FreyarHunter / Member

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**** Activation Limits, Capitalist *****s!

It's one of these coming, a rant. Oh boy.

So, at the end of July in 2008, I bought a wonderful game called 911: First Responders. Certainly a niche title as far as sales go, but for me it works great. It's an RTS dealing with european emergency services (Medical, Police, Technical Engineers, Fire) fighting various problems around various maps and scenarios. Of course, it's mod friendly too, so you can even add in American Units. (IE: Police Officers that are armed, FBI, Fire Department supported ambulances, etc.)

However, mid-November of that year, I ended up with this little annoying message:

"Activation Failed: Too many activations with different"

I kid you not, the message isn't even finished. Obviously it is trying to tell me that I activated too many times at work and at home. So, hoping it was just a rate issue, I waited about two or three months to see if it would allow me access to my game again. During that time I got my new XPS machine with a Quad-Core CPU, and dual 9800s. I was psyched to play on it, since I could turn everything up to its highest.

Right after New Years, I send a support request to Atari, asking them to ease up my restriction a bit. I just wanted to play it on my new machine. Seven days later, I get a response saying to contact Digital River. So, I call them, on a non 1-800 number, so I'm paying long distance charges on top of having to deal with this guy. I waited on hold for about five minutes, which isn't as bad as some wait times I've had.

I end up talking to this gentleman who asks me for my order ID number, granted it's my fault for not having it still, I have no idea where the e-mail with it went. So, after a bit of trading information such as name, credit card number used, and date we were able to find it. Afterwards he gave me the most priceless, yet aggrivating line:

"You have activated too many times. You will need to buy a new license."

... What the $%*&?! I paid for the game to play it on my machines! Granted, it was a budget title for twenty dollars, and the stupid extended download service was four bucks on top of that. I mean, for this person to tell me that I had to buy a new license just nearly had me throw my phone across the room. Don't get me wrong, I don't understand wholly why it made me so aggrivated (the difference is my not liking it, and getting phsysically aggressive here), but I managed to tell him as nicely as I could that it was just plain unacceptable.

In the end, the tech decided to "issue a new key" and I calmed down by taking care of daily hygene requirements. Afterwards I tried to use the new key, but lo and behold.. there's three portions missing. That aggressive nature I felt before? Yeah, it's coming back.

So I call Digital River again, and ended up having to do a manual activation. A rather lengthy process (despite this customer service rep being decent) where I had to read this 20-character string wait five minutes, be told it was wrong, read the string agian, wait five minutes, get an e-mail with the challenge code to unlock.

I'll be writing Atari, Steam, and the FTC about this little exchange. Granted, I can play now, but the threat of having to buy another twenty-dollar license just doesn't sit well with me. It's not like they are providingsupport for twenty bucks.

January.. 2009? I just got used to 2008!

As you get older, it seems like certain dates start to not matter so much. IE: New Years, Christmas, Birthdays...

It's 2009 and I just got used to writing 2008 on all my reports at work. Been busy there actually. Still looking to get back into recording for here, but with the focus I've got on work, Warcraft, and a few other games on various consoles (I still can't record the PS3...) it will probably be awhile before I can get anything new up.

That said, I do have a habit of broadcasting live online through Xfire on occasion. You can find it here when I am actually broadcasting. I do broadcast audio too, which seems to be an interesting lack these days.

Until next time, cheers.

Ode to a small lump of clay.

Mmm.. I seem to get this urge to write. Why haven't I written, you may ask? Well, quite frankly, I've been doing stuff for school off and on, as well as workin ga lot at my current job. A lot of new things coming about, and hopefully I'll have enough sanity to organize them into an interesting jumble of thoughts for my next blog post, I suppose but for now a bit of a question for anyone who may pick up on this.

I have a Creative X-Fi ExtremeGamer audio card. I run Vista Ultimate (x86), but I have no Stereo Output for my audio card. Granted, I have a work around right now, but it isn't ideal. Does anyone know of third party drivers to enable Stereo Mix support?

BF: Bad Company Demo Impressions

Well, it's about that time. Battlefield: Bad Company is creeping closer to it's release and with it, public access to the demo. I've had issues with EA's advertising schemes, like promisng early access to the demo in exchange for a pre-order, or the attempt to try and sell weaponry in exchange for cash or microsoft points. However, with all that said and done, and in the back of our minds, these are my impressions of Battlefield: Bad Company (DEMO) for the PS3, and the Xbox 360.

I tried the Playstation 3 first, wanting to see how good it would be (and frankly, because I saw it on the Playstation Network first) with the Playstation 3's hardware advantage. I was, as usual, dissapointed by the "installation" procedure I had to endure. While it may not take more than nine minutes, it's still a wait time that seems out of place for any console.

I started with the singleplayer, wanting to see what they've done with it, considering that is the "biggest" change to Battlefield, and while it was a fun, enjoyable ride, a few issues reared their ugly head. The first was the god-aweful "Medal Of Honor" soundtrack that seemed so out of place in comparison to the title's more lazy tones, and the radio in the background from any jeep or truck you were in. It got so bad in fact that during a major firefight I couldn't stand how loud and in-your-face it was that I turned the soundtrack off. Thank god that you can still have the radio (for when you get into non-armored vehicle) to listen to, which works perfectly for the environment.

The AI seemed a little more than daft for your team-mates, but considering that they didn't take damage in the first place from enemy fire, they could go superman and just stand up there spraying bullets galore. Meanwhile, the enemy AI made sure to target me as if I had a giant neon sign saying "I am the commander! Hit me!" which is interesting considering you play as the FNG.

The sound was okay, though it seemed like it lacked the bass that previous Battlefield games had, especially with the artillery strikes and weaponry. I did like what I heard in terms of distant shots, but other than that it sounded very flat to me, and trust me.. I like booms. Certain voiceovers had some issues, particularly the Russian(?) or the re-recorded MEC(?) voices. They would pop and cut out, especially during heavy firefights.

The visuals look like they tried to make it look good, but it seems like they tried to hard. The contrast was all messed up and you couldn't change that in-game (hell, almost any game has an option for brightness or contrast these days) which made it look all washed out. Finding the contrast between soldiers and ground was difficult, especially in tanks as there is a filter over the screen to make it a little brighter. Compound that with the already washed out look and it's as if you were in a mild fog.

The online play was fun, but just like any other online game for the PS3, communication was lacking. Everyone was running everywhere, and doing whatever they wanted without co-ordination. It was really frustrating as I seemed to be the only person with a headset, and even then that didn't get anyone motivated enough to win.

The 360 version is a little different. The first thing coming to mind is the lack of the installer. A good start. The second thing that was noticable was that the 360 had a near perfect contrast and brightness level, making it a lot easier to see and know what was going on, especially in tanks. This made it feel like I was fighting in a desert, rather than in a fog bank.

The sounds seemed better, as they didn't have the same sound cut outs that the PS3 had, but at the same time the booms seemed lacking still. However this means vital information wasn't lost or too jarring while it was "spoken" to you.

The online compenent was great, a lot of people were talking and willing to work together which made it even better to play and win. However on the 360 version, there was a bit of an issue with latency, and joining and leaving issues. This is more prevelant with non-ranked matches as that seemed to have major lag issues for the first 90 seconds of the map before it evened out allowing a bit of combat, and then relapsing into it's latency issue again.

Overall Battlefield: Bad Company feels like it tries to do what Battlefield 2: Modern Warfare for the PS2 and Xbox 360 was supposed to do. Allowing console gamers a crack at the Battlefield series with a bit of dumbed down controls, a lack of a leadership ladder, and chain of command.

The 360 version was more fun to play, and I've decided that if I do decide to buy BF: Bad Company, I will be buying it for the Xbox 360. Even buying it in the first place is in question, as I'm not sure if I'm a fan of the dumbed down combat that this title offers so far. As far as the PS3 goes, for a console that's supposed to be superior hardware-wise the PS3 just isn't stepping up to the plate in the sound department which is a huge letdown.

Age Of Conan: Might Makes Right

I've been playing Age of Conan: Hyborean Adventures for the past week or so, and have fallen into a rather enjoyable role. I am an assassin, a brigand, a liar, and generally not a nice guy. The reason for this is primarily because I play the "Good Guy" in any other game and it was time to just do something else.

The way I do this? I have an ability to hide (and hide very well). Doing that I can do a "Sneak Attack" to 'try' (Assassins are very weird when it comes to damage) to hurt a lot on a single person, and keep them just at the brink of dying. Doing that, I usually demand some sort of money, whether it is 50 copper (about 80 silver in World of Warcraft) or seventy-five copper (about 1.3 gold in World of Warcraft) in order to let them live and go on their way.

Granted, I'm not a complete jerk either, I usually let them know that if they have any problems with someone else trying to kill them, to let me know and I'll pop up. (It's one service I render to people who pay me.) However, increasingly people just respond with massive length of whining about how "It's unfair!" "You ganker!" "Ur KOS [Kill on Sight] to evy1 in my guild1!". I would like to take this time to say:


Player versus Player fighting is what makes the game so fun, especially as an assassin or rogue. You have the ability to stalk a target, render him to the point of wishing he didn't make the choice to travel alone. On top of that, the assassin ****is relatively underpowered when exposed, they mainly do their damage in the first hit, which makes it even more easy to deal with an assassin/thief.

How about a few tips regarding what to do if you are held up:

1) If you are approached, or you receive a sneak attack from an assassin that identifies himself as a thief, do not run away.

2) If you have the money the thief demands, and you aren't willing to walk back (or go elsewhere, since he will likely try and charge you if you didn't pay before), open a trade window with a "Shift-Click" and select trade.

3) Enter the money he demands and accept the trade. Don't take too long, since it will seem as a delay to try and get help from passersby or from a guild member.

4) Don't smacktalk even if you don't pay him. This will only make the thief angry with you, and you may end up not even getting the choice.

There are many ways to avoid getting caught by a thief in the first place, or to draw him out.

1) Travel in packs of two or more.

2) Bring guildmates.

3) Listen for shouts, or other people talking about an active thief on a given road.

4) Let others know.

5) Select another instance.

6) Go to another zone.

It isn't hard to do any of those, and it certainly is fair if you happen to get caught by a thief. In Age of Conan, might makes right, and to make yourself right, you have to get more than the thief.

Hope you don't find me on Cimmeria (RP-PvP)

Someone wants me to socialize; with science!

Let's take a look at what MMORPGs I am currently subscribed to/active with.

EvE Online: Paid by Timecards (Active through June)

World of Warcraft: Paid By Timecards (Active through July)

Age of Conan: Paid by Initial Purchase (Active through June)


I apparently won a random drawing of doom for an online site for a Dungeon Runners promotion. After which I completely forgot about and went on with my life. Some bad things happened, some good things happen, until I get an e-mail from someone in San Fransisco alerting me to my win in the drawing. I got a second e-mail asking for my name and address so they could ship "something" to me, and I gave it to them. (What were they gonna do? Send me Anthrax? Haha.) I then forgot about it for another couple weeks.

After awhile I get a second e-mail from the same guy in San Fransisco asking for my phone number so he could ship it via Fed Ex. I provided it, and a few days later got a tracking number. Again, I was forgetful, so I went on with things and actually started playing Age of Conan.

This afternoon I heard a thump at my door and went to see what it was, only to find a box.. A big box. It said "Belkin" on the side so I wondered if my father had ordered anything that I wasn't aware of before I looked at the address label, and found it was for me, and then found that the return address was to the guy that had asked me for my information. Curiously, I opened it with a key and found a good set of boxes inside that made me laugh loudly.

It came with:

Guild Wars
Guild Wars: Factions
Guild Wars: Nightfall
Guild Wars: The Eye of the North
Lineage 2 (Client or 60-day Card, I can't tell.)
Tabula Rasa


So, The bad news is that I already own Guild wars up to Nightfall. The good news is that I can easily use The Eye of the North without batting an eye (pun unintentional). I can't tell if the Lineage two addition is the client itself (allowing activation of the full product) and 60 days, or just a 60 day time card.

Don't know what I'll be doing with the stuff I already own yet. I do have a sudden urge to rip open Tabula Rasa though.

UPDATE: The Guild Wars bundle that I am interested in selling is now available via for people in Utah only.

Age of Conan; First Impressions

Age of Conan. Anyone else not talking about it? I started playing it on Friday and got together an Aquilonian Assassin with a build in mind similar to Altaïr. I spent a good amount of time in White Sands giving a few people a taste of early-level player-deaths, before buckling down and pulling myself up for some leveling.

Age of Conan looks really well, too bad it doesn't perform well, even on decent hardware. Granted you have a strange one or two people with a similar configuration that do just fine. However, it's highly skeptical. I've been looking through the configuration files in attempts to increase performance, without reducing visuals. Namely, removing the generated grass and foliage, as well as volumetric fog that tends to float around the docks in Tortage (Volumetric Fog making a difference between 30-45FPS to less than 8FPS). I've found a beta screenshot of the city, and I have the hard opinion that it would have been better if they left the docks like they were.

The combat itself is very interesting in that it isn't just about numbers. You actively have to manage attack arcs, and defenses. Though what I will mention is that all my experience in playing AoC is just with an Assassin. Combat is bloody, very bloody, especially with fatalities with melee oriented characters resulting in not only a large amount of the ruby stuff soiling your armor, but your screen as well. It's difference from World of Warcraft in attitude is the pure aggression of combat. There's plenty of it here.