Great series, and one that is becoming so entrenched in geek culture (I simply mean that to describe someone who regularly reads this site) that it is worth reading. There is a reason Roland was named Roland in Borderlands, and now you can get the reference. Like Ender's Game, Tolkein, Asimov, and Hitchhiker's, they are pretty much sci-fi canon.
As others said, the quality drops off towards the end. It's not that the story gets any worse, it is just that Kind does seem to stop writing to tell a story, and start writing as a personal pet project (the parts where he writes himself into the story are the absolute worst). However, anyone who has read a lot of King shouldn't be surprised where the story goes, as it is, in my mind, classic King. Worlds colliding? A sub-world that exists alongside ours? A supernatural story that sort of exists in present day? So many of his books have this, its just that Dark Tower starts off as pure fantasy, and doesn't bring this aspect out until later. If you view all the books as one long story, then you see that it follows similarly to say, Buick 8 or Hearts in Atlantis or Bag of Bones or The Shining or Misery or Insomnia.
Wizard and Glass is the best book in the series. Its all extended back story but its the best. By far. If they ever do make a Dark Tower movie, it should be Wizard and Glass.
Otherwise, the series has some of the most memorable characters ever. Roland, Jake, Susan, the Riza, that weird robot, Blaine the mono, Eddie, the woman in Roland's party with no legs, Cuthbert, the man in black... and so many more. They also have an excellent sense of place and the worlds and locations King thinks up kept me wishing it was an RPG.
I don't think they really get nearly unreadable until 8 or 9... but another thing is that these litter used book stores. I found a complete set of the illustrated softcovers at my local used bookstore, paid about $35 total. There was probably 10 copies of the first 4, and at least 2 or 3 of the rest. A good read and they look nice on my shelf. I would recommend reading, even if simply because they are almost 'canon' at this point.
My understanding is just having the account provides the credit benefit, its something like showing "available" credit. So go for one and don't use it. And yes, the only two real things you need to know are annual fee and APR. Customer service sucks all the way around, unless you are going to really use the card seriously and go with American Express, but I doubt you are in that category.
Life advice, credit card debt is easy to get into and hard to get out of. Be careful. On the other hand, if you are serious about growing older, having available credit for large purchases or emergencies is helpful and in some ways, I think a sign of maturity. But just be careful. They make it easy to spend, and then it can get hard to pay.
Also, opening an account with a bank where you have savings accounts will get you better rates, but keep in mind that banks basically "own" your money once they have it, so if you have a savings account and debt and go into default, they can often seize that money without any judicial process or notice necessary to satisfy the debt.
First, I agree, don't worry too much about what the randoms online tell you.
On the topic of the "Knife as Weapon" itself, I think it is nicely balanced in Black Ops II. It can be extremely powerful with the correct class setup, but it requires skill and thought. The MW2 combat knife, for example, was absurd with the lunge range and speed.
I have been trying the "Scanvenger" class as described by others, and I think the knife is fair. Most of the time, running directly at someone isn''t effective, sneaking around, however, is. Also, panic knifing has been somewhat nerfed as well.
Glad to see someone at Treyarch has been thinking about this stuff. I like that the knife is now an alternative weapon choice with pros and cons, just like all the guns.
That video is a coordinated effort by a dedicated team to exploit the spawn system. I'm not saying this makes it ok, but keep in mind that doesn't occur for 99.9% of the players.
I am finding the Black Ops II spawns to be average. There are some games that turn into absolute clusters where its spawn, turn, fire, die, repeat, but for the most part I am not having that problem. I think the system now spawns you near a living player on your team, which helps considerably (and borrows directly from Battlefield).
Another thing I have noticed, in regards to the "circular" maps, is that many actually do have an A side and a B side, with the two teams meeting in the middle, in my opinion a first for CoD. But its true, Battlefield has got the "progression" map design correct, especially with the Rush game mode. While I personally prefer this type, I don't think that is what CoD is about. CoD purposefully intends to be more of an arena shooter.
As for getting shot in the back and on spawns, I also find that this decreases with playtime, which makes me believe that you can adjust your playstyle and increase your skill to compensate. While CoD is very twitch based, there is a level of map awareness and tactics that can help. When you spawn in, you should move immediately, not stand in place. You need to watch your back. Something my brother (a much better CoD player than I am) taught me is that a great way to avoid getting shot in the back is to keep moving forward. And yes, you need to learn the camping spots, the sniper perches, and the intersections where you can't watch your back.
Also, I haven't noticed nearly as many examples of spawn trapping (where one team is trapped in a corner and dies immediately on spawning) in Black Ops II as other CoDs. Battlefield, in fact, suffers from spawn traps more than Black Ops II. For those of us that don't always roll with a party, this is a key change. Sometimes you get a team full of random players who aren't very good, and getting spawn trapped meant you were screwed as well. I'm not seeing that in Black Ops II.
My main complaint with Black Ops II spawns is the kill streak (score streak?) spawn trapping. The lightning strike bombing run kills streak is perhaps too easy to get and then dump on the opposing spawn, killing a round of spawners every time. I think the main spawns on each side need to be protected from targeted kill streaks in some way.
While I don't think saying "It's CoD, you have to put up with this" is a legitimate answer, I do think saying "It's an FPS, you have to put up with this" is legitimate. The nature of these types of games is going to cause this. My take is that Black Ops II is one of the better answers to date.
They are terrible, but if you played any of the Combat Training bot matches in the original Black Ops, you can beat them easily yourself.
But I agree, a huge, huge missed opportunity. It probably would work better if they just went whole hog with it and made your guys function like RTS units and gave up on the jump in/jump out stuff. Or, in the alternative, they should just let you pick loadouts for all your guys and play the entire thing in regular FPS fashion. Its really frustrating if you die and you can't find the right weapon on another soldier.
I do thinks its great how they tried to work the multiplayer side into the story, including the objective based gameplay on a closed map. The two have been moving further and further apart, this is a nice idea to help keep them connected.
With the way it is going through my battery I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't some distributed computing thing going on in the background and the secret is that by the time we get to the center we have cured cancer
I'm surprised no one else has picked up on the battery issue. Very resource intensive, also seems to activate the GPS on my iPhone. I wonder what it is doing? Maybe using the reverse camera to record people playing? Tracking where people spend their idle time? Some other distributed computing? Some sort of heavy duty stat tracking?
I can't get over how awful the driving is. Controls are terrible (much like in Halo) plus every little rock hangs up your massive car. I think the leveling speed is fine, and the diversity as well. My problem is that the good skills don't always match up with the good skill bonuses. Like someone before said, maybe I want faster reloads, but I don't want the action skill that tree unlocks. I am specing my gunzerker for co-op (the 'red' skill tree, forget the name) but I would like to grab some of the weapon change speed upgrades. I can't though, becuase it will delay me getting to the bottom of the red tree. And the points about respecing are well taken, but sometimes I want the feeling of my character organically growing in strength, not just becoming a spreadsheet of numbers each level.