Back on the horse

After technical difficulties kept me away for several months I started playing Dawn of War II again this weekend.

The online multiplayer (not Last Stand, haven’t gone there yet) seems to be populated solely with noobs and douchebags. There were a couple of exceptions but the strongest trend I experienced this weekend was what I’m calling the “First Shot Concession.” This consisted of my side losing the first clash of forces, which usually comes in the first 30 seconds to a minute of the game, followed by one of my teammates wanting to concede. I did concede when the match was truly out of our hands but never in the first minute. Nothing has really happened by then.

I get the sense that this sort of player thinks that playing a losing match is a waste of time. At least one of the times I put the smack down on a first minute concession we kept a much superior opposing side on their game for at least ten more minutes, ending with a score of 0-124 . For the uninitiated, that’s pretty damn close considering we were getting our asses handed to us most of the time.

I’ve had a great time playing matches I eventually lost. There is a fantastic feeling to losing a match and coming to the scoring screen and finding out that your moderately experienced team held off a team composed entirely of maxed out, all the way leveled up “pro” players. That you made them work for the victory.

So for all the players out there here’s a point to remember. It’s about playing the game and having fun regardless of the outcome. If you don’t feel that way, go back to Modern Warfare where you belong.


One step closer to actually working??

The release date for Chaos Rising has been announced!!

I may begin to serve my dark lords on March 11 2010. Pawns of the false emperor, your doom is nigh!!

Let’s all cross our fingers and hope that I will actually be able to play both the expansion pack and the original game, which has been pretty much FUBAR since Last Stand came out.


Notes on Notes: DOW II 1.8 Patch

Sonic Rob: btw, do you have any thoughts on the 1.8 patch notes?
FyreHaar: I don’t think they should have upped the cost of tier III
FyreHaar: I will never get that shit now

Sonic Rob: I mostly don’t anyway
Sonic Rob: it means more time until preds start rolling out

FyreHaar: I fear no armour
Sonic Rob: they buffed lootas in a big way
Sonic Rob: bopped em down to tier 1

FyreHaar: they needed, they were fucking useless
Sonic Rob: for real
FyreHaar: All personal teleport abilities now start on cooldown
FyreHaar: read – eat shit and die WSE

Sonic Rob: read eat shit and die ravener
Sonic Rob: but stikks are even scarier now
Sonic Rob: stikks get stun bombs without an upgrade
Sonic Rob: that explode instantly
Sonic Rob: fuck me

Sonic Rob: that
Sonic Rob: is not good

FyreHaar: Big stomp works on Spore Mines
FyreHaar: thank Chris
Sonic Rob: did it not?
FyreHaar: Spore mines are the most overpowered unit in the game
FyreHaar: it did not
FyreHaar: yeah, but Stikks are now T2
FyreHaar: # Moved Lootas to T1, changed their damage to equal a Space Marine’s Heavy Bolter
FyreHaar: good good, make lootas suppression like they should be
FyreHaar: I don’t think Stikks needed all that
FyreHaar: I’ve seen some people just wreak havoc

FyreHaar: Scout shotgun knock back ability now causes suppression
FyreHaar: good

Sonic Rob: pretty scary
FyreHaar: Plasma gun damage reduced from 90 to 70
FyreHaar: thank christ

Sonic Rob: they upped a lot of costs too
FyreHaar: Plasma gun damage vs infantry reduced to .7 from 1
FyreHaar: ahh
FyreHaar: less tac plasma spam
FyreHaar: Spore Mines are now susceptible to melee attacks
FyreHaar: yes yes yes!!!!
FyreHaar: Added sound cue when a player drops from a match
FyreHaar: very good
FyreHaar: sometimes I miss a drop then wonder why we got fucked

Sonic Rob: ah, nice
Sonic Rob: yeah, plasma needed a nerf

FyreHaar: we will see, but all in all I am feeling pretty good about it
Sonic Rob: yeah, I’m wondering what this will do to the pace of a game

Sonic Rob Has Bad Taste In Games – Last Stand

Is she gone? Cool. Let me duck briefly out of my deep-in-the-middle-of-crunch real-live-software-job and offer my perspective on the new DoW2 mode that’s coming out any minute now, if not sooner.

When did survival modes become the new light bloom? Seriously, it’s an interesting gamestyle, and it gives video games a sort of old-school charm, but it isn’t an absolute necessity. More to the point, it doesn’t automatically turn your game into Gears of War 2/Left 4 Dead/ODST/World at War/The Big-Budget Flavor of the Week. I haven’t seen it done in an RTS before Last Stand, but I never saw a time rewinding mechanic shoehorned into an RTS back when those were all the rage either, and I don’t feel like we’re missing anything.

I have to admit that I’m excited about getting equippable wargear with more stats and effects. It’s nice to see that leveling up between games will actually have a point now. But I wonder how they chose the 3 heroes they did, and why there’s no Tyranid character. Also, new race? I haven’t been able to play yet. Has anyone? Is it a palate-whetting taste of Chaos, or something else?

I also kinda like that Last Stand looks to be an online co-op mode, unless I’ve completely misunderstood it. That is something that I haven’t seen enough of in my games. More to the point, Dow2’s single-player co-op mode (oxymoronic, sure, but you know what I mean) was an absolute bitch to get going; trying to start that up with Fyre and slog through has resulted in the closest thing to a regular LAN party situation I’ve been involved in since the Clinton administration. If Last Stand works well via GFWL, it’d be very nice to see that networking functionality patched backwards into the co-op campaign. The least I’m hoping for is to see GFWL campaign co-op in Chaos Rising.

I was working on my map today at lunch when all of my save files starting crashing the World Builder. At first I was horrified at the thought that all of my work had somehow been corrupted. Now I’m hoping to Khorne that the World Builder was just screwed up by the update downloading or something. I’ll be pissed if I have to start this thing over.

Finally, I’m a bit appalled at how Relic is trying to characterize Last Stand as a faster, more arcade-style game experience. DoW2 wasn’t fast-paced enough?I can barely keep up with regular Dow play, and now they’ve made a more-arcadey mode? Fork me, there’s no way in hell I’m going to be doing anything but thrashing around like a 3-year old playing Street Fighter. I fear this thing.


Dawn of War II: Last Stand comes out tomorrow!!

The new play mode for Dawn of War II is coming out tomorrow. View the patch notes, in all their glory!

The Fire and Sonic community is super, super juiced about this. I’ve pretty much done what I’m gonna do with the online multiplayer. It’s still fun, but I don’t feel the drive to get online every night, as I had for several months, to level up, to fight everyone I could. I suppose with mastery has come boredom. 3v3 is sort of banal, especially now that I have tasted the pleasures of Team Fortress 2.

Initial impressions of the play mode will be up this weekend, I am sure. A more detailed analysis in the next podcast.

[h/t to Destructoid]


Real or Imagined: Leveling up in DOW II

I am in the process of leveling all my races up to 30 in DOW on line multi-player.

Space Marines are at level 31, Orks hit 29 last night, Eldar are 13 and Tyrannids are 12.

I have played more than 400 matches of three versus three, slightly more if you include two versus two and one on one.

And I have started to feel like I am good at this. My win ratio is getting better.  I still lose and my overall 3v3 record is 196 – 284 wins to losses.  Lately I feel like I am more in control of the matches, that what I do really matters to the course of the battle.

Last night, I realized that my team mate had gotten caught up fighting in a particular spot and we were losing because of it.  He had tunnel vision and had become obsessed with fighting in one tiny section f the map. In days of yore, I might have followed and kept fighting with him.  But I saw that it was pointless and was, in fact, playing right into the defensive strategy of the other team. We were walking into their guns with no feasible counter, just going off to die for pride.

So I flanked, I left my teammate to his devices and took the fight to another location. I diverted the enemy, destroyed his defensive advantage and turned the tide of the match. I didn’t wait for permission, I didn’t doubt myself, I just did what I judged to be the best tactical decision. This sort of thing is happening more and more.  What I do seems to be critical to the outcome of the match.

At first, I thought it was having a level 30 or thereabouts army. That was what made me “better at it.” But it’s not. The troops aren’t better, they don’t have tougher armour or whatever.  It’s me, I am better. A better general.  I still mess up and get my troops wiped out (n.b. two shootas and two sluggas cannot take out a Force Commander in Terminator Armour). But my decision making is stronger and more decisive. If a tactic doesn’t work, I reevaluate. I don’t hammer the same thing over and over expecting it to work. I am constantly evaluating and adapting to the changing face of the battle.

My micro isn’t better, my troops aren’t better, I have confidence that I know how to do this. And it is making me much better at the game.  I’m fighting smarter, controlling the when and where of the skirmishes, pushing other players to react to me and generally putting my stamp on matches. We’ll see how my record is once I’ve got the Eldar and Nids up to 30 but I really think I’ve turned a corner, from noob, to player, to veteran.


Ordo Cartographicus – Map Sizes

Another quick info-dump of Relic’s map specifications. This time we’re tossing out the sizes for all maps as of There Is Only War. You’ll notice that there are two sets of sizes listed. The first is the size of the playable area, which is obviously the part of the map where HQs and resources can be located and the limits of where units are able to move. The terrain area (or whatever it’s called) is the actual size of all of the 3-d terrain that’s visible in-game; this has to be bigger than the playable area so that when you scroll to the edge of the map you aren’t looking off into the void.

You can use the sizes given to get a rough idea of just how big to make your map; if you want the time to get to the middle of the map to be about like it is in Angel Gate, for instance, make your map’s playable area 416×416. Note that map size is just a start; Calderis Refinery has one of the biggest playable areas in the game, but still feels cramped to me because of the way it vigorously funnels units around the map.

As a rough rule, I’d say pick a playable area size, then multiply that by 1.5 to get a usable terrain area size. You can go bigger with terrain area size if you want to put in a lot of details outside the playable area; see Argus Desert Gate or Angel Gate for some interesting examples. Seriously, does Angel Gate need all those burning buildings our in the city area past the gate? Can anyone even see those?

1v1 Maps Playable Area Terrain Area
Green Tooth Gorge 256×288 512×544
Siwal Frontier 256×256 384×384
Calderis Refinery 448×448 800×800
Legis High Stratum 320×384 672×768
Leviathan Hive 448×256 832×448
Outer Reaches 256×256 384×384
Green Tooth Jungle 352×320 512×512
2v2 Maps Playable Area Terrain Area
Calderis Refinery 448×448 800×800
Medean Cliff Mines 384×384 512×512
Golgotha Depths 320×320 576×576
Ruins of Argus 256×256 544×512
3v3 Maps Playable Area Terrain Area
Angel Gate 416×416 544×544
Typhon Arena 384×384 544×544
Argus Desert Gate 320×480 640×800
Calderis Refinery 448×448 800×800
Tiber Outpost 512×512 640×640
Capital Spire 256×416 384×544
Siccaris Plateau 416×448 768×800

Ante Carto, Nullum Mundus

Chat Box

FyreHaar: did you see me take a tank with my WB??
SonicRob: I did
SonicRob: Klaw
FyreHaar: balls out!
SonicRob: yeah, you even left the shootas there
FyreHaar: I was like, fuck it! I’m killing this tank if it’s the last thing I do
SonicRob: haha
FyreHaar: I just targeted it with everything

SonicRob: now who’s making the geek act irrationally?
FyreHaar: I was raging
FyreHaar: I killed it and ran
SonicRob: yeah
SonicRob: “in your face!”
SonicRob: you gotta do that

FyreHaar: “Tanks!”
FyreHaar: ha
FyreHaar: man, watching those tanks run from the sight of my wagh was glorious