of FPSs, I'm also eager for the release of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. I think CS has needed an upgrade of this sort for a very long time. I also think that it'll be a freaking sweet game! Lastly on this game, it also blows my mind that the current incarnation of CS is 7 years old! I didn't think it was that old! :P

There are so many good games coming in the near future that I'm not sure what to do with myself. I suspect that when I get them my life will be consumed by them! It'll be me, a dark room, and some Diablo III! LOL We shall see what happens but I suspect it'll be all good! :D

StarCraft II Beta

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I have to take a moment and do just a little gloating. Thanks to a remarkable turn of events I tripped over someone that works for Blizzard while at work last week and they were kind enough to send me a StarCraft II Beta key! I am so in on this thing!!

WHOOT!!! Playing SCII!!!

That is all... :twisted:

Update #1: Have just completed my first match. Played as the Terrans. My opponent was the Protoss.There was a moment in there when I thought I was going to lose but my opponent didn't press the attack. He was pretty screwed when I unleashed my nukes! He gave up after a few dropped on him! :D

Update #2: I've discovered that if you don't play for an extended amount of time, like say almost a month, you may find that your profile has to be redone from the ground up. Well I had to do that, which meantI had to go back through some of the preliminary matches before getting into the harder stuff. I wasn't disappointed. It gave me an opportunity to get my hands on the changes they made since I played before. I had fun and even lost one of the games I played. That's always a bit humbling. But only a bit! :P

Windows 7 is a Keeper

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Well I took some time this past Saturday and I upgraded my Vista 32-bit machine to a Win7 64-bit machine. I can say with all due respect that this new OS is a vast improvement to Vista. First off, the installation was fast and smooth. There were no weird delays or long hangs. The whole OS was up and running in less than half an hour. Even the driver installs that came next were rather painless. There was a minor glitch with the sound driver that actually caused a BSOD but I think it was just a simple glitch since I ran the install again a few minutes later and it went nice and smooth. Honestly, the hardest thing was finding the right drivers to put into the 64-bit version of Win7.

I recall loading Vista and it not being quite so smooth in a lot of ways. The drivers weren't quite right and so some of the visual stuff from games like C&C3 didn't come through for months until there were better drivers available. This new system does have a nice boot and shut down time. Both are much shorter than Vista. I've even managed to get used to the new taskbar setup in rather short order so now it's just second nature. Some of it still has some getting used to though, like the IE icon showing all the other tabs that are open instead of just the one window. Still, it's a vast improvement over Vista.

It being a 64-bit OS I figured it wouldn't handle the 32-bit applications I use everyday but all the programs I've installed so far have gone in with no problems at all. Well, there was one problem with Steam and Counter-Strike but that had nothing to do with Win7. My antivirus/anti-spyware software was in the way on that one but I got it quickly resolved. All-in-all I have to say that Win7 is greatly improved over Vista and now that I'm using the 64-bit version I have been able to put 8GB of RAM into it. I think that's helped out with that boot up time thing too! :P

I have to say that I highly recommend Win7 to anyone not happy with Vista. You won't be disappointed. At least, I haven't been disappointed in it yet.

Thankful

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Thanksgiving is here again! Time for feasting with family and friends and being generally thankful for whatever good life has thrown your way. We all have things we're thankful for and no matter how rotten our lives may feel. Me, I'm thankful for the friendsand family that actually care about me. I'm also thankful that some of the games I've been waiting patiently for are coming out in the coming months! :D

That being said, what is everyone thankful for out there?? Being thankful for anything is still being thankful. You don't have to have a lot to be thankful for but having anything is what the day is all about.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May it be the best one yet!

What's Your Most Anticipated!?

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I looked and noticed its been like a year and change since I posted a blog on here so I figured a nice easy one would be a good way to get back into the swing of things. We all have games that are coming out in the coming months (and years) that we just can't wait for! A few of mine are Diablo III, StarCraft 2, and SupCom 2. I'm eager to get my hands on all those for varying reasons but eager nonetheless! I think they will all be superb games with hours of eye-damaging entertainment!

What games are on their way out that you're waiting for?? It can be any game on any platform with any release date! If you want they can even be out and just something you really want! I want to know what the world is waiting for. It's gotta be interesting!

Multiplayer RTS

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I finally logged into the RA3 beta yesterday and the game itself looks amazing! What i quickly discovered is that for someone that has never played another human opponent online, I suck! I played a couple games yesterday, each one more aggresive than the last and i was quickly owned every time! I think the longest game i played was about 12 minutes. I really suck! i totally thought I would be better at this stuff than i am. It's more than a little disappointing to find out just how truly bad you are at a thing. I think i was even playing against players that were at the same relative level as I am. Well, maybe not. They have probably all played before in Kane's Wrath or C&C3. That gives them a nice edge over me, the total novice. I hope i can get better and finally start to win a match or two before the game hits shelves. That would so totally rock!

What's Wrong With Vista??

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I've been hearing how people have been switching back to XP from Vista. They claim that their hardware just doesn't work right with Vista or it just doesn't work right because of other things, like driver issues. While those are valid concerns they aren't something that can't be overcome. For starters, the hardware thing is easily fixed. If you have a piece of hardware that isn't compatible with Vista, simply replace it. You don't need top of the line hardware to run Vista and if the hardware you have doesn't work with Vista it's probably time for new stuff anyway. I had a friend call me about a driver problem with an old printer and Vista. It didn't surprise me that the driver didn't exist since the printer was like 5 years old. It was probably new when XP was new! Simple fix: New Printer! Solved the problem right away!

I know the costs of upgrading hardware today. I've upgraded my own hardware recently and it cost about $2000. But the thing is that Vista has been around long enough to fix most of the driver issues and you don't need state-of-the-art hardware to enjoy all that Vista offers. My own computer is pretty much state-of-the-art but that's because I could afford it. Others with a much tighter budget don't need to go for broke but can get by on a system with 2GB of memory and a video card that would be considered 3rd from the top of any graphics line. With what those two things cost, upgrading should be cheap and easy.

By no means is Vista perfect. It doesn't have a very good search function and the User Account Control is a constant pain in the butt but it's easily as stable as XP. I've even heard it referred to as the new ME but it's nowhere near as bad as ME was. That OS was the worst Windows product ever! Vista isn't as good as it should have been but it can only get better. No new operating system is ever as good as it could be until its been given a bunch of updates, upgrades, and Service Packs! It shouldn't be given up on just after it's left the gates. That's just silly!

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