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Do Rats Use Starting Blocks?

It seems that, no matter how early I start keeping my eye out, I always spend May looking for a summer job. I'm sure it's possible to find a good job in Ottawa when you're not bilingual (rumor_esq did it, after all), but it's by no means easy. Mom discovered this and now it's my turn. :D

I picked up Rome again, watched a few more episodes last weekend, but I clearly suck at TV marathons. I get fidgety and want to do something else, even with the best of shows. That said, it's definitely a good show and I look forward to watching the rest. I kind of wish I hadn't read the spoilers, but it's the same thing as with the Tudors: I already know the broad strokes of how the story ends, what matters is how it's executed onscreen.

I've also been playing a bunch of EVE, though right now I'm just trying to put together a war chest (I'm still flying for ArsED and the Goonswarm, and we're redeploying for a new campaign), which means a lot of moneymaking and logistics. As epic and remarkable as the Great EVE War was, it's sort of devolved into a stalemate in the enemy's last region, and a break is certainly welcome. I've been observing the game since around the start of the time frame that article covers, and I can't imagine fighting what's basically an endgame opponent for that long - it's no wonder the last offensives petered out, because Band of Brothers are an entrenched force with skilled pilots, a ton of defensive advantages, and a coherent organisation with esprit de corps. As spectacular as it would have been to cause the downfall of a group that had basically been in the game since it was beta, and been pre-eminent on the server for almost that long, it wasn't going to happen nearly as easily as some wanted or expected.

Gaming-wise, I've also been playing a ton of Mount And Blade this week: another of those indie gems that I'm always so thrilled to run into.

It's basically a medieval sandbox game: it drops you into the gameworld with a horse, a weapon, and some armour, and says "go forth, make something of yourself". Do you want to be a famous tournament fighter, or a great war captain, or a singular terror in the chaotic battlefield melee? Do you want to be a protector of the peasantry, or a lord's enforcer, or an infamous bandit? Do you want to be a mercenary, or a faithful vassal to one of the game's kingdoms, or spark the fires of rebellion?

Two things really shine about it - the dynamic world which I hint at above, and the combat system. Oh, god, the combat system. It reminds me a lot of Oblivion's, except more so - closer to something like Die By The Sword, if anyone ever played that (I didn't, I just read about it.). It takes skill both to attack and defend (and especially when either involves archery), and there aren't any healing potions, or any magic at all- you win or lose by your ability to deflect blows or arrows with a shield or weapon, or avoid them entirely.

It's still in beta, and it's definitely an indie game - there are bugs, and rough spots, and unfinished business in general. But the game is amazingly moddable, and well-supported, and addictive. The demo, I think, is definitely worth a try.

Phew. That was a lot to say about a relatively lazy period of time.


( Walk among 5 shadows — Cast a shadow )
May. 10th, 2008 12:43 am (UTC)
Mount and Blade has definitely been tempting me for a while. I keep on hearing about how good it is, but, I also don't like playing clearly unfinished games. If they ever finish it, then, sign me right up.

Does it actually do the sandbox style justice?
May. 10th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)
I'd say it does - in the version I've played, there's no overarching plot to be seen, and while the map starts the same, the game itself develops more-or-less organically (I'm sure there are a few kludges), and in response to player actions - if you pillage a given kingdom's caravans and villages frequently, for example, its economy will get worse, its castles won't be able to hold under siege for as long, nearby lords will start looking for you and hunting you on sight, etc, etc.

I really only wish the strategic AI was better, but since nobody can write a good strategic AI in a game this freeform, it's relatively forgivable. :D The demo at least is worth trying, either now or when it hits retail. (it's on v 0.950 right now, but given ADOM's...interesting version numbering system as an example, that could mean less than one might otherwise assume. :D)
May. 10th, 2008 07:10 am (UTC)
0.99 Gamma 16 Beta 2 you mean?

Sounds cool enough though, will definitely have to give this a try some day.
May. 10th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
Oooo, Rome! One of my all-time favourite shows. How far along are you? Without giving anything away, the arena fight in the last episode of the first season, I'm pretty sure, is the only time I've actually stood up and started cheering at the TV without stopping once I realized what I was doing.

*Sigh* I really do want to get back into Eve, but with 415 coming down the pipe in the fall, I don't know if I should insert _another_ addiction into my life. :)
May. 10th, 2008 09:21 pm (UTC)
I'm thoroughly spoiled for Rome (thus, 'I wish I hadn't read the spoilers",) but I'm currently most of the way through the first season. I think I'm two or three eps away from the one you're talking about.

As for Eve, it'll only addict you if you let it, and won't screw you over entirely if you don't. I'm basically just coming back from a break (fuck law school finals, seriously), but in the intervening time I've trained to fly a T2-fitted Harbinger battlecruiser (which is basically laser death with headlights and my new favourite sub-battleship toy), plus the Helios covert-ops ship with the associated cloaking device, and also made something like 40 million ISK worth of datacores. Not bad for a month I'd spent not actually playing the game. :D

Edited at 2008-05-10 09:22 pm (UTC)
( Walk among 5 shadows — Cast a shadow )