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Hudson's Hideout

Ramblings of a MMO player and Miniature wargamer http://1angrygamer.blogspot.com

Author: pvthudson01

Aion: a new blog rises up and a dev interview hits the web

Posted by pvthudson01 Thursday June 25 2009 at 9:43AM
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First off thanks for adding me to your blogroll, I always appreciate that and try to return the favor.

Secondly, let me direct my scant amount of readers to a blog just setup for Aion and wish him continued success. The blog is called Aionic Thoughts and is written by Naamah. So far he has had some really good material.

Blogging is not easy, especially blogging about one game. People will watch what you say carefully and then when you flip flop you get into all sorts of trouble. I just want to say as one of the first all Aion blogs out there that you have a long road ahead of you for many months. The game is still in beta but it is an open beta and that gives this blog and Aionic Thoughts the ability to write about things I cannot speak of in Champions Online. I personally think the time for the closed beta needs to come to an end so that publishers have to own up to crap before they release it to the market.

Anyway all that aside, I want to point out a recent post there that captures every chain attack available by every class, then replays them in SLOW MOTION. It is from the Asian client but you all will get the point: THE COMBAT IS GREAT. Pulling these moves off is what keeps me pumped up so I think that it is key that we all know what I am talking about.

The entire post is here but I will include one video to wet your appetite from the Ranger class:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIyHBXtPHg8&feature=player_embedded

Secondly a lot of people ask me why this game and not World of Warcraft. My answer is simple really.

I prefer this:

Over this:

Plus Aion has some really cool things going for it and PVP that I would actually care about. Lastly a new developer interview is up at Game Informer featuring some questions to Lani Blazier (meow) and in the interview she outlines some key points:

GI: Are you able to do different things with content in a subscription-based payment model than in games that are free to play and supported with micropayments?

Blazier: Yes, we are able to invest more heavily in content and production value with a subscription-base game. Also, we can invest in more outside-the-game features that have yet to be announced.

Yell at me all you want with all this free to play garbage hitting the scene right now, I still like the monthly model and believe it keeps the riff raff out of your game. The downside? It keeps the riff raff out of your game.

GI: The PvPvE system sounds particularly interesting. Can you talk about how the Balaur interact with players?

Blazier: The Balaur reside in the Abyss and are our AI-controlled faction. The advanced AI on the game server is constantly interpreting real-time events and will make a decision based on various Abyss criteria. The Balaur are one of the many tools we use to keep the Abyss balanced and challenging.

Want more Lani? Check out this link: http://pc.ign.com/articles/996/996285p1.html

Very cool, a intelligent AI that effects my PVP and keeps things balanced. I like this.

That is all for today. I don’t want to harp too much on this game but I like it. So too bad.

Aion announces release day, Champions hits the media

Posted by pvthudson01 Tuesday June 23 2009 at 9:34PM
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Aion has released its official release date according to a press junket over on IGN.com and THIS official announcement on the site:

Aion Launches This September!

Your adventures in Aion begin this September! NCsoft is proud to announce that Aion launches in North America on September 22, 2009 and makes its official debut in Europe starting September 25, 2009.

Not only can you find the game at your favorite retail store, Aion will also be available as a digital download at NCsoft.com, Direct2Drive, and through Steam this September.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the special preorder promotion at participating retailers now to receive access to the Closed Beta events as well as a head start to your journeys in Atreia.

Take to the skies and become a part of a stunning world brimming with otherworldly inhabitants, mysterious enemies, and ancient secrets. Become a part of Aion this fall!

That is a long wait and that makes September a VERY interesting month. Elsewhere, the people that decide to get a Collectors Edition version of the game got a nice sneak peek of what their special wings will look like. Along with all the actual CE version of the game has many goodies hidden within.

champions-online-20080222002549826_640wThe Champions Online beta has not gone so swimmingly for me, but that is not due to a lack of developer fixes and new content.

I haven’t been able to play for a two week period and just recently hopped back on there to see how much I had missed. While I cannot go into specifics all the fans out there can be assured that Cryptic is not wasting this new time they have after delaying it. I also do not want to burn out, which started happening to me faster in this game than I like to admit.

The game is going through some good changes in beta right now and a lot of things are getting streamlined and fixed that NEEDED IT badly.

My only issues with it right now center solely on the personal aspect of:

* I got sick and then sick again and missed three weeks
* Summertime blahs
* Wonky in game issues that are now being addressed thank GOD

We have all summer. Let us see how this shapes up.

Bill Roper popped out and gave us some heads up and the Champions Online hype machine has been going crazy in the media. Over the month of June alone their RSS feed has pumped out over 22 news articles and updates. This one MMO loves to keep the community in the loop and that is a good thing. While I have access to the State of the Game posts in the beta, the general public has also gotten some updates as well which I can just post here in a general CO news list:

* Randy Mosiondz talking about what being a hero means
* A June 17th State of the Game by Daeke
* How developers are handling the ins and outs of the Nemesis code
* A look at the Stonghold Prison instance (lair)

As you can see Cryptic is giving many readers and fans a huge look at the inner workings of what makes a MMO tick. Hopefully once things settle down for me I can devote more time to the beta code.

Aion: when is a beta not really a beta?

Posted by pvthudson01 Monday June 22 2009 at 1:01PM
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Originally posted here: http://hudshideout.com/blog/?p=2759

---------------------------------------------------------------

Aion beta weekend shut down (at least for us working stiffs. I may get one hour in tonight hopefully before the deadline) and afterwards the World of Warcraft players invaded the Aion boards with several “not as good as WoW” posts, which I found interesting.

One thing I noticed on every forum, and I know that in my rant the other I said I had to stop reading these places, is that no matter what people tend to post the same thing over and over. No matter the game you see the same posts put up consistently. I do not know where these people come from but in EVERY game I see the same exact things typed up. Honestly it has gotten so bad that you could literally cut and paste the same response and just change the name of the game.

One thing to temper ourselves with about the Aion hype is that NC Soft and the Seattle office (I think that is where Aion is headquartered here) are simply doing a massive translation of a game that is already underway and proven overseas. Technically, how could it really be a “beta” if we are simply testing a few cosmetic changes? Correct if I am wrong on that one but I am not sure how long the Asian version of the game has been up and running. So here we have a game that has been out and proven to work unlike the Warhammers and the Champions Online type of MMO’s that have to undergo new development and have not launched. So of course the game seems polished and is working. While in the literal sense it is still a beta, I know in the back of my mind that they have been given success on a platter for the most part (3.5 million subs overseas). Unless they REALLY screw something up. Some of us MMO players are very picky about our end game content and that could be an Achilles’ heel for some new subscribers.

Either way that is NOT the sole reason I ended up liking the game. Usually I do not do these ports because I cannot stand the universe or the wacky cuddly creatures and such. For example NeoSteam almost made me puke, as while I played it I realized it was one of the worst piles of garbage I had ever loaded on my hard drive. Going into Aion I did not expect much but now I know. The lore grabs me, the graphics (much like Guild Wars), the classes, the combat and most of all the atmosphere. When my character stands AFK in a lake or pond, he looks down and grabs a fish out of the water. As others stated, the game is rich in making you feel like part of the world. When it rains, he pulls out a leaf over his head. When he sits, he materializes a chair. Little things like that and not so over the top on the Asian anime influence. Make no mistake though that you WILL be killing a lot in this game. Every single quest is kill this, bring me that or activate this although not as bad as Wrath of the Lich King. You will be killing and killing and killing in this game and you will do it over and over and over again. Not much originality but honestly I didn’t mind it so much. This is because it is new. Would a player want to level alts consistently in this environment? I am betting they would because it is mindless and that seems to be what sells in today’s market. The quests are well written but again nothing jumped out to me as “wow that quest was awesome!”

So while Aion grabbed me right away, I have to remember that it is INDEED like a lot of MMO’s, I just happen to like the lore. We have a world torn asunder, clearly defined good and evil sides, something nasty lurking in the middle, and the ability to pick a class 10 levels in which forces you to really weigh your decision. I have decided I will be rolling Asmodian since the Elyos side is a bit too cheery and such for me. That is how it is supposed to be however and instantly it really causes a division among the players that I think spawns great PVP scorn. You need that in a game, you need that clearly defined I think. I felt it in Warhammer Online but not so much World of Warcraft, and in Everquest 1 and 2 well who cares. In WoW I simply hated Alliance players because they were seemingly the dumber players. That is a stigma the Alliance has never lived down, and I am not the only one that shares that sentiment. Yet there I was , my mains all pimped out and on the Alliance side because I went where the people were. That and at the start of the game the horde side was incredibly boring.

So while Aion is the hot ticket right now and yes I was quite addicted to it this weekend ever without getting to see the Abyss and PVP, we have to remember that many of you will simply see it as a WoW clone, not get into it and go back to Blizzard’s bosom. This will prompt a slew of new blogposts that I myself have done when I left Warhammer Online (a game I might add I have never returned to which says how much I ended up hating it). For me though it is just the break I needed because the game is so much darker and up my alley.

I would like to point out that once again I am having issues with the slow pacing of Everquest 2’s combat. This happens every single time I play that game. Taking a 42 Inquisitor to Everfrost and trying to kill things is a lesson in patience that I just do not have. I may have to switch back to my coercer or troubador. I got spoiled this weekend playing a beta for once I haven’t felt that in a long time.

Hudson hits the Aion beta!

Posted by pvthudson01 Saturday June 20 2009 at 4:28AM
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What a crazy night Friday was. Our power went out for over 8 hours and I was RIGHT in the middle of playing the Aion beta. Needless to say I was little pissed, and power came back at 3am and awoke me with the shrill death knell of the fire alarm going off. The other day I pre-ordered Aion. Yes, I gave in. It looked cooler the more I read and studied up on it and when I saw how slick the gameplay was, WoW clone type or not, I had to bite. With my pre-order I got early access and an immediate beta key. I am not telling everyone to drop every game they are playing or that this will be my next MMO, but I had some cash and decided to use it on this and Red Faction:Guerrilla for the XBOX 360 a few days ago.

I couldn’t sleep so for the first time in a while I loaded up FRAPS and started taking some in game movies of the Aion beta with my Priest Azmodius.

The first movie, up on YouTube and embedded here, is just a quick film showing the combat responsiveness in the game and how fast things go. No delay here and the interface is intuitive and easy to master. So in the combat video I made it short and sweet. I wanted to show the movement during combat, the spell casting and the looting, that was it. No long speeches here just a super quick look at how fast and well oiled it was.

Find that video here:

http://hudshideout.com/blog/?p=2742  and here  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXzATs9mS7c&feature=player_embedded

My next video is one showing gathering and how fast it was. Then I also show all the screens and the options for the interface. Gathering is fast and simple. While I am gathering I will show off the interface options and how fast it moves while you drag icons and place them where you want and how you can add additional quick bars. You can also set the POINT TO CLICK MOVE OFF thank God! You can of course adjust key mappings and several other standard features that make the game very customizable.

I also show how easy it is to modify the chat tabs and change the colors and filter the channels. A simple right click on the chat tab and you are there, no lag and quick and easy. You can also drag all your emotes out to the action bars and use them as well. They all have minimal voice and are well done.

Find the interface video here   http://hudshideout.com/blog/?p=2742 and here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIUH9oJhFao&feature=player_embedded

The XBOX 360 Wireless adapter

Posted by pvthudson01 Thursday June 18 2009 at 1:52PM
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Hello everyone, it is summer time again and that means it is about that time for another Hudson "why do I bother even trying with consoles" post.

Last year we may all remember (or maybe not) http://hudshideout.com/blog/?p=315 the total fail package that Too Human turned out to be, effectively killing my XBOX 360 love. This year I am on the bandwagon waiting for the REAL superhero game to come out: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.

However today I want to talk about the XBOX 360 Wireless Adapter.

I’m telling you Microsoft makes some serious blunders and it seems that people just sweep them under the rug and move on about their business.

Well not me. I tried for a while last night to get my XBOX Live on the wireless network using an adapter that Microsoft wants to charge 100 dollars for. Naturally I did not pay this price, and I chose this model because despite the price it got outstanding reviews. However what they don’t tell you, and it was a shock for people like me who hadn’t setup their XBOX 360 in over a year, is this adapter does not support WAP2 security on wireless networks. The packaging says it does, the guy that pitched that adapter one year at a conference says it does, but when you get it out and use it it DOES NOT.

After trying in vain for an hour to figure out what the heck was wrong with this thing I finally noticed that when I went to connect to a wireless network mine never showed up, but everyone elses in my complex did. I knew the adapter was working so I went ahead and manually tried to enter my network on the setup screen.

I put in the name of my network, went to the screen to define the security I used and then there it was. WAP2 was greyed the F**K out. WAP was not, but WAP2 was greyed out. So there it was. Instantly I went to my desktop and hit the GOOGLEZ. Sure enough, thread after thread and result after result on the hit for XBOX 360 Wireless Adapter and WAP2.

Just ponder some of these findings:


“Nope, it doesn't do WPA2, no way to make it either”
 

“Even though the packaging, manual, etc. on the wireless adapter state it supports WPA2 it actually never did. Do a Google search on 360 wireless adapter + WPA2 and you'll see this has been a known issue since release. If you want to encrypt your wireless traffic using the microsft adapter you'll have to settle for WPA encryption.”


“According to the Xbox360's wireless adapter website page:
Note: Some copies of the instruction manual for the Xbox 360 Wireless Networking Adapter state that the adapter is compatible with the WPA2 security standard. At this time the adapter works only with WPA and WEP security."


"Lots of people have tried due to this error in the documentation, but I have never heard of anyone successfully setting WPA2 up with the Xbox360. I know my friend's will not connect to his Linksys WRT54G router when WPA2 (AES encryption) is used. WPA (TKIP encryption) works fine though. Usually WPA is still secure enough for the average home user. (But maybe not the paranoid Uber L33T gamer).”


So that’s how Microsoft wants to play it off. It may seem minute to some, but for millions of techy nerds out there that know their wireless network and used a certain security setting and BOUGHT A 100 DOLLAR DAMN PIECE OF PLASTIC to give them wireless based on this it was a huge blow in the nether region. A typo on a booklet and then a retraction and “OOPS, SORRY!”

My solution was to reduce my entire network to WAP then rejoin every freaking machine to the wireless network and I dealt with it, but it still is not really excusable for a person to have to do that. What about the less tech savvy among us? Ever try to get Microsoft to support your XBOX? Heck even the forums and the website time out on a continual basis. Last night I couldn’t even GET to the support forums to search for WAP2 and see if anyone had ever pulled it off. I guess in the long run I should have looked into all this from the start but it has been a year since I dusted the thing off and I had just NOW gotten around to getting it back on XBOX Live. NONE of the reviews I read stated that it had an issue with WAP2 until late last night after I had figured this out one review buried deep deep on BUY.COM stated:


“Easy to configure and setup. Good wireless speed. Be aware that this adapter will not work (as mentioned by an earlier reviewer) with WPA2 security. WPA2 is a newer, more secure wireless security standard. I had to downgrade my internal security to WPA (you can also use WEP) to be able to connect this adapter to my network.”

http://www.buy.com/prod/xbox-360-wireless-network-adapter-wi-fi/q/loc/108/201975281.html

Well silly me. Next time I need to remember to scroll 2-3 pages into a review before I buy and realize that no one else wants to mention the fact that a major network security protocol is not SUPPORTED!

The rest of my night was spent getting Netflix to stream through my XBOX 360. This would have been a lot easier had the download option for the Netflix client <strong>ACTUALLY WORKED ALL NIGHT</strong>.

Finally I got up at 6am this morning to check my Everquest 2 broker auctions and low and behold suddenly the Netflix client downloaded and I was able to stream any “Instant View” movies in my Q to my TV.

So many would ask why I do it? Well because it was broken and I knew it should work and by the grace of Thor’s Hammer I was going to get it to work. Kinda like my DPS Inquisitor in EQ2. I know I am not playing him the way people want me to, but I will get him to be a plate wearing bringer of death and judgement if it is the last thing I do.
 

Was this all worth it? I am back online but really how often will I use it? I picked up a trial Gold Membership for XBOX Live for a 1 dollar, because Microsoft can’t give you free multiplayer like the Playstation 3 I guess. After a month the price reverts to $7.99 which I guess is not TOO bad considering all you can do with XBOX Live in terms of TV shows and movies and the like. Still, I cannot help but wonder how much actual MULTIPLAYER gaming I will get done since I spend 95% of my gaming time logged into an MMO. I don’t like shooters, I do not play the sports games online, and I rarely meet up and play anything with anyone on my friends list. I guess I will just never be a console guy no matter how much I try. There was one brief point back last year when the XBOX tried to be my replacement gaming “niche” and it just failed in the long run. Hell I even prefer my Fallout 3 and Mass Effect on the PC. They just play BETTER.

They can have my wired keyboard and mouse combo when they pry it from my cold dead hands.

Aion: temper the hype machine

Posted by pvthudson01 Wednesday June 17 2009 at 11:17AM
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I don’t keep it a secret that this blog is very anti hype when it comes to new games. I generally do not like to cover them and if I do, I try to start a new blog so I don’t force info about a game that people generally may not care about.

Unlike some other blog writers, I tend to stay away from bandwagon jumps and let the calm settle in before trying out a new game. I have been bitten more times than I can count, only to have to wait 6 months or so for a game to get polished and actually be fun to play. Cases in point are Age of Conan, EQ2 (a mess at launch), Tabula Rasa and Warhammer On--- well never mind. Age of Conan and EQ2 only then. I hear Warhammer Online added more hotbars . GG Mythic. Keep those stunning 2004 updates rolling along.

So it has come to my attention that some bloggers are starting to ramp up hype for Aion, another MMO is the fantasy vein that features more quest hubs and graphics designed to make you forget you are playing a WoW clone. Some bloggers will like it

http://westkarana.com/index.php/2009/06/16/a-first-look-at-aion-the-tower-of-eternity

http://mmoquests.com/2009/06/17/aion-beta-impressions

others will pass it off as standard merchandise we have seen before

http://tobolds.blogspot.com/2009/06/aion-nda-dropped.html

Uber WoW guilds will conquer it, and some will just casually play it. Just be careful. I have played Lineage II and seen the darkside of games (READ http://hudshideout.com/blog/?p=21) that NC Soft purports to watch over and hold sway on. The scene in the end is never pretty. If the bots get automated and filter into this game, you can rest assured that virtually no action will be taken because NC Soft does not care.

All I can say is temper your hype with reality. In any case, I bet it outdoes Champions Online. CO was another game that I ALMOST fell for. I reeled it in though and have learned to hold off with a "wait and see" approach on that one.

Reading over some of the comments about Aion, one cannot help to notice that we have a few complaints tempered with a few "but its pretty!" posts as the only argument. Graphics do not make a game. I am not saying Aion will suck or that it will be awesome. Just remember that graphics ... do... not...make...a...game.

This has been a public service announcement.

EQ1: My interface and how I set it up

Posted by pvthudson01 Monday June 1 2009 at 9:50AM
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REPOSTED FROM:

http://hudshideout.com/blog/?p=2590

I decided to make a post about how generic my interface was in EQ1. Not generic in a bad way, but more like simple and full of the information I need. The best thing about the interfaces in EQ1 and EQ2 are that they are easily adjustable, from the size of the compass to the amount of hotbars in the game. I can adjust or add as I want, and it is quite intuitive but in EQ1 some things now are hidden to new player that weren't when Luclin was released many years ago.

Our guild is still looking for players daring enough to come back to EQ1! If interested look us up here

http://eq2.hudshideout.com/index.php?board=2.0

Here is a shot of my interface with labels, which I will go over below it (click to enlarge).

1. Target: This is pretty self explanatory. I always move mine right next to my character info bar so that my eyes can easily read what is going on with the battle situation. This is also a must if you are a tank in this game. You can download a fancier interface for this at EQ Interface.

2. My Info: Standard stuff here, my hit points and all that tucked into the upper left corner

3. Buffs. I put my buff window vertically under my character bar and stretch it to fit perfectly under there. It helps to keep track of what buffs you have and when they drop. Good tanks will always know this to give them the upper hand.

4. Group window. Mine is generic and needs to be updated. I want one that shows numbers and percentages but again this is the default UI.

5. Potion Belt. This is a tricky one. Not on the screen by default but a nice touch. Basically it loads potions in a easy to click bar like Diablo 2 no matter where they are in your inventory. The catch? Only two spots with the remaining two opened on using Alternate Advancement points later on. To get the potion belt on screen, use SHIFT P. The number of charges you have available of a potion is displayed in the upper left of the potion belt slot. Again any good tank or player will have this readily available in case the shit hits the fan

6. Hotbars 1 and 2. By default only 1 hotbar is on the screen, but if you click the nifty EQ button in the lower left and go to ACTIONS then select Hotkeys 2,3,4 etc etc. I used two for now, and the upper one is NOT tied to keyboard 1-0. I use that for macros and ranged attacks and all that good stuff. Hotbar 1 is my main hotbar and I use this for warrior abilities like KICK and BASH. Since Everquest requires you to skill up taunt and sense heading (useless now with a compass but I like to do it) I put my action abilities in order and click 1,2,3,4 in order to skill up as I fight. ALWAYS click TAUNT! It must skill up. Taunt in EQ1 is a snap ability and will not improve unless you use it.

To add abilities or find them, see number 9.

7. Main chat window. I clear this up of all combat spam by right clicking on the title bar and making a new chat window then renaming it COMBAT and placing that where item number 8 is.

8. Combat window. This is the window that has all my combat spam. Word of advice here. Go to the EQ button and then OPTIONS. In options is a FILTER tab. In there turn MY MISSES, OTHERS MISSES and things like that to DO NOT SHOW or you will get a world of SPAM hate. No one cares when they miss, they just want to know when they hit and what hit or if it was a crit. I set my combat window (again right click the window in the title bar and go to FILTERS) to record when I am hit, when I crit, when I hit (in yellow text so I can see it) when damage shields go off and all that great stuff.

9. Number 9 is the trusty Shadows of Luclin Action Window that for SOME WEIRD reason is no longer on the screen by default anymore. This window was awesome because everything was contained right there in nice little tabs and it lets you create macros really fast as well. You will want to get this up ASAP so that you have fast access to these things. Go to the EQ button in the lower left and go to ACTIONS then ACTION WINDOW. Move it to the bottom or wherever you want it but I always use it as a buffer to separate MAIN chat and COMBAT chat windows. The action window has little tabs according to abilities, combat or socials. The LAST tab, socials (with the word balloon) has several pages of pre assigned macros but if you flip it to the last page you can make your own macro by RIGHT clicking any empty button. Again any of these abilities can be moved to a hotbar by LEFT clicking and holding the button until it attaches to the mouse cursor. You can then drop it on a hotbar spot. In the combat abilities area and the abilities area RIGHT clicking any of them will bring up a list of abilities that are avaialable and you can then select one for a premade button. The action window was a great little tool and I am not sure why they chose to hide it from new players.

10. Quest journal. Again not on by default but it will pop up when you take a quest. In EQ1, you actually have to READ the quest text and reply to get a quest. Imagine that, people reading quest texts. I almost had to step back from my computer when I used that part of my brain that reads after playing World of Warcraft. At any rate, the quest journal is tricky because it is like many many windows inside a window and all the dividers can be held and drug around and moved. I had to work to jam it into the lower right and still be able to read the status. It functions about like a Excel spreadsheet. Just drag it around adjust it so you can see the quest status and enough of the text to figure out what the hell is going on. As always, Allakhazam is your friend for quest tips.

11. Ah the bandolier. This is basically a quick weapon swap system I wish more MMO's would employ without having to use some dumb ass mod that breaks every time a patch is made. The bandolier is once again not on the screen at default but unless you are heavily into combat you won't need it. For warriors and plate wearers it is a great tool to use to swap out weapons while leveling skills or while pulling. I make two sets, a 2hander label and a tank label. No matter where the gear is in your inventory it will swap the combos out. Make sure you have all your weapons and ammo and ranged things setup before you add a combo. You can make hot buttons out of the combos but I just select it and click "activate". Get to the bandolier again by the EQ buttons, then going to actions.

12. Auras and bard songs. Meh, I usually leave these where they are. After all no one plays a bard anymore anyway. *cough*

Ok there you go. I think I have rambled on enough. My point is that you can move and adjust the windows and download new elements just as easily as other games, if not easier. EQ2 works the same way. Very customizable and I think that these two games get it right when it comes to interfaces. I want to control what is on my screen, I do NOT want to be limited. Very few MMO's launched these days pay enough attention to this.