“Let’s see what happens when we take away the puppy.”

Another episode of ‘Name that Quote!’.
Where is it from? Who said it? What year was that from? And be honest if you use a search engine to figure it out. But it will cost you ‘points’ if you do it that way.

And here are Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems comics for the week:

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #400 – Consequences Somsequences – October 29th, 2007

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #401 – Happy Halloween – October 31st, 2007

Well, another week has gone by. Nothing significant really happened other than the EARTHQUAKE! that we had on Tuesday night. And the aftershock on Halloween afternoon. Nothing significant to report on either of them. For the first we feared it was going to get worse and turn into ‘the big one’ but it then settled down. We had some stacks of paper fall over, a tape dispenser that jumped into a waste bin, and my sculpture of Millennial Gaia jumped into the cushioning of my big paper recycling bin along with my 20th anniversary copy of the animated Transformers: The Movie. We were playing City of Villains at the time ‘Trick or Treating’ during the Halloween event they have been having. We were on voice chat with friends and shared the scary moment with them.

For the aftershock I was at my computer working from home when the jolt hit, startling me a LOT more than the main ‘quake did. But it was way shorter and weaker… nothing fell during that.

So those were the only real things of note for the week.

Both Mhari and I continue to suffer with minor back issues, sometimes flaring up into something annoying. Dr. James took care of -most- of my back issues on Sunday at our regular appointment, but something has started with my right hip the last couple of days. Likely I just ‘slept wrong’ or something and it will ‘go away’ on it’s own before our next appointment. But it sure is annoying.

Eve Online: *shrug* I am still training both characters. One is getting ever closer to Heavy Assault Cruisers, and the other is working on Cruise Missles, as their goals. When the one studying up to fly Heavy Assault Cruisers gets done with that, I will transfer her to my main account and my Miner will be transfered to the ‘alt’ account so I can start training Her up with even better mining and processing and trading skills so she can make even MORE ISK for the other two. So I will likely keep my 2 accounts for a while. Sure wish they had the ability to use the ‘power of 2’ promotional price for accounts you already have. Oh, well.

Lord of the Rings Online: I see they released ‘Book 11’, so I went ahead and launched the updaters for the game on the 2 machines I have it installed on. Then I ignored it from there. Someday I will go back to this. It is worth that much time spent. But not right now.

City of Heroes/Villains: The big news here is that the Issue 11 beta has gone ‘open’ for the general playership and the NDA I was under while in Closed Beta has been dropped. So I can talk about it at last! Dual Blades is VERY cool for Scrappers, Tanks and Brutes. Less so for Stalkers, but they are working on that. Most of what the problem here is that for Stalkers an attack set has to have some form of ‘Assassin Strike’ (a signature Stalker power) and an ‘Placate’ (the target of which forgets you were attacking them and makes it possible to strike them from ‘surprise’ again) power. That means that 2 of the attacks that all the other Dual Blade users have, stalkers do NOT have. And it sort of messes up the whole ‘combo’ system that Dual Blades has as it’s ‘unique’ element. And this whole combo system is a new concept for the game, and still needs a little work to make it work right.

The other new power is defensive, also for Tankers, Scrappers, Brutes and Stalkers. It’s a ‘non-powered powerset’ meant to emulate all those heroes in comics that are not truly powered, but instead seem to stand up to super powered foes due to shear force of will. Personally, I think it ROCKS. But again, Stalkers get the short end of the stick on this set. They have to give up one of the powers to fit in their signature ‘hide’ power. And as another power in the set, called ‘Rise to the Challenge’ is so out-of-character for the Stalker’s ‘intended’ playstyle, that power was replaced by Reconstruction, though it may get renamed to something else.

The order in which these powers in the Willpower set become available was changed during closed beta, and may be changed yet again before it hits live. But this powerset is really, really good. A bit of invulnerability, a bit of regeneration, a bit of super reflexes and a whole lot of fun.

Also in this issue comes something called Flashback. It’s a means, with the help of a time traveling secret society, to go ‘back in time’ and play missions you played before… or even ones you missed. It’s very nice, but is still being tweaked to make it really work. Most of the work needed for this is in the terminology and the UI and making things clearer to the player before they perform the missions. The biggest point about ‘flashing back’ is that you do NOT typically earn experience as you are ‘powered down’ to the proper level for the mission(s) in question. But you can earn badges, unlock the ability to do task forces that you somehow missed, and in a couple cases, do missions that are no longer a part of the main game.

Also in this issue is ‘Weapon Customization’. This is a small part of one of the biggest requests that the players of the game have. Namely the player base has made it clear that they want to be able to customize their power effects as much as they can customize their costumes. Well, this doesn’t really allow that… except in part. ANY character that has some sort of ‘held’ focus, like a sword, a gun, a bow and even claws (as in the powerset, not just cosmetic or ‘monstrous claws), can change how that looks in the same way they do their costume. For example, a War Mace tanker can now change from using that mace, to using something like a sledge hammer, or a baseball bat or even a shovel. There is more than one bow available for the Archers, more than one type of Assault Gun for the Assault Gun Blasters and Masterminds. There are multiple choices for claws, swords, and of course Dual Blades folks can select different (or matching) blades for each hand. It really opens up a wide range of things. For Issue 11 this is just going to open up to things that already exist in the game and a few other new things. But for the future this opens things up even further. And there are some badges you can earn during play that may grant you the ability to use the weapons that the members of that enemy group that got you the badge use out there.

Lastly, as part of the new stuff that lets you access the new ‘Flashback’ system, there is that secret organization I mentioned. Called Ouroboros, they are from ‘the future’ and are here to prevent some sort of mysterious event. And there are a number of new missions with them that you can access starting at level 25, that involve going back in time to try to ‘fix’ things that someone else is trying to change about the way the timeline SHOULD be. They are some fun missions and bring back some old foes and add new ones. Again, this issue is really only adding about 5 new story arcs with this plot gimmick, but it leaves the way open for the Cryptic folk to add in more anytime they want! Lots of area for expansion that wasn’t there before, without ruining the main story of the MMO as a whole.

As to what we did on CoH/V this week… it was Trick or Treat almost all the time. So much so that last night we got tired of it, and started doing missions again. The event ends Sunday Night/Monday morning. And while it was fun, I am looking forward to getting back to normal, getting a little more time on the Test Server with the Open Beta, and then moving into the Winter Event and the launch of Issue 11: A Stitch in Time to the live servers…

Well, that’s it for me. I need to get to work so I can get on with my weekend afterwards. And I sure am looking forward to that extra hour of sleep I get Sunday morning!

Oh, and follow up on my brother from last week: My eldest sister called me just after the earthquake this week and I asked after my brother. She said he had been in Hawaii that week and was due back home this week. His home and business should be fine as they are not in the area of the fires. But the place where he had his wedding reception was in the area of the fires, and we don’t know if it was affected. I hope to hear more, but have not as of yet. Thank you whyaylooh for getting me feedback from the Lake Forest area.

Answer to last week’s quote:
Who said it?: Dr Ray Stantz (played by Dan Aykroyd)
Where?: At the Library, in the movie Ghostbusters
When?: 1984.