Wednesday, August 11, 2004

More Dawn of War crap

As much as I'm enjoying being immersed in the 40K universe (cue bitch fights with The Flatmate, who's adamant that the Warhammer Fantasy universe is where it's at) , the game grows dull, stuck, as I am with one level to play on.

I can see that Relic are aiming forthe online side of the game to be a large partof the experience - and I'm sure they'll take their practised arm to the single-player campaigns very well - but it seems to me that online games are just going to turn into power gaming fests, degenerating into either troop rushes, or stagnated, stalemated trawls through tech levels.

The bigger your army, the more likely you are to win; the bigger your army, the harder it is to control. A reflection of real life, perhaps, but an irritant in the context of this game. RTS games have never really been my bag, baby, so I guess that I would inevitaby fall out of love with Dawn of War. I just didn't expect the novelty to wear off so soon.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Noon of War (well, about quarter to one)

The Orks are, obviously, the most fun to play. Well, how could they not be? The Ork race is, in the Warhammer universe anyway, the life and soul of every party. Of course to them a party means bringing along four tofive hundred mates, needs some high calibre automatic weaponry and, if possible, orbital bombardment, but still. You get my meaning.

The one real problem I have with the game so far is that the Eldar play so differently from the other three races. The Orks might require one more resource than the Space Marines or Chaos Marines, but that's not that much of a hardship. Instead of building a turret next to your listening posts (for no extra gain), you build a Waaargh! bannerthat ultimately adds to the power of your army. The Eldar, however, start with the puny Guardians and remain with the puny Guardians until and unless you research the different Warrior Aspects available. Their tech tree is different from the one the other three races share.

It seems to me that if you're going to have four unique races then they really should all be unique - or all the same.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Dawn of War

I've been playing the Beta version of the Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War today, in between bouts of re-starting my PC.

(I wish I knew what the hell was causing the problems with my machine. The BSOD errors, and a lucky find on the net seem to point to my DSL modem drivers - of which I have the latest version. Bugger. If I had a boot disk, I'd just format and go back to WinME, cos I've had nothing but trouble since upgrading to XP. Of course, I'd also need to install a floppy drive...)

It's certainly the first videogame (that I've played) that's managed to capture the perceived atmosphere of the 40K universe. Chaos Cultists beg for mercy while you whip and lash them to work, Space Marine Commanders laconically reflect on the need to worship the Emperor and carry Big Guns, and the Orks shout a lot. The Gretchin sound a little too much like Serkis' Gollum, in my view. I still haven't played as the Eldar, but playing against them, they seem to follow the combat roles that one would expect from these future-Elves; martial arts, high speed and longevity of life.

The demo only allows one single player tutorial map, and only online multiplayer games. The tutorial is a skirmish mode game, using the Take and Hold rules: capture strategic points around the map, slowly advancing on the enemy. These points give resource points, allowing you to build facilities and vehicles, and recruit troops. So far, so C&C. Luckily enough, that's as far as resource collecting goes, apart from the ubiquituous power generators and their handy electricity. The three races I've tried so far seem to play pretty much the same, albeit the Orks need Waaaagh! power as a third resource.

It's fun, but far from revolutionary so far. I wish there were more game modes available, but, alas, not.

Foreignland is far away.

The problem - or one of the problems, at any rate - with having a foreign fiance is that it's hard to have sex when you're both within the confines of your natural born national boundaries.

The Feyoncé? Stuck in Finland, exam schedule full. Her plan to come to Scotland for a year curtailed by the intransigance of failed exams.

Myself? Stuck here in Scotland, trying - and failing, for the most part - to save enough money to go to Finland and see her.

Researching prices this morning, I discovered that the average round trip from Glasgow Airport to Oulu in Lapland was going to cost upwards of £400 and involve at least three planes. Bah, humbug. Not what I wanted.

Thankfully, there is always an easier way these days. One cheap trip to Stockholm Skavsta, followed by another from Stockholm Arlanda to Oulu, and I'm there for £200. In theory. Ryanair's strangely fluctuating prices (£69.99 Prestwick-Skavsta on the Monday, £4.99 for the same trip on Tuesday) means that it could end up more expensive, but for a 2500 mile round trip (or whatever it is) I'll take it.

Maybe I'll learn how to ski.