Thursday, February 03, 2005

Do your ears a favour.

For the last cpl of years or so I've been using a dinky $15 headset I bought at Staples, mainly because I needed a microphone. Last night I realised what I've been missing. I went out and bought a decent pair of headphones (with mic) for 35 bucks (Platronic .90 audio's) and the difference is stunning. Coupled with my soundcard I put in a couple of months ago the sound is so much better in ww2ol and other games I play. I feel like an idiot for letting my ears down this long.
At 35 dollars the investment is well worth it, the Platronic .90's came fairly well recommended in a cpl of reviews I read. I would've like to buy some surround sound headphones (speakers are not an option in my house) but to get a set that perform decently means paying a lot more than I'm willing right now. Also I'm now convinced that inbuilt motherboard sound is NOT as good as a decent soundcard, invest some dollars in a SB Live or if you have a bit more splurge on a Audigy 2 card, trust me.

Sidenote: CompUSA has to be the most disorganised stores I've ever been in. I check the availibility of the headset I was buying online and it was in stock, so I go to the store to pick one up. They have headsets in the computer parts area but no Platronics, I wander over to the gaming section and find some Platronic headsets, hanging by themselves, at the end of a aisle in the Xbox section. There are .70's though. I finally track down an employee (nice guy but has only been working there 2 weeks) who goes off to see if they have any in stock, he comes back to say they should have 3 and they are next to the monster cables section?!?! This is a completely different section at the back of computer parts and there is a bunch more headsets (why are they not with the rest????) but no Platronic .90's. The sales associate notes that when the instock number is as low as 3 it might not be accurate and they could be sold out, somewhat frustrated I turn to leave and my sleeve gets caught on something from the opposite aisle...oh look a stack of Platronic .90s hanging on the end of a aisle ACROSS from the other headsets in the TVs section.
WTF Compusa? (I'm still trying to figure out the crack monkey organisation of their PC games section) Get your shit together.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

How would you 'score' a recon mission?

I was reading Comstar's post about how precamping is the defender's fault and it got me to thinking on some issues with ww2ol combat.

Herein, I believe, lies the fundamental problem with ww2ol:
'How do you replicate the 24 hour presence of permanent combat units on the battlefield in a game with a population that is neither present for 24 hours or restricted to one combat unit AND keep it a fun game to play'

In real life tank columns don't drive right up to the enemies encampment (aka the AB spawn) before the defence is alerted. In fact in real life if there is a large force of tanks / infantry a cpl of hundred meters from your base then your surrendering not rushing out infantry a few at a time to die in a hail of machinegun fire.

In real life you have reconnaissance elements, pickets, units set in defensive positions around the clock. In ww2ol, we have unintelligent EWS, little impetus to perform recon and instaspawn armies. So what can we do?

Well a more perfect solution would have ww2ol combat take place between two prepared enemies that have 80 percent of the forces already spawned into the battlefield but this is simply to unrealistic a goal.

Intelligent EWS would be nice but it completely removes the player from the equation and makes them lazy.

So we come back to my post title 'How would you score a recon mission' or more importantly how do you make it so that players WANT to go on recon missions?

Jumping to conclusions.

As the title of this post suggests I'm going to jump to a few conclusions here based on very little evidence (ie the last day of ww2ol). It'll be almost like a Playschool post.

Last night (US Prime) we saw the numbers pendulum swing away from the Allies, it may have even ended up being on the Axis side though I cannot be sure. The Allies were, for the whole, on the defensive most of the night. When I checked this morning we had lost Diest, Willemstad, Haybes and at least one town in the deep south.

Why the big turnaround? Well as I noted in my last post, the BEF's re-awakening seemed to coincide with the introduction of the Spit IX. At the time I didn't believe the introduction of a fighter plane could have such an effect on ground numbers. Now I'm not so sure.

What did the Axis get last night? The FW-190. Coincedence? Well this is where I'm jumping to conclusions and saying maybe it isn't. Are more people logging on to play with the new toy and sticking around to contribute in other facets of the war? Or am I missing other factors like a planned Axis op or the like? It would seem unlikely given the state of Axis moral.

The other conclusion we can jump to here is that the French have made a large mistake by not researching any new toys this RDP round. More Shermans? Who cares? I think the French army proved quite capably in the last 4 or so days that we had more than enough Shermans to do the job. What you really need is the new toys to keep the players interested and logging in. Right now the French are still 2 RDP cycles away from the Lightning. This may get ugly.

All that being said I'm jumping to all these wonderful hypothesis based on the evidence of one night. This pretty much guarentees that I will be wrong, so I'll make a prediction too: With last night's effort and the French RDP situation the Axis will win this map possibly even before the Lightning can be introduced.