Saturday, June 09, 2012

Testy, sporty, Test

Enjoying another chilled out Saturday again after Prometheus last night.

First up - Prometheus. It's another in the series of Alien & Predator universe films. To be totally honest :

It's a well made film, as you'd expect from Ridley Scott. If it was standalone or if the AvP films never happened, the script would make sense. It's a prequel to the iconic film Alien and does a decent job of setting that film up. Bit like Return of the Sith sets up a lot for the older films and XMen First Class set up the other XMen films.

Prequels are usually very tightly bound by what they need to follow. The interest isn't so much in how things will end (cos you already know that from the older film), it's how they get there. Prometheus gets there very well, although there are a few liberties taken with Things That Should Not Be Left As They Are. Saying that though, the faults are mostly with the poor (but still watchable) AvP films than with this one.

But that's enough about Prometheus. I'll watch it again when it comes to Sky Movies, not sure if I'll buy it on bluray though. I said that about Avatar as well and ended up buying it after a second watch. The key difference is that Avatar was something new, Prometheus is scraping the bottom of an already well cleaned barrel.

On getting out to movies - I made an offer ages ago to someone that she could gladly come along to one of the cinema outings as a "forget your troubles" relax type evening with neutral people - that offer still stands :-) Haven't mentioned it much though cos I didn't want to put too much pressure on.

Testy, sporty, Test ?

Lots of sport, this weekend and next. The England v West Indies test match finally got underway this morning and the play today has been : Interesting. Despite losing a couple of days, there could still be a result. Hopefully now the sun's out today, it'll stay with us.

But it's not just cricket, I'll be half watching the football later via my laptop (or I'll hide behind the sofa and use my desktop's bigger screen) and I'll be watching the GP qualifying via SkyF1 after the cricket. I already have it set to record. Same tomorrow with the race. And similar next week :

Still Euro2012 football reminding me why I rarely watch football,
England cricket on the Saturday
Le Mans 24 hours

It's Fathers Day too next weekend but we've already (conveniently!) agreed to delay that for a weekend. Tuesday 19th will see the InterServices 20-20 tournament, which will see a great chance to get to Lords for the day in support of true heroes.

However, all that clashing sport does mean that I'm missing out on one opportunity - I have access to the Guild Wars 2 beta testing that's happening this weekend. I had a look for a couple of hours last night and it lives up to its hype so far. I'm not totally convinced though. The questing system is more freeform but it's still very much "Kill 10 mobs" type questing. We'll see how it develops. It seems to be a more freeform type game than previous MMOs, depending on movement to avoid damage. I need to work on that because my WoW play tended to be Damage, Damage, Damage, zzzzzz, Damage, stop, Damage, Damage, zzzzzzz etc ad nauseum.

Hopefully they'll pull off the promise with Guild Wars 2 and turn it into a truly excellent game. I guess I should really tell them about the issues I had in creating my first character - it claimed firewall issues which I fixed by one of these 3 methods :

Restarting my cable modem (doubt it was that)
Giving it "run as admin" (could be)
Deleting the previous firewall settings (highly likely)

If it's the firewall settings, I've seen that kind of issue with the iTunes updater interfering with my Airplay streaming. Annoying because it is not something an end user should have to deal with. Beta is Beta.

What I also have beta access to and am quite looking forward to is something called Planetside 2 - it's a Massive Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter. Technobabble aside - it's a scifi shooter with thousands of players taking place over a continent wide map. Or that's the plan. It's not quite at Beta stage yet so we've just been looking at early testing which honestly looks more complete than what some companies will unleash as final product.

It looks pretty awesome and it should get around the biggest problems in multiplayer pvp - Persistence and Rush Play. The best PvP I had in Warcraft was the old Alterac Valley, where you had 40 vs 40 players fighting it out on a North-South map. Horde (me!) would go north, Alliance (evil) would go south. Along the way there are towers to capture and destroy and generals that help out. Alterac Valley battles used to last for hours and you'd see the collecting subquests finish to bring out superunits for your side. 5 players could hold off 20. Something changed though and it turned into Rush Play, where the opening sequence of the battle would see 40 players riding past the other 40 players crossing over in the middle of the map. Battles became a 10 minute race instead of an epic 100 marathon.

Persistence is the other artificiality in most PvP, you can win the battle but at the start of the next round everything is reset. I've never much seen the point in that. At least in WoW's later open world PvP, if you won the battle you would control a block of territory for a while getting bonuses from that.

Planetside 2 will hopefully bring Persistence where you hold what you take, plus allow defence to make Rush Play less effective. It also has tanks and most important - fighter aircraft. The earliest games I enjoyed were flight sims and space sims and it's been way too long since I had a go at a decent flight game.

So if you're in Planetside 2 and get shot down by an Iceangel or "Iceangel624"*, then that could well be me.

*(624 will be if, as is likely, I don't get Iceangel quickly enough - the 6 24 are from my best bowling figures)

For now though - too much on at the moment to do the gaming thing, so it's back to the cricket with F1 to follow and muted football on laptop/desktop.

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